Settling in to Brunswick

One epic drive and a truckload of removaled stuff later, we arrived in our new place. Matt and I were both amazed at how you go from countryside to Coburg, just like that, and within 15 kms of the city. Apparently, the urban sprawl spreads south-east.

We drove in convoy, with Matt in one car with one kid, and me in the other car with the other kid and the cat. I drugged Kami with anti-psychotic, because he yowls on the way to the vet and I didn’t fancy listening to that all the way to Melbourne. He took the half-tablet easily and settled in for the trip well, with a pitstop to stretch his legs inside the car somewhere around Albury.

He’s taken to the new place very easily, with only one full day trapped inside.

I’ve been working steadily through the boxes in between outings and doing bits and pieces of work.

We’ve been on a bunch of outings: New Year fireworks at Yarra park, dumplings in Malvern, the Melbourne Museum, organic fruit and veg shopping at CERES, and swimming at the nearby Brunswick Baths. I’ve also added a basket to my bike so I can ride to the shops. It could be that we get down to occasional weekend car use, which seems like a luxury after all these years of having to drive everywhere.

I didn’t get to do a video walk-through of our renos at Bowral, because I kind of forgot in all the logistics of staying out of the way of the movers. When Trudy reminded me, I was already mentally prepared not to go back. It was time for the new. Our lease at the new place is only six months. I hope we get more time here, but we may have to move on that soon if the owners want to move in. At least we’re on the ground now to be able to look around when the time comes.

For now, we’re enjoying our new digs and exploring the surrounds.



Main bedroom makeover

I know it’s been a while since I last posted at this blog. Since my last update about public speaking, I’ve done that two more times and I have another one coming up in August. There’s other exciting work-related things afoot, but I’ll come to that another time. The focus of this post absolutely belongs to the main bedroom of this house.

In between conferences we finally turned our attention to getting some things done around here. When we moved in, we had a shabby ceiling to look at—drooping in some rooms and with water stains and cracks in others—so we had a couple of guys come to fix and repaint it. Around the time they were here, we also attended to our outdoor drainage dramas by having a trench dug and filled with ag pipe and gravel. We also constructed a beautiful new driveway and parking area out of natural river pebble, so our friends would be able to three-point-turn out of our place without increasing the size of the unwanted lake in the front lawn. It’s not quite finished out there though, and I didn’t take any before pics. woe!

It was the offensive suede finish paint job inside the house that has been most troubling since we moved in a little more than a year ago. Just to remind you: here is the main bedroom as it was.

The main bedroom

The main bedroom2

And here it is after I finished hanging the prints, yesterday.

Prints centred over bed.

To show the grey curtain.

Main bedroom towards bathroom, hallway door


The curtains are a silver, block-out pre-made deal from Curtain Wonderland. The prints are a few years old from Redbubble. The charcoal drawing is mine from an abandoned university art degree. The ampersand cushion from Aunty Cookie. The ruffled doona/duvet/quilt cover is from Urban Outfitters. The heart lights are a few years old from Beacon Lighting. The lamp, an old one from Freedom Furniture. The fabric bird decals by Love Mae.

We do still need new carpet and I’m undecided about the colour.

What’s next? the bathroom.


I was slow getting out of bed today. Slow to get motivated. But I finally did, and this is the result. I sanded this purple Suede Effects wall in the hall. I patched it and caulked the gaps. It’s washed and ready for undercoating.

The kids were bored today. They don’t like being at home with just each other to entertain. When Matt went out for a couple of hours they took the opportunity to whinge and harass, so I sent them outside while I sanded, patched and vacuumed. Eventually, Matt came home and I took the opportunity to go for a drive to Bunnings. I was actually there to look for oyster lights to replace the frilly lights in the bedrooms, but saw nothing appropriate and only brought home a couple of paint chips instead—in variations of white. I like the Dulux Lexicon.

Anyway, so with this painting jazz, I can’t paint the ceilings until the plaster man has fixed the bowing. Nor can I paint the timber skirtings until the timber laminate beading is taken up. I’m impatient, though, to paint what I can. Which is the walls. It’s all ass-about, I know.

I’m tempted to just do all the walls, and once the floors and ceilings are done, have the painters come to top-and-tail.


Hurrah! Where have the handymen been all my life? This guy was lovely, efficient, and a reasonable price. So sad, though, that he’s only around for another three weeks before moving north to Kempsey. We’re going to give him a list of jobs to do before he leaves. :D

Anyway, here is my finished project – the DIY shell curtain and repainted toilet ‘cubicle’, in a pale grey, with existing pink floor tiles, and window trim repainted vivid white.

Finished makeover c

Remember the original? The ugly green paint and no window covering.

The toilet

In other news, Fraser finished tennis camp today and won a runner-up medal for his age group! He was so excited and it was so great to see him look over at me in complete surprise. I also finished doing the big grocery shop today in prep for the party tomorrow night.

I took the boys to the RSL for dinner while poor Matt had to go back up to Sydney to retrieve our stolen Subaru, which had been left locked up and abandoned in Paddington. Apparently with a full tank of petrol. Sadly, that means no insurance payout for us, which would have been the most serendipitous timing given the recent new car, and we’d had that money mentally allocated to a ride-on lawn mower. It’s back to the drawing board to try and sell it.

So anyway, no ham for me at the RSL raffle. I’ll have to pony up for the Christmas ham, after all.


More tennis camp today. No rain, just grey skies, so that’s a good thing. I had another kitchen company come and quote. That’s three now. We wait until the new year before collecting quotes, revised quotes, revised designs, and sorting out a builder to handle the pre-kitchen things.

Lincoln had his pre-school Christmas party this afternoon. After being all geed up for it, he went shy once we got there and refused to sing with the rest of his class. At least he wasn’t as scared of Santa this year.

When we got home I pruned the roses and whippersnipped some of the edges around the garden. It’s still too boggy to actually mow the lawn, so I hope it dries out enough tomorrow.Picture of roses from the garden

All our Christmas lights are up and Michael Buble’s Christmas is on the telly. Maybe it’s Christmas, after all.


Ok, so more rain. Hmmpf. On the one day of sunshine we had on Saturday, we all got busy with yard work. Fraser mowed a cricket pitch into the overgrown grass and then decided he couldn’t be bothered practising his bowling. Matt and I slaved over renovating the sandpit—emptying out the old stuff, laying weed mat, and shovelling in the new stuff. In the middle of that, we got sidetracked by the broken fountain, demolished the remains, and discovered a power cable and water supply terminating at the fountain from somewhere at the house. We’ll need an electrician to do something about that. I haven’t even been able to trace the power back to a switch.

On Sunday I went to the gym and the rest of the day was pretty lazy for all of us.

And today we were back to the pissing rain again. Fraser has tennis camp on this week and because of the rain, they were mostly indoors.

There are slugs and snails everywhere, and we have a neighbourhood party on this Friday night at our place. The sun needs to come out so we can mow the grass. It also needs to come out for the party so the kids can all bugger off outside on the lawn while the adults talk and drink wine.

There is some good news, though. I’ve finished my DIY shell curtain project but still need to connect it to the window. That’s a job for someone with handier talents, I think. We also have plans for a kitchen reno in the new year.

It can’t come soon enough; the cruddy exhaust fan over the stove almost fell into tonight’s dinner.

So What’s Been Going on Around Here?

Wow! We went to Europe?! Heh. That feels like ages ago. Another bunch of school holidays is nearly upon us, again. Time flies, doesn’t it?

Anyway. So what has been going on around here? I have a bit of work left to do on the smallest room in the house. I’ve painted and hung some stuff up on the walls, but I still need to paint the woodwork and finish making my DIY window covering. Here’s a sneak peak of what I’m doing.


I won’t reveal the whole project yet, suffice to say that these are wax paper, faux capiz shells because I couldn’t find real ones. If you like these, check out the full tutorial.

The other new stuff for the house is the nice silvery blockout curtains, replacing the falling-down floral numbers, in our bedroom. And Fraser has some new plain orange curtains. I have some other curtains on standby for the living room but I failed at putting the curtain rod up and so they’re in the packet, leaning against the wall, waiting for Samantha from Bewitched to turn up. One lot of vertical blinds gone, six to go. The rest of the house is still the same old ugly, but we’ve gathered a few quotes and we’ll just have to deal with things a bit at a time. That reminds me; I should call an electrician about down-lights.

Other recent exciting news is my new car. Yes, yes, yes. The old Subaru is soon to bust a timing belt and click over 300,000kms, and isn’t worth the investment to fix it. Gone are the broken windscreen sprayers, cigarette lighter, mirror electronics, aerial, and whistling, poorly fitted windscreen; and in is a 2 year old mystic blue Mitsubishi Lancer, with only 5,000kms and working EVERYTHING.
I always thought people who attached self-worth to the kind of vehicle they drove were a bit nuts*. But, I was driving my new car down the road yesterday and feeling good—I have new car, I can do ANYTHING!

*I hereby publicly apologise to anyone I may have judged for their misplaced self-worth.

School Holiday Fun (For the Parents)

Sea Cliff Bridge

Photo by Nik Cubrilovic

Tomorrow is hump day. It’s half way through the week and half way through the school holidays. We’ve seen the Zoomobile come to the Bowral library, will probably fit in some ice skating, and the boys have had nice time staying over with Nanny and Poppy. Mum tells me they are such good boys, never whinging or asking for anything while they’re out and about with her. Clearly, they save all that for me, so it has been nice to enjoy the quiet and hit the town with Matt over the weekend.

We dressed up for a Mad Men theme party on Saturday night and then on Sunday, we went across to Wollongong for a movie and seafood dinner at Panorama House. (Thanks Living Social discount!) I think my favourite part of the weekend was driving north across the Sea Cliff Bridge. Such a stunning view, and it felt like we were back in our road-trippin’ youth. Aah memories. Most of our road-trip memories are tied in Triple J Hottest 100s of years gone by and having the Hottest 100 Australian albums of all time playing on the radio while we drove up the coast on the weekend was a nice touch of de ja vu.

Since the weekend, Matt’s also been out of town, so it’s just been little old me. Tidying up, doing extra workouts at the gym, not cooking, gardening, speaking to tradesmen, a bit of working, bludging, browsing hardware stores. An ideal couple of days, really. Although, all the ridge capping on our roof is loose and needs to be reset. I could’ve done without that news.

Anyway, more painting quotes to come, outside drainage to discuss, and tomorrow we return to regular holiday programming when the kids come back from Nanny’s.

Settling in (again)

A week and a half into our new house and we seem to be settling in. School and everything else has continued as normal, Fraser is still getting the same bus home and we’re back into our usual morning and evening routines. We’re getting used to the oddly laid-out kitchen, the lack of storage and even the amazing technicolour paint job.

We’ve decided to stick with the interior as it is, for now, and tackle the potentially serious drainage problem that we have outside. We’re on a gently sloping block and when it rains, it all flows towards the house and gathers in muddy hollows near the back patio and at the driveway. Our neighbour says that had we had any more rain the week we moved in, the garage would have flooded. That’ll be our first major work and in the meantime we’re doing little jobs like replacing toilet roll holders and door stops, planting and transplanting things, and well…emptying boxes. I’m really enjoying being out in the yard each day doing some small garden job or other.

So anyway, yes, we’ve met our neighbours. Lovely people in their 50s or so with grown-up kids. No other neighbourhood gossip yet, but we did compare levels of street noise from the main road behind us. (It’s not too bad.)

Annoying things and architectural fantasies aside, I’m still convinced we’ve done the right thing buying this place and am looking forward to making it ours over the next 15 years. (We could be living on a cruise ship after that.)


Pictures of Number 10

I know you’ve been waiting for these. ;)
From the front
I went over to the new house this morning to meet with a painter and took a boot-load of stuff with me. I know I could go into this with a DIY attitude and save a pile of money as a result but this house has had some serious neglect. The DIY paint job that was done several years ago is pretty poor.

Loungeroom stage left

These walls need serious help. Ignoring the ceilings for now, this will be a big-impact task so I want it done right, as quickly as possible. That ain’t gonna happen if it’s left up to me. But depending on how the quote turns out, it might make sense to repaint in stages. We’ll see what happens.

The back yard2

For the rest of the travesty tour, with extensive commentary, head over to Flickr.