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Posts Tagged ‘Progress’

Do you notice anything missing in the photo above?

One of the other little changes I’ve made is to get some Powerline adapters so I can run my internet through the electric wiring in my house, rather than having additional cabling through my house. A much cheaper change than the other incremental improvements I’ve made recently, but such a difference.

Before this, I had a 15+m long RJ45 cable running from my modem to the other side of the house where my computer is. Although you can selectively ignore it, every time I vacuumed the vacuum cleaner would get caught up in it and often yank the modem out of the wall. Although I mostly photographed around it, you could see it in the background of many photos…

…or the foreground…

It photobombed many living room photos:

…on the left, just below the falcon chair

Like a horror movie villain, it was always lurking:

…it’s BEHIND you!

And it added visual noise and clutter:

During the great sewing adventures of 2016

One tiny change, and it’s so much more serene. I feel relaxed each time I walk into my living and dining room with that one tiny change:

Cable free

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Front door, now with security screens on it

Another big ticket item that’s lead to a hardly noticeable change to my house, has been installing security screen doors to my front and back doors.

Prior to painting the windows and doors, there were old wooden screen doors on the front and back. But they were falling apart and weren’t secure, so I didn’t replace them when I painted the outsides of the doors summer before last.

Before shot: post-painting but pre-screen doors

I need screens both for security and also to keep flies and other insects out, especially the back door which I like to leave open when I am hope. It cools the house, but I really don’t enjoy the amount of flies and other insect visitors I was getting through it (This summer I had to wrangle about 15 lost bees out of my laundry because they flew in through the door, but were trying to get out through the closed window right next to it).

Before shot: post-painting but pre-screen door and window

It can get quite hot in summer, so having the option to securely leave the back door open while I am sleeping will make a noticeable difference to the temperature of the house during the super hot summers we get in Perth.

I got screens for both the window and the door in the laundry: since the initial quote, the price has come down by a couple of hundred dollars which was a bonus!

What’s behind the screened door?

So I can even leave the window open slightly, should I not want to leave the door open. That’s an added bonus! Plus now there’s also the option to securely leave the front door open too win-win!

Laundry door and window screens, looking good!

 

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Wide open vista: without old hot water heater…and without neighbour’s trees

I’ve been doing a lot of small improvements: small but they occasionally cost big money. They are not “wowser” improvements, there are no big and noticeable changes but they are improving my quality of life, my house and – in this case – are unavoidable…

Once such improvement was removing the old electric water heater which was rapidly rusting out, had the capacity to only fill 1/4 of my bath and ran out of water about 15 minutes into any showers (I don’t normally have 15+ minute showers, but I do like the option when dyeing my hair or doing treatments).

Old water heater, taking up space

The old water heater was an electric only tank heater, that took up a bit of space in the back garden. And the back garden is quite narrow to start with.

Old water heater looking to the other side of the garden

I’ve replaced it with an instantaneous gas water heater which is much smaller and sits much higher on the wall so there’s space to put plants below it. It’s a small – but expensive – change, and was needed because the old heater was rapidly on the way out. It’s improving my life (hot baths and unlimited hot showers) and also improving my back garden.

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New Years Houseolutions 2018

Pretty posy from a DIY Dad party attendee

So 2017 ended up being a little more busy than previously planned, with quite a few curveballs: surprise visit from sister and niece, burglary, requirement to buy a new car; in addition to a couple of challenges I threw at myself: planning and hosting 2 celebrations for DIY Dad’s 70th Birthday, studying a PD course comprising of 14 modules while also studying another course. One #goal achieved, was making DIY Dad a birthday cake that pretty much looked like the photo in the recipe book:

Sexy soft meringue cake filled with cream, pineapple and drizzled with kaffir lime syrup.

I did manage to cross off some items that had been carried across a couple of years of houseolutions lists, but for various reasons outside of my control some longer, longer term goals were achieved in 2017: hello brand spanking new alarm system, hello new car; but hey: sh*t happens.

2018 Houseolutions

Achievable:

  • Culinary and domestic skillz
    • Learn how to pipe buttercream icing
    • Learn how to knit
    • Make more passata and investigate other foodstuffs I can preserve at home
    • Finish off the silk panel project
  • Wet areas:
    • Finish painting bathroom cornices and fixing wall paint from last attempt to paint cornices (not a gift of mine)
    • Patch and repaint areas in the laundry (there are a couple of plugs that need to be removed from the wall, I need to fill, patch and repaint those areas)
  • Eaves: I need to repair, strip and repaint my Eaves and fascia boards (this is tied to the work on the garage roof that’s moved up into the achievable section for that reason)
    • This relies on DIY Dad direction, and he’s currently busy renovating his house. So although I’d hoped to do this over summer, this will happen at some point in the future.
  • Garage:
    • Re-roof garage: making it water tight and insulated
  • Front garden:
    • Investigate fencing infill options as the current lattice panels are starting to fall apart
    • Topsoil and levelling of lawn
    • Finish front garden bed:
      • Buy agapanthus to fill in gaps and add some purple to the bed
    • Planters around patio:
      • Relocate bulbs in the patio planters (they need to be thinned and relocated from where I will be repointing)
      • Once new homes for bulbs are located, plant in Dianella Little Jess to add some year round foliage and colour to the beds
      • Relocate the reed/grass plant currently in the garden bed (to the front verge, sectioned and replanted)

Dreamable:

  • Investigate trellis solutions for back yard, which could be:
    • Stainless steel + sailing wire trellises for out the back, or
    • Rebar mesh (with my ongoing love of corten, I am starting to lean more towards an industrial finish for some things…)
  • Passive Solar Measures
    • Insulation: I live in Australia, y’all.
    • Get universal tile ventilators for roof: Whirly birds destroy the roof line, imho.
  • Termite treatment: I live in Australia, y’all.
  • Front verge
    • Plant front verge with drought resistant plants that attract pollinators and/or are native bush tucker foods (with the aim of total cost of plants being less than $50, so far no money has been spent :D)
    • Mulch it like it’s hot

Longer term:

Some other goals that are optional and will probably not be achieved in 2018, but one can live in hope (and carry them over into 2018 and beyond):

  • Buy some big (preferably retro) pots and trees for front:
    • Yellow desert lime
    • Fig tree: DIY Dad has a very neglected Fig Tree in a pot at his. I will be bringing it to mine and seeing if I can resuscitate it.
  • Restore roof and then get solar panels: to make use of abundant resources and for guilt free electricity
  • Not as pressing, but on the radar:
    • Re-pointing:
      • I need to dig out sections of my patio planters, to enable those sections to be repaired
      • I’ll need to remove all my downpipes to repoint behind them
      • I’ll need to work out how to repoint in sections where there is no easy access thanks to a later wall being built (see next point)
      • I’d like to get the mortar gun working (issues to do with quality of sand are causing the problem, according to my research), as that will help with some of the trickier sections
    • Restore freecycled furniture in my garage
    • Carport: draw up a rough plan for what, where and how.
    • Grey water system to water lawn.
    • Garage:
      • Replace window and door, again making it water tight with a view to turning it into a studio.
      • Replace garage door, making it water tight (or at least so I don’t get leaves from the street blown into the garage).
      • Invest in garage shelving to remove requirement for storing stuff on the floor.
    • Spare room: build a murphy bed, so I have space for visitors and painting. Murphy beds are the coolest.
    • Gallery hanging system: even if I can’t do the whole house, if I can do some of the rooms (or even just some of the walls in some of the rooms) it will mean I get some of my paintings and other sundries off the floor.

Previous Houseolutions

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Holiday Task #Hero

Today is technically the first day of my Christmas holidays, and so far I am winning at completing tasks like a true holiday task #hero.
I’ve cleared all the out-of-date items in my fridge. I know best before gives one a bit of wiggle room…but if it’s best before October 2012 and you’re in December 2017, then I think that might be stretching it.
I’ve had the electrician in, next up is the person to fit a house alarm (more on THAT in other posts). I’ve rearranged my bedroom (separate post on that), AND reorganised the top of the bookshelf in my office (a continuation of some rationalisation and decluttering that I’ve done throughout the year, and also part of a prelude to actually organising the office and studio a bit more efficiently in terms of space used).

Before…

All my photos and tchotckes were stored in boxes of varying sizes, and not very efficiently using the space (the 6 cubes on the top left). So I picked up some Kvarnvik boxes from Ikea, assembled them and started popping everything into boxes:

In progress…

The second trip to Ikea was because I didn’t get enough boxes (Hot tip when you purchase storage items: always add 4 to whatever you are getting):

Everything is for the most part, in the right box.

I still have some very old photo albums up there: they are from DIY Dad’s house, I grabbed them to scan pics for my sister and in preparation for DIY Dad’s Massive 70th Birthday (that was this year). I need to source replacement albums and then return them from whence they came (giving me a whole free expedit cube. Yippee).

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Things were mint in the garden. Boom Tish.

From August-November, I managed to get quite a good harvest out of the snow peas and sugar snap peas I planted, particularly the snow peas.

Demurely productive vegetable garden.

And I got a respectable harvest out of the broad bean, although nowhere near the terrifying surplus of 2013 (which caused me to research and test a number of recipes). It’s convenient this year’s broad beans weren’t as prolific: I really didn’t have space in my freezer to deal.

Veggie garden with Mulberry Tree photobomb

The Mulberry tree was also prolific but due to a horrendous combination of professional, study, personal and social commitments…I didn’t really get to enjoy it (or take photos of it) this year.

I will have to review Mulberry pruning strategies for next year: I didn’t prune this year because I over-pruned in 2016. As a result all the 2017 fruit was on incredible high verticals that I couldn’t actually reach to harvest: it was prolific, I just couldn’t get to the fruit. I need to research and find a happy medium of pruning for the tree in 2018.

Note the plant markers? That’s what you can do with your bamboo cutlery…

I also used up a lot of seed this year: sprinkling much of it along my back fence line to see if it was still fertile (some of it was quite aged). I also planted leeks, the last of the padron pimiento, tamarillos, tomatillos and oxheart tomato seeds. Some of the padron pimientos came up, so did the oxhearts, and a couple of tomatillos. But sadly no show from the leeks and tamarillos.

Advanced oxhearts

I planted out the oxheart tomato seedings when I sectioned some Sansevieria (aka snake plant) for people. I also planted out the tomatillos.

The tomatoes will grow happily for 2 months, and then all up their sticks within two weeks of one another.

Sadly all the tomatoes gave up the ghost about 2 weeks ago, after growing quite nicely. And I am down to only one tomatillo, which is also disappointing. The padron pimientos are doing quite well though. So that’s something.

At least I still have the mint…until the cabbage moth caterpillars find it and eat it again.

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If you haven’t already worked it out, I have a problem with stopping and smelling the roses nasturtiums. I keep too many lists of things to do, and I don’t always take enough time to appreciate how far I’ve come. So let’s have a moment:

#gardengoal

I’ve always wanted my back garden to be overflowing: with rocket (I now have wild rocket as a weed #achievementunlocked), cape gooseberries (still working on this one) and nasturtiums. Not only are nasturtiums pretty, they are edible and there’s a verge in Guildford that gets covered with them every year…I have always loved it. I have other plans for my front verge, but I did want nasturtiums in my back garden to rival that front verge.

Scenic compost bin vista.

The nasturtiums are now starting to come up without me sewing seeds, which is awesome. The other side of the garden also looks fine:

To the lemon tree, Jeeves.

And the wider view is quite pretty:

Much green, so wow.

We’ve come a long way baby:

More green, more wow, such achievement.

Not too shabby.

This IS a slightly different nasturtium photo from the lead photo. If you MUST know.

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