Friday, September 12, 2014

Playing Tourists more than tour guide!

A few weeks ago , we were lucky enough to have all of my immediate family come up to visit and stay for 5 days!! It was totally wonderful. The kids had a ball playing with cousins again, we had a few bevvies and lots of chats and laughs.  Plus the weather was glorious!
Whilst showing them all the sights around our new town ( can you believe we have been here for nearly 15 months already!!) I took the opportunity to take a few snaps around the place. We are still discovering bits and pieces around town and really haven't ventured far (but that will all change soon , since we have bought our first caravan!)

Prior to flying up for my husbands interview and site visit before we decided to move, I had never visited the Pilbara region. My husband grew up in this area, in a small mining town a few hours south and inland but it was all new to me. I was in complete shock at the sheer size of the mining operations that happen here, how close to the centre of town it is and the amazing facilities that are available. 
When you look past all the iron ore dust, massive trains and other mine paraphernalia , the place is filled with hidden treasures. Statues and tourist attractions, flowers dotted around an otherwise barren and red landscape, everyday sights that are really not appreciated or seen and then the hidden beauty in the industrial chaos.

Most people that live here are here for the same reason - to get ahead and kick some financial goals (my husbands motto that I hear all to often!) . We are all here without family, and our network of friends soon becomes our Pilbara family. Everyone is supportive of each other, offers to look after kids, help when needed, celebrate birthdays and special occasions together and it all really makes living away from our loved ones, so so much easier! 

Some of the things that our kids are seeing and experiencing here, really can't be seen elsewhere and I hope they will remember them forever. They will have stories to share with their children and grandchildren about the massive trains that bought the Iron Ore to Daddy's work, about the flashing Christmas tree that was always in front of the salt pile, about the hot hot summers and beautiful winters. 

And because I had a few emails and messages after posting a few images of the Pilbara on the blog, I thought I would show you some bits and pieces of our town. 

Playing tourist and tour guide ...... 

It really is as red as it looks and the sky really does look amazing for a sunset. The winter has been glorious but today is forecast to reach 36 degrees and I don't see it letting up any time soon! 
Its going to be a long, hot summer. Thank goodness for air conditioning :)

I hope you enjoyed a sneak peek into the area, if you ever get a chance to visit, do it!! Its an amazing part of Australia ! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kids Kitchen Makeover - Process

Finally, after a visit from family, a weekend music festival, a week of the dreaded cold all round and a spasm in my shoulder and neck, I bring you the process post for our gorgeous kids kitchen makeover!

As mentioned in the reveal post, our kitchen has been well used and loved and it certainly showed so giving it a makeover was high on our priority list. Our kids toy/ play area is a part of our open living room so I constantly stared at it when sitting on the lounge.

I received quite a few emails following the reveal post (thank you to everyone who took the time to drop me a line, I am always humbled when I receive them) and a lot of people had asked me about the process and how I went about the makeover.

Firstly, I dragged the kitchen to an area that I knew would be convenient and comfortable for painting, with good ventilation and where I could leave it for a few days (out of the way) in between steps. 

I then used a small hand sander to buff all the areas that I wanted to paint. 

I then gave it a good clean and wipe over with some cleaning spray and a dust cloth to ensure the surface would be smooth and dust free to begin the painting and priming process.

I used a water based primer in a plain white and covered all the areas well , that needed to be painted with the feature colour. I left to dry for a day , just to make sure.

Choosing the feature colour would have had to have been the hardest decision of them all!! I ended up going for a gorgeous Taubmans colour called BERYLINE,  and was instructed by the gentleman at the paint shop to use a gloss acrylic paint as you see less brush strokes and the finish would be more durable . Of course this is all up to you. Ideally, if this was a new kitchen and it hadn't been put together yet, I would have preferred to use spray paint. I just prefer the finish!

Then the gorgeous colour coats were applied. I was instructed to wait 5-6 hours in between coats but seeing as though my husband was working and I was going solo with supervising 4 kids as well as undertaking this project, I just did one coat a day. 

It wasn't all smooth sailing with this makeover , and I knew it wouldn't be. Its one of the first bigger projects I have undertaken by myself but I was more than determined to do it solo!! Hmm I think they call that stubborn! 
After painting the second coat, I started to notice the paint taking on a 'crackled' effect. It looked like I had used that old school crackle paint, only I hadn't!! I made the decision (after a phone call to my hubby and darling Dad) that I would let the coat dry, lightly sand the effected areas then paint them again. Thankfully this worked and after the third coat of paint, you couldn't tell it even happened. 
Reasons why we think this happened? Seeing as though the paint is oil based, I left the brushes to soak in between coats in a jar of Turps. I think there may have been residue on the brush (even though I had cleaned it well) and this effected the coat of paint as it was being applied. 
Lesson learnt the hard way! 

Once all the painting was complete, I bought the kitchen inside (as its lighter when separated) and then re-attached the top section to the base unit. 

We then added some cute knobs above the oven area (there was never any there) and these have made a great addition for the kids role play activities. 

I really wanted to add a splash back to the kitchen, so my husband just cut a thin sheet of particle board to fit the area, I sprayed the area with Spray Adhesive and rolled and secured some gorgeous wrapping paper from Love Mae called Confetti to the area. I trimmed the excess then we secured it to the back of the kitchen with small nails. 

There are so so many lovely choices out there (especially on the Love Mae site) for wrapping paper and splash back options but I wanted to keep to something fairly neutral, seeing as though the colour was quite vibrant. 

Once Mum had had her turn sprucing up the kitchen and adding a few 'style' touches, the kids couldn't play with it fast enough! They had really missed it while it was out of action , it would have to be the most played with piece in our home! 

All in all , this project was quite easy to under take ( I managed to do it by myself so I am sure you can too!) and really didn't cost a lot. 

Cost Breakdown ;

Primer Paint $40 
(I used about a 1/4 of a tin but have used it for many many projects since!)
Teal paint $34
Paint brush $8
Glass Knob $0 
( I already had these knobs from a previous project but you can pick them up quite cheap on eBay)
Particle Board $14 
(we have excess we have used for another project also)
Wrapping Paper $4.95
I hope I covered most of the questions 
TOTAL - $100.95 
(however most purchases have been used in other projects and still have surplus!)

I hope I have covered most of the questions asked and been able to give you a quick run down of how we completed our Kitchen makeover, please don't hesitate to email me if you have any more further questions!!

And good luck to anyone thinking of making over their own kids kitchen! I would love to see the finished products!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Painting Projects

The painting bug has bitten me and nothing is safe! I had been struggling with our new 'rental' status, after always owning and living in our own home. I love to be able to drill holes, put shelves up, add bits and pieces around the house and anytime I please. In a rental you have to be creative and use other things to get the 'change hit'. Its like a drug to me, I paint something, make something, change something and I get this high and then after a while it runs out and I need to find the next thing. 
Perhaps I should go on The Block?

Whats the best thing to mix it up and give a 'change hit' in a rental? Why paint of course. Adding pops of colour to items around your home can really boost a room and your mood. So the past few weeks have been full of painting projects.

Kmart has been rocking it in the home wares department  and I picked up this house shelf. The outside was a whitewashed wood and the backing a hessian type material with the printing. Pretty drab really 

A trip to the paint shop, a sample pot of Seafoam half and we were set!

I pre under coated the unit (more for the hessian at the back) and then popped a few coats of this yummy blue all over. 

Ta - da!! A new home for little Super hero figurines in the boys room and a colour hit at the base of Angus' bed. The boys love it! Win

Next on the list was these cute houses that I finally managed to nab from Cotton On Kids. The sold out so quickly the last time they were released and I just had to have one! 

A base coat ( I already had a tin from my Kitchen makeover project) and a few coats of these yummy colours ;
 a pretty yellow called Lemon Delicious and the most devine pale pink called Tea Party.

And now they are a cute feature in the corner of the play/toy area. 
A few command strips and voila, perfect for a rental! 

The perfect spot for little bunnies to look cute and watch over all the fun play that happens here ( and the bickering and snatching etc)

I have been on a basket buying ban for a while and have only just allowed myself to purchase a few newbies in the last few months. Why? Because it was like they were breeding in our house. I had baskets everywhere and not all of them were being put to good use. 
Now? A few years on , they are all starting to look a little worse for wear. Nothing a can of spray paint won't fix!! This little basket was white, dirty and scratched and ready for the bin. Now its the ideal home for bits and pieces of lego that I find around the house and any projects that Max is working on at the time. 

Its situated low on the boys bookcase in their room and matches with their new photo wall perfectly ( a post on that is coming soon!! )

An old tray that was a very yellowy/creamy colour needs a spruce up , again , nothing that a can of white paint couldn't fix. Nice and fresh now! 

And another little Kmart purchase that received the start makeover treatment was this cute metal stationery tray. It was originally a bright red colour and a bit leery for our home , especially the girls very pink bedroom. But as the 'Loom craze' has overtaken our house, I have been finding those little suckers everywhere!! Long after the girls have packed the boxes away, random little bands pop their ugly little heads up. ALL. OVER.THE. FLOOR. Drives me bonkers. 
And me being lazy, I simply can not be bothered walking to their room, opening the containers and putting the found bands back in there, so they were ending up in the bin. These chucked bands add up and I knew I had to stop. Enter the Stationery tray. Kmart for about $8 I think. A can of white spray paint. Wonderful!

It is a great size and sits well on the shelf of their bookcase. It is a quick dumping spot for all the bands that I find around the house, for half finished bracelets, beads in bags and items that Stella likes to keep handy, in the event of having a few minutes spare to loom up her magic. 
The loom band storage boxes sit next to it, as do the loom boards so its all corralled in the same convenient area.

These are only a few of the paint projects happening here, I doubt the list will ever end and the workers at the Paint Place are really getting to know me and the kids now! 

Oh the power of a good paint colour , warms my heart! hehe

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kids Kitchen Makeover

After having our kids IKEA kitchen for a fair few years now, it was looking tired and grotty. Our toy area is a part of our open lounge room area and every time I sat on the couch , I seemed to catch sight of it and it bugged me. After seeing a gorgeous picture on Instagram of someones clever makeover of an IKEA kitchen for their daughter , I was inspired. It couldn't be that hard to do , surely?
Enter mass Pinterest pinning session.... It didn't take long to convince myself that I could do it!

And now ? I am so so pleased with how it turned out!
 Not only does it add a gorgeous pop of colour to an otherwise bland area, but it looks devine ad the kids have been re-inspired to play and use it. Win win! 

Here it is before its little tizzy up. The bench top are had a dark stain/mark that I could not get off, the tap was broken and it was looking a little used and abused. 

Now it stands , pride of place in the toy area. Surrounded by a sea of gold polka dots at that! 

We have added some pretty glass knobs above the oven area as well as a few cute tea towels (I cut a pretty Target tea towel in half and just whizzed up the edge on my sewing machine).

We also added a 'splash back' behind the sink and stove area using some pretty wrapping paper and a thin sheet ply board cut to size. 

A few cute bowls that I picked up the the Coles Dollar Dazzlers section finished the new look perfectly and the kids are having a ball with 'precious bowls'.

As I said, we are completely in love with the 'new' kitchen and think that it looks amazing. It wasn't hard, nor expensive to do and it makes such a change to an otherwise plain kitchen and kids area.
Stay tuned for a follow up post on how we underwent this project. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Updates ...

There is nothing I like more than quick, easy and most of all , budget savvy updates for me or my home. I am a 'homey' person, always choosing to spend time or money on furnishings/ decor than clothing or items for myself and I like change. I like to have something to do all the time and I don't like to spend a lot of money while doing it! My husband calls that 'stingy'  I call it 'budget savvy'. Same same really . 

Here are a few ways I have been satisfying the need for change and gaining that 'hit' that I need every now and then, without breaking the bank! 

I have been on the lookout for more storage for our Toy area for a while , but with the cost of freight to get things up here, and our limited shopping options, my hunt was not very successful. And then this little bookcase gem popped up on our local Facebook buy and sell page. We have these Ikea bookcases in the kids rooms, as well as some small cube storage in the same range so it fits with our existing furniture perfectly. It didn't take long to be filled and used but I have plans to recover the backboard with some pretty paper or fabric. I will just add that to the Projects list , shall I!?

Before our big move to the Pilbara , I used to have my nails done with a gel polish and loved it! Move to the Pilbara and the prices are astronomical to get them done (as it is with everything) so I just couldn't justify it. 
So I researched and ended up buying myself a lamp and gel polishes and now do my nails myself. 
So much fun! 

You've got to love when your shirt and nails match!! Definitely not on purpose but a welcomed coincidence. 

After a impulsive purchase of this floor rug from Kmart (less that $30) , I then got it home and had no where to put it. Not good! They are the worst purchases of all.
Then I had the idea to fold it in half , tuck it under the beds legs and use it next to my side of the bed ( I have this bizarre issue with moisturiser, clean feet and going to bed . No,  Seriously!)

Not only has it helped with my 'issue' it has added a nice pop of colour to our previously neutral and dull bedroom. I am loving this 'embrace colour' phase I am going through! 

No money spent here, and this project cost was an hour of my time. Its amazing what a wee little tidy up can do to a key area of your home. Functionality and aesthetics aside, it makes me feel good!

After picking up 4 of these gorgeous green glass knobs on eBay for $12 including postage, the cabinet I had intended on using them on , was a pain to remove the old knobs.  No problem, plenty of others to jazz up. 
Loving the little pops of colour and snazz up to our TV unit! 

During a recent little tidy up of our store room , I rediscovered my boxes of fabrics and decided they either had to be used , and soonish, or sold off on eBay/facebook etc. So while my husband was home one day (he is shift working now) I set up the sewing machine and buzzed up some pillowcases for our room ( the blue/teal ones in the middle) . Again, the pop of colour is gorgeous and the satisfaction of knowing I made them is even better!

I am definitely on a "revamp, reorganise , re evaluate" phase and its so refreshing!