Sunday, February 27, 2011

MamaMoontime: Thoughts on Nature Tables...

Something for amusement. This looks like a lovely idea. I cleaned and decluttered all yesterday; so I even have space to do something like this! How awesome would that be??

MamaMoontime: Thoughts on Nature Tables...

Friday, February 18, 2011

French Manicure Set

Naked Nail with Sticker
A friend gave me a French Manicure Set on the weekend, as I love French Manicures when they are done well, and she wasn't having a lot of joy from it. So I bought some more stickers, and when it was time to treat myself, I sat down and did a proper French Manicure for me.

I'm pretty picky about my French Manicures. I hate it when the white tips look like white-out. It should be subtle; it should not be glaringly obviously. If someone spots you have had your nails done, then it's too obvious for me!

White tips done. Some have 2 layers but they all looked the same at the end.
I have tried many professionals, but the one person who's job I liked no longer does them. Once my nails had so much polish on them they looked like acrylics! I wasn't very happy about that at all!

So anyway, I promised photos for those curious about the whole process. I've never used the stickers before, so we were on a Voyage of Discovery, and one that seemed to work out very well.

Stickers removed. The tips are painted and dry, and the inside parts naked.
Drying my nails in my NAIL GADGET!
The creamy pink goes over the the entire nail including the tips
Finally a single coat of clear topcoat.

Verdict: I like the look. It's really shiny too, which is lovely. It seemed to dry very quickly which was a bonus, but since this was the first time I spent a lot of time doing it peice by peice. Next time the whole process should take a lot less time since I will have a better idea of what I am doing. They seem to be hard wearing too - I haven't managed to dent a single one overnight, when usually I end up with sheet marks and dents in any nail polish I apply.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Barefoot Renovator

I tend to think of myself as a 'barefoot renovator'. Let me begin by explaining that I mean 'barefoot' in spirit, like a barefoot doctor, rather than a strict preference for naked feet, and when I am working with tools or performing an act of destruction or construction or any other thing that common sense would suggest is shoe worthy I do indeed make an effort to put shoes on. Safety first kids :)

My family and I have been lucky enough to buy our first house. It is an awesome dwelling that is in a location that is very convenient to us, a size that has exceeded our hopes and expectations, a style that we love and with a price tag we could actually afford. As I said, very lucky. The trade-off for all this awesomeness and affordability is that it is what one might call 'a fixer-upperer'. (The phrase that seems to be popular among realestate agents at the moment to describe this is 'opportunity to add your own value'.)

Pretty much every room needs a make-over. In a big way. Really big.

But that is okay because the house itself is fantastic and when I look at it I see nothing but potential (well, potential and faux wood paneling!) and I see a hundred little projects--the kind that bring me great joy and satisfaction.

The only potential stumbling block here is the fact that since we put all our money into getting our house and will continue to put all our money into paying off the giant loan that enabled us to get our house our renovation budget is pretty much nil. But this is okay too since I like a challenge, particularly a creative challenge, and since we have found a house that fits us so well we are planning to be here long term, thus time is also on our side.

Out of this my renovation philosophy has been born--I am trying my best to first use what is already available (things I already own, things left on the property by previous owners, materials I have removed from one place that might have a new use in another). When that is not possible I try and find something that I can reuse from another source--trash and treasure, opp-shops, verge collection, rubbish tips etc. In all my renovating endeavors I aim to do things in a way that is affordable (but not "cheap"), environmentally responsible, and fun. Good for me, good for the planet and good for my pocket. I am a barefoot renovator.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Money and Goals

I am sure none of us are issue free when it comes to money.  I'm not sure that it is possible. But how you navigate your issues is important, and how you communicate about money is as important as every other facet of your partnership or marriage with another person. Money can be about control, security, reliability, fear, and love. And all this for something that is, in itself, worthless.

For DH and I, he's never really been interested in money. I find it fascinating. And, since I am the stay-at-home-parent, I think it's my responsibility to design the budget, meal plan, and make sure we're running Okay. And do all that stuff. I have no problems saying "our" money when it comes to the income DH earns. It is our money. I've worked just as hard, though in a different way, for it. But really, it's the household's money, not ours. We get an allowance each month, just like the kids will when they are old enough. That is a personal "our" money. The money DH earns through his workplace is household money.

We have one mortgage, one linked bank account, one linked credit card, and a couple of accounts we rarely use. That's it. We're doing especially okay when you consider we bought this house eleven years ago. It's worth about three times what we paid for it last time we checked. So when we needed to extend the mortgage, the banks have been perfectly fine with that idea!

Our basic theory is that we both work for the family unit. DH's work results in payments, and my work results in happiness, full bellies, security and savings. We both work together to make the family unit whole. Money is only one aspect of this, and we share responsibilities equally.

Part of the problem is that when I want to save, I want to run out and do stuff to save stuff now! I'm a doing type of person. I want to get out and do! Now! But saving doesn't work like that. Saving is having a system, and sticking to it, even when it's boring, or annoying, or doesn't make you feel any excitement. Our big projects make me excited. Travelling makes me excited. Experiences, hotels, strangers, writing... all of these make me excited. Sitting around not spending money does not get me excited.

But now I have something exciting in mind, so I am going to weigh every purchase against it. I have a firecracker! In a personal place! To remind me... how much do I want this thing? Do I want this more than I want to go to San Diego?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Home is where my He{Art} is: UKScrappers Team Scrapbooking Class - 'Blank Canvas'

Add this to my 'Bad Ideas I Want to Try' file! A friend sent me this as a suggestion for stuff to do with some canvasses I have lying around. These look fantastic, and I love some of the ideas on this post! Hmmmm.... the last thing I need is yet another craft project...


Home is where my He{Art} is: UKScrappers Team Scrapbooking Class - 'Blank Canvas'

Wool Felt Birthday Crown Tutorial

Frontier Dreams: Wool Felt Birthday Crown Tutorial

A friend's little boy is preparing for his birthday soon, and has asked for a crown and wand for his present! His Mum has found this webpage, which has just GORGEOUS crowns on it. Lucky boy, my birthday is too far away to ask for one too!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Microwave Bottling

I have a new book to play with!

These are bottled rhubarb and pears, plus I pickled some eggplant. I am testing out microwave bottling! I find it incredibly exciting. I'm still in the testing and learning phase. This is the first time I have tried to bottle fruit. I'm happy with jam, done that heaps of times now.

They have both sealed, however when I opened the pears they fizzed a little. I guess I need to nuke them for a couple of minutes more. I'm making mistakes at the moment, and working out the best times for my microwave. As I said, it's all testing and learning right now. I was very pleased when they sealed! Next is to make sure I cook them a bit longer so they don't fizz!