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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

9/14: back to concrete reality

Having just been on two almost back-to-back cruises, we are now back to reality. Since my husband had one more week of leave (vacation), there was a job in the back yard that has been awaiting his attention for some time.

Every now and then a paver comes loose on the bluestone steps, and the idea is to wait until there are a few to do, so that you’re not mixing up silly little amounts of mortar. Suddenly there are eight or nine that have come adrift and it becomes a big job!

Anyway, it’s done now, and looking good. It entailed him chipping off the old mortar, then painting Bondcrete on for extra adherence before cementing the pavers in place with a mix of both mortar and Bondcrete. I managed to Bondcrete three pavers and one step before losing interest and letting him do the rest. My generosity in these matters is legendary.

a chip off the old block

dabbing on Bondcrete

applying Bondcrete and mortar

It left me free to do some necessary weeding of some garden beds. We definitely make a good team, as you can see by the results.

repaired bluestone steps

8/14: my three men

I don’t know why we still call Shadow and Zorro boys, or even refer to them as the “babies”, when they are even older than Dutchy. In human years they are fifteen, but if you multiply that by seven, they are supposedly 105. That can’t be right.

However, according to calculatorcat.com, this is wrong, so I was actually correct. Apparently cats mature early, so it becomes a sliding scale. That makes our boys 77.

My three men

By the way, Dutchy is nowhere near 77!

35/52: an addition to my mini orchard

Why on earth has it taken me this long to actually buy and plant an apricot tree? We’ve been living here for 28 years; you’d think I would have done it a little earlier than this.
However, in my defence, we have been busy raising children and landscaping and extending and working and living and travelling, and after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Moorpark apricot tree

Anyway, at last we have done it. I adore apricot jam, so we purchased a Moorpark apricot tree, which I believe is good for jam-making. I was all set to buy a bare-rooted tree, but the only Moorpark one available was a potted one, which, at about $45, cost an extra $18.

   somewhat potbound

Then we discovered that perhaps it had been in a pot a little too long, as it was quite root-bound, requiring a fair bit of teasing and trimming of the roots prior to planting. My trusty husband is the planter of trees in our family, with his wonderful digging skills. It’s lovely having my own personal labourer in the garden at times like this.

my trusty labourer

I wonder how many years we shall have to wait until fruit appears. Although I’ve waited so many years to plant this apricot tree, now that it’s actually in the ground I am suddenly impatient for produce!

the waiting game begins

20/52: mothers’ day memorial garden

Although generally I am pretty good at grammar, I’m never sure whether to put the apostrophe before or after the “s” for this particular day, as it depends if you are talking singular or plural: Mother’s Day if you are only referring to your own mother, but Mothers’ Day for the general populous of female parents.

In this case I am going plural, as last weekend I enlisted my husband’s help to create a memorial garden bed for our mothers. Utilising bricks I had been given (hooray, finally finished clearing them off the path that had been their home for months), we, (meaning he: my design, his labour of love), made a circle for a cast iron birdbath to take pride of place in its centre.

Planning and preparing the area had to be done prior to the planting. My original plan of a three brick radius had to be modified to two, for the available space (and bricks).

initial planning

dig, level and measure

check levels

  ready for planting

hard at work on a labour of love

Then, five azaleas were placed around one side, making another attractive vista from our bedroom window. Three smaller Shirazz azaleas sit adjacent to the others.

Shirazz Azalea

The two white Aline azaleas, one in memory of my darling mother, Elaine, (d. 2001), and the other for my wonderful mother-in-law, (d. 2005), contrasting against the burgundy foliage of the Shirazz, should make a brilliant show in future years.

Aline Azalea

My own children were unavailable that weekend, with one holidaying in the USA and the other working in hospitality, but I know our ♥love♥ is strong. To compensate, I still had my furry boys Shadow and Zorro, and I so appreciate my husband’s labour of love on this project, so it was a lovely day, and a most fitting one to honour our mothers who brought us forth into life.

a fitting tribute to our mothers

P.S. As my own tribute, I decided to start another blog, based on families, relationships and human behaviour, which you can find at princesspoppsychology.wordpress.com.

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.


2/52: planting palms

Since we purchased a number of palms, the next step was to plant them. Hopefully they will fare well, as we have had extreme temperatures of late of almost 40 degrees Celsius.

I had originally contemplated adding another bluestone wall to section of this area, but when I removed lots of ivy I discovered a few rocks underneath. Adding the two larger bluestone blocks has provided enough of a barrier that a structured wall is probably overkill, much to my labourer husband’s delight.

Nevertheless, with his digging skills, guess who had the task of planting all the palms? That was obviously a rhetorical question.

first palm planted

The first palm planted was a Canary Island palm, Phoenix canariensis.

second palm planted

The second palm,  Phoenix roebelinii went in. I was excited because my tropical garden was finally under way.

my tropical garden in the middle tier  The rest of the palms will feature in further posts, as I have to pack.

Another trip? Yessiree, a New Zealand cruise, about which I will later be blogging on Travels with Princess & Quiquinou.