Friday, April 26, 2013

bad things happen in 3s...

Oh yes they do. Good things do too, but let's start with the bad.

Last day of school term: the day started well with a Wet and Wild day at Zak's school where they kids got wet on a watery obstacle course and were showered by the local fire brigade and end with not-so-great house news.

Bad thing 1: Last day of the school term (not officially a bad thing, though some days I might claim that!) we received notice that the owners of the house we're renting are putting it on the market in two weeks. We were given the first opportunity to buy it, but politely turned them down (not really what we're after despite all the floorplans of potential extensions and room rearrangements I made just for fun). So that means that if it sells straight away - and given the ridiculously quick sales around here lately, I'd say it will - we'll have around six to seven weeks before we need to be outta here. And with barely any rentals around to actually rent and still no house to buy, I was a little panicked by this news. To be honest, though, I was much more panicked about keeping the house constantly neat and tidy for regular inspections! After getting over the original "oh crap", I figured I'd have a good week or so to thoroughly clean, cull and get it ready like the very nice tenants that we are. But then...

Not since 24 first came out (and I only liked the first series) have I fallen hard for a TV show. Totally obsessed with Game of Thrones - it made (my first) sick day bearable! 

Bad thing 2: I got sick. I never get sick - well, of course I get the odd cold and sniffle and cough - but this was lay-on-the-couch-and-do-nothing kinda sick. Which was fine for that first Monday when my mother-in-law had the kids for the day. I actually kind of enjoyed having that sick day. But then I got worse and I was sleeping as much as the kids would allow it during the day and at night and was all weak and gross and couldn't do anything or go anywhere...  My poor kids have had THE most boring holiday ever. Bless them - they've been so great considering we haven't done a darn thing. Our trip to Canberra to stay with my parents was cancelled, we missed out on my nephew's first birthday, we couldn't have our playdate at the park with our friends and my plans to do fun, adventurous things these holidays went poof pretty quickly. Probably around the same time teeny tiny ninjas had a sword fight in my throat and made it so very, very sore. And then just before I lost my voice, I lost something else...

Out with the old... how the blog used to look.

Bad thing 3: Bye bye blog. Yep, during Wordpress' major bot attack, my blog was majorly affected (or it was noticed that it'd been hackked) and it went bye byes. Everything was compromised - the back-ups I had were also dodgy so while on my deathbed (!) and panicking about everything else I had to do and how many other people and websites my brother-in-law hosted that were no doubt stabbing Belinda Graham-shaped voodoo dolls, I just made the call to can Wordpress and start over on Blogger. I like Blogger much more than Wordpress - not really sure why I bothered to swap in the first place. I kind of understand Blogger and don't feel like a moron when I play around with the behind-the-scenes like I did on Wordpress. But because the backups couldn't be imported (and were too bloody big to convert and import anyway), I will be manually transferring the words and images over here from cached pages. Oh yes, it's going to a L.O.N.G and painful process. And because all those thousands of pins on Pinterest that have been pinned and repinned are going to go NOWHERE, I thought I'd better start with a few of the popular posts so at least they can be found on the homepage. Even that has been incredibly painful. So I think I'm going to edit the original blog way down to just the best stuff and things I want to keep a record of - so probably mostly tutorials, pics of my home, kids parties etc. I'll likely leave off a few of those posts that I kind of just threw together to get something up, but it's still going to take forever to do, so bear with me please! If there is a tutorial/info/post/pics you desperately want to see ASAP, let me know in the comments and I'll prioritise!

And just when I assumed the bad 3 things were going to start all over again - the week had that ominous feel about it -miraculously, a few good things came instead.

New look: clean and simple

Good thing 1: I gave the blog a makeover. Seeing as I was starting over, I took the opportunity to give the blog a fresher look. It had been the same for four long years and while I liked the design at the beginning, in the end I couldn't stand looking at it like that anymore. But of course wordpress and I didn't get along and I just couldn't make it work, so gave up trying, figuring I'd eventually get someone to do it for me. That never happened. Instead I played around with some fonts and photoshop and came up with this. I'm going to miss Photoshop when the trial expires (I can't justify that price. Maybe I'll get Elements again one day). I'm no graphic designer, but I'm happy enough with it for now. Also, let me tell you how smarty pants I felt being able to put the social media icons in a row like that all by myself. I may have high-fived myself. All I wanted was a clean, minimal design. I don't need tricky widgets and weird layouts on my blog. I couldn't care less about the bells and whistles that you can have with Wordpress. I just wanted something simple and (hopefully) nice looking. So this is what I came up with. Oh I have things to add - my blog links aren't there yet, I still have some other things to add like contact deets etc, but I'll get there eventually. One thing that has also disappeared is all my email subscribers. So if you had subscribed by email, you're going to have to do it again if you want to continue receiving alerts (you can enter your address at bottom of the sidebar). Otherwise you can click on the RSS button under my smiling head to add it to your reader.

Good thing 2: I received a lot of lovely words, advice, help and so-sweet support after whinging about it all on social media. Thank you for being so lovely - made me feel all warm and fuzzy to have such lovely readers. And nice to know I actually still have readers - I may have had a day or two where I thought "why bother continuing? No one will car!e". You know those silly down times you get... So thank you so much! I also physically feel better - I finally went to the doctors on Tuesday and have been shoving antibiotics down my still-sore throat. I felt a bit human today - whoo hoo!

Good thing 3: We may - may - have some news on a house soon. Steve hates it when I say cross fingers and toes and eyes, so instead I'd ask you to all send some positive thoughts our way. I'll share more when I can regardless of the outcome...

Thank you all again - hopefully the blog will run smoothly from here on! x

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

crafty decorating: painted cork-tile pinboard

My poor desk has been sitting there covered in papers and bills (ugh) for way too long. It needed something to make it look a little bit more inspirational than it did so I would actually want to sit there and work. And now, I think it does! I wasn’t going to do a moodboard and I’m still not sure if I’ll bother with the typical magazine tear-sheet moodboard – because I hate ripping up my magazines! And I have no time and patience to do the photo thing I wanted to do – maybe somewhere else another time. So for now, it was a graphic pinboard of some kind for a few pictures, cards, photos and other bits and bobs I feel like hanging/dangling/pinning on it. I was thinking of stencilling something, but then I realised I keep doodling this diamond-ish pattern so I decided to translate it in giant-scale on some cork tiles.

Oh look! More handmade touches – I made this cushion out of two napkins, the twine hanger was made with dowel and thin wire, the lamp is an Ikea Tertial spraypainted blue, the garland is another one I made from scrap papers and a half-inch circle punch. Rainbow and sticker art by Layla, dinosaurs by Zak. He is such an awesome drawer.
What I love about this simple pattern and duplicate tiles is that i can change it up – the same tiles can be rearranged to be a chevron pattern or diagonal stripe. I also left space on either side to add to the tiles if I want to later on. They’re simply stuck up with 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips* which are easily removable from the walls (thank goodness as I’m renting!) but also meant that if I DO rearrange, it’s as simple as pulling the tiles off, and pressing them back in as they’ll just click into place. Awesome. If you’re keen to DIY, I of course took some pics of the process. Why not make the project process even more drawn-out?! Ha! Here’s how.

You’ll need:
Cork tiles – mine are from Bunnings, $13-odd for packet of 6. They’re floor tiles so quite thick and hardy. 
Painter’s tape
White paint
3M Command Picture Hanging Strips – I used 4 small velcro-style strips per cork tile
A paintbrush 
Also helpful: a ruler and pencil

Step 1: The easiest way to do this corner angle is to measure the same distance from the corner on both sides, mark and then line up the tape to the markings. I couldn’t find a ruler – of course – so used the 3M tape itself to measure everything. As multi-functional as it is genius. Tape off your corner and then cover the whole triangle with tape if you want to (or if your 3-year-old daughter is going to be painting it and you want to ensure the paint only goes in the right areas).

Step 2: Use your ruler – or in my case – your 3M tape! – to measure the distance you want the stripes to be. Steve said you could use maths as well but PFFT. I’m not even going to go there (not even close to my strongest subject). Tape it up and around the edges and repeat – mine ended up being (coincidentally, but very helpfully) the same size as two strips of masking tape. Repeat with all tiles the same way. The maths way is something about dividing up the lengths of each side…

Step 3: Arrange your tiles in the pattern you desire to ensure the stripes line up well enough.- with this simple pattern you can do this diamond, diagonal stripes or chevron. Don’t you love options?! If you couldn’t be bothered to keep redoing the pattern to get it right later on, mark the tiles on the back (top-left, top-right etc).

Step 4: Have your slave child paint the remaining cork. Then go over it yourself to redistribute the paint that all ended up on the one cork tile in huge glumps. Paint the tile in smooth strokes in the one direction. Leave to dry.

Step 5: My favourite part about painting with tape – peeling it back to see super-straight neat non-bleeding lines. Yay!

Step 6: Stick two 3M Command picture strips together – they click together a little like velcro.

Step 7: Peel off the backing tape off one of the sides, stick into place on the tile. I used one in each corner for super-strength and also to ensure the tile was evenly set off the wall – it sinks a tiny bit in the middle when you press in a tack, but is not going anywhere! Stick into place on the wall and repeat with all tiles until you have your pattern. These strips are great for any kind of wall hanging you want to change up – photos in frames can easily be swapped by simply taking the frame off – leaving the strip on the wall still – and then pressing back into place. Same might go if I rearrange my pinboard (although if the tiles turn to the sides they might not fit in perfectly, but they should still stay put.)

Step 8: Stick, pin, tape, hang, decorate!

 And one more to see it in the rest of the room… There is an Expedit to the right of the kids table. I really should take a picture of the whole space, but it’s always so messy… Even too messy to show you how messy it is, if you know what I mean. Normally I’m happy to do that, but at the moment, sheesh – the place is appalling. I had to turn down an impromptu playdate today because the place looked like a bunch of teenagers had been allowed to live in it parent-free for a week. That bad.
Anyway, there is my new pinboard. I just need some things to pin on it now! It’s a bit sparse, but it was mainly to show the pattern. I kind of don’t want to cover it up too much… I like diamonds. Real ones too! x
* I was sent a packet of 3M hooks to use in some way and enter into a Blog Aloud competition. I think if you read my blog regularly you’ll know how I feel about them (I love and use them for EVERYTHING) so I decided against a review and incorporated the competition requirements – image, link and mention – into this project instead. My project has been shortlisted as one of the top 8 and it’s now down to votes. If you have a spare minute and enjoyed this project, please pop by to Facebook and “like” my project here (I am assuming a like is a vote?!?!) to vote. I would very much like to win the prize. Thanks!
{Images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}