Monday, January 31, 2011

Honey, I shrunk the bees

Thought you might have been wondering what this little yellow box was at the base of our poinciana tree from yesterdays post.  This is our beehive. But not just any bees, no, these are the infamous Australian native stingless bees ( yep I'd never heard of them either).

You see other than Lego which is Legomans life passion and only vice, his other genuine interest is bees. For several years there has been acquisition of bee books and grilling of honey sellers at markets. There were several stimulating debates on the subject  as I provided a voice of reason that with small children who have allergic tendencies,  traditional bees with the whole fancy outfit and smoke bizzo would not be a great combination.

So he did his research and then sold me on a hive of the native stingless variety and ordered them from here . And of course they were the highest priority on the weekend that we moved house, forget the truckfuls of possessions that required unpacking and sorting. Much contemplation went into the correct placement of the hive as it must not have too much or too little sun. Also once the hive is placed it can only be moved less than a metre or more than a kilometre otherwise the bees radar can become scrambled and they may not find their way back to the hive.

They are quite small- like a compact little black fly with no obvious buzz and obviously no sting. They do however produce honey- a small pot every month but it takes 9 months to get the first pot so we'll get back to you in April  as to how it tastes.

Like others in our family they too have some interesting quirks. They don't bother getting out of bed unless it is 18 degrees celsius- sounds like a supermodel kind of demand to me. In winter this means they are often not staggering out until around 9-10 am and are all tucked up in bed by 4 pm.

Recently we also had some interesting swarming around the entrance of the hive. We consulted our trusty bee book to discover this was part of a battle to the death as a rogue faction of bees from a different hive were trying to invade ours. Sure enough our neighbours observant 8 yo spotted all the dead bee bodies piled up in front of the hive. And here was I thinking they just rehearsing for an aerial display.........

This went on for a few weeks and was slightly annoying for the kids as the swing went through the swarm and then one day it was all sorted and life went on as normal. ( well perhaps not for the several thousand casualties) We did start with 5000 in the hive and we haven't been able to do a roll call to see if everyone was accounted for.

If you get up really close to the entrance pipe of the hive you can see them returning from their travels with little pannier bags on each side filled with different coloured pollen- mostly white, yellow and orange. Unfortunately I don't have the macro camera skills or equipment to show you but there is also a hive within a log at the Mt Cootha Botanical gardens as part of the kids nature trail.

And if you jump over to here you can get more info on the bee hives, chickens for hire or purchase and a range of really cool creature kits for kids as well. Trying to decide if Roboboy is too young for stick insects for his 5th birthday, might have to start with ladybirds.............

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time for a bath and a lie down

Well after another day of hard slog we finally have something to show for our efforts. Not by any means finished but frankly even half finished is an achievement when there is a toddler in the house.

Ooooh and doubly exciting- I just worked out how to enlarge a photo- might have to nip back and enlarge yesterdays before shots as well.

So we managed to completely level the back left corner and get it flat enough to get the trampoline off the sandpit where it has been for months. Our previous house had a backyard the size of a postage stamp and was completely taken up by a huge mango tree so a trampoline was completely out of the question. So as soon as we moved in here in August we had a massive garage sale and ordered the trampoline.
As the grass grows back it should fill in most of the dirt nicely and then we will keep a small garden bed along the fence line - partly as we can't face doing any more digging than absolutely necessary and also so we don't expose the roots of the tree in the middle.

The other major achievement was redoing a border around our gorgeous poinciana tree- the one that has been earmarked for a treehouse.

Sorry about the scrappy photo on the left which is the BEFORE shot - forgot to take a photo before I started this little project as I didn't think I would get this much done. As you can see the garden edge is all overgrown, most of the rocks were submerged and the chooks had scratched most of the barkchips all over the surrounding lawn.

The AFTER shot on the right shows the same garden bed from a slightly different angle complete with a new rock border- made with all the previously submerged rocks , all dug out separately with a mattock and shovel (hence the need for a bath and a  lie down) Then just behind the rocks is an edging of mini mondo grass which had been dug up and recycled from the big garden bed we had been working on since yesterday.  I  do know that rock garden edging is so so 70's but if I want a new kitchen I need to save up for one so that means making do in the garden. Being able to recycle the mondo grass  means that no money was spent on this makeover at all. Also my hope is that the mondos act as a barrier to stop the chooks flinging all the bark chips straight onto the grass. Will get back to you as to whether this actually works or not. 

This job too was only half finished ( I just didn't photograph the back half) so guess what I will be doing in fits and spurts for the next few days. Hopefully if the weather holds we can get stuck into the rest of the big garden bed next weekend. Then I get to try and wangle some new plants for my birthday! Then again there is that  gorgeous retro bicycle I have my eye on............

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Time for some hard work

Well finally there were no excuses anymore, it was time for some hard work. No rain  - check, no compulsory days of celebration and festivities- check. No new natural disasters - check.

We have had the small issue of about 40 square metres of overgrown garden bed that we decided should be dug out to increase the usable space of our yard. We have been trying to get to it for 6 months but some other issue has always come up- mainly the almost constant rain and resultant mud.

We have also had the added stress of my mother ( who is known for spontaneous rants on all sorts of topics) proclaiming that the feng shui of all that dirt in the north east corner was a big problem ( can't remember what kind of problem) and that it must be dug out before mid February or we would have to leave it there until next year....... WHAT THE?

So we decided it would be much easier to just remove all the dirt rather than debate the details of this statement any further. This is what we were dealing with

Behind the tyre swing is a prairie of weeds interspersed with a few scrappy Deites, Rhoeos and a solitary Yucca atop about 20 cm of elevated dirt bordered by broken pieces of concrete. We need to level it out to fit our trampoline which has been currently living on top of the sandpit rendering it completely inaccessible.

So we got into it early and the girls were right by our sides helping, well maybe less helping more general involvement . I have come to the conclusion that chickens either have no peripheral vision or very small brains as  a mattock swinging millimetres from their heads does not deter them at all. Several times I was close to decapitating them both and or turning them into uni toed chickens.

See how close the mattock tip is to Dora's head and all she is thinking is "where's the wormy, I know if I just scratch and peck a little more.....ooooh beetles, there would have to be beetles...." By the way I do actually have a head and face under that hair, just happened to have pigtails today which has rendered me a very fluffy cousin IT.

Well it was a veritable feast in there- worms galore, beetles and a lizard that both girls fought over like the last handbag at a Myer Stocktake sale- they got half each in the end! I did have to keep pausing to ensure no accidental decapitations and I got the distinct feeling that the girls thought Legoman and I were just out there working to procure them lunch and there was no higher agenda than that.

Dora ate so much she them promptly collapsed on the lawn for a lie down. Sooty, if she had those same urges simply chose to eat through it.

Finally late afternoon it was down tools and over to the neighbours for a swim. We had levelled about 1/3 and almost made enough room to move the trampoline. Now all I need to do is not focus on exactly what the girls ate today and how it will end up in their eggs tomorrow.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The girls come for a sleepover and decide to stay

Remember a few posts back when I showed you that drawing of us living in the house- the one drawn before we even moved in? Well if you look carefully in the top right corner of the picture you will see 2 chickens.
Well they jumped out of the drawing and sought us out, initially  in the form of a chook-sitting opportunity.
We had talked about chickens for years but thought we should get the yard a bit more organized first. Well the girls had other ideas.

Only a few weeks after we moved in with Betsy some of my husbands work colleagues said they were going away for a months holiday and would we look after their girls for them. We thought what a great way to try before you buy and that weekend the girls were delivered complete with mobile coop, bags of seeds and treats, water dispenser and egg collection box.

They stayed and had a wonderful holiday for 6 weeks and then the owners came to take them away. They mentioned that they had dismantled their bigger coop and just bought a new puppy. The girls did not want to leave and hid under our house for an hour before being captured and packed away. Gardening wasn't the same without them - we would constantly dig up tasty beetles and worms only to remember that there was noone to share them with.
Then 2 weeks later we got the call and an offer to keep the girls and the coop for a small sum to compensate for the sale of the coop. We didn't hesitate and the girls just came home to us last weekend.

We seem to attract second hand pets who are prenamed so say hello to Sooty and Dora. Sooty is meek and mild and generally quite agreeable. Dora is like her namesake and is a complete explorer who frequently flaps over the fence into our neighbours yard to seek tastier treats or torment their dog. She is also much more assertive and has wandered into the house on several occasions to scoff down the cat's biscuits.

They are extremely good company and we let them wander around our garden digging and scratching and pecking to their hearts content. They  love nothing more than assisting in a little weeding and preparing of garden beds,

Followed by a feast in the compost bin and rounded off by a generous squeezy how long can a chicken hold it's breath kind of cuddle. They produce an egg each every day with yolks so yellow they are like a drop of pure sunshine.

The most wonderful and most surprising thing is that they actually talk. They are so happy to see us ( and our puffed rice and corn cobs) that they will run up tooking and clucking away in a very conversational manner ie I chat to them, they wait their turn and then answer me back. I am hoping they will teach this conversational style to Roboboy who is unable to answer any direct questions eg"  what did you do at school today "and interrupts with his agenda constantly " mama I've built you a cleaning machine with 27 attachments and here is a blow by blow description of how they all work......"

The chicken cuddle photo above also showcases Betsy's grubby blueness with equally grubby cream trim. Betsy and I have been experimenting with some alternate frock colours- more on that soon. And the giant yellow plastic thingy is a pig with a lid that followed us home from a kerbside cleanup and  is super for hiding little sisters in while mum panics that she has wandered off down the road.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crepe myrtle delight

Roboboy and I ventured outside today armed with ladder and secateurs as all our gorgeous crepe myrtle trees are flowering. They remind me of a musk stick crossed with fairy floss. We left a little trail of tiny pink balls all over the garden and the butterflies just kept coming.
Lots of gorgeous velvety black winged creatures with dashes of white or electric blue, often in pairs, exploring Betsy's garden of floral delights. Too fleeting to photgraph of course.

Today we were recovering from a wonderful Australia Day all day marathon event. Our old street around the corner hosted a party for all those in the surrounding three streets who were flood affected and those who helped them clean up. 130 people showed up- the street was closed off and an army of children rallied with bikes and scooters to make the most of a car free slope. There was a jumping castle for the littlies and endless supply of cold drinks, watermelon, snags and lamb chops (of course). The sun was hot, the air was still and toddlers armed with spray bottles provided cooling relief. Neighbours who had barely seen each other before swapped stories about gumboots, generators, salvaged possessions and strangers who became helpers and friends over a few short days. It was sensational and hopefully will become an annual tradition.

We then staggered over to our good friends in the next suburb who had provided much needed power to us during our 4 day blackout. As they had come through the floods unscathed but had also witnessed close friends in need they had also decided to host an afternoon celebration. Another jumping castle ( with slide this time) lamingtons, hotdogs, pavlova and many happy small children with many relaxed parents made for an awesome afternoon.

The highlight was the arrival of our good mates whose brand new house had flooded through the entire lower level - the one that we had all helped clean two weekends ago. Despite being displaced to the far northern suburbs of Brisbane to stay with family and no insurance assessment completed yet they were in great spirits and came dressed to celebrate in a very Aussie way.

There is nothing like the aftermath of a natural disaster to bring out the Aussie elite athlete in those of us who are on the wrong side of being able to wear lycra. We love you guys and wish you a speedy return to your dream house. In the meantime hold onto the positives- your kids and most precious possessions were saved and you really didn't want that pool table anyway.

So now we are in the midst of a real Brisbane summer - hot and muggy with the blue skies so clear they make Betsy really look like she needs a good scrub. Life for many of us feels the most normal it has in months, those old predictable hot sunny days the reassurance we needed. But all you have to do is drive around the corner and there are rows of houses that are too quiet, the hedges are dry and brown and a smell of something dank still lurks and it is a reminder that for many people things will not be right for a long time.

There is one amazing positive in all this though- an amazing show of community solidarity, genuine concern for neighbours who were once strangers now friends. Let's hang onto it as long as we can and hope our children get a lifetime of benefit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to accessorize your cat

In the wee hours of the morning I was awakened out of a stupor with Roboboy holding up our cat to share with me how they had been spending the first 30 unsupervised minutes of the day. Who said that men had no awareness of how to bring out a girl's best with accessories? Surprisingly our cat was not looking grateful for this mini  earring makeover- I suspect that she knows that  the pink/taupe combination is SO last season.

Our wonderful burmese Bella has an acute awareness of seasonal home decorating fickleness as she was given away when she was no longer required to match the home decor. She had been purchased by someone who had never even owned cats or even liked them that much but who thought she really looked good as a feature pet in their coffee hued balinese furniture inspired unit. ( incidentally she could definitely have been  cover shot material for Home Beautiful magazine- they did have a phase of photogenic pets on their cover)

We were happy to adopt her ( unoriginal name and all) and she has been eternally grateful and incredibly affectionate ever since. She did subsequently sway a lounge purchase in the direction of a taupe colour that matches her incredibly well and really brings out her chocolate highlights.

She and Roboboy go way back to days of being best mates because he had the cleanest bedding in the house. Actually even before that, when I was heavily pregnant she knew, and she would lie on my tummy and purr him a lullaby.

 She is a total princess and will not lie on any surface sullied by her fur or dirt and will seek out the clean washing or the freshest set of sheets to bed down. She tolerates being carried around the house with legs dangling, dressed in clothes, bandaged by the " vet" and transported in wheelbarrows. She is part of our family and Roboboy is adamant that she smiles at him. I have watched her closely and she does seem to either be asleep, look huffy or have a Mona Lisa type expression if you are saying nice things about her.

I'll tell you about our other cat who emancipated himself from us another day.......

Crochet 101 here I come

Isn't this a delightful work of art that seems too good to be destined for a life of pins? My gorgeous friend Trace from  here  made it for me as she knows how much I admire her creations and that I am on a path to be more creative this year.

So I am extremely proud to announce that I have in fact made an actual committment to being more crafty and have enrolled in a Beginners crochet class starting in a few weeks at this wonderful place . It will be my birthday around then so Legoman looking after the kids for three Saturday afternoons in a row while I get to be frivolous and crafty will be the best present a girl could ask for.

My other source of inspiration is this beautiful cardi made by the endlessly talented Kate from here and my dream is to learn enough to be able to make one of these for Liongirl. Hopefully I'm not being overambitious.
I must mention that I'm very excited to have worked out not only how to add a link but also a photo during this one post!  Apologies Kate if this is not the right way to showcase someone elses work/inspiration - is there meant to be text underneath the photo as well?

So now the pressure is on to actually produce some work of my own and follow through on my plans. I kind of like having this sense of responsibility to the blogging world to come up with the goods so to speak. Otherwise I am sure I would just float around dealing with domestic hazards of the day and have nothing to show for it for another year.......

Monday, January 24, 2011

Too school for cool

Well it was with much excitement and a little trepidation that Betsy and I said farewell to our Roboboy who was off to his first day of school. This is him singing himself along to that line from I think a Pink song about being " too school for cool"- hence the funky arm movements.

As far as first day at school attitude, he was awesome- was right at home in about 2 minutes and answering every question the teacher asked. I was impressed that he quickly picked up the bit about putting your hand up first but suspect he then spent the morning saying " Pick me, pick me...."

Roboboy refers to himself as a robot- often pausing to turn up or down invisible dials on his tummy that control things like power, boosters and volume- we wish we had a remote for that one. His paediatrician describes him as "Quirky" and I could probably run with that if I only saw him for 3 hours a year and wasn't directly responsible for anything he did.

On the flipside he is the only 4 year old I have met who can find a way to use "gravity" and "momentum" in everyday conversation. We love our Roboboy and hope he loves school.

Ever wanted one of these ? I have for ever. The kids got one for Christmas, Besty provided the huge poinciana tree and Legoman braved the 20 foot ladder to hang it up. The swinging arc is massive and it can safely swing three kids at once. No better way to come home and relax after your first day at school and Liongirl loves it too.

Why Liongirl? Well she is fearless, has a curly mane and one of her 2 year old mates mispronounced her name with a lion on the end instead of a line and it's kind of stuck.

The best part of today was making a new friend at school, not Roboboy, ME! Nothing like a complete stranger with a child the same age, a cup of tea and a sharing of minds. Sometimes friends arise completely out of the blue in the most unexpected way. Makes a sunny day even sunnier.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Few words Wednesday

I am really struggling with the concept of a  post involving just a photo on Wordless Wednesday. I thought using few words was more realistic for me......

Inflatable pink boat $8
Inflatable pool $29
A hot sunny day in Brisbane spent with mates in the backyard............PRICELESS ( and frankly rare as hens teeth with the summer we are having)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A wedding anniversary tree for Betsy and me

If I haven't already mentioned, I have a bit of a thing for trees. For most women this same desire would be elicited by shoes or handbags. I have short little hoof like feet best suited to a clog and cannot balance in heels. I have a bad habit of leaving over ripe pears in handbags. Enough said.

 This tree fetish caused significant problems for my marriage as our old yard simply did not have room for any more and Legoman would threaten to mow over any new trees that I tried to sneak in. In my favour I did manage to squeeze in a frangipani, a tibouchina and a travellers palm around the biggest mango tree in the world.

One of the best things about Betsy was her personal collection of trees and lots of space to negotiate for a few more. Just as I had a list of requirements for our new house I also had a list of most coveted trees that I would love to have in my garden and Besty provided almost the entire list which went something like this :

1. Jacaranda-  my all time favourite and Betsy has 3 of these in the front garden and 2 down the side
2. Poinciana - quintessentially Brisbane tree - Besty has a massive one of these in the backyard that has already been earmarked for a treehouse by my son and several neighbourhood boys
3. Macadamia nut tree- medium sized and already prolifically producing nuts for us
4.Frangipani- this is a must for a Brisbane garden and ours is huge and gnarled and perfect for the kidlings to climb in for photos
5.Laurel tree- these are one of my favourites but are massive and were not on the essential list. There are 2 in neighbouring yards so we get to enjoy them but not have them blocking all our sunlight
6.Crepe myrtle- we have 2 of these still shrub sized rather than trees but with gorgeous musk pink flowers

As a bonus she also had 2 lemon myrtle trees with their wonderful scented leaves and a smattering of lillypillies for privacy screening.
What about a mango tree I hear you ask? Well we had one of those at our old house and while they are amazingly lovely with their rich green foliage and lush canopy they have a bad habit of biennially producing tonnes of inedible fruits that rot all over the ground and create a slushy fermented carpet. So no tears for the missing mango tree but do still love them, in other peoples yards.

There was only one essential tree missing and it is in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful trees to thrive in our humid Brisbane climate.
And soon after we moved in we found a space for it and then last week at the nursery there it was , a perfect size and shape, my very own Tabebuia Palmeri. Legoman and I agreed, it was a perfect 10th wedding anniversary present to each other and now our little tree has pride of place in the front corner of the garden.

 She is here from the very start with us and will grow and flower along side our children and she represents 10 years of marriage for Legoman and I. We had our last house for almost 10 years to the day so it is obviously an important milestone for us.

Tabebuia palmeri have been used heavily by Brisbane City council as a nature strip planting and you will find them all over Brisbane particularly around Paddington. They are deciduous which is rare in Brisbane and then in spring the bare branches are covered in gorgeous trumpet shaped flowers like a Jacaranda except in pink (or bright yellow but personally the yellow is a little lurid for me).

 They can grow into quite a big tree and I love that we have made our own mark on Betsy's garden for all the families to come after us, who will get to enjoy our little tree all grown up just as we are enjoying all the trees that are already here for us. And when my children are all grown up I will look at the once little now big tree and be reminded of my once little now big children.

Make your mark, relish your children, plant a little tree and grow along side it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

If in doubt, do a drawing

As I have already mentioned, Betsy and I were not instantly best friends. In fact despite looking through her twice I was still vacillating as to whether she was right for us. She had everything we wanted but her packaging was different from the house I had been dreaming of for 3 years and that threw me a little.

Usually I am a very decisive person. I think about things from every possible angle which sometimes takes a little while but once my mind is made up I am fully committed. With Betsy I was really struggling. My husband - let us call him Legoman as he has a weakness for the little plastic bricks- was not sold on Betsy, in fact was not actually sold on moving at all. He wasn't happy where we were but the whole concept of selling and buying and packing and moving was enough to make him just roll over and contemplate his navel for as long as he could get away with it.

So this decision would be mine, decided by me and driven by me as well. A big responsibility. So, I did what every girl does when burdened by choice and asked my mum for advice.

She did what she always does when pressed for opinion on something cataclysmically life changing and suggested I do a drawing of us living in the new house. She was not completely fobbing me off ( although it often feels that way) as she has a degree in art therapy and this is a well known tool for exploring emotions. (And she had done the same thing 10 years before when we buying our first house).

The point is not to be a great artist, or even remotely accurate for that matter but to just draw what you feel and not be self conscious about the quality of your work.

So I did and you are looking at it. I drew the beautiful garden, my daughter swinging from the huge poinciana tree, my son digging in the sandpit, the vege garden we would be able to plant, the chickens we were longing to keep, and Legoman and I kicking back on the deck with our mates. And mum sat there quietly until I had finished placing the last crayon back in the pack. The only comment she made at the end of this was- " do you realize that the drawing of you living in your new house does not include any image of the actual house?"

And she was right, no evidence of Blue Betsy at all, just her amazing garden. And from that moment I knew we were doing the right thing, the house would be wonderful for us mostly because of the space and trees within that gorgeous garden and all the experiences it would allow us to have with our kids that our old house could not. So even when the pressure of buying and selling was upon us and our friends thought we were mad to leave our beautifully renovated house with it's tiny garden, we KNEW that Betsy was meant for us.

If in doubt, do a drawing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

And mud will bring us together

Thought you might be wondering where we went, we just got a little lost in a world of rain, evacuations, blackouts, suburban kayaking and friends in need.

Firstly to all those who were worried for our safety, Betsy and I are safe and dry as we are perched on the top of a ridge. Unfortunately our riverside surburb was one of the hardest hit in this terrible flood and the streets either side of us were not so lucky.

The photos are from our old street just around the corner and show a few old girls up to their petticoats in mud and the very surreal sight of a small boat cruising along to visit some neighbours.

Tuesday night was a frenzy of activity as countless trucks and trailers beat a track down to the riverfront as people desperately tried to empty their homes and take their belongings to higher ground.
Wednesday morning was replaced by the sound of stillness as most access roads to our suburb were cut and neighbours congregated on the street to share information and survey the destruction.

This was quickly followed by a prolonged blackout that only resolved tonight and a police blockade into our little community checking all cars for ID to prevent looting.
Many of our friends and neighbours have been directly affected and we saw several using kayaks and boats to gain access to their submerged properties.

Yesterday the cleanup began as the water receded and left a foot of sludge in it's wake. We spent the day today helping friends empty and clean their brand new house that they only moved into 2 weeks ago. The flood filled their pool and about a metre of their first level with foul smelling sludge that we have bucketed and high pressure hosed and disinfected until we could do no more. The footpaths are a sludgy muddy mess covered in huge piles of mud covered rubbish sometimes reaching 3-4 metres high.

In contrast to this horrible image of waste and destruction are countless people, young and old, trudging the streets with shovels and brooms. There are tough looking blokes armed with high pressure hoses and huge brooms sweeping mud into drains. There are pretty young girls in floral gumboots and leggings emptying buckets of muddy water over railings. There is a boy driving a small bobcat with his dad, both have the same hat, ears and freckles. Everyone works together and despite the heat and the stench and devastation there are laughs and conversations about wonderful things like weddings and friends in common.

I am so grateful to have a family and home that are safe and dry. I am so proud to live in a place where helping friends and strangers in need is valued so highly. I am so amazed at how powerful an experience like this is to make you reassess your entire life and every value you have. My heart goes out to others who are not sleeping in their own beds tonight or who have loved ones who are not safe and dry. And if you are fortunate enough to be at home with your family, please help in any way you can, with gloves and bucket, with a supportive ear, with homemade food or babysitting.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's the most wonderful day of the year

The day has arrived for the Little Blue Bungalow to make her debut as the star of her own blog. Me, well I'm just along for the ride really. Let me tell you the delightful story of how we became friends.
We found her, in all her blueness, in May 2010 and had no idea that she was what we were looking for. We were organized, we had  a list of requirements for our next house and California bungalow was not one of them and neither was powder blue.
She did however, despite her shocking blue frock, contain everything else on the list. This was an extensive list and as she and I became acquainted  I was ticking off the requirements in my head.

1. large preferably flat block of land
2. lots of established trees
3. at least 3 bedrooms
4. wide central hallway and large rooms
5. vj interior and high ceilings
6. liveable
7. in one of only 4 suburbs close to where we currently lived

She had all of these neatly packaged as a low set California Bungalow instead of the high set Queenslander with wrap around verandahs that I thought we wanted. She also in her favour, had beautiful ornate plaster ceilings, a long flat kid friendly driveway, and she was around the corner from our old house which would allow us to stay in the suburb we loved.
And best of all she had great bones but was looking quite tired, dull and in great need of someone to admire her and make her glow again. And someone who could see past the shocking blue frock which she had  been thoughtlessly dressed in over a decade ago.
So, after three long months of waiting and driving past every day to check that she really was ours, she welcomed us to join her in August last year. And we don't miss our old house at all. Well, maybe just the kitchen, but I don't want to hurt her feelings so lets just keep that between us shall we.

Over the last five months she and I have been contemplating a blog to share our plans to bring out the best in each other. She is more than happy to support me with my three 2011 resolutions of  creativity, gratitude and organization. At this point she feels I also have to confess they are actually all 2010 resolutions that still require extensive committment so we are hanging onto them for another year and now we are a team it should make it alot easier.
 She in return is quite excited about a makeover as frankly the powder blue frock is not her at all. Having got to know her a little over the last few months I agree it is really not her best colour and there has been a recent flurry of activity looking at colour swatches together. She is also very keen to change her name at the same time as the frock as she feels quite misunderstood. We have not yet discovered her real name but she is currently best known as Betsy. And we all know that a Betsy in a blue frock would be at best brash, slightly stocky with sensible shoes and flesh coloured tights and probably working in a diner.
So if you love queenslander houses with a story, california bungalows , renovations and makeovers, creative endeavours and all things garden related then come along for a stroll with us anytime.

Welcome to the little blue bungalow