Tag Archives: to do list

How do we DIY?… Tortoise or hare?

0131_9492 I’m an avid home magazine and design blog reader. Which is good for relaxation and inspiration, but not so good for making me feel awesome about our own progress. Reading about home owners bemoaning the fact that their renovation took “more than 6 months!” makes me cringe inside a little.

We thought we were being totally reasonable with a vague plan of two years to renovate when we moved into our home sweet home.


But, halfway through year four and the list is still pretty comprehensive. We don’t even have a master bedroom sanctuary to hide away from it all yet!


You probably picked a long time ago that I’m something of a list maker. And then I like to work through that list, one item at a time. It does my head in, to be working on multiple parts of our renovation project at one time. Because I like to cross things off my list! On a typical Saturday (our biggest DIY day) I like to get up in the morning and have a rough outline of what I’m going to get done that day, and usually, I’ll have everything I need already, to do that. In the week before, I will have been to Bunnings and got my paint, or I’ll have a request in for tools we need to borrow.


But I’m learning to give a little, and enjoy the process. Nothing crossed off the list in a month? Fine. After all, what will I even have to do or think about when we are “done”?!


I’m also a little astounded at what we’ve learned in the process of taking our time, and doing things ourselves where possible, and sensible!


Part of that process is stopping every now and again to just look back and see how far we’ve come. It’s important for keeping spirits up and making the to do list take up a little less of the viewfinder. So, if you’re new to the blog or just want to join me in some reminiscing, let’s carry on!


After a few months of settling into our house, and mulling over plans for making ourselves a home, the demolition started. Fittingly, with our front entrance.


Sometimes the smallest and least exciting of projects can make the most difference to every day living – like a washing line. And sometimes the biggest changes are the ones that feel like they were always that way. Did our kitchen really use to be an empty sunroom?!


Our kids share a bedroom, and Master W can’t remember when that bedroom didn’t even exist. I don’t blame him. My memories of cooking and doing the laundry in the space that the kids now sleep in are very vague.


Renovating, especially with small children to care for all at the same time, can lead to some pretty challenging times for a Type A person, but it just makes me more grateful for the peaceful corners and the little personal projects that do get ticked off the list.

With the outdoors neglected for the best part of two years, we finally turned our attention to the front yard, with a little morning breakfast patio, and a life-changing fence and gate.


We had to have a few goes at getting something to call a lawn and this summer hasn’t done it any good so you might see more on that in a while! Failures are all part of the DIY deal, but the successes more than make up for them!


It has been a labour of love on our part for the majority, so we are super lucky to have a builder in the family to help with the bigger and trickier bits. We’ve only called in a couple of pros like a gasfitter and electrician to connect up our new kitchen, and the biggest job we outsourced was the exterior painting. It saved so much time, and was definitely worth it!


Soft furnishings are a little few and far between as yet, so putting up some delicate sheer curtains made me smile for days (ok weeks!) and I still completely adore our lounge room rug. Artwork too, is taking it’s time filling in the walls, so besides the giant maps in the lounge the kids room and the dining space are the only ones to get any attention as yet.


On the go at the moment of course, is our backyard which we are very much enjoying this summer despite its unfinished state, and we have great things planned for our bedroom. One of which is going to be a new wardrobe! Whoop whoop!

I am very grateful to you all for reading and liking… and especially the lovely comments. It definitely keeps me motivated to crack the whip keep things happening around here, even if at a slow pace!

So to all the hares out there enjoying a snooze or two in a beautifully and completely renovated home, I commend you (ahem… envy you!) but we’re sticking with our tortoise style and will enjoy the scenery as we go!


If you are just starting, or somewhere in the middle, or even near the end of a similar adventure, do let me know – tortoises unite!


Living the quiet life with a newborn

If you asked me last week if I was looking forward to some quiet time when our baby comes I would have looked at you sideways, actually make that upside-down.

But, that’s just what this week as been for our little family of four after the arrival of our little girl early in the week!

Here’s a wee peek at our precious poppet…as you know I don’t tend to put photos of my kids on here (when the time comes, they can carve their own little space on the internet and I don’t want to ruin it for them in the meantime) so take a good look at her!

We’ve been home for a couple of days, and while the sleepless nights are coming back to haunt us we are loving being home all together (although I am dreading Daddy going back to work and leaving me to go it alone as a mum of two).

While I’m just concentrating on feeding, sleeping and personal hygiene for all my family, Andre has been busy with odd jobs and toddler entertainment (which conveniently enough can often be combined when you have a boy who loves pottering around with tools).

Here’s the current job list (as written up on this project of ol’ times):

And a few things that have already come off the list (bring on the long weekend and let’s get them all off!)…

Sanding, sweeping, varnishing, repeat… again… and again… and again… Poor Andre is so over the floor in the new bedroom but it’s very nearly there and I love it despite it’s patchiness (see here for just how much it means to me!):

I find it very encouraging to look back to see just how far this room has come.

Five months ago we came home from Sydney to this:

Then three months ago we cosied up this space for our little ones:

And two months ago we had it lined, plastered and spent every day sanding and vacuuming:

Next on the to do list for this room is to replace the door with the extra sidelight that came off our french doors way back when we shifted them from here:

To here (it’s a bit hard to see but above there are the doors, folded open, and sidelights on both sides, but below we removed one of the sidelights when we shifted them to replace the ranchslider, which left us with a spare):

Then we need to add trim and do a whole lot of painting. Then comes the fun part of decorating (that’s where I get to make up for lost time and create a nursery for my kids which will make up for them both beginning life in a barely personalised corner of our bedroom) and the long awaited move in! I’m currently on the hunt for a largeish, multicolour,  round rag rug – any suggestions?

We also took a trip back to get some more of these handles from the Timber Recycling Company on Archers Rd in Wairau Park, and in a fossick through some other bits and pieces we found a new latch for our bathroom door. The old one was a bit dodgy in that when you were inside the bathroom and slid the latch across, you thought you were well secure and could happily take your time, but I doubt any of our unsuspecting visitors ever figured out that you could still open the door because the hole in the door frame had come away on the outside.

So once Andre dealt with that false latch he installed this relic of old public toilets (I missed all opportunity for progress shots as I was ensconced with newborn and spill cloth on the sofa):

From the other side, as I’m sure you can imagine, it looks like this:

And the bit that took the longest was to make this catch for the door frame, which didn’t come with the bits we purchased. When we get around to painting the door frame, we’ll just paint over the hardware too, so in the meantime we’ll just have to live with the messiness of it.

Now that I’ve mentioned these blissful quiet days I may well have jinxed it and you won’t hear from me for some time! We’ll see…