Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bathroom Cupboard Organisation

Life is busy, time gets away from us and before we know it, our cupboards, bench tops and any other available surface is piled full of 'stuff' and are a train wreck. 
I like to think that I am a pretty tidy person but it still happens in my home. 
Throw in an older style 'rental' and there isn't much hope of 'pretty'.

Insert ; Our kids bathroom Vanity

Old tiles, old laminate, old EVERYTHING (that never looks clean regardless of what I do!) and a whole heap of mess happening there! 
So ... I tidied as much as possible, containerised everything , bought some new colourful towels and added some cute little labels. 
Ta- Da !

The labels are really what has made the little organising project work. 

The cupboard is so much more user friendly, everyone can see where everything lives and needs to be put away and I repurposed most items that I already had. 

Products used;

Green tubs - IKEA a few years ago
Plastic baskets - Kmart $3 ea HERE 
( I already had these, I have them everywhere around the house!)
White bucket - IKEA $2.95 ea HERE
Towels- Kmart $12 ea HERE
Labels- Pretty Paper Label - contact Kate's facebook page HERE
(Kate custom makes labels, you can choose the font, colour , size EVERYTHING! She is amazing to work with and very clever at her job! Get onto it! )

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Guest Post - Leanne from Organising the Four of Us

Hi everyone,

I'm Leanne from Organising the Four of Us. A big thank you to Liz for letting me share my top 10 organising tips with you today. Can I start by saying that this is my 'highlight reel'. The house doesn't always look this perfect - life gets in the way and that is totally ok. While I type this I have dishes that need doing, washing that needs hanging and a whole lot of housework to do, but life is short - so I'm choosing to spend the next 15 minutes here with you.

My Top 10 Organising Tips 

1) Meal plan and grocery shop once a week. Try to do the groceries on a day that you will have time to pack everything away properly. Spending the extra time during the week to cut and prep your fruit and vegetables will be a lifesaver on busy days or nights.

2) Try to keep your bathrooms clutter free. Find clever storage solutions that (where possible) allow everything to have a place preferably off the benches.

3) Less is more. The more clothes/toys/stuff you have, the more there is to clean, wash and put away. Simplifying your home and closets will save you time in the long run.

4) Everything needs a home in the kitchen. Making sure that everything has its place makes it a lot easier to put things away at the end of a busy day. If your family can learn where things go, even better!

5) Put dinner into lock down (read more about that here.). Sometimes the meals that my family enjoys best are our easy dinners. If it is a busy week - don't feel that you need to slave away in the kitchen for hours. Spend the extra time with your family and try something easy. If you have a Thermomix, you might like to try one of these recipes.

6) When planning birthday parties - try to organise it so that once the party starts - you don't have anything left to do. I am a firm believer in being able to enjoy the party with your child, rather than running around trying to organise food and games. For this reason, I don't serve hot food.

7) If the house is trashed - start cleaning in the kitchen. I always feel much better if the kitchen is clean. Having a clean and tidy kitchen motivates me to tidy the rest of the house. Let's face it - the kitchen is the heart of every home.

8) Organise your pantry so that it is easy to find what you are looking for. Again - everything in it's place. Want pretty labels for your pantry? Kate from Pretty Paper Label is your lady - find her on Facebook.

9)  Have a room where there kids can create mess. All the toys are in our playroom and where possible we try and teach the boys to keep them in there. This keeps the toys out of the rest of the rooms. Believe me - the playroom very rarely looks this tidy! I cleaned it just in time to catch this shot ;)

10) At the end of the day - the state of your house is much less important than your family and your own mental state. It's ok if your house is a mess and you have no motivation to tidy it. Boil the kettle, pour a cuppa and sit down and spend some quality time with your husband and/or kids. The mess will wait and when you feel up to it, you can try again!

Thanks for having me

L x

To see 'The Four of Us' facebook page click HERE, and wonderful blog HERE

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our new addition

Five wonderful weeks ago we added a new member to our family. A little fur baby who we called Toby. He is a cavalier cross Maltese and the fluffiest little boy you ever did see and we love him so!!

Getting a dog is something we have been thinking about for a while, and seeing as though we had to leave our other dog behind when me moved (dogs weren't allowed in Transit housing and the kennel situation is awful up here). Our kids have been afraid of dogs for a while now and we really needed something to help with that situation, protect our home and add some fluffy love. Toby certainly does most of those things (doesn't quite protect yet!)

Toby's first day in his new home

Max was super happy that Toby was here, but wasn't all that keen to wrap his arms around him on the first day at home
at 7 weeks old

He gets cuddled and cradled. Put in the toy prams and loved to within an inch of his life. And I can't forget the rug that gets layed over him when he naps! So sweet

Its not just the kids heart he has stolen, its mine too. I love our cuddles at night when the kids are in bed!

9 week old Toby

He falls asleep anywhere and everywhere and his favourite position is flat on his back, bless him! 

11 weeks old

Stella and Toby have formed such a bond and it has been beautiful to watch. She runs in after school , straight to him for a cuddle. She sneaks out of her room at night for a cuddle and he laps it all up! 

12 week old Toby and Stella

Adding Toby to our family has been the best decision we have made in a long time. The kids fell in love instantly (we all did), they are really learning about care and being responsible for a pet by having to feed him and help bath him and you can't beat his cuddles. Such a sook! 

Seeing as though we haven't had a pet for a while, we are still figuring out what works best for us in terms of the organisation of his things, the food and the sleeping arrangements but I will be sure to bring you a blog post when it is all nutted out. 
But for now, excuse me while I go and have a cuddle with my fluff ball puppy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Playing Tourists more than tour guide!

A few weeks ago , we were lucky enough to have all of my immediate family come up to visit and stay for 5 days!! It was totally wonderful. The kids had a ball playing with cousins again, we had a few bevvies and lots of chats and laughs.  Plus the weather was glorious!
Whilst showing them all the sights around our new town ( can you believe we have been here for nearly 15 months already!!) I took the opportunity to take a few snaps around the place. We are still discovering bits and pieces around town and really haven't ventured far (but that will all change soon , since we have bought our first caravan!)

Prior to flying up for my husbands interview and site visit before we decided to move, I had never visited the Pilbara region. My husband grew up in this area, in a small mining town a few hours south and inland but it was all new to me. I was in complete shock at the sheer size of the mining operations that happen here, how close to the centre of town it is and the amazing facilities that are available. 
When you look past all the iron ore dust, massive trains and other mine paraphernalia , the place is filled with hidden treasures. Statues and tourist attractions, flowers dotted around an otherwise barren and red landscape, everyday sights that are really not appreciated or seen and then the hidden beauty in the industrial chaos.

Most people that live here are here for the same reason - to get ahead and kick some financial goals (my husbands motto that I hear all to often!) . We are all here without family, and our network of friends soon becomes our Pilbara family. Everyone is supportive of each other, offers to look after kids, help when needed, celebrate birthdays and special occasions together and it all really makes living away from our loved ones, so so much easier! 

Some of the things that our kids are seeing and experiencing here, really can't be seen elsewhere and I hope they will remember them forever. They will have stories to share with their children and grandchildren about the massive trains that bought the Iron Ore to Daddy's work, about the flashing Christmas tree that was always in front of the salt pile, about the hot hot summers and beautiful winters. 

And because I had a few emails and messages after posting a few images of the Pilbara on the blog, I thought I would show you some bits and pieces of our town. 

Playing tourist and tour guide ...... 

It really is as red as it looks and the sky really does look amazing for a sunset. The winter has been glorious but today is forecast to reach 36 degrees and I don't see it letting up any time soon! 
Its going to be a long, hot summer. Thank goodness for air conditioning :)

I hope you enjoyed a sneak peek into the area, if you ever get a chance to visit, do it!! Its an amazing part of Australia ! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kids Kitchen Makeover - Process

Finally, after a visit from family, a weekend music festival, a week of the dreaded cold all round and a spasm in my shoulder and neck, I bring you the process post for our gorgeous kids kitchen makeover!

As mentioned in the reveal post, our kitchen has been well used and loved and it certainly showed so giving it a makeover was high on our priority list. Our kids toy/ play area is a part of our open living room so I constantly stared at it when sitting on the lounge.

I received quite a few emails following the reveal post (thank you to everyone who took the time to drop me a line, I am always humbled when I receive them) and a lot of people had asked me about the process and how I went about the makeover.

Firstly, I dragged the kitchen to an area that I knew would be convenient and comfortable for painting, with good ventilation and where I could leave it for a few days (out of the way) in between steps. 

I then used a small hand sander to buff all the areas that I wanted to paint. 

I then gave it a good clean and wipe over with some cleaning spray and a dust cloth to ensure the surface would be smooth and dust free to begin the painting and priming process.

I used a water based primer in a plain white and covered all the areas well , that needed to be painted with the feature colour. I left to dry for a day , just to make sure.

Choosing the feature colour would have had to have been the hardest decision of them all!! I ended up going for a gorgeous Taubmans colour called BERYLINE,  and was instructed by the gentleman at the paint shop to use a gloss acrylic paint as you see less brush strokes and the finish would be more durable . Of course this is all up to you. Ideally, if this was a new kitchen and it hadn't been put together yet, I would have preferred to use spray paint. I just prefer the finish!

Then the gorgeous colour coats were applied. I was instructed to wait 5-6 hours in between coats but seeing as though my husband was working and I was going solo with supervising 4 kids as well as undertaking this project, I just did one coat a day. 

It wasn't all smooth sailing with this makeover , and I knew it wouldn't be. Its one of the first bigger projects I have undertaken by myself but I was more than determined to do it solo!! Hmm I think they call that stubborn! 
After painting the second coat, I started to notice the paint taking on a 'crackled' effect. It looked like I had used that old school crackle paint, only I hadn't!! I made the decision (after a phone call to my hubby and darling Dad) that I would let the coat dry, lightly sand the effected areas then paint them again. Thankfully this worked and after the third coat of paint, you couldn't tell it even happened. 
Reasons why we think this happened? Seeing as though the paint is oil based, I left the brushes to soak in between coats in a jar of Turps. I think there may have been residue on the brush (even though I had cleaned it well) and this effected the coat of paint as it was being applied. 
Lesson learnt the hard way! 

Once all the painting was complete, I bought the kitchen inside (as its lighter when separated) and then re-attached the top section to the base unit. 

We then added some cute knobs above the oven area (there was never any there) and these have made a great addition for the kids role play activities. 

I really wanted to add a splash back to the kitchen, so my husband just cut a thin sheet of particle board to fit the area, I sprayed the area with Spray Adhesive and rolled and secured some gorgeous wrapping paper from Love Mae called Confetti to the area. I trimmed the excess then we secured it to the back of the kitchen with small nails. 

There are so so many lovely choices out there (especially on the Love Mae site) for wrapping paper and splash back options but I wanted to keep to something fairly neutral, seeing as though the colour was quite vibrant. 

Once Mum had had her turn sprucing up the kitchen and adding a few 'style' touches, the kids couldn't play with it fast enough! They had really missed it while it was out of action , it would have to be the most played with piece in our home! 

All in all , this project was quite easy to under take ( I managed to do it by myself so I am sure you can too!) and really didn't cost a lot. 

Cost Breakdown ;

Primer Paint $40 
(I used about a 1/4 of a tin but have used it for many many projects since!)
Teal paint $34
Paint brush $8
Glass Knob $0 
( I already had these knobs from a previous project but you can pick them up quite cheap on eBay)
Particle Board $14 
(we have excess we have used for another project also)
Wrapping Paper $4.95
I hope I covered most of the questions 
TOTAL - $100.95 
(however most purchases have been used in other projects and still have surplus!)

I hope I have covered most of the questions asked and been able to give you a quick run down of how we completed our Kitchen makeover, please don't hesitate to email me if you have any more further questions!!

And good luck to anyone thinking of making over their own kids kitchen! I would love to see the finished products!