Category Archives: Family

Pin of the day: Get the camera out

Do this with each of the girls "best friends"

Taking a little swerve from my usual pins of the day of home decor and house style. My brain is in photography mode today, because I read some great tips yesterday on The Beetle Shack. Two of the tips I’ve put into practise immediately!

My favourite photos are the ones with the stories attached. Even if they’re not your own photos, you can tell a photo that has a good story behind it. And even when they’re technically bad photos it’s fine because the story makes up for it!

So I’m making the most of this last week of school holidays, with my camera out on the desk full time, and (cheating a little) I’ve set the zoom lens on 50mm. I promise not to change it!

Maybe I’ll have some good candid “holiday at home” shots to share by the end of the week?!

Holiday mode

Nelson lakes, New Zealand

Once again, it’s kindy holidays and we’re living in an out-of-routine kind of world. More trips to the park, more play dates and more chaos reigning in the house.

So please be patient. Blog posts will be sporadic at most!

We spent our Easter weekend in total anti-social mode and finally got the screen panels and pergola up on the deck, finishing around 9pm on Monday night. So there are definitely pictures of that coming your way!

Easter eggs and DIY

I’m in a pretty good mood today! Here in NZ we are almost beginning the best (longest) weekend of the year with Friday and Monday included in our Easter weekend, and this year it’s followed by Anzac Day next Friday and therefore another long weekend! It really doesn’t get much better than that.

We feel pretty satisfied with the away holidays we had in January and February this year so we’re making the most of these coming weekends at home. And yes I have a list of renovation jobs that’s pretty looong. Here’s hoping we can cross off a few things!

But first, an Easter egg card, with much thought and love from Master W.

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I’m guessing by the end of the weekend he should know his Easter eggs from his fried eggs?!

Here are a few things I’m reading today, then I’ll be back next week with a whole lotta progress (I hope!). Have a fabulous Easter weekend (whether you choose to holiday or DIY), and good luck with finding a stash of the right kind of Easter eggs!

– A bedroom makeover on sfgirlbybay

– 5 tips for evaluating a business idea on A Beautiful Mess

– 10 ways to make cheap wardrobes look more expensive on Apartment Therapy

– 3 tips for styling an entryway on A Beautiful Mess

– A California house tour on A Cup of Jo

– The Perfect Carrot Cake on Made from Scratch

 

A few weeks in an “insta”

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Progress has been making slow headway around here, which makes for little blog content. But there’s always little bits of projects on the go that end up on Instagram (@duckeggblueblog). So I thought I’d share them here in case you don’t catch them there. And there are a few bonus pics that haven’t yet seen the light of day!

So… starting out the back which is our current priority, here’s progress in pictures:

0410_0208 0410_0213 0410_3149 0410_3158 0410_3195 0410_3198I’m aware that not much of this will make sense right now, but you have my promise it will in a few more weeks (here’s hoping the weather holds to and beyond Easter!).

Much to my delight we’ve also made a start on the master bedroom, finally replacing the cranky old sliding door with a more pleasant hinged option, and the nightmare of wallpaper stripping has begun…

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Besides this, I’ve set myself another six year deadline to get our travel albums completed. A few short weeks away is the day that six years ago we headed off on the adventure of our lifetime.

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As we lived the nomadic life there was a lot of talk about kids and houses and settling down – and suddenly here we are and I’m wondering if that “big OE” was really the adventure of a lifetime?! Every day is the adventure of a lifetime is it not?! In another six years, who knows… I might even be missing these days of endless demo and painting?

 

Things you never knew…

Heart of Gold ... tissue paper tassel garland // wedding decorations // new year // nye // metallic gold

There was a little surprise waiting for me in a rare Saturday morning check in to this here blog o’ mine. Two lovely readers have passed on a blog community award called “The Liebster”.

Thanks Jamie and Maura – I appreciate it!

Previously I’ve sidestepped these awards, thinking you don’t want to know things like my biggest fears or my most embarrassing moments… but two in one day and all, maybe it’s time to share some of those things?!

So, here’s what Jamie and Maura asked me to reveal…

1. Why did I start blogging/why do I blog?
I started with stars in my eyes, hoping to make some money from it. So far, nada! But I keep it up (if a little sporadically at times, when life gets in the way) because it’s become something I do just for me – a creative outlet that I enjoy!

2. What is your greatest passion? What drives you outside of your blog pursuits?
Interpreting this as what do I love most on this planet? My family. Easy.
Other than that, I thrive on achieving something for myself in a day – whether that is getting a creative project started/progressing/completed or just earning myself a little bit of money from my part time efforts in graphic design. It helps me feel like me to achieve something for myself.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Well that would have to be losing my nearest and dearest.

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4. Of the places you’ve lived, which is your favourite?
I’m picking two. One is the first poky little house I lived in with my husband. It was nothing about the house… just living with him. Awesome! Second, our campervan which was home in Europe for almost 6 months. We had our moments, especially when my brother came to stay, or when it was raining… but you can NOT beat the lifestyle!

5. What is your dessert of choice? Favourite quick, weeknight dinner?
Big cheesecake fan. And I recently came across this recipe which is delish and so easy to make! Surprisingly though, there’s no chocolate in it! That usually entices me on a menu… Favourite quick dinner? Chicken pilau – it’s quick in preparation but does need to cook then for half an hour or so. Best thing is everyone loves it and the pot gets well scraped!

6. What was the most memorable vacation or trip you’ve taken?
Hmmm, I think I’ve just answered that one above. Definitely the trip around Europe. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think back to it, and I’d love so much to take our kids on a similar adventure one day. It’s good for perspective (if not the finances!).

7. What is your favourite movie genre?
I’m a romcom cliche!

8. If you knew you were about to eat your last meal, what would it be?
Gran’s roast dinner, followed by my cheesecake!

9. If you had to move from your current home to another and could only bring five items with you, which five items would you choose?
Our vintage mirrors (inherited from grandparents), photo albums, Miss E’s bedtime bunny, Master W’s lego, our map artwork and rug from the lounge (oops that’s six…).

What

10. Which famous person’s house would you most like to live in?
I just saw this yesterday… don’t know if it qualifies as “famous person” but we fell in love with the island houses in Scandinavia and I think we’d be happy here for quite some time!

11. If you could be someone else for 24 hours, who would you choose to be?
My Nana – so I could learn a little of her wisdom.

12. Where do you find your inspirations and materials?
I read a lot of blogs… and magazines. And I have two kids who surprise me every day!

13. What’s the worst vacation experience you’ve ever had?
The first that comes to mind was our recent camping trip… it rained one night and we discovered in the morning that our borrowed tent had a not-so-waterproof-anymore floor. ALL of our beds/bedding and the bottom half of our clothes in cases were all wet. It meant a whole morning for Andre at the nearest laundromat (45mins away) drying everything out!

14. How do you take your coffee?
Since pregnancy number two I’ve been on decaf. Can’t handle the real stuff anymore! And I have it with cream, no sugar. Or if we’re out – a flat white. Kiwi’s coffee!

15. Favourite blog?
I’m a little addicted to Young House Love. I wanna be them.

16. If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be?
Cleaning up after breakfast/lunch/dinner.

17. What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?
Just doing things a little differently. Whether it be attempting a new craft skill, cooking something you’ve never tried before, visiting a new place…

18. What would be your ideal workspace?
This garden studio is pretty amazing. Except mine would have to have a covered walkway connected to the house. Otherwise I might only go to work on sunny days. Yep, rain’s annoying!

19. What mode of transportation suits you best?
Love my Toyota Corolla hatch/wagon. It’s a small wagon so I think technically it’s a hatch?! But if I was single and childless I might have a Vespa. That would be coool!

So how’s that? Not so bad?

Now I’m supposed to nominate a bunch of other “small bloggers” to keep the Liebster rolling, but I’m going to cheat (pleading off with a headache and the guilts for not helping Andre with the pergola DIY du jour…) with a favourites shortlist, and do check out my Bloglovin profile for a whole bunch of the blogs I follow. There’s some good ‘uns that’ll have you addicted in no time!

So, besides YHL which I must. check. every. day. I also head to ETST for some sweet life inspiration, Homely One for a little look at a so very similar to mine life from another perspective (truly, so many of Amanda’s posts are like my own thoughts escaped while I was sleeping or something) and I’m quite enjoying Love & Ginger for the reminder that there are other people out there working on DIY’ing it every weekend!

Images: Gold tassel garland from Etsy | Campervan is ours from our previous life | Ideas Island creative retreat | Garden studio by Scott Lewis Landscapes

Update: A third Liebster in less than a month – awww I like that! Thanks Lisa from lifeblooming!

Swinging around

This last weekend we had little time for getting the deck pergola started. But the kids got lucky with a 15 minute project that we easily found time for.

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Master W has long since outgrown the swing that we all love, and Miss E is finding it a tight squeeze to get in and out now too.

So while I was out and about last week I stopped by a repair shop and asked about getting a tyre. As it turns out, they have to pay to dispose of them, so it was no problem for me to just help myself to one.

A quick scrub with some soapy water and a brush, and it was ready and waiting for a man with a plan. My plan was to tie some rope around and hang it in a tree, but Andre had a better idea. Maybe he just wanted to involve fire and power tools? I don’t know, but it’s a good thing he did, and I’ll tell you why in a minute.

So, first up. Get out the drill. After drilling the first hole, we got a tape measure and then marked up two more drill holes all equal distance apart.

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We used some rope we had in the garage, and on the previous crate swing so this was a no cost project for us. We like those!
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A simple knot on the end, and repeat another two times…0325_0063

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To keep things clean and dry Andre also drilled a few holes around the bottom side to let any rain water drain right on out.

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And with that it was all ready to hang in the tree.0325_0098

These are the two eye bolts we fixed into the tree for the first swing. You can see how (as per our research that time) the tree has just grown around the bolt, and is much happier than if we’d just tied a rope around and ring-barked it.0325_0062We only need one hanging point for this swing, but it’s nice to leave the other bolt in for swing 1.3 at some point in the future!

So with all three ropes threaded through the eye of the bolt, the hardest part of the whole project was getting them tied off with the swing sitting level. Kids keen to jump on already and wife calling out “that’s not level!” were no help apparently!
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But before things got too grumpy it was all done and has hardly stopped swinging since!0325_0112 0325_0122

Now here’s why this way up is much better for our (younger) kids than my idea of hanging it vertically with a single rope tied around it (like this one, which is maybe better for older kids).

1. Multiple kids can sit on it at once (we’ve only tested it so far with two, but I can see three times that number having a ball on it!)

2. It’s a more comfy seat than wedged over the inner gap

3. Having ropes to hold is easier for littlies than trying to hold the tyre itself

4. This is the biggie… the kids can climb on it and push it themselves with their feet, then tuck them up on the inside to swing – even Miss E!

Their favourite way to “swing” is to twist it around and around then shriek madly that they want to hop off as it unwinds and spins them back the other way!

With this, the sandpit, and the gorgeous warm weather holding, the kids are spending lots of time outside, which is always a good thing!

Have a lovely week…

How to get sandy feet in 10 minutes…again

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Avoid eye contact with the renovation to do list and run away for the weekend to the beach!

Or…

You might remember last time we whipped up a ten minute DIY sandpit? We had to dismantle that one when we redid the lawn, and I’ve been feeling deprived (on behalf of my kids) since.

So once it was confirmed we didn’t need the blocks for our upcoming brick wall, I claimed them as mine and set about putting our world of play right again.

First I cleared and swept the area clean, then it’s a simple matter of laying down weedmat and placing the blocks on top. I used weedmat again because it keeps the sand from falling through the deck, but also because it makes for easier clean up when you need or want to pack it all up. This area of the backyard is still in development, so it’s unlikely the sandpit will stay beyond next summer (although I’ll probably incorporate a more permanent version into the plans!)

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We had weedmat and the blocks from last time, but we did need to buy some sand this time. 3 bags from Bunnings at $7 each barely cover the bottom of it but the kids are fine with that, and we’ll get some more at a cheaper rate once the trailer is emptied of it’s latest lot of builders mix.

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For shade and some colour, I’ve fixed the umbrella stand to the fence and we put the umbrella up when the sand pit is in play mode.

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0224_9806The kids are pretty pleased with the results, and I’m happy with anything that gets them outside in the fresh air for some creative play. It also adds a little something to the corner of the backyard that is looking the most neglected right now.

0224_9804We will more than likely build some sort of structure for play and/or shaded seating in this corner. But we need to wait for winter, and the dormant stage for our plum tree before we can uproot it and try and transplant it into that giant concrete planter. Then we may need to strengthen that odd little triangle piece of deck before we add more planters right across in front of the back fence. I would also dearly love to turn the expanse of concrete into crazy paving, but it’s not just so easy to smash it up. Apparently. We might have to go for plan B involving pebbles.

0224_9820The very next thing out here though will be the brick wall. The footing is completed and I’ve just had word from our bricklayer that he’s scheduled us in for next week. Can’t wait to see the last pile of materials sitting around the backyard to transform into something useful. Maybe that will help erase the memory of two weekends spent waterblasting every. single. brick. on. every. single. side.

What also helps is feeling like we are at the point in this renovation project where we can look around and really see how much has changed – not just how much we need to do. Does that mean we’re on the downhill side? I think it might! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!

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