Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Recording A Journey.......

As well as keeping this blog, I have been keeping a record of my home renovation journey in sketchbooks.
In them are notes and sketches outlining plans and ideas, then I record with photographs what I actually ended up doing with each project - they don't always end up as I initially planned, because things can change along the way.
I'm also keeping a record of what I spend, quotes given by contractors etc.
Now I'm into the fifth year, I have filled one book and I'm a good way into the second...….I wonder how many I'll end up filling before this project is finished?

With the change in seasons, here is the view as I'm enjoying it at the moment in all its autumn glory! If you can't afford a view of the ocean or the mountains, at least you can create your own small, private view that is every bit as wonderful!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Autumn Arrives at last!

We're had a mild, rainy autumn with not even a frost to date, which is unusual. As a result, autumn has come late to the garden with the trees only turning now just a week or two away from "official" winter.

But now the trees have turned and the leaves are falling - time to hunker down and get on with a few inside jobs!
On the list are a few things that I want to get completed this winter: Firstly, I want to make the roman blinds for the dining room. Secondly, one wall and the ceiling in the hallway need painting and the other wall needs new skirting boards. The inside of the loungeroom window needs stripping and painting and I'm sure there are other things that I will find to do!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Back Porch

I have a tiny porch outside the back door, which opens off the kitchen - it shelters the back door from the worst of the weather and that's about it! I decided to paint is as the last outside painting job before the colder, wetter weather of winter. The rest of it - the back windows and soffits can wait until spring.
The porch looks very much refreshed with a few minor repairs, holes filled and the paint job!

Here's an update on the frog pond...….with everything growing nicely. No evidence of new permanent residents yet, but I'm hearing them often at night.

Friday, April 24, 2020

A New Front

I finally finished repairing and repainting the big windows across the front of the house and now the scaffold has been taken down, so I can see how it looks. 
I like the colours I chose - these blues go well with the terracotta bricks, I think. Orange and blue are complementary colours (opposites on the colour wheel) so they always look good together. It replaces a nondescript, rather pustulent shade of yellow, which did nothing to enhance the appearance of the house. Probably, the windows and trim would have been originally painted white, I think, although when I was scraping and sanding, there was evidence that a bilious green had been used at one stage. 

I'm going to paint the little back porch in coming days, weather permitting, then that will be it until next Spring/Summer, when I can finish the windows at the back. There is always more re-pointing to be done, which can be done at any time of year.

As winter approaches, I'm pulling out the last of the summer vegetables and digging over the remaining beds to plant things that can grow over winter...….the plantings I've already done are growing well - indeed, I've already started using some of the Asian greens.
Goodbye summer vegetables for a few months - these zucchinis are the last!

The last of summer meets the first of winter in one dish - stir-fried ginger, soy and garlic zucchini with Asian greens. Delicious!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Repointing is FUN! Who knew?

While I was up on the scaffold in recent weeks to paint the windows and soffits on the front of the house, I noticed that some of the mortar in the brickwork at the sides of the gable was loose, cracked and falling out in places. I thought it was a good opportunity to have a go at repairing it while it was still accessible from the scaffold. It was high up and in a place that wouldn't be too noticeable if I really botched it!

So, armed with tools, mortar and new-found knowledge from Dr. Google, I launched in, expecting to find it an odious task...…...Well, surprise of surprises! I found it unbelievably satisfying to rake out the loose old mortar, clean out the debris, damp it down and re-point it with fresh mortar. It took a bit of practice to get the technique right, but I think I did an OK job of it. I kept it damp while it dried off, as recommended and this morning when I checked it is still intact and good.

Now I'm looking forward to repairing a few other places where the brickwork needs re-pointing!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

A Frog Pond

During the summer, my neighbour gifted me a fibreglass pond which she'd taken out of her garden and no longer needed. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it...…...I had a kind of weedy desert where I looked out onto the garden from my dining room window - it's a fairly shaded area, so I thought it would be a great spot to establish a fern and shade-plant garden. So with the free pond and a bit of rock shifting and digging, that's exactly what I did...…...I bought a few plants and shifted some from other parts of the garden where they'd been struggling to compete with other plants. I'm happy to report that everything is growing well and looking lush. Now the frogs just need to move in. 

On that point I heard some frogs in the garden a few nights ago for the first time ever.....I hope it's not too long before they discover the wonderful home I've created for them. I've still to buy a little solar water feature so I can have the sound of water as well.

Oh yes - I'm also planning to make some small pieces of sculpture for the pond surrounds using a cement based sculpting medium that I bought a while back.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

More Recent Work

Here are a few more pictures of recent works - firstly the front deck with its new coat of paint and refurbished wrought iron balustrade (so much work restoring that - I don't think I ever want to do something like that again!) Secondly, the restored and refinished kitchen floor with the hand-painted "tumbled tiles" design.
I've also had a good start on painting the front of the house - it's a brick house, so its only the windows and soffits that need painting. I was fearful that paticularly the end window was badly damaged, but I was surprised to find that it was remarkably sound under the loose paint. Only one tiny repair in one corner where the wood had rotted a little. Because it is the two-storey part of the house, I needed to access it safely - luckily I've been able to borrow my son's portable scaffold for a few weeks while he doesn't need it. I think the grey/blues I've chosen look great with the red brick - complementary contrast and all that!
Work has continued in the garden, too. the seeds I planted last week are coming up and the seedlings are looking healthy and perky. The weather is still relatively warm so I'm getting a late flush of scarlet runners and zucchinis.

Blissfully unaware, Oliver sleeps on!