5/15: lilies for a lost loved one

Symbolically, lilies have been used at funerals to represent the restored innocence of the departed soul. Though there was no actual funeral for my dear departed friend, my blooming lilies give pause for thought. Funerals aren’t actually for the deceased, but for the living who are left behind. Without some sort of memorial service, there seems to be a lack of closure, and we are left to deal with our grief in different ways.

lilies IMG_9400



27/14: the bathroom reno finishing touches

Once a task is complete, one tends to forget how much work was actually involved, but looking back through the renovation photos we can appreciate the achievement…and we didn’t get divorced!

During the process, occasionally one of us would go and stare at the bathroom for some time. It turned out that when my husband was looking, he was working out technical and practical aspects of the renovation. Although I would do the same, I was more often envisaging what it was going to look like when it was finished, and where I would place different ornaments and accessories to create a bathroom with an Art Deco feel. This is how we make such a good team, and our labour of love has been truly worthwhile, but don’t just take my word for it. Time for some photographic evidence.

Bathroom reno FINISHED (1) Bathroom reno FINISHED (2) Bathroom reno FINISHED (3) Bathroom reno FINISHED (4) Bathroom reno FINISHED (5) Bathroom reno FINISHED (6) Bathroom reno FINISHED (7) Bathroom reno FINISHED (8) Bathroom reno FINISHED (9) Bathroom reno FINISHED (10) Bathroom reno FINISHED (11) Bathroom reno FINISHED (12)

26/14: bathroom reno: beyond the blue

There can be life after the bathroom blues. After much planning, shopping around and gutting the original bathroom, the reconstruction commenced.

My handy husband created a hob for the new bath. The cement sheeting went up, then, after waterproofing, as most of the bathroom was going to be tiled, I opted to paint first.

I also varnished the window frames in gloss, to give the timber a lift.

Bathroom reno DURING (1) Bathroom reno DURING (2) Bathroom reno DURING (3) Bathroom reno DURING (5) Bathroom reno DURING (6)

How exciting it was to place the bath in the new hob. “One day closer to a bubble bath” became my mantra as each step was achieved.

Bathroom reno DURING (7)

We were quite adventurous deciding to tile right up to the ceiling above the bath, but between us we overcame difficulties as we faced them – a good team-building exercise in the long run, notwithstanding the mini power struggles that ensued!

Bathroom reno DURING (4) Bathroom reno DURING (8)

Floor tiles went down first, then the hob and border tiles. Now we understand why tiling is usually only done to a certain height. Walls and ceilings are never square, and adjustments must be made. We did the central row first on a supporting timber beam.

Bathroom reno DURING (9) Bathroom reno DURING (10)

Bathroom reno DURING (20)

Another ambitious idea was to have three little feature tiles spaced above the bath, to break up the mass of white and coordinate with the front of the bath. To determine the best location for these, I blu-tacked little paper shapes in various ways and took photos of each to work out the optimum placement. Ah, the wonders of digital photography.

Bathroom reno DURING (11) Bathroom reno DURING (12) Bathroom reno DURING (13)

Bathroom reno DURING (15) Bathroom reno DURING (16)

I created a cardboard template for Dutchy to use for cutting the holes for the taps.

Bathroom reno DURING (17) Bathroom reno DURING (18)

Bathroom reno DURING (19)

Resting on the job? Just rehearsing for my bath.  Now, back to work!

  Bathroom reno DURING (21) Bathroom reno DURING (22)

 Bathroom reno DURING (24)

The last little piece of tile goes up. I must give Dutchy credit for his brilliant tile cutting. Good equipment helps.

Bathroom reno DURING (25)

Once the grouting was all done and cleaned up, I used a combination of WD-40 and Isocol to take the stubborn clear film off the bath.

Now, the bathroom was ready for some final touches. Stay tuned!


25/14: the bathroom renovation blues

In October 2013, after having the same bathroom for over twenty-eight years, my husband and I undertook this large renovating project.

First, some BEFORE photos:

Bathroom reno BEFORE (1) Bathroom reno BEFORE (2) Bathroom reno BEFORE (3) Bathroom reno BEFORE (4) Bathroom reno BEFORE (5)

A little dated, you may say. We are in full agreement with you. Hence, time for a change. Before we started attacking the bathroom, I had one final bubble bath to say “adieu” to blue.

Bathroom reno BEFORE (6)

The DISMANTLING was quite enjoyable:

Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (1) Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (2) Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (3) Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (4) Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (5)  Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (7)

Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (9)

Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (8) Bathroom reno DISMANTLING (6)

It was lovely of Shadow and Zorro to be so helpful, clearing some cobwebs!

  Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment when we start with a blank canvas to bring our bathroom into the 21st century…

21/14: mothers’ day memorial one year on

Last year on Mothers’ Day weekend, at my suggestion, my husband and I undertook a project to create a memorial. In this instance I am using the apostrophe to indicate more than one mother since it was for both our dearly departed mums. The project commenced with these bricks.

ready for planting

One year on it is looking lovely, and a real magpie even came to help commemorate the occasion.

a magpie visits the memorial

This Aline azalea bloomed this week, which seemed rather fitting since both our mothers died in May of different years.

Aline azalea

Happy Mother’s Day to all, whether yours are the human kind or furry kind.

23/52: flashback to a flash flood 1991

Way back in 1991 we did our first extension to our house.  From the photographic evidence, obviously the next step after extending was suitable drainage.

Meanwhile, our young daughters had lots of fun frolicking in the mud, while I had lots of fun (?) washing their clothes, although that was a small price to pay for the amount of enjoyment they experienced.

While Jackie tentatively splashed around, her little sister Bridget had no such restraints.

Playing in puddles 1991

Busily indulging in some water play, Bridget was positioned only a few metres away from the current location of the tropical garden adjacent to the patio, featured in my previous post, progress of the palms.

Bridget busily playing 1991Splashing about 1991

13/52: a trip down memory lane

Having moved into our house 28 years ago this month, I realise we have come a long way from a “shell on a paddock” to a comfortable home on a lovingly landscaped block.

original ad for our place 27 years ago

As I sit at the laptop I glance out at the front garden. From my vantage point I look through the lovely timber full-length bay window. I can see two of the three weeping japanese maples, Inaba shidare, a greenstead magnificent, a couple of pruned english box shrubs, and another whose name I am unsure of. You’d think I would have kept records of everything I planted, and I probably did, somewhere in the archives, in a safe place. Ask my husband about me keeping things in “safe places” and he is likely to mutter something about a black hole in which items notoriously disappear.

Last but not least, as I look out the lounge room window, on the right is a slow-growing conifer we planted way back in 1987, as part of a group of plants which looked so tiny in amongst the mulch, but provided a nice view for us from the master bedroom.

our pretty little conifers 1987The last conifer on the right grew up like this:

another side of the coniferFortunately on that occasion we had the foresight to plant it well back from the footpath, to allow room for growth, which could be a subject for a lengthy post, as we have learnt from other less successful planting experiences.


358/366: my Christmas tree 2008

In 2008 I bought a new Christmas tree, a beautiful silver one, which I lovingly decorated with silver, red and black ornaments. It was time for a revamp of the old, which meant largely getting rid of a mish-mash of tired old baubles and tree. At that time I worked at Myer department store and being surrounded by all the beautiful decorations I couldn’t help buying plenty. I will have them for years to come, although this year I have only put my small green one up. It’s good to have variety, but I was especially happy with the new look in 2008.

My new Christmas tree 2008

Merry Christmas from Sandi Claus!

looking thru the window

351/366: fried, eh?

At about 8 a.m. I was awoken by a crackling sound. When the noise occurred again, I was concerned, as the electricity feeds into the house just outside our bedroom window. So much for the sleep-in I needed.

I got up and went through to the kitchen where, to my dismay, there were little tendrils of smoke wafting out from the cupboards under the hotplates.

hazy smoke emanating from the cupboard smoke under the hotplatesThere was a surreal, ghostly quality to this mist.

Of course, this happened on a day when my husband was already at work, so I took the cordless phone off the wall, but it didn’t work. Thank goodness I had charged my mobile yesterday, and also that I have a battery on my laptop so that I could start typing up the experience. I’m also glad we kept the old phone that is plugged in directly to the telephone line.

Calling him, he instructed me to open the cupboard to check if the hotplates were plugged in, as there was a burnt plastic smell emanating from under there. However, although the plug was still in the socket, it was turned off, as we hadn’t been able to use the automatic pilot light for some time. The hotplates themselves are gas, so he suspects that maybe the electric oven had burnt out, though there was no smoke from the actual oven.

I made him stay on the line while I turned on the gas and lit the pilot so I could boil water for a cup of tea, just in case there was an explosion. My imagination tends to run riot.

Checking the fuse box on the front porch, nothing seemed untoward there.

On my laptop, utilising the battery, the internet logo had a big red cross on it. Interesting; must look into that. Temporary?  It said wireless networks were available, but when I clicked on connect to a network, it led to a screen that told me none were available. Make up your mind, cyberspace. The penny dropped. Oh yes, the modem has to be plugged in.

After reporting the fault once I found out that I was the only one in the street without power, the men duly arrived within the hour, to discover a fried line between the main line and our house, where the wires had rubbed against another set.

the problem

fried wires


Meanwhile, I had utilised the waiting time to do some weeding and pruning, as the rain had fortunately eased off. As it was morning at least I didn’t have to contend with lack of light.

Now I’ve just enjoyed a cappuccino, well deserved after all that excitement. The odd thing is that the oven appears to be working, so the smoke remains an unsolved mystery. Another strange thing is that it’s Sunday, not Fried-day.

349/366: beautiful birdhouses

I used to walk past an old white weatherboard house often and admire its character and charm. It was obvious that a lot of love and labour had gone into it. Then when it was up for sale I wondered why, when it was so adorable. Perhaps the family was growing up and they needed more space? Was it a marriage breakup? It sparked my imagination.

Last week as I drove towards this house, I saw a sign out the front saying Garage Sale NOW, so being the obedient gal I am, I went and had a look, and I was so glad I did. Among other items, I was fortunate enough to obtain a selection of birdhouses. How true, that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Chatting to the guy, it transpired that it was actually due to a marriage breakup that these items were being sold. How sad, but I can assure you that these birdhouses have been adopted into a good home where they will be truly appreciated.

elongated elegance

elongated elegance

metal tools

metal tools

rustic roughness

rustic roughness

the distressed look

the distressed look

At the moment they are resting on the patio, but will find a special corner in the garden after Christmas.

beautiful birdhouses