Achievements, celebrations & the mundane

What a week it has been! We’ve done more home improvement in the last month than we have done in the last year! That’s Parkinson’s Law for you.

The biggest achievement (and a huge weight of my shoulders) is the completion of Richard’s office. It’s a small room attached to our garage and basically had bare brick walls, a concrete slab floor and a dodgy light. Richard installed down lights and put new power, telephone and TV points. Then we spent the entire last weekend painting the brick walls and ceiling, which by the way is very hard work! And on Friday I laid down the new vinyl flooring all by myself. Yes, me! I rock!

Richard's newly renovated office

Richard has set up his office now and he is a very happy hubby. Only 2 more weeks before my new house mate moves in and I’m starting to feel nervous and excited at the same time.

On Saturday, we celebrated our nephew’s 9th birthday and there was a bit of fooling around when the sparkles got lit on the cake! That’s the uncle (Richard’s brother) grabbing his nephew’s face. Haha… no harm done I promise!

Jackson's 9th B'day

Now for the mundane part of life. Charlie had one of his showers this week and was happy to show off for the video camera. He LOVES it and gets all excited when he sees the spray bottle.


[Video link]

I’ve also bought yarn to start knitting a charity Christmas project. I won’t say what it is just yet.

Red & White Homemaker Acrylic 8ply

Has anyone started their Christmas knitting? I can’t believe we’re only 4 months away from 2011!

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How to Store Painting Tools

Brushes, rollers and leftover paint have to be stored properly to prolong their life. I thought I might share some useful tips that I’ve gotten from here and there on how to do this.

Most importantly, you must clean your painting tools according to the type of paint you’ve used. Most household paints are now water-based so painting tools are a lot easier to clean. Simply scrap off excess paint onto several layers of newspaper and rinse in warm, soapy water. For a paint roller, roll the excess paint onto newspaper before washing in the same way. You can also get a tool from your hardware store, like Bunnings, which squeezes the excess paint out of rollers. Cheap and very handy.

Once your painting tools are clean and dry, you can’t just throw them into a drawer and hope for the best the next time you need them. With a little help from good, old regular cling wrap, you can ensure that your painting tools stay in good condition.
Equipment

Wrap your clean, dry brushes and rollers in cling wrap. The cling wrap keeps the bristles in position and keep your painting tools free from dust.
Using Cling Wrap
Cling Wrap Rollers Too

If you’ve spent a bit more to buy quality paint brushes, the brushes would have come with protective sheaths. These sheaths are not merely for packaging and marketing. They are designed to be reused over and over again to store your brushes in pristine condition.
Using the Protective Covers

I’ve also recently learnt from my father-in-law the proper way to store leftover paint long term. The air in your half-empty (or half-full :P ) can of paint will slowly dry out your paint. So a piece of cling wrap placed directly on the paint will protect its surface. Your paint will now stay fresh longer. Obvious, isn’t it? Talk about a DUH moment.
Placing Cling Wrap in Paint Tins
Placing Cling Wrap in Paint Tins

And before you hammer the lid closed on your can of paint, grab a piece of flat wood. Place it on the rim of the lid and gently tap the wood with the hammer. It’s a lot easier to open the lid next time if the lid is not damaged.

Hope these tips help in some way. And if you have more tips or you’ve got a better way of doing things, feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you, even if it’s just to say hello!

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More Home Renos

We are charging ahead with our home renovations at the moment and it has been equally tiring and rewarding. We’ve set a deadline for the end of the year where the most essential improvements must be done. So here are some of the things we got up to over the last fortnight.

Richard has put in all the downlights in the living space now. There are 8 in the living room, 2 in the dining area and 4 in the kitchen. The house sparkles when the lights are on. I, on the other hand, have been painting the windows and doors.

Before (in 2008)
Living Room
Dining Room & Kitchen

After
New Downlights & Painted Door & Window
Painted door &Window

And I am also loving our new 3-in-1 bathroom light, heater and exhaust fan.
New 3-in-1 Bathroom Light

We also got a free cat door from friends so even the cats have moved up in life!
New Cat Door

Our second bedroom had been used as an office but when we moved that downstairs, we used it as a store room for all the painting and renovation gear. Now it’s being used again as an office while the office downstairs gets renovated. Clear about that? :P But we love this little desk setup at the moment that we’ve decided to keep the desktop in this room and use the laptop in the office downstairs (when the renovation is done).
Temp Office?

I’d like to draw your attention to the printer stand made by yours truly. It’s made out of recycled timber, a very old print painting, Araldite glue (thanks James) and a few small nails.
Printers
Homemade Printer Stand
It might not look fantastic but it works. I’ll pretty it up when I have time.

So in the other corner of the room, I have a desk which I want to use for product photography. I still need a few more things to accomplish this but it’ll be so good when it’s all set up.
My Future Photography Desk
(Hope, you’ll be happy to know that I used your spinning wheel a few days ago. :) )

So this is the office downstairs that’s awaiting our attention. It’s a room just off our garage which needs to be painted, concrete floor polished, downlights put in and a new door (where the curtains are hanging). Then we need to build a large desk and shelving. Easy peasy! :P
Office Awaiting Renos

Ok one more last thing. It’s really minor but my mother-in-law thought I should share it on my blog anyway. My Hills Hoist clothesline used to have 5 lines going around but as our trees in the garden grew bigger, the clothesline couldn’t rotate anymore as it got caught in the branches.
Clothesline Shortened
Thanks to Mr Angle Grinder, we said sayonara to the last line. Four rubber ends later, the clothesline is at a better suited size for our little backyard and it can now rotate freely with the wind.
Clotheslines in Action

Wow! We’ve been busy and this has been one looonnggg post. Should really blog more regularly. :P

Related Posts
When a House Becomes a Home

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I’ve Been Painting

I’ve been painting for the last three days and I’m taking a break today. My body aches and I really need to get some other things done, like reading the manual for my job training on Tuesday. Yes, JOB training. :) I’ve been accepted to work as an exam invigilator at the local uni. It’s only casual work during the exam periods for the rest of the year but I’m grateful. Any extra bit of cash will help further our home renovations.

Speaking of which I’ll show you what I’ve been up to this week. My initial plan was to do the renovation room by room so that I can contain the mess in one small area. But it’s not going as fast as I hoped because if I do that, I am dependent on Richard and his dad to do the electrical stuff before I can paint. So I’m just painting whatever can be painted and not follow the recommended order to do things.

I painted the bathroom walls on Monday. The walls are now a bright, clean white instead of a dirty yellow. The bathroom instantly felt bigger. (Ignore the ceiling, tiles and accessories. That’s for the future.)

BEFORE
Bathroom Walls BEFORE
Bathroom Walls BEFORE

AFTER
Bathroom Walls AFTER
Bathroom Walls AFTER

I’ve also started on my linen cupboard which ended up in the living room since we knocked down the wall last year. I’m attempting it to blend it into the walls by painting it white and removing the door knobs. The walls around it are yet to be painted.

BEFORE
Linen Cupboard BEFORE
Linen Cupboard BEFORE

WORK IN PROGRESS
Linen Cupboard WIP
Linen Cupboard WIP

I was even thinking of painting the inside walls of the cupboard a totally different colour. Maybe a sky blue. And I need new shelf lining. The store bought ones are not wide enough. Any ideas?

In case you were wondering where all the contents of the linen cupboard are, they are all in the spare room. Thank good for spare rooms!
Linen Cupboard Contents

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When a House Becomes a Home

We’ve had a busy school holidays and have spent a lot of energy on the house. We’ve plastered the walls and ceiling where the old wall used to be. I would say we are halfway through this project but we’ve put all the tools away for now as we’re both back at work tomorrow. There is no way I want to look at those tools in the dining room for one more day! The rooms look more finished since the last update.
Dining Room & Kitchen
Living Room

Gee, the photos make the rooms look soooo small. Anywhooo… did you notice the pretty blue curtains in the living room? I sewed them! I’ve made curtains in the past when I was still living at my mum’s. They always ended up puckered and either too short or too long or both at the same time! My mum would have to unpick the bottom hem and re-handsew it AFTER the curtains were hung!

So when I bought the sewing machine last year, I also bought a curtain sewing book. The instructions are crystal clear and I’ve learnt so much! I guess you can’t just wing it when sewing curtains. Hehe.
Pleated Curtains

The curtains were designed (by the author) with pleats that are only at the top part of the curtains. It was a bit more effort but it was well worth it. The result is a more elegant and structured look. Richard reckons they look like a waterfall. By the way, the curtains cost us only $30 in material!
Pleated Curtains (Close-up)

Last but not least, the 80 litre hot water system that came with the house started leaking very badly and it had to go. Richard’s dad got us a “new”, dirt cheap ($200!), MUCH bigger 315 litre one which they installed UNDER the house! It was very impressive (and comical) how they fit the massive tank through a small 60cm door. The two men were really in the zone when they were installing it yesterday. The worked non-stop for at least 5 hours! Kudos to you both!
New 315litre Hot Water System

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