Sunday, July 31, 2011

Orange and mustardy sunshine Sunday

Two of my favourite colours at the moment turned up this week in my favourite oppy. Gorgeous orange pyrex pie dish and my absolute favourite, a mustard Tupperware container. I think this might be a microwave steamer as it has a little tray in the bottom. It was quite marked and scuffed particularly on the lid but came up looking brand new after a little wipe over with a few drops of this amazing stuff.

It's orange oil, it smells beautiful and it is amazing at taking marks off plastic. I also used it recently to clean all the marks off my white replica Eames dining chairs. You do need to do a small patch test first as with some shiny plastics it can remove the sheen but no problems at all with this Tupperware lid.
And then up on a high shelf a scraggly cardboard box caught my eye. Just seeing the picture on top was exciting.

And then to peek inside and discover that it was all intact, no missing pieces, and a spectacular colour.

Anyone for fondue? I have never had a fondue experience and am debating whether to keep this little set or to rehome it with someone else who loves orange. Just a little tricky to do dairy free fondue as cheese and chocolate are both out.

While we are onto the wondrousness of all things orange, must share Roboboy's new most prized possession. He is almost too big for his walking bike, so a shiny new metallic orange bike with training wheels came just in time.

Nothing better than doing a bit of circle work with your mates. My cautious, careful and sensitive boy.

Always nice on a Sunday afternoon to take your toddler for a brisk walk.

My fearless, feisty, speed loving, gumboot wearing girl. She had just ditched the fairy dress as it kept getting stuck in the wheels. And she plays a mean of tug-of -war.

Happy orange and mustardy sunshine Sunday to you all. Linking in with Sophie and all her flea market finds.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Brunch when you have lost the will to blog

This post could more aptly be titled " Being a single mother for 12 days really sucks". Pestilence and disease. Betsy is riddled, hence the extensive blog hiatus. The kids are finally better when Legoman hits the deck. Big time. Not just a man-cold but the bedridden with 39 degree fevers kind of flu. He has just  spent 5 consecutive days in bed and dragged him self sporadically to work the prior 5 days to infect the remainder of his organisation. And, just for something different, he spent the weekend before that  in bed as well.

Meanwhile, I have been left to do EVERYTHING that could possibly need doing, as well as going to work and attempting to muster some vague attempts at sympathy. I haven't had the heart to point out that I spent less time in bed post Caesarian section. I did draw the line at being given the option to inspect his snot. Yes, I do believe it really was a hideous brown colour. Thank god the man rarely gets sick and praise to all the single mothers out there, I suspect none of them have time for something as indulgent as a blog.

Ok, enough ranting, where is the brunch I hear you ask? Well, as my weekend  midmorning was spent at Coles doing the food shop with 2 small assistants, the brunch was not over here. However, the fantasy brunch of croissants and quiet reading of the entire paper that I was entertaining in my addled brain would not be complete without this gorgeous red and white canister set that I found a little while back on one of my prowls around Ipswich (nothing like scratching up an old unwritten and forgotten post when life gets in the way of bloggable experiences).

As well as hitting the op shops, imagine my delight at discovering a veritable cave of vintage goodies. The Vintage Advantage is on the main street and the owner finds he barely has to even go ferretting for items, most people just bring them in. Oh and he has a posse of little old ladies in a few local Churches who put things aside for him.

One of those gorgeous old shop fronts with huge glass windowcases either side of a foyer to showcase the wares.

And inside, every nook and cranny filled with goodies. I think I was roaming in there for a good hour or so. So many things to look at. I love it when items are stacked up to the ceiling.

Ipswich is not like the old days. Back in my uni days it was the Thong epicentre of the world. Now it has Boutique homewares stores. You know, the ones with 3 items of artfully placed furniture, complete with incredibly expensive price tags.

It has boutique cupcake stores. Complete with kids play corner. If it had a bed I'm sure Liongirl would be quite happy to just move in.

And boutique mower stores. Could easily leave the boys in there for  a few hours .

Ispwich, something for the whole family really. I should be doing their publicity. I would perhaps be obliged to leave out the fact that they were chosen by Jamie Oliver for one of his nutritional overhall kitchen schools.
Anyway, my only other sanity saver in the last 12 days of flying solo was a trip to Ikea. I love Ikea and with 2 small children there is only one way to do the experience known as Ikea.

1. Wait for a rainy day when you are really not sure what else you have up your sleeve.
2. Drive for 20 minutes with 2 year old who doesn't understand that the radio will not play "Who's that girl" by  Guy Sebastian  on request just because she thinks she is "that girl who walked in the club"
3. Park near a trolley bay and let the kids ride the trolley all the way into the store.
4. Go straight to the restaurant. Order the $2.95 breakfast for everyone. Do not order the kids breakfast as the lack of hash browns will be sure to cause conflict.
5. Do not forget to take your dirty dishes over to the conveyor belt into the dishwasher. This is at times the highlight of the trip.
6. Go to the toilets now as they are near the restaurant. Omit this step at your own peril.
7. Go straight into the kids section which in the Brisbane store is adjacent to the restaurant. Play with as many items as possible. Before we took them to Seaworld my kids thought this area was a theme park. It was unspoken but understood that none of these items are available for purchase.
8. Do not be tempted by any other sections on this level. This is not the time for contemplating wardrobes or lounges or kitchen layouts.
9. Go straight down to the lower level and pick up a mega trolley. It is helpful to add two $3 cushions to your purchase as it makes lying down on the trolley so much comfier.
10. Whizz through this section taking every possible short cut through doors made of plastic flaps.Sounds effects help but are optional. Remember this is Seaworld for toddlers, without the hideous entrance fee.
11. Just before exiting, pick out the one item you came here for that had been researched via the internet the day before to ensure stock availability.
12.Finish up with 50 cent soft serve icecreams ( if there is dairy allergy, selection of a really groovy battery free torch is a good idea)
13. Congratulations, you have 2 exhausted and exhilerated children just ready to nap all the way home. And you get to bring home these lovely items for an project to be revealed shortly.

(product disclaimer- no responsibility will be taken if the 13 step plan is not followed exactly and everything goes pear shaped).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crochet capers

Finally, after what seems like a long hiatus, there is some serious hooking going on over here at Betsy's. And, miracles of miracles, I actually like what I am making.

You see, there has been covert crochet going on for weeks. But, not a single scrap has been finished as I get half way through and realize that I don't like that particular combination of colours, it's just not working for me and I cannot imagine that finished item being displayed anywhere in my house.

The problem being, I am a colour perfectionist. This also explains the multitude of paint sample pots in our carport from both Betsy and our last house. I would photograph the stack of tins but it could be indicative of deeper psychiatric pathology so we'll just leave that for now.

I am loving this cushion cover pattern found in a 1982 Woman's Day Collectors Series pullout booklet. Complete with advertising for Summit Light cigarettes and Pearl Drops tooth whitening polish. And these colours are joyous and light and sing happy to me.

These were my previous attempts that seemed good in theory and then were just not doing it for me when executed.

Too dull and yet kind of fluoro at the same time. Will be unravelled and turned into something else not involving concentric stripes. The colours were chosen to compliment this cushion. Which they kind of did, sort of.

But, I like the new combination so much more. Must get back to it, overwhelming need to complete something.

On a concerning note, I think my children have been reading the blog, or my mind. Both are worrying. A few days ago I posted a little note about wishing I had found my wool basket when my children were small enough to fit inside it.

Liongirl was eyeing it off for about 10 days before being unable to overcome that desire to just hop in.

And there is nothing more motivating to a 5 year old boy than his 2 year old sister beating him to it. Quite impressive really, in an awkward way, must look into contortionist classes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Turrets, Lockets and Tea Dresses

We finally finished the castle we were constructing for Roboboy's prep class. We used 2 large watermelon boxes from our local fruit and veg shop stacked on top of each other. The fruit shop gets $10 for recycling these but if you ask nicely they will often give you one for free. We have used several before to create a ball pit for a toddler birthday party and a rocket at kindy last year. The top one was trimmed to look like a turret and the bottom one had a drawbridge cut out of it. A few arched windows, cobblestone exterior and some crepe ivy and we were done.

Road tested by Liongirl of course, who also helped make the red flower. Drawbridge up, dragons approaching.

And of course the official test at prep. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair. When I did  school drop off the next day there were about 8 of the little kidlets in there, furiously defending the castle against rogue dragons. Requests have been issued by the girls for another plait please and a flower making class to complete the ivy. It is so exciting the watch their enthusiasm and enjoyment of something so simple.

The fabric behind our castle was found by another mum at Reverse Garbage and stapled up to enclose a little room. Isn't it an amazing find for looking like cobblestones? So that covers the turrets, now what about the lockets?

Well, look what I was lucky enough to win on a blog giveaway from gorgeous Bec at Naughty Shorts. Firstly, I must show how it arrived.

Beautifully wrapped with a handmade card and vintage sheet sample as well. I was beyond excited as the last time I won something was a plant in a grade 9 raffle. A very uninspired plant too from memory. I can't wait to pop some photos of my kidlets inside this locket.

Bec makes these lockets as well as the most wonderful vintage sheet tea dresses  and I am super excited to have finally ordered a tea dress for myself. Will be counting down the weeks until it arrives. Luckily, she intermittently does little showcases of all her recent orders so one can share all the vintage sheet joy while awaiting the delivery.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bathroom makeover reveal

Sadly the bathroom makeover did not happen in Betsy's bathroom. No it was the dollhouse that received some attention today. It all started with a trip to Spotlight to exchange some wool and buy felt and only felt. And then we took a wrong turn down aisle 23 and ended up in front of these.

A little set of wooden dolls house furniture complete with paint pots and brush. Before I could blink Liongirl was clutching this in her grubby little paws with no chance of extraction. Roboboy had simultaneously snaffled the boys version of a build and paint bomber plane. As Liongirl had already endured a visit to the doctor, nose swabbing for possible influenza and still had a fever over 38 degrees, I felt that in light of the significant sleep deficit I had endured for the last week, it was an entirely reasonable purchase. Straight to work the minute we arrived home.

Once the furniture was dry, installation was arranged and Roboboy set to work on the elevator. And then some staircases were installed and sheets and blankets snipped out of the felt we had chosen.

And then, because he was obviously on a roll, Roboboy decided to undertake a full bathroom makeover. Using every square inch of the sparkly pink paper chosen by Liongirl. Yes, we have been letting him stay up late to watch the block. His faves are Polly and Waz, he even chose their room when they had the bland week. Not entirely sure if he has talents within the design arena.

I think using "The Block" scoring system this would have to be at least a 6 for design and maybe a 4 for execution. Note that he even pink sparkly sheeted the ceiling. Oh yes, and there are matching pink felt towels. I do have some concerns about the thoroughness of the waterproofing though. But it was  all complete within about a 30 minute time frame, and surely there are extra points for having a yellow toilet.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Second hand joys

Finished the week with a splendid  find at my favourite oppy. I have been wanting a footstool for a while and had even been scouring ebay. Rectangular would have been fine but a round one is just perfect for my plans to either crochet or sew a cover- changing my mind daily on that one but the harlequin vinyl is not exactly my cup of tea.

And  the same oppy unearthed a gorgeous lamp. The shade had seen better days but the base was gorgeous.

I'm planning to repaint the base and cover a  shade and then send this one into Liongirl's room. But for the time being it has a new thrifted shade and a home on our silky oak sideboard.

Linking in with Sophie today to share the second hand joy around.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It all started with a Singer

Today, I discovered a little church op shop that I had never even noticed before. One of those ones that only opens certain days of the week and you just have to be in luck to know when that is. In through a tiny narrow door I found myself in a huge cavern hidden within the bowels of the church. As I ferretted, above me musical intruments were being tuned and chairs were being scraped into position.

I found this set of Sylvanian Family dollhouse furniture. Still new in the box, vintage 1985. And I believe this emerald green is quite fashionable currently.

And in the same section, in a non descript little box, was the clincher on buying the lot.

A teeny tiny Singer sewing machine table with foot treadle plate. The full sized version of these is practically iconic around these parts, even my mother in law has one.
So, I thought I would just put them all aside for a while until a dolls house appeared.
And then I had a cup of tea and checked my blogroll. And you won't believe what I spotted in a photo of the new stock at Paint me White down at the WAC . And I was in love. I drove straight down there and brought this baby home.

I have a bit of a thing for shadow boxes. But the colour and shape and size of this one had my name all over it. I can picture it full of cottons, and little jars of buttons and crochet hooks. But for the time being, I am happy to share the joy and have it looking more like this.

It has pride of place in my lounge room, against the only completed white wall in the house. As soon as I got home I had to find my old stash of furniture from my childhood as well as the little dolly my mum made for me all those years ago.

That red table and chairs and little stove are the only toys of mine that I had carefully packed away and saved for a day like this. They are like old friends and it makes me smile to see them again. Liongirl came home from visiting her Nonna and was straight in, rearranging and redecorating. The dolly has been tucked in with bunny creature into the little bed and all the furniture is now on level four. Roboboy is going to help us make an elevator and Liongirl has already requested a crochet blanket and pillow for dolly, as well as some new shoes for her too.

And that's my new wool basket, it's huge and cost $5. I just wish my kids were smaller so I could pop them in it for a photograph.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chooknosis via YouTube

Today was spent upholding all our chook maintenance duties. When we bought the new chooks, the man at Brookfield Produce offered to clip their wings. We declined, having no idea what this involved and thinking that it could only be a bad thing to do to the girls.

However since they have been spotted CROSSING  the road ( don't even start on the Why would they jokes) and flapping their way into several neighbouring properties, we decided it was time to curtail these extreme free range forays. With a little wing clipping, courtesy of a YouTube tutorial.

After being side tracked by a whole series of crazy animal  footage including a cat that uses the toilet, and toilet paper, we set to work. How on earth did novices get anything done in the days before YouTube I ask you?

The above photo is courtesy of Roboboy as I was holding the poor bird by the ankles while Legoman did the wing trim. It doesn't hurt the chooks at all (just the indignity of it all), more like a haircut really. We trimmed the ends of about 8 front wing section feathers and this should stop them being able to fly over fences.

Catching the wretched birds was more the issue and resulted in  a comedy sketch involving 2 grown men, 5 boys and a toddler all haring around the yard with nets for about 40 minutes. Liongirl then set out to collect all those gorgeous feathers.

This was part of a bigger plan to curtail our girls general free ranging, partly from a safety issue and partly for the preservation of our grass. Our gorgeous lush lawn has large sections where it has been pecked down to bare dirt and so we decided to create a large chook run for the girls during the day, and we will let them out to free range after school pick up only. This way our garden gets a weed, our grass gets a rest, we should not be stepping on chook poo with every trip to the washing line and the girls still get to roam for a few hours every day.

So, we headed off on a shopping trip for all the essentials and Legoman set to work at record speed. This is the prairie near our back fence that will become the day time hangout for the girls.

Nothing like watching a man thumping in star pickets with purpose designed tool.

And that smirk of all round satisfaction. At this stage it is all progressing so rapidly he is feeling like a regular genuine handman type of which he is generally not affiliated.

Look at this- an almost complete chicken run. I won't labour the point but the chooks did escape underneath the wire less than 30 seconds after they were popped into the run. Details, Details according to Legoman who will be tweaking this design flaw in the morning.

And with all the work completed, surely it was time for a little fun courtesy of YouTube. Ever wanted to hypnotise  a chook ? Legoman is now the Yoda of chook hypnosis. There is the chook lying on it's tummy following your finger technique.

One hypnotised chook.

But for extra impact, the hypnotised chook on it's back, legs in the air, is sure to draw a crowd.

The neighbourhood boys are desperate to come back and take MasterClass from Yoda. Lucky there is a whole second week of the school holidays left. Expect the whole set, in a row, legs in the air before the week is out.