Monday, February 10, 2014

A special place

I love walking around my neighbourhood, however there is a park that I always try to avoid.  I avoid it for no other reason than I once received some bad news (on my mobile) as I was walking through it.  Since then the memory of that news comes back to me every time I walk through/past/near the park.

Last weekend I went for a walk and almost without thinking I found myself on the edge of the park. I hesitated at the edge and then decided I would walk through as it was 1. A very hot day and the park is nice and shady and 2. Silly of me to continue avoiding a park because of an unhappy memory.

To make a long story short I am so glad I did.  I spotted a sign I had never seen before, so I headed over to have a read.  It might seem pretty simple, however while reading it, I felt a range of emotions - it made me smile, laugh, sad and proud.

The sign notes that although today the park is a place for play, for many years it was a place for learning and it was the location of the first school in the area.

The school opened on 27 April 1875 (blow me away!).  It was made out of blue gum and stringy-bark timber and of the 27 children who were the first students in the school - several were from the families of Shumack, Smith and Southwell - all well known streets in the area.

A closer look at the photo on the sign - the first students along with their teacher Mr Ewan Cameron.  Their gorgeous school house behind.

The part that gave me goosebumps was where it mentioned the beautiful tall pine trees that are still scattered among the park today.  The first 11 it says were planted to commemorate 11 former students who enlisted in WW1.  As I read this, I looked back up at the trees and saw 11 tall and proud pines - which reminded me of tall, proud soldiers.

What a lovely and meaningful thing to put in a park.  I loved reading about the history of my area - realising the street names that I have taken for granted for many, many years have a greater significance to the area.

This park now has a new memory attached to it.  Thank you so much to who ever organised it to come about.  (ACT Government / Weetangera School / Canberra Tracks / Belconnen Heritage).  Good work!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mia's library bag

What you do for one you have to do for another.  I don't know how many times I have heard my parents say this.  Anyway, it's been some time since I made Amy and Ethan's library bags.  I am not doing that well financially this year so when my sister asked if I could make Mia a library bag I was thrilled!

My aunty machine embroidered her name onto some calico in a very cool and funky font.  I found some beautiful bright paisley fabric (I am so in love with paisley) which I thought would be lovely for our beautiful bright baby girl.

The bag is slightly bigger (or longer) than the other two but I think it will be just perfect.

I'm not sure if I will get a chance to do another post before Christmas or the end of year so I wish everyone a lovely Christmas.  I hope to have lots of nice things to post about in 2014.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The renovations are done!

Well I started all this the week I got back from overseas.  I had a list of things I wanted to do on mum's house, and the bulk of it was done in only one month, however the last few things just seemed to drag out.  But TODAY I finally cleaned my last paint brush and I am now planning on putting away my painting/work clothes for a good while.  It is done!!  Every surface of the house inside and some outside has been sanded/painted and upgraded.  I thought I would take you on a tour - and I will point out some of the changes.

Above is the front of the house.  Aside from the fact that the before shot was in the middle of spring and all the flower are out and the after is in summer so all the flowers are pretty much gone.  You will probably notice the beautiful windows.  Double glazed with Colorbond Deep Ocean aluminium frames.  New front door and railings painted same Deep Ocean colour.  What you can't really notice is the ridge capping on the roof has been redone.  The window cills also had to be put back in by a bricklayer.

Back of house - Not too much of a difference here aside from the beautiful new windows.

Front entrance - Obviously here is the beautiful new windows and the new door.  What you can't really see is that the light was previously broken and hanging down and now the entrance is lit with a downlight.  The sliding door leading into the lounge has also been painted however it is tucked too far into the wall to see it in the after shot.

Lounge room - Unfortunately I have taken these photos from different angles.  I guess my intention in the before shots was usually to take a photo of the windows - knowing we were getting beautiful shiny new ones.  But when this room was finished, it just looked so nice looking back over it from the window.  

Dining room - Again, not the greatest angle of this room, but the windows (which you can't notice because the blinds are blocking them.  Probably the most obvious change in this room apart from the painting is the chairs have been re-covered. From this angle you don't notice that they now match with the sofas, but now they do.

Kitchen - quite a few dramatic changes in this room.  The peach blinds have been removed, new down lights to replace the terrible fluros, the wood veneer sliding doors have been painted white and the runners and pelmets are updated.  You will also notice the black mosaic tiles now travel under the window.  This is because when the new windows went in, the architrave was smaller and we had a gap between the frame and the tiles.  The mosaics (IMHO) work really well to fix this issue.

From this angle you can see that the desk has been removed and replaced with a bookshelf.  The kitchen used to be painted blue - which seemed like a good idea at the time, but I much prefer the warm white colour we chose.  That hideous fluro is gone and so are the pinboards.  In the after shot above - on the very left you will see a black print.  This is a gift that I made for mum for Christmas.  I'll do a post on this later - it was pinterest inspired.

Laundry - I think this is one of my favourite room make overs.  Of course the window has been changed, hideous curtains gone, new taps, new lovely white tub, shelves are gone and replaced with cupboards.  New wall tiles, walls and doors painted.  We didn't change the mosaic tiles on the floor as they were in quite good condition, and I think they actually look better now as the rest of the room is just so lovely.

Hallway - Again, aside from the paint and change of knobs on the cupboard doors, the biggest change in the hall is that the broken light fittings have been removed and replaced with stunning down lights.  We've also got a new bookshelf at the end that is no longer stuffed with junk.  The hall runner has been put back now.

Bathroom - One of our lovely friends had updated the bathroom sometime ago so there was really only paint and the windows here, although we did have to have the shower resealed.  Again the paint was blue in here, but we ended up using the same warm white as the rest of the house.  Another big difference you will notice is the door has been painted white and I have updated the ugly old door handles.

Toilet - this is by far the room with the changes that makes me most happy.  As you can see, the toilet was in dire need of updating.  When the bathroom was done years ago, the poor toilet missed out.  But now it has been tiled to match the bathroom, new windows, painted ceiling, walls and door and the best bit… a shiny new and attractive toilet. YAY!

Bedroom one - I always felt bad about this room.  It is the ONLY room in mum's house that I had never before painted. It can't really be seen in the picture, but it was in need of a paint in a major way.  The walls were full of holes and needed lots of patching.  So this room got new windows, tacky old light replaced with a lovely remote control fan light, ceiling, walls and doors painted, new door handles and knobs, new carpet and I also treated mum to new bedside lamps and a gorgeous deep red cushion.

Bedroom two - again this is taken from different angles, but we all agree the bed works way better for access to the room facing this direction.  Aside from windows and paint, the terrible carpet has been replaced, and again I treated mum to new lamps (she bought the cute cushion), I also bought a new black skirt for the bed and the blue one in the before shot was very helpful as a clean up rag!!

Bedroom three - last but not least.  Unfortunately by the time I took the before photo for this room, it had already been pulled apart.  It used to have two single beds.  You can see the horrendous carpet has been updated.  The blinds in before have already been removed but they were falling apart and so were replaced by a lovely roller blind.  Everything was painted and door hardware updated like the rest of the house.  It is now a cute and fun playroom for the kids.

Well that marks the end of the tour. I hope you enjoyed.  To me, looking at these pictures represents a lot of hard and backbreaking work.  All the physical pain and a LOT of money.  However, the satisfaction of the after - finally having it all done is so satisfying and a massive achievement.  I am so happy and mum (who wasn't sure she needed all this done in the first place), now can see it was needed and is EXTREMELY happy with her "new" house.

Friday, November 29, 2013

National Arboretum Canberra

The beautiful panoramic view from Dairy Farmers Hill
Well, what a gloriously lovely day it has been.  I had a free morning so I decided to take my very first trip up to the Canberra Arboretum and it was a very pleasant surprise.  There is a fee for parking (like most places in Canberra now), but it is worth it for the visit.

When I woke up this morning it was raining, but by the time I arrived the rain had stopped.  There was still quite a menacing sky, however it never came to anything and by this afternoon we had blue skies.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Floriade 2013

One of the reasons I was so keen to come back from my overseas trip was so that I could go to Floriade - the flower festival held in Canberra every year.  It goes for about 3-4 weeks just in Spring so the flowers are spectacular and it's great to have that beautiful splash of colour after a cold winter.

I was worried that being the last week of the festival, there wouldn't be many photo opportunities, but I was wrong.  It was still stunning and lots of flowers out, and best of all, the sun was out!!

If some of these pics don't make you want to visit Canberra during Floriade… well then, perhaps you're not the flowery type!! :)