Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Six Million Dollar Kitten

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic kitten. Cutiepie will be that cat! Better than she was before. Better... stronger... faster. "


If charity begins at home, what do you do when you decide to boycott pet stores and adopt a rescue kitten who then ends up with an infection within 24hrs and costs you four times what you paid the rescue centre? 

You suck it up of course..

On Cutiepie's ( guess who named her?) third Vet visit in her first week with us, I asked She-Who-Worships-Pink (who is now She-Who-Worships-Kitten) if she would like to exchange this kitten and get another of the ones she'd almost chosen?

There was an edge to her voice that heralded the onset of many tears; "NO, I LOVE her!"
"Just checking" I said as we turned into the vet's car park.

I wasn’t really serious, We'd had her almost a week and she'd made quite an impression despite the lampshade on her head. She’s the most curious cat I’ve ever met. She’s thoroughly inspected my make-up case, my shoes, every open drawer and cupboard. She’s watched Pinkster in the bath with a clear expression of abject horror. She kept coming back to the bathroom doorway to check to see if the kid was still soaking. When the orange dog decided to join the party and cop-a-squat accross the doorway, she literally elbowed past him and took up her watch from the shower recess. First time I’ve seen ‘incredulous’ displayed on a furry face.

And speaking of the Orange Dog, she’s been busy training him. He’s never been big on barking but he can whinge up a storm and none of us are fans of that.  So when he whinges at her she arches her back and hisses. When he stops and sits, she walks to him and gives him a little kiss on the nose and if he stays like that he gets a rub around his front legs too.

She’s quite a funny playful little thing and reasonably good humoured and compliant regarding all the ongoing discomforts. She’ll forgive and forget the nasty stuff shot forcibly down her throat, and the reatachement of the bucket over her head and within minutes be purring in my arms. She sounds like a lawnmower.

When you take on a pet, you take on the responsibility for their continued health and its related expenses. We were just unlucky, I guess that these expenses started adding up the day after we brought her home.

Her wound from being recently de-sexed was infected, she became hot and listless so I took her to the Vet the next morning ca-ching: $90 consultation plus $124 in anit-biotics and pain relief.

I’m always moaning what human pharmaceuticals cost, but sheeesh: drugs for animals seriously beat up on your credit card.

Poor little thing had a fever and her wound looked red and swollen. She had a follow up consultation for $50 five days later then another. I figure they’re too embarrassed to charge for this one as they’d just quoted $370 to open her up again and sort out the infection – so she was booked in and as of tonight I’m another $410 down. (they didn’t include antibiotics in their quote).

So the total sum of this 7-month-old kitten is $871.80 and I guess we still have to pay to have the stitches out in ten days.

Being almost a thousand dollar (stray) kitten we'd better keep her indoors from now on. Maybe I should add our bionic kitten to the home contnents insurance too!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Smiley Face



Pinkster has the flu.
We had flu shots, so WTF?

There are so many lurgys going around this year: the fever & vomits, the fever & ear-aches, and now a return of H1N1 (Swine) Flu!

My poor little mite has been coughing and coughing, her temperature shot up into the 40s. After she saw the doctor we were told she has to wear a face mask if she goes out in public.

At first she used a pretty one from her doctor-dress-up kit.

It didn't cheer her up enough, so we thought about making her another more cheerful one.
We had us a few discussions about how being ill can make you not feel like smiling, so this is what we came up with.

It's a proto-type, we're still working on the final version, but its a start. I used a piece of left-over quilted pillow protector remvoing one layer of wadding. It's a bit thick having two layers of fabric with light interfacing between, but I fugure it stops the germs escaping better than just a layer of cotton.

But most importantly; for now her smile is back


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

From Garbage to Glamour

She-Who-Worships-Pink apparently now worships animal prints.  I could say "oh dear" but in all honesty I must say that she's a chip off the old block.

I promise, I have never nurtured or encouraged this - so it must be a matter of DNA. Or just her innate sense of style.

Walking through an enormous fabric store, my Pinkster strolled past a roll of sparkly fabrics in both her favourites; blue and pink. She didn't bat an eyelash.

Then she called me over to another table; "Mummy! This is beeyewdiful; can we use this?" Her tiny little fingers were tugging at a roll of leopard print Lycra. Then she gasped and grabbed the one next to it: faux snake or maybe crocodile, it was hard to tell.

You see Pinkster (I can still call her that, right?) had designed a dress for her latest favourite Bratz doll.

Oddly her current favourite doll is the one I recently rescued from a kerbside garbage bag; washed, dressed, coiffed and offered prosthetic feet (long boots).


But apparently, one extreme make-over wasn't quite enough. 

She drew a picture of her design, once she'd chosen her fabrics; some leopard print Lycra and sequined lurex. (Would not have been my first choice of fabric combinations.)

Then the nagging started: "Mummy pleeeeeeeease, make it." "today?"

Well all in all, as much as I had little confidence in her fabric combo,  the dress turned out quite well. 

Pinkster asked me to put up Bratz's hair in a French Twist, before removing her bangles to thread them through her ears!

I think my girl might just have an eye for this stuff...





Friday, August 15, 2014

Trash-pickers


"Did you get that out of the trash? You did! You trash-picker!"

"I'm not a trash-picker. I'm a recycler. That's a lot more romantic. Isn't it?"

 ['The Wild' Movie]

This week has been Council Clean Up, where households put out rubbish that's too big for the bins and the council trucks come along, smash it up and dump it as land fill.

I've been out with a fellow civic minded green recycler type, picking through the trash and I've been equal parts thrilled and appalled.

Thrilled at all the stuff we rescued from land-fill including one brand new, I swear it's never been sat on, Ikea Klappsta armchair. 
This had been pitched out (then rejected by other civic minded recycler types) I suspect, because of the wobbly legs. 
Well somebody didn't read the instructions did they? 
I got it home got out my tools and put the legs on the right way.  
It's gorgeous. It's not land fill.

My friend similarly rescued many more items of good, even lovely furniture, but some of it was very much worse off for the poor weather.

The appalling part is that people throw good quality useful stuff, unceremoniously onto the curb without giving it a thought.
I felt like putting charity shop leaflets in peoples letter boxes or a note even, saying something like:
 "Do you know that the Salvation Army will pick this stuff up, free of charge, and give it to families in need? Or sell it and feed homeless people?" "Surely a phone call is less trouble than dragging it onto the curb?" 

I just hate waste: that's why I filled two suit bags with around 30 plush toys, expensive toys, in mint condition - apart from the fact they'd been left out in the rain.  I took them home dried them on the line, washing the dirty ones, and donated them to charity myself.   
 
Apart from the fact that watching Toy Story 3 has scarred me for life, I think of all the poor little kids, who through no fault of their own, don't get nice toys at all and it breaks my heart to think of this stuff going into a dirty rubbish truck to be smashed up, buried and turned into pollution.

She-Who-Worships-Pink came with me on her first 'trash or treasure hunt' and she asked if she could find some treasure to keep. 
I told her"If it's clean and in good condition, you can take one teeny- tiny little thing" :

Yes, this was the first thing she laid eyes on!
 
We found a pitiful Bratz doll, hair all matted in a tangled ball, with a mix of craft glue and general crud, naked with no feet and again I thought of Toy Story 3...

I wish I'd thought to take before photo's - who doesn't like an extreme makeover - but you'll have to take my word for it - she really didn't look worth rescuing.

But in 15 minutes after a good shampoo, a brush through with conditioner, some prosthetic feet (old Barbie-doll boots), leggings from one of my old dolls and another Barbie hand-me-down blouse...She's like new and Pinkster adores her.

The little Pinkster decided to do a presentation for news this week on re-using and recycling which has turned out to be the hot topic this semester: 


And unfortunately the bear goes everywhere..

 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Seeing The Light



For as long as we've been in this house, every time I use the powder-room I've known I'll never be happy until I have two big holes in the door.
 
You probably wouldn’t imagine that knocking holes in a door would be a solution to disguising a great mess.
You might imagine going by my last post that mess is a problem in our home. Well sometimes. Maybe.  Just a bit.
But I mean, look at the view from our downstairs power-room. <Urgh.>  My laundry ‘aint pretty - not in the least, but with the door closed the powder room looks like a dark cave.

I’ve been thinking about having window panes inserted to replace the top two door panels for ages- years in fact. That solution would let in the light, while I close the door on the mess.
I’ve asked two handymen and three builders and they’ve all scratched their heads and talked about removing the door which involves removing the frame, part of the wall. Buying a new door and doing all of the above to get it in.. Well, I think that’s serious over-kill. 

I wanted to do the same with the front door of the house, and I ended up with a brand new door. Which then had to be primed (several times), and painted and sanded back (several times) and that all took weeks to complete.
So during a visit from family, my sister’s clever husband took a look.  He uttered words that were music to my weary ears: “I’ve actually done this before..it's quite simple.”
As he checked out mine; knocking a bit on it to see if it was solid, he reminded me of a beautiful door in their home with two gorgeous stained glass panels.
“See here? This beading is nailed in, get a fine chisel under it and you can ease this off. Then cut out the panels – replace the beading on the back, silicone in the glass then nail back the beading on the front.”
More music to my ears, and I understood most of it. Beading, also known as moulding, is the trim inside a door panel: 

We started out running around the edge of the beading/moulding with a Stanley knife to cut through the thick paint, then worked the chisel around slowly working off the front moulding.
After measuring up the panel size, minus mouldings, we stopped by the glaziers to order the glass panels, then headed to the hardware store, where among other things I bought a new chisel and a new toy.
Ryobi Multi tool - I cut, I shaved and I sanded!
I also needed new beading, as I wasn't quite gentle enough in places. oops but as it turned out, the original moulding was very wide anyway which meant smaller panels and less light.

So the whole thing went merrily along just as my renovation wingman had described. I should call him the reno-Pilot really because I certainly had neither the expertise nor the courage to tackle this on my Tod, and wouldn't have at all if he hadn't motivated me (pushed me into it)

So this is the story in pictures:



Ta Dah!
Many thanks to my clever Brother-in-law who recognises a procrastinator when he sees one and knows just how to give a gentle shove :0)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Homework

I'm cheating this week on finish up Friday, by showing off something that was finished on another Friday.

I love sneaky spaces, especially home work spaces. My own home office takes up a quarter of one bedroom which is not ideal and I've had to add a shelf unit at the end of my desk, which ends a meter before the doorway, jut to improve the view from the main passage.  The paperwork is bad enough but when I'm sewing, the moment anyone hits the top of the stairs, my messy desk is the dominant feature of the first floor.

The apartment I just finished needed a work-space and fortunately there was an enormous cupboard in the main living area. I took half of this to create a hide-away workspace.

It was almost too simple, just a matter of adjusting the shelves to create a desk and adding a pull-out keyboard drawer and some accessories. My fabulous cabinet makers did all the hard work retro fitting the old cupboard with new shelves.  Because it was so old there weren't any movable shelves (and the shelves were hideous raw timber slatted things) so it took a bit of working. I had an elecrician install an additional power outlet inside the cupboard bottom to run the computer, printer and modem.

The fun part for me was buying office accessories to dress it up, with an Ikea SPONTAN magnetic message board and  Ikea Kassett magazine files and a print for the back wall:

 
I'd like to do this at home and reclaim my guest room - I have the cupboard space (it just needs a good clear out).
I've since found  a number of attachable keyboard shelves available on Amazon. Who knows, maybe I can figure out a way to make a hidaway sewing station too...

Maybe I should call my favourite cabinet makers for another nifty creative design.

Maybe I should be clearing some cupboard space first.



Special thanks to Creative Space Constructions - for truly inspired solutions and quality finishes. 



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The 'S-H' word



She-Who-Worships-Pink-but-not-so-much-blue-since-Frozen-has-been-surpassed-by-Narnia was in the bath.
I was on the phone.
Pinkster whispered to me "I have to tell you something terrible" and she gave a little sniff. A sure sign of oncoming tears.

I said a quick goodbye to her Auntie, put the phone down and squatted next to the bath. I rested my arms along its edge with my face close to hers and said; "tell me, sweetie".

"Well, I did something so terrible I'll have to go to the principals office and.. sit in the punishment corner."
I smiled gently, "Darling I don't think you could have done anything so terrible."

She whispered "I said the 's-h word!" and she gave a little sob.
She explained that two older girls had heard her say something and when asked, the little friend with Pinkster had dobbed her in for saying the S-H word.  She said in horror; "they STARED at me, mummy!'
They also apparently said they would tell their teacher.

I stroked her face, tried not to register my shock and said "remind me again what is the S-H word?"
She whispered even more fervently: "Shut-Up".  The look of abject shame on her face and suddenly I'm almost laughing.

But you cannot laugh in these situations; this is serious and dramatic stuff to a 6-year-old.  My rule is, she must laugh first or things will go very badly.

So I explained about the ‘other SH word that means pooh’,and that gave her pause.
And I explained about swear words. I explained about older kids who have older brothers and sisters who use real swear words. One of these kids she'd mentioned, I know has older brothers and I also know for a fact their mother uses that ‘other’ S-H word (I’ve heard that first hand).

“So sweetie, there is a very bad word that is an S-H word. ‘Shut-up’ is actually two words anyway, and if you did get sent to the principal’s office, which I don’t think will happen because those older girls didn’t hear you for themselves, he would ask you what S-H word you said and you would say ‘Shut – up’ and he would probably laugh, because he was expecting the other real swear word…” 

It was a long sentence but that often works with her. Build up the suspense with a long narrative and the punch-line works better.

She laughed then, and I knew we were back in safe territory. She whispered; “is pooh a bad swear-word?”
“No darling doctors often ask you about your pooh and they don’t use swear words, do they?”
“But the teachers say that: (and she whispers again) ‘shut-up’ is bad.”

I explained: “Well it is a very rude thing to tell someone when they’re talking, and your teachers are trying to teach you not to be rude to others – that’s a good thing.”
“But it is definitely not a proper swear word.”  I elaborated; “I say it all the time don’t I? I tell it to the dog next door, to people honking their car horns; I tell it to my phone when it rings a lot and also to the TV whenever our prime minister is on it…”

That really got her giggling.  I shrugged, "Well everyone knows he's an idiot so that really doesnt count", I said.
"Mummy!' she gasped, 'you said the eee-word!"
"What?"
"idiot!" she whispered and she bit her lip.



linking with Mummy Monday
laughing linky too

Friday, July 18, 2014

Busting My Botox Budget




Did I ever tell you  about the time my Botox budget was blown on a plumbing bill?


No? Well, our hot water heater - a mammoth 400 litre tank housed precariously in an upstairs cupboard - truly an accident waiting to happen, one day just coughed, spluttered and then died.

Naturally this happened on the weekend, between Christmas and New Year. It cost a bomb and almost  the plumber's apprentice his life during it's removal. OK maybe he would have just broken several necessary limbs..

I forget how much they said it weighed empty, (perhaps as much as Arnold Schwarzenegger; definitely as bulky), but be assured it was a lot, and being two meters tall it couldn't go down our narrow stair case.

So they had to remove the lacework balustrade on the balcony and lower the empty tank on ropes to the ground. Which is where it almost took a life, being too heavy for the man upstairs.  Fortunately Mr Frenchie saw his sneakers sliding toward the balcony edge and quickly grabbed him around the waist, thus saving him from an untimely end.

Well if we thought our tank was heavy, the invoice was weightier, and I was forced to empty my slush-fund: the one where I'd been saving up for Botox.

So I enjoy warm showers again but I have more crows feet than Alfred Hitchcock's other shocker; The Birds.

there are more crows feet around my eyes than in this playground...
My crows' feet would give  Tippi Hedren nightmares.

But this story is not about my crows' feet, or Alfred Hitchock or even the exhorbitant cost of holiday plumbing emergencies.

This is actually about the hole that was left behind and what I have done with it.

So in the aftermath, I was left with a two meter tall by one meter wide box behind doors.

What to do?

I thought, how about the Mother, Father and Fairy-God-Mother's of all linen cupboards?

My next thought was of the wobbly ironing board I have on the back of the downstairs powder-room door where the iron's cord only just reaches from the laundry..

So, what if I could have a linen cupboard with a hidden ironing board? seeing as how there was the electrical outlet just below the old water heater cupboard ....

Ta-dah!

My genius cabinet makers, piano-hinged my existing doors to become bi-folds to the wall and built a drawer that pulls down and into a fold-out ironing board.

Now I have more cupboard space, and I can get rid of the wobbly back-of-door-ironing-board- eye-sore in the powder room.



But I still have terrible crows feet. 







Friday, July 11, 2014

Flat Out

The past three months have been some of the busiest and most stressful in my life. I've been busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest, but today is Friday- Finish Up Friday - I finished a Flat.

Yes there has been much blogging on the subject; the whirl-winds of activity followed by weeks of waiting just to have blinds hung. Then the bloody upstairs neighbor complained about the noise from the hammer drill and we had to down-tools and wait another week.

But anyway it's done:

Er this is the before shot you know...
Dated, dirty and unhygienic with meters of dirty jagged silicone around the sink and food preparation areas. The back corner of the bench was also collapsing due water damage.
 Ta-Dah!
This bathroom was a shocker; dated, dark, scruffy and dirty with no storage and even less sex appeal.

This was as bad as it gets: the plumbing and waste (circa 1950’s) were incompatible with most modern fixtures. It also had also a history of leaks which had been patched with limited success. The ceiling had to be replaced due to age and water damage... Truly a nasty piece of work- I'm sure my plumber is still having nightmares about it..

again.. Ta-Dah!
What followed was a very long, and messy, total strip out, re-plumb, new waterproof skin, re-tiling of the  floor and walls (to ceiling), installation of an exhaust fan and down lights –frameless shower screen – bespoke cabinetry and a built-in cistern. 


The living room, like the rest, was dated and scruffy with walls painted in a colour that gobbled up light rather than reflecting it.  The carpet was well worn, patchy and lifting at the edges. .



 Now it has new carpet, new paint, a cosy fire and somewhere to toss your keys as you come in the door.


Then I really went to town on some extras, my cabinet designer was like a happy puppy with a bone when I told him what I wanted and this is what we came up with:


With the kitchen so short on storage space, this ‘Smart Sideboard’ offers two large cupboards with ample storage, deep enough for dinner plates. The centre panel has space for larger platters and tall vases and the clever little thing folds out into a dining table.

Everyone needs a place to work so we retro fitted an in-home workspace with an internal electrical outlet and pull out keyboard or laptop table.

So it's done - I can get my life back, enjoy morning coffees with friends, get pedicures, go back to the gym get back to the novel..  and look for the next building project. :0)




Special thanks to Creative Space Constructions - for truly creative solutions and quality work.