Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 101: Reminiscing

The last few days have been freezing!  Yesterday was the coldest day in Melbourne for two years and Sydney had its coldest day in 69 years today.  We often go on holidays at this time of the year and last year we were in the USA, then when we got back, I had the knee reconstruction, so by virture of being overseas for four weeks and having to stay indoors for another two, I missed a fair bit of winter 2009.  But this year we are getting the full blast and it's not even July yet!  It wouldn't be so bad if I look at it from a promising ski season perspective but this isn't on the agenda for this year.

On the house front, the frame for the front of the house and garage has been erected, the steel people have been working on the hand rails for the decking and the large roof trusses will be installed on Friday.  On Monday, Bob will be working on the smaller roof trusses then taking some time off for the school holidays.  I went down to have a look last night and noticed that the door on the side of the garage is missing.  We've had a chat to Bob about this today - he's never been in favour of the door and wants us to think about the wall space that we will lose and the additional cost involved.  We'll reconvene to discuss but the whole purpose of the door was to avoid going through the side gates to the door at the front of the garage to get gardening and other tools. 

As we don't get home in time to take photos during the week at presesnt, I thought I'd do a flashback to the old house and highlight some of its more unique features.

These are shots from our old bathroom.  The combination was quite amazing - the beige tiles, the amber glass in the shower, the sun towel rail fixtures and the gold dolphin taps.  Yep, these taps were the talking point of the entire house.  S loved them and every time she came down from Sydney to visit, the first thing she would do was check that I hadn't got rid of them.  When we announced that we were demolishing the house, the first thing we were asked ,without fail, was what we were going to do with the taps.  After a good deal of persuasion, Stos saved one one tap (above) so that I can use it as an outdoor tap when we move back. He hopes that I am joking. That aside, beige and gold is a colour combination that will definitely not be seen in our house again and I am totally over amber glass because, in addition to the beauties in the bathroom, we had a couple of other examples in the kitchen, lounge room and at the front door.  Here's the kitchen doors in all their glory, with a bonus view of more beige tiles:

The new place will so not look like this!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 98: The Wall(s)

A bit of a long time between posts, but it's a bit hard to update with images at this timeof the year when it gets dark so early.  The other reason for procrastinating is that I don't have much to show on my granny shrug update - I have only done another two rows since the last update, so feel a bit guilty. 

Anyway, there has been quite a lot of progress since Day 88.  The deck/boardwalk wrapping around back, side and the front of the house is finished and Bob has put up most of the frame for the street level of the house; the side wall for the lounge room and study and the walls for our bedroom, walk-in 'robe, ensuite and loo.  Stos has been helping with the frames while he has been on leave but is now back to his day job.  There have also been some discussions with more of the supporting cast:  the man making the roof trusses for the front of the house, Paul the steel man who will produce the railings for the deck, gates,fences and the brackets for the sails and the Sail Maker also dropped by.  Stos also met Sparkie Dave who will be handling all things electrical at the appropriate times, but in the meantime we need to think about what we want in terms of controls, switches and wiring.  Bob has been having a chat to them about our job and it was good that Stos was there to put in our viewpoint.  Hopefully the frame will be finished by the end of this week, but the weather forecast is pretty dire, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that Bob will have a productive week before taking some time off for the school holidays to spend time with his boys.

The shot on the left is looking into what will be the lounge room.  The windows are much bigger than I imagined, but they are built as per the plan (Bob hasn't been making more enlargements without telling us!).  We will definitely have to put something up on/in front of the fence to make the view a bit more interesting - something like a green wall perhaps.  I have seen a large plastic sheet with pockets for planting greenery that can be used on walls, so will look into this further. 

The last week has been a biggie for catching up with family and friends.  Last Saturday we caught up with a posse of Stos's cousins, their partners and his aunt.  On Sunday we cooked dinner for my sisters, partners and my parents and gave R & C their wedding presents (better late than never).  Yesterday we went to see Animal Kingdom while open house was being run at the Landlady's place and when we came out, had an invite to meet D & P and their daughter J for dinner.  That was a lovely surprise so we ditched our plans to stay in and cook for the much better option of joining them at our favourite Indian restaurant.  Today was a planned lunch with R, K and N who we haven't seen since the beginning of 2010.  It's times like these that reminds me of the importance of keeping up with the people who are close to you; Stos has a lot of cousins but these are the ones that he saw most of growing up, and he lived with B for a number of years.  I also lived with him as well for the first 6 months after we got married..  Stos saw all of them this year for the first time in ages and this was at family funerals.  Which is very wrong.  So more efforts need to be made to ensure that we all stay in touch with not only the cousins, but other people that we love, whom we tend to forget from time to time.

While I am on the soapbox, go and see Animal Kingdom.  We need to support great Australian films and this is a cracker.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 88: Stepping out

Bob and Pete finished the roof on Tuesday which is a relief as the weather turned wild and wet yesterday. We were listening to the wind howl last night, wondering the roof was still there - honestly, I thought we would wake up in Oz! However apart from a spare bit of insulation that had blown down the street, everything was in place when we dropped by this morning. Stos has been put to work on his days off - Bob has been building the stairs for the deck and they are made of very solid and heavy timber, so knowing that Stos was home, he was pressed into service to help put the stairs to the upper deck into place. Today it was my turn; after getting home from the gym, I was informed that my help would be required to help put the lower set of stairs in place ready for fixing. It was quite awkward with Stos and I holding to one end and gradually sliding and lowering the stairs to the edge of the southside walkway so that Bob could grab them from below and manoevre them into place to be bolted to the deck. This was complicated by the amount of water and mud around, but was done fairly quickly. Other tasks were plugging and unplugging various power tools and fetching and handing over the four inch screws used to lock in the stairs. I felt like a theatre nurse! As you can see, the steps are very sturdy and they aren't as steep as we thought they would be.  Using these to check out the top level will much far preferable to scampering up and down the ladder.

As a diversion, I thought I'd add in a couple of film recommendations. I haven't seen many films this year and until this week, those that I have seen haven't grabbed me. But I saw "Love, Lust and Lies" on Sunday and "Exit through the Gift Shop" night and loved them both. Love, Lust and Lies is the latest installment of Gillian Armstrong's series which began in 1976 and tracks the lives of three girls from working class families in Adelaide. It's got some commonality with Michael Apted's "Seven Up" series, but it is a lot more intimate as the focus is only on the three girls. I've seen all but the first in the series but a newcomer could easily pick this up as quite a lot of the film is dedicated to the back story. There are some twists that are revealed in the latest film and it is interesting to see where the childred of these women have got to as well. Exit through the Gift Shop is a film by the UK street artist Banksy and is an entertaining look into the world of street artists that leaves you wondering if this really is a documentary or a p__take. It includes some very funny moments and Banksy has a wry sense of humour. This is only showing at ACMI for two weeks and I was glad I booked in advance because it was sold out, as have been other sessions (good tip from L). Well worth seeing if you like films that are a bit different.  David and Margaret liked them too; check out their reviews from a few weeks ago.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 84: Up on a roof

The house update as of Day 82;  a couple of days late.  On Friday Bob the Builder was being assisted by Pete the Plumber in putting on the roof.  Sadly, the day was wet and windy which is definitely not good for roofing, so they had to pack it in around 2.30pm.  But some progress was made and Bob assures me that they will be back bright and early Tuesday (after a long weekend in this part of the world) to keep going.  Other achievements this week have been been the delivery and preparation of the poles for the fence, the placement of the pole that will feature on the front porch and the framing of the floor for the front entry.  The fence poles (above left) are a bit bigger than we imagined, but we are putting our trust in Bob on this one.  The Kitchen Man has been around to have a look at the layout so we are now expecting to hear from him shortly so that we can discuss how to work around the bigger than expected south window.  The focus is going to be more on layout rather than materials, but we do need to get our minds around the latter.  Bob is keen on timber but we are definitely not having this.  Part of our week has been looking at display houses and we have seen plenty of kitchens that we don't like, but aren't a lot wiser in finding something we love.  Never mind, that's what the pile of interior design magazines is for.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 82: My creative space

Well it's not much but I have made some progress on the Granny Shrug.  I also consider "progress" to include starting three times and pulling it all out before finally launching on the real thing.  I am not a novice to crochet but I have found the 15mm hook and the two strands of wool a bit tricky to get used to.  Plus, as someone who knits and crochets a bit on the tight side, the looser tension required to effectively use a large hook has been a challenge.  However, I have finished five rows, have started the sixth and am fairly happy with the "drape" of the work.  Next challenge is to see if I can finish the two hexagons for the body and sleeves by next week - I should set myself the goal of finishing it but as I have never joined crochet using crochet, I think that's probably a bit ambitious.  Also, I need to think of something to take to the next meeting of the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild.  I took along the Japanese Kaleidescope Patchwork squares to the last meeting, and haven't done anything on them since.  I have bought a few books to help me get inspired, but haven't done anything more about it.  Maybe I should just concentrate on finishing enought squares to make something out of them before launching on something new.

For more creative spaces, where clever people obviously have no problems with progress or thinking of things to do, head over to Kootoyoo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 75 Part Two: Under the Boardwalk

We popped down to visit Bob the Builder this morning to check on progress and provide him with sustenance in the form of orange biscuits.  This week he has been planning for the stairs from the deck on south east side down to the backyard and up to the higher deck on the south west/west plus building the south east deck itself.   Some further construction has also been completed on the roof frame in anticipation of the roof going up next week.  We had a chat about the look of the fence and also contacted the Kitchen Man to organise an appointment to discuss lay out and materials for the kitchen.   As Bob is keen to retain the bigger than planned window on the south side, we need to rethink the layout per the plan, but really need expert advice here.   The appliance side is sorted, we know that we want the soft touch drawers, but must  think about the sort of cabinetry and bench tops that we want.  We'll have to get stuck into the pile of Home Beautifuls and Belle to find some combinations that we love - the kitchen is a very important part of our home and needs to be both functional and attractive.  We also hope to move forward in deciding on the colour of the exterior walls over the weekend as we are catching up to discuss this with the lovely P, who is an expert in these things.  We really want to be sure of the combinations as we have to live with the Colourbond walls forever.  It will be good to finalise that and move on to other things.

Day 75 Part One: My creative space

I am posting this yet to be commenced project because I'm hoping if I put this on file, I will finish it.  As the Queen of Unfinished Projects (i.e. jumper for husband started in 1987 and final sleeve still half finished), I need something to make me commit to starting AND finishing something.  So I have shown the materials obtained to make Kirsty's Granny Shrug, which everyone in blog land seems to creating.   Morris and Son are having a sale so I bought some bargain Cleckheatons Machine Wash 8ply crepe in a lovely aqua, plus the required monster crochet hook.  I'll use two strands of this yarn and see how it goes.  So the challenge is now to have some progress to post for next week's creative space.  For more creative spaces  that are more likely to be works in progress or finished, jump over here.