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Our week has been so deliciously autumn-y. Amongst our normal weekly routine and another unwelcome visit from the gastro bug, I’ve escaped for a few morning walks with our dog to soak in our new town. It is putting on quite an show for our arrival. There are many grand trees that are generations old, and plenty of them are deciduous. It’s a spectacle.

There have been flurries of crocheting dotted throughout the week, some catching up has happened on the blog with a before & after post, and a foraging outing on Sunday. I didn’t have to go very far because there is a beautiful row of espaliered apple trees in a public parking area over our back fence. I know for sure that I’m not the only one who know about it, because I really had to hunt for the few that I found. They made a very scrummy gluten-free apple cake that was almost demolished in one sitting. The recipe was the pear and almond cake from River Cottage. I just subbed the pears for apples and the regular self-raising flour for gluten-free. It worked out really well. Recipe here.

Despite our unwelcome house-guest, it has been such a relief to have a ‘normal week’ and a chance to relax a bit after our crazy few weeks of renos and moving. Yay for autumn I say! It’s my favourite season by far.

I hope you are enjoying the cool change too, or warm if you are in the north.

Love

Nat

PS :: Joining in with Em at the The Beetle Shack.  xx

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Winter is coming.

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While one of my boys, Alex, was napping on the couch, Jack and I played in the backyard between rain showers. My, how the seasons have suddenly made a dramatic change. The chill in the air is so welcome.

Check this kid out, he has a wicked sense of humour.

Love

Nat

PS :: Pardon the Game of Thrones reference. We are totally and completely addicted, are you?!

Before & After :: Bedroom 1

Bed 1 B&A 

I thought I’d start this Before & After series with our bedroom, Bedroom 1. After our first stint of renovating this is the most “complete” room. There’s a little list at the bottom of this post noting down a few things that we still want to do in this room, but for now we love it. It’s peaceful, personal, and a little sanctuary away from other wildly unfinished rooms, like the bathroom, aghhh!

Anyhoo, welcome to our bedroom! It’s size is roughly 3.65m x 3.08m, so not huge, but we tetressed everything in. This room is in no way “finished”, we’ve really only dealt with the floor and storage, and then moved in to it. Long term we’d like to convert the current living room into the master bedroom, which will make the house a cozy 3 bedroom bungalow. And this bedroom will become and guest room and/or study.  Enough of the chit-chat, lets have a look at the horrendous carpet that adorned this room when we picked up the keys a month ago.

Before…  Bedroom 1 B&A

The whole house had been painted just before we saw it for the first time. It was painted in basic neutrals, which has made this first stage easier for us because the walls weren’t screaming at us for attention. (Unlike lots of other things!)

There is a small built-in cupboard with original 1950′s door hardware. The storage space is great, but it wasn’t really enough for us, so we added a bunch of hanging space, which I’ll show you later.

Bedroom 1 B&AOh that carpet… This was a locally made wool carpet, which was probably the bees-knees when it was put it. It had thick underlay, then a layer of yellow vinyl, and a layer of thin card-board under that. Go figure. I’m cataloging the idea of having vinyl in bedrooms for the future! Ha! Not really. Underneath all of that we found pine floorboards, what a blessing, and they were in good condition too. Only a couple of knots to putty.

During…Bedroom 1 B&A

This is what the floor looked like after we lugged out the carpet, and what-not. So full of promise.

Bed 1 b&A

The room became instantly brighter and fresher (especially the smell) without the carpet and lace curtain.

If you are wondering what’s going on below the window, that is a Masonite sheet covering up where two bottom panels of glass used to be. The window was full height until the late 70′s. That would have been a lot of glass in a small bedroom!

Bedroom 1 B&AMasked up and ready for a sand and varnish.

Bedroom 1 B&AThe bedroom looks out onto a park next-door, which is lovely, but not very private. So over Easter we are having a jungle-clearing-fence-building-working-bee.

Bedroom 1 B&A

We hired floor sanding gear for two days and went to town sanding all of the floors in the house. I highly recommend doing it yourself. We saved a swag of cash, but it is very dusty, so keep that in mind. We also were able to make a quick (hardwork! But quick) job of it because our house is small, the nails were mostly punched in already and the boards are pine, (ie soft), so I’d imagine hardwood boards would take a bit longer.

After the epic sand-a-thon, Jared went to the house after work for 3 nights in a row to put down a coat of varnish. The results are incredible, and we are so glad we took the plunge to do it before we moved because holey-moley… the dust!

Bedroom 1 B&A

Dust free and fresh as a daisy!

Bed 1 b&A

We moved in with lots of jobs half done, one being the kitchen, I’ll tell you that crazy tale in another post. For the first week and a half we slept in the bedroom surrounded by boxes and bags of our stuff. We had no where to unpack them, so when Jared came back from a week long ‘work’ trip to Melbourne we got stuck in. We bought a storage system from Bunnings and put it up behind the door. Most people are surprised there is so much storage there when they have a stick-beak in the room. It’s a great little hiding space and we fitted so much in.

Flynn the work site dog hates a late night working bee and would rather we turn on the heater and sit in from of the box with him. What a lazy pooch.

After…   Bed 1 B&A

And here is where we’re at now that we have moved in. Continue reading

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Hi! Phew! What a crazy couple of weeks. The blog has been quiet, but our life has been anything but! We are now fully moved into our little renovator, which happened after we spent a couple of weeks making some radical changes to the house to make it livable for us.

We ripped out carpet, vinyl and the old kitchen cabinets, and had all of the asbestos removed. We sanded and varnished the floorboards. We’ve had a carpenter, electricians, gas fitter and a plumber in and out of our house for weeks, and now that the first stint of major work is done we are starting to feel like we are getting our life back to normal, a little bit. The ratio of homey things to tools lying around the place is increasing, and we are starting to feel like it is our home. Here are some photos from the last couple of weeks, and there are some posts on their way showing what we’ve been up to in more detail. But this is your lot for now, while we catch our breath.

Thanks so much for following along on Facebook and Instagram, it has been so lovely to have had your support over these last couple of nutty weeks… did I mention we had gastro, chickenpox and a solo-parenting week thrown into the mix too… jeepers, someone hand me a Berocca.

1 :: I’m pretty sure our Hills Hoist must be heritage listed, look at it! What a gem.

2 :: Jack was a great help when it was time to pull up the masking tape from the skirting boards. Although, more time was spent trying to get tape off little fingers.

3 :: The view up our street, (from within the bushes!) A very handsome colonial Anglican church at standing sentry at the end.

4 :: We were so lucky that we found floorboards in good condition under all of that carpet. And they came up a treat after varnishing. We are rapt with the result!

5 :: If I’m wondering where the boys have gotten too, they will be up this tree.

6 :: A very sweet little cottage near ours.

7 :: A homeless pile of towels.

8 :: The patina of age on the back garden shed.

9 :: We get a lovely, yet brief moment of early morning sunshine in our bedroom window. I’m loving discovering all of the little things about the house.

10 :: The boys are unpacked! Just. That’s a precarious pile of blue books on the end!

11 :: We had a one-day-heat-wave last week. So I found the paddling pool, and we all splashed around for the afternoon, and took some time off from unpacking.

12 :: We were given this sweet little veggie bed as a house warming present, and all of my other jobs went out the window as we set about clearing some of the jungle back and put this little beauty together.

13 :: A couple of weekend projects were underway and I had some willing helpers to shake the paint pot for me.

14 :: “Tempted Teal” from British Paints. So fruity.

15 & 16 :: Finally some civilized spaces are coming into being. I’m looking forward to doing a bedroom “before and after” post later in the week.

Until then, thanks for swinging by!

Joining in with Em at the The Beetle Shack.  xx

 

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Stills :: 11Stills :: 11Stills :: 11Stills :: 11Stills :: 11Stills :: 11Stills :: 11Stills :: 11 Welcome to Little House Love written by someone who, as of last week, actually owns their own little house! If you have been following along on Facebook or Instagram you will know that it is all-stations-go at our new house.

We picked up the keys last Tuesday. Then on Wednesday a team of pros came in to remove all of the asbestos that had been added in the late 70′s. It was covering 3 sides of the house and also under the vinyl in the kitchen and bathroom. Thank goodness we got a heads-up about that before we bought the house, otherwise it would have been a nasty surprise. On Thursday we arrived, tools in hands, joined by a mate who is a carpenter and grandparents who are expert babysitters… and got to it!

1 :: On the evening that we got the keys we sat on the front deck, barbecued and contemplated where to start!

2 :: The next day the asbestos team arrived to remove the Quick-Brick from the exterior and some vinyl flooring. During the day they found five very new kittens in the corner of the garage (lots of junk was left in there!) They were taken to the cat’s home. I’m feeling a little guilty about it, but I think the cat in the photo was the mum, and I’m sure she’s a feral. And there is no way I can look after twins, a dog and 5 cats in one little house!

3 :: We were so excited to see the house with out the Quick-Brick, and so incredibly relieved to see that the weatherboards underneath were in okay shape, and were not painted in some crazy 60′s colour! (The skip is full of nasty asbestos, all wrapped up, ready to be picked up.)

4 :: Just one of many patterned contacts that I found in the house. There are so many, and all incredibly quaint.

5 :: By Thursday we were ready and raring to get stuck in. Jared set to, removing and moving a few things. A few “before and after” post are coming soon! Our friend Percy, a carpenter, got to work patching up a couple of sections of the weatherboards to make the house secure and water-tight. And my joyous job was to pull up the carpet and vinyl. There were layers and layers of the stuff! I counted at least 5 types of vinyl and 6 types of carpet. All of which had grotty underlay and thousands of nails and staples. Thankfully I found pine floor-boards underneath, which have since sanded up a treat, I’ll save that for another post too.

6 :: A low point of the week was the night we had frozen pizza for dinner and then took the boys home for bed. They were in bath at 9pm (!!) while I sat in the bathroom with them paying a lawyers bill on my banking app. We are officially adults now.

7 :: A photo from the road, plenty going on and still PLENTY to do!

8 :: Sunday… the day of rest… for some. A few of my family came for a visit and looked after the boys while we got busy, sanding the floors.

We are nearly ready to move in… hoping to report in with good news on that front next week but for now I’m signing off, bed is calling. Renovating is fun but exhausting!

Joining in with Em at the The Beetle Shack.  xx

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We’ve had a birthday this week and long periods of waiting. We had a disappointing afternoon on Friday when our settlement day was delayed until Tuesday. The weekend has been full of lovely distractions, we’ve been busy not thinking about it and enjoying our last renovation-free weekend.

1 :: This week’s hand-made treasures. A mug for Jared’s birthday, painted with this porcelain paint. And a little beanie for a brand new baby boy. Pretty rad colours for a pretty rad little family. I used this pattern, and changed colour at round 7.

2-4 :: A posh visit to Government House in Hobart, which was such a treat for our pre-kinder group. They were trusted with gold-rimmed crockery and they all behaved beautifully.

5-9 :: Jared’s birthday morning. We had a little photo shoot to capture the occasion.

10 :: Gluten-free almost-a-disaster chocolate cake. (Story later, maybe.) Recipe here. Lots of packed bags and boxes lingering behind the table, ready to go.

11 :: Birthday evening antics.

12 :: Drive-through coffee shop, a favourite game.

13 :: An apt quote, while our waiting continues.

14 :: Little fingers kept busy with constant entertainment from Pop-John.

15 :: Succulents for sale.

16 :: So pleased with their new hats. We are so lucky to have a creative friend, who whipped up two hats for the boys. So pro. Thanks Anita!

17 :: You can take the boy out of the country…

18-21 :: They might be a bit old to have a nudie swim, but they had a hoot.

22 :: Riding like the wind!

Joining in with Em at the The Beetle Shack.  xx

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Less is actually more.

Little river house.Whilst waiting for our settlement day, (which is this Friday! Yippie!) I’ve been thinking a lot about why it is that we like living in small spaces. We’ve lived in a variety of tiny apartments, rental units, and even our caravan for a week here and there, and although it’s not always sunshine and rainbows with all of the chaos of kids and a dog, I have never pined for a huge house with multiple living spaces, and an ensuite for each bedroom. I’ve seen lots of families get in deep because of that little mantra “well, we only get one chance, so make it bigger!”. It’s terrifying. And in my opinion a little bit wasteful if it’s solely for that bigger-is-better nonsense, although if I had six kids I think my feelings on this subject would be vastly different. Living in a little house doesn’t suit everyone, but here are my reasons for why it suits us!

Here are 5 reasons why we love living in little houses:

1. Family Togetherness :: Becoming and maintaining our close family unit is important to us. We are lucky enough to have identical twin boys, who are each others best friends. I don’t know how the future is going to pan out but I feel like we are a tight knit bunch, and I think that living in close quarters means that there is a lot of communication, a lot of hanging-out-together time and when it all becomes a bit cabin-feverish, we resort to the great outdoors, or a local cafe. If we had kids of different genders and ages, this might not work, especially throughout the teenage years, but it works for us, and we are happy.

2. Clever design :: We are only starting our little house reno, but I’ve always love nutting out a small-scale design, making sure it’s functional, with an illusion of more space than there actually is. Well designed storage and clever flexibility are key! It’s like Tetris, and I’m addicted.

3. Less stuff :: I’m the first to admit that I love a garage sale, or a good secondhand shop find. But as stuff comes in, it also goes out. I always have a bag in various stages of fullness that is on it’s way to the charity bin, or secondhand bookshop. Decluttering is so cathartic. Our kids have enough toys, not heaps, but they are never bored. Having less space means that you physically can’t have too much stuff, so the stuff you do have becomes more precious to you.

4. Less cleaning :: I think that a small house is one that a vacuum cleaner can reach every room from one power socket. The concept of having less cleaning to do is fine by me. And less cleaning means less cleaning products, less expense, more time to do the stuff you enjoy the most, which for me is anything but cleaning bathrooms!

5. Less is green :: It’s not rocket science, if you have less of something it’s better for the environment. Less house = less materials. Less space = less heating. And so forth. The bonus is that also means that its a bit easier on the hip-pocket too. Less mortgage, less maintenance cost, less bills, more money to spend on travel, or whatever.

So living in a small space means that you have less of a lot of some things, but much more of those important things, like time, money, and an environmentally cleaner conscience. Like the wise architect Mies van der Rohe said, less is more. More or less.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. See you on the flip-side with some before photos!

Love

Nat

PS: We don’t live in that river house pictured above. But wouldn’t that be cool for a shack!?

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1:: The monkeys of Princess Park.

2 :: The first chilly day of the year… and out comes the retro slow cooker. I can’t get enough of its orange and browness!

3 :: Some festive balloon in Salamanca.

4 :: Some yummies for playgroup. Mini egg ‘n’ bacon pies, so easy. I used this recipe with puff pastry.

5 :: A mid-week storm brewing.

6 :: I had a child free day!! (Probably due to the guilt in the aftermath of the penguin story.) So some paintings were started. I was a little bit inspired by Em and Tahnee!)

7 :: Jared, hard at work, proof reading for me.

8 :: Fresh bread is an every-second-day occurrence here. Mmmm-mm.

9 :: An orange and yellow rainbow.

10 :: A silvery day on the Derwent.  

We are in for an exciting week of waiting for our settlement day (Friday!!). I hope you have an exciting week too.

Joining in with Em at the The Beetle Shack.  xx

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Emperor penguin escapades.

Emperor Penuin

I’ve just evicted a bigger-than-life-size Emperor Penguin from our house.

Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.

He is now riding shotgun in my husbands ute, to and from work, because he and the bird cannot bear to break up the relationship. It has a slow leak and a missing flipper, but I’m sure Jared enjoys the company.

This is a little snap-shot into the sort of humour I have to endure daily. You can start feeling sorry for me now.

About two weeks ago Jared announced that his department at UTAS (University of Tasmania) were to move offices, and in the sorting and moving mission they found an inflatable penguin. I didn’t ask why they had it in the first place, but it was no longer required and Jared put his hand up to adopt it. Said his kids would love it. Code for: my wife is going to hate it and I’m going to scare the shit out of her with it. Mwah ha ha har… et cetera, et cetera.

So home it came. I took one look and rolled my eyes, expecting it to last 24 hours until it was jumped on and burst. It was unrecognisable to the kids in it deflated state, and so they went to bed that evening none the wiser. While I washed-up (take note!) Jared disappeared to the garage to pump it up with the bike pump. I forgot all about it, until I walked up the hallway later on and there in a darkened doorway stood a looming figure, staring out at me. I just about jumped out of my skin, thinking we had an intruder. The penguin is about 5 foot tall, mostly back, very rotund and has beady soulless eyes.

Very un-funny. There was an exchange of words with Jared. I promptly forgot about it again… until I walked down the hall later and it was in a different doorway and I again jumped out of my skin in fright.

Later still… in the back of my mind I knew that penguin would be lurking, but I must have been distracted. I got all the way to our bedroom this time, and around the corner… there it was… two beady black eyes peering at me from with in the gloom. I jumped yet again and this time some choice words came flowing uncontrollably from my mouth.

My first thought was “terrific, if something scary happens, like a snake encounter, while I’m with my kids, they’ll know I’m a really a potty-mouth!” Something I’ve worked hard at concealing all of these years.

Meanwhile, every time I found the penguin in a new position I moved it somewhere else, hoping that Jared might forget it was there and get a shock too. Alas, he later told me that he was too manly to get a fright from an inflatable penguin. The truth maybe slightly different though. My last hiding spot for our polar visitor was under the doona on Jared’s side of the bed, which I of course thought was an HILARIOUS idea, and spent the rest of the evening suppressing a giggling fit.

The next morning, it was business as usual. Wake up, coffee, breakfast, stacks-on penguin. This went on for a number of days, all the while our monochromatic friend slowly deflated, and Jared would put the occasional few loving puffs back into him.

Eventually he was played with outside and was starting to get forgotten about. He spent 2 days lying down on the deck in the rain. And that’s when I’d had enough… the penguin’s got to go. So I tossed him down our front steps, towards the wheelie bin, I’d deal with him later.

This is what I imagine unfolded next. Jared came home from work, shocked and dismayed that his buddy had been callously piffed from the family home. And relocated him to the ute. Thinking he was mighty funny in doing so.

That’s where he has stayed, to this day.

The end… but not for the penguin… yet.

Photo (above): Said penguin pictured peeking over our neighbours fence, in an hilarious attempt at a joke that is yet to be acknowledged.

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1 :: Alex will tell anyone who listens that he is going to school now. Pre-kinder programs are all systems go!

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2 :: All the colour and mayhem of laundry day.

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3 :: So grown up, looking cute as pins.

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4 :: A love heart in nature. What a lovely sight to greet me from my breakfast seat every morning this week.

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5 :: Getting ready for playgroup on a rainy Wednesday morning.

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6 :: Self-seeded lucerne is running rife at the farm… but it is very pretty, and the bees love it.

Joining in with Em at the The Beetle Shack.  xx