Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shake It!!

I just want to tell anyone who's reading that meal-replace shake diets are possibly the evry worst kind!!
Since Saturday, I've had nothing but shakes, yoghurt & fruit right up until dinner time each day. At dinner, I'm allowed a little bit of meat and some vegetables. In the last 5 days, I have discovered the following:
- Life is not full and good without savoury food
- Many, many different shake flavours are available - but at least half of them will trigger your gag reflex
- Dill pickles are life-savers when you crave savoury-ness
- When you can't eat bread, pasta or cheese (3 of my favourite things) you think about them, lots
- It hurts your soul when you make dinner, almost cry in anticipation of some solid food... and
discover that your new recipe is foul, and there's nothing left in the fridge that you're allowed to eat!!
- Food smells freakin' amazing. Even toast.

I'm not looking for a pity-party, because this is all self-inflicted and I can quit whenever I want to... but I just want to complain for a bit :-P
One good thing is I haven't even slightly craved chocolate, so if nothing else perhaps this horrible diet will help me shake that addiction. But I really, really want savoury food. I slipped and had a piece of pepperoni pizza the other day... Oh.my.goodness. Yum!
Anyway, enough of that. This bride is in a last-ditch effort to get smaller, so thinking about all the yummy food out there just won't do!!!


Monday, September 29, 2008


I'm sooo itching to get back into drawing/painting of some description!!! I've dreamed up all these little birds which I would LOVE to be able to put on paper and splash some colour onto. But alas, I'm at work... Isn't that always when inspiration hits hardest???

One person who I am laying some blame on for awakening my desire to draw is Kate Lightfoot at Scarlettcat!! Her work always makes me pine for drawing/sketching/colouring - basically any pencil-to-paper action.

I love to see an artist who adores coloured pencils, and I've been a huge fan of Katie's work ever since I discovered it about a year ago...
She also has a blog where she posts her sketches - I love to see her work gradually take shape.

The Dream Team...

OK, so I swear the intention of this blog is to keep giving out updates on my life of art & craft... but at the moment, sadly, I haven't made time for much art & craft at all!!! What I HAVE been spending PLENTY of time on is... *drumroll*... our house! (Big surprise there...)

I've been yearning to get started with the big paint job (we eventually want to do every wall in the house, eek!!) and finally today we got started... with a HUGE amount of support and effort from some very cool cats. I warned them that I'd be blogging about them, so here you go...

How could I list anyone else before I list my wonderful Mum??? Not only did she pick up AND pay for pizzas for the whole crew, she also set herself about the kitchen, cleaning dirty shelves and washing all the kitchen-y bits and pieces we got for our engagement party!!!! I now have a fully-stocked glass & mug cupboard (it looks so so SO good, I meant to take a pic but I forgot...) and there are cookie sheets, muffin pans, baking trays and all kinds of goodies drying off around the room (we don't currently have clean tea-towels, oops!!) However, I do believe her finest achievement of the day was the magic she worked on our little saucepan. Chris decided to cook chilli for breakfast with one of our new saucepans, and on its maiden voyage of good cookin', the little thing was left on the stove to boil, and forgotten once people started to arrive. There was smoke, a slight burnt taste throughout the chilli, and a very black, ruined saucepan at the end! Mum spent a good part of the afternoon boiling water in it, scrubbing it, and even taking it home and treating it with stainless steel cleaner of some description... and what we have left is a just-like-new little saucepan which I probably would have thrown out, had my Mum not shown me what to do... Yay Mum!!!

Member #2 of the Dream Team would be my sister Nahn, who copped more paint than anybody else in the whole house... for some reason we just can't seem to grow out of the thrill of wiping a big wet paintbrush down someone's leg/arm/back/neck/toenail... and poor old Nahn was so covered in paint by the end!! We'll call the pic above a "progress pic"...

Ahhh, little sister Steph. This dedicated year-12-munchkin came over straight from a maths revision course to help us out... wearing only jeans, a singlet and a recent camp jumper. Oh dear!! Fortunately, with a little encouragement from the rest of us, she was able to don a spare T-shirt that Chris had brought... and therefore it didn't matter how messy she got!! Ironically, all the paint ended up on her nice dark jeans anyway, and not a speck on the shirt as far as I know... Steph also gets props because although she arrived late, she went through the clean-up process with us!! (We were scrubbing & mopping paint off the floor for a good while)

Good ol' Mac (who's Nahn's boyfriend) showed up with Nahn not too long into the day. It should be noted that Nahn and Mac are about the most willing, helpful, wonderful people. I'm pretty sure they've helped us with every step of this big process - whether it's been coming with us to pick up obscure pieces of furniture and appliances from various houses, putting in a huge amount of effort towards our engagement party, painting, all kinds of things!! Mac even tried his hand at contacting shelves today, and he did a damn good job - even taking on the most horrible, cramped little corner cupboard which I'm pretty sure no one else would've volunteered for in a million years. Of course, he also painted up a storm and even contributed some of his Dad's brushes and rollers to the cause.

Brad here was the first to arrive and got straight into it - he got to do fun things like applying masking tape to alllll the skirting boards & powerpoints, as well as applying a sealant around the cracks around the ceiling and windows, before painting could even commence. He was also one of the last to leave, so you can be sure he worked damn hard, and even gave us the impression he was enjoying himself!!!

Miss Kat put in a TON of elbow-grease, committing herself to ensuring that by the time she left, every shelf and drawer in the house WOULD BE CONTACTED!! The poor chicken didn't even get a chance to drag a brush across the wall, she was so committed to her contacting job. She did amazingly. And it's thanks to her huge efforts that I can now use any cupboard/shelf/drawer I want to, whenever I darn-well feel like it!! She even cleaned the cupboards out as well as she could (chipboard is horrible, horrible stuff). Damn thorough job, she did!

I just had to end with Pottsey, so that I could finish this post with that fab picture!!!! Although it looks as though he doesn't know what to do with a paint brush (it's white and drips... it must be something that slightly resembles icecream, surely!!), he actually stole the show as the painting master today. He knows stuff about painting, which we're so grateful for because we've never done it in our lives!!! So, hooray for Pottsey!! Also, he made a notable joke about a lemon today. I didn't say it was a good joke, I said it was notable ;)

The very much honourable mention goes to my Dad. I didn't think to take a picture when he was working yesterday, but the last couple of times he's been over he's replaced every powerpoint in the house, changing them all from 1-switch to 2-switch plates. Yay!! I don't know why anyone would opt for 1-switch in the first place, but whoever built the house obviously did. Luckily, my electrician Dad was able to save the day and set things right :) Yay!!!!

CJ also popped by today, and I didn't manage to get a pic of him but he helped us with some painting in the afternoon! Plus, he brought a large amount of food with him! Yay!

Amazingly, Chris and I managed to evade my camera so I have nothing to show of us in all our painted glory. All I can say is that after Nahn, I was probably the most painted person in the house. I had paint alllll over my feet, from sitting on the drop cloth... Also, both arms were covered and I even got a bit in my hair! Ergh!

By the end of the day, we had primed the lounge room, main bedroom, and front entrance. Whew!!! Here's one pic I took of the primer on the walls:

That's the 'reading room' section in the lounge room (I'm kind of dividing the room into 2 sections with a couple of dangly curtains, which I'm so excited about!) Can't wait till we're ready to put colours on!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Well!! This has been a week of eventful mornings! I feel like a lot has been achieved every day this week, and very oddly, everything seems to have been achieved at 10.30am!!
Wednesday, 10.30: Carpets cleaned
Thursday, 10.30: Couches delivered
Friday, 10.30: Uni group assignment work (this will be an achievement when it's done!!)
Saturday, 10.30: Gift registry at Myer (yes, we get to use those fun little scan-ny devices! Yippee!)

Who knows what Sunday, 10.30 will bring???
(on a sidenote, why is it so hard to find a picture of a clock displaying "10.30"??? I wanted a cute little picture to go alongside my post, but alas!!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cleaning Cupboard!!

I spent a good part of this weekend working on the house with Mr Chris and various other helpers: Dad, Mum, Steph, James, and Chris's housemate Jayne even came to help us out!! Whew! We have barely a thing to show for it, although we can now say with confidence that we can finally meet the standards for Contents insurance! Yay!
There are so many things up in the air - shelves need contacting, holes need filling, walls need sanding & sugar-soaping (and obviously painting). The house looks like one huge tradies' camp-site! (See Figure A below for an example...)

One thing that is completely done though? My lovely laundry cleaning cupboard!!

And this here makes me alllll giddy:

That, lovely blog-reader/s, is my Mum sitting on the world's SWEETEST Day-Bed at IKEA!! I soooo badly want this... but maybe in a couple of pay checks' time perhaps?

In other news my parents are away in Mandurah for the next few days, so it's 3 girls and a dog fending for themselves this week! Should be some fun times ahead...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

12 Weeks...

In 12 weeks our lives will be changing so very much!!! *clap clap*

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Home Owners!!!

Chris and I are home owners!! Yep it's been about 22 hours since the keys were handed over (but who's checking, really?) and we're celebrating tonight with a big family dinner at the new house. A big family dinner of... pizza. Yum!
So as a pre-home-owner, I started going a bit nuts over furniture. Look at what I bought...

Window seat! I picked this up at Thingz House and it looks boring as all get-out in the picture, I'll give it that. But in real life it's very beautiful, and a little vintagey... perfectly designed for lazy afternoons, sitting by the window with a good book. My heart leaps at the idea of this... mostly because in 12 weeks, I'll actually be able to do this, just sit in my house, potter around, make things look nice, read all day. (What? You're not going to work in the weeks after your wedding? More on that further down the page...)

Mmmmm... Couches. Soft, squidgy, wonderful couches! This is a picture of the display model at Harvey Norman - our actual couches will look like this, but in a lovely chocolate brown colour, named "Raisin". (Ugly name to call a colour, but whatever...) These couches are like heaven to sit on, and as soon as we have contents insurance, we'll be able to order these babies in. Yay! So happy. I look forward to sitting in them often.

Unfortunately I can't put in any more pictures, but I'll girly-squeal about our bedroom set for a little while. We've got a beautiful bed on layby, with a matching chest of drawers and 2 bedside tables. Oh my. They're so beautiful. I love love love them! Now all we need is a matress... and another $1,900... and they'll be making for a wonderful night's sleep. Oh yes.

Now, here I'm going to yelp and carry on about how very much I'm looking forward to December!! So I get married December 6, and I'm taking the couple of days before that off from work, for last minute preparations and stuff. So, my leave starts Thursday the 4th. We'll be on our honeymoon until a weekend a couple of weeks later - so I'll be back at work Monday 22nd December, just in time to work 3 days and then go on Christmas leave. We're closing up the office the whole week after Christmas, so I don't go back to work until Monday, January 5. Um, yay?!?!?! That means I only work 6 days in December. Which is why I'll be reading books by windows and such....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Believe it or not...

... I am still crafting!!!
I've just been so caught up with all the house stuff at the moment, but the lovely Miss Kirstin kicked me up the bum and got me crafting again yesterday. Yay!!!
I'm trying to see if I can get enough gear together for Made On The Left - a craft stall coming up in Mid-November. So I went a bit nuts and cut out 14 patterns yesterday - I picked 7 designs, and did them in 2s. My craft table's looking a bit like Noah's Ark!!

After cutting them all out (the easy part!) I set to work... and I can proudly say that 4.5 new toys are designed, put together, and ready for stuffing. Yay!!!

I'm really excited about a new turn that my work's gradually taking. Aside from the usual uber-decoratedness of my work, I've worked some more artistic concepts into a couple of pieces... I'll have to show soon!!

In other news, if there was anyone out there wondering what I would look like in a Gladiator helmet, this is for you...

Yeh. My man likes his women burly!! *snort*

And see that behind me? That's a deflated bouncy castle. Time: midnight. On Friday night, I was trying to help Chris set up some gear for filming (he's in charge of the creative side of the upcoming Gladiators Jump promo).
First we had to pick up the 2,000,000kg inflatable device from the church building, and the weather looked like this:

Yes, that is the carpark, flooded, in the midst of a downpour. Sweet. We had to sit out the rain before we could take the trailer out, so we did. 30 odd minutes later, we took off for our destination (luckily just around the corner!) and I did some manly work, helping Chris move all 2,000,000kg of plastic and rubber out of the trailer and onto a waiting trolley. Then we set it up, I learnt stuff about tying up the random flappy bits at the sides ("as if you're pulling up a pony tail"), and he inflated it! Anyone ever bounced on their own personal bouncy castle at 1 in the morning? I have!!! Wish I'd taken pics, but meh. Needless to say, I felt like the coolest kid in town.
So it was a long night. But the bouncy castle (and Gladiator helmet) made it alllll goooood!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sealbi Lee

Aren't these pictures beautifully haunting??

Now this is a girl who can use her watercolours... So beautiful!!
You can check out her blog here. She doesn't seem to have an Etsy, or I'd link to that too.
Thanks so much to Penguin & Fish for pointing her out!!!

The A-Z Of First Home Ownership

With home ownership at our fingertips, I’ve chosen today as a time of reflection. A fun way to do this is with a A-Z list of the journey. Whew! Without giving anything else away, here it goes…

A – Agents. MAKE SURE you find yourself an agent that you really like. Our agent Brett rocked – he was good fun, and made me look forward to house-hunting a LOT!!

B – Broker. Mortgage broker, that is, and a good one at that. They make finance as easy as possible. Our mortgage broker, Leteisha, is very cool and never made me feel stupid, with all the dumb questions I asked along the way!! She knows stuff.

C – Council rates. Who knew it could be so expensive just to live in a suburb?? Once a year you pay the council a hefty amount, and it covers things like rubbish trucks, vandalism in the community, road works, and other random things that your suburb requires. So I can see the point of them, but they’re going to be a pain!!

D – Documents. For a while there, we were getting 2 – 3 packages of paperwork each week. Our hands grew tired of signing, our eyes grew tired of reading, and our brains grew tired of processing information. Be prepared!!

E – Elderly people. For some reason, some of the best, cheapest houses are over-55 villas. If you’re house-hunting on the internet, before falling in love with anything read up on it in the description, and make sure it’s not an over-55 villa. You’ll save yourself a lot of disappointment! (Unless you’re elderly yourself).

F – Finance approval. You need payslips, group certificates, bank statements and all kinds of other junk to get your finance approved. A huuuuge pain!!!

G – Grants. We qualified easily for the $7,000 First Home-Owners Grant, and after settlement we’re applying for a $2,000 REBA rebate. Any extra money helps, so do your research!

H – House hunting. Look at heaps of houses before you pick one. It’s fun, gives you a great idea of what you can get for your money, and it’s important to see the good, the bad and the ugly. Plus, you want to know that the house you put an offer on is definitely right for you!

I – Inspections. Lots of them. Keystart did a value inspection, someone else did another generic inspection, there was a white-ant inspection, my Dad did an inspection, and last week we did our final inspection. If there’s something wrong with the house, make sure it’s found BEFORE settlement – or it’s your problem to fix, and your bill to foot!!!

J – Junk. Don’t bring all your junk with you when you move. Moving is the very best opportunity to be ruthless. Don’t try and convince yourself that, just because you have to squeeze something into the top of your wardrobe in your current dwellings, you’ll certainly find a good place for it in the new home. You won’t. If it’s squeezed into the top of your wardrobe, you can obviously do without it.

K – Keystart. Their shared-equity scheme is the one and only reason we could afford to buy at all. They own 30% of the house, which means we’re only paying off the mortgage on 70% of it, until we can afford to buy more off them J

L – Look and Listen. Do your research. Check up on how various suburbs have been gaining/decreasing in value. Decide what you need in a house, and what would be nice. Listen to your friends, and their experiences (especially those that are 20+ years older than you!) The more knowledge you gain, the more you’re benefited in the long (and short) run.

M – Money. Don’t ever think that you have more than you do. Based on our earnings, Keystart would have allowed us to purchase a house up to $375,000 in value. The house we purchased, we got for $284,000 and I can tell you that we’re going to be scraping by some months. On top of mortgage payments, there are tons of other costs – insurance, rates, bills, maintenance & improvements to name a few. Then there’s the cost of plain ol’ living. So don’t take out a mortgage that’s going to ruin you!!

N – New. Not only will the house be new for you, but it’s possible you’ll be in a whole new community, with new people. Get involved, embrace it. I can’t wait to find my place in our new little neighbourhood!

O – Offer. Here’s my take on making an offer – you offer 5,000-10,000 less than the owners want. They counter your offer, asking for 5,000-10,000 more. You counter their offer, upping your original offer by about 3,000. They counter yours, lowering theirs about 3,000. This goes on for a while until someone makes that golden offer that everyone’s “happy” with. I’m quite sure that the agent just bounces the buyer and the seller off each other for a while. It’s a tricky game.

P – Parents. They know stuff, so listen to them – whether it’s about rising damp, money, first home ownership tips… they might sound like they’re worrying too much at times, but it’s probably for a good reason!!

Q – Questions. Ask lots and lots of questions. First home ownership is a huge deal – you don’t want to sign up if you’re even remotely uninformed!

R – Rising damp. It’s sneaky, and if it wasn’t for my Dad’s cleverness we could well have signed up for a place without a care in the world. Rising damp occurs when water gets into the walls. Tell-tale signs are bubbling paint, rusty doorframes and cracks. It looks like a small, easy-to-fix thing. $10,000 later, you might reconsider. Watch out. Dad picked up on it in one house I was keen on, and that ended that!!

S – Settlement Agent. They’re expensive but essential, unfortunately. They make the purchase legal, and they do all the hard work with rates enquiries and stuff. Our settlement agent is pretty good, but I wish I’d know our friend Mike does settlements, before I signed up for this agent!!

T – Time. It can take a while. We found our place at the end of June, made our offer in early July. With inspections, negotiations and finance approval to sort out, we just had to sit and wait. Finally, we get the keys this Wednesday, September 10. Patience is a virtue. You will most likely learn all about it when going for your first home!

U – Ugliness. Sometimes you have to accept ugliness in your first home. Like floral carpets, or bright green bench tops. Suck it up. If the house is fine other than the daggy, peeling wall paper, you’ve got yourself a great deal! You can always change the way it looks, so focus on functionality.

V – Vendors. They are the ones selling their house to you. You learn their names, you inherit the bits of junk they don’t want to take with them – yet you never actually meet face-to-face. Weird.

W – Walls. They’re more expensive to paint than I realized. That’s pretty much it.

X – Xcitement (sorry, X is such a pathetic letter to start a word with!) These are exciting times – once you can see over the pile of paperwork, once those keys are in your hand, things will start to get freakin’ exciting!!!! Enjoy yourself, and don’t lose sight of the fact that this is your VERY FIRST HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Y – Yonder. You’re going to live yonder if you’re anything like us and can’t afford to live where you grew up. The cheapest houses are typically not where your church, workplace, family & friends are – so be prepared to up your travel costs!!!

Z – Zoo. Do not convert your new home to a zoo, as you need lots of licenses, as well as 20 zillion times more space than your block can offer.