Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

NeoReverie Diamond Tufting Tutorial Banquette.

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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Welcome everybody. There is a wealth of information and guidance available for this process, but I still thought I would do my own version.

I’ve graduated, master upholsterer, from the University of YouTube based on all the videos I watched and information I absorbed.

Supplies

Medium density foam: cut to the shape you require. This stuff is expensive. There are more savvy ways to acquire foam, like foam mattress or other end products made of foam from big box stores like IKEA or target and cutting it down with an electric bread knife. I have a history of getting stroppy with a D.I.Y that doesn’t go to plan. So my personal philosophy is to start off on the right foot with the right products. Just pay the money and get exactly what you need. I bought the foam at the Foam Booth in Surry Hills. You can also get Foam at Clark Rubber and I am sure there are others. I needed 2480mm x 380mm and this cost me $80

MDF/ply wood/peg board: I used 3mm mdf which I believe was too flimsy. Hence why I braced it which you will see later.

Batting: I bought it on a roll from Spotlight. I needed 3 metres

Fabric: Thickish in weight and upholstery grade. You will need more fabric then you think. I cut 3.2 metres for my 2.5 metre long banquette. Because my projects had really long rows of buttons, it just ate the fabric up

This YouTube video shows how to measure your project to determine the right amount of fabric you need. I didn’t bother doing it, because I was talked out of it by this blog post.

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As she casually mentions that it doesn’t take up much more fabric. To be fair, I had a lot more buttons on a row then she did and I should have realised. It left me to sew on more fabric on either side. I had the half tufted banquette on the floor and the sewing machine on the floor while my husband pressed the pedal and intermittently moved the 2.5 metre long piece through the sewing machine.

I bought my fabric on clearance from Bargain Upholstery in Seaforth. I wanted a light blue grey fabric that was a linen look-a-like and not a fabric that they needed to order in (So I could get started right away and If I needed more that it wouldn’t be a drama) I also wanted it to be easy to clean and have stain reducing properties. Like my couch. I am not a fabric expert or anything But it has 2 colours in the fabric. So one direction has the first colour of treads woven and in the other direction it is the second colour of threads woven. It helps to mask stains. (Well, in my experience) In a perfect world I would have loved glazed linen. I am into that so hard right now. But this fabric has man made properties and it gives the fabric a nice sheen, so I was happy with that.

And I will be scotch guarding the crap out of it on completion too. You have worked too hard to have it ruined by a wayward glass of red with a girlfriend or a naughty rugrat.

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 So because I had the diamond tufting bit half done and it was just leaning there and the bare base seat cushion foam there and I haven’t got around to finishing the project because I needed another set of hands and free time with my other set of hands (husband) doesn’t come around often and when it does, he sure isn’t helping me with this project. It was sitting there for some time. Unfinished. I was trying this new thing. Not leaving anything on my island bench. So I picked up my paint palette from doing calligraphy with highly pigmented MAGENTA gouache paint. And I went to place it on the foam base cushion and right before my very eyes the paint just LEPT! LEPT I tell you out of the palette and make a big splash on the diamond tufted part and then dribbled down. MY LIFE FLASHED BEFORE MY VERY EYES. Why God? Why me? I’m a good person. I tried. I’ve sincerely tried. What have I done to deserve this? F***ing panic town. Population ME!

ANYWAY. Blah Blah Blah. I got the stain out the best I could after 1 hour of frantic scrubbing and it is only just visible. . . to me. I can live with it. I died, but I have been revived. Then after my daughters party there was another stain. But I got that out too (on the base cushion). So yes. I need to scotch guard it.

Upholstery Twine: This is a nylon twine that is quite thick. I looked for it at Spotlight and they only had upholstery weight thread for your sewing machine, for when sewing covers. This will not be strong enough. I bought my roll from here. LINK I am sure there are cheaper places to get it. But this was what I came across and was easily accessible to me.

Upholstery Needle: I bought a packet of Doll needles by Birch from Spotlight. In Hindsight I should have bought a proper upholstery needle from an upholstery supply shop as the eye of this needle was still a bit too narrow for the twine to pass through. I soldiered on and managed though.

Self-cover buttons: The consensus is that you can make them yourself, but it will be the most monotonous and annoying part of the project. I didn’t want to lose momentum or enthusiasm, before I even got to the tufting part. One blog post mentioned that she outsourced them. So I did too. I couldn’t even find the self-cover button packs at Spotlight. They sold 2 self-cover buttons in a pack for $6 and that seemed very expensive. So I took my fabric to this place and got Number 36 buttons made up for me.

They did it in a few hours.

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Staple gun: I own a staple gun and just as I was gearing up to start, I asked my husband where it was. He has been pottering in the garage recently and he said that he has never came across it. So I had no idea where it was and part of the garage had blocked access. I wasn’t going to go and look through boxes. So I scooped up my kid to go and buy another one. You could put a regular staple gun for $20 to $50. But this job requires doing a lot of stapling and will be taxing on your hand muscles.

We have the RYOBI One power tools with the interchangeable batteries and I was looking at that brand to buy an electric one, but they currently don’t cater for it (And besides, I am not too keen on all this cordless get up. I would hate to run out of battery when I am full of steam, how annoying to have to stop prematurely)

So they had a cheapy OZITO branded electric stapler that is corded. SOLD.

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(Bosch had one too that was $99 but it was cordless and the battery would have needed charging before I could start and I wasn’t waiting for that)

Batons, liquid nails & screws: For bracing and forming around the bottom architrave of my window. Not necessary if what you are attching to is flat.

Scissors: Dressmaking shears. For snipping the batting and trimming the fabric.

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Mark out where your tufts will be on your mdf. I had 2 rows of 14 buttons and 1 centre row of 13 buttons. They were 17 cms apart horizontally and 8.5 cms apart vertically.

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Drill through the mdf where you marked for the holes.

Brace your mdf with your batons, by gluing and screwing them. Making sure not to place them over any holes. (You don’t need to do this if  you use thicker wood. The stuff I used was pretty flimsy, plus I need to brace it and pack it out to go around the bottom window architrave that I didn’t want to remove.)

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Put your mdf on top of your foam and with a marker push it though the holes to mark the foam. Remove.

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With a knife, cut out channels in your foam for the button to go down deep when you tuft. I used a serrated steak knife. Stuck my fingers through and yanked out the foam.

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Place the mdf on the bottom. Then the foam. Drape over your batting over the foam and mark where the holes in the foam are and with scissors. Snip the batting in a x shape to make a hole.

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Drape your fabric over the batting.

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Now you are ready to tuft.

This is what I did, which If/When I have my time again, I would do some things differently, which I will mention throughout this. Start with your centre button and work out from there. Doing the one above, the one below the one to the left, the one to the right and out you go. From the front, use your thumb to push the fabric into the hole. Pass the needle through the foam until it pokes out the back of the mdf. I had trouble doing this, as it was hard to keep the needle straight and was going in blind and found it difficult to find the hole. What I ended up doing was from the back, I passed the non-sharp end of the needle from the back through the eye and up through the foam and the fabric. My fabric wasn’t a tight weave. So if your fabric is, I don’t think you would have had much luck with it.

Thread the needle with the twin and then pass it through the back of the button and tie and double knot. I used my teeth to make sure it was nice and tight. Then I pulled the needle back through to the back. Only when it was all completed did I realise I had done this step a bit funny as I was pulling the knot through the fabric. Again, if my fabric was tighter I would have had buckleys chance of doing this. It also at some points caused my fabric to snag. But I smoothed it out with my hands from the centre and it wasn’t visible. And some times because I was pulling on the knot, the knot would come undone, causing the button to pop off and for me to start the process again.

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What I should have done was. Thread the twine through the back of the button and tie a double knot onto the button. And then with the 2 tails of the twine, thread the needle. This would have been very difficult for me as I had trouble just threading the needle with one length of twine, let alone two.

Then from the back, you have the knotted twine poking through. From the front side, fold the fabric, by rubbing/rolling it in between your thumb and forefinger to make nice pleats in the fabric. Then from the back, you pull with all your might to make a nice diamond tuft. You staple the twine in a zig-zag like pattern. Give it about 4 to 5 staples.

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And that is one button done. Move on to your next button

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Once all the buttons are done.

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Staple the excess fabric right around. Trim it off and if you wish. You can cover the back with inexpensive fabric for a professional look.

I didn’t do this, as I would like to still be able to access it if I ever need to repair it.

Last step. Outsource the base piped box cushion to an upholsterer. I can bring myself to diamond tuft, but not sew a cushion cover. Let it go and call it a day.

FINISHED

reflections

The only thing that needed improvement was the depth of each button is inconsistent. But as a first timer, I am happy with it and I will do better with my next diamond tufting jaunt if I so chose to take one upon me.

I wish I had centred the banquette with the window above it. The reason I didn’t do this is in case we wanted to put a heater to the right (their is a gas outlet) or a tall narrow cabinet in between the 2 windows. But I think it would have looked really flash and we could have made a feature of the window (that still needs repairs and painting) with a nice roman blind and trim tape and flanked it with Oly San Fransico candle sconces. Always in hindsight. . . .

Another thought I had was finding a really nice demi lune table to go in between those 2 windows and placing a nice piece of art above it. But I always suffer from cramming so much furniture into a room.

before_afterWho doesn’t love a before and after?

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Next thing. I think I am gearing up to do a headboard. But probably not diamond tufted. I just can’t settle on a shape.

Melbourne 2014

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Long time, no post.

Apologies. Something shit happened. Like really shit. Nothing to do with health, illness or death. But something pretty lousy, hurtful and plain annoying happened. I don’t want to write what it is because I do read back through my post to remember things and look back at what I have achieved and I don’t want to be reminded of this terrible incident. Just let the past swallow it up and take it away.

I did write it all down in a document at work. But I grappled with whether I wanted to post it or not. Do you ponder over what you will post and what you won’t?

I still haven’t posted my birth story because I can’t decide if I am that kind of person anymore. Am I completely honest and open as I use to be? I of course will let you in on every gory detail if you are my friend and want to know. I have no hesitation there.

I am just going to print out Audrey’s birth story and place it in her keepsake box and pray to God that my house doesn’t burn to the ground or gets stolen.

I also don’t want to write about bad things. Life isn’t all butterflies and rainbows, but I can just make my blog a little happy place only. Escapism for me. (And my readers, I hope)

I was feeling really low and negative after this event. There was lots of fuck this, fuck that, fuck the fucking world. FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKKKKKKKK and I want to be less about the fuck and more about the pretty and the happy and the positive. Which sums up what I already am about. So no blotches on my blog. Back to business. The show must go on!

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My husband had a work trip to Melbourne. Which because of the public holiday on Monday. Meant he left on Tuesday morning and would return on Friday and HELLO, that just happens to be the non-working days for me! So I told him to book Audrey and myself tickets and a rental car. We tagged along.

We are budget conscience at the moment and holidays for us are just not going to happen. We would rather be spending the money on renovation of our house at the moment. I also am on a self-imposed leave ban. I am thinking about baby number 2 and I need to save my leave so I don’t have a total of 5 seconds with my baby before returning to work. I used my extended leave last time and that won’t accrue fast enough to have the same amount of leave this time around. So I take what I can get. Small mercies.

Having said all that, I did take a day off on Monday. Under duress it was! LOL. We had a picnic for my Mothers Group so that all the men could meet each other. There was a very long email chain that was going back and forth of proposed dates for this shindig and none of them was going to suit me because I work weekends and all the public holidays, but this was the date that suited the majority and a line was drawn in the sand. I did entertain the idea of sending my husband just with Audrey, but he is a pretty shy guy and that seemed kind of cruel.

I digress. It was a beautiful day and I relished in my leave pass. Ohhhh to be social! It really is an important part of life.

Then on Tuesday we rose at the ungodly hour of 4am! (well not ungodly because my co-worker in the lead up to Christmas was attending Church at 4.30am. A novena she called it. 9 days before Christmas!! WHAT??? Dedicated she is! I love hearing about other people’s cultures and traditions. Do you? Fascinating.

4am, out of the house at 4.30am for our 4.43am train to the airport. We walked in the dark with pram, 2 suitcases, nappy bag and laptop bag down the hill to the station. We made it to the airport without much fuss. I was immensely proud.

The flight with Audrey was great. She wriggled a bit in the beginning which was annoying in the confined space, but then she had a bottle and drifted off to sleep for the rest of the flight. She stayed sound asleep all the way til baggage collection. What a legend.

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My husband’s work site was next to the airport which isn’t ideal, but we had a rental car and I like to drive. I thrashed it up and down that freeway all week long! I used a tank of petrol in 4 days LOL. The air-condition was on full throttle constantly. I was certain the car was going to clunk out.

On the first day I went to Chadstone shopping centre because it was 39 degrees and I wasn’t taking baby girl out in that.

Had a browse around there and then I picked up my husband from work. We checked into the hotel and headed straight to the spa and pool!!! It had been a LONG day by that stage. Audrey had an absolute ball in the spa. It wasn’t a hot spa.

The next day I went on a MAMMOTH walk. I walked Malvern Road, High St Prahran, Punt Road and Toorak road and lots of little streets in between. I was so pleased with myself. I just kept on walking and walking. When I got back to the hotel I asked if I could borrow my husband’s laptop so I could plot the walk. 15km!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For me, UNHEARD OF! Well I use to do long walks like these when I was a size 10. . . . .  I am so proud. I must get out more. I really must.

But, poor little Audrey had her little legs poking out the stroller and they got a wicked tan. Mummy guilt to the max!! I did make an effort to try and keep them covered, but it kept coming off. I aloe vera’d up her legs so much. She loved the massages.

Then on Thursday, I went to Gertrude St, Fitzroy to look at arty stuff. Then I met up with my 2 cousins. One of them has a 1 year old son who I haven’t met. That was lovely.

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My other cousin is a famous sommelier. Famous to me! HE HE HE and in the wine world. We went to a new café on Chapel Road Windsor. Around the corner from where she lives called Plenty. Delicious.

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That is a poached egg on top!!

Then I went to Hawthorne to visit a shop. . . but the GPS wasn’t kicking in on my phone so I just kept driving til it kicked in, I knew I was going in the wrong direction, but that’s ok. It was heading towards Albert Park so I decided to just do a drive through and view the gorgeous houses!! So picturesque.

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I went past another twitter girls shop and I saw the shopping strip. But I was melting and my daughter was catching zeds so I didn’t get out. Then I trotted back to Hawthorne. I didn’t realise that Hawthorne is also a gorgeous suburb. Very pretty houses there too. I went to a shop called Peony. I only walked away with a candle because the choice was overwhelming. I have fallen in love with this perfume. Well it was the bottle first. It looks so chic. I went over to the display and only saw French words on first inspection and my knowledge of French doesn’t extend beyond, Bonjour, Bonsoir, Au revior, merci etc etc. So I was out of my depth, then I saw the word Camellia. I have been on a Camellia kick of late.

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I have been in talks with an advance plant nursery for plant recommendations for a narrow spot in my garden and they recommended Camellias. So I have been doing a lot of research on them.

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I only got a slight whiff of it. So I need to track this range down in Sydney.

Then on the Friday I finished off the top end of High St. Picked up where I left off and did High St, Armidale. Then I met up with 2 mums from Twitter. Well. . . if we want to split hairs, back in the good old Vogue forum days. I already feel like I know Slavisa So funny. Her daughter is a few weeks older then Audrey and Eirini’s daughter is 4 months old. We had a wonderful afternoon in the Botanical gardens.

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Then I went and picked my husband up from work and we went the airport, returned the rental car and caught the plane home.

Thank goodness for work colleagues that are catching a flight 15 mins earlier who parked at the airport and who also has a car seat in their car. AND offers lifts home. HALLELUJAH! While he was waiting for us, he adjusted the seat and moved to the pick-up area and luckily we weren’t putting him out much because we live on the way to his place. The thought of catching the train home and walking up that hill was too much. I was exhausted from all that travel and working and baby nurturing!

Fabulous jam packed full 4 days in Melbourne! Just wish I got out and ate some decent food of an evening but alas, husband was way too busy and exhausted.

I have Heidi my designer beacon (always pointing me in the right direction) to curse thank for the bulk of these purchases.

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The dolly is called “Eloise” I didn’t realise that until I looked up the brand online and saw the title. I knew the doll spoke to me!!

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Liberty fabric garments from Jacadi

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Dolly, lavender sachet and table runner from Plane Tree Farm. Candle from Peony. Figs from my inlaws garden and FINALLY! My husband has finished the mantle.

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Loving the table runner.

And there was no stopping. It was back to work the very next day!! Arghhhhh

Ohhhh and Husband needs to go back at the end of this month for the second round. . . . decisions, decisions. My cousin lives near the Mornington Peninsula, So I might spend time down there. She was talking about hot springs!! YES PLEASE!!

Bedroom Plans

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

In the sales we purchased an ensemble. I have been thinking about this for some time but our mattress is not that old. It sits on a bed frame, which I don’t like. It is nice enough, but it was cheap and no longer my style.  I have been thinking about a new bed head and I think it would be easier to make a stand alone bedhead as opposed to try and recover my entire bed frame. Too much fabric. So thinking bedhead with a valance to cover the ensemble base.

Anyway, so that decision was catapulted right to the top of the list when the shops were doing amazing deals like in excess of 50% off and free delivery. Talk about impulse purchase. The only con to this option is we lose the storage we had under our bed. But the thought of sleeping on top of my clutter doesn’t appeal  to me either. So best just be ruthless and more organised.

For our 2nd year wedding anniversary I purchased a canvas to paint a picture (cotton) but I never got around to it, so instead I purchased a new duvet cover. I have been looking for a 2 stripe or 3 stripe cover for ages. House Hold linens does one but it is quite expensive and I didn’t like the colours. Now Sheridan does one but don’t like the colours. And the border is around the edge of the cover and not smaller to frame the mattress top. (I don’t think I would buy Sheridan sheets ever again. My last set is now painting drop cloths. I don’t use bleach, I don’t over crowd the washing machine and I have a front loader and it got all these holes in it and is torn to shreds now. That is the second set to do that. No other sheet brand has done this.)

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So I purchased this one from One Kings Lane with a shipping forwarder. First time I have done that and it was successful.

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I am thrilled with the quality. The pillow cases are the PERFECT size. I often find that pillow cases are a bit slack on the pillow, too big. The cover is also very generous in size. I don’t know if this is an American thing or not. The width of the queen was good for the quilt inside but length was much longer. It is because the cover is designed so that the cover sits right up at the top of the bed and the pillows sit on top of it!! That makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE!!!! It looks a lot neater. But I don’t know if their quilts are made longer, or it was just this particular duvet cover. I did notice that in the top corners INSIDE the duvet covers it has ties. I guess to tie your quilt in and prevent it from slipping down. Do their quilts have like eyelets in them or something?? I don’t understand how you would tie it. I am so fascinated with this all. Can you tell? I haven’t tied mine, but it hasn’t shifted either.

For the sheets, I would like to purchase 100% linen sheets. They get such rave reviews. But where to find a set? (My husband hates the sound of the crunch of crisp cotton sheets. Says it wakes him when either of us moves. Poor. baby.) And a set that has the fitted sheet with a extra long depth. 35 – 40 cms doesn’t cut it around here.

But I would like a set from Linoto. It is cheaper getting these ones from New York then Sheridan from David Jones (Which aren’t long enough in the fitted sheet depth).

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How the bed looks! What do you think? I spent the best part of 2 hours, ironing the sheets and covers! Do you iron your bedding? This photo was taken a few nights of sleeping in, hence why they are a bit crushed. Any good tips on how to keep the fabric creaseless for longer?? Any miracle spritz or something?

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Can you see how generous the drape is on the duvet cover? Love it.

Target box pleated valance for the win. I looked at the big names that I could think of for this type of valance and all I could find was those (in my eyes) hideous quilted bed wraps. If I wanted that look, I would just keep the ensemble base exposed.

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For $29.40. You can’t really go wrong. Well. . . I would prefer if it was just a few centimetres longer.

Image source

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Here is that chair I got fixed up but never showed. I am really not happy with the whole experience. The central wood motif was damaged and the result of the restoration is not a good quality in my eyes. I think a FAR better job could have been done. It is very basic and only serves a functional purpose and form is out the window. The fabric though. Ohh my the fabric. The fabric is just beautiful. Maybe in time I might try again with a restoration. I have detailed pictures of how it use to look. . . . Also in the future I will ask for additional pictures of recent work and make a better educated decision on who does work for me.

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They are our new tempur contoured pillows underneath. I wanted to give them ago. We’ve slept on them for one night and I am not sure. Kinda weird feeling. I need to get pillow protector cases from them as the cream covers show through and it looks yuck. We bought a new mattress protector in a Queen size which is the size of our bed and it is 20 cms too short on the length. What is with that? I thought a queen was a queen. That will get returned. Our current mattress protector is fine and in good condition. But is doesn’t sit right under the mattress. These new mattress that are super sized in height. Need more depth on fitted sheets & protectors.

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I am LOVING the new mattress ensemble. I feel like a queen. It is higher up then previous bed. I need to jump on it and jump off it. I am average height at 165cms.

So there is lots to be done in this room. That frame to be hung for starters. Some matching lamps. New bedsides. I already earmarked them for 5 year wedding anniversary – ‘wood’. These current ones are IKEA rast hacks.

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These curtain rods seem unresolved. I would prefer some custom ones that have a joined elbow bend. That would be nice. But where on Earth do you get custom curtain hardware in AUS? Well not even custom. Just nice? Not tacky, cheap, nasty SHIT!! These have extendable rods and they shit me. Oh how they shit me. So hard to get the rings up and over the ‘jump’.

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You know I love a little photoshop mock up effort. No matter how tragic it looks. WOW that frame got hung on the wall!! How about that? (I think I missed the mark on the scale of that lamp. but never mind)

I want to D.I.Y a headboard. I am going to do myself a huge favour and KEEP IT SIMPLE. Just a straight up plain rectangle with a piped/corded edge. That’s it! in a powder, seafoam, marine, light blue VELVET!

Schumacher has the EXACT colour I want in a luscious mohair velvet.

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I want the height of the bed head to be quite grand, so I have to work out how much yardage of fabric I will need. I am not sure at this stage if I can justify the cost of the Schumacher fabric. If no other colours are doing it for me, I might have to revisit it. Designer fabric is only within reach for me with the odd throw cushion. Definitely not for a full upholstery job nor curtains. Oh man. I am in awe of curtains made of designer fabric. There is so much yardage required to make curtains so the cost is astronomical. But they can make the room and they have gorgeous drape. Fall beautifully and that is really showcased with curtains.

ONE DAY! ONE DAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

Also there is still the hideous wardrobe doors to resolve.

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I want to paint them white and add mill work and change the hardware.

A mirror and a light fitting will round out this room. Well a new rug would be lovely too. A gorgeous silk wool blend 12k job would be perfection, but that is just day dreams. (The ivory rug doesn’t really have a place in this room anymore)

Christmas Recap

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Hi! How was your Christmas? Hope it was fabulous.

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My Christmas took place prematurely on Christmas Eve. It felt so naughty opening the presents before Santa had time to come. But it was best because I was able to be involved.

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Audrey Claus!!

I hosted both families for dinner.

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In between dinner and dessert we opened Audrey’s presents with her. I got to say, My living room was transformed into a toy shop. I think they went overboard, but first grand kid on both sides would do that I think.

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After dessert we opened the rest.

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(How funny is this??? It was a gift from my Brother in law. Time to get into some serious gardening!)

Then after everyone had left hubby and I opened each others. There just wouldn’t have been time in the morning before I had to leave for work. And we wouldn’t have had time for the heartfelt “Oh you shouldn’t have. . .” Blushing, embracing etc.

And we got each other the same gift. Trivets. How RANDOM!!!!!! You can clearly see the difference in styles. We both like both.

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In terms of the kitchen, I am pretty happy with how it is shaping up. I purchased a new cutlery set and I quite like it. But it is for 8 places and I hosted 11. How many place settings do you have at your place? Do you have 2 separate settings, Nice and everyday and just mix? Wondering if I should purchased another one so I have enough for 16!! That kind of seems excessive now.

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(Husband went way out of his way to get me these mugs. They are so beautiful and exactly my style. So humbled by the effort he took upon himself)

I want to purchase another Christmas plate set. So I have enough for 12. We only had 8 for Christmas, and for all my lusting after it and obsessing, I wasn’t even fortunate enough to eat of it.

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Audrey baked cookies for everyone! I loved this project. I designed the landscape scallop tags. I used my “Audrey” stamp, twine and a jingle bell.

I did Calligraphy on my envelopes partly because I need to practice and partly because the printer was snowed under. They served as place settings and I put Santa photos of Audrey inside them for the guests.

The place settings were my complete undoing.  For all my thought, hard work and stress rash, this still wasn’t enough to please some people. In fact piss them off completely, so much so, that simply sitting adjacent to the main table on the banquette would ruin the entire evening by someone constantly and unashamedly sulking. The only child in attendance was my daughter Audrey and we aren’t talking about her behaviour. Those antics placed a huge dark cloud over the evening and I never want to invite that person to my gatherings again.  I’m still waiting for an apology. (This isn’t the first or second time that this behaviour has surfaced)

I think now the only things my kitchen needs is a new dinner setting. But what?? I could never decide (And for how many for and what should be in it??). And a really nice glass pitcher for chilled water, ice tea, sangria etc. Ohhhh and I would LOVE crystal water goblets too. Got my eye on some. You can serve pretty much anything in them.

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Villeroy & Boch Miss Desiree.

I didn’t get around to sewing the table cloth with my toile fabric  (nor the red ticking stripe table runner I was supposed to have. But I am not keen on that anymore, so wasn’t fussed)

But I did a really good iron job on it and folded it under and you couldn’t even tell.

It is so chic and I can use it year round.

I cooked lots of yummy food too!

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A glazed ham! I have never done this before and have wanted to do it for the longest time. (I didn’t get an after shot. Bad me)

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I made a fresh cherry clafoutis for dessert. Pretty easy dessert option. When it was in the oven cooking, I managed to sit down to a glass or two of bubbles.

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So I am pretty obsessed about my kitchen and very pleased with my effort. Time to move my attention away from that and onto another part of my house, which will be our bedroom. Post on that coming soon.

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Audrey enjoying cherries!

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She looks like this baby! HAHAHAHH

Christmas Preparation

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

I have worked myself into a stressed induced rash that looks like chicken pox, but I am still going.

This is my house for 2013 and, frankly, I couldn’t be PROUDER!!!!!

Plenty didn’t get done, but I know in my heart I have done my best and there is no better then your best. So let it rest!

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Couldn’t resist a bunch of these at the flower markets.

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My red and white themed tree. I never made clay ornaments that would have been stamped with the rubber stamps I ordered. On the plus side, those rubber stamps did get a decent work out and at the very very least, they got ordered.

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Still not sure on this star tree topper I sewed and beaded. Wishing the backing fabric was different.

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My hallway

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I went to the flower markets on Saturday before work at 5am. I had a mission. To make something resembling these images from this book:

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I started with this vase (yes it is chipped) and chicken wire. I got this helpful hint from this link.

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It is not as loose as I would like, but that is due to my plant selection. Also let it be known that holly is SHARP!

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The stockings never got labelled either, but the lining fabric is different in each. I am little green trees, she is festive bells and he is gold splatter!!

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This is probably it from me before Christmas. Wishing you all the very happiest Christmas and a joyful festive break. Thank you so much for tuning into my ramblings and leaving a comment here and there. I really enjoy it. In late November this blogged turned 4 years old! So proud I have stuck with it and never let a month go past without a post. I was suppose to organise a giveaway, but that too also didn’t happen.

I will have one soon.

To anyone else that is working on Christmas day like me. I’ll save you a piece of cherry clafoutis and pour you a glass of champagne and virtually cheers you!

I’ll be back with more pics from Christmas Eve and Chrissy day if I manage to capture any on camera. My table is nearly set with my toile tablecloth that is not hemmed (who cares? No one will notice) and my gorgeous Juliska Christmas plates and I am full of glee. Also, Peters of Kensington are selling JULISKA!! I nearly fell off my chair. Consider that a Christmas present from me to you. It is only a very small range, but Juliska none the less.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas 2013

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Well it is December 17th. . .  I think. I’ve lost track.

I think I am burnt out.
Husband is too. We haven’t had a breather in months.

I can’t take days off and he won’t and we’ve reached this point of despair.

We work really hard and towards this Christmas break as his office takes the 2 weeks off. Yet, in that time I will be working and there is a total of 3 measily days left that we can spend together (not even in a row). Kind of feels like a kick to the teeth.

I miss him. I miss family time. We don’t get that, because our schedules conflict.

Everything came to a head yesterday when he was overseas, I had a super rough and exhausting time at work where everything was offline and I needed to be in 3 places at once and do what takes 3 hours in 1.

I have tried to console myself by taking some pretty snaps on my camera. . .

That is fatiguing me too. I somehow have it set in a mode and for the life of me, I can’t clear the setting. So It is taking 3 photos a time. (It is in HDR mode and I have figured out how to set it up, but no one shows you how to clear it. DOING ME HEAD IN AND I WANT TO THROW THE CAMERA AT A WALL)

I feel stupid.

I have been on my husbands back about the mantle that he fucked up. I started the fixing up process by inhaling toxic shit with a heat gun to remove most of the paint while Audrey was still little and you could leave her alone. . . but nothing else since has happened with it. . . then we did a kitchen renovation and now it is Christmas.

But sometimes, you just got to let it go.

The mantle won’t be done by Christmas and that is just life. Oh well.

I’ve sewed all those gorgeous stockings. . . for the mantle and . . . no mantle.

So I am just going to be the great optimist and problem solver I like to be and hang them from the bay window, like I did in this pic from the baby shower.

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Talking about stockings. I think this is my favourite one. Now happily re-homed.

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This picture brings me to my next point. One of my fav Canadian interior designers has used my handles in one of her recent works.

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I mean, what does that make me? A trend setter?? So chuffed.

Talking about chuffed!!

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We grew garlic. No more imported Mexican shit for us! Totally organic (non-certified)

In other Christmas talks. I have a Christmas to do list and some things aren’t going to get done. One of them is the banquette. I also need to sew a table cloth. The fabric is just sitting in a crumpled heap on my floor right now. I was just going to hem the sides of the fabric (the selvage) so I had a straight edge because most fabric is 140 – 150 cm wide on the roll which would be perfect for my table and only have to cut the other 2 sides. . . . OHHH BUT NO. I somehow bought a double width roll fabric . . . which in any other circumstance is a bonus but not this time. Nothing seems to be going my way.

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At least the tree is up. And that is a truly terrible photo.

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And another thing that got finished at 2am. The need to craft can strike at anytime and I wasn’t going to bed until this was done. I want to make another one, now that I have experience. This one is very amateur. But I am sure Audrey won’t mind nor notice.

Now to leave you. Here are some of the happy snaps I managed to take. They are of this years wrapping aesthetic. I’ve kept it extremely simple and crafty. Kraft cards, ribbon & Christmas stamps from Spotlight. Butchers paper from Kmart. And some custom designed (by me) stamps.

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Audrey at 8 months

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

We have entered what I like to call ‘rugrat’ phase. She is standing most of the time.
Her naps have just dropped like the stock exchange in the GFC. And I am finding it troublesome to put her to bed of a night because she is hyperactive. Still sleeps the whole night though. Praise!

Her bottom two teeth are very “awww” inducing and I can’t see anymore at this stage.

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She looks like she has slimmed down by comparison to the other bubs in my Mothers group who haven’t started crawling yet.

Her appetite has increased greatly and she is enjoying trying everything. This month, I think she liked figs the best.

I fear for my Christmas tree. Put quite simply, She just CANNOT be left with the Christmas tree. I have all glass, crystal and porcelain ornaments on it and no way of securing it.

Meanwhile, over the weekend the splash back was completed!

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Sorry, the photo was taken at night time.

I am still working out where to put everything in my kitchen and there is still quite a lengthy to do list associated with the kitchen.

In other bothersome news, I totally sent an email today at work where I neglected the spell check even though I made a mental note to do so as it had a blatant typo.

Oh dear, life goes on.

I CAN’T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS!

It’s been about a week and a half

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Since I’ve updated.

What has been happening. Oh bits and bobs here and there. Nothing really significant.

This time last year, I had well and truly finished my Christmas prep. Everything purchased, everything wrapped, all decorations out!

PROOF!! <<<<< Here go visit.

This year. . . . . . . cue the cicadas.

To be fair, I have purchased a few chrissy presents. And last night we finally moved the fridge from the lounge room to its home in the kitchen. I even washed the entire thing out. So thankful for the last minute sink change as it made it easy to wash the shelves.

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It is looking like a proper regular family kitchen! NO!!!!!!! no no no no no. Not at all what I want it to look like. MAGAZINE PEOPLE!! LOL. A girl can dream can’t she?

Husband grouted the kitchen last week in light grey. Still yet to do the perimetre with the caulking stuff. . . silicone whatsy.

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It is positivity bare in my fridge. Well, at least there is champagne!

This is where the Christmas tree will go this year. It looked nice in the bay window last year, but I have no room to move the settee, because where it got moved to last time is where Audrey’s playpen now resides.

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We got our french doors installed.

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My husband’s family farm have started producing eggs!!! Oh my, I have waited for this day when they casually mentioned they would build a coop and get some chickens.

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And they are herbs from my garden and the first pick of tomatoes that we grew!!!!

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The third egg was for Audrey to try. I poached it too.

They came to visit the other day to see the kitchen and for me to cook them a thank you dinner! My mother in law brought me these gorgeous hydrangeas from their garden and the EGGS!!!!!!!!!!!

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This photo was taken before, but I forgot to add it to the last post before hitting publish.

Here is a close up of that adorable face

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NAWWWWW. The bed has now been lowered!

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She is standing up ALL.THE.TIME now. That is my lil rapper!!

She can nearly reach those knobs. Heaven help me!

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Popped these 4 stockings in the post the other day as well as some of my white envelopes.

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I’m at war with bricks and mortar shops! Especially our so called department stores. Customer service down the toilet. Standards too!

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How glamourous is this store??? Please, I would just love to rest my feet in that chair after spending so much of my time and money in your store. Thank you for graciously accommodating my needs.

This is what happened to me at David Jones on Saturday after work. They are having a sale, it is Saturday, the lead up to Christmas!! The entire floor was EMPTY of anyone working for David Jones except one check out and I stood behind the current person and waited 28 minutes!!!!!!!! The woman in front of me was laybying the entire shop and they were arguing about the rules of lay by etc etc and I was interupting, asking her to please ring someone or find someone. Then to ring the manager, but she was brushing me off. So I rang the store from INSIDE the store.

Then there was a queue behind of about 5 people. Normally I dump my crap and walk out in a huff. But I spent ages selecting these items and getting the right size and I get such little time to myself, I wasn’t doing it.

Eventually a manager was sent down. And I was like, lady where the heck are all your staff?? It is tumbleweeds in here. She didn’t have an answer for me.

This keeps happening to me. You think, ok a couple more minutes, just need to pay and then I can get on my merry way. . . . .  no. Didn’t you budget in 45 minutes to pay?

Aldi and ikea are the worst!! Target too. Oh and Kmart while we are at it. TERRIBLE. They don’t put on enough staff.

You are probably all wondering what is going on with my banquette??? Well, I need a spare set of hands, that is where my husband comes in to help, but he just hasn’t got the time at the moment to help and I have been exhausted. You can see it in the french door pic above. It is resting on our coffee table. We’ll get there. We have to get it done and out of the road so I can start on decorating for Christmas!!!!!

(The mantle isn’t even fixed yet. . . . 8 months. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )

I’ve sewn all these beautiful stockings and no mantle to hang.

Woe is me.

Catch all post

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Hello my lovelys

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How did the weekend treat you? I had a fabulous weekend. Well . . .  there was that work thing I got to go and do, but still good. Had a party for my Dad at a restaurants. Was a really nice gathering. My bub was loved and held by everyone. She was a good girl and eventually dozed off to sleep in the pram. The weather was nice (as we were on the veranda of the restaurant) The food was delicious and the tipple, just what a working mamma needed.

My husband and his father finished the tiling of the splash back. It looks OUT OF THIS WORLD good. Saved ourselves a couple of hundred dollars and I hope that my husband has an interest in tiling and learnt a bit of the trade from his dad because I can think of MANY tiling jobs! I would love a gorgeous powder bathroom (just the toilet in a tiny room) that he could do some fabulous tiling in on the bottom third of the wall Then I paint a mural (like gracie wallpaper) on the other two thirds of the wall. Gorgeous. (Well I do have this room, it is within the laundry, but if we do an extension, then this room would be demolished to make way for the new part of the house I would love. I need an extra bedroom!!! Then we could stay here for a bit) So there is no point doing anything to it. I need to win lotto, but I don’t buy lottery tickets.

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Now to pick the grout colour.
I initially was saying a grey because that is how they had the tiles displayed in the showroom and I liked that. But then when they were installed they looked a lot darker and I thought the grey wouldn’t be a contrast and best to go with white. It was the weirdest thing. Anyone marble connoisseurs? The tiles looked light in colour, then when they were on the wall, they were still light, but slightly darker from the shadow and lack of light from the overhead cabinets and then after time, they seem to go even darker, then I was dismayed.  But after a clean up, they are back to being light again. At the moment, the picture I think is a good indication of what it would like with grey grout and I quite like it.
I want to be able to see a define brick pattern and not just a wash of marble. But I don’t want to it be a strong contrast. It is not a hipster move. White subway with dark grout, look at the converted warehouse I live in, NO!
But there is 3 types of grey! Oh man. (Pretty certain I will go with the lightest grey version)

The massive clean up of my house needs to start. Every single thing is covered in dust. It is all just grotty. I want to wash everything. Speaking of washing, my dishwasher. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. Been to a symphony? And the feeling you get listen to the live music? YEP? That is me and my dishwasher when it is running! I am loving my dishwasher so much. We have done a load every night. Putting anything we can into it.

Washing those darn baby bottles every day was reducing my sanity. I stood over the bathroom vanity and moaned to my husband with a bottle brush in one hand a baby bottle in the other and the sink full of bottle paraphernalia. “Is this my life? Is this the extent of it? I just always seem to be standing here washing bloody baby bottles!” But luckily for me, I can just shove them in the dishwasher of a night! Woo.

I also need to do some sewing. I have sold a few Christmas stockings and need to make a few more up!

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I have them listed on etsy if anyone is interested. (I don’t want to talk myself up or anything, but in David Jones, they were selling stockings and the quality was terrible. The internal lining had the visible overlocked edges! And the cuff was only on the front of the stocking, it didn’t go the whole way around. Talk about cutting corners. Made in China and the same price as mine. Something to think about y’all)

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ETSY SHOP LINK

Christmas is around the corner and I fear for my tree and for Audrey, I might have to a have a smaller tree that is out of her grip. Meanwhile, my present from my parents that I ordered (LOL) arrived!!! No fuss. Love it.

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Loving Juliska sick.

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That is an “Audrey” Stamp I designed and had made!!

Kitchen Renovation – Day 40 – ummm. . . think we’re at Day 55

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

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Good Morning Everyone!

How are we all?

I gotta tell ya, I’ve written so many posts and ran out of time to put them together with the pics and hit publish, then got overwhelmed by having to edit them, to remove all the past tense or things I hoped will happen, because they did or all my bitching and moaning, because I’ve gotten over it and moved on.

So I am a little perplexed as to where to start.
(^^ GOSH, Why am I so verbose? Surely that sentence could be shorter. I dislike how I write, but I know no other way. Working on it ^^)

Where were we last time we chatted. . 2 weeks ago?
(This post will be long one, just warning you.)

First thing that happened was we finally got bench tops! That happened Tuesday of last week.

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And my sink was installed. It looks small in this picture. But it isn’t. I just love it so much!

Then I had to wait till Friday until the electrician was free. When he arrived, I had a MASSIVE MELTDOWN. Epic proportions people. I wrote all about it. It is long but I feel like is very important to talk about it. For anyone going through a renovation. Just to keep it real. It happens. Be prepared.

Unless you’re retro mummy and probably had your reno sponsored and it all went smoothly because it was their duty. Gosh negative much? You betcha. That is my only explanation. Fuck her and her fucking faultless kitchen install. It doesn’t happen that way. We all hope it will and really, IT SHOULD, but it doesn’t (LOL, please forgive. Clearly it is the stress talking. But anyone that has done a kitchen reno was thinking it. I’m just crass enough to say it) Well, maybe she was just the exception to the rule. I would have hoped for her that it would go smoothly because she has a lot of mouths to feed, but she did have a second kitchen to utilize. Look at me trying to be all diplomatic
FUCK HER! and her 3 week kitchen renovation that was all sunshine and daisys (besides her cooker)
I hate woman bashing and jealousy. I hate it. But lady, 3 weeks. . . you’re killing me!!!

So I have just simply copied and pasted it for you. Best I can do.

“Well, we reached melt down on Friday. Yep. I cried. I acted like a toddler. All traces of feminism deserted me. I rang my dad, I cried. I rang my husband, I cried.

I had a conversation with my husband that went like this.

ME: Come home

HUSBAND: What’s wrong?

ME: Come home

HUSBAND: But I’m at work and hav. . . .

ME: Come Home!

HUSBAND: Laura, I’d . . . .

ME:  COME HOME

HUSBAND: Ok

ME: (Whispers) Thank you

 I am no expert on rational conversing, but I am certain that is an exemplary example.
I feel like I have been let down so many times I have depended on people. (Never my husband though, that is why he is my husband. There for me no matter what)
I’ve been left in the lurch countless times. Stressed and up late making things happen that nobody else bothered to do despite promising. I now have a blanket rule to never ask assistance from anyone, you want to help, great, but you do it from your own volition, not my request.

It is my dad’s 60th birthday on Tuesday. Which was MONTHS away from when we started this kitchen renovation. So it wasn’t a concern and the very reason I nominated myself and my newly renovated kitchen to cook my family dinner. The thought of not coming through with the goods this Tuesday was making me physically ill. If I commit to something. I do it. (But I would have still done it. We would be on milk crates and I would cook on the BBQ because I am a stubborn problem solver)

 When I opened the door on Friday. Marking 7 weeks since demolition started on our kitchen that is when breaking point was reached. I think you’re able to tell with my posts that I’ve really tried to remain positive and be sensibly optimistic. I’ve uttered every possible cringe worthy affirmation that puts me on par with Miranda Kerr.

That day however my strength and will was low. I’ve been beaten down. Had a particularly tough time. Felt lonely without my supportive husband since my return to work I don’t spend any days with him. Then this week he’s been tough with him doing longer hours and going away. Especially with my deadline looming.

The electrician I’ve been waiting all week for arrives at my house. Remains in car with engine and radio on for 20 minutes and then drives off without warning. Then I ring the owner for a please explain to get a message bank. Only for the electrician to return at 9.30am. What time to tradesmen start in your part of the world? Because where I’m from the standard is 7am. But this is not the same electrician who did our rough in work! My husband had rung the owner the day before to ask who was coming and was told it was the rough in guy and to confirm everything was good.

 This miscommunication is killing me! The thought of explaining what needs to be done again to yet another person is killing me. But I suck it up, take a deep breath in and tell him. Because, really, it is straightforward. A couple of power points where the cables are sticking out and some down lights. Get cracking. But he doesn’t! He needs to hear it from the guy that roughed jn. I’m telling him what needs to be done. He flat out refuses to hear it from me. He was looking at me like I’m the idiot.

 I retreat. I couldn’t go on. I could not get my mouth to say any more words to him. I was in disbelief. Why wasn’t this person starting work already? It is so straightforward it isn’t even funny. I am not laughing. I am defeated. I had some dopey person idly standing in my kitchen waiting for a call back form a different electrician who supposedly resigned when he didn’t turn up all those weeks ago to do our down lights and never turned up. But now magically works for the company again.

 I just need a kitchen.

I need some real food. I need EGGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

 Because this past 7 weeks has been all about, Hello frozen processed chicken product filled with trans fat, Welcome to my arse, to my hips, to my bat wings. Please settle yourself in my pores. Don’t provide me sustained energy release, I don’t need it.

My husband was my guardian angel. He came home and supported me. Turns out the electrician didn’t listen to him either and he dismissed him on my order. I made him lunch and he worked from home with Audrey screeching in the background. Lunch was the bare doldrums of our fridge. I roasted up the remaining cherry tomatoes I had. Placed on toast with basil pesto that I made myself in the mortar and pestle from the contents of my fridge and garden. Then sprinkled with fetta cheese. He loved it, but was not filling enough for him. Needed an egg. . . . Or an avocado but they are $3 each and are rock hard.

 He made phone calls for me and made it possible for the original electrician to come on Saturday morning and finish the job off.”

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Later on Friday, the kitchen company came back to put on those 2 missing panels. Instantly looked better. He also managed to fix our handle so we could finish off the bench seat, but a different installer had drilled the holes in the wrong spot on the last drawer, so they are ordering a new drawer front. (WHEN WILL IT END?)

Come Saturday. The electrician arrives HOORAH!!!!! The nice one. And my husband and his father start on the backsplash tiling.

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These are the LED down lights. I really like them. They are fairly inconspicuous.

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Twilight.

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And at 7.30pm on Sunday evening.

The tiling is going a hellava lot slower that I anticipated. 2 men, 2 days. . . . but. It is free and it is PERFECT! I watched my FIL tile for 2 hours straight when I came home from work. I watched his process. It is faultless bar the length of time it takes.

Monday morning was when the plumber was available to return. Talk about cutting it close!

He installed the tap, the dishwasher and the cook top.

Then we had Monday evening to clean it all up and get the space ready for my Dad’s Birthday and my deadline.

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But first, dinner. Long night ahead for us, so it was take away.

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We had to turn this. . .

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Into this.

This photo was taken at quarter to 3 in the morning. We didn’t go to bed for another hour after because we sat in those 2 chairs, ate a magnum ice cream each and reflected.

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Then it was my deadline and my Dad’s 60th Birthday! Happy Birthday Dad!

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I MADE IT!!!!!

My first cook in the kitchen was for a dinner party of seven. Talk about easing myself into it. I always make everything hard for myself.

I made a 2 course meal and a cake!

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My calligraphy was amateur at best, but like they say, practice makes perfect.

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The “Happy Birthday” was woeful but pleased with “Alan”

(oh and see the salt and pepper shakers? Empty! Ha. Ran out of time)

That is probably the last time you see a table cloth on my table, because this rug rat is getting outta control!

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And these tiles don’t seem to be bothering her one bit.

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And this morning the Fisher and Paykel man came to change the fridge doors over so it can open the other way and we can move it into our spot.

The freezer door has a ding in it.

REALLY! WHEN WILL IT END?