Fruits of Our Labours

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Sometimes you seem to spend ages beavering away in the background with not a lot to show for it.  Then it finally comes together.  Yesterday was one of those days.

After about 5 weeks without a door on the dining room, it is finally finished and re-hung.  However, it was much more than a 5 week job if you take into account all of the time (years) that it remained unpainted and the agonising debate over what colour to use. We are both extremely happy with the result so it was worth the wait.

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And the view when it is closed.

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Of course, GMan has identified a couple of minor touch-ups which require a steady hand so I have been seconded to do those and the glass needs a final clean as there are a spots of paint on it.

Whilst not completely finished, here are some progress photos of the entrance walkway/arbour that has been in progress for a few months.

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Yesterday we added the final cross rail as well as the wire of the lower sections.

Here is a close-up of one of the mandevilla creepers that we planted. I hope that in time they will cover most of structure.  We have planted 3 and need to buy one more.

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The lawn has been dug up from beneath the walkway and will be paved.  We also need to work our exactly what size and spacing we want for the slatted roof.

 

A Three-Pronged Approach

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Although the blog posts have not necessarily reflected it, we have slowly but surely been concurrently working on several projects around the house.  It is interesting to note that they all relate to the approaches and entrances to our home.

First is the walkway we are building which you can read about in this post.  The walkway will provide a more defined entrance to what is essentially our backyard.  It is close to the vegetable garden and the back steps that lead to the area of the verandah which we most often use for entertaining.  We recently took the next step and bought the timber for the horizontal rails.  I have painted them this weekend.

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This was not the only painting I did.  While I had the tin of ‘Woodland Grey’ paint open, I started on painting near the main entrance to the front verandah.

Yesterday I did the first coat of the wall.

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Today I made a start on the steps.  You can still see some of the original salmon colour in the section of blockwork under the verandah which is visible between the stair treads.

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Apart from the fact that I had the paint tin open, the real reason I painted this areas this weekend is that I wanted them done before the finishing touches are put to the concrete stairs.

This is the before photo which I took when we had pulled up some of the pavers.  You can see that the timber sleepers were beginning to rot.  It was a trip hazard and had no handrail which makes things difficult when we have elderly or less able guests.

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The builders weaving their magic.

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The end result.

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The concrete has to cure completely before the final step which is to have a non-slip finish applied.  This will be a similar colour to the surrounding rocks and will hopefully blend in to the surroundings much more than the fresh, grey concrete.

I decided to paint the adjacent wall as it is much easier to do before the final surface is applied.  There will be a short railing on the left hand side of the 2 steps up to the verandah so it made sense to do the steps before that is installed, too.

We are gradually painting all of the besser block base at the western end of the house and the next section to be done will be the walls surrounding the garage doors.  I will be glad to see the end of the salmon pink colour.

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I have not been the only one painting.  For the past couple of weeks GMan has been working on the door which leads from the verandah into the dining room.

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It has been bare timber since it was installed about 9 years ago, mainly because we could not decide whether to stain or paint it and if so, what colour?  The exterior of the house is very neutral and this will provide a real pop of colour as well echoing some of the tones in the lounge/dining room.  I will post some photos once the door is re-hung.  GMan has been busy sanding and painting the door frame as well as the doorstep.

There will be more updates as well as photos as these projects progress further.

The Home List

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Happy New Year!!

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I mentioned in my last post that I did not have any major resolutions or grand plans for 2018.  However, I have created a list of things we want to get done.  We have agreed that we will not take any major overseas holidays this year but will try get some things done around the house.  We have been overseas for each of the last 4 years and while we thoroughly enjoy the trips it does not leave much time to catch up on domestic tasks.

We are at work during the week and find that we think of jobs to do faster than we can accomplish them.  Many are things we can do but some will definitely require some professional assistance.  In those cases we still need to make the contact and arrange for the job to be done.  GMan is considering taking some annual leave during the year to try to get ahead on some projects.

Here is the initial list – in no particular order.

Make 3 more raised garden beds
Connect tank and get new outdoor taps
Make outdoor sink
Have back wall washed
Replace front steps and add handrail
Revarnish verandah
Revarnish verandah handrail
Repaint ceiling in kitchen, hall, lounge/dining room and front entry
Repaint front entry
Recoat slate floor (front entry and fireplace surround)
Refinish vinyl floors
Replace 3 security doors
Paint external door to dining room
Paint board on wardrobe in 3rd bedroom
Finish painting edges of verandah ceiling
Create garden bed outside vegie garden
Make gabion seat for above garden bed
Build lychgate
Build pergola
Remove tree near front steps and replace
Remove trees beside driveway and replace
Replace garage roller doors
Finish concreting and pebbles and verandah
Paint exterior blockwork
Assess guttering – new or repaint
Battens under the house
Make rack with pulley system in workshop
Blinds for lounge/dining room

The first step will be to assign priorities to the items on the list.  There will other things added over time that may well take priority.  If I am completely honest I really don’t think that this will all be completed in 2018 but we have to start somewhere.

I am excited to report that the board on the wardrobe has now been painted so that is one thing off the list.  It was probably the smallest and easiest task on the list but they are often the ones which are most likely to be overlooked.  The 2 horizontal boards had been removed when we painted the room years ago.  GMan bought a length of replacement board but it was not put up until a few months ago.  I was determined not to leave it for years before doing the painting.

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There will be updates during the year as we hopefully make some progress on the outstanding items on the list.

 

A Working Weekend

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I really felt as though I was back into the swing of things at home this weekend.  We achieved a great deal and by yesterday evening I was too tired to contemplate writing a blog post.  So here it is, better late than never.

We bought 3 new chickens who seem to be settling in well.  This brings the number back up to 6.

GMan managed to do the first coat of paint on the outdoor table as well as mowing and lots of work around the yard.

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This is our old outdoor table but instead of re-oiling we decided on a facelift and I think it will look great on the newly renovated verandah.  We bought some new black chairs from IKEA earlier in the year to go with it.

In between washing, ironing and preparing some meals for the coming week I managed to spend some time in the garden.

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The cherry tomato plants had just gone wild while we were away but it has been too cool for them to develop and ripen the fruit so it was time to pull some of them out and rediscover the garden beds.

Once I had cleared one bed, I emptied the compost from the tumbler and added some of it to the bed.

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We use whatever receptacles we can find for compost and the latest addition is the small rubbish bin in the background of the photo.  GMan removed the rusted base and it is now full of weeds and some tomato plants.  Eventually it will break down and then we can simply lift the whole bin off and we will have a pile of compost.

I bought and planted 3 punnets of seedlings – bok choy, zucchini and lettuce.

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There is much more that I want to do in the vegie patch but it will have to wait for another day.

 

The Painting Project

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Some years ago we had some major renovation work done which included replacing all of the old windows and the old vinyl cladding on the exterior.  We chose a light colour – ‘Evening Haze’, I think, for the Colorbond cladding and a dark charcoal grey for the window frames.

While it was not a high priority at the time, we knew that one day we would repaint the besser block garage and workshop from the current salmon colour to something that would tone in with the windows and cladding.  We subsequently decided on a fairly dark grey which we have already used for the fence posts for the vegetable garden and new front fencing.  These are both close to the house and we did not want to introduce yet another variation to the colour scheme.

2 weeks ago we painted the first coat on the wall at the back of the workshop.  Here is the before shot.

003The new look.

004We did not finish the exposed pipe because we ran out of time before we had to go out but GMan was back at it yesterday.  He finished painting the pipe and did the second coat as well.  This had to be done now as we are getting a battery system for our solar panels sometime in the next month or so and the battery bank will be placed against this wall.  Over time we will get all of the exterior walls downstairs painted and finally eliminate the salmon paintwork forever.

The same weekend as we started the exterior painting GMan re-painted the feature wall in the lounge room.  We originally had the television mounted on the wall and when that arrangement changed a few years ago we plastered and re-painted the wall but did not have enough to re-do the whole wall.  Even though it was the same tin of paint as was used originally Gman was not happy with the result and we bought a new tin to re-do the whole wall.  That had not happened but when we had to move the furniture to position the restored cabinet he decided that the time was right to do the painting so that is another job ticked off the list.

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Furniture Restoration

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I do not have photos of each piece but The Duke and I have been busy today, working on 3 different pieces of furniture.

Furniture restoration

The main piece is a silky oak chest of drawers/dressing table which we finally got around to beginning to stain.  We bought it unrestored a couple of years ago and the Duke worked hard to strip all of the paint and sand the individual pieces.  The oval mirror which attaches to the top has been dismantled and that was what was holding us back.  We needed to have it resilvered and there always seemed to be something more pressing to do.  The Duke searched on the internet and found that a large glass and mirror business in the city no longer do resilvering as it is cheaper, easier and more accurate to cut a new one, no matter what the shape or if there are bevelled edges.  We will have the frame stained and take it with the old mirror next week to get a new mirror cut and fitted into the frame.  Once it is finished it will replace the current pine chest of drawers that I am using.

On the left-hand side of the photo is what was originally our TV cabinet which was used by our daughter for a few years and then found its way back home.  Today we have sanded and undercoated it and the finish will be gloss white enamel and it will go in the guest (Air BnB) bedroom instead of the small decoupage desk which is there at the moment.

Finally, there is a pine blanket box standing on its end in the background.  We plan to use this as a storage box on the verandah.  It will hold BBQ supplies and tools and will be painted ‘Woodland Grey’ which is the colour that we will be using for a lot of the exterior trim as well as all of the fenceposts.  We have had this box for over 30 years but it has been superseded in our bedroom by an antique cedar chest.  It had heavy rope handles which we removed and are replacing with metal handles.  We bought them some time ago from Paddington Hardware along with all the new handles for the chest of drawers.  The holes where the rope was attached needed to be filled so I sanded a piece of an old broomstick and cut it into pices to plug the holes.  We overfilled them with Plastibond and tomorrow will sand the box including the Plastibond.

It may take us a couple of weekends to finish them all but I am looking forward to taking photos of the finished articles to show you.

Not My Day Job

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Almost 3 months ago one of my posts included a piece about building a small concrete block wall.  Here is the beginning that I posted way back then.

Block wall

Like many of our projects, it has been rather a long-winded process as we try to fit things into the limited time on the weekends.  The weather is another factor which curtails outdoor activity.

Today, it was finally time to put the timber lattice screen into position and secure it.

Wall and lattice - finished

We have also been working on painting the posts which will be used for the new chicken run.  Most of them are finished but a few still need a second coat of paint.

Completed posts

Here are the remainder on the scaffolding which we use to support them while we are painting.

Posts on scaffold

If the weather is kind we may get started on putting the first of the posts in the ground next weekend.

Watch this space for more updates!