false alarm – kitchen update

Ok, I’m curious how the women out there in blogdom can do these great reveals where they show ‘after’ photos featuring perfect rooms all set up with the right curtains, the right cushions, the right furniture, the right artfuly placed ‘random’ items.

Even when my kitchen is finished, it won’t be finished enough for that perfect ‘after’ photo.

For one thing, I plan to put up shelves and I don’t want to put them up till I live in it a while and decide where I want what…

For another, I won’t have the perfect dishes for a while, and I won’t have the kitchen dresser painted for who knows how long…

I guess you won’t so much get a ‘finished’ photo but periodic ‘after’ photos every time I add to or change something… cause I’m nothing if not in a constant state of updating, rearranging and changing things.

Meanwhile, yes, you heard right.

The kitchen isn’t finished yet.

It would have been finished but for the sink…

See, when Handyman was doing the plumbing, moving pipes from the old sink position to the new one (back when we had a hole in the floor), he calculated that the sink would be centered in the window and put the pipe there. But when he put the sink in the bench and showed it to me, the sink looked too far to the left.

Visually, the sink looks centered when its further to the right, cause the eye sees the bowls as the center.

So, Handyman moved the sink to where the boss (me) wanted it and now he has to find a joiner of some sort to connect the offset pipes.

Here are some photos I took this morning.

You can see the rangehood and glass splashback, the stove, the dishwasher with its protective film still on it, the sink with our two taps..

Same wall but you can see the cornice that needs painting and the handprints on the rangehood stainless steel cover.

This is the window into the living room. Note the decorative corner bits. Love them.

Now I have a dilemma. What type of window covering do I put on the window? A roller blind? Curtains? Lace? Doily curtains? Modern? Shabby? I have no idea. Well, I have an idea but I’m not sure. Any thoughts from my silent readers?

The window faces east so summer afternoons are hot hot hot. And on winter evenings I need a window covering that will keep the heat in. The rest of the time I want the window open to the view.

I await your thoughts.


only the tail to go – kitchen update

There’s a saying in Greece which says “You’ve eaten the donkey, only the tail to go”.

My cousin Zefi reminded me of it on FB today and I had to laugh.

Its true. The kitchen is almost done. Sure, there’s still a lot to do, but its really almost finished.

Handyman will be back tomorrow with a few plumbing bits we need and he’ll finish connecting the sink and dishwasher and the kitchen, from his point of view, will be finished!

Of course, as you know, my job is just beginning.

You’ll remember that, cause I’ve been tediously itemising my To Do list with monotonous regularity.

Still, I’m kinda excited…

If I don’t sleep for the next three days and get all the painting, cleaning, polyurethaning, organising and moving done by Thursday… I might be able to make Wayne a home cooked meal and surprise him when he gets home from work.

Yeah. Don’t hold your breath.


Its a nice dream.

Not long now!


i made a door – and kitchen update

I’ve always wanted to make a door…

I finally made one.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Ok… so its only 11in high.

Its still a beautiful door!

Its part of something I’ve been working on for the new kitchen… Hopefully it’ll be ready to share soon.

Meanwhile… the kitchen progresses.

Today the cornices were all finished. Some of the corner trims went up. The hole for the sink was cut. The bench edges were rounded. The bench was glued together.

Tomorrow Handyman says he’ll finish.

I really really really hope so.

Cause even after he finishes the kitchen won’t be ready to use.

I figure it’ll be next weekend before we can actually use the kitchen.

What with getting home late Mon-Wed, I won’t have time to get much done till Thursday. Not that I won’t plan to.

I always have the best intentions. I plan to get my entire To Do list done in 2 days. I plan to.

I never actually do.

Things always take longer than I plan they will and I’m tireder than I plan to be.

What is it about plans, mice and men…?

Well, either way, its getting closer… I can almost taste my own home cooking… I really miss pasta. And home made soup!



hiccup – kitchen update among other things

 This is what the kitchen looks like right now.

Its what it looked like yesterday afternoon.

Handyman was sick today.

Today wasn’t a great day for me either. I began to doubt that everything will be finished by the end of the week. I was not happy.

Meanwhile, I spent quite a lot of time in the workshop… I started a few projects and continued work on a few things I started ages ago then left languishing. I’ll have photos soon… unless they’re total failures… in which case I should share them anyway so you can see how badly I can stuff up at times.

I’ve been experimenting with some milk paint I bought recently. I’ve never used it before and I’m still not sure if I like it…

Either that or I’m just doing it all wrong…

Eh. Its all about learning and experiencing new things.

Learning from our stuff ups.

And finding ways to fix them or get rid of them.


the benchtop – kitchen update

Just a quick note to let you know things are progressing in the kitchen. Despite being laid up with my back for 2 days, then another 2 days with some stomach bug, I’ve managed to do all the painting – walls, door and window frames, skirting boards.

Yesterday afternoon Handyman brought over the kitchen bench. Today he’s fitting it.

Easier said than done as there’s that nasty 45 degree angle to contend with. Lucky it was Wayne who insisted it be done that way so I don’t have to feel guilty when I see how had it is to get just right.

The other day he put the rangehood up and we discovered that when they sell these things they don’t give you nearly enough stainless steel cover for the vent… you have to buy more! Seriously, we have a low ceiling in the kitchen and it was about 2 inches short of being safe and steady!

Wayne has made a ‘plinth’ for it to sit on on the ceiling. Looks very art deco. I’m painting that today so the job can be finished.

Besides the benchtop to put in, the sink to be fitted, the plumbing to be joined up, the dishwasher put in place, the edge trims for corners and the cornice, there’s not much else to do…

ha ha ha.


ouch – kitchen update


I woke up with a very stiff neck this morning. I’ve got a heat pack on it but to be honest I don’t hold out much hope for that.

I’ll just have to cowboy up and work through the pain.

Why, you may ask.

I finally got to do some actual work in the kitchen. I had planned to do the painting during the week, in short bursts every afternoon after work. But you know how it is. Daylight savings turns off, its dark at 6pm and my body says “wind down”.

Not to mention that we’ve been home late almost every day this week and small bugs like to dive bomb wet paint at night.

So yesterday, my regular day off, was it. I got up early and got into it straight away.

I undercoated the ceiling and plaster wall in one type of undercoat. I undercoated the pine lined walls in another type. And I undercoated the door and window frames in oil based undercoat.

I undercoated the skirting boards which are cut and ready to go in. I want those suckers painted before they go in so I don’t have to crawl around on the floor to paint them.

I didn’t even stop for lunch.

Well… I did stop around 11am…

The dogs had been barking persistently for a long time before it registered that it was not normal. So I went out and sure enough, there was a wallaby near the dam.

An obviously sick wallaby.

Last year we had them dropping like flies in the area. Cats spread toxoplasmosis, which native animals have no immunity to. It attacks their nervous system, they go blind and wobbly and basically die of starvation.

I did not want that to happen to this little fellow. I put on my boots, grabbed a blanket and a dog cage and went out to catch it.

It was obviously blind cause it couldn’t see me but it had keen hearing. It ran off towards the stable and trapped itself in a corner where I managed to catch it easily.

I took it to the vet. If there’s a chance it can be cured they’ll pass it on to wild life carers. If not they will put it down. A way better death than weeks of getting sicker and starving to death.

I hate it when I see them suffer. That was my good deed for the day.

Anyway, I grabbed a frappe from McDonald’s cause I’m addicted to them and if there’s something I just can’t resist, its temptation. The vet is right opposite McD’s….

You could say I had a liquid lunch.

I didn’t stop till after 5pm when all undercoats were done.

I also put in a bit of time packing all my fabrics into plastic containers to empty the old kitchen dresser which I’ll be moving to the kitchen.

This morning I have a dog to groom, then its back to work. doing topcoats. I hope to have one topcoat on everything today, another tomorrow.

Handyman will be here tomorrow to get back to work and he promises he’ll work through till the kitchen is finished. He told the other guy he’s been working for that he has to finish my job. Even if he has to sleep here to get it done by the end of the week.

I better get the guest room ready!


baby steps – kitchen update

We seem to be progressing, albeit slowly, in our kitchen makeover.

I’m beginning to breath normally again.

This last week I undercoated and did a topcoat of some timber trims, including the moulding for the new kitchen window. Handyman came on Friday and put it in and it looks great!

Yesterday he was here again and he put in the duct for the rangehood including the roof thingy..

and sanded back the patches on the ceiling (plaster dust everywhere…) and helped me rescue a bird from one of the walls of the casita.


The dogs were going bezerk at something in the wall. Romeo was trying to eat the door! I had no choice. I asked Handyman to help me cut a hole in the wall so we could find what was in there and get it out. Save the dogs doing more remodeling down there like they did last time…

I put on gloves, cringing at the thought I’d be finding a rat nest complete with an angry mother rat and her 93 babies… only to find a bird which had gotten in the wall cavity and couldn’t get out.

And a mummified carcass of a bird long gone which had obviously suffered the same fate.

Bird got out safely. The wall lives another day.

Handyman will be back again today to finish the rangehood on the inside – put the ceiling plate in and the rangehood’s stainless cover. He says we can then cook.

I said I refuse to cook till I can wash up properly…

When I’m not walking around in circles wondering where to start and being overwhelmed by all the options of jobs to do, I do occasionally get a few things done.

I sanded back all the wood filler so that once the plastering is finished I can paint both the ceiling and the walls.

I’ve painted the kitchen door (the one from the entry/pantry area) a colour I got a sample of cause I loved it on the swatch. Its called Caramel Craving… whats not to like about that?

Turns out its not quite as yummy on a full door. I’m afraid Wayne will call it ‘duck sh#@!t yellow’ – one of his favourite colours (not). His opinion is that they must have had a huge sale on that murky mustardy yellow colour a few years ago cause so many houses around here are painted in it.

Well… on paper its the same colour as the stove, only in a much darker tint. We’ll see how it looks once the door is in. Its only paint after all!

Meanwhile I did a few small jobs that needed finishing. Cleaned out the workshop area. Mended a broken drawer in the coffee table. Did a bit of potting. Sorted out some things to be burned or thrown out.

There’s work to do today. The sun is showing through the clouds occasionally… maybe I can finish that fascia today and never have to worry about it again.



thats the way the apple crumbles – kitchen update

A bunch of hydrangeas from my garden adorn my new kitchen…

Don’t get your hopes up. This is just the magic of creative cropping at work. Here is the full picture:

The kitchen is still a non-working mess. )

Though there has been progress… let me fill you in.

Last Thursday Handyman came in the morning to start work again since the electricals had all been moved. He arrived with the warning that he could only work 3 hrs or so cause he had to go to the other job he took on (after mine I should point out) which is a huge entire house makeover. Apparently the owner changed his mind about the type of shower he was putting in so Handyman had to go back and get the base ready for the plumber who was arriving the next morning… ie it was urgent.

I said fine, that was ok. It would be good if he went through with me and we wrote out a list of all the things that needed doing in the kitchen to get it finished. That way we (I) could plan ahead, buying or preparing each area for the next job. We wrote it out and then measured and made a list of things I needed to buy.

The list of things to do went something like this:

-put in window which involves: patch timber outside house, put in lintel for new window, move old window to porch
-put in rangehood which means making a hole in the roof and ceiling to vent it, getting a rubber seal for the roof

-mount glass splash back which should be easy as I already have the clips for it

-put pine lining on 2 walls

-plaster and smooth ceiling and one wall we’re not lining

-put up cornice around entire room

-put in skirting boards on 2 walls

-put in benchtop once its finished – includes some kind of decorative trim for edge where bench meets wall, there will be a small gap there we need to cover. i need to find/pick that, and let me tell you, the amount of decorative trim and moulding available in Australia (or Tasmania?) is pathetic

-plumb in dishwasher

-put in sink – add a new hole for 2nd tap (for the gravity fed bore water – a necessity for us)

-plumb in sink 

-patch a hole in the cabinet which my kitchen man thoughtfully put in for the power point for the dishwasher but which the electrician didn’t use … its now a hole that just needs filling. 

-put the sliding door back in kitchen (we took it off to make it easy to bring things in and out) – after giving it a coat of paint and painting the frame

-paint all woodwork – all the new pine lining, window and door surrounds

-paint the unlined wall

I mean, it looks like a ton, but it shouldn’t be that much! Not really.

IF I had a Handyman…

This is what he did last weekend when he worked a couple of hours on Thursday, all day Friday and Saturday.

He cut a hole for the new window.

He put in the new window and we love it. There’s so much more light in the kitchen now and it has a view! Downside is we can’t walk around naked in there any more!

He lined the entire front wall of the kitchen with pine. We definitely need a frame around the window and I have found a moulding I like. Unfortunately he’s not here today to tell me if its ok. I plan to buy it anyway and hopefully he can make it work.

 He chose to come back on Sunday (his choice. I’m not a slave driver!) to finish the third wall so I could gap fill and paint during the week. He didn’t finish it so I didn’t paint it.

Do I sound a bit peeved? Well, yes, I am. Not cause he didn’t finish last week. I’m peeved cause he called last night to say that he can’t come in to work today. Which means one less day of work this week, which delays us further.

Actually, it means that he’ll only work one day this week. Just tomorrow.

Yes. I’m very annoyed right now.

Deep breath. Its progress. If I wasn’t going to be flat out this weekend I’d undercoat all the timber, finished or not. I’ll give it a go and get what I can done anyway.

I’m so over not having a kitchen. I’m so over the entire house being a mess.

Did I mention that one of the dogs had diarhea in the office a couple of weeks ago? I just cut out a section of carpet and threw it away. I’ve started removing it anyway, may as well not waste time and effort cleaning it.

Well, someone did it again yesterday. No better way to wake up than to find a mess to clean up.

Another bit of carpet bit the dust.

I’m itching to get the office emptied out and get rid of that carpet and do the floor in there. That way, if someone does get sick in there its easy to clean.

I want a dog door.

What worries me about a dog door is dogs who go outside to hunt all night. And bark.

What worries Wayne is that a dog door for my dogs would be big enough for a small person to get through.


As for hunting… Came home last night to be greeted with Montana proudly carrying a prize. A huge dead rat.

Took them out to pee last night and found another offering on the mat outside the door. Another dead rat.

They’ve caught two mice which they’ve given me to dispose of. Both alive. Barely.


But the fact is they give me their catches! I’m so impressed.

Yesterday they were sniffing and digging under something in the yard. I lifted it and sure enough, there was a mouse underneath. Romeo caught it and there it was, hanging out of his mouth, tail out the side. I asked him to give it to me and he stood till I grabbed the tail.


Ok. All these rodents are sick and dying. We’ve had to resort to poison as there are just so many of them. Luckily the dogs don’t eat them, just catch them, kill them and present them proudly. It still concerns me and I hate finding them dead, or worse, alive.

Oh the joys of country life!


the naked painter – kitchen update

You’ve heard about the naked chef… let me introduce the naked painter.


Well… ok, not totally naked, but then again, Jamie Oliver wasn’t totally naked either. If he was, I sure missed it.

See, on Sunday I finally gave in and painted a third coat on the one finished wall in the kitchen. It had been niggling at me for days… to do another coat, not to do another coat… I had to do it so I could sleep again.

When I decided to paint I was wearing a nice pair of track pants (ones without paint on them) and one of Wayne’s Tshirts. Given the track pants are one of a fast dwindling supply of non-paint-enhanced clothing in my wardrobe, and the Tshirt didn’t belong to me, I did what any lazy DIY-er in the grip of an urgent need to paint would do.

I stripped down to my undies and got on with it.

Wayne walked through while I was up on a ladder with a brush in my hand and said he liked my outfit.

Today I found splotches of China White on a pair of undies when I hung them on the line.

Eh. No one will see those anyway.

So, you may ask, other than prancing around on ladders semi naked while waving around brushes loaded with paint, how goes the kitchen renovation?

Well. The electrician and Aurora have both been and done their thing. The power meters have been moved to the new box, all wiring has been reconnected and all is well.

We can now get started again.

Handyman will be back this week to put in the new window… and the fun continues.


why did I think this would be a good idea? – kitchen update

I think I’m heading for a nervous breakdown.

In fact, I think that when the renovation is over, I will have one.

I’ve earned it. I’ve worked hard for it. No one is going to stop me from having one if I want to.


I know the saying about renovation being up there along with death of a family member for stress factor or relationship breakdown, but I really didn’t think it would be this hard.

I’ve renovated before. In my first house in Melbourne I lived with walls pulled down, tiles laid over holes in the floor, holes in the ceiling and no bathroom/toilet door for over a year. That renovation included extending the bathroom, moving the toilet from the laundry to the bathroom, knocking out 2 walls to create an open plan living room, moving two doors, repainting throughout, building a pergola, putting in air conditioning and polishing floorboards.

Simon and I broke up, but that wasn’t a result of the renovation. We were heading that way before the renovations started.

They didn’t help, mind you…

In Fentonbury I put dado rails in half the house, put in a new bathroom, refreshed the kitchen, added a grooming room by enclosing a porch, polished floorboards, repainted inside and out, ripped out carpet and put in vinyl, replaced a wood heater, and put up new fencing.

I lived through all of that without breaking down, stressing out or feeling like I was overwhelmed.

I have no idea why this is getting to me this time.

Maybe its the feeling of not being in control. Not  knowing where I am with things cause I’m reliant on others… and how nothing can be done without something else being done first.

I was told the electrician was on holidays for a week or two weeks. We finally heard from Aurora and now we have a date… they’re coming on Monday morning sometime. At least I hope its Monday morning. As long as they come on Monday I’ll be happy, no matter what time it is.

I spoke to them, yes the electrician certainly needs to be there during or after so the power can be connected.

I’d left a message with the electrician. He never got back to me. I called him and no, he’s not on holiday till next week… He’ll come on Thursday to move the cables and set it up so that he doesn’t have to be here with Aurora comes, just in case he can’t be here.


Why are things so difficult…?

And why didn’t he do that.. oh, like the 15th time he was here????

I just don’t get it.

I give up.

When Wayne asked how long till the kitchen is ready to use I said, “Well… first we need Aurora to move the metre box. And the electrician to move the cables. The window needs to go in next. Then the walls need to be lined. Then the benchtop will go in. Then the sink will be put in and it and the dishwasher can be plumbed. Then we can  use the kitchen cause I can paint around a working kitchen. So lets say it takes 10 days for Aurora to do their thing. And another 2-3 days for Handyman to put in the window and do the walls… and if the bench is ready, he can put that in, another day there… and the plumbing, maybe another day (cause there’s no such thing as quick and easy)… I think the kitchen will be ready to use sometime around Christmas.”

Did I mention Wayne is allergic to change? Add renovation to that now.

You may remember I’ve already started removing carpet in the office. Floorbaords in there and the hallway match the kitchen so they’re next on the list… when I recover from the kitchen.

That job doesn’t worry me though, cause that job I can do myself – I can work at my own pace and won’t be at anyone else’s mercy.

With the added bonus of feeling like I’m finally organising, cleaning, tidying and actually doing something! You know. Getting somewhere. No longer living in limbo…

Well… on Monday morning I was woken by Wayne telling me I had a job to do.

One of the dogs had had diarhea in the office.

I’m sick of cleaning that carpet. I took out a stanley knife, cut the poohed part out and threw it away.


Its going anyway, right?

I’m so over this.