May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spring Flowers and the Quassia Quest

How could anyone resist this face?

via Flickriver

I love possums and firmly believe we should do our best to accommodate them in the little amount of habitat they have left in inner Melbourne. Recently though they've taken a particular liking to our young avocado tree, eating all the leaves off the top half then starting to munch down the stems. How can I communicate to them that if they'd give the tree a chance to grow, there'd be a lot more leaves and perhaps even fruit for us all to share? I'm hoping the answer may be quassia - the extremely bitter tasting bark of a south american tree. Some pharmacies sell quassia chips for treating headlice, but I purchased some fairly easily on ebay. Now most sources will tell you to soak the chips in boiling hot water to make the spray, but apparently this destroys a lot of the bitterness so I just soaked the chips overnight in cold water and sprayed it on.

And the result? New growth on the avocado tree.

And since I was in the garden with my camera I snapped a few of the beautiful blooms opening up all over the place.

Spring is definitely in the air.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Okay, I know we told everyone we would get the ensuite finished over the weekend, but the weather was just too glorious to stay cooped up indoors so we spent both days working in the garden and on the weatherboards in the front of the house. It seemed like everyone in the neighbourhood was working on the fronts of their houses on Sunday - sanding boards, painting picket fences and pulling out weeds. They're saying rain for next weekend, so hopefully I'll have some 'before and after pics' of the completed ensuite up next week. In the interim though, here are some photos of other people's beautiful bathrooms from my scrapbook. Enjoy.

Jordi Canosa


Via Moon to Moon

Via Moon to Moon

Via Moon to Moon

Via Moon to Moon

Via Moon to Moon

House Beautiful

Via Moon to Moon

Southern Living

Via Desire to Inspire

Via Milk and Honey Home

Art and Decoration

Homes and Gardens

Atlanta Bartlett

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scenes from the weekend

I am very lucky indeed to have a husband that is really good at so many different things. A fruitful weekend of pottering about the house resulted in a new light for the shaving mirror,

Basisk wall spotlight from Ikea 

a chrome rail to support the shower panel and give us somewhere to dry the bathmat,

and new taps in the second bathroom that is due to be demolished in two weeks. Huh? Well the old cream plastic hot water tap, perhaps sensing its impending retirement, gave out this weekend. Rather than bothering to repair it, we put the new taps on which will mean we have to dry them off and box them up again in a few weeks but it saved a lot of bother.

Plus there was new glass for the bathroom window which was a first for us but turned out not to be too tricky.

For those wanting to do it, we watched this helpful little video from Lombard Hardware.

It's fairly straightforward, but make sure you really soften the putty well before applying - roll it into a sausage and knead it a few times - so that it doesn't drag when you spread it with the knife.

Press it on, spread with a putty knife, then cut off the excess so it's nice and neat. Voila.

These are the old panes and there were two panels of mesh above for ventilation for the days before exhaust fans. Yes, if you look closely those are raindrops. We'd checked the BOM and double checked but you know what they say about Melbourne weather.

Nothing a cup of tea and some of Roald Dahl's yummy Arnhem Biscuits won't fix.

See 'Roald Dahl's Cookbook' or here for the recipe.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Should we do this?

A dilemma...

Should we open the wall between the kitchen and living room like this?

 Anne Turner

Or keep it like this?

The extra shelves are very handy and give the kitchen a cosy feel, but opening up that arch would mean extra light and spaciousness. Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Still Life

Still Life by Paul Cezanne

Still Life with Oleander by Vincent Van Gogh.

Still Life with Melon by Claude Monet

Via Shannon Fricke

Via Apartment Therapy

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Seed Order

Just put in our Diggers order for this summer's seeds. Exciting, exciting.

S380tomato black cherry1$2.95$2.95
S016bean giant of stuttgart1$4.00$4.00
S018bean flageolet flagrano1$2.95$2.95
S0331beetroot chioggia1$2.95$2.95
S069carrot all seasons1$2.95$2.95
S097cucumber japanese climbing1$3.45$3.45
S088cucumber little potato1$3.45$3.45
S114sweet corn honey & cream f11$3.45$3.45
S124leek elephant1$2.95$2.95
S1271lettuce crispmint1$3.45$3.45
S160parsnip hollow crown1$2.95$2.95
S1832pumpkin wrinkled butternut1$3.45$3.45
S158spring onion red1$2.95$2.95
S213spinach climbing malabar red1$2.95$2.95
S210spinach perpetual1$2.95$2.95
MRE1membership renewal 1 year1$49.00$49.00
S280watermelon sugar baby1$2.95$2.95

Cucumber Little Potato

Beetroot Chioggia 

Tomato - Black Cherry

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ensuite Update

After 7 months of essentially rebuilding the ensuite from scratch, it was so rewarding to take our first showers this weekend.

I've got to say, after reading so many glowing reviews of the Methven Satinjet shower head, I went ahead and ordered one but was still secretly thinking 'Can a water saving shower head really be that good?'. Thankfully, I can now say 'yes'! It's fantastic. Despite only using a meagre 7.5 litres of water a minute (conventional showers use about 22 ) you still feel like you can really crank it up, and it's very soft on your skin. For anyone in drought stricken areas I'd really recommend one.

The penny mosaic tiles are also a success. They make a great shower floor and as hoped feel sensational underfoot. 

And the little Chico 100 ceiling fan did its job valiantly this morning. This is another great little eco-friendly product as it has a built in back draft stopper. Look - no fogged up mirror!

So it sounds like the week end was smooth sailing. Well, not completely. We realised after testing the shower that we do need to tile the opposite wall. Even though we used water resistant plasterboard it's just getting too many splashes, and since it's such a small area we'll quickly waterproof and tile it next weekend. 

Another small hurdle was that somehow, perhaps through movement or miscalculations, the thread on the right shower tap spindle is not protruding quite far enough for the skirt to fully screw against the wall - it sits out about 2mm. So annoying! Two trips to the hardware store to try and get some sort of threaded ring to extend it were unsuccessful so Tom is going to have to dig out the silicone around the spindle and hopefully extend it from the other end. Another job for next weekend, and a reminder that whenever you're doing a renovation schedule, work out how long you think everything is going to take and then double it :)