Saturday, 5 May 2012

Continuing with the frame theme ...

After the success of the menu board, I decided to make up another frame as a sort of "command centre".  I had a huge frame with lots of different size cut-outs in the mat that I was going to fill with various bits and pieces.  After having it hang on the wall for a couple of weeks, I decided it was too big and yet not big enough, if that makes any sense at all, which it probably doesn't 'cos this is me we're talking about after all!

The frame itself was probably not too big, but having all the different little sections made it seem really cluttered and disorganised.  I tried taking the mat out and putting larger pieces of background paper in but that just looked cheap and nasty so I took it down and gave up on the idea for a while.

While shopping for something totally different (glass jars .. a whole other story) I spotted some really cheap frames at Red Dot Maddington ($2.99 down from $8.99) and bought four of those instead.  Of course, being me, I didn't really check them all until I got home, unwrapped them and then found that one was a slightly different size and one was the wrong colour. 

On my next trip over that way, I found that they had completely sold out so I decided to try other Red Dot stores.  None of the other stores I tried had any either so I resigned myself to more spray painting and somehow making the wrong size one work.  They then hung on the wall in all their wrongness with me getting more and more annoyed with myself every time I walked past them. 

Once again I was shopping for something completely different (melamine picnic set plates this time) and found some other frames that I thought might work.  Just as I picked one up, it slipped and as I fumbled for it (and caught it .. yay me!) I spotted two of the original frames I was looking for tucked under the bottom shelf and pushed to the back.  One had a slight scratch but nothing a bit of texta couldn't fix so I did a little happy dance and proceeded to the checkout.

These ones were the right colour and size so they were put on the wall while I pondered how best to dress them up.  (At this point, I realised that the frame I thought was the wrong size was actually the right size but the screw it was hanging on was slightly lower than the others, giving the impression it was a different size .. bugger!)

Enter Pinterest .. yet again!  Pinspiration (here):

The final result:

They are in the main walkway from the front of the house to the back so everyone can see them and so far, people are paying attention to them. That may change as time goes on but I'm enjoying the novelty factor right now!
(Please excuse all the mess in the kitchen.  The slaves .. oops I mean children .. hadn't done the after dinner clean up when I took these photos.)

The lighting isn't the best but that's what you get for taking pictures under artificial light at night time from weird angles to try and avoid camera flash showing up on the glass instead getting weird reflections of yourself looking like your arm is growing out of the side of your head.  Oh well!  I still think the frames look cute!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

On tonight's menu, we have ...

We needed something to help us be more organised with our meal planning so I found an old frame and some scrapbook paper and ... ta-da! ... another Pinterest inspired creation was completed.
The inspiration (here and here):

The idea is to use the glass in the frame as a whiteboard with the paper behind the glass just being for decoration.  You can use ordinary whiteboard markers to write on the glass and best of all, it comes off with just one quick swipe of a cloth .. no scrubbing or cleaners required!

I went for a cross between the two types as I couldn't find the 12x12 frame that I was going to use to copy the right hand version.  (Still way too many boxes to unpack!!)  Here's the (almost) finished result:

We lived with it like this for about a week but the frame colour was really bugging me so I painted the outside edge matte black and left the raised section around the glass in the timber colour.  Left it like that for another week and decided I didn't like that either, so I painted the raised section in gloss black.  This is the final result:

I think the gloss section highlights the letters more and just finishes the whole thing off.  Of course, I may be slightly biased!  The only thing left to do is to make some sort of shelf/attachment for the marker to sit on.  At the moment, it sits on top of the frame, but with people walking past it all day it sometimes has a tendency to disappear.
So far it has worked wonderfully .. we all have input into what's planned for dinner and as a result, there's less stress on me when I get home from work.  It also means that we are eating less 'junk' and more real food as we are all making sure that the appropriate ingredients are out of the freezer in time.  (I know you can defrost things in the microwave but I reckon it makes the meat taste funny so I don't like to do it .. fussy!)

I should just put Friday's one (Fend for yourself) in permanent marker though ... I don't think it's changed in four weeks!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

To sleep; perchance to dream ... please?

Brad had a couple of friends over for a sleepover last night ... the same two friends he had over for his birthday party.  I'm kind of regretting allowing the sleepover part.  If my brain was functioning properly, I'm sure it would be beating me about the head mercilessly with whatever large object was at hand, trying to beat some sense into me.

Now don't get me wrong, they are all good kids; not wilfully destructive, not (purposefully) rude, generally good kids.  But, and that's a big but, they are loud!  And apparently nocturnal.  And completely starving ... all.the.time.  Thankfully though, they are all relatively house-trained.

I sat them all down at 9pm and had a little chat re the noise and lack of sleep from last time then gave them instructions to keep the noise down to a dull roar and to allow the brothers (who weren't home last time) to get some sleep.

Alex and Andrew were given the option of sleeping in the spare room or their own rooms.  I did tell Andrew that if he was truly desperate for sleep, he could sleep in my room as Pete was up at the shed.  Alex elected to sleep in his own bed (being somewhat nocturnal himself, I figured that would be the case).  Andrew decided on the spare room but ended up coming down to my room at about 4am as he "couldn't take the singing any more".

We both tried to get some sleep after that but the dog had found a ball and kept barking at one or the other of the boys to play with him.  I took the ball away from the dog and sent the child who was on the elliptical machine back to bed at about 4:15am.

I took the other ball away from the dog at 5am and told him to be quiet or else.

At 5:45am I heard the sound of the kettle and the tea/coffee/sugar jars being opened and closed.  I went out to investigate and found the three of them standing in the kitchen making themselves iced coffees.  Yep .. coffees!  As if those three need coffee ... it would have been like giving a hummingbird speed!  Or a meerkat crack!  Or Hammy the squirrel coffee (Over the Hedge reference there).  Or ... I think you get the picture.

After rapidly setting them straight and telling them to have Milo instead,  I went back to bed and tried to sleep in.  Tried being the operative word there ... made it to 7:15am then was wide awake.  Why is it you can never sleep in when you want to?

Anyway, they all crashed and burned between 9:30 and 10am while I couldn't have gone back to sleep if my life depended on it (well, I probably could have under those circumstances but then again ... the stress of my life depending on it may have put paid to any restfulness ... who really knows?  I'm sleep deprived .. can you tell?) 

So what do you do when you're really tired and you're not thinking straight?  That's right .. you re-arrange the furniture.  Nothing like dropping something heavy on your foot to wake you up!  Even better if it's the bed you should really be sleeping in, not trying to move around the room! 

Oh well, the extra boys have gone, the bedroom is re-arranged and I managed to have a nanna nap this afternoon.  A pretty good day in all ...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Anyone want to buy a kidney?

Or maybe a lung?  I can survive with one ... I think!

Only reason I'm asking is we got a power bill today and I'm seriously thinking of selling one of the children my car to pay Synergy.

Our first power bill here at the new house was for 60 days (20 of which we weren't actually living in the house) and was less than $200.  With this next bill, I was envisioning a bill around $550 due to the new ducted reverse cycle air con, so you can imagine how my heart dropped when I saw that the first number was in fact a 9.

That's right ... a 9!

And not of a two digit number ... oh no!  It is a three digit number with another two numbers after the decimal point.

I rang the soul-sucking leeches lovely people at Synergy to question the bill and was told that there is no chance the bill could be wrong as I have a brand new digital meter that has eliminated the old 'human error' factor when reading the numbers.

When I agreed with her that the meter appeared to have been read correctly, as the number on it now is higher than the number quoted on the bill, she was temporarily stumped.  I think she was expecting me to rant and rave at her for personally upping my bill so when I simply asked for help in working out how it could be so high, it took her a full minute to come up with an answer.

Apparently, all I can do is turn everything off at the power point and then turn them back on one at a time and see which one makes the meter go up the most.  Trouble is, due to the lovely new digital meter, you have to stand there for absolute ages waiting for the kilowatt number to change and there's no smaller measure so you can't really tell which item would be using the most.  On the old style meters, at least there was a a dial that sped up and slowed down to give you some indication of how much power was being used.

I asked to make a payment arrangement and was told that I have to have this bill paid off before the next one is due out, or I will be in breach of their payment terms and our power will be disconnected.  After explaining that my husband has been unemployed for the last eight weeks and that some payment was surely better than none, she agreed to my suggested terms (which would have 90% paid off before the next bill is due).  Then, after asking me if that was all, she had the gall to ask if making these payments was going to "affect any of my other financial commitments".

Quickly sorting through several responses in my head, I discarded the rudest ones and settled for a simple "yes", to which she replied "make sure you call us if you are having trouble paying your bill as we can make a payment schedule for you".  Um, wasn't that what I just did?  And didn't you just tell me that I have no choice but to pay it on your terms and your schedule?

To top it all off, she then offered another option:  having our meter tested.  "But if the meter is found to be correct, you have to pay an additional $150."  Right ... pay for testing by your technicians on a meter supplied by you ... um ... no thanks.  At least not until I have paid this bill off anyway!

Don't you just love the life of the 'responsible adult'?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Addicted to Pinterest

I, like many others, have recently become addicted to the latest online trend of Pinterest. It's basically your own online inspiration board where you can 'pin' pictures/ideas that you like from all over the web.

The main problem, and not just for me, is actually leaving the computer and getting around to making some of the wonderful, must-have ideas that you've pinned. So I finally bit the bullet and made something .. one of those 'why didn't I think of that' craft things.

My original inspiration came from someone else's pin of this picture:
which takes you back to the original creator, in this case Angela Sgro Designs.

After spending waaay too much time in the paint aisle at Bunnings trying to decide which colours to pick, I finally just grabbed two of each of six different colour swatches and ran for the hills calmly sauntered out.

Then they were packed up with the rest of the craft stuff and moved house with us back at the end of November. I kept finding them every time I was looking for something so I finally stopped putting them away in mid-December and sat down to make some Christmas cards. (Can't rush these things you know!)

I figured they would be easy to make, especially as I already had card, adhesives and background paper. The hardest part was working out the angles to cut them on so I didn't end up with all the weird paint names all over my 'trees'. The trial and error with the cutting around the names is what caused the different sizes and the upside down 'darker at the top; lighter at the bottom' trees.

Anyway, here's my attempts:

I think they turned out quite well and the people I managed to send them to seemed to like them too.

Nothing quite like the sense of achievement you get from actually making something yourself ... even if it would have been heaps cheaper to just use all the discounted cards you bought at the end of last year's Christmas sales!

Aaahhh ... the joys of being crafty and not thrifty!