Thursday, August 30, 2012

Painting, azaleas and Little Miss Muffet.

 Seems the painting of all the fiddly bits falls into my job lot, while Mr CH get to concentrate on the Real work. I get the slow painting of never ending pieces, while He gets to knock down walls and rebuild in one day! As most pieces in this house either need replacing or a total referb, sometimes I think that I have already painted everything only to keep Him waiting for the important piece. Are we done yet?

The undercoating of the second bedroom (formerly the living/lounge) has been finally finished by me, hand painted while Mr CH was off at work. This room was in pretty bad condition. The past white ant damage (we think) that probably resulted in the replacement of the original vj wall with fibro (outer facing wall), meant that sanding was limited (asbestos). This wall is quite bumpy  (esp. on the lower panels either side of the window) with layers of paint, that no one before us probably wanted to sand either.  Just a case of doing the best with what you have. After all the nutters that have lived in this house, we were amazed there were no cracks in the fibro wall.

Done and waiting for the top coats.

Window sill on outer facing wall.

Painting the doors is also my job, as I'm pretty useless at anything other than sanding and painting oh, and holding a tape measure. Love the handles on these old doors, 1920's I think and I am just going to scrape and rub them down with turps. If this door was in my house I would love to leave it distressed too. Bit like me!
This is the door from the front bedroom that is now the living/lounge room, must have been a girl's room. The new dining room had blue paint underneath, must have been the boy's room.

The windows are coming along well, three coats of paint per side = six days of painting per window. But definitely worth it. Hate to imagine how much it would cost for someone else to fix them.

Sometimes I use masking tape to make painting quicker, depends how rusty the finger joints are.

These turned bits are from an old chair back, that we found under the house in the original clean-up. I wanted to recycle them into something to add a little bit of visual interest to a very basic cottage, you'll have to wait to see the finished result another time, after the floor sanding and polishing (a little way off yet)

This is what they looked like before when I sanded the old cracked varnish off. As you might know moulding and decorative bits can be expensive to buy new.

We bought two lights for the living/dining rooms back when we were still working on the kitchen and they have sat around for a while now. Mr CH hung them up on hooks for a sneaky peek, yet to be wired in, but it feels like progress. You know how it is and the floors have yet to be sanded, priorities, right! We both liked the wrought iron look though I'm not to sure about the shades. They were on special for $89 each, 40% off, so they'll do.
Mr CH got a new toy, a rotary hoe!
One of those "in the right place at the right time" moments. We have needed a few new gardens digging up and the soil in the other gardens has been so compacted after two very wet summers. Neither of us felt like digging every garden bed the old-fashioned way and had thought about hiring a digger for a day. Found one marked down in a hardware shop as it was the display model, then the fellow thought the switch had come adrift and Mr CH said that he could probably fix it (trade qual.) so the fellow knocked the price down another $70. So we bought a $470 toy for $150, yay! Got it home and it started first go, wasn't broken, so easy to use. So someone has been widening some garden beds and expanding our rather pathetic vege patch to make way for the new tomatoes.

 The tomatoes I bought this morning on an emergency dash to town, because the littlest son told me yesterday that he needed a costume for school. He had to go as something beginning with i and he'd picked Iron Man! What the!!! I don't know about anyone else, but by the time you get to child no.4 dress up costumes are a thing of the past, A distant unpleasant memory to be avoided at all cost. After tossing and turning in sleep, mentally fabricating an Oscar winning Iron Man costume from the only half empty cereal box in the house, he is going as Iron Man from the head up!  And this from a school that has recently removed art from the curriculum so the government teaching demands can be met. Groan,groan!!
Found this pic, of one of daughter's costumes, hers were easy. Little Miss Muffet with her vintage apron and pom-pom spider. This wouldn't cut it these days.

She also wore my Alice in wonderland outfit, ah recycling.My poor mother remembers this time, I lost a brand new pair of Mary Jane style shoes at school the day before and had to wear sand shoes instead. That was in the day when getting a new pair of shoes was a big deal.

Why not make this post a little more random.
 Azaleas, we have eight (some doubles from layering) and they are almost the only thing in flower in our garden at the moment so I thought I would share a few pics to finish a rather long winded post.
Kurume variety I think as they have small flowers in great quantity. An old lady stops to admire them as she walks to town sometimes.
A single and double

Orange delight, this one flowers all year round and has been in the ground about five years. The flowers have a few spots as I was late in spraying them. I use Mancozeb Plus a few times before and during flowering

Alphonse Anderson has only been in since last winter, but still managed a few pretty flowers.
Azalea indica - Splendens a pretty coral pink, love this one.
Still waiting on two more neglected ones Sweet Nellie- hot pink and Exquisite- pinky white, maybe next year.
Looking forward to spring, how is your garden growing, this late winter time?

Friday, August 24, 2012

$10 bought me...

..a pretty blue vintage sheet,
a crocheted lap rug,
a rosey doiley,
a Johnson (of Australia) plate,
 a mixing bowl,
and a lovely little Aladdin (made in the US of A) drink flask, from two different oppy's.
So love the floral sheet and would happily use it for a bedroom curtain if I had more of the same, unfortunately my photos don't do the colour justice.

Sometimes, when all we seem to do are the large reno jobs like sanding floors or painting a whole room, it's nice to do something small for instant gratification (for me anyway). This little cupboard in our bedroom was in need of a freshen-up, while I liked the blue, I didn't like the brown knob or the brown top. The fabric panel is a left-over piece from a dress that my Mum made for my Sister in the late '70's.

 So I painted it with the same colour I used on the little cane table here. If you're like me and tend to un-screw and re-screw a shelf, etc. from the wall without Hubby's help, you may like to try penciling in a little corner mark on the side no one will see and a flat line on top of the other side. So when you line up the top with the pencil marks, finding the screw holes will be easy peasy.

 Freebies from my Mum this week included a rosey tin from 1988 and two teapots that belonged to my Nana. Pity I am running out of display spots.

The pretty green sheets were another oppy find by me this week and I would happily use these for bedroom curtains too (yes, I'm keen to get new/old curtains) However these are in great condition and are destined for a boy's bed. Yes I do use vintage floral sheets on the boy's beds sometimes (only green or yellow ones) and they don't even bat an eyelid.

Also found a cloth with appliqued flowers, gently faded with the daintiest blanket stitching. My hand embroidered finds aways make me think of the previous owners stitching in a quiet moment for pleasure as much as necessity.

Mr CH has spent the last few nights installing a router for the computers (that had to come from USA), the kiddo's have been using too much of our computer time watching TV shows and youtube. Now they have a time limit per day, after they have used up their allotted time, internet stops . Now we just need one of those things that shuts off the hot water to the shower!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Painting and other tedious jobs...

 It's been so long since I posted about reno work, that I had to have a quick squiz at the blog to remind myself what pics I was up to. Week after week of painted walls and it all starts to look the same and you wonder if there is any progress at all. (I never look back at what I've written in the past because it makes me cringe)
Though I love the peeling of painter sheets being removed finally. Have heard it said that, when removing tape, you should heat it with a hair dryer and it will pull away easily (wonder if it makes any difference?). Haven't tried this ourselves as we are quite keen to pull down the sheets before the paint has barely dried.

Love a clean glossy ceiling - done once and for all!

Dining room

 Don't love coming back after a lunch break to find the masking tape sticking to the floor rather than the walls! (after the first coat only)

The second coat makes all the difference.

You know you're getting old, when that grey haired painter is your husband!

As there were no obliging kids to take a few pics of Mum and Dad nailing up the picture rails, this is all there is to see - finished picture rails painted and nailed into place.

As we have the join of the vj panelled boards at dado height (the wall on the left, that we moved and rebuilt), we are using a thin cut moulding board (9mm) to cover the gap - old single skinned  bracing style. We couldn't use a  thicker board as the front door is too close to the wall.

Lounge to bed 2 wall
Cutting the board at an angle to fit against the curve of the corner quad.

Holding the door moulding in place to measure the length of said board for me to paint.

 The closest I've come to falling off a ladder, saved myself but not the paint pot. Luckily it was only the dregs. I just didn't want it to soak in between the floorboards. Unlike Mr CH who doesn't like heights, I tend to be rather cavalier on ladders (seem to spend an awful lot of time up them)

 All better.

 A non - reno paint job.
Before, a letter holder Mr CH made me years ago needed a freshen up.
 It sits in the kitchen to hold school newsletters and pretty postcards from the Gypsy Sister's travels.

Some Americana "french grey blue" craft paint, a pretty piece of scrapbooking paper and some matt clear coat spray and I think it looks much better. What else can I find .....?

And finally, we have a qualified mechanic in the family!
No. 3 son has finished his apprenticeship and is still only eighteen, eek!
Thanks to a part time automotive course while still at school, he has managed to finish in 3 years and has wasted no time in buying a few (2) bombs to sit in the backyard forever fix up. Groan, groan...

Just a note to say hello to my new followers and also to say thanks to everyone who has left comments both on the blog and via email. I'm not quite sure about blogging etiquette and didn't expect people to take the extra time to reply personally, so thankyou very much, I read them all.

 Hope you all have a lovely week, there seems to be a hint of summer in the air already.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Easy chocolate kahlua cheesecake.

 Just a quick post - not the renovating post I was intending to do, but anyway...
 Made this cheesecake yesterday to use up a block of cream cheese that has been sitting in the fridge for months(!). Couldn't find a simple recipe using the ingredients I had, so I just made one up - can't go wrong with cream cheese can you? Mr CH is a plain lemon cheesecake kinda guy, so I was happy to find him enjoying another flavour. This one is a bit like a chocolate mousse in texture rather than a cheesecake.
The morning after....

I made a sweet short pastry for the base because I find biscuit bases too sweet. (pastry recipe at the end if you are interested) A bought base would make this recipe even easier.

I used a 9.5 inch (24cm) pie plate and this is enough for us for two nights dessert (which we don't usually eat much of - prefer chocolate or chippies).
Serves 8

24cm cooked pastry shell
250gram block cream cheese (Kraft Philadelphia) softened enough to beat
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons (40mls) of Kahlua (or you might like to try coffee and chicory essence)
1 teaspoon (5mls) of gelatine powder
2 tablespoons (40 mls) of water
150 grams of chocolate (I used Nestle dark chocolate melts)
300ml cream (home brand Woolies)

1. Beat cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer until well mixed.
2. Add Kahlua or essence and mix together.
3. Melt chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Set aside.
4. Whip all of the cream in a clean bowl until firm.
5. Soak gelatine in the tablespoon of water for a minute or so (to get soft) and then pop in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to melt.(doesn't matter if it gets hot)
6. Add chocolate to the cream cheese mix, add gelatine and lastly add whipped cream, mix well and spoon into pastry shell.
7. Refrigerate for a few hours.
Wasn't that easy?
 Now try stop at just one piece (Mr CH)
Sweet short crust pastry
1 cup plain flour (125grms)
1 cup self-raising flour (125 grms)
125grms butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water

1.Sift flours into bowl, add sugar.
2. Rub in butter with fingertips.
3. Mix egg yolk and water together and add to mix.
4.Knead on your bench top, you shouldn't need much/any flour.
5. Roll out pastry between two sheets of baking paper.
6. Line pie dish , trim top and pinch an edge if you like.
7. Lay a sheet of your baking paper over the pie and add some dried beans or rice (2/3 cup)
8. Bake blind for about 20 mins in a moderate oven 180c (depending on you oven), remove paper and beans and let the crust dry out in the oven for a few mins more.
9. Cool and it's ready to use.

Mr Ch is looking forward to more cheesecake tonight, ha.
Just a thought - a broken up Violet Crumble bar mixed through this would be extra yum.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Phineas and Ferb birthday cake.

After three months off from family birthday celebrations, we are again at the beginning of nine months in a row of birthdays (including a few double bday months). Thankfully I won't be making many of the cakes. Number 3 son loves the cartoon of Phineas and Ferb (even the fridge has been Phin and Ferbed) so I thought I would try make them for his birthday cake.
So purely as a research endeavour, I sat through a few shows, no wonder he likes them. Not only do they take delight in annoying their older sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale-Aliens in the Attic), but they like to build anything that takes their fancy, how about a giant skipping robot or a space portal to Mars. Throw in a villain or two, some bollywood dancing, a few celebrities and pet Perry the platypus (who is really a spy working for the OWCA-organisation without a cool acronym) and I know why homework is a dirty word!
Really enjoyed making this cake!

Warning - dodgy photos ahead.


 His head was the hardest part.He looks a bit like a body builder with those sleeves.

Perry the secret agent

 Birthdays are all about being goofy, so the day started with taking pics on his new toy learning tool.

It's a boy thing! Needless to say they had a ball doing this.

Trust the grandparents to give him some Toxic Waste!
(Which was made in Pakistan, distributed by the U.S, bought in the U.K and flown to Oz, seems no-one likes toxic waste!)
 We joked "if he was exposed to too much toxic waste, he would turn into the Hulk", he said "cool!, oh no, he has anger management issues", lol.

 Party table trick from no.2 son.
 Riddle - How to remove the ten cent coin without touching the matchsticks?
 Take an empty matchbox, drill hole to stand one matchstick up, balance another matchstick against the upright matchstick (red ends together), light and see what happens.

Have a great weekend everyone, loving this sunshine!
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