Friday, 28 December 2012


Much underrated, I've been loving masses of agapanthus on display in our new home.  Their contrast against the crisp white of our walls is just amazing.  It's been lovely to get my good vases out - made by Joe when he was still potting in Ireland - and have enough room to place them all around the house.
Even just lying on the benchtop, waiting to be arranged into the vases, the aggies look divine.  They would have made a stunning bouquet for a wedding!
And here, on the sideboard, with the beautiful shades in the pottery glaze - superb!  Not to mention the gorgeous bunny cameo which was a present from my sister - clever clogs!  We love it so much, the whole family has requested one each for a portrait wall!  I wonder who will be which animal?!  It will take the whole year to find out, as Kate works through each person's birthdays...

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

modern girl

Ever since she was a little girl, Sophie's been folding paper in half and making her own laptops!  They started with just squiggles on one side and a roughly drawn square - the screen - on the other.  Now they've graduated to having the actual alphabet on the keyboard - albeit in alphabetical order.  It would come as no surprise to hear that she's requested a laptop from Santa - and even less as a surprise that Santa is himself suffering budget cuts this year.  This paper laptop is the closest Sophie will get to owning a computer for quite some time!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

cheeky girl...

'I know I shouldn't really be up here, but now you have a bedroom door that closes, I don't have anywhere else to go...'

For the past year, Minnie has been sneaking off and napping in our bedroom - more specifically, in the bed!  The door handle didn't work properly, so there was no way of keeping her out.  She's feeling thwarted by our new bedroom door - one that actually closes!  She's seeking out new places to hang out during the day, but honestly, the couch isn't going to be one of them!

Monday, 17 December 2012

glittery things

Our tree is covered in the most divine glitter ball inspired baubles.  I spied some in a friend's house last week and she told me she'd found them at the local op shop.  They must have had a supply donated to them, as there were plenty left when I raided the stash a couple of days later.  At 50c for a bag of 6, I didn't hold back - luckily the Chrisfast rules (ie no spending!) didn't have to apply at that price!
We have the most amazing light coming in to the kitchen/living room in the evening.  We purposely chose to have this large room on the western side so we could get that late golden glow and watch the sun go down through the trees.  I enjoy the bedrooms having the light in the morning and it seems appropriate that we follow the arc of the sun as we move through the day.
Beautiful de-stamened lillies - I'm not keen on getting yellow marks on my new rug or crisp white walls!  There are little marks beginning to appear around the house - particularly smeary two year old hand type sizes decorating the windows and sliding door.  Jono's keen for us to achieve that lived in look as soon as possible!

And lest I get away with myself, revelling in my new 'houseness', we have a sickie home today from school.  Something to keep me in check and remind me of the day-to-day normalities!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

settling in

The boxes are being slowly being emptied and we are finding homes for everything.  It is amazing to go from a house without any storage to one with built in robes in the kids' rooms and a walk in robe in ours...  not that I want to encourage having too much stuff though!  Our new home offers us all space and it's wonderful!  The kids flit in and out of their rooms, enjoying having their own places to hang out, then radiate back in to the living room where a woollen rug acts as a communal play space.  This image was captured yesterday - an exhausted daddy catching 40 winks, whilst two very tired children soaked in some screen time.  Jono was meanwhile pretending to nap in his room...

We are all looking forward to catching up on our sleep, settling in and starting to live this new life in the 33rd house - our very first home.  

More snippets to come!

Saturday, 15 December 2012


There have been two birthdays here in as many days - first mum and then me, her birthday present 39 years ago!  I ended up baking mum cupcakes instead of a cake - the perils of having a new oven and not much time...  I had to turn it up to its highest setting and let it bake off any odours for half an hour, then let it cool completely before using it again...  so cupcakes it was!  They cooled down in the freezer so I could ice them and serve them for afternoon tea when the kids came home from school.

It's my own birthday today and a much more low key affair!  We have had a relatively quiet day after all the excitement of moving and Joe and I have fallen in a heap.  I am deliriously tired and can't wait til bed time.  I will post some pics of the new house tomorrow - we're having to use prepaid internet until our phone is sorted out and the internet is exceptionally slow...

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

room reveal - and the big move!

If you ever hear me saying I'd like to go on 'The Block', please stop me!  Home renovations just aren't much fun.  And without a whole swag of people helping you in the background, it's near impossible to get anything done.  We've been working hard trying to get our rental ready, whilst at the same time doing what we need to move in to the 33rd house.  This is not recommended at all, so you won't find me advocating for taking on multiple projects at once.  Any one of the many things we've been doing this year would have been enough and we look forward to some much needed R&R in 2013.
Our rental was quite the ugly duckling when we took possession, however we could see the bones were there for a beautiful country style cottage.  Our efforts are starting to pay off - as you can see by the results in the top photo.  This 'before' image shows you how we had our work cut out for us.  It's been a huge team effort including Joe, the kids and I.  We've also roped in extras including nana, pa and a very willing and able nephew, not to forget our skilled tradies who are doing the professional work.
There are just a few finishing touches now in the living room - wooden beading around the tiles in the fireplace, then windows and blinds to be cleaned.  We are still painting, having been held up due to Joe being held up helping to build decking at the new house.  I must say that I really need to learn how to slow down and allow for hold ups - anyone going in to a major project needs to factor in more time.  No matter how long you think you have, it's impossible to juggle commitments and expect everything to happen on schedule.
Thankfully this peak period is coming to a close.  Tomorrow is moving day.  I can't believe that after all this time, we will be finally moving in to our first home.  It is just so unbelievably exciting and something I had started to believe would never happen.  It has been such hard work and Joe are I can't wait to have our family nestled under our very own roof.  All is a flutter here, with boxes everywhere and two very excited children who no doubt will take hours to settle down and go to sleep, then Jono who, at nearly 2, is too young to understand.  He just knows there are heaps of things to play with and this really cool stuff on boxes that makes a great noise when you pull it off...  (sticky tape!).  Then there are the parents who are exhausted, running on adrenalin and starting to lose the plot.  Plus the afore mentioned nephew who is helping to keep it all together!

I don't know when I will next have internet, so I will see you around!

Until next time!

Monday, 10 December 2012

hydrangea season

Of all the flowers to be associated with, hydrangeas would be right up there!  I had a lovely message from a friend today who said she was thinking of me and my pending birthday as her hydrangeas are flowering.  We used to live just down the road from each other (houses 29 and 30!) and each year for my birthday, I would be presented with a beautiful bunch of hydrangeas from her garden.  They are definitely on the garden list for the 33rd house and I'm particularly keen to try a climbing hydrangea - don't know how they will go, but we have room to try...

(So relieved it's hydrangeas that flower around my birthday and not stinking corpse lily or giant birthwort - thanks google, I just searched for 'ugly flowers'!)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

the great christmas decoration mystery of 2012

I've been packing boxes over the past couple of days and there's been a distinct lack of Christmas decorations in the sideboards I've emptied.  All this time, I've been confident that they were in a particular couple of drawers, ready to be packed in the car.  I would then take them straight to the new house, thus satisfying the needs of our expectant children who see decorations going up around town and wonder why ours is the last house to 'get Christmas'.  Now, they may have to wait slightly longer...

Are they in the garage?  The trunk in our bedroom?  Or did they go to nana and pa's shed when I sent boxes down there?  (A misguided attempt to be slightly minimalistic until we moved into the new house.  It didn't work of course - the stuff in our house has bred since then and we have things coming out of our ears - despite the attempts at culling and sending things to the op shop... help!)

Anyway, I'll puzzle over this for the rest of the day - hopefully they will turn up or I'll be searching the shed this evening when we go to pick up the kids.

Oh and ps. Hi mum!  This only took a few minutes, I swear!  Hope the kids are going well and behaving for you!!!  Love you xoxoxo.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

dancing girl

In our old house, when Sophie's room needed brightening up, I turned to a very simple fix.  I enlarged a photo her on the computer, then printed it out and traced it on to different coloured A4 paper.  I glued the dancing girls on to stretched canvas at regular intervals, giving the illusion of motion.  It was a very effective, but cheap (!) way of bringing colour in to her bedroom.  The original photo was of Sophie showing her grandparents how she can do Irish dancing - no lessons, just learning from daddy!  I think she's a natural!

I'm hoping for a small window of time during the last week of term, so I can make a few quick and easy projects for the kids' bedrooms - any suggestions?

Friday, 7 December 2012

in silhouette

Sophie took Jono's hand and raced off into the shade.  I clicked the camera on and started shooting, hoping to catch them before they ran back out in to the light.  They look like little pop up characters, so perfectly defined, both trying to go in opposite directions.  I love seeing images in silhouette.  When we were younger, mum had a cousin who drew our faces in silhouette.  It involved a slightly complicated set up - we had to sit behind a glass sliding door, with a light shining on us, whilst on the other would be a piece of paper, on which the image was drawn.  We thought it was just magic!  It was the highlight of our visits and I can remember that feeling of just wanting it to be me, please draw me, please!

PS. Jono's adopted very 'shouldery' walking lately - you know that stage toddlers get to, when they keep trying to shrug off your attempts to hold their hand?  It's just hilarious watching him trying to streak off down the street away from me - thankfully he hasn't managed to gather much speed yet, but it's clear I need to get in to training!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

lucy, lucy quite contrary...

how will your garden grow?!  This is the question I've contemplated over the past 11 years, almost as regularly as having our own home!  I was sorting out some paperwork last night and came across my garden lists (note, plural!), including: sunflowers, poppies, lily of the valley, flannel flowers, tuberose, hippeastrums...  
 ... portulaca, jasmine, peonies, gardenias, roses, panicle hydrangea, liriope, clivias, sweet peas, sedum, may bush, coneflowers...
 ... valerian, buddliea, forsythia, philadelphus, hellebores, cosmos, freesias, salvias, nigella, primulas, bluebells...

... and more!  There'll obviously be much trial and error, but it's lovely to think of it all and I can't wait to start the garden.  We have a bob cat and excavator working there today, spreading and levelling top soil, plus clearing the fenceline on both sides, ready for a new fence.  We're hoping the fence will go up before Christmas, but it mightn't happen 'til February!  Argh!  That will be a fun summer holidays with three kids and nearly 50m of open space to each side of them... We'll have to rig up something temporary until then.  Fingers crossed for the Christmas miracle and the fencing crew getting to us sooner!

In anticipation of the garden being levelled off by the end of the day, I've bought some grass seed, hoses and a sprinkler!  All very exciting stuff!  Joe will broadcast the seed and be able to start watering tonight.  It's not ideal to try and establish a lawn at this time of year, however we'll be living in a dust bowl otherwise.  We need to hold our precious topsoil down so it doesn't blow away.

What are your garden favourites?  Have you any suggestions for the garden of the 33rd house?!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

sophie's newspaper christmas angel

The Christmas decorations are still in their boxes.  I hadn't planned on taking them out until the 12th anyway, so they can wait until we move.  In the meantime, Sophie's had a go at making her own - with a little help from me!  This cute angel was fashioned from newspaper and sticky tape.  We saw something (slightly?  marginally?!) similar in a homewares catalogue.  Soph made her a baby too, but it's lost somewhere in the detritus of her doll's cradle...  no doubt to reappear during the move.

Until then, this rather open-armed friendly character will remain our sole Christmas decoration - I wonder whether she realises the Easter Bunny is just behind her, ready to pounce?!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

in just three weeks...

... it will be Christmas day!  By that time, my family should have arrived from various points around the southern hemisphere, our own version of planes, trains and automobiles.  It will be the first time in ages that so many of us have been in one place and I just can't wait.  We've actually been lucky this year and had a couple of visits from those that live furthest away, but we haven't seen everybody!

About four years ago, I discovered the children's book 'The Relatives Came', written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell.  It describes 'the summer of the year when the relatives came' and  I honestly can't read it without crying.  It reminds me so much of my family spread all over the place and the joy which we take from their visits.

Here are a few snippets to set you off too!

'Then it was hugging time.  Talk about hugging!  Those relatives just passed us all around their car... they hugged us for hours... You'd have to go through at least four different hugs to get from the kitchen to the front room.  Those relatives!'

'We were so busy hugging and eating and breathing together.'

'And when they were finally home in Virginia, they crawled into their silent, soft beds and dreamed about the next summer.'

Tissues, anyone?!

Monday, 3 December 2012

let me in!

Only two more weeks Jono!  Time is really ticking now, with less than a fortnight to go until the big truck arrives.  There's a faint current of panic rippling through me as I think of everything that needs to be done.  A constant 'to do' list in my mind and a longing for three weeks' time.  By then, we will be in the new house (touch wood!) and settling in to our new lives.

Until then, I'm checking things off...

Blog, check!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

succulent christmas wreath

I frantically finished my succulent Christmas wreath yesterday morning, for our homemade Kris Kringle gifts.  A now annual tradition of sharing homegrown, homemade or home baked gifts with lovely friends we have made.  I started my wreath using grapevine from the shed here at our rental.  Once it was thick enough, I twisted aptenia around it and added its flowers at regular intervals.
Mum has aptenia growing along a wall in her garden.  We've had an amazing amount grow from a small cutting I took home.  It's obviously very happy in part shade - it only gets a small blast of afternoon sun where I have it potted and it's gone mad this year.  I also have some growing in a wheelbarrow in full sun and it's done well, but interestingly the leaves are a lighter green.
I have no idea how long the wreath will last - it might just be a piece of ephemera - however I think if it's misted with water, that should keep it going for a while.  I love it against the red background of Sophie's chair - makes me think one will be perfect on our new front door.
And wreath making?  Honestly, easier than you think!  I haven't made one before, mistakenly thinking it too hard.  You just twist the grapevine around and around, poke it amongst itself to hold fast and fill gaps as you go...  too easy!  If I can do it, so can you!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

the chrisfast season

This year, money's tight in the lead up to Christmas.  No different to usual... except for the gallons of money that are leaking out of our account.  They're being spent on exciting things such as spreading top soil around our house and putting fences up to contain our wild beasts from the neighbourhood.  We've forewarned the kids that they'll be receiving one present each from us and then whatever Santa brings - and I've heard his budget is even tighter than ours!

Which all means we're on a Christmas fast - not fasting from Christmas, per se, but the big Christmas splurge.  And my birthday, right in the middle of it all, is far from exempt.  A couple of days ago, Sophie sidled up to me and said she knew what she was getting me for Christmas.  Curious - and not one for surprises - I pressed for more information.

"A new house!" she said, delighted with herself.

It seems the Chrisfast message is getting through!  We will take our presents where find them - in the building of a new house, in the new garden hoses necessary to keep our plants alive and water the remaining dust bowl, in the removalist coming to carry our possessions to the 33rd house.

All are gifts in a different form, but just as welcome - if not more - this year as any other.

Merry Chrisfast everyone!