Sunday, March 25, 2012

Teapots and Spraycans

Look what popped up at the oppie next door to Liongirl's ballet class. It begged me to take it home, once I stopped swooning over the gorgeous teal colour with just the teeniest amount of crazing that made it even more likeable. Completely justifiable of course. My only other teapot, I chose when I was 12 and it is in the shape of a cow. When your pour,  the tea comes  out of the mouth like some massive tea hurl. See, completely justifies a  new non hurling teapot.

No justification for this gorgeous rose oil painting other than it was only $ 4 and I loved the colours. 

Now , what do you make of this funny little thing? Grotty, rusty magazine rack for $1.50.

I quite liked the shape. It got me thinking about a quick little spray paint makeover. It seems however that enamel spray paint colour options were not quite my ideal colour palette. While I was envisioning mint greens and mustard yellows, instead there was every possible heritage colour. Heritage green, maroon, cream, etc etc etc. After scouring the shelves and leaving empty handed I can home and ferreted in the shed and found this colour. Creation blue. Not quite duck egg blue but not bad. A bit of steel wool therapy first.

Then, two coats later.......

The perfect spot for my little pile of crafty book goodness. Now I just want to find something else to spraypaint, it's a little addictive you know.( No, not the fumes, the turning something ugly into something pretty bit). Actually, in the interests of factual accuracy I should add that the overspray was so bad on this particular project that a chunk of our back deck is now Creation blue. And all of the soles of our feet. And enamel paint does not wash off in the bath.  Back soon, hopefully with some sunshine in tow and clean feet.

Linking in with Sophie for more op shop treasures.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Staying sane in the rain

We are working on not losing our marbles over here at Betsy's. In fact they are part of our new sneaky parenting strategy. The gift that keeps on giving is a fish obsession that we plan to milk for all it's worth. Roboboy LOVES his new tropical fish but there is plenty of room in that tank for more fish and aquarium accessories. And that means we have some high quality leverage.
So every time we catch him being kind to his sister, spontaneously helping with chores, perhaps eating the least favoured parts of his dinner, he gets a marble. Those marbles have an exchange rate too,  5 marbles equals one actual dollar to spend at the Aquarium shop.

In the last week he has set the table numerous times, emptied the dishwasher every day, played nicely with his sister and accumulated $4.60. He is also practicing his maths every time he counts his stash and converts to fish dollars. We use other strategies for dealing with poor behaviour, there are no threats to take marbles away. We also don't given marbles for routine chores he is expected to help with, but he has  now started asking for extra jobs. We are pleased with how well this is working and look forward to seeing what he purchases with his fish dollars.

We ignored the weather on the weekend and set off on an adventure to Ipswich. It was the final day of a fantastic lego exhibition at the Ipswich Art Gallery and we did not want to miss out.

There was an unlimited selection of wheels, plates and axles to create a vehicular masterpiece. Liongirl and I finished our prototype first. Time to test it out on a stunt ramp.

This one had flashing countdown lights triggered by the red button and a starting block that you could lower when all vehicles were in position.

But this one was very steep and had a cutaway section for stunt driving and essential jumps.

Unfortunately, the girls prototype vehicle whipped up by me in about 5 minutes, was no match for the Legoman 2 wheel masterpiece.  I did feel better when I noted than none of the other kids or dads could beat it either (he is not called Legoman for nothing).

We did manage to drag ourselves away from this awesome place to check out the other exhibition but were struggling to keep our hands to ourselves in this room of painstakingly created vehicles.

On the way home we stopped at a gorgeous little native animal zoo in Queens Park. For a gold coin donation you can travel around a boardwalk while spotting wombats, quolls, wallabies, emus, bilbies, dingos and native birds.

The Queens Park playground is pretty spectacular as well. All in all a great way to spend a dreary day. Back soon with some wonderful pyrex finds and a little makeover project.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vintage florals and Tropical fish

This is how we kept miss Liongirl happy at her brother's party. Her own little vintage sheet cubby house to host a tea party or two. Right next to the tap for an endless supply of cups of tea.

It's lucky our washing line ( or washing LION as miss Liongirl calls it) is the perfect size for an outdoor vintage floral cafe. A few pegs, a few sheets, a tablecloth and some pilfered cubby furniture. She even managed to lure a few unsuspecting boys in there mid party.

And what did Roboboy get for his birthday? The gift that keeps on giving? The one that he wanted even more than LEGO? ( To test his dedication to this particular present we told him the week before his birthday that he could either have this present OR lego.) He remained steadfast. So look what came home to Betsy's.

Yep, they would be tropical fish with their own miniature glow in the dark coral reef.  And you'll never believe where they have taken up residence. Remember the original curbside find?

We always thought that the top section had been designed for a fish tank. So we turfed out the top shelf lego and brought the old girl back to her glory days.

And the gift that goes on giving? Well let me just say that we have plans for the current fish obsession. Evil sneaky parent type plans. More on this soon.

I have had some lovely oppie finds lately but the light has been atrocious with all this rain so no decent photos except this one I forgot to share from ages ago. This little birdy houses all my safety pins in my sewing room. Like always it was the colours that lured me in.

For more thrifty finds pop over here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thrifting the rain away

With all these grey skies and constant rain, I have a mouldy back door and the endless hum of a dryer keeping me company at Betsy's. So I decided it had to be time for some midweek sunshine, oppie style. Time to bring home some colour to cheer my soggy spirits, so to speak. And boy did those colours find me. The orange salt canister was 50 cents, the tray was $1, the sparkly mouse was thrown in for free and the gorgeous floral and mint tablecloth, $5. As an unexpected bonus, I have discovered that I am  completely "on trend" with this purchase as according to this talented girl , MINT is the new mustard.

Today at Betsy's it seemed to be a lot more about orange.

Pyrex with a LID, a miracle really, $5. The Enid Blyton's turned up for 20 cents each and just in time, as Roboboy and I are on the last chapter of The Magic Wishing Chair for bedtime reading. I love these hardcover versions, they match my three copies from the Faraway Tree series that I have had since I was  a little girl and I love that my little collection is growing.

And lastly some things for the kidlets. Any mother out there will understand that finding lego or duplo at the oppie is like GOLD. The base plate, bus and trailer appeared in perfect condition and came to a total of $6. Roboboy whisked them away immediately and has embellished them into all terrain vehicles complete with rooftop gardens. The snippet of blue floral corduroy was obviously, well corduroy. The green lidded bottle is for a plan Legoman and I are hatching, and Pollyanna was on my New year resolutions list to read this year.

So, I know this post was nothing at all like what I suggested was coming next. Can you please just consider it a cheeky interjection from a girl who is coming back down to earth with the demoulding of her back door. Back soon, with a post containing everything this one was meant to have.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Six year olds, lego and waterbombs

Well, my little Roboboy turned 6 last week and on the weekend we had THE birthday party. The only requirements were a few school mates, waterbombs and a lego man cake. Needless to say the gang of little six year old boys that took over our house had a great time and we are still picking thousands of burst water balloons out of our lawn.

What do you think of my lego dude? He ended up a little bit retro, mainly after a small food colouring issue where all attempts at red turned out pink and was salvaged into a dusky purple for his corduroy pants complete with Freckle belt and stripy snake sleeves. (Freckles are a MUST on birthday cakes, I think they have worked they way into nearly every cake I have designed). For a retrospective of Roboboy's cakes, pop over here.

There was minimal styling at this party, some bright colours, big balloons and a little bit of home made lego bling. Roboboy painted the legoman in order to play "pin the party hat on the legoman" and we made some potato stamp legoman heads which he individully stamped with yellow paint and then glued on some party boxes and then wrote each child's name on for the take home treats. They all got a lego minifigure and a few lollies and a glowstick. Best thing was that he did most of the work for me. Easy peasy. The lego art carousel was a birthday present, spins on its base and has spots for lego erasers, crayons, felt pens and pencils as well as a pencil sharpener legoman head. ( on sale in BigW for $15 quite recently if anyone is looking).

Incidentally, what do you think of the grey wall behind? I have been testing more external colours for Betsy and am quite liking this one. About to go and get a big tin of exterior gloss and slap it all over the back wall of the house so I can step back and survey it on a large scale and make sure I still like it.

Look what a mum from swimming was kind enough to lend me, her complete lego silicone stash which she had not even used yet.( I think she found them on ebay). I didn't use the legoman mould as it was too small and I had my own ideas already but I did make some of the bricks and minifigures in white chocolate which looked very cool. Had a few saved for a photo but the real Legoman of the house found the stash and gobbled them all.

The highlight of the day though was the joy on this boy's face as he played with all his mates and they threw these all over each other. Happy birthday my gorgeous boy with the wobbly tooth. Back soon to show you the birthday present that keeps on giving, a curbside find update and how to keep little girls amused at a big boy birthday party.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The great pillowcase revolt

The pillowcase situation had degenerated into something of great concern over here at Betsy's. It all started when I dared to upgrade our doona cover a few months ago. Legoman could not understand why on earth after 9 years I would have any desire to change it. He is sure as part of the marital vows that I had made a lifetime and eternity, til death do us part commitment to that doona cover.

The only problem was that I haven't actually found a doona cover I like for about 9 years. So instead I have been using this king sized chenille that turned up at the oppie a few months back. I kept our old white European pillowcases and scratched up some random  thrifted pillowcases.  Legoman was not impressed with the embroidered vintage peacocks on the too  tiny pillowcase that was squishing his pillow. So he started going commando, sans pillowcase.

You see, a desperate diabolical drool  crisis in the making.

And so I ferreted out one of my favourite vintage sheets and whipped up some new pillowcases. Can you tell I have a thing for texture and pattern? And all I needed was a new bedside lamp, the old one of course being entirely complimentary to the old doona cover. And after spending a sum total of $8 on new pillowcases and chenille bedspread, it needed to be done on a budget.

Look what I found at Target for $35. And yes it is slightly ironic that as I bitch and moan about my custard yellow lounge room walls, I then bring home a banana custard yellow lamp.

And so, now I have one cushion plan remaining but I am pretty happy with this room. Aside from the walls of course. The bedrooms  over here at Betsy's are thankfully not custard yellow but are instead 1/4 strength Hog Bristle. In this south facing room, they look a little greenish and eventually they will be painted straight white. At the rate I am going, probably around 2024.

So this is as good as it will get for a while, and I am so pleased that at least one room at Betsy's looks almost complete.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plans are afoot

Well, for anyone who has felt let down by the lack of renovating on this self proclaimed renovating blog, we are finally making some progress. We have some plans. Now, let me qualify that, we have fantastically detailed plans of our current house, complete with feature laundry in the lounge room , least functional kitchen in the entire universe and roofless deck rendered completely useless in the rain. And it has been raining in Brisbane for the better part of the last 18 months since we bought Betsy.

We also have a building designer who as we speak is making various changes to some concept drawings that plan to renovate Betsy on a pretty tight budget. We intend to take out a wall, put in a massive beam that spans the entire house, double the size of our kitchen and rebuild our rotting roofless deck with a new roof. She  also has some exciting ideas to link in the granny flat that was tacked on to the back about a decade ago.

To say I am excited is an understatement. As soon as we have some drawings we are happy with I will share all the details. Fingers crossed in the next week or two. In the meantime, to satisfy any renovation cravings I can heartily recommend a visit over to a very new blog I have just found where real actual renovating is happening daily as we speak. If you pop over to Rachael's house you will find walls that are already white (not custard and whinged about daily), a backload of posts about previous renovations and daily posts about an unfolding renovation of a glorious Queenslander house in northern NSW. Oh yes, and she has great taste in artwork, house styling and very cute children. Don't even get me started on the vintage wallpaper tree in the kids room, I am desperately plotting to replicate it somewhere in my house.

When I am not up late at night obsessing over kitchen layouts, I am finding things to do on endlessly rainy days with the kids.

A spot of baking. Yay for the discovery of dairy free chocolate chips. The pyrex birthday bowl is a gem to work with.

Some paper plane folding and racing.

Growing crystal gardens (lovingly chosen and gifted to me for my birthday)

And trawling the internet for inspirational invitation designs for one upcoming 6 year old birthday party. You'll never guess what kind of cake I have been begged to create this year.

Back soon with news. Could be a party, Betsy related or op shop love. Should be good either way right? Before I forget, if anyone else knows of any other blogs with actual renovations going on, I would love you to share, nothing better than living vicariously through other peoples renos when your own are slow going.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Birthday finds, the Oppie way

I found this lovely dish just before my birthday. Seems too nice for snacks, maybe I can get Roboboy to help me colour sort my buttons into different sections.

Once I get him off here perhaps.

It has been really hot, wet and muggy here for what seems like weeks. We are cooling off with trampoline hose downs in between bursts of weeding, pruning and mowing.

I managed to weed out this whole bed and thus justify popping in some new flowers. Some dahlias and salvias and verbenas, a dash of colour next to my glorious Double Delight rose.

Legoman has a new toy. Extremely long long pruning thing-a-me-what-sit. We have a LOT of tall trees that have needed taking care of so the yard is now littered with prunings. It has also given him a reason to be up prowling on Betsy's roof, trimming overhead branches while pondering the complexities of several different roof lines. We need  a new deck with a roof and working out how to link it in is proving tricky.

I might just sit and ponder that Salvos special I was telling you about. You know, the birthday present my boys brought home in the trailer. Well it's all clean now, just waiting to be stocked up with vintage sheets and pyrex. I'm not sure about the colour but look at those curved ends, glass doors and lovely original grey laminate bench.

I am still in shock that it was not only in my local oppie, but also it was a red spot special - 25% off! I'm contemplating a new colour, and maybe some wallpaper features behind the glass doors. So many projects, so little free time......