Saturday, November 25, 2017

Lounge Room Update

It wasn't planned, as such, but this week we got inspired by the update we had made to the dining room, which can be seen from the lounge room, through two arches. We would like a similar update for the lounge room.

I had decided that the trusty IKEA Billy Bookcases had been useful, but were looking tired and the white finish was really out of sync with the rest of the lounge room.

Here they are in previous times, doing what Billy book cases have always done-providing a cheap and effective storage solution on either side of the fire place. Note the picture on the wall -more of that frame later!

 We tried several times to get a carpenter to build us some built-ins, but the vents for the gas heater were a problem in the design. No-one would even give us a quote!

A week ago I finally made the decision to buy some ready-made shelves. They are in oak finish and have two drawers at the bottom. They will be delivered the week after next.  In Western Australia, we often have to wait for things to be delivered from 'over East", and these are coming via Melbourne port and then on a truck across the Nullabor!

DH saw the delay as an opportunity to paint the room. We had put this off, because we were looking for replacement doors for the 1970s glass doors which lead from the entry into the room. They were looking very tired and very yellow. Confession: in 20 years of living here, we had never repainted the trim on these doors. They were pretty sad looking. Finding new doors which would go with the house -and in particular the entry doors we replaced a few years ago, was quite a headache, however. We had looked at salvaged doors but these weren't right in style for us. I had found a place which could make new doors but was not sure about a design. We decided to paint the room this week anyway -and figure out the doors later!

Now, you perhaps would like a 'before picture" but because we didn't like the doors, we have no pictures of them alone. Here is one just on the right side of the picture below.

Suddenly, we were packing boxes and moving things out. DH did a great job of painting the walls and ceiling. He even spray painted the ceiling fan blades white.  It has taken most of the week to do.

At one point I had a crazy idea -what if we painted the door paint trim charcoal, like the colour of the curtains and many other decorative touched in the room? If it improved things, maybe we could live with the doors, until the right replacements came up. DH wasn't sure, but did eventually agree.

We are not professional painters, and the doors were not easy to paint but the  result was better than we both expected.


The dark colour has brought out darker tones in the glass, and the dark frames pick up the colours of the gas heater, curtains, coffee table, sewing machine and even my quilt. They no longer seem to clash with everything here.

Here is the fireplace wall, waiting for the new shelves to appear. It looks pretty empty right now!

Do you see the new picture on the wall? I found it in an op shop in a dreadful frame. I took the print out and had a framer make a new matt and put it back into the frame which used to hang here. The new fresh look has brightened up this wall.

What did it cost so far? Paint (but not labour -both DH and myself in packing up and painting and putting things back), new matt for the old frame probably a couple of hundred dollars. Saving by not replacing the doors -several thousand dollars! Even if I count the cost of the new shelves (which were on sale and several hundred dollars each discounted) we are still ahead. A bonus is that the old doors get to live here rather than in a salvage yard or even in landfill. 

We are all pretty tired and achy just now, but pleased with our efforts.

I should have some time to concentrate on my new quilt in the week coming up, so I hope to have some pictures of progress next week.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Summer days already!

This is our favourite beach, which is called Mullaloo It is about 10 minutes drive from our place. Each year we know it is summer when we can get down to the water's edge and walk on hard sand with our shoes off. In winter you can't do it -the beach is narrow and steep, but summer changes everything- the beach gets wider and flatter.

 We walk here as often as we can -early in the morning before it is too hot. About an hour to walk to the rocks and back, then home for coffee and the rest of our day.  We have done this three times since last Friday!

The weather suddenly turned into summer a week ago. It had been very wet, then suddenly we had 36 degrees Celsius, we were wearing short sleeves and putting the ceiling fans on.

The shade sails had to go back up around the house.

We are very pleased with the way our grapevines are growing over the pergola on the north side of the house, and creating cool green shade over our windows.  These grapevines have only been here about 18 months. I expect that, the way they are growing, we will have full shade cover in about two weeks or so.  This will provide natural air cooling over the summer, but still let winter sun in.

There are bunches of grapes forming too! 

The jasmine on the back fence by the patio is perfumed and lush at the moment.

Dora needed to go to the vet for her check-up. After winter she always has a few knotty bits in her fur near the base of her spine -she just can't manage that part of the grooming task. The vet cut off the knots -but was able to leave most of her fur on. She looks OK from this angle! 

I added a finished quilt to my page here .  This was a very special project and I have had a lot of kind thoughts expressed to me in response to it. I have a new project on my design wall, but before I can start cutting things out I need to do a bit of maths and get the project planned out carefully.

As it is summer we are turning our thoughts to everything cool and summery. This wonderful book 'Honey from a Weed'  by Patience Gray is so much more than a cook book- is full of inspiration in the ways we can use our locally grown foods in new ways. Here in Perth our climate is similar to the Mediterranean -we can grow citrus, pomegranates, fennel, olives, thyme and rosemary, for example. If your library can get you a copy- I recommend it thoroughly.

 Another thing full of inspiration is the SBS new series of Food Safari . I get so inspired by the ways we can create simple and nourishing food using the cuisines of our world, brought to us by Australia's rich refugee and migrant cultures. Tonight I am going to make a noodle soup with tofu baked in the oven, and served with bean sprouts (home sprouted) and crispy fried onions. This will use some of my newly growing warrigal greens . Fabulously nutritious food which costs very little.

We are so lucky to live so close to this coast! If you are looking for us over the next few months, I suggest you start here!