Archive for the 'home' Category

playing house

Hey Wildies! I’ve got a little story for you…

A few weeks ago Monsieur Lapin Blanc moved in with us here at The Wilde Space, and he’s brought the 21st century with him…

For the first time since I lived with my Mum I’m living in a home with a television, a dishwasher, a microwave and a toaster (this is big stuff).

The television has big speaker-doo-dahs attached to it and apparently we can play music through it but I haven’t made that happen yet. The TV is not plugged in to the part of the wall where the TV stations come in so it’s basically a fancy computer monitor for watching movies on. I’ve never had a desire to have a TV in the house before, and I certainly wouldn’t miss it if it weren’t here but it is a bit cool to watch some movies and series on it instead of watching them on a small lap top screen. I would prefer if it was hidden in a cupboard or by a curtain though, you see I do enjoy technology, I just don’t want to have to look at it if I’m not using it and we don’t use it very much.

The dishwasher, well I’m definitely into that!

The microwave, it’s still not better than using the oven or stovetop to reheat anything but I bought some wheat bags because I knew the microwave was coming… I’m sure I’ll appreciate it when my shoulder is playing up and I can give it a bit of relief with a heat pack.

The toaster, do you know how many crumbs those things spit out?! I don’t love that much (yet?).

The most exciting addition to the house though, of course, is the Monsieur himself. I’m not fantastic at living with other people, share houses never really worked for me because I’m a bit of a lot of a neat freak. Since becoming a single parent I’d really embraced being queen of my domain. Everything just how I wanted it, no requirement to accommodate another (adult) person’s stuff even if it wasn’t to my taste, the freedom to rearrange furniture on a whim… It was really wonderful actually.

Initially the thought of giving that up made my blood run cold, and only a year ago I would loudly announce to anyone who would listen that I’d never want to live with another man again. People laughed and told me I’d change my mind, and sure enough I did. It helped that Monsieur Lapin Blanc had proven himself to be a pretty fabulous dude with exceptional domestic abilities and a super human level of tolerance for my redecorating whims.

Now I’m happy to eat my words because, with Monsieur Lapin Blanc, I think that playing house is quite lovely.

 

posted by wildecrafted in home,journal and have Comment (1)

settled (in a fashion)

Wow! What a month it’s been.

As briefly mentioned in a previous post, we have moved in to our new place. I like to call it Legolandia. Let me describe the neighbourhood for you…

Double garage. Double garage. Double garage. Double garage…

It’s a bit soul destroying really.

Thankfully, while the view out the front is as I’ve just described, the view out the back glass doors is this.

Which redeems the place somewhat.

We have moved and unpacked (pretty much) everything. The house is huge, and we haven’t got much furniture* so the house echoes. The already noisey sprog noise is amplified, so I’m keen to get some quilted wall hangings on the walls to deaden the sound a bit – which is an achievable goal** now that I have a dedicated sewing/art room (squee!).

My sewing room isn’t properly set up yet, unfortunately it’s not been able to be a priority yet since I had some assignments to do and the more practical areas of the house to set up. Now all of that is done, and so I can get on to sorting out my fabric stash and setting up my machine. For all these excuses, since the rest of the house was unpacked and my assignments handed in I have lacked the motivation to set my room up, some days I could probaby find snippets of time to do little bits here and there which would all add up to a functional and productive space in no time, but I haven’t really felt very driven to take those opportunities.

Being in this house has been a bit of a challenge for me, particularly as it hits me that we’re staying in Albany for another year (well, 11 months now, but who’s counting huh?). It’s not beautiful. Not to me. It feels like I’m visiting someone else, it doesn’t feel like my home. I’m fully aware this is such a wanky, middle class thing to whinge about… but indulge me, please?

The yard is bare. Builder’s sand, dead lawn and some very sick looking lavender bushes. That’s certainly saying something… when do you ever see sick looking lavender bushes? Lavender is so hardy!

I’m working on it though… My pot plants all together on the back patio make that part of the yard look beautiful, and at the weekend I transplanted a heap of gotu kola into the bare space between the path and retaining wall down the side of the house. At the top of the same retaining wall I planted some native violet. I chose them because they both survive well in low light situations and that area only gets direct sunlight for around 1-2 hours per day. Soon they’ll both begin spreading to fill that space and add beauty to the view from the sprogget’s playroom. Planting the gotu kola there means I can harvest it more frequently than I have been able to harvest it from a pot since there’ll simply be more of it to harvest, and it won’t be able to spread too far since the growing space is contained by retaining wall and pavers. Out the front on a steep hill where there has been some pretty bad erosion caused by foot traffic killing the grass I also planted some rosemary (a prostrate variety that spreads to 2m and a bushy variety), with some pennyroyal (spreading) and yarrow (spreading). I want to stabilise that hill before Winter brings heavy rains that will wash all that sand down to our front door.

Indoors it is not beautiful either. The fittings are cheap and the workmanship is poor. I suppose it’s really to be expected when you build a huge house for very little money but it still irritates me that the carpenters didn’t hang the doors straight, the plasterers left gaps in the cornices and the electricians put the light switches in illogical places because it would use less wiring and therefore be cheaper. The floor is cheap vinyl, printed to look like wood. It’s torn and heavily marked in some areas, making it look even more tacky than it would have the day it was laid! Places like this seem so soul less to me. Still, as with the yard we are working on it…

We are doing what we can to make this soul less space a little more ours. To fill it with a bit of our soul.  There are some picture hooks on some of the walls, and so we print some of Bean’s photos to hang. There is a large jarrah dresser in the living area that came with the house, it has become home to my dipensary. Tinctures, dried herbs, essential oils, carrier oils, clays, ointments, creams, pure plant incense… I think it is beautiful, and it is convenient too since we use items from my dispensary every day.

I am trying to love this place as our “for now” home, and trying to think of it as more than simply a stage to wait out until a better life comes along. Some days that’s easy, and some days it’s terribly hard.

Today has been a nice day, we had rain overnight which cleared to bring us a sunny, warm day that was perfect for playing at the park which we did twice. There was more laughing than crying today, more co-operation than argument, and lots of love. The love is always there though, even on the days we all cry and argue…

We’re doing our best, I’m doing my best, to enjoy right now and to be very grateful for what we do have,  and right now that is a home that is much larger and more comfortable than the shed. Being rid of the shed is something I am particularly grateful for!

 

 

*Our mattress got mouldy at the shed so Sprout is the only person in our family who actually has a bed and mattress at the moment, the rest of us sleep on the floor!

**Provided the owner agrees to let us put some hooks up.

posted by wildecrafted in garden,home,journal and have No Comments

moving (again!)

Squee! We’re moving from the shed into a house this weekend! We just found out today…

This will be the eleventh time Bean and I have moved since we got together just over 5 years ago. We’re kinda moving ninjas after all those moves.

This time we’re moving alone, with the exception of a friend helping to get the fridge and washing machine onto the trailer at the shed end due to the awkward and uneven nature of the terrain here. The friend in question is quite a bit bigger and stronger than I am, so we’ve requested his assistance for the two largest, most awkward items.

I’m so excited to be moving. The house isn’t in Denmark, where I wanted to move to when we first left Perth for the south coast 10 months ago, but it’s another stepping stone and I feel comfortable with the decision to sign a 12 month lease here in Albany. TWELVE MONTH LEASE IN ALBANY! Eeep. Did I really say I was comfortable with that?

Well, yes. Yes I did.

The house we’re moving to is not at all our style. It’s a lego-land house with a big double garage right out the front. It’s new and has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. We would never buy a house like it, not in a million years, but it is simply perfect for us to rent right now.

It’s 1.3km from the hospital construction site that Bean is working at, and will be working at for the next year at the very least so he can ride his bike to work and come home for lunch every day. It’s new and therefore requires no maintenance from us, meaning we can spend our spare time pursuing our passions rather than maintaining someone else’s house. The garden is simply empty beds and parched lawn so we know that they’ll be in better condition when we leave than they are now, no matter what. It has a double garage which means the kombis will finally be parked under cover when we’re home after 10 months of being parked out in the rain which has made them so much rustier than they were when we moved here. The garage and the close proximity to Liam’s work also mean that we can take them off the road one at a time and do some serious restoration work on them which we have been hanging out to do for so, so long now. The four bedrooms mean that Sprout can have her own bedroom, which she has been saying she would like ever since the novelty of first moving in to the shed wore off, about a month into it! It means we’ll have room for family and friends to stay if they want to visit us, which we haven’t been able to offer since moving into the shed. The best bit though (for me)… It also means I can have a studio. My own space to sew, to study, to do art journaling. Oh I am so, so excited about that bit.

We did consider moving to Denmark. We put a lot of thought into it because I really, really wanted it. We decided though that for now, with Bean about to begin doing a couple of hours overtime every day and with the debt that we have to service, the commute from and back to Denmark five days a week is just too much. That’s an extra 10 hours a week that Bean would be away from us while traveling to and from work and it’s 500km per week worth of petrol and wear on Van Halen as well. We have chosen our need to spend more time together as a family and to spend more money on debt repayments over our strong desire to move to Denmark.

We know we’ll get there one day and this move, this job that Bean is doing, it’s all just a stepping stone. We’ve got some loose ends to tie up and this is part of that. For now, we feel confident this is going to be a very good move.

I’ll see you on the other side of it all…

posted by wildecrafted in home and have Comments (9)

living local

We went for a Sunday drive yesterday. Along the way we saw this ute parked in the driveway of a small farmlet. Of course we had to stop… Huge bags of mandarins for just $5. Pop the money in the honesty box and off you go. I love that! They weren’t the tastiest mandarins I’ve tried, in truth they tasted like the fruit of neglected trees – a little bland, but not bad, certainly not for that price either!

One of the things I’ve loved most about living on the south coast is the food. We’ve not been as spoiled for choice as we were in the city, but oh my! Most of what we’ve found down here that is locally grown or produced has been absolutely divine!

I’ve already mentioned the newest find, local macadamias, and now I’d like to share with you the snack plate Bean and I shared the other night while we played canasta.

There’s the macadamias, which I can’t rave about enough, but there’s three other local products that I want to rave about too.

The celery is locally grown & from the organic store, and on the celery are Ringwould‘s Calliot and Bathgate Farm‘s pumkin & ginger pickle.

Divine, I tell you. DIVINE!

Our eggs and meat are local too, as well as the beautiful milk we get from our friends who milk their own cows. We’re so blessed to have access to such wonderful food.

I’m really loving discovering new (to me) local produce. Living local is simply fabulous.

posted by wildecrafted in home and have Comments (4)

phasing out plastic

Reading this post at Farmama has inspired me to give phasing out plastic another go. I’ve made half hearted attempts in the past to reduce our plastic use, but I always seem to relapse into making convenient choices that often involve plastic packaging. This time though, I’m shocked enough to try harder to succeed!

We won’t be throwing out the plastic we already own, but I’d like to stop buying plastic products and I’d like to stop buying products packaged in plastic

Obviously there’ll be times that buying plastic products is inescapable, the bulk organic dry goods we buy are packaged in plastic by our wholesaler for example*. The main aim is to be more mindful of plastic packaging and ask myself whether I could source the product elsewhere or make it myself.

We already have our milk delivered in reusable glass bottles, and the eggs we buy from the farmer’s market are cheaper if we return their carton to be reused. When we buy bread, it’s from the bakery who wrap the bread in tissue paper rather than putting it in plastic bags. But… and there’s so often a “but”, we could do better.

This is me, right here, making a pledge to do better. Making a pledge to rethink some of our purchases, to ask myself if I can buy it better, or make it better. I promise to phase out our plastic purchasing, hopefully (possibly too optimistically hopeful?) to nothing one day soon.

 

*Who knows, maybe we can ask them to package our orders differently? It’s certainly worth investigating.

posted by wildecrafted in home and have No Comments

“home”

I don’t have a home.

Of course, I have the shed, that’s where I live right now. I have a roof over my head, but I don’t feel “home” anywhere. No where feels like that place where I just belong.

If I do have a home, I certainly don’t know where it is and I’ve spent most of my adult life searching for “home”.

It’s definitely not where I grew up.

One of the many places I’ve lived at since leaving my Mum’s place 10 years ago came close to feeling like home. I had community, I had a fabulous social life, I felt like I belonged there at that time.Now? I don’t know. It’s still a beautiful place. My community have long since moved on. Perhaps there’s community there now who are more relevant to my lifestyle now? (read: not spending my nights knitting scarves and playing pool poorly while drinking pints of water (I’m a non-drinker, remember?) at the local pub then walking out to the carpark where my kombi was parked & crawling in to bed)

I’m loathe to keep moving around trying to find home. I have young children, one of whom has made it quite clear to me that she’d like to stay put somewhere, she’d like to make some friends and not move away from them.

I’ve just  spent the last two weeks “back home”, you know, where I grew up.

Being in Albany these last few months I’d begun to think that where I grew up could actually be my home, since Albany so plainly isn’t.

All it took was two weeks back there to remind me that is fool’s thinking!

So, we’re back to the drawing board. Luckily we’ve got a few half devised plans still scribbled on the drawing board though and they’re worth revisiting.

We’ll stay put, for the time being, in “not-home”. We have to, Bean’s got to finish what he started here. It’s nice, in a way, having something that anchors us to this place for now. We can’t run away before we’ve formed a new plan and thoroughly researched it before acting on it.

I could view it as being trapped, and I’m certain there’ll be days when I do, but I think I’ll just spend my energy viewing it as an opportunity to pause and reflect for a while instead.

The bed on wheels that was my “home” for several months

 

posted by wildecrafted in home and have Comments (2)

reflections of a reformed hoarder

We have been in the shed a couple of weeks now. We’re slowly finishing off things so our little home is well organised. Bean said just tonight, while he was making the new corner desk,

“I can’t wait for the day we realise there’s no more work to be done in here.”

Neither can I! I think when that day comes we’ll spend the whole evening playing board games, watching movies on the laptop &/or staring at the wall… We’ll certainly have earned it by then. You know? We might even have more than one lazy evening!

We’re getting close though, we’re so close I can taste it. There’s such a short list of jobs left, and then this tiny little space will be very comfortably set up for our family.

Today, we worked out where we want the wall shelves to go, we worked out what materials we need for those shelves & we went to the hardware store to buy it all. We’ve reached a point where we’re after cheap solutions over beautiful solutions, so we bought ply wood for our shelves rather than solid wood, it’s just so much cheaper and this isn’t actually our house. We’ll paint it with some left over paint, rather than oiling it like we’d finish solid wood. Even if we could afford the more beautiful materials that we want, it just makes a bit more sense to buy the equally functional, yet less beautiful, materials for less & save the difference for that “one day” when we have our own home again.

We’re so very close to having all the things we want to live with unpacked & put away in this space, everything having its own place, simple & beautiful. We had planned to store some things in one of the FOUR(!) spare rooms in Bean’s parents house, things that wouldn’t fit in the shed & (as yet unbuilt) wash house, but we have since decided to be more ruthless than we’ve ever been before. If we want to keep something, we’ll work out how to fit it in the (house) shed, wash house, or garden/tool shed otherwise it goes! We’ll sell or donate everything we don’t have space for, we’ll store nothing.

We’ve decided to do things this way because we’re planning to set up Van Halen (Bean’s kombi) as a camper van & travel for a little while once he’s qualified & we have saved some money for an adventure. We don’t want to be worrying about stuff we’re not going to use immediately we move from this shed. We don’t want to have things in storage. If we don’t use it often enough that we’re not going to miss it in storage then we’re not going to miss it if we get rid of it altogether!

A good old fashioned cull, it just feels so very good. We’ve already culled most of our sentimental stuff, childhood letters, trophies (all Bean’s, I never won at sport!), toys… Being a reformed hoarder, I’ve done the heartless chuck out already! It was hard, it was something I thought about & put off for so long, then when I finally got rid of it all I wondered why it had taken me so long?! Now, it’s just useful stuff left. Some stuff that we use every day, stuff that makes life easier, stuff that makes life more fun, stuff we wear… Then there’s the stuff we don’t use daily but that we use often enough to keep in our little house.

The useless stuff, the stuff we’d planned to put in boxes & leave in a room for who knows how long, just in case we want it again some day, that’s the stuff we’ll get rid of, one way or another. Then, then I’ll feel even more free. Less to pack when we leave. Less to worry about now. Just less. Beautiful, simple “less”.

posted by wildecrafted in home and have Comments (2)

moving in to the shed

We’re in! Finally, finally, finally we have our own little space.

We’re not quite finished with the conversion. We still have some shelves to put up & the bathroom to finish off (nearly there!) but Tuesday night I put the last coat of paint on the floor so Wednesday night it was done enough & we’d had enough of living in the spare room in the outlaws place so we moved in.

As I always do when we move I set up the play space/Sprout’s bedroom first.

Moe’s clothes are in the left cupboard above the toy baskets & Sprout’s clothes are in the right cupboard. The ladder to the left takes us up to the loft, where the family bed is. Sprout’s bed was my bed when I was a child. It’s been used by me, my neice & now Sprout. It’s looking a bit rough these days, but I do like it so.

Here’s a little more of the toy shelves…

This is the family bed.

This is Sprout’s bedroom at night, complete with sleeping Sprout & faery light night lights turned on.

We spent today unpacking kitchen boxes. Mugs, plates, bowls, pantry food… We found spots for all of it. Ironially, in this tiny shed, we have more kitchen cupboard & pantry space than we have had in any of our other homes. We have “enough” bench space, even with the bench top oven & two burner gas stove too (different to the temporary fix that is in the pictures below). We’re quite proud of how we’ve planned this space to be so useful.

I am so pleased to have a tea shelf again…

I’ll share the bathroom with you when it’s finished. Hopefully in the next few days.

posted by wildecrafted in home and have Comments (7)

tips for renovating with children

The experience of renovating the shed has been great, and awful, and everything in between. The sproggets have been so patient with us. We have regularly told them,

“No!”

“Don’t touch that!”

“Please wait, I’m busy right now.”

“GO AWAY!”/”GET OUT OF MY WAY!”

“In a minute…”

It has been challenging trying to find the balance between doing a huge amount of renovation work and trying to amuse the sproggets. The sproggets have certainly suffered for it some days and as we near the completion of the shed conversion we’re really hanging out for a weekend of just hanging out together as a family. A weekend of saying “YES!”, a weekend of playgrounds, long dog walks (the poor dog has also suffered a bit of emotional neglect while we’ve spent every waking moment scrubbing, painting, bashing out, building, patching, drilling, sawing, connecting etc.), reading books together, dancing together & generally having fun without any renovation jobs hanging over our heads. We need some time to reconnect, all of us. This experience has been stressful overall. Living in someone else’s house, people who live so very differently to us, having  a huge amount of work to do in a short space of time, pressuring ourselves to get it done so we can get in there, so we can live in our own space, in our own way, again.

I thought I’d share some tips for renovating with young children (remember ours are nearly 4yrs & 18 months old)… Things we’ve found useful on the days where we did manage to strike that balance between getting the job done & keeping the children happy.

 

1. Buy toys from the op-shop to have in the space. Don’t spend heaps, they’ll get covered in paint, they’ll be played with outside, they’ll get trashed.*

2. Let your children help whenever it’s safe – give them a paint brush & let them paint a section of the wall, if you’re worried about drips let them paint in the fridge recess or somewhere that will be hidden and go over it with a roller after them. Let them sit on your lap while you’re drilling something at a low height. Let them climb the ladder in front of you if it’s safe. You know? Just try to say “Yes” to requests to help as often as you can, even if it means the task takes a little longer.

3. Have “work clothes” for the children, just like you do for yourself – pretty obvious really, but worth mentioning because even if you don’t give them a paint brush they’ll definitely get covered in paint!

4. The playpen is your friend! Not for your children… no! Paint buckets, dangerous tools, anything you don’t want the children getting in to while your back is turned – all of it goes in the playpen.

5. Keep chemicals up high, in a locked room, anywhere that is out of reach of the children – another obvious one but probably the most important one. We didn’t use many chemicals, we used no-VOC paint & natural, food safe oils for wood, but still… it’s just good to keep it away from small folk.

6. There are two types of tools. Tools that the children can’t use (they’re dangerous &/or they’re expensive &/or they’re work tools) and the tools that the children can use (the small hammer you bought especially for them because it’s the right size (naaawww), the cheap & (relatively) safe tools – paint brushes with or without paint, screwdrivers (with supervision!), sandpaper blocks etc.)

7. Stop regularly for food & water (& breastfeeding) breaks. This is an important one for YOU as well. Eat regularly, it will vastly improve everyone’s mood to have full bellies & stable blood sugar levels. Eat in the sunshine if you can. Take a proper food break, rather than eating on the go. Those regular breaks mean more productive bursts between them.

8. Sometimes you’ve just got to drop everything and find a playground!

I’m sure there’s others I’m not thinking of right now, but these are the small considerations we found useful over the 6 weeks we’ve been renovating for. That’s 6 weeks of all day every Saturday & Sunday with lots of evening work as well. Evenings we’ve tag teamed the renovation work & the parenting work if one or both of the sprogs were still awake. When they were both asleep we’d set up a skype call between our bedroom & the shed so we could see & hear them, as they woke one of us would make our way down to the bedroom immediately to tend to their needs.

So, have you renovated with children? We’re not quite finished yet, we’ve another couple of weekends full of renovating ahead of us so please share any tips you could add to this list.

 

* we wouldn’t have thought of this one ourselves. MIL bought some toys for the children at a garage sale, plastic junk we’d not have chosen, for them to play with while we stay with them. These are the toys that migrated up to the shed for the renovation phase & they have been so immensely helpful in keeping the sproggets amused while we renovate.

posted by wildecrafted in home and have Comments (2)

putting up walls

The plasterers have finished putting up the interior walls in The Shed.

We ordered paint from ecolour tonight.

The outlaws are heading to Perth this weekend so they’ll pick up our pine cupboards from ikea (Bleh! Blek! Ack! Yuck! Ikea)

The plumber will be working up there this week.

The outlaws have put road base down next to the shed to park the kombis.

It’s all happening. We should be ready to move in just 2 (at a stretch, 3) weeks from now… squee!

kitchen area

lounge area

bedroom door

"Hello Dave!"

new parking area outside

 

posted by wildecrafted in home,journal and have No Comments