Friday, April 29, 2011

Everything In Its Place- part 1

Now that the kitchen is finally on its way to being complete, I am taking great pleasure in finding places for all the items that I had in the kitchen before! Because there are so many little nooks and niches, I'll spread the organised goodness over a couple of posts so it doesn't get too full on here!
Eww ugly!
In the old kitchen, we had one small set of drawers, with the regular cutlery in the first drawer, the second drawer was used for cooking utensils, the third for cling wrap, aluminium foil and baking paper and the fourth drawer- well that was the junk drawer! There was never enough room for our cutlery set and the utensil drawer was always super messy.  The first space I took over was the top drawer in the BIG drawer cabinet that you first saw like this:
I was very excited about this set of drawers from the initial design, because I envisioned not having to open more than one drawer to access the cutlery and utensils. I've not actually filled them in that way though- because I hadn't realised how much we had been packing into the old drawers! But I am pretty pleased with the layout in the top drawer as it currently is:
All of the different pieces of our cutlery set now has it's own little cubby, with the butter knives, dessert forks and soup spoons being stored separate to the dinner knives and forks and regular spoons. (Please note that we do have more cutlery than this, but the rest was in the dishwasher when I took these pics!)
Previously we had the 'big' knives, forks and spoons stored the right way up in the cutlery drawer, with the 'little' knives and forks stored upside down in the same compartment. It was pretty cramped and didn't make it easy to pick out what you wanted!
Now it is the picture of organised domestic bliss! It may not stay exactly like this forever- we can easily switch the layout around as we please- but for now, we are happy to have everything easily at hand :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chalk It Up

We were talking about painting the other day (it is a never-ending subject at the moment!) when PK piped up: "Hey why don't we do a chalkboard wall?!"
Mr Squiggle puppetsImage by Hil via Flickr
{For those lucky enough to grow up in Australia, remember Mr Squiggle !?}

This isn't a terrible idea, I thought- we could use it to write notes to each other, shopping lists, reno lists, lists of lists... only to find he thought it would be great along the main wall of the 'great room'. That's about 9m of chalkboard- which is about 8m too much for me!!

I'm not dismissing the idea totally though- I think it would make great use of one of our smaller walls (like the wall next to the hallway entry). But just to be sure PK and I are on the same page when we next tackle this idea, I thought I'd do a little round up of images of different chalkboard paint results, a la My Sweet Savannah.
Recipe wall via Rickypedia
Calendar wall by Ideal Home UK
Wallpaper effect by Anastasia of Faiella Design
via Design*Sponge
Art Wall from ohdeedoh
Whole wall from The Style Files
Back of the door from The Style Files
I think if we did go for it, the wall I have in mind would most resemble the last image as it is quite narrow. I also like the idea of making or thrifting a frame for it, to make it a feature and provide a little ledge for chalk/pens.

What do you think? Is it worth a go? Or is it a fad that has totally passed its use-by date?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WOW: Time to Collect

For a little while now, I've been doing these WOW posts about things that inspire me and motivate me to get through the week- a little midweek pick-me-up if you will. But today, I have a confession. I am a collector.

*Shhhh* Now, don't please don't start thinking that this means we can't still be friends- I'm not a collector of anything weird or wacky. I don't have a secret room filled with random things that I've been hoarding for a lifetime like this:
From CBC News
*I think* that my collection is a little mundane actually- and functional! I'm talking about my ever growing collection of fridge magnets. Yep, magnets. Why you ask? Basically, I don't tend to buy much while on holidays (I like sitting back and enjoying the experience more the the stuff), so I buy them as souvenirs and every one I own has a special memory attached to it. Plus, they don't add much to my luggage! I don't have a specific type of magnet that I always buy, sometimes I prefer tacky, sometimes beautiful, sometimes cutesy- but always meaningful! (I do have a few freebies of course, the usual promotional type magnets but those are usually limited and relegated to the side of the fridge, not for display.)

So, as part of the WOW series, I thought every now and then, I might show you one of my magnets and explain its significance to me. M'Kay? Good :) First up, something a little fishy:
You may recognise the motif- at one time it was a promotional design used by Hamilton Island. I chose it for the colours, the simple design and the material used (ceramic), when PK and I went there for a week's holiday back in 2006 (wow- that's AGES ago!!).

It was actually the first real holiday that we had taken together as a couple and it was kind of a 'testing the waters' kind of thing. After all, if we could handle a whole week alone together without bickering the whole time or being bored by each other by the end of it, then we could handle a lot of things right? We chose the Whitsundays as PK had wanted to go somewhere a little warmer than Perth (we went midyear) but I didn't want to follow the pack to Bali. And Hamilton Island offered a lot of entertainment for a little price- it was perfect.
It was a fantastic week: we snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef, looking for Nemo (we didn't find him but we did see lots of other creatures!). We kayaked in the bays of the island and PK cut his feet open trying to climb a rock formation. We watched a storm wash in from our balcony and swallow the island in clouds and rain. We sailed to Whitehaven Beach for a picnic and to enjoy the pure white sand. We used the firing range and the mini-golf ranges and enjoyed fantastic food in pretty well every restaurant they had. We did some bushwalking and hiked in the hills on Hamilton Island and when we got tired of walking, we hired a golf buggy and followed happy hour from bar to bar around the island! Definitely a week I'd love to relive!

And all of that and more reminds me of how great that week was and that is what I think about when I look at that little magnet. Definitely special!

Just Noticed

...that I have only managed a grand total of NINE posts this month- that's pretty dismal! And the annoying thing is,  I have wanted to post WAY more often than that, but have not had the time. And I don't even have a better reason than that- no high flying job, no fantastic holiday that took me away from the computer for the month, no little person to look after (unless you count Oreo!). Just the finishing touches on the kitchen and my ever changing and ever draining shift work. Enough apologies though, lets get onto what you really came here for- updates From Muriel!

So, there was a loooooong weekend recently... what did you get up to? It was a little busy here at Muriel!
For Good Friday we had PK's family and mine here for dinner in the nearly finished great room. There were seventeen people in our little house! It was a lot to cater for after not having a kitchen for months but, with a little help, we managed it! We had two fresh, local, whole fish -a pink snapper and a trevally- cooked on the BBQ and a selection of side dishes that the guests brought to help out. It was a fantastic evening and a great opportunity to show off all of the renovation achievements so far to our nearest and dearest. I shouldn't forget to mention that it was also my birthday! I made a carrot cake in my new oven for dessert and was very excited that it turned out perfectly :)
Birthday presents!
Easter Saturday  PK and I spent more or less apart- I caught up with a good friend for brunch and then PK went off to spend the afternoon and most of the night attending one of his sailing buddies' buck's night! I used the rest of my day to clean up after the night before and just relax a little (and eat some chocolate!).
Nom nom nom!
On Easter Sunday there was no morning church, family catch up or egg hunt for me- I was back to work! PK tried to get a little bit of prep done while I was at work so we could get onto some painting- yep, even after the last attempt, we are still eager to give it a go! He mainly spent the day attending to the ceiling patch that we had done in a rush before the install of the cabinets and creating another layer of fine white dust in the process! When I got home from work that night I was pretty tired already but sucked it up and painted the area behind the fridge...
Thanks Mr Easter Bunny!
Monday was ANZAC Day, but instead of attending a dawn service and paying my respects to those brave men and women who have served (and are currently serving) this country, I was again... at work. And then after work? More painting.
Oreo likes the ladder- and fighting with PK!
Tuesday? Well Tuesday was of course ANZAC Day holiday and while I was busier than the previous couple of days at work, I was excited because it meant that soon I would have my own time off soon! After arriving home, PK and I painted a little more and then spent a little time relaxing- enough time to check back in on my little blog! PK is back to work today and I am on days off- so guess what I'm up to?!! That's right- more painting! It never seems like a big job before you start and then once you begin, the reality starts to sink in!
Our attempt at this famous Michaelangelo image
-yes that is Oreo on top of the fridge!
And in the few rare spare moments over the weekend, I had a new toy for my birthday to keep PK and myself entertained- an iPad 2! PK was very excited about this gift- I'm still trying to decide if it was really for me or not! But it is a lot of fun (currently addicted to building a Smurf village!) and I'm very impressed by his thoughtfulness :) So that was my loooooong weekend- how was yours?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend High & Low

Hullo there, how was your weekend? Were you surprised by some warm weather like we were? PK and I tried to make the most of our weekend by getting the skirting boards done- and it was a bigger job than we anticipated! 
It took PK more or less all weekend- unfortunately I had to work so I was only available for a little portion of either day to help him. But he got there finally on Sunday night and I think he did a fantastic job!
It probably would have been a quicker job if we owned a nail gun... but we don't. So PK was crouched over all weekend gluing and nailing the boards to the walls and then punching the nail heads below the skirting board surface. We'll fill in all those little holes before applying the final coat of gloss white paint over the top.
And while we had the fridge out to do the little bit of skirting behind it, we thought we'd give a bit of painting a go. As PK put it- it should be easier and quicker to pull it out once, paint everything, let it dry and then push the fridge back into position, right?
Behind the fridge- pre painting
We decided to take the plunge and purchase a 1L tin of Dulux's Horizon Sky (Quarter Strength) because we both agreed it looked like what we were aiming for out of all of the paint chips we had spread around the kitchen. But we didn't want to go all out and buy all of the paint we wanted (we'll be painting the whole great room the same colour) just in case it wasn't exactly what we wanted. Good thing that we didn't because it turned out way too purple! We didn't even think it looked purple on the paint chip- more of a light blue-grey. However, we should have been tipped off when at the paint counter before mixing, the assistant asked if it was a purpley blue -Denial is not just a river in Egypt! It's a difficult colour to capture on camera (at least with my middling photography skills) but here is the area behind the fridge after painting:
As I was painting it I was loving the colour, though thinking it was a little dark. But I thought that might just be because of the shadow from the fridge (and I was using low-VOC paint so can't really blame fumes for momentary craziness). But then PK suggested we do a patch near the couches, to see how it went with them and it soon became apparent that Horizon Sky was not the colour for us! (Again, difficult to show, but its definitely purple!)
We'll be painting all the trim a crisp white eventually, but that would just make the colour seem more purple... so it's back to the drawing board! :( So overall, a win in getting the skirting boards done (hooray!) but a loss in painting (boo!). How do you pick your paint colours? Do you just 'wing it' like we did or are you more scientific and go through numerous trials first?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sneak Peek

So, you're wondering about the new purchase that's taken a while to arrive, huh? Well, good things come to those who wait you know!
But until we have got the skirting boards in and *ahem* they are painted, the piece won't really make a lot of sense in a photograph. Because currently, all of the furniture is either still in the spare room or all standing around the edge of the room but just a little bit away from the walls like wallflowers at a school disco (remember those?) waiting to be asked to dance. So, you may have to wait for a BIG PICTURE for a little longer ;)

We first ordered this item way back in January (actually on the same day as this addition)- while in the middle of the design process for the kitchen! While PK and I like the idea of saving up and lay-away purchasing, we had to act quickly to buy this piece before the style went out of production. So it was a little bitter-sweet in that we were signing up for something that we really wanted, sort of needed, but didn't really know what to do with in the months of demolition and renovation to come.

Luckily the shipment was delayed and then delayed again by the manufacturer, while we got on with the dirty stuff. Then, once we actually had flooring (and not just concrete rubble), we were able to take delivery from the supplier- three months after purchase!! With just a little planning and a little bit of luck, we had our new purchase. Now onto those skirting boards...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Skirting the Issues

Beautiful flooring?
Check
Nearly-finished kitchen?
Check
Gaping hole between new flooring and walls? Erm...
Check
That's right folks, we're up to that most riveting stage of flooring- skirting boards (or base boards or moulding, depending on where you're from). Oooooh! Aaaahhh! ... 

I must be honest here, PK has done pretty much everything when it comes to the skirting boards. He went to our favourite hardware store alone to choose the profile out of the many on offer- do you know how many choices there are??!! After some lengthy phone discussion (not so alone after all) we finally decided on the primed pine in 'half splayed'. It was a little more pricey than the basic MDF of the same profile shape but the finish was more smooth and would make for less work in the long run. Then PK measured all of the walls to calculate how much we needed (a lot!) and has done all of the cutting and priming thus far. My Hero!! Here is where we are at right now:
Yep, a whole heap of primed timber. (We're only doing the main renovated areas for now- the rest of the house will probably be tackled at a later date.) Now all PK -er- we have to do is attach it to the walls and paint it and the doors and the trim all the same colour (that would be white- no more cream ick)... not to mention the walls... *sigh*

Is skirting something you've ever had to think about before? I didn't realise how many options there were until we got to this stage! What do you have at your place? Lambs tongue? Half Splayed? Bullnose? Colonial?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bonus!

Howdy! I don't usually post more than once a day- basically I'm just a little bit lazy and have many other distractions on my days off to keep me busy (plus full time work outside of my random days off)- but I kinda missed out on posting yesterday. I meant to, but then suddenly the day was over and I hadn't... oops!

So, to make up for it, I thought maybe you might like a short behind-the-scenes look at the demolition? You've seen some pictures, but to really appreciate the dirt and dust and... fun... of it all, you either had to have been there- OR watch this little clip that PK put together a while back. It's pretty amazing (and highly amusing) to see how far we've come in a month!


Playing a starring role: PK, moi (blink and you'll miss me!), PK's brother and a couple of good friends (whom we are forever indebted to!), the angle grinder, the sledgehammer and the jack hammer. And please forgive the abrupt ending- it's apparently PK's editing style at the moment. Bless.

WOW: Sparkly Sink

Sometimes, you just don't realise what you've got until it's gone. Like the simplicity of running water- and a receptacle to catch it in! The new sink is in, the plumbing is all connected and as I type, the dishwasher is doing its thing. And did I mention that the new sink is HUGE!?

I'm loving being able to wash (!) vegetables and rinse (!) dish-clothes as I wipe down all the new surfaces (the dust is still falling, but it is diminishing slowly). And the way that the sun streams in from the window above the (now centred) sink and catches in the water droplets is... well, simple pleasures right?
Linked to A Beach Cottage's Good Life Wednesdays

Monday, April 11, 2011

Slowly Breaking Through

From Cute Overload via This Is Broken

I'm back in the land of the living again- just! I spent the last week and then the weekend as well, at work, telling myself that I wasn't sick so I could get through my shifts- and then going home and having a nap every day! I don't do sick very well- PK was as helpful as possible but I'm very glad to be on the mend :) How was your weekend?

Today I had a 'me' day:
  • I went to the dentist- nothing bad to report hurrah!
  • and to the gym- I missed my weekly workout while I was sick!
  • did some banking- a much needed refund cheque!
  • got my hair cut- the first time in six months, I had been growing it for the wedding ;)
  • finished the day with grocery shopping- yay food!
Getting the shopping done was an interesting experience- because I haven't been able to buy real food in so long that my usual shop had been completely re-arranged! Now that the kitchen is well on its way to being finished, we finally have a few clean places to put things again. And that has really made the difference to enjoying the progress of the kitchen transformation- I'm still figuring out where things should go, but we're having fun in the process!

This week I hope to be sharing some progress photos and details about all that extra storage space- plus some a new purchase that has taken a while to arrive- lots to look forward to! While I'm getting all of that sorted, is there anything you're really craving seeing from the new kitchen?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Going Viral

It seems that I brought something else home with me after my lovely weekend down in Margaret River- I've picked up a cold :(
From Common Cold Remedy
I'm not really surprised- after all of the late nights/ early mornings and high stress I've put myself through over the last few weeks (with planning and executing the renos, being a bridesmaid and a couple of very busy weeks at work) I was bound to get sick eventually!

So you might just have to bear with me while I get myself better- with the PK's help of course and a little bit of love from my mum as well! I'll hopefully be on the mend soon and then I'll show you what we've been up to this week (in between my nanna naps of course)!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

Xanadu Winery Gate by calzean
Xanadu Winery Gate, a photo by calzean on Flickr.
How was your weekend? Did it start on a happy note after my April Fool's prank on Friday? ;)

PK and I spent the weekend down south, attending a close friend's wedding (as a bridesmaid!) and I have woken up every morning since with this beautiful tune by the Beatles in my head. It's the song that the we walked down the aisle to- such a lovely choice by the couple and a lovely day from the (very early) start to the (quite late) finish!
We were guests of Xanadu winery in Margaret River for the ceremony and reception. It was an amazing setting and the food was divine- as was the wine! I can't stop thinking about the wedding and all of the little details that made it such a great experience!

PK and I arrived home on Sunday afternoon and spent the remainder of the day pottering around in the kitchen, tweaking a few things. So while we get a few things ready for the ol' DSLR, I'd like to hear your wedding and party stories- good and bad. Have you had a memorable party experience recently?

Friday, April 1, 2011

On the Dance Floor

After all that build up, I've decided not to share any new pics of the floors today...


APRIL FOOLS! :)


We were doing the rounds of travertine suppliers (there are a few in Perth, not like the Pandomo) when one salesman showed us the alternative: porcelain tiles that look like travertine. BONUS! We could have the look of the travertine (the natural appearance and narrow grout lines) but without having to worry about the upkeep- the expensive sealer that we would have had to apply every couple of years, the added time of moving all the furniture around every time and waiting for it to dry, the stress every time someone spilled something, the refilling of holes whenever the calcium-based stone gave way under stilettos or stool legs... None of that!
Our hero!
Our new porcelain floor is scratch resistant, non-porous and much better suited to our high traffic area. Oh, how glad we are that we ventured into this stone supplier- it was the last on our list to visit too! And now, without further a-do (and because I've run out of stalling tactics!) here it is in the new (incomplete) kitchen:
Check out Oreo- so over this! (pre grout)
They mapped out the tiles before they started and twigged it so there wouldn't be a silly layout in the hallway. I was really happy when I came home from work and saw this:
Hallway- pre grout
Very professional! Now, where there was once dingy carpet, the hall is perfectly laid out and ready for the high traffic usage it receives! And no more awkward transition area between the main room, the hall and the laundry:
Perfect segue!
The tilers also cut the edges really close to all of the trim, I was amazed how perfect they got it! (Ignore the grotty trim and lack of skirting boards -still on the to-do list!)
Like a glove! (pre grout)
Here is a close up of the tiles- they are all pretty much the same, but with slight variation in each set (not all have a layer of plaster? grout? adhesive? dust though!):
And here's what they look like on a bigger scale once grouted and sealed:
Mmm prettyness
And another of the full room:
Yep, that's Oreo again, just chillin'
See how the 'grain' matches up on each tile to run through the room? Its pretty subtle in person and will be even less so once there is furniture (and the floor has actually been cleaned- but that will wait). It's like vein cut travertine, rather than the cross-cut that we were originally looking at, but we are still really impressed!
And finally, just for the hell of it and because I enjoyed the way the light came through the blinds and played on the new floor:
Happy dance!
I must say we are so happy the floor is finally done! It took three days of tiling last week, then a hiatus over the weekend and then another day this week for the grout and another for the grout (and tiles in one) to be sealed. But boy, was the wait worth it! Being able to move some furniture back into the room- like the couch and the TV (we are totally TV starved!), and the fridge back into the kitchen has made a HUGE difference to our days! Our demolition site is becoming a (beautiful) home once more!

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