Tag Archives: diy

Homemade laundry powder

Well there was no progress made on the master bedroom front over the weekend. But only because Andre and I got to spend an entire weekend playing tourists in our own city, while the kids had a fabulous time at their grandparents! We are all back together again and feeling refreshed and ready to hit the last half of the year running. We have a lot to pack in… we just don’t know what yet?!

So I started today by walking to kindy in the rain, and then a morning of chores, with the fire crackling and the washing machine humming.

I also finally got around to making my own washing powder!

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Mum knew I wanted to make some, so she bought me all the ingredients from Wendyl Nissen’s shop a few weeks ago.

It’s so easy to make… here’s how:

  • Combine 1 cup of Soda Ash and 1 cup of Baking Soda in a food processor.
  • Mix 60mL of Dr Bronner’s Castille Soap and 20 drops (or 2mL) of essential oil (I used lavender) together.
  • With the processor running on low speed, slowly pour the liquid mixture into the powder until it is all combined.
  • Store the laundry powder in an airtight container. Use 1-2tbsp per load.

It smells amazing, and I can’t wait to try it out!

Happy Monday x

 

 

Transplanting the plum tree

So, for better or for worse, we’ve done it. A quick reread of some online advice on transplanting fruit trees and I realised we’d better get onto moving our beloved plum tree. Apparently it’s something that should be done in early winter when the tree is at it’s most dormant. The next best time is late autumn, and I wasn’t planning on waiting 11 months for the next one of those to come around! Plus, it was a dull but warm day on Saturday, with no rain coming, and at this time of year you need to take those and make them count!

You can just see the tree we’re talking about on the far right of this picture (taken before we put up the screen and pergola on the deck), and that giant planter (temporarily filled with daisies) in the middle is where we’ve shifted it to.

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This plum tree is pretty small really, and unassuming, and I even used to call it ugly before I truly came to appreciate it’s inner beauty. It produces the loveliest plums in abundance, and I will have my fingers crossed until I see it looking once again like it did last summer!

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To get in the mood I started by weeding every other garden and doing my best to tidy up the vegie patch.

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First I removed some weedmat that had been stapled around the inside edge of this planter box, and did my best to loosen things a little, wishing the whole box would just disintegrate. It sits under this odd little triangle of deck in the back corner, and has always been an eyesore. We are still trying to figure out what to do here to replace it or at least cover it all up.
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When neither the tree or the box were budging, I gave up for a bit and turned to the planter. There were some wintering daisy clumps in there that I hauled out and replanted in various other spots in the garden as fillers. And there was dirt to remove.
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A certain small guy was keen to help. You can see here how huge the planter really is – you can lose two or three small children at once!
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Then it was time to enlist Andre’s help in the form of ingenuity and brute strength. He rigged up this levering system, then with a bit of spade work, and some good old-fashioned hauling…0610_1850 0610_1851 0610_1853 0610_1856 … it was out!0610_1857 Here’s the planter ready and waiting. We painted on some waterproofing stuff in the inside of these to help keep the moisture in.0610_1863 Then I had to down camera to help lift the tree up and up and into the planter.0610_1864 It’s a sweetly lopsided ol’ tree so it took a little spinning to get the right positioning in order for us not to fight with it every time we walk around the front side of the deck.

Although it’s not intended to stay here – at this point we’d like to fill in that old planter box with concrete and roll the whole tree plus concrete planter right back over top of where it began. That way it will allow the neighbours to come and go without us keeping tabs on them!

Eventually I’d like to have planters right across that back fence, both for privacy, and to hide the fence and it’s awkward change in height. Plus we desperately need to add as much green as possible back into this concrete filled space!0610_1867 0610_3747

So, grow little container orchard, grow! (And enjoy all this rain you are getting today…!)

Master bedroom makeover: Wall prep

We are in the middle of a week of plastering and sanding, and I’m too scared to open the door to the bedroom for fear of a dust explosion happening through the rest of the house. I put up with a mess of dust through the living room once, and I don’t want to do it again!

Last time we talked about this room reno we had demolished the wardrobe and were starting on removing the wallpaper. But it wasn’t going well remember?

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And then we remembered there was this great invention called a wallpaper steamer! For less than $25 for a days hire I convinced Andre we should at least try it.

I’m not sure what was going through his head but he was all for carrying on with our spray and chip method for the next three months.

Buuuuuttt… look who took over. Power tool – it’s only natural. And a few hours later I had to forcibly remove the steamer head from his hand because it was way past bedtime.0605_1167 0605_1168

Once again, I was on clean up duties. But I was content to lean on my broom and watch that wallpaper coming off in strips, not chips!

And the next day we were done with a couple of hours still to spare before we had to return the steamer soooo… the bathroom got dealt with too. This wallpaper is of the nineties trying to be twenties era. It had to go.0605_1173

This was possibly/probably a paper especially for use in a bathroom as it seemed to have quite a “plasticky” top layer, which I ended up pulling off before Andre used the steamer to remove the backing. It all came off really easily, and of course it helped that we only had the top half of a small room to do.0605_1178 0605_1181 0605_1182

But apart from cleaning up that mess, the bathroom has had no more attention for now.

So back to the bedroom. I mentioned last time there was icky stuff to be found under the paper in certain areas. This is the dampest and darkest of all the rooms in the house, and with drafty timber windows and no insulation until recently I wasn’t surprised, but I was still well and truly disgusted.

So after a bit of research and pulling on some latex gloves with a satisfying snap I held my breath and got rid of it as best I could. I started by spraying it with a water/vinegar/tea tree oil solution. I did this two or three times over a couple of days. Apparently that’s all you usually need to do to treat it (slash kill it, although how do you tell when it’s dead?!) and wiping it is maybe not good because it can cause the spores to spread. But of course we need to paint these walls and I’m not painting over dead mould, no matter how dead it is.

So I compromised and did my best to kill it before I then cleaned it up with rags doused in the same solution. Those rags got binned immediately – nasty things.

For luck I went back for a third step and sprayed again to ensure any leftovers were well dead.
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In the meantime we spent an evening doing some wardrobe visualising with the doors and shelves of the old wardrobe. We are trying to decide whether to use woodgrain on the sides of the wardrobe, or on the doors. Or not at all.0605_1204

All other spare time in the last couple of weeks has been put into sugar soaping. I started out with this job thinking sugar soap was some miracle cleaner that would disappear all gluey mess as soon as I touched my cloth to the wall. Not so my friends, not so.

I scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed until my arms ached and my fingers were raw.

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You can see below the difference it makes though – the left side is sugar soaped, the right is still waiting…0605_1207But I’m done, and now it’s Andre’s job to plaster and patch up and then finally sand smooth these four dodgy walls!
0605_1269And I don’t envy him one bit. I’ll take sugar soaping every time!

 

Growing room

Our current project-du-jour (the master bedroom makeover) isn’t providing many photo-worthy opportunities just yet, so for today’s post we’re going back to the kids bedroom one last time.

A couple of months ago it was all about the layered look we seem to have stumbled upon in there, and then last month I shared a quick DIY curtain project. So the final piece in the puzzle is changing out the cot for a toddler bed. Miss E was happy enough in her cot, but we felt she was ready for the bed, and we needed every bit of space we could get in the spare room (where we’ve moved while our master bedroom gets trashed!).

So while her cot is packed down and standing in the corner of our lounge, the kids bedroom is looking a little more spacious, and colourful and fun and cosy!

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I did get a little sentimental packing up the cot – it’s a very definite end to the baby era – but I’m excited for the freedom that comes with the short time between babyhood and settling into school life.

We have a long weekend coming up, and plans to get some plastering underway. Of course if all goes to plan I’ll have photos to share next week!

Until then, adieu x

 

Our midcentury outdoors

I made a promise on Instagram this morning that I’d get a backyard progress post up. And I know I’ve been saying the same thing on here for days now.

So, I hereby dedicate my entire afternoon (yes it will probably take me that long) including all available precious few moments of near silence with Miss E asleep and Master W temporarily convinced to sit still in one place, to show you where we are at with our deck and backyard.

We left off last time with the professionally built brick wall (which I still completely adore!) and this view of the backyard:

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And after a horrendous amount of painting and a bunch of other stuff, we now have this view from roughly the same position:

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Spot the difference?! I promise it does get more exciting. But first I’m going to thrill you with the process. If we had to endure it, it’s only fair I get to share it right?

This stage started yet again with cutting and drilling and digging and chipping out a couple more holes (but with much less grumbling because they could be the last) for the pergola posts.

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And I started with the fun task of choosing colours for the mid century screen on the side of the deck. I’ve had a trio of colours in mind right from the beginning (see the inspiration picture here) and even photoshopped them up here, but when it came to the nitty gritty of choosing the actual paint colours, I freaked!

There were numerous trips to Bunnings and the Resene Colour Shop and I collected a small hoard of samples, in the hope that one or two swatches would say “hey it’s me! pick me!”. Nope. All silent, even when I taped a few of them up onto the frame they didn’t squeal.

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But a few days of mulling it over and I finally picked the least saturated of my selections, knowing that on a sunny day the brighter colours would just be ouchie on the eyes. Plus the pastel tones are more true to mid century styling. We also picked for the strongest of the colour trio to fill the smaller panel on the left. And I did what I don’t normally do and grabbed some test pots of my chosen colours. Wiser and wiser! And the lesson is learnt, because with some bigger samples painted up (you can spot them a few images down, halfway through the pergola building process) I changed my mind on the blue.

But these screen panels weren’t all I had to paint. The pergola posts and fittings took me days of endless painting and a few mishaps along the way. It was definitely not my favourite painting project.

Before we go any further, let me just explain how we came to use steel pipe for our pergola… We knew we wanted something that would span the length and width of our deck without needing posts or bracing all over the place. We also wanted something solid and definitely there, but not chunky, so that ruled out timber (which would have needed to be on the chunky side to hold itself up) and left steel. I had pinned a bunch of images of awesome outdoor spaces that used I-beam steel as a pergola frame and so we designed up a frame and worked out how it could all fit together… then got a little concerned at the cost and logistics of having to construct it onsite. It would have been super heavy and needed welding in position. A little too much to ask of a humble husband and wife DIY team. There was no way I could single-handedly (the other one would have been feeding kids) hold up a 4 metre I-beam while Andre perched on top of a ladder with the welder. So Andre came up with Plan B: steel pipe and fittings. With a 60mm diameter being the largest standard tube size I was worried the whole construction would look too flimsy alongside our bold privacy screen and solid brick wall. But a little scrap pipe visualising along with Andre’s winning smile, and the knowledge we didn’t have any other choice (without spending way too much) convinced me to just go for it.

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So, with that the pipe was ordered and the painting started with a primer made for galvanised metal (I had to hunt this water based Steelite one down) and then topcoats of gloss white (tinted to Painters white for way better coverage).

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Next time we do something with steel I’m going with spray paint and probably will start with an etch primer or something like that. More expensive, but so much easier and a guaranteed better result. We had to do up to 4 top coats to get these pipes and fittings looking good. Te-di-ous. And yes they got rained on and a couple of times as I rolled the pipes to paint them they fell off the saw horses into the dirt. Aaahhh but it’s over now. The posts are all up!

Starting with the two upright posts, the weekend before Easter:

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With a last minute dash to Bunnings for a final piece of timber before Easter weekend (and a closed up shop on Good Friday) we were good to go with the rest of the pergola. Or so we thought… unfortunately “we” picked up a piece only treated for indoor use, and we definitely needed something outdoor treated. Oops. That left us with just a bunch more painting to do on that first precious day of the long weekend, and you already know how that went.

On day two Bunnings was open and the right piece of timber purchased so construction could get back underway.

Our resident builder came to lend a hand and the critical piece was ready to go up by lunchtime. Things are looking up (literally!)

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Oh but I forget… it needed painting. And the panels for the screen did too. That sorted the afternoon of day two. And of course it rained again.

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Which brings us then to our third and last day of DIY’ing it on Easter weekend and finally getting this pergola up.0429_3300

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By this time I wasn’t trusting the weather one dot so we rearranged the house to paint the panels inside. Take that rain.

0429_3284Somewhere in the midst of the late afternoon the last coat on these panels was deemed dry and we hung them. That was a happy moment I tell ya. There was dancing on the deck!

But no photos because I had my hands full of these heavy Durasheets while Andre nailed them into the screen frame.

Determined to finish by the end of the weekend, we were back out on the deck after an Easter Monday dinner of fish and chips.

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9.30pm – Done!

It wasn’t until the next day that I even really looked at it! At first I worried that the centre pipe in the “roof” was one pipe too many, but I think it’s just taking some getting used to. Anyway, we have plans for it, involving some shade for next summer so it’s staying put for now, and is an easy task to take it down if we change our minds.

So here’s where we’re at with our mid century flavoured deck and backyard space!

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I am delighted with how it makes this outdoor space an extension of our living area, and even Andre no longer scoffs when I use the term “outdoor room”. He gets it!

It just feels good out there on that deck! Much like when we built the front fence, the addition of the screen along the side, and the pergola frame makes this space feel like it now belongs to us. It’s cosy. We don’t have to share our deck dancing moments with the neighbours!

The colours for the privacy screen are, from left: Dulux Te Awamutu, British Paints Water Watch and Dulux Cape Kidnappers. Love them!

There is just a smidgeon more building to do out here before we’re calling it quits on exterior work for the winter. The outside of the planter box on the deck needs it’s decking timber skin (same as the front side) and we’ll do something similar (but more narrower/trellis-looking) to cover in the underside of the deck by the stairs.

So of course I’ll be back with that as it happens.

But for now, my deck is calling me to enjoy the last of the sun with a bite to eat. It’s well past afternoon tea time according to hungry kids and yes, this post has taken me ALL afternoon!

 

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!