Under the sink contact

A while ago I saw book contact, in the checkerboard pattern. I thought it was so cool – and I’m not sure if it was the chicken or the egg, but I also wanted to protect the base of my under sink cupboard, which occasionally get soaked when I forget I’ve been draining the Bokashi. I’d seen the same product at both Mitre 10 hardware store and Kmart. Always price conscious, I bought some at Kmart for about $5, knowing I could easily return it – days later I noted that Mitre 10’s equivalent products was $42 a roll! Who knows why or how Mitre 10 sells it at that price, but I was mighty chuffed at my savings!

Halfway there - Checkerplate book contact
Halfway there – Checkerplate book contact

I contacted the back half of the cupboard a while ago. I had to do it in two pieces (to get it around the pipework. I also chose to create a skirting in contact, for that little extra protection. For reasons I don’t recall, after I did the back half, I called it a day. So this weekend, I thought best to complete the job (and use up the surplus contact I had). Without the pipe having such a great impact, I could lay it in once piece, just trimming it to fit. Sadly, I didn’t have quite enough to make a skirting on both sides, but it still looks pretty slick!

Checkplate contact completed!
Checkplate contact completed!
Here's the cupboard in action - Left: trash; Middle: recycling; Right: Bokashi bin
Here’s the cupboard in action – Left: trash; Middle: recycling; Right: Bokashi bin

Re-siliconing the bathroom

I mentioned in my Easter weekend to do list that I wanted to replace the yellowing silicon around my bathroom.  I actually did around the bath back in July when I got it resurfaced.  But all the other silicone joints were yellow and dirty looking.  I did not like that I noticed the yellowing silicone next to the stark white tiles.  So, not discouraged by the ATROCIOUS effort I made in July around the bath, I decided I would live and learn, and try again.  From here, I might call the silicon, ‘grout’, even though they are in fact different things.  Grout just runs off the tongue better!  Here’s a ‘before’ photo:

Silicon before - yucky and yellowed :(
Silicon before – yucky and yellowed 🙁

It took probably about 5-7 hours to strip out all the old grout.  I was advised by a lovely man (on my lovely Thursday afternoon where the world just seemed to smile upon me) to buy a tool designed to get the silicon out of crevices.  It was wonderful.  Sure, I still needed a blade afterwards, but I realise without the removing tool, things might have been much slower!  There’s so much fine silicon on the tile surface, and in the crevices and gaps (cause the tiles are not perfectly laid).  Thankfully, I had a friend on hand, that helped.  Bless her heart!

Silcone removal tool kit (minus the grotty bottle of metho)
Silcone removal tool kit (minus the grotty bottle of metho)

Once stripped, I run the vacuum over the joints (and picked up all the discarded yuck at the bottom of each joint).  Then, I wiped all the joints with isopropyl alcohol.  And then metholated spirits. (Better to be safe than sorry!).

Silicone removed (that's hardly zero waste!)
Silicone removed (that’s hardly zero waste!)

And then came taping – this is something a colleague off handedly asked about last time I mentioned I regrouted. I hadn’t even though of it! So this time, I taped my little heart out.  (And, of course, totally in contradiction of my zero waste hopes!).  Once the taping was complete, I went to bed.  I figured then the joints would all be extra dry of metho and alcohol, and I needed to sleep – it was 11pm!

The next day, I got right onto it, re-reading all the instructions on the packet.  Another learning tip this time around – I used rubber gloves.  Bless, they work a treat! (Alternatively, you can rub your real hands on a plastic shopping bag to remove silicone – or with metho). I prepped everything – I even had a tool for making a nice angle on the silicon – which I used last time.  This time, the gloved finger seems to work better and deal with the natural differences between meeting tiles.  Of course, siliconing took WAY less time than all the prep – I’d say I was done in an hour? (I did have more tapping and scrapping in the morning to do, on some joints I hadn’t got done the night before).

Some yellow silicon left, as it was a hard to reach spot, always hidden by the washing machine - but look at the difference!
Some yellow silicon left, as it was a hard to reach spot, always hidden by the washing machine – but look at the difference!

Sadly, the ‘new’ ultra white silicon I used (not the same tube I used around the bath, that yellowed too!) needed 72 hours to dry.  So for three days I schelped to the gym in our building to shower.  It actually wasn’t too bad – though I did feel weird carrying my bathtowel and bath products in the hallway and the lift.

And a before and after?:


Long Weekend: The DONE list!

On the Wednesday before the Easter long weekend, I shared my long weekend to do list with y’all.  Now for the summary round up. I’ll first confess to my sins (oh so Easter relevant!) – I’m known to add things to a to do list, just to strike them off… So some of those chores… they sort of snuck on there that way.  And one or two DIY projects (listed up front for those that were with me on Wed!).  Interestingly, my more ‘me’ time and entertainment focused targets didn’t get met – I was darn busy getting all the things I wanted done, that I wasn’t looking for a movie or a TV show (or even the internet) for entertainment – and I REALLY liked that. I spent good quality time with friends (they helped me DIY, and I helped them DIY and sort out some $$ stuff whilst we DIYed), and also spent almost a whole day with some delightful (though exhausting) 2 year old fraternal twins.

I’ll post more detailed posts on some of the bigger jobs, with photos, in the coming days.

Finish my book (Grotesque) in time for a Tuesday Review: Done

Clean out rangehood vents: Done

Boiling my very long range hood vents in bicarb soda
Boiling my very long range hood vents in bicarb soda

Installed LED lighting track: Done

For $25, i bought 5m of LED lights from Ebay, and with the help from some friends, hung it with the 3M adhesive it comes with.  Such a simple solution – especially seeing the vendor I used offered everything I needed – even the power pack, for an incredibly reasonable price.  Only downside? The lights somehow reek havoc on my radio nearby?!

Exposed beams in the dining area - and a glimpse of my pendant light (the art work is a temporary stop gap!)
Exposed beams in the dining area – and a glimpse of my pendant light (the art work is a temporary stop gap!)
LED light strip added under my rafters
LED light strip added under my rafters

Re-silicone the bathroom vertical jointsDone: A detailed post to come – Wednesday is my (self imposed) House DIY day, but I can see a few days in a row of house DIY posts after my epic weekend!  Maybe even later today perhaps?

Make cushion covers

This didn’t happen – I didn’t have a pattern, and I needed the table space (more on why I had none below), so I figured I’d let this one to do item slip.

Paint damaged wall: Done

I put this one off once I got sniffly, but late on Monday afternoon/evening, I figured I’d just get it done.  I’d prepared myself on Sunday by already laying out the drop sheet, and bought everything I needed, so all I had to do was open + paint. (I cleaned the wall on Monday morning, hoping some Magic Eraser would solve the problem, it helped, but didn’t fully resolve the mark).  Whilst I had the paint out, I painted a wooden piece of timber I’d cut to size on Saturday night, for hanging my birdcages from ‘upstairs’ – fully utilising the double height living room and a dead space.  I just need a ladder to screw it into the walls, and I’ll have photos.

Stamp map of the world: Done – a detailed post to come, how about tomorrow, for ‘zero waste’ day – where I’ve re-used some of my stamp stash?

Contact the under sink cupboards: Donea detailed post to come – easily also a ‘zero waste’ post as it’s where all my trash lives hmmm…  How’s Friday suit you?

Change shower head – sort of done

I kept the ‘new’ shower head, and my friend showed me how to remove the flow restricter.  Took some wrestling (on his part), but it is now flowing a little more – although with all the grouting works, I’ve only used to (hacked) shower head once since it was done.  The old one is still on hand – to be freecycled if all goes well.

Read in the park or hang out in a book shop: Done – I babysat, and I read whilst they played in the park

Invite my brothers for dinner: Done (and exchange easter eggs! not so done – we exchanged our mother’s offerings)

Actually, I’ll share some photos of the eggs I got and what I gave for Easter:

My favourite eggs laid with love
My favourite eggs laid with love
Three of the seven devilishly dense, rich brownies I sent to Melbourne for Easter
Three of the seven devilishly dense, rich brownies I sent to Melbourne for Easter
Decorated with love
Decorated with love


Vacuum upstairs

Mop kitchen

Change sheets & wash


Mending & de-piling

The un-done list

Work out podcasts/music downloads on my phone: was hardly online, except for reading posts from my blogs I love on my phone

See a movie: didn’t ‘need’ to – I was so busy

Watch 3 episodes of Gossip Girl: nope – though I did get two in on Wednesday night?

Overall, I had an awesome four day weekend.  I kicked butt in my ‘cook at home’ challenge – preparing myself by shopping for three meals’ ingredients on Thursday night (see updated March goals post for recipes).  I got so many niggley jobs sorted out.  I went to church three times (!!). I helped out friends (wine racking and babysitting).  I had a nice dose of book reading.  And I spent next to nothing, which will help my savings targets. Really a delightful time away for work – I hardly had time to miss my parents or BF (but it sure is nice to have them back!)

Ways I ‘spend’ money

In response/reflection to the Ways I ‘save’ money post I wrote yesterday, I thought I’d look at the luxuries/vices that I do in fact ‘waste’ my money on!

  • take away coffee:  It always seems (nowdays) to be a bonding/social thing.  I’ll buy it on weekends with my father or my bf.  I’ll buy it when I’m working overtime (also on weekends).  I’ll seldom buy a take away coffee alone, at least not in the last 6-9 months.
At least I use my KeepCup - brown lid, yellow brand - from my work's previous brandsource:www.keepcup.com
At least I use my KeepCup – brown lid, yellow brand – from my work’s previous brand
  • eating out: As identified in my Glaring Grocery discovery post, whilst my grocery bill is small, as a percentage of my income, I must surely be spending a lot on eating out.  Now my ‘two meals cooked at home’ a week goal is tracking where I eat EVERY dinner, I’ll soon see patterns, and perhaps adjust accordingly.
  • taxis: When I grew up, I never ever caught a taxi, but then again, I was a child and my parents drove us around!  It did mean that I didn’t ‘think’ about taxis til I was about 22, and moved to a not so nice suburb, and thought the better of walking home after a night class.  Drinking lots was not a reason (back then).  Nowdays, I’ll use a taxi if I’m feeling too ill to walk home, it’s too hot/cold/wet, after drinking.  The fares are almost always less than $20, and seeing I don’t own a car, I feel like the cost is OK.
  • over paying my taxes: I do this to avoid a bill, but also cause I like the (usually) 4 figure cash injection in the winter months, especially for my next ‘spend’ category.
  • international holidays: As a child of world roaming parents, I almost consider travelling a ‘normal’ thing.  Therefore, I usually save up for a trip overseas each year – in Australia’s winter and the Northern hemisphere’s summer.  Nothing planned for this year, but a brief thought of Christmas in the snowy parts of the US.
  • home wares: since the start of 2012, I’ve owned my own home, so I drop a fair amount of coin on ‘stuff’ for it – less so now, though the post Christmas sales saw me buy a few big ticket items I’d been thinking about all year.
  • house modifications: 2012 was a big year for costs outsourcing projects in my home such as painting, bath resurfacing, light rewiring, additional security bars, re-carpeting.  There’s still some lingering tasks I’d like to get done this year too, see my House List for more details.

Writing this list made me think of more ways I ‘save’ money, which is interesting.  Seems I really have the saving (or spending adverse) mentality instilled in a lot of different facets of my life.  How to splurge?  What are your vices?

Jewellery organisation

Following on from yesterday’s post, which ended in the bathroom, I thought I would continue to show you some of the innovative storage and organisation solutions I have for my jewellrey.  Everything is stored in the bathroom, as it’s where I put on make up (and then jewellery) and where I take it off when I remove make up or shower.  The bathroom is also conveniently close to the front door, so if a last minute checks deems the need for some ‘bling’ it’s oh so close (rather than upstairs with my clothes/bedroom/wardrobe).

Earrings – Frame one

Some of my best ideas aren’t really mine! I see something out shopping, and I think, wow, I could MAKE that! I’d seen jewellery organizers made with ornate frames and the glass removed and replaced with mesh.  So one bored weekend, I raided my parents collection of surplus frames.  Given this was my first attempt, I didn’t really go for the prettiest, just one that I thought would fit all the earrings I owned.

Finding the ‘mesh’ was harder than it should have been.  See, I thought I could find something in an auto like shop – like a decorative mesh plate.  Sadly nothing seemed to suit what I was looking for.  I could also have used vent covers, as I’ve seen since on lovely blogs – but vents aren’t as common in our warm little country!  In the end, I settled for fairly rigid insect mesh! You can by this by the meter (or less) making it an affordable project.  I have enough left over that I could make another few for friends (add that to the ‘one day’ list).

Mesh earring and bracelet frame
Mesh earring and bracelet frame

I cut the mesh to size with scissors and then attempted to nail in the mesh.  It was a little a hard to hold and nail in the small recessed bit of the frame where the glass once sat flush against.  So then I tried a staple gun.  This also provided a bit of a fight, as getting the pressure for the staple meant pushing onto the mesh, and given the mesh isn’t 100% rigid, well, things didn’t always staple effectively.  Lastly, I tried some PVA glue around the edge.  IN the end, a combination of these three methods got the frame to ‘near enough is good enough’ (for me).

I quickly transferred all my earrings across.  I realised I could hang bracelets too – initially i used bent paper clips, but they weren’t standing up well! In the end, a sliced cork and a thumb tack (to hold the cork to the mess) worked a treat.  However, I soon realised that my stud earrings would be a bother to always put in, as I’d have to secure them with their backs through the mesh.  So the led me to a new solution…

Stud earrings

And then sometimes the solution to a problem comes from another problem.  My parents have a growing collections of wine corks.  So I did what any good pinterest fan would do, and I searched for projects.  There were some amazing ideas, but eventually, I stumbled onto the idea that an intact cork could happily be ‘pierced’ with my studs, without having to worry about removing and reattaching the backs.  There’s enough length on the posts so be inserted into a cork, with the backs still on.  And when I can’t be bothered with that, I just place the loose earrings in the velvet lined case, where the cork also lives.  Happy home for all the non dangley earrings.

Earring storage with rings (sorry for the sad photo)
Earring storage with rings (sorry for the sad photo)


I wear a few bangles, but I did buy a collections of Indian bangles when I went to India a few years ago (yikes, are they noisy when you wear them all – and you shower glitter everywhere!)  Anyhow, seeing they are mostly ‘unworn’ than worn, I thought it would be nice to display them in a way that looks good (reminding me to wear them), but also keeps them neatly stacked together.  And seeing I’ve done a floristry course, I have a few vases more than your average, just sitting around.  So I decided to put one to good use!  (you can also use vases to store excess toilet rolls!).  And seeing those Indian bangles get the least wear, it’s not that inconvenient having them at the bottom!

Bangles stored in a vase - beautiful and simple
Bangles stored in a vase – beautiful and simple

Necklaces and rings – Frame two

With all my earrings safely stored, it left necklaces and rings to be equally ‘stored’ and ideally displayed in a way that would increase how often I thought to wear jewelry.  I’m an engineer, and by nature not girly, so I take some visual prompting! Spurred on my my earring frame, I thought I could do the same for necklaces, but I knew I’d need something firmer and more rigid than mesh.  And besides, how would I hold the necklaces onto the mesh?  So I asked the freecycle community for a long thin frame, something that would suit my longest necklace.  Of course, the Gods of freecycle delivered.  I decided I’d update the picture using some excess paint cards (cause of course they are in my favourite colours which happen to match the bathroom tiles).  Lastly, some small 3M hooks stuck onto the glass for each of my necklaces.  When I noticed I had some space at the bottom (and some rings that were not yet on display) I added some small hooks to include them.  I could also include my few bracelets, however, I have more space on the dangley earrings frame, so I settled with putting them there.

Re-purposed picture frame for necklaces and rings
Re-purposed picture frame for necklaces and rings

In terms of wear and tear, not everything stands up to being in a moist bathroom.  However, most of the my jewellry is from cheap stores, so I’m not too concerned about most of it.  The few real bits of jewelry are made of metals that can be cleaned and polished.

Simple storage solutions – spices, frying pan lid, ironing & toliet paper

Sometimes, you just want life to be easy, or at least easier.  There’s a number of things I’ve implemented to streamline my house.

Spice ‘rack’

Anexactinglife just updated her spices into nice new colour coded jars.  Whilst I love the idea, I know the maintenance of it might be what gets me down. Plus the ‘waste’ of the containers they were purchased in – even if they were recycled.  So, with that in mind (and a few years of frustrations living at my parents’ home), I came up with a solution that was simple, expandable and makes it easy to find what I’m looking for.

Spice cupboard, with room to expand
Spice cupboard, with room to expand
Close up of my spices
Close up of my spices

I can add more when I need to (I started with just 10 hooks when I moved in). Of course, I alphabetise them too!

Frying pan lid storage

Firstly, I like to nest pots and pans where I can, but I don’t like that lids have no where to to sit if you do this.  So, I’d seen this idea somewhere (most likely Ikea displays!) and thought I could ‘hack’ it to suit my bigger fryer pan lid.  (Ikea’s lids are ‘flatter’ meaning they need less clearance between the wall and the railing).  I did flirt with over sized door handles to do the same thing, but they didn’t offer enough clearance for the ‘height’ of my lid. (all I can say is thank goodness Ikea returns, as I tried a lot of their handles with no luck!)  Instead, my solution came whilst strolling around my favourite hardware store.  I took a towel rail bar, and the two ‘ends’.  I measured different mounting brackets to see what clearances each offered. I cut down the towel rail to suit the dimensions of the inside of the cupboard door.  Initially the pots were in another cupboard, but I realised that the pictured cupboard was closer to my cooking area.  It also happened to have a door that was wide enough to house my frying pan’s lid.

Towel rail as a pot lid holder
Towel rail as a pot lid holder

Ironing rail

My family stores all the ironing in an ‘ironing’ basket or on a hook on the back of the laundry door.  This didn’t work ideally.  The hook can only hold so many coathangers.  The basket ‘hides’ the amount of laundry to be done.  The basket sometimes contains excess hangers, but usually not, so finding hangers must occur before ironing starts.  All this seemed a little too bothersome in my opinion.  So when I moved into my place, and noticed the recessed area for my washing machine, I had a perfect solution in mind.

I used a tension bar to avoid damaging my tiles, which run from floor to ceiling.  The advantages of this rail started to present themselves once it was installed.  Not only are excess hangers stored there, along with ironing,  I also hang guest towels (or my water polo towel and swimmers) over the rail.  It also conveniently holds up one of my jewelry organisers (topic for another post) though you can’t see it in this photo. (topic for a future post).

Tension Bar in the laundry
Tension Bar in the laundry

Toilet Paper Storage

Whilst I’m in the bathroom/laundry, I’ll share with you how I store my toilet rolls.  Sadly I don’t have ‘built in’ cabinets in my bathroom, other than above the sink.  And that cupboard is pretty shallow, only a bottle or so deep.  So I needed a way to store toilet paper rolls (and ideally somewhere convenient, cause I live alone, there’s no one to help if I run out and they’re not handy!)  It took some lateral thinking, but I’m pretty happy with my solution!

Proximity of the toilet to the railing
Proximity of the toilet to the railing
Proximity of the railing to the toliet
Storage of the toilet rolls

What ways have you innovatively solved storage issues? Made something that was a bother that much easier (like finding the right spice sachet)?

Need more great ideas? How about my jewellery storage ideas?

Zero waste home (or the truth about my garbage)

Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, I thought I’d speak a little more on my aim to be ‘zero waste‘.

Firstly, when I moved into my own place, I bought a Bokashi bucket.  Interestingly, both my local friends also ‘bokashi’ their food scraps.  Alas, both of those couples have gardens.  I do not.  So I need to find a home for my ‘compost’ periodically – either taking it to my parents (and I fear I’ll accidently drive like a maniac and the contents will spill in my car!), or offer it on freecycle.

Photo credit: http://www.bokashi.com.au/bokashi-one-composting/bokashi-one-composting/
Photo credit: http://www.bokashi.com.au/bokashi-one-composting/bokashi-one-composting/

Whilst I like having next to no ‘wet’ waste other than that the Bokashi contains, I’m not 100% behind the Bokashi experience.  It does smell a fair bit, which means every time I open the lid, or drain the liquid (which I then put down the sink as advised).  I wish it was all just a little more pleasant for me!

I also recycle all paper, glass, aluminium and plastic that’s suitable in our council area.

In order to limit my waste I

– use the butcher for meats (I take an ice cream container).  Sadly, meat trays from the super market are not recyclable in our area, even though the materials themselves are 🙁

– buy bulk occasionally – however, I have to take a bus, which is far more planning that the block to the grocery store.  However, where my ingredients come in plastic, my preference is the co-op.  Except, they have EXHORBITANTLY priced chocolate bits (which I use in brownies v v regularly), so I try to get my friends to grab some when they are at Costco.

– refuse – every time I get junk mail from companies I use, I ring them and ask them to stop.  I also have a no junk mail sticker, but it seems take away menus and apartment sales flyers still end up being deposited 🙁

– return – where I get a container such as my chinese medicine, I take it back to them to reuse the container.

– solid shampoo – way simplier in my opinion.  Solid conditioner leaves a lot to be desired, so I just cut my hair off (ok that wasn’t the reason!)

What ends up in the trash?

– Plastics!!! They drive me nuts.  My new work uniforms come with a plastic bag – I try to reuse that as a bin liner.  The ring pulls in some milk cartons.  The little foil/plastic caps on juise bottles

– My choc chip packets from IGA often end up in there – as did the dried apricots I buy for the BF.

– Broken rubber bands from herbs and vegies (I collect the intact ones, but my collection is exceeding my needs!).

– Butter wrappers – whilst I keep them on hand to grease tins, I can’t endlessly stockpile them.

– Cotton buds (or Q tips) – a habit Bea at zerowastehome.blogspot.com suggests I break, but it’s not happened yet!

– Tissues – when I use them (ie when I’m sick)  I think the quantity is far too high to add them to a composting system.  And again, on quantity, it’d be A LOT of hankichiefs!

– Blister packs from tablets – almost everything we get here is in a box and a blister pack, rather than a bottle like in the US.

Rubber bands
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Cotton Buds
Source: cellonline.ordg
Source: www.istockphoto.com
Source: www.istockphoto.com

If I’m honest, a large reason for my elaborate system (composting, sorting recycling from trash etc), is because I’m lazy – I don’t want to have to take out stinky waste too often.  Twice a week, the bins aren’t even in the bin room, they are out on the street, which is even more hard work.  (amusingly, my apartment is physically the closest to the bin room and the street side pick up – just getting there is convoluted!)

I plan to continue to track what I produce in non recyclable waste, and look at how I can continue to reduce it.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t all get too hard!

Make a list of house projects – January Cure @ Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy dropped off my radar (probably the n’th time Chrome lost all my bookmarks to be honest) but now that I have re-found it, I’m oh so delighted for their January theme!  Day 1 was Make a list of projects

Well you don’t need to tell this girl twice!  But I thought I might share January 2012’s list, then May 2012’s list and today’s list.  Anything with a ? following it isn’t a definite project, just a thought.  Oh and I’ve listed from recent to less recent lists.  I’d hoped to get some more photos of finished projects, but no such luck.

Today’s list (Jan 2012)


– Empty out box (which means I’ve DONE Day 2 of the cure!)

– Tidy/declutter drawers

– Tidy/declutter shelves

– Install small ledges for displaying things ?


– Regrout corners

– Get bath resurfacing fixed


– Open shelf lighting?

– Pantry lighting?

– Wall art

Living room

– Frosting on the windows

– Replace blinds ?

– Sliding Screen door


– nothing!


– recarpet?

– complete ‘hide the niche’ project

May 2011

I did this in a matrix form – with four boxes – hard and easy, and cheap or $$.  I thought this would give me a better ‘balance’ on what to do, so I didn’t feel like I was leaking money, but still moving forward.

Easy & Cheap

Recolour damaged dining chair legs (easy, just found the product, bought it, rubbed it on)

– New toilet roll holder (it was old and dingey like my soap dish) (impossible to find ‘new’ toliet roll holders that have two mounting points like my existing one – project abandoned)

– New wardrobe handles (why would I have no standard spaced handles? All handles are 96mm apart (from hole to hole), and mine… are 100mm.  I don’t want more holes in my wardrobe that much, so again, abandoned)

Easy & Pricey

– Window screens (in the last month, so Dec, I DIY’ed on for the hopper window.  But I would still like a sliding screen door for the balcony door.  These mosquitoes are KILLING me!)

– New roller blinds (not even attempted)

Rug for living room (This was soon after accomplished, once I found the rug, it was just expenditure!)

– Wine rack (the search continues… the only one I like is this one… all the way in the US)

Hard & Cheap

– Window film (have been in contact for a quote, waiting to hear back now that we’re in the new year)

Perspex sofa arms (Pricier than first expected, so I only got one fabricated, at about $60, but it’s great to have a stable place for a wine glass/plate/laptop or pad of paper.  So pleased I did this)

– Shelves to cover niche (ah… well now there’s not shelves, but a shutter.  But it’s not totally screened yet :s)

Fix damaged corner on ottoman (This was EASY once I got all I needed from the hardware store!)

– Recarpet niche (no movement on this one – seems I lost the carpeter’s number from last year, and finding a handy man for such a small job, impossible.  Carpet comes from mega companies and their minions install it… sigh!)

Hard & Pricey

Curtains in bedroom (really not all THAT pricey – Ikea’s Kvartal system, and existing curtains.  This took so long to get done as I needed to await YHL’s favourite gauzy curtain, the Vivan, to come back in stock.  Then I needed one more velvet curtain, but alas when Ikea got them back in stock they were a different colour and style.  So then I have worked around.

The velvet curtains from my flatting days have returned!
The velvet curtains from my flatting days have returned!

Bed ledge (again, not as $$ as I thought, with a $50 second hand bed and the right hardware and Mr DIY, it was DONE – here’s the post on how!)

The final product
The final product

Bath resurfacing (This was a case of book, and do.  And be disappointed.  It’s just not bright white.  Or smooth)

Install new taps (Just a case of getting the coin together and booking a plumber and a day off – all coincidently the same day as I met a lovely blogger, Colleen Marsden from www.365lessthings.com)

Display Hermes scarf (This was a drawn out process, to draw out the cost (ie the framing cost more than the scarf, which was a graduation gift, but getting no wear.  Then operation ‘hang’ – cause it was 10kg with perspex.  Last thing I want is something falling off my wall!)

Safely on the wall (and horrible lighting...)
Safely on the wall (and horrible lighting…)
The scarf in context (complete with Mr DIY's back!)
The scarf in context (complete with Mr DIY’s back!)

Find side table for living room (A closing down antique store I drove past during work one day had just what I needed.  It was $50 I was told.  I was SO pleased to find the $275 sticker when I got home.  See the business was closing down and the caretaker just wanted to move stuff, and we couldn’t find a price on it at the store.  So yay for solid wood, non ikea AND a great steal!)

– Bird cage display (yep, still on the current list – not done)

Jan 2011

Living Room

Choose couches (oh I love these beasts, every time I see them in an ad, I think, wow that’s a LOVELY sofa – and it’s like sitting on a cloud or a hug)

Choose lights and placement (went for an Ikea Maskros PS which I love, and just recently inspired a friend to buy the smaller option)

Choose paint colour (and style – like stripes?) (stripes just seemed too hard, so just went for an all over yellow tinted white, to lighten up my dark apartment)

Choose rug (this took FOREVER as Australia doesn’t really do geometrics, which is all I pined for and saw in the US.  In the end, Ikea came through, in blue tones that I love.  Sad to see it $200 off in the latest sales though)

Collect TV (thanks to friends who have three for two people!)

– Hang or install shelves to display birdcages (still lingering in my mind, but instead of 7 ornamental birdcages, I now have three, so it’s more manageable, but less impactful)

– Steam clean dining chairs (never happened – did try some spot cleaning with isopropyl alcohol)


– Where to store Kitchenaid/grater (wow, big fish to fry – in one of my underutilised cupboards…)

Buy microwave (again, just confirm measurement, and ORDER – simple, and slots into allotted cupboard well (even if I did remove have to remove the door to get the microwave past the hinges!))

Design lighting scheme (thank goodness for being able to see if a dish is clean whilst washing up – this was an amazing project to get finished!)

Fix stove knob (multi stage drama – new knobs didn’t cut it, I also needed a new post, which came with a new regulator.  And then the new knobs didn’t fit on new post properly (so the new knob sits higher than the others.  I’ve ‘settled’ for this – it’s all functional)


Buy washing machine (this was early days – I just needed to decide on brand etc, and order)

Replace damaged tiles (Impossible to find the matching colour, so now have three ‘feature’ mosaic tiles, and they look great.  Admittedly, they aren’t flush cause it was too hard to get the old adhesive and grout out of such a small space without risking more damage.  And then the new tile adhesive/grout combo was stark white, where all the other grout was greyed.  Enter ‘re-grout bathroom entirely’ project, commenced at 9pm one night when work calls meant I was locked out of a concert.  Wow, what a night that was!)

New soap dish (for old scummy uncleanable one) (Such a simple fix!)

Buy new taps (Thanks Aldi, $50 per set was a GREAT deal)

– Build in shelves or a rail (went for a rail option – with tension.  Meant no scary drilling of tiles)

– Mount iron and ironing board (abanonded, turned out to be a bit of effort for little gain – I tuck the ironing board into the space between shelves and the wall, and the iron sits on said shelves)

– Resurface bath (what a shmoozle – did it in July, but entirely unhappy with the colour, texture etc and have followed up with the company, still waiting to hear back after the Christmas holidays)


– Beside tables? (dreamt up a bedhead/ledge idea, and continued to use the cardboard storage boxes used for years prior!)

Paint colours and style (went for the same as the rest of the place)

– Try storing books on railing (nope, they’d fall, and they look untidy to me)

– Shelves to cover niche? (went with some shutters I found in the Op Shop up the road)

– Curtain divider (oh, man alive, does this make SUCH a difference to my sleep… but also impeded the hot air of the loft bedroom escaping.  Not that I regret this decision!)


– Install new tapware (it happened – and then I felt flat, as it seemed the last ‘big job’ on my list!)

– Drippy sink fix (yes, though with two unprofessional attempts and two professional attempts!)

– Attach washing machine (are they required? No they weren’t)

– Install garbage disposal? (nope, decided against this with just one sink)


– Powerpoint near entry (no can do – just too hard!)

– Rafters light in kitchen (semi solution for the kitchen part of rafters area)

– See if old kitchen light location usable (nope, it wasn’t 🙁 )

– Install pendant in either living or dining room (in the end, I got both!)

What I list about…

So here’s a snapshot (sanitised) of my current lists (that I have in electronic form):

– To do: broken into categories: work; day off; awaiting; long term

– BF’s to do list: things he keeps talking about…

– Be more generous: tracking ways I’ve been generous – moving that to this blog currently, in my monthly tracking

– Songs at end 2012: lists the songs I like on the radio/want to download

– Graffiti’d assets: This is a running list of work assets I see when on ‘down’ time that need graffiti attended to.  Bit of a weird habit!

– To google: For sites I can’t access with work’s blocks – weirdly this doesn’t get added to much at all, maybe I don’t need to ‘list’ it anymore

– Holidays (v1): Friends who live out of town that I should go and visit

– Holidays (v2): (predominantly) international destinations I’d like to visit (with time frames on what year and time of year)

– Events/Acitivites: date and other ideas to do with the BF (shush he doesn’t know I list this!)

– Big spending plans: born out of weeks where you could spend 10x you pay cheque and stress out, I just list all the money I plan/want/need to spend in the future – on things like income protection, insurance, funeral plans etc

– Dinner invites: Friends and family I really must invite around, who haven’t yet seen my ‘new’ (year old) place

– Grocery pricing: tracks  costs of regularly bought items at various stores

– Future decluttering: Things I need to get rid of, or are thinking might be on their way out (I need to improve on GETTING THINGS GONE!)

– Decluttered 2012: I was vaguely seeing if I decluttered more than 365 things.  Woeful.  I didn’t.  Keep in mind, I was equipping a house, so it’s not entirely bizarre to think I didn’t get rid of a lot!  There’s 115 line items, but some have multiples, so I’d say there were about 165 things.  But then I also include things that went in trash (which makes me feel uncomfortable), things I returned to stores etc.

– One day jobs: once a huge list that had everything I wanted to around my apartment.  I’m incredibly pleased with my progress!

– Gift ideas: for the BF

– Dimensions: of spaces and things in my apartment, so I know if a wine rack or photo frame fits

– Foods I don’t prefer: wow this list is long… I mean most food I will eat, but I use the ‘dislikes’ to narrow down ordering food out and choosing recipes

– Foods I love to order: this reminds me of the fail safe loves of food (even if they are unhealthy!)

– Countries I’ve visited: a simple count of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit in my so far short life

– Clothing likes and dislikes: this list was born out of shopping frustration (and a hot summer in classes in France!), and is rather detailed!

– Adventures: those crazy ‘sports’ that I’d like to do (incl sky diving and the like)

– Things that make me happy: to pull me out of a funk or brighten a day, it’s nice to revisit this list.  I started it in 2002 I think, on coloured bits of paper, and allowed myself positive and negatives on different sheets.  Over time, I’ve chosen to keep the positive ones only.

There’s a few other lists, that really, I shouldn’t have or I should ‘hide’ better (than being on Gtasks which syncs to my phone), mainly relationship-y stuff…  I also write paper lists at work, for ‘things to do tomorrow’ and the like.  I also write paper lists for myself.  Sometimes it feels better to cross things off…  And get through the MAMMOTH pile of one sided printed paper my work generates.

I think I’m willing to elaborate on lists, should any spark your interest, let me know!

Operation: Bed Ledge

All I wanted was a bed ledge.  And for so many months, I could NOT find one.  Sure, Ikea makes a bed ledges/shelving unit for my style of bed (the Malm), but I didn’t want all that shelving-ness.  I just wanted ledge-ness.  I searched the as-is section with a fervor bordering on stalker (helped that Ikea is on the way between my work and my parents place, which I do at least once a week).  But never did I find an ‘as-is’ Malm 3 Piece bed head like below (I’m not sure I could have made it work anyway – cause as is can be ANYTHING).

Ikea's 3 piece bed head offereing
Ikea’s 3 piece bed head offereing

One day, in as-is, I found this:

Malm occassional table
Malm occassional table

If I overlooked the orange-ness (haha… sure, me, and orange!), it was still 22cm too ‘wide’ for a bed head ledge. And a few centimetres lower. It just wasn’t good enough.  It just wouldn’t work.  And nor would Ikea’s ledges.  Nothing looked like it would work (despite me seeing them make a catalogue COVER with a ledge behind the bed that was the SAME width – one of those mysteries I’m yet to have solved!).  I diversified to gumtree.com.au and ebay.com.au looking for occasional and sofa tables that might, by chance, meet all my measurements, and hopefully tone in with the wood.

And then… amazingly, something in my brain switched.  I wish I could remember when or how or why.  I undoubtedly it was with my MR DIY (not the BF, someone else, I like to compartmentalise).  What if I had a second Malm bed.  What if I used a second ‘head’ of a bed, against the wall, and jutted my normal bed out off the wall.  And bridge the gap with a ‘foot’ of a second Malm bed?  This would all measure up PERFECTLY.  And then: I found a Malm queen bed in the black brown for 50 big ones on gumtree.  It would be mine.  And it was.  I took a friend along for a ride (she was up for company, and I had a mission – and she was a sport… cause there’s two long ‘side’ bits to make it a bed frame… well we needed to NOT impale ourselves on those on our drive back… and so she helped me carefully dispose of them pronto!)

I carted the components into my loft, and then balanced everything out.  Which is FINE when you live alone.  And you sleep ‘carefully’.  But then, well, someone came along and it went boom crash!  So a securing system was needed.  Lengthy negotiations with MR DIY commenced.  And, to be honest, best laid plans didn’t succeed (we though we could out-Ikea Ikea – with dowels.  But ikea hollowed out the bed head and it was never going to work :'( )  In the end, we just duplicated the L bracket scheme on each side.  Of course, I bought enough to do this initially, then we changed the plan, returned one set, only to have to go back and buy it again.  I’m a serial ‘returner’ of anything unused – waste not, want not!

Now for the photo essay:

Mounting simple L brackets to the horizontal ledge component
Mounting simple L brackets to the horizontal ledge component
Two 'legs' to my bed ledge - using a second Malm Queen bed head
Two ‘legs’ to my bed ledge – using a second Malm Queen bed head
Drilling into the ‘legs’ to later screw the horizontal ledge to the vertical leg (creating an upside down L)
Attaching ledge compenent to legs component
Attaching ledge compenent to legs component
Brackets attached to the 'rear' (wall side) leg and the ledge
Brackets attached to the ‘rear’ (wall side) leg and the ledge
Look at that ledge!
Look at that ledge!
Sid eview
Side view
Finished - complete with BOOKS!
Finished – complete with BOOKS!

My house may or may not resemble an Ikea showroom – what do you think?

Want to learn more of my tricks for making a small loft work for me? How about how I store all my jewellery beautifully, so I know what I’ve got, and I wear it? What about an innovative way to organise my spices?  Or maybe you’d like to see more of my house – see the house tour.