Monday, January 31, 2011

Just cranky

Sick of re-submitting to council.
Fed-up with them acting like it is completely straight forward and we are idiots for not understanding every tiny loop-hole/crazy detail.
Tired of trying to find more money as different projects crop-up.
Stressed about facing a double mortgage until the project is finished.
Just a bit over all of it.


off for a holiday on Friday, only  3 sleeps before we hit the beach!

Yep feeling the need for it right now!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Haven't seen it...

I don't know that I have mentioned but I haven't seen 'Our' house.
I haven't been inside.
I am trusting my husband (scary turn of phrase isn't it) who has seen it once for about 30 minutes.

So I am aching for it to arrive so I can actually see in the flesh  timber and tin.
I believe just the cleaning alone will curl my toes!! Let alone the actual renovation ahead. Well I mean it is cut in half, it has no bathroom or kitchen, or floor coverings. No laundry, and parts of the verandah are unsafe to walk on - why did this seem like such a good dream to have :)

But at this point in time I am just waiting, waiting, and waiting to be able to start.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mum we made you a house

Well after the first week of school, and kindy. The 3 munchkins seemed keen to have some unstructured tree time.

Maybe all my interior ideas of simple and white, don't reflect my more outgoing vibrant children :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chook chook choockens.....

Bunglalow Girl  asked to be introduced to our Choockens.

Chookens is our term of endearment for our little troup of ladies!

We have two 'layers' ISA browns, one little black hen, and 3 white Silky Bantams.

Our little black hen missed the paprazzi this morning as she is broody as...... well as a Hen I suppose.

Our silkies are delightful. They get painted (food colouring and brushes) they get pushed around in the pram, and they get smothered with love!

They are endearingly sweet and lay perfect little white eggs, which are my three littlies favourites!
They are named, Silky Cutie Bloosom, Fifi, and Chichi.

The children thought they had a french Couture appearance to them.
 Those fluffy bottoms and feet do have a slighlty designer style.

Then our ISA Browns are Mrs Skinny Legs, and Mrs Giant feet.

I can't say we would buy ISA browns again, as they are slightly aggressive towards the other chickens, and the best escapees I am yet to meet. The Council have been around and warned us that a $100 fine per chickens out of its yard applies. Yikes. So we bought this bigger pen.

They do lay well though.

However once penned my silkies stopped laying so we have since separated them. The Silkies roam free and sleep here

In our little chicken tractor. Now we are getting three eggs a day from the Bantams as well. Success!!!

And the spot I find all six of them on their afternoon peck is here - my kitchen garden.

(excuse the washing in the background).

So that is the introduction to our Choockens.
They are very pleased to meet all of you.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to make a great family home?

Well for us, furniture that can take a few knocks is important :) So mostly solid wood.

Lots of storage. This might come more slowly. But we are planning to actually have a room for all those pesky items like the vacuum, broms, mops etc.

A large laundry - our laundry is currently part of our kitchen, and this does NOT work for me!

A kitchen we can all access and work at together.

A big dining table where we can do homework/craft, share meals and have friends around.

A space outside undercover so we get outside on rainy days!

A rumpus/playroom space. To give the rest of the house a break from toys and craft and try to confine it a little. Plus a place I can take the children whilst Dad is trying to sleep after night shift.

My idea is that if the children are happy and comfortable Muma nd Dad are much more happy and comfortable.

What makes a great family home for you? I'd love to hear from all of you. I can't believe we already have 20 people reading about this crazy journey we are on! I'd love to find out more about you, so feel free to comment.
P.S hoping to hear from Planning next week, and of course hoping it will be good news!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Project manage

How to project manage??

Yep I'm starting to realise I need some basic idea of what needs to happen when. Well I imagine I have a basic idea i.e. the tradesman need power to start, etc etc :)
But I need more than the basics at this point.

So off to talk to all my experienced tradesman friends.

Hopefully if I arm myself with enough knowledge, and a strict plan. Then I may be able to lessen the number of tradies standing around doing nothing at any given point.

We would like a dining room inspired by this style......
We have found the table, still need to find some chairs!

A bathroom that looks something like this finished.....

I have located this bath now too, so WOO HOO!!

A kitchen that has this vintage feel.....
Well in a much smaller kinda space, without the gorgeous Aga.

A master Bedroom that looks something like this....... keeping in mind we already have a bed,  and our more ratty, less gorgeous furniture. But with a white and restful style....

So this is our project managed by scatter-brained me.
Gee I think I need some serious help :)

If you have any expertise, send it my way!

outdoors comfy

Our outdoor area has just been repaired after the flood damage.

We were so fortunate just to have our yard damaged.
This is our old 'loved' outdoor setting. It had a lick of white paint some time ago, and is due for another.
Plus I need to get on my sewing machine and make some new cushion covers. Buuuttt as per my life at the moment, I will wait until we move as the couch will then be undercover on the verandah.

I imagine sitting in these and watching the kids play outside in the mornings and I can't wipe the smile off my face..........

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just a little blog love for Paint me white
love the style.

The ups and downs

Ahh this is  journey we knew would test us a few times over. But it seems currently good news is quickly followed by bad.

So most councils are happy for you to have a functioning kitchen and bathroom, and then move in to complete the work on the property. Which is what the house removal copany told us. However we were contacted by the council and this particular region does NOT work this way. So everything has to be completed before we can move.

So here is our current list:

  1. Septic tank
  2. Electricity, mains water, and communications trenches
  3. Kitchen benches and plumbing
  4. Walls installed, front of house, mater bedroom and sunroom
  5. Bathroom tiled, and plumbed in
  6. Laundry plumbed in
  7. Solar hot water
  8. re-wiring, safety switch, smoke alarms
  9. full internal painting
  10. deck repiared, battons(sp) and stairs on
  11. floors sanded and polished
  12. Safety glass for double hung windows
  13. Insulation under floor and in ceiling
  14. solar panels
  15. water tank connected
  16. external painting
  17. roof painted
I mean how long can it really take, a week (LOL), 3 months?, who knows. We figure we will just work as fast as we can to get it all done. Meanwhile once the house arrives we can visit it (yep that sounds pathetic) and start the gardens.

Well orginially we thought the house would arrive this week, maybe within the next 5 weeks i think would be the revised dates.

We are lucky to have a little house as we were going to sell it last year and then we would be quite homeless! Plus it is walking distance to kindy so it will be ncie to be able to do that a few days a week.

Ok yep I am desperatly trying to find a good side whilst we just long to be in our beautiful house.............

(oh and I turned the hosue upside down and found my camera charger)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Camera-less and insane

Aaarrggh I can't find my charging for my beloved Canon, and I can't find the connection cord for our cheap digital. Which was great considering yesterday was my daughters first day of school :(
Time to get an iphone I think, hint, hint to my hubbie!!

But super, over the top excitement yesterday!!! Well I posted almost all our documents to council again. So they are now officially lodged, for the second time.

No, no wait that isn't it - my true love kitchen sink arrived by post.


Double Butler Sink

 Ohhh I adore it. It is huge, perfect for a dinner party full of dishes, and it feels so good.

I really hate the feeling of a stainless steel sink, don't know why. This is gorgeous. Now just to get the kitchen made and in the house (the sink was 50% off so I had to buy it first ).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Floor plans - only minor adjustments.

Here is the original floor plan. Only 2 bedrooms. Not a house we would have considered at all on the description. But once we saw how big the space was (and perhaps fell in love a bit) we decided we could make it work for our young family. Our children actually enjoy sharing a sleep space, so 2 will be in bedroom 2 and another in the sleep-out/bedroom 3. Just until we decide what sort of extension work we will do.
Here is the very basic changes we have made to the floor plan to make it more liveable for us.
A galley kitchen will go in.
The main bathroom will relocate to the sunroom/laundry space, and the laundry and utilities room will be next to that.
At the front we have opened up the verandah slightly off our bedroom (enough spacce for 2 chairs and a table). Then we will build in a wardrobe on one side of the sunroom and the ensuite on the other.
Sorry for the scribbles hope they are a little legible.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No dig Vegetable gardens

This is the plan for our vegetable gardens. A no dig garden lets me prepare the soil quickly and be aware of exactly what is going into our gardens.

Building a Raised Garden Bed

Thanks to Les Boucher from Australia, who has provided the following photos of building a no-dig garden with a raised vegetable garden bed (See Les' comments below): Lay out your garden area. Leave the grass it will die, or cut it if you wish. The garden beds can be any height.
Raised vegetable garden Les1 Step 1.

I've previously built ones for community groups of about 1m (3ft) high to allow for wheelchair access. It's a matter of layering to get things to the height you want.

Raised vegetable garden Les 2 Step 2. Lay out old cardboard. Try your local supermarket for this... recycling it...

raised vegetable garden Les 3 Step 3. Wet your newspaper before you spread it out — it will stick together when you overlap it.

raised vegetable garden Les 4 Step 4. Spread WET newspaper OVER cardboard making sure that it overlaps by about a quarter to one third of its size.
By doing it this way you are cutting out the sunlight and the grass will die and it, as well as the cardboard and paper, will all rot back and feed Mother Earth.

raised vegetable garden Les 5 Step 5. Next comes a layer of Lucerne Hay (more food as it breaks down).

raised vegetable garden Les 6 Step 6. A thin layer of Manure (in this case "Moo Poo") is then laid out...

raised vegetable garden Les 7 Step 7. Finally this is all covered with a layer of straw (I use Pea Straw as it adds more nutrient as it breaks down) and it also works as a mulch for your plants keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

raised vegetable garden Les 8 Step 8. From here it is just a matter of making a small hole in the top layer of straw and adding a handful of potting mix or compost and planting into it.
You can see the results of this one that I prepared earlier.

I hope that this inspires you to build your own raised vegetable garden and to get out into your yard and smell the roses (or cabbages).
Les Boucher - raised vegetable gardener
Here's Les, and his comments:
"Since building these garden beds, I have gone on to share this idea with others, including building eight beds 4m x 2m (13ft x 6½ft) for a men's shed complex near where I live. These are about 1m (3ft) high to allow access by wheelchair bound people as well as those able bodied people who have bad backs." Les Boucher

So Many people ask....

Yep nearly everyone asks,
why would you move an old house,
you know you could build something new,
wouldn't it be better to just buy in the city?

Well it definitely isn't easy, but is anything worth doing easy?

Reason 1:
Perhaps it is because I lived in a magnificent Queenslander when we moved to Brisbane as a child.
Oh I loved that house, I don't believe I had ever loved a house before (we moved A LOT).
I loved the history, it had a maids quarters off the kitchen, imagine that!
I adored the quirks.
Plus it was on an acre it had a fruit orchard, a rose garden, a vegie patch, a chook run and a huge beautiful mango tree. It was truly a piece of heaven to me. My Mum loved it too I used to watch her face light with happiness when she lit the fireplace and curled up to read a book.

Reason 2:

Our children are...... umm boisterous, out-going, high energy whatever turn of phrase you like.
My husband and I definitely wanted to channel that energy into gardens and space and open-ended play. We want them to have a few farm-like responsibilities as well. Thus the acreage.
An old house provides an opportunity to have large spacious rooms to accommodate them, and verandas to run and play on. We also want them to have an appreciation for the history of the wonderful place they live.

Reason 3

Recycling - could you imagine a house like the one we are buying being destroyed, yikes it makes me quite emotional. Plus we would have to utilise new materials to build, seems a waste.

Reason 4

It is built for our climate, and lifestyle.

Reason 5

We have faced true challenges before. Scary things life throws at you.
This is a positive challenge, an accomplishment.
A chance to give life to something that has been discarded. A chance to fully reflect ourselves in our home, and to do it our way.

Reason 6

It is cheaper. Not tons cheaper. But enough for us to be able to manage it. This means we get a beautiful home, in a post of our choosing, and hopefully stand to have assets in it straight away (if the budget doesn't run away from us :)

Reason 7

Because we are stubborn! We considered it, and then we decided it would be an adventure. An adventure we will follow through on, even though it is hard. We secretly can't wait to finish it though and take a deep breathe.

Oh no my plan was to upload the floor plan but it won't let me. Any ideas??? I am really not great on the computer! If I scan it and save it that way would it work?

Take care

Friday, January 21, 2011

Council bits and bobs

Council applications

I have been running around trying to piece together the many bits needed for our council application to be submitted. It has quite honestly been doing my head in, and yep it finally got the better of me and I had my first melt-down, of many i am sure.

Good news though!! I think we are ready. Well some plans to print on Monday and away they go with a kiss for good luck. Another stage down.

If you are interested in the process here is the package we follow to relocate a removal dwelling

In the menatime we have decided to list our little house for sale. So I am racing around like a headless chook decluttering and adding some nicer touches here and there. It is quite fun really, at least at the moment I am sure it will wear thin very quickly. Stay tuned for pics of this place by the realty.

The kids have been like dream children today, playing a beautiful game of Doctors and Vets happily in there rooms, making me feel very content and blessed in the last weekend of the holidays!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Green how I love thee, let me count the ways....

Well apart from being my favourite colour, which my children love to tell anyone we meet, it is our plans to make less of an environmental impact with our new 'old' house.

* so firstly we are 'recycling' a heritage style home
* we are using many secondhand items to fit out our kitchen and bathroom
* I am taking my op-shopping/flea market/ebaying up a notch to seek out all the furniture pieces we would like for our home (good on the hip-pocket too)
* solar hot water and panels for our power
* large water tanks (25000lt) to help subsidise our water use
* low-VOC or VOC free paint for the interior
* little things like using vintage glass jars for everyday storage
* large fruit orchard and vegetable gardens to help us be a little more self-sufficien
* we are also installing a bio-cycle septic system which filters the water and it can be reused on the garden - (not on edible gardens though). We will use this to keep our grass and bush corridors nice and green.

That is all I can think of now. Any suggestions for other ways to make this a low cost project environmentally are readily accepted, throw them our way!!

These plans will heap to keep our world a nicer place for our children - cheeky little things aren't they :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our little house

Alright as I have said before we live in a little post-war house.

We weren't sure if we would love the little town we moved to or loathe it, luckily we loved it!
But this meant a very cheap and temporary purchase of a doer-upper.
Hubbie and I realised the house was never going to be long term, so we quickly lost interest in making it our own.
Because of this it still needs most of the internal painting done so we can rent it/or sell it when we move.
So far we have
* ripped up the carpet
* polished the floors
* put in a new kitchen, (modern and not to our taste),
* landscaped, 
* plus updated the bathroom (well my in-laws actually painted this one much to our joy!).

Yesterday we had a discussion about the cost of paying someone to paint. Apparently with all my spare time (3 children out of the house for about 4-5 hours a 2-3 days a week) I am going to do it!

Now if these were normal plasterboard, I'd do it in a heart -beat, but they are VJ's. So sanding, filling, re-sanding etc. Oh the joy!

Stay tuned for pictures of our little house. It will be very nice to get rid of the yellow and maroon colour scheme.

I was finding the background on the blog a bit depressing. But Hubbie chose it.
I just thought I might see how long it takes him to notice the new look.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A time to paint

Thrifty type that I am, I have purchased some secondhand pieces to help make our new home.
We are going from a small post war house (about 70sqm) to a larger Colonial (approx 150sqm). So we have some space to play with.

For a long time we have lived in our houses (this is our 5th as a couple/family) without really making them ours. This time we are both determined to have a home that reflects us more succintly. We want it show our shared love of cooking, (and eating) my love of books, my DHs love of music, my love of pieces with a history, and our new(ish) enjoyment of food gardening.

But in this plan it involves a lot of time trying to think and create spaces that suit us all. Plus it involves me doing a fair bit of painting.

So my daughter has decided she would like a room like this
Hopefully creating this look will be as easy as the Young House Love Team makes it sound!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dream on together, leaning against each other

Time to dream on together (Powderfinger).

To move forward.
Time for our family to pick ourselves up and feel blessed with our lives. I have been a bit of a mess.
A tendency towards being overly emotional hits hard when the devastation for so many people is epic.
we are blessed to continue our dream, and to be able to share it with you all.

Today I added designs for the exterior to another page to show you our continued plans and ideas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Lockyer Valley

As the floods recede in Brisbane and Ipswich our thoughts are with those whose houses, and businesses were inundated. The clean-up and rebuilding will be immense. Please donate @
Maybe think about hosting a fundraiser, a sausage sizzle, a morning tea, a clothes swap, anything. There are many many families with children who will have nowhere to go, and Mums and Dads with no businesses to return too.

The Lockyer Valler in QLD was the area hit by the inland tsunami. It was gut wrenching. It still is. The death toll will be significant, and pitiful.

This is where our house will be relocated to, 10 minutes from us to the Lockyer Valley. A region that will have heavey hearts for many many years to come.

So any of our applications with the Lockyer council will have to wait. They are currently trying to reconnect power, water and communications to the families. Basic amenities that have been off for 6 days.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oh Queensland my heart goes out to all those leaving their homes. To all the families waiting on news for missing lost ones 10 minutes up the road from us. To the SES and other Emergency services that must be exhausted.

My Father drove out to check our removal home and it is safe and dry, and will be for another 15 meters or so. So we are grateful for us. But with the immense loss for others heavy in our hearts. Stay strong and safe. I wish we could help.

Losing the dream

Hi everyone. I hope everyone in QLD is staying safe and dry.
Our hearts go out to Ipswich and Brisbane today.
My husband and I are trying to realise the possibility we may lose our removal home today or tomorrow in the floods. As far as we can tell the insurance won't cover it.

However we are blessed because we are safe. We are reasonably dry, our children are safe, and for now we have a roof over our heads.

It will be a bit heart-breaking for us, and extremely costly but I am sure like all QLDers we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on in one form or another.

This may very well be the shortest blog in history!

Monday, January 10, 2011

This just a small aside.
We are sending out all our prayers to Toowoomba residents that are missing or lost their lives yesterday in the flash flooding. We feel very grateful for the minor damage we experienced.
But is is still raining heavily and I can hear thunder, so hopefully we are not in for more today.

We got another inch or so higher than this.
 We are very grateful for stumps on our little post war house we live in currently. But the kids were devastated when the realised most of their outdoor toys had just washed away down the hill. Poor little mites.
As we wanted space for our noisy, rambunctious (do you read Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons dairy) children this was the land for us. It has patches of up to 50m of bush between us and our neighbours, so very private,
Plus we have dreams of rambling gardens, vegie patches, fruit orchards, and plenty of room to grow.
This shows the slope which has a flat platform at the bottom where our house will go. I might have  download a site map later to give you a better idea.

This is all ours, and we can not wait to live there.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Alright here is our Colonial QLDer in its current state.
As you look at this image the left hand side wall will be removed to open up the verandah. In this incessant rain I dream of verandahs for the kids to play (and to dry washing).

The double hung windows on the right will have to have the glass replaced to meet safety standards. The wall with the green door is being removed to open verandahs.
The toilet will most likely be removed and relocated. The walls in this space will also be removed.
This is the rear of the house and the sunroom below. This will stay as is, as we plan to extend off this area in the next 5 years.
A wall will be added half-way along to create a small 3rd bedroom, off bed 2, and an ensuite and BIR for us off Bedroom 1.

Well you can see it needs some updating and repairs. Plus it will be cut into two pieces so it will need some extra bracing.
(I know you all secretly love the green toilet but it is definitely going!)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Before - The "Good" Version

These are the pictures used by the removal
people to entice you to buy.  Stay tuned for the real pictures.