Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

That's a nice sentiment, but I think it's pretty obvious Norman Peale wasn't battling crowds at Chadstone or Doncaster shopping centres...or even the fish monger this week....

It's been a pretty sad time leading up to this (supposedly) joyous time of year.

Let's hope things only get better as we head towards, and into, 2015

Stay safe and be happy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas contrast

Christmas is almost with us and yes, I'm stating the bleeding obvious here.

I've always said I love this time of year, but there have been times when I've realised that what I really love is what this time of year promises...but sometimes doesn't necessarily deliver.'s a great time if you're not stressed, tired or working...tick, tick tick

It hasn't stopped me mucking around with decorations around here in time for the annual family get together when everyone heads to Number 10 on the Saturday before Christmas

For the last couple of years it's been all white and silver around here...

...but this year I've gone down a different path

Black is my choice this year - just for a change

I spray painted the twigs in matte black and put them in a jar with some small rocks, then wrapped the jar in some black hessian. 

The little birds and stars are from Ness at Marley & Lockyer - they are absolutely wonderful

I've got three of these black twiggy trees around the house...

The entrance hallway

...and the dining room

This weekend will be spend gift wrapping all the books and bits and pieces and making sure I haven't forgotten anything

Friday, November 7, 2014

Paint it black

Not a shout out to the Rolling Stones, who are here at the moment...but a little painting project

While the kitchen renovation continues ...yes, it's still not finished... I've been working on a couple of other things, namely painting some bits and pieces around the house,

But I've moved away from the old tried and true "white" and instead have moved to the dark side

The dining room's been painted plain white and I thought I'd do something a little different. Just for a change

So my old pine chest of drawers are now BLACK

They are the same colour as my old pine filing cabinet - Bristol Abyss

You can see the kitchen wall/bulkhead in the background...the plasterer will be here Monday to put up the cornice and finish things off. On Tuesday the skylight will be going in, weather permitting, and fingers crossed the glass splashback will be here within two weeks.
Once that's in we can get the sink and the gas cook top installed. Fingers crossed it happens soon

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Australia's 21st Prime Minister Gough Whitlam died today. He was 98

Just another politician you say?

For some maybe, but for me and many others, he was a man who made an enormous difference to this country

He was only Prime Minister for three short years and while those years have been described as chaotic, they also saw a lot of social change take place in this country

He was married to Margaret for almost 70 years...she died a few years back and as Malcolm Turnbull said today, at least now they will no longer be apart

I met him once, way back in the 1990's. he was gracious and funny, while I was nervous and almost speechless.

Thanks for everything made a heck of a difference

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I have a kitchen - almost

It's getting there...

The cabinets have been installed today but I'm yet to have the oven, sink and cook top fitted...

The stone bench-top gets measured up on Monday

Am I happy?

Oh you betcha!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014


We've come a long way, although these photos may not necessarily indicate that

Last week we disconnected the sink and moved the fridge out, then got rid of the last remaining bench and got the plumber in to move the pipes to the new sink location

The builder and MONT then started removing the last of the old plaster board so the plasterer could come in and work his magic in preparation for the painter....who arrived on Wednesday

And this is what it looks like today.

It's had an undercoat and first top coat. The section where the ceiling meets the walls hasn't been done yet as there's going to be cupboards and cornice covering all of that.

The final coat of paint will be applied once all the cupboards are in.

What you can't see is the chaos that is in the lounge and dining room....but  a couple of temporary shelves and plastic containers will sort it out. That's what I'll be doing this weekend - culling and sorting.

Fun and games at Number 10

Friday, July 25, 2014 it happens in real time

When you look up the word  "demolition" in the dictionary, you'll probably find it reads..."see MONT, Number 10".

My boy does. not. muck. around!

As I type... we've gone from this...

To this...

...and this....

This used to be the old hearth under the chimney in the kitchen. When I did the first renovation way back when, we just got rid of the chimney and worked around the hearth...Pity we didn't get rid of it at the start.

Yes... this is where the bench with the cook-top used to be...

until we ended up with this...

It's almost ready for the new kitchen cupboards to be installed, whenever that may be

At the moment we've got a bit of a makeshift kitchen set up on the back deck. It consists of a kettle and a BBQ so we can put a pot of coffee on each morning. 
We haven't been given a date for the new kitchen installation, but I do know the completion date. 

November 1st...

At least that was my request for the entire project to be finished and ready to go...fingers crossed it's a little bit sooner than that, otherwise we'll be having a heck of a lot of BBQ dinners.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Here we go.....

The "real" demolition on the kitchen has started this morning

Off came the plaster sheets and cornice...and then Mont got started on the tile behind the cooktop

As you would be fully aware of by now, this kitchen remodel is not a quick process.

No. We take our time at Number 10... Which, to be honest, is a good thing.

If we'd gone at it like a bull at a gate when we first started talking about it, we'd have a different looking beast now to what it will eventually look like.

Sometimes you (I) just have to step back, take things in and consider the possibilities rather than plough ahead and hope for the best

It's a lesson that has taken me some time to learn

Monday, June 9, 2014


While the kitchen renovation is in "wait" mode - waiting for the final design to come back to us, we had some things that needed doing before anything could be done in the kitchen...that is, remove the old built-in robe in the spare room and get new ones installed.

That's now happened. YEY!!!!!

Out go the old...

...and in come the new...

They look great and actually hold everything in here.

The old robe was just 450 deep...or about 18 inches, when they really should be around 600 deep (24 inches)

The doors look painted right? Like a two-pack paint process. Wrong. They're actually vinyl wrapped doors in a high gloss, bright white and look a million dollars!

Unfortunately in this room though... the cornice I had installed about 12 years ago (Cameo) was no longer available, so we had to choose a new one that was large enough to cover the gap between the ceiling and the wall, which you can see in the first photograph.

Luckily for Natalie, over at In the Night Sky, she was able to do the demolition of the robe in her spare room and save the cornice to use again. Very. Lucky.

So now, the old robe is gone, the new one is in and the new cornice has also been installed.

It's the same one (Rosella) we used for the master bedroom..Very large and plain and easy to paint

Once the old robe was removed and new plaster wall hung, we were left with a large hole in the floor in the kitchen, so MONT's laid some floorboards and also a temporary trap door so he and the plumber can easily gain access under the house

 This is the same section of wall in the spare room

So...that's where we're at right now... Just waiting on our Kitchen guy to come back with the design to make sure it all fits in with what we want and then it'll be all systems least that's what we're hoping. But as we know in all things like this, there will be some delays and some headaches. You can bet on it.

That's what comes with renovating old houses I guess.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Demolition Man

The kitchen remodel has begun....or should I say the prep work for the remodel has begun

Things have got a bit busy around here. Work, renovating. More's all been taking up too much of my time so I've been VERY neglectful as far as being here on the blog is concerned

Anyway...we have some progress. Nothing pretty, just basic stuff

We've gone from this...

To this...

MONT removed the bulkhead, the cornice, (crown moulding) plaster and skirting boards so the wall can be extended and the cupboards removed.

The plaster panel was removed, exposing the back of the old robe in the second bedroom

That white section with the timber around it over on the right, is the back of the built in robe in the second bedroom. That little robe is just 450 deep...or about 18 inches...Not great if you have rather large coats you want to hang. So the robe is being removed and the that' little bit of floor space is going to become part of the kitchen.

Yes it's only 450 wide, but it'll make all the difference in the kitchen design...and you know what it's like with old just have to work with what you have.

The small pantry (on the right) will be removed and the sink and dishwasher will be relocated there.
The fridge will stay on that wall, but will be moved slightly so it won't be centred.

So that's what's been happening here this past couple of weeks. We've also been busy in the second bedroom...removing cornice and getting it ready for the new built in robes to be installed, which should be next week. Fingers crossed

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just one of those things...

...where weeks can go by and you realise you haven't "blogged" for a while. Sometimes, work and life just take over and before you know it a month has passed, or possibly longer, and you've been absent

Some bloggers are turning to Facebook or Instagram or even Twitter to keep in touch on a more regular basis.

Me? Umm no.

Blogging may not be as popular as it once was, with many relying on social media to let everyone know what they're up to... but I rather like this "old fashioned" way of staying in touch

Don't get me wrong...all of those other forms of keeping up to date with what everyone's doing is fine for some...but I find there's just so much "white noise" on social media that I just can't bring myself to go there. In a time when privacy laws are so rigid you can't even talk to someone about your telephone or power bill without having to answer half a dozen questions about your mothers maiden name and the name of your first pet, I just don't understand why so many are so willing to divulge every last detail of their personal lives to perfect strangers.

Anyway...that's just me. Each to their own. I'll stick what makes me feel comfy...and that is BAKING

A couple of weeks ago, MONT and I headed to Bonnie Doon for the weekend and on our way we stopped at Yea to call into the (fabulous) butcher to see what he had on offer... I also dropped in to a small cafe to see what I could find for our afternoon tea and came out with what felt like the heaviest and biggest piece of carrot cake I'd ever was dark, chunky and absolutely delicious!

So I thought I'd try to replicate it.

Mine's not quite there... but close.

It's a lot darker than other carrot cakes I've made....

It's also a lot "chunkier', with more nuts, fruit and grated carrot...

But sure tastes good.


4 cups grated carrot
1 cup sultanas
1 cup walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/2 cups of olive oil - or oil of your choice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
dollop yogurt

Preheat oven to 150 degrees and grease and line a cake tin of your choice. I used a 22 cm round tin with high sides

Put the flour, spices almond meal and baking powder in a bowl and mix together.

Grate the carrots and put in a bowl and mix in the nuts and sultanas.

Beat the eggs and sugar until they're fluffy then add the oil and mix for a few seconds.

Add the carrots, fruit and nuts and fold though ...then fold through the flour and spice mix

Put the baking soda in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt and a splash of milk and mix together until it starts to bubble and expand then mix it into the cake mix. The batter should be thick and runny

Put the batter in the cake tin and bake for about an hour, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. The time will vary a little depending on the size of your cake tim

Let it cool before you ice it.


In a mixing bowl, add 3 cups of icing sugar, the juice of half a small lemon and about 100 grams of softened cream cheese, then beat together until light and your cake

The amount of icing sugar can vary slightly depending on the size of the cake tin you used or how thick you like your frosting


Thursday, February 13, 2014


It's funny what excites us and makes us happy.

Me? I'm a pretty practical person...I'm not a girl who's into lots of jewellery or expensive nick-nacks. As far as gifts go, I like things that I can use... so to some I guess I could be considered a bit hard to buy for around Birthday's and Anniversaries

Not really. Not if you know me...and MONT knows me well.

He came home this week and produced this out of his work truck...

 WOO HOO!!!!

This is the sort of gift that really makes me smile because I know it's going to get a LOT OF USE!

There's nothing like a new addition to the DIY box! I can't wait to take it for a run...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making home work

Discussions and planning of the kitchen re-vamp are coming along nicely. No firm decisions have been made yet but we have come up with some potentially good ideas that we're pretty excited about

Now I deliberately used the word  "WE"  because MONT has been active in these discussions, which is fabulous, because he's not usually all that interested in the finer details of these things.

For example, when I was painting and putting together the master bedroom and asked what he would like, his response was "I don't care". He is a pretty easy-going sort of fellow...but deep down he does care because I know if I presented him with a room full of cabbage roses and pink frills, he'd certainly let me know what he thought!

Anyway, as I was wandering around the web, I came across Lauren Conrad's blog...and her post on decorating tips for couples.

You can check out Lauren's tips right here

She has some good advice on what you should consider when there are a couple of people who have a lot in common in some areas...and not so many in others, namely decorating choices.

Which brings me back to my little kitchen

I showed you this photo of one section of my kitchen  in my last post.. One of our ideas is to turn the area into a smallish butlers pantry.

We'd erect a wall where the bulkhead is, install a bench and cupboards where the fridge currently is and put the sink and dishwasher in there. The wall could then hold a lot of open shelving for all the pantry bits and pieces (thanks for the idea Natalie) ...and the fridge would be moved out to where my mixer is (on the right).

The other idea that Natalie suggested is to move the oven underneath the existing cook-top. This idea was also suggested by a friend of ours who is a builder, but he took it a step further and said we could gain more bench space by getting rid of that corner area where the oven currently is and squaring up the bench.

He also thought our idea of getting rid of that small ledge that divides the kitchen and dining room and extending the bench was a good one...I've even thought about putting a small sink in the new bench as well...but that's just an idea floating around my brain at the moment

So, that's where we are at the moment. Some of other "out there" ideas, like eliminating the built in robe in the second bedroom to give us more floor space in the kitchen and knocking out part of the wall into the dining room have been knocked on the head...

We've got two more "kitchen" people to talk to and hopefully they'll come up with even more, fresh ideas

Here's hoping

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's a wrap

I was shocked (and annoyed) a few weeks back to discover that my vinyl wrapped kitchen doors have started to "lift".

I know it hasn't been caused by heat because a couple of doors are nowhere near the oven or dishwasher... so it's probably just a case of inferior glue being used when constructing the doors....or maybe the glue has a limited life and this is what happens to most vinyl wrapped doors.. I don't know

Admittedly they're over ten years old but the darn glue should hold the vinyl to the door base a bit longer than that, surely.

Whatever...I'm not happy.

So it's got me thinking about a little kitchen re-vamp because I don't want vinyl wrapped doors again and I need more bench space!

At the moment I have very little bench space and it's getting annoying and very crowded.

When I first purchased Number 10 and started renovating I was doing it just for me...and I was really happy with it. Then MONT came along and things changed a bit and got a bit squeezy.

Then his girls all got married and have since had little ones and when they're all over here for dinner, like at Christmas, and there are 16 of us for dinner...well  "squeezy" doesn't even start to describe it adequately...

Not to mention that the main bit of bench I do have to work at is right over the it can get pretty warm there. Not nice

So...what to do?

MONT's talking about a big re-vamp. He's thinking high gloss doors and a glass splash back with some sort of stone bench top, which is all well and good, but the problem is bench space and how to create more of it?

One option we've talked about is moving the sink over to the bench on the left, where my "old girl" is perched...then knocking out the raised wall area above the dishwasher (and existing sink space) to make it sort of like a breakfast bar into the dining room, which would give us a wider bench area.

That means this little bench on the left (where my cat is) and my smallish pantry would have to go to make way for a wider bench to take the depth of the sink....and that leads to another problem.

This area fills in a little void created by a built in robe in the second bedroom.. so I'd be left with the bench and cupboards underneath it, sticking out

You can see the area on the right in the photo above

So what to do? Have some open shelving to take up the extra 23cm  (9 inches) that would be created with the wider bench? But then, what to do with the floor to ceiling cupboards that surround the fridge?

Move the sink somewhere else? But where?  This is all the bench space I have.

At one stage I considered trying to close in that area where the fridge is and making it a walk in pantry, but it's just not big enough, so that's out.

I need fresh eyes on we're getting a couple of kitchen guys that MONT knows to come in and, hopefully,  give us some new ideas.

I've been trawling through magazines and Pinterest looking at kitchen designs...but unfortunately, if you don't have a large space with a nice big open floor plan, then all you get is kitchen envy and I don't want to have to start knocking down walls into the study for instance (which is behind the cook top area) to get more floor and bench space space in the kitchen

Old houses huh? They're always a challenge!