Thursday, March 12, 2009

Real rag balls and what to do with them.

I've often had rag balls around my house for decoration but just fake ones with foam in the middle. But now I have a reason to have real ones.

My crafting buddy and good friend, Lisa, has recently shown me how to make braided rugs by crocheting strips of material that I ripped from old sheets. To stop these strips getting tangled, I wind them into a ball and hey, presto, a rag ball that is both pretty and functional.

My first rug I started on, I unwound and redid several times as I practised getting the tension right as it always seemed to pucker and make a hat shape. Then I decided I didn't really like the country colours anyway, and started on a new one in shabby greens and blues to put next to my bed to keep my footsies away from the freezing floor boards in winter. I'm nearly finished and I'm really happy with this one.

I've always loved the look of braided rugs but new, factory-made ones are sooo expensive. I much prefer the fact that I've made it myself and did a bit of recycling in the bargain. And I've never really liked when things that are old-fashioned from a make-do time are mass-marketed. It's like you get the look without the work, just buy it all from a catalogue for an instant finish. Although I've certainly been guilty of that at times. I've always felt a bit fake having ragballs that weren't real. I much prefer the real thrifty beauty of reusing and prettying up old things for a new purpose.

Lisa came over today for our fortnightly craft morning. Last time she taught me crocheting, this time I helped her make one of my recipe books. She bought me this cute spotty mug and pretty teatowel because the cupcakes made her think of my recipe book. Isn't that lovely.

I've also been wanting to make myself a new double-handed oven mitt in pastel colours (my old one is in bright blues and greens and is really grubby) and I found this cot sheet with little teapots and cupcakes at Vinnies today for $1.

It'll make a great oven mitt to hang on my oven door next to my new teatowel, don't you think. And there'll be heaps left so maybe I'll make some placemats as well to replaced my dark blue primitive ones.

I usually just have the morning off on Thursdays but Rosie's a bit sick today so I took the whole day off. I think I needed it too because I sprained my ankle really badly at netball last night. I'm sure I heard or felt a real crack it seemed, and I had to hobble off the court and spend the rest of the game with ice on it. I managed to drive home okay but when I got home and Mitch bandaged it up for me with ice, I burst into tears like a baby. It really, really hurt and I think I got a bit of a shock. It's okay today, although swollen, and I'm limping around, so an afternoon on my feet running around after kids probably isn't a good idea.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A bathroom re-do

It's a deliciously drizzly day today with a surprising touch of autumn in it. I say surprising because autumn doesn't usually start until about May, we have about a month or two of coldness and then it skips straight to heat again. I'd love to live in a place where there was a real change of seasons. Netball was cancelled today because of the rain, and it was such a cozy afternoon that I let the girls park themselves in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn and a quilt or two....a rare treat because usually TV is banned on school afternoons.

And our internet is finally working properly again (it kept dropping out after about 5 minutes or less - very frustrating) so I am parked in front of the computer (obviously) with a mug of tea and some chocolate. A chill breeze is coming in through the window next to me and I can hear the trees rustling and a soggy magpie chirping on the telephone line outside. Heaven!

I was in a bad mood on the weekend, in one of my "the housework is never-ending and as soon as I clean up one room, people just mess it up again, and don't you dare just place that dirty mug on the sink, you wash it up right now" mood. The ladies at work asked me if I was pregnant because I've been going on a cleaning and organised rampage the last few weeks. Sadly, I'm not pregnant...just frustrated by chaos I think.

Anyway, I did a little redecorating of our poky,dingy hole...I mean, bathroom, on the weekend. I look at some people's posts about how they complain about their bathrooms and how it desperately needs a paint job and I think "Lady, there ain't nothing wrong with your bathroom. Come and check out mine". It is literally tiny, 2m by 2m, no, in fact not even that big as the linen cupboard juts into it. It has peeling beige paint, plastic sheeting on the walls, horrible brown lino on half of the floor and brown tiles around the toilet. I don't have many before photos to show you the true extent of it's horribleness but here's two.

I would LOVE to have a bath but it's just not possible as this 4 square metres houses shower, basin AND toilet. But it does the job, so I'm thankful for that.

It needs a total overhaul but that's way down the track so I thought in the meantime, I'd make it a bit more bearable and workable. We had already replaced the toilet and on the last day of the christmas holidays, Mitch replaced our old cabinet which was a stunning combination of rotting chipboard and a yellow fake marble top. When we took it out, we just looked at it amazed that we had put up with it for so long. We were just going to replace the taps but they had this cabinet on sale so we decided to get it. One nightmare and expensive plumbers bill later, it was in and it made a huge difference already. It had a lovely big china basin and a good cupboard

so the next thing I was able to do was take down the cabinet on the lefthand wall which jutted out in front of you as you walked into the bathroom.
On the weekend, I put up a shelf above the mirror (which I'd like to replace) to hold some pretty jars with soap and cotton buds etc.and some plates and this Royal Albert tin ($1 from Vinnies) which holds my makeup. I'm going for a white and red scheme and it really brightened up the bathroom. No, that's not a ghost in the corner of the photo, just a dirty camera lens. I'm such a professional.

Next I made a hook rail for our towels from this old scalloped piece of wood which I had removed from an old dressing table.

Before this, we only had one towel rail and the other towels hung on hooks behind the door, so they didn't dry very well, also due to our teeny, tiny window.
Next, I made a hook for a hand towel for guests because I don't know about you but I always feel really rude drying my hands on other people's bath towels. I am going to make some prettier handtowels, maybe with red gingham ribbon or something. (I need to paint that screw.)

I think it's all made a huge difference and the ugliness of the bathroom isn't as noticable anymore. (This photo's not that good, everything doesn't usually have that pink glow.)

Everytime I come into the bathroom now, it makes me smile. I think if we replaced the brown shower cubicle and gave the room a paint and maybe put in a larger window, I wouldn't feel like I have to build a whole new bathroom. It's amazing what a few strategic changes can make.

On another note, don't you love this vintage chenille throw that I bought from Vinnies for $4.

On another note again, remember Matt Caltabiano, the bad sport who Mitch fought in Caloundra last year. He died in a motorbike accident last weekend. I feel a bit bad for trashing him now...but it was kinda true.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I don't wanna grow up.

Ella asked me today if I was an adult or a grown-up. Not quite understanding the difference, I replied, "Both."
"So you've grown up and don't like to play games or have fun anymore? Because you said when I've grown up I won't be interested in those things as much." she replied.

It was a real Peter Pan moment. I can't believe I ever said that to her. Shame on me.

"Sorry, Ella, I didn't understand you. I'm an adult but definately NOT a grown-up."

But I have to admit, growing up has been creeping up on me and I've been in danger of turning into one of these.
Full-time work, coaching the girls' netball team, assistant treasurering (is that a word?) for the gymnastics club and housework doesn't leave much time for sponteneity, fun and games...IF YOU LET IT. It's always good to get a reminder now and then to ease up. My crippling migraine that sent me to bed last night at 6pm was one of them. I'd been promising myself an early night for ages but never took it until my body rebelled.

The conversation made me think of this gorgeous box that my sister Mary made for me for my bridal shower years ago which I keep all my "special things" in. It's decorated with a collage of "Esther" things and pictures.
On it is a scrap of note paper on which is written in my teenage handwriting, "I, Esther Plant, solemly vow to never grow up. 30/3/92" When I was a teenager, I was ennamoured by the movie Hook and the message behind it. I hope that I can keep remembering it and stay in touch with my child-like self.

As an inspiration to help me keep going, Kimba had a great post on her blog today. Check it out here.

Get to know me

  • I love the smell of cinnamon and vanilla.
  • My favourite flowers are daisies.
  • My favourite trees are pine trees.
  • I always like to have the bickie jar full and a cake on the cake stand. I know...not that healthy, but so good to look at.
  • Autumn is my favourite month, although I do wish we had more of a change of colours up here in Queensland.
  • I love Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder. They started my love affair with "old-fashioned" stuff.
  • I'm a boots and jeans kind of girl, but also love vintage skirts and dresses.
  • I like sewing and am in love with quilts at the moment.
  • I love reading. (I have a weakness for archeological thrillers and historical romances, but not Mills and Boon-type ones.)
  • I love old houses with character. No new estate houses for me. (Sorry Rosie.)
  • I love vintage/cottage/farmhouse decorating and pretty pinks and blues, with a splash of red for colour.
  • Polka dots can make me sigh with delight.
  • I have 4 chooks. They are MY pets. Another tick on my dream-come-true chart.
  • I don't eat dessert much any more. I'm not dieting, I just don't want it. (Does that mean I'm growing up if I say no to an icecream cone?)
  • I'll still always say yes to chocolate though!
  • I like to sit on the front stairs in the sun, to drink my morning cup of tea, while I contemplate what to do in the garden.
  • I've got the gardening bug again recently. It comes and goes with the weather. I'm envisioning cottage flowers in pink, blue and white to go with my green picket fence.