Star Quilt

I’m a real Pinterest fan, and I love getting my inspiration for making quilts from other peoples designs. I See a picture of a finished quilt I really like, and then follow through to the web page of the creator of it. I look to see if there are instructions for making a similar quilt, and then try it our for myself. This is probably the reason why I like to write up my quilt making process, and load up some photos. I hope that someone is helped along their quilting journey, by checking out my posts on pamperstamper, or some other persons blog.

The link below was the quilt I fell in love with, and decided to copy. If you open up the link you will see that there are wonderful and descriptive instructions on how to make this design. I have also taken photos of the journey of creating my quilt. You will see the similarity 🙂

Charming Stars Quilt

1. Pick your colours. Cut out all the squares, and place them in the way that they look their best to you
2. Four of the squares in each block will need the smaller squares sewn into two corners
3. Continue to sew the smaller squares into the same patterned material. Trim to sewn edge and iron flat
4. You will end up with a pile of stitched and unstitched squares that will create your block
5. Join the rows of three squares and iron the seams in the same direction for the top row and bottom row, but the other direction for the middle row. This will help the next lot of stitching line up easier
6. You now have a completed block. Continue to do the same with the rest of the blocks for the whole quilt
7. I used the little squares that were cut off the corners to fill in between each block, and also strips of the same material as the star. In my quilt I chose white
8. Continue to join all the blocks in rows using the white strips. Make a joiner row using just the while strips and little blocks, and then join all the rows together
9. Now you can border, layer, and bind your quilt.
10. I chose to topstitch my quilt by outlining the stars and blocks. I was kind of pleased with how the back of the quilt looked. It had a pattern of it’s own

Can you believe how easy it is to make that wonderful star pattern block with just 9 initial squares of material? Having the centre block, the little squares that are cut to make the points, and the strips the same colour makes the stars stand out. This could be a great quilt for using up lots of scrap material. You could make the quilt using different materials for every block.

Maybe I could make that next time?

Now if I have encouraged you to try making this patterned quilt for yourself, please let me know how you got on. A photo of the finished product would be great. I look forward to your response.

Easy Zips and Binding a Cushion.

I have been sewing for years, having learnt most of my techniques from my sewing teacher at high school. That was approximately 46 years ago! Over time I have been able to sew most things, so my teacher did a pretty good job of teaching me. Having a seamstress as a sister was also pretty helpful, and she was great for giving advise or help when needed.

About 6 months ago, I decided to recover the squabs in our caravan, and looked to ‘You tube’ for instruction. I  wanted to make box shaped squab covers. I had the idea of how to make them, but watching a video of someone else sewing these covers, helped to confirm the technique. It was while I was watching them, that I saw of a new process to me, of putting zips in. And I used that process on the squab covers. It was so much easier and quicker than my old way.

Here is the process.

I am making a cushion cover and this is a fat quarter that I am using for the back of the cushion. It needs an opening for the soft pillow insert. The best way for that opening, is to put in a zip that is just under the size of the width of the cushion. I have folded over the top of the fat quarter and sewn a seam about a half inch in. This seam is sewn in the biggest stitch possible, as it will be taken out at a later date. A big stitch length is easier to unpick!

Cut open the fold

Overlock the seam edges, and press open the seam.

Now place the zip on top of the seam, making sure that the zip opening is right on top of the sewing stitches.

Sew the zip in with the zipper foot on your sewing machine. It is a little tricky around the zip pull. I stop sewing, adjust the zipper pull, and then restart sewing again.

You can see by the photo above, that I have stopped sewing about 2 inches from the edge. This is so I can undo the seam a little to allow the zip pull to move away from the sewing machine zipper foot. Now just finish sewing the zip in.

This is what it looks like on the good side of your cushion cover

Carefully use your seam ripper to undo the first seam that you made

And you now have a zip in the back portion of your cushion cover. How easy was that?

I had already made the front of the cushion cover.

As I like to bind the edge of the cushion, all I have to do is place both pieces together and overlock the edges. This helps to keep it all neat and tidy while you commence the binding.

The two pieces are held together by the overlocked edges. Note both good sides are facing out.

For the binding, I cut strips of material at 2 and a 1/2 inches wide. Place the corners at 90 degrees, good sides facing each other, and stitch diagonally across both pieces

iron the seam open

and cut the edge off to leave about a quarter inch

Press the seam open again, nice and flat 🙂

Make sure that you have enough binding to go right around the edge of your cushion. You need to leave an nice long tail as you start sewing. When you have gone around, stop about 8 inches from the start point. You will need to lay the long tail from the start on top of the binding left over at the finish. The overlap needs to be the same size as the width you cut the binding. Mine is 2 and a 1/2 inches. Cut the two and a 1/2 inch overlap and discard the rest of the binding. You can join the two together , and you will have the exact amount left to finish off binding the whole cushion.

When you get to a corner, you will need to sew up to a quarter inch before the edge. Turn the material, and sew off the corner. Fold the binding back on itself and then down the direction of the next side. You can then put the pressure foot down, and keep sewing. This will make a perfect corner when you turn the binding over to the back.

Fold the binding around to the back and stitch into the ditch on the good side. This will catch the binding on the back and sew it all down nicely. You will need to fold and turn the corners to match with the front.

Undo the zip and insert your soft pillow insert and zip up again. You now have a completed cushion to admire and cuddle up to 🙂

The challenge is for you to make one as well (or more). Follow my instructions and make a few scatter cushions for your home, or as gifts for friends and family. Please send me a photo of your creation in the comment section below 🙂

Christmas 2017

This Christmas has been wonderful! I have had all of my 6 adult/children home, along with their partners and children. The only one missing was our beautiful eldest grand daughter. She lives in Sydney, is starting a full time job as a nurse this March, and because of work commitments over the holidays, she had to stay home. She was certainly missed!

To get most of our family in one place and at the same time is a miracle!

We have one son, with his wife and two children, living in London; We have another living in Sydney, with his wife and three children; We have another son, and his wife, based in Sydney, but travelling all over the world; We have another son, and his three children, living here at home with us; We have a daughter living in Auckland, New Zealand; And we have another daughter living in our home town who is in the process of building a new home. Can you see how amazing it has been to actually get them all home?

We have had 17 of us living together over the holidays, and actually 18 for a couple of nights. My home has been full, and I have been so happy. A happiness that fills me to overflowing. It’s so hard to describe, but I feel like I am in love with each of my family members all over again! They are all great people, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. I am so happy with how they all embraced the time together, and how they all loved each other in spite of all the differences between us.

In honour of having us all together, I wanted to have a few family photos taken. I love photos, and the memory moments they give us all, forever! My eldest daughter is a very talented photographer (and the second to eldest as well), so we arranged a time, and a place, and C5 took some photos. The last time we managed to get group photos taken was in December 2009. We have had four more grand children born since then, so I felt we really needed an updated photo.

Family photo from December 2009
Family photo from January 2018

Oh my, we have all aged in the last 8 or so years! But those years have been great, and we have all matured in personality, character and experiences. I can imagine the many stories each can tell from those past 8 years.

Our 4 grand children from December 2009
Our Grand children from January 2018. Our eldest grand daughter is missing from the photo.

The three eldest in the back row are the three with our eldest grand daughter in the photo above this one! Four more grand children added and three of them were born in 2014 in February, March and April!  Three grand children born within three months 🙂 The youngest grandson turned one last November.

If you have visited my blog before, you will see that I now have a new blog header (that is the photo you see when you get to my site) and that header is our new family portrait! That is my whole family, minus 2! Our eldest grand daughter and one daughter in law are missing, but all of my adult children are in there, and their families.

I love it!

 

Addiction!

This video is adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’

This video came up on my Facebook feed and I found it so very interesting. I wanted to share it on my blog, to see if others may find it just as thought provoking and helpful as I did.

My opinion after listening to the video…

Loneliness and disconnection is horrible, and can have a horrendous outcome on a persons life. We all need to feel we are loved, we belong, we are accepted and we have a sense of purpose. Withdrawing into isolation from others is a reaction, and the alternative is the need to be proactive in a positive way. To turn your life around can be very challenging for those who already feel inferior, unaccepted and worthless. Extremely challenging for those who have already opened the door to addiction as a way of escape to the daily pain that life brings them.

A desire to change takes commitment, lots of loving support, choosing to be vulnerable, and also huge bravery! You can’t do it alone! Building new relationships with the right people is a huge step forward. Good counselling, loving family and positive friendships! But the warning I give is that we should never allow others to give you your self esteem. If they can give it to you, they can also take it from you! We are all damaged people. Life can be amazingly wonderful, but it can also be cruel! What we put into a relationship comes not only from our choice to be the best to another and love them totally, but also from our life experiences, good and bad. And we make mistakes! We are human and that is one of the conditions of being human!

Praise God He loves us unconditionally, and as we are! He never gives up on us or leaves us. In Him we are loved, belong, are accepted and our life has purpose 🙂 To have a personal relationship with God is solid! It’s like having your house built on solid ground. When the storms of life come, you can rest assured that your faith in this loving God, will help you stand firm. ‘For God so loved the world (everyone… even you), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (NKJV). We are all equal at the foot of the cross! Everyone! There is no bias!

I know there are lot of people that disagree with me about faith in God, but no-one can argue with the peace that I have from knowing who I am in Christ 🙂 I have no fear for the future as my life is in His hands 🙂 He is my hope for the future and my ever present help for today.

 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

For the last 15 months we have been opening our home to airbnb guests. It’s been really interesting. We have met so many lovely people, and we now have new friends from all over the world! For reasons which I will explain later on in my post, I have filled in the availability calendar for our home, so it is unavailable for a time, but we did have two guest rooms which have been well used. Here are the links to those rooms if you would like to have a look.

https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/5197223?guests=1&s=0RoqnXBa

https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/5232994?guests=1&s=0RoqnXBa

The summer months seem to have been the most popular for tourists visiting New Zealand. The most common places of interest that our visitors have been to see before they got to our home in little Waitara (Taranaki), has been the Waitomo Caves and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Most of our visitors travelled south from Auckland and were making their way down to the South Island, where they planned on driving down to visit Queenstown. The popular cities that I heard mentioned visited in the North Island were Auckland, Rotorua and Taupo. And, of course, I would promote a visit to our local city of New Plymouth, of which I have already written a blog post about!

New Plymouth – It’s a fabulous city!

When our guests spoke of the wonderful experiences they had seeing the Waitomo Caves, and walking / tramping the Tongariro Crossing, I would feel slightly guilty. Here I am a New Zealander, and I haven’t even been to either of those places myself, well I hadn’t! But I have now. In April I took my grandson to the Caves 🙂 We only went through the Glow worm cave but it was fantastic. I have visited the Jenolan Caves near the Blue Mountains in Australia, and I have to say that the Waitomo Caves are equally as good. Definitely worth the visit.

In March I joined a group of local people to travel North to The National Park to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and I have to say it was the highlight of my year so far! It was amazing, and what a sense of achievement to have completed it! Yes, I can definitely say it was on my bucket list (after hearing about it so much from our visiting tourists) and it has now been ticked off!

The distance of the crossing. We had a guide with us so we turned at the highest point of the crossing, carried on to Tongariro summit and then our guide led us back to the start point.
The distance of the crossing. We had a guide with us so we turned at the highest point of the crossing, carried on to Tongariro summit and then our guide led us back to the start point.
Full of excitement and energy as we start the crossing :-)
Full of excitement and energy as we start the crossing 🙂
This is part of the path from the starting point. By mid morning there is a steady traffic of people walking/climbing the crossing. It is a very popular and manageable climb but is definitely challenging as well.
This is part of the path from the starting point. By mid morning there is a steady traffic of people walking/climbing the crossing. It is a very popular and manageable climb but is definitely challenging as well.
The only toilets en route!
The only toilets en route!
One of our first stops. And look at the wonderful view!
One of our first stops. And look at the wonderful view!
Mt Taranaki way in the distance
Mt Taranaki way in the distance
Walking across the plain towards the climb to the Summit
Walking across the plain towards the climb to the Summit
further along the long plain
Further along the long plain
Looking across to Mt Ngauruhoe
Looking across to Mt Ngauruhoe
Looking over the edge :-)
Looking over the edge 🙂
Our little group of trampers- plus the photographer :-)
Our little group of trampers- plus the photographer 🙂
That was much harder to climb than it looks!
That was much harder to climb than it looks!
The big climb up to the Crossing peak
The big climb up to the Crossing peak
Just a little climb from here to where the main crossing walk starts the descent to the car park
Just a little climb from here to where the main crossing walk starts the descent to the car park
The last slope upwards
The last slope upwards
The view of an old vent on the volcano
The view of an old vent on the volcano
another view of the old crater vent. Can you seee the people climbing across the other side?
Another view of the old crater vent. Can you see the people climbing across the other side?
Daughter Joanna looking at the wonderful views with the lakes below
Daughter C5 looking at the wonderful views with the lakes below
Mt Ngauruhoe with Mt Ruapehu behind
Mt Ngauruhoe with Mt Ruapehu behind, and the Tongariro summit ahead 🙂
Joanna with Ngauruhoe behind her
C5 with Ngauruhoe behind her
Yay! We did it. Mt Tongariro Summit!
Yay! We did it. Mt Tongariro Summit!
My friend Julie with the two magnificent mountains behind her
My friend Julie with the two magnificent mountains behind her
Our lunch spot at the summit of Mt Tongariro
Our lunch spot at the summit of Mt Tongariro
From the summit looking back to the crossing
From the summit looking back to the crossing
The terrain we meandered down back to the carpark
The terrain we meandered down back to the carpark
Sitting on damp spongy moss for our afternoon tea :-)
Sitting on damp spongy moss for our afternoon tea 🙂
Such a wonderful feeling! We had just climbed Tongariro with Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu in sight :-)
Such a wonderful feeling! We had just climbed Tongariro with Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu in sight 🙂
The long walk back down! But it was sure worth the effort :-)
The long walk back down! But it was sure worth the effort 🙂

After four long years of just having my husband and myself at home, this year has completely changed for us. We now have two of our adult children living back home, and we also have three of our grand children living here with us as well. We are so spoilt to have company all the time, and activity filling our lives. Children are great at keeping you young. So, this is the reason that our airbnb is now closed for a time, but I am very thankful for the time we had our guests staying here. If it wasn’t for their wonderful recollections, telling me about doing the Tongariro Crossing, or seeing The Waitomo Caves, I probably wouldn’t have put the effort in to see them for myself!

Now I can be the ‘expert’ when we eventually open our airbnb again.

If you have 20 minutes to spare I have also made a movie file of the crossing 🙂

The Seasons Of Life

Our family has just had a huge celebration! My Dad had his birthday and it certainly was one to celebrate. He turned 90 years old! That’s right 90! Not only was the age worth celebrating, but my Dad as a person needed celebrating as well. He is an amazing person! Always has been! I have been very blessed having him as my Dad. He is the best Dad a person could have (I’m not biased at all)

IMG_8296
My Wonderful Dad!

Of course I had to make him a cake for the occasion 🙂

My second attempt at making a cake using fondant. The first was for my youngest daughters 21st.
My second attempt at making a cake using fondant. The first was for my youngest daughters 21st.

We had the party at my eldest sisters place, and us four girls and my sister in law made all the food for afternoon tea. People arrived from 1pm and stayed until approximately 6pm. At one point there were 80 people wandering around the gardens or sitting and chatting!  Dad had a great time catching up to old friends and family.

Cheers Dad! You are worth celebrating!
Cheers Dad! You are worth celebrating!

Mum felt just as special as Dad did, after all they are ‘one’ really, after 67 years of marriage 🙂

Ohhhh that's cute :-)
Ohhhh that’s cute 🙂

Only two of my adult children and their family were able to come to the party. My eldest sisters daughter came, along with her family as well. And, my brothers son came too.

Mum and Dad with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that came to Dad's party.
Mum and Dad with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that came to his party.

It was so good to be able to have all our immediately family together again. A great opportunity to get a group photo!

From Left to right - Myself (the baby of the family), Kerry (2 years older than me), Dad, Mum, Judy the eldest, Lynday (two years younger than Judy), and Rodney (the middle child and only boy of the family)
From Left to right – Myself (the baby of the family), Kerry (2 years older than me), Dad, Mum, Judy the eldest, Lynda (two years younger than Judy), and Rodney (the middle child and only boy of the family)

So I titled this post ‘The seasons of life’, because of the fact that my Dad and Mum are in the ‘Winter’ season of their lives. Thankfully they are well and still having a great time of ‘living’, although Mum is a little slower nowadays. I really can’t imagine life without my precious Mum and Dad to chat to, have our weekly family dinner time together, and have their continued input into my life. I have been blessed to have them both as my parents, and I am so very thankful.

Both Robin and myself (and all my siblings) are now in the ‘Autumn’ season. The times of our lives have gone so fast. When I was younger and surrounded with lots of children, each demanding my time and energy in some way or another, and I was frequently tired; people used to say to me that these years would pass before you knew it, and your children would be all grown up and left home. In fact, sadly, because of the busyness of life, I often wished that those years of freedom would come sooner. Now, I would love to go back in time and live through those years again. It was a wonderful life and I loved being a Mum to my young children. I loved the feeling of being vitally important in their lives. Now they are individuals, adults that are making their own way in life. Each unique personality doing it their own way, and I am so proud of them all. I am still important to them, but in a completely different way. And that is healthy. That is the way it should be!

Celebrate the seasons of life people. They move along so fast, they really do!  Memorise as many moments as you can along the way. Take heaps of photos, and journal your life. It will all be great to look back on, especially as you enter the less energetic seasons of life.

Yet in this Autumn season, there is still so much to look forward to. Robin and I now have the ability to make decisions about our lives, that no longer impact our ‘children’ like they used to. We can make plans for holidays together, have evenings out regularly, and generally do as we please. Does this sound selfish? I see it as a reward for selflessly parenting our children first and foremost during their formative years, and into adulthood. We can now become a ‘couple’ again, and enjoy the wonders of discovering life together as a couple.

Yes! This season of life is great!

PS…. As part of my celebrating ‘who I am’ in my Autumn years, I have decided to let my grey show! It has been a great topic of discussion, I can tell you. But I am happy with who I am. I don’t feel the need to impress anyone, or feel I need to try to keep young looking. I am actually loving my hair, and wish it was actually white all over. And you know what…. it is very freeing 🙂

The Disappearing Nine Patch

I can’t believe it! I have made another blanket! I’m really on a roll at the moment, and thoroughly enjoying myself.

This time I used the disappearing nine patch block for the main part of the quilt and then added a border and binding. The material is a Riley Blake fabric and is very pretty and bright. I’m not actually sure if I will give the blanket away or keep it for myself to enjoy. I have never made one for myself as I usually have a person in mind, or a reason for making the blanket before I start.

Here are the instructions…

I chose nine different fabrics with the 'busy' fabrics placed in each corner. These are the squares that remain whole and I wanted the pattern to be complete. I wished I had replaced the left middle fabric with one that was more of a plain fabric, but as it matched perfectly, I thought it would be okay :-)
I chose nine different fabrics with the ‘busy’ fabrics placed in each corner. These are the squares that remain whole and I wanted the pattern to be complete. I wished I had replaced the left middle fabric with one that was more of a plain fabric, but as it matched perfectly, I thought it would be okay 🙂
Firstly sew the rows and press the seams in opposite directions. This helps them fit together nicely and the sewn lines to join up when you sew the rows together.
Firstly sew the rows and press the seams in opposite directions. This helps them fit together nicely and the sewn lines to join up when you sew the rows together.
The nine squares have now been sewn together and pressed. Can you see how the seams fit together nicely. That is the aim, so when you top stitch at the end, the lines are straight :-)
The nine squares have now been sewn together and pressed. Can you see how the seams fit together nicely. That is the aim, so when you top stitch at the end, the lines are straight 🙂
This is the exciting stage. The nine squares are now cut directly in the middle in both directions as shown.
This is the exciting stage. The nine squares are now cut directly in the middle in both directions as shown.
The cut 'new' squares can now be placed together again. You can put them in any direction as you like. Try them all out to see what you like best before you start to sew them together again.
The cut ‘new’ squares can now be placed together again. You can put them in any direction as you like. Try them all out to see what you like best before you start to sew them together again.
I chose to have the two little yellow squares opposite each other in the middle and the other two at the far corners.
I chose to have the two little yellow squares opposite each other in the middle and the other two at the far corners.
I have placed all the fabric pieces together to get an idea of the finished pattern. I liked this layout so next stage is to sew them together. I sew each row, and then join the rows up. Making sure to press the seams after sewing. The rows have the seams ironed laying opposite directions. This is to help the joins to fit together nicely when you sew the rows together
I have placed all the fabric pieces together to get an idea of the finished pattern. I liked this layout so next stage is to sew them together. I sew each row, and then join the rows up. Making sure to press the seams after sewing. The rows have the seams ironed laying opposite directions. This is to help the joins to fit together nicely when you sew the rows together (as I did with the first nine squares)
All sewn together and pressed. I'm loving these bright colours!
All sewn together and pressed. I’m loving these bright colours!
A bigger photo so you can see the overall pattern.
A bigger photo so you can see the overall pattern. Here is where I realised that the red pattern square, that I chose to be cut up, was still a bit too bold. It has blended into the main red square too much and made them both a little too busy. Never mind. I won’t do that again!
I decided to make my border the same width as the squares that I started with in the beginning.
I decided to make my border the same width as the squares that I started with in the beginning.
I have fast tracked the project. If you want to see how to put the wadding and backing material onto the patchwork, you can look at my previous blog post. I did do one thing different this time though... As it was a larger blanket, I used fabric spray on glue to help hold the materials together. It washes out and causes no long term damage to the blanket, but it certainly makes life a whole lot easier when it comes to the top stitching :-)
I have fast tracked the project. If you want to see how to put the wadding and backing material onto the patchwork piece, you can look at my previous blog post. I did do one thing different this time though. As it was a larger blanket, I used fabric spray on glue to help hold the materials together. It washes out and causes no long term damage to the blanket, but it certainly makes life a whole lot easier when it comes to the top stitching 🙂
And here is the finished blanket with a cute little narrow yellow binding. This blanket is a 1 and 3/4 meter square one. Plenty big enough to cuddle under :-)
And here is the finished blanket with a cute little narrow yellow binding. I used the ‘Stitch in the ditch’ method of top stitching. This is when you sew right on top of the seam. The stitch line just disappears down into the stitched seam, but makes the blanket hold together firmly. On the back the stitching looks like a big graph and is neat and tidy! This blanket is a 1 and 3/4 meter square one. Plenty big enough to cuddle under 🙂
And with the little pieces of fabric that I had left over I made a pillow to match! I'm rather proud of how they both turned out. The pillow was just little strips sewn together and the red used as a filler to make them square :-)
And with the little pieces of fabric that I had left over I made a pillow to match! I’m rather proud of how they both turned out. The pillow was just little strips sewn together and the red used as a filler to make them square 🙂
The fabric that was left over from the two blankets I wrote about in my previous blog post, made two lovely pillows. The one on the left I used the same process as the blankets, but the one on the right is another design which I will demonstrate in another blog post. It is really easy and looks great!
The fabric that was left over from the two blankets I wrote about in my previous blog post, made two lovely pillows. The one on the left I used the same process as the blankets, but the one on the right is another design which I will demonstrate in another blog post. It is really easy and looks great!

Now you can try out the disappearing nine patch block on your own blanket. I suggest you make a little babies blanket first so you can practice before commencing a larger one. It really isn’t hard and looks great when finished. It’s one of the first block patterns that I tried, and I have been really happy with the finished blankets. If you look up patchwork in the categories, you can see my previous quilts and blankets. See if you can find the other disappearing nine patch ones 🙂

 

New Plymouth – It’s a fabulous city!

I have been back home now for nearly a month, and I’m loving it!

It’s funny how you never really appreciate something until you have to do without it for awhile. The saying goes ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’, and although this saying is describing relationships, I also believe it covers things like homes, or familiar places, or towns. If you have been reading my blog over the past six months, you will remember that I left New Zealand on the 15th of August last year and didn’t return again until the 12th of January this year. That is nearly five months away from my country and home town of New Plymouth. Actually we live just out of New Plymouth at a small town called Waitara, but New Plymouth is just a short 15-20 minute drive away and is our nearest city, and yes, I love it!

Walking back into my home, I fell in love with it all over again. Yes it is old, and still has a lot of work needing to be done on it, but it is very comfortable, welcoming, peaceful, and spacious. It is our 16 year old renovation project that will probably never get finished, but it has served us well! It has been a family home to 5 of our 6 children and all the extras that they have brought here over the years. We have had many friends and visitors pop in to see us and maybe stay a day or more and I trust that they have felt the welcome, not only from us, but by the atmosphere that this house helps to create.

Look at this amazing view! This is what I see from my dining room table when the Wisteria is in flower.
Look at this amazing view! This is what I see from my dining room table when the Wisteria is in flower.
Looking across our deck towards the lounge French doors. The Wisteria is beautiful but does take a bit to keep under control.
Looking across our deck towards the lounge French doors. The Wisteria is beautiful but does take a bit to keep under control.

I have been thinking about why I am so happy to be home. Yes I do love my house and it’s in a great location in the country and yet handy enough to get to town within 20 minutes, so that is part of the reason. But I think it’s the fact that New Plymouth is such a fabulous city. We have everything here from a Mountain to the sea, and plenty of parks inbetween, as well as the fact that it is a great shopping city.

Let’s start with the view I see from my own front yard!

This is the view from my front deck. If you look through the tree you can see our Mountain!
This is the view from my front deck. If you look through the tree you can see our Mountain!
And this is the view of the Mountain from just across the road from our house.
And this is the view of the Mountain from just across the road from our house.

If I drive south for 20 minutes I would come to the small town of Inglewood. About 15 minutes away from my house heading towards Inglewood, I get this amazing view!

Our wonderful Mount Taranaki. I never tire of this view.
Our wonderful Mount Taranaki. I never tire of this view.

And every winter I try to get up the mountain to the snow at least once. It’s such fun to have our Mountain so close and to have the ability to drive up right to the snow.

A photo from our trip up the mountain last winter (2014)
A photo from our trip up the mountain last winter (2014)

And after a play in the snow and you are feeling a little hungry, a stop at Volcano View Café is great for food and play. With flying foxes available for use, and BIG carts to ride. The kids (and big kids) love it 🙂

One of the two Flying Foxes at Volcano View
One of the two Flying Foxes at Volcano View
There's a selection of Carts to ride :-)
There’s a selection of Carts to ride 🙂

Leaving Volcano View and heading towards New Plymouth and the next place to stop would be at Lake Mangamahoe. This lake supplies New Plymouth with it’s water. It is very picturesque and also a great lake for hiking around. When you get there, you will find that you can get a great photo with the mountain in the background.

Lake Mangamahoe and Mount Taranaki
Lake Mangamahoe and Mount Taranaki
Another beautiful photo of Lake Mangamahoe with our amazing mountain in the background :-)
Another beautiful photo of Lake Mangamahoe with our amazing mountain in the background 🙂

Next place towards New Plymouth is the ‘Meeting of the waters’. Here you can go for a walk to the river, swim, or take some rafts and get out on the river. It’s also a great place for a picnic, a walk or just for relaxation.

Take the family, the rafts and have some fun together at the Meeting of the waters :-)
Take the family, the rafts and have some fun together at the ‘Meeting of the waters’ 🙂
There are plenty of places to have a picnic surrounded by lovely scenery
There are plenty of places to have a picnic surrounded by lovely scenery

We have the most amazing park right in the centre of New Plymouth that is very popular and well worth a visit. There are many magnificent trees and gardens all over the park, along with a Fernery house to wander through. There is also a playground for the children that has recently been updated with new playground equipment, and the children love it.

The flying fox at the Park playground
The flying fox at the Park playground

There are two big lakes. One with a fountain and the other you can hire row boats and take the family or friends for a row. If you would rather have coffee or lunch than get out on a boat, then you can go to the Tea Rooms. There you can sit and relax and also have a lovely view of the lake.

The main lake at Pukekura Park and looking at Poets Bridge. Just above the bridge you can see the Mountain. A very popular photograph to take :-)
The main lake at Pukekura Park and looking at Poets Bridge. Just above the bridge you can see the Mountain. A very popular photograph to take 🙂
And here's Robin taking us out for a row on the lake
And here’s Robin taking us out for a row on the lake

The waterfall at the park looks great during the ‘Festival of Lights’ Christmas Season. The whole park is lit up over that time and is known about New Zealand wide. It is spectacular! There are also stages set up over the season and for a super evening, you can take a blanket, invite friends along and spend the evening relaxing and listening to the various performers on stage.

The lights on the bottom lake
The lights on the bottom lake
The top lake and poets bridge.
The top lake and poets bridge.
Another photo of the lights at the top Lake in Pukekura Park.
Another photo of the lights at the top Lake in Pukekura Park.
This is the grand childrens favourite part of the Festival of Lights. The ultraviolet lights :-) We all try to wear something white!
This is the grand childrens favourite part of the Festival of Lights. The ultraviolet lights 🙂 We all try to wear something white!

Walking through the park, you will end up at the “Bowl of Brooklands’. It is an amazing outdoor sound shell where we often have performers to entertain. There is nothing more special to sit on the hills with wonderful company, and listen to a well known band or watch a production/show. The Christmas at the bowl held each year is very popular and finishes off with a huge fireworks show.

This is the view from the stage! Imagine performing on this stage with a crowd seated all around in the grassy hills. Now imagine it at night with everyone holding candles. It looks amazing and has a great atmosphere!
This is the view from the stage! Imagine performing on this stage with a crowd seated all around in the grassy hills. Now imagine it at night with everyone holding candles. It looks amazing and has a great atmosphere!

And just up the hill from the Bowl of Brooklands is our very own zoo. Sorry but the most exotic animal are the monkeys, but it’s still a great zoo. It has a fantastic playground and is very good for young children. With gates and both ends, young Mums can relax while the children have fun in a safe environment. There are some elephants there but only the type seen in the next photo 😉

The three grand children with the elephants at Brooklands Zoo.
The three grand children with the elephants at Brooklands Zoo.

We have a famous garden just west of New Plymouth in the mountain range called The Pukeiti Rhododendron Gardens. Every year we have the Rhododendron Festival and it happens during the flowering season of the trees. Hundreds of tourists come into New Plymouth to visit the gardens and Pukeiti is extremely popular.

On your way to Pukeiti, call in for a stop over at Puakai Animal Farm. The children love it, especially to see the white tiger. And look at that mountain view!
On your way to Pukeiti, call in for a stop over at Puakai Animal Farm. The children love it, especially seeing the white tiger. And look at that mountain view and the mountain ranges!
Wandering through the grounds at Pukeiti Gardens
Wandering through the grounds at Pukeiti Gardens – Not at flower time unfortunately

After visiting Pukeiti, it’s just a ‘short’ drive downhill towards the sea and you arrive at Oakura. The best place to go for the New Years day beach carnival. Nearby is the river that is a favourite for swimming, games and BBQ teas.

The grandsons are enjoying the river on a lovely summers day.
The grandsons are enjoying the river on a lovely summers day.

You can carry on driving towards New Plymouth and visit Back Beach. Its a bit of a climb down and more of a climb back up but the beach is great, and at low tide you can walk over to one of the sugar loaf islands. But make sure you get back to the mainland before the tide turns. You can get caught out very quickly and end up stuck on the island!

Right next to Back Beach is Paritutu Rock. And it’s a huge rock! I have climbed it about three times (I don’t like heights!). Robin was very game and took the grandsons to the top!

Yes, it's not a climb for the fainthearted! But well worth the effort :-)
Yes, it’s not a climb for the fainthearted! But well worth the effort 🙂
At the top with the view towards New Plymouth and the coast North.
At the top with the view towards New Plymouth and the coast North.
The wonderful view from the top of the coastline towards Oakura.
The wonderful view from the top of the coastline towards Oakura.

Once you get to Paritutu, you are nearly at Port Taranaki. It’s just down the road and good for a look, and then play on the black sand, or swim at Ngamotu Beach. Follow the coastal road and you come to three of our lovely well visited cafes! All with seaside views!

The boys love the breakwater. Plenty of rocks to climb and usually a fisherman or two to see the fish they catch :-)
The boys love the breakwater. Plenty of rocks to climb and usually a fisherman or two to see the fish they catch 🙂

After a lovely stroll along the breakwater, you can find the start of our fabulous New Plymouth walkway! It is 12.7 Kms long and every step is worth the walk. There are magnificent views along the whole pathway. For all the information on the walkway please copy and paste the NPDC link below.

http://www.newplymouthnz.com/OurDistrict/Attractions/CoastalWalkway.htm

Robin and I with our bikes at the breakwater ready to bike along the walkway/bikeway :-)
Robin and I with our bikes at the breakwater ready to bike along the walkway/bikeway 🙂
The start of the walkway from the breakwater end :-)
The start of the walkway from the breakwater end 🙂
One of the amazing views along the wak. This one is just before you get to Kawaroa Park
One of the amazing views along the way. This one is just before you get to Kawaroa Park
These are the rock pools at Kawaroa. The kids love to look to see if they can find crabs or starfish.
These are the rock pools at Kawaroa. The kids love to look to see if they can find crabs or starfish.
This photo is getting closer to the centre of town. You can see our windwand which has become a landmark icon in New Plymouth
This photo is getting closer to the centre of town. You can see our windwand which has become a landmark icon in New Plymouth
And looking back towards the Port, the Chimney, Paritutu Rock and the Sugar Loaf Islands
And looking back towards the Port, the Chimney, Paritutu Rock and the Sugar Loaf Islands
This is the best spot to stop and reflect on our beautiful city, the joy of the walkway and the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Love New Zealand, Love New Plymouth and I love my daughter :-)
This is the best spot to stop and reflect on our beautiful city, the joy of the walkway and the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Love New Zealand, Love New Plymouth and I love my daughter 🙂
Look at the view! The walkway changes from concrete to wood at various places!
Look at the view! The walkway changes from concrete to wood at various places!
You can take the path up to a car park and town or carry on towards East End Beach.
You can take the path up to a car park and town or carry on towards East End Beach.
This photo is taken between East End Beach and the Wind Wand walking the other direction
This photo is taken between East End Beach and the Wind Wand walking the other direction
Sitting and relaxing and enjoying the view! Just what you do when on the walkway!
Sitting and relaxing and enjoying the view! Just what you do when on the walkway!
Playing at East End Beach and the rock pools at low tide.
Playing at East End Beach and the rock pools at low tide.
At East End you can veer off on the Te Henui walkway. You cross over the river and walk under the main road and further along behind houses and through parks to a total of 5.9 Kms.
At East End you can veer off on the Te Henui walkway. You cross over the river and walk under the main road and further along behind houses and through parks to a total of 5.9 Kms.
More very picturesque moments on the Te Henui walkway :-)
More very picturesque moments on the Te Henui walkway 🙂
Back on the Coastal Walkway and moving along to Fitzroy Beach. A great spot for swimming and playing in the black iron sand :-)
Back on the Coastal Walkway and moving along to Fitzroy Beach. A great spot for swimming and playing in the black iron sand 🙂 See Paritutu, the Chimney and the Sugar Loaf Islands in the background!
Look at our great Iron Sand. But be aware it gets very hot when it is dry and in the sunshine
Look at our great Iron Sand. But be aware it gets very hot when it is dry and in the sunshine
Next best place is the Waiwakaiho River mouth. A great spot for fishing!
Next best place is the Waiwakaiho River mouth. A great spot for fishing!
The river doesn't mean the walkway must stop. New Plymouth has built the wonderful Te Rewa Rewa bridge. This bridge has been the object of many many photos, especially as it can be used to frame Mount Taranaki if you position your camera correctly, and the Mountain isn't hiding behind clouds!
The river doesn’t mean the walkway must stop. New Plymouth has built the wonderful Te Rewa Rewa bridge. This bridge has been the object of many many photos, especially as it can be used to frame Mount Taranaki if you position your camera correctly, and the Mountain isn’t hiding behind clouds!
We haven't framed the Mountain in this photo, but the bridge still looks magnificent!
We haven’t framed the Mountain in this photo, but the bridge still looks magnificent!
Keep riding or walking the walkway and look back and this is the view of the place we started, Port Taranaki, way in the distance. And, you can still keep walking right to Tiromoana Crescent at the end of Wills Road!
Keep riding or walking the walkway and look back and this is the view of the place we started, Port Taranaki, way in the distance. And, you can still keep walking right to Tiromoana Crescent at the end of Wills Road!

Now don’t you think that the next challenge you should give yourself is to either walk the length of the Coastal Walkway or ride your bike the distance. If you don’t have a bike you can always hire one from the people that hire them out near the café between East End and Fitzroy Beaches.

One day the Coastal Walkway will eventually reach to Waitara. From our place we can already ride our bikes along Brown Road and cross the walkway bridge at the Waiongana Stream, keep riding and end up at the back of the airport.

Wiongana Bridge
Waiongana Bridge
Grandsons throwing stones into the Waiongana Stream. It's actually more like a river!
Grandsons throwing stones into the Waiongana Stream. It’s actually more like a river!

I haven’t finished showing off about our wonderful Coastline and beaches and favourite places to go yet! If you keep travelling north and head off to Waitara, there is another river mouth with another great Beach. The Waitara one!

Grandson playing down at the Waitara Beach on a windy day. Look at all the driftwood!
Grandson playing down at the Waitara Beach on a windy day. Look at all the driftwood!
While in Waitara it's a great opportunity to go for a train trip to the Waitara Road Station and back with the Waitara Railway enthusiasts.
While in Waitara it’s a great opportunity to go for a train trip to the Waitara Road Station and back with the Waitara Railway enthusiasts.
The children love it and with the stop for refreshments, the adults do too :-)
The children love it and with the stop for refreshments, the adults do too 🙂

If you still want to see more beaches you can venture further North to Onaero River mouth and Beach, or even further and go to the Urenui River and Beach. We’ve had many a BBQ tea and swim in the Urenui River. The mud flats on the town side of the river are a great attraction for the children, not so much for the Mums trying to get the clothes/swimwear back to their normal colour, I’m afraid!

The Grandsons enjoying the Urenui river.
The Grandsons enjoying the Urenui river.

So there you are! There’s still heaps more to see in our wonderful city and actually the whole province of Taranaki. So next time you go on holiday, don’t forget about New Plymouth, and you can visit the places I have shown and also discover some more places for yourself.

Robin and I have just joined www.airbnb.com as a host family. We’ve already met some super people from other countries. We love being able to share our big home and have some company, but what we love the most is having the opportunity of sharing our wonderful city of New Plymouth with them.

Now can you see why I said I am really enjoying being back home 🙂

Cool T Shirts and get togethers!!!

Last school holidays I had the boys here to stay for a week. I met C3 and Stacie in Wanganui on a Tuesday and then a week later did the same thing again, picking the boys up the first week and dropping them off the second. We had a fabulous time at the park in Wanganui including a picnic lunch. The boys loved the playground! Each play area is based on a nursery rhyme or cartoon character and painted in bright colours. Best of all was the train ride!

 

IMG_5413
G4 sliding down Dino the Dinosaurs neck 🙂
IMG_5410
The Family with Fred and Barney
IMG_5367
On top of Jonah’s Whale 🙂
Love this! Dad and son!
Love this! Dad and son!
One happy Christian
One happy G4
Family on the train ride
Family on the train ride
On top of the Mountain
On top of the Mountain
Riding a dolphin
Riding a dolphin
Christian is climbing up the dinosaur steps.
G4 is climbing up the dinosaur steps.
whee down he goes
whee down he goes
So much fun to be had at this park!
So much fun to be had at this park!
We can do it!
We can do it!

The second week in Wanganui we had a big family get together celebrating Keelas 16th Birthday. Keela is my brothers grand daughter, daughter of Melissa. I haven’t seen Keela for years so it was a great opportunity to catch up with her….and what a beautiful young lady she is 🙂 It was also a chance to meet up with the newest addition to the family, baby Nash, Melissa’s baby…and Keela and Alex’s half brother.

Rodney, Joy and their family
Rodney, Joy and their family
Very proud great grand parents.
Very proud great grand parents.
16 Candles!!!
16 Candles!!!
Keela about to blow out her candles
Keela about to blow out her candles
A Happy moment
A Happy moment
Happy 16th Birthday Keela
Happy 16th Birthday Keela
Dad with his son Rodney, and with Rodney's son Jarrod, and with Melissa's son Nash. 4 generations.
Dad with his son Rodney, and with Rodney’s son Jarrod, and with Melissa’s son Nash. 4 generations.
Judy, Kerry and Jayden
Judy, Kerry and G2
Mum and Dad with Simon, Stacie and Christian
Mum and Dad with C3, Stacie and G4

 

Stacie with Jayden and Christian
Stacie with G2 and G4

I love trying to spend as much quality time with the boys while they are staying. This time we went to the beach, down to the river and walked along the walkway. Robin did something even more adventureous with them while I was at work. They climbed Paritutu! I don’t think I would have been game enough to do that with G4. His listening skills are not the best….and it is a very high and dangerous place to be if you don’t follow the rules! But….what an experience for them 🙂

 

The park at East End Beach
The park at East End Beach
The Park at East End
The Park at East End
If there's rocks....Christian has to climb them
If there’s rocks….G4 has to climb them
Building a big castle with wood
Building a big castle with wood
Yay for sand and water
Yay for sand and water
Jayden busy building
G2 busy building
Down at the river by Nana Pam's and Grandad Robin's
Down at the river by Nana Pam’s and Grandad Robin’s
Throwing stones into the river
Throwing stones into the river
The river was flowing faster than we thought it would be
The river was flowing faster than we thought it would be
Taking Maisy for a walk
Taking Maisy for a walk
Under the bridge on the walkway
Under the bridge on the walkway
Walk along Te Henui walkway
Walk along Te Henui walkway
Jayden enjoying the sand
G2 enjoying the sand
Yes....Christian gets wet!
Yes….G4 gets wet!
East end beach after tea
East end beach after tea
At the entrance to Paritutu Rock (Mountain...nearly)
At the entrance to Paritutu Rock (Mountain…nearly)
Christian on the merry go round! A celebration for being such a good boy :-)
G4 on the merry go round! A celebration for being such a good boy 🙂
Look behind!
Look behind!
Happy chappies...at the top!
Happy chappies…at the top!
It's getting very high now!
It’s getting very high now!
Holding on to the inside bank
Holding on to the inside bank
Starting the climb. Christian trying to tell Robin that he is the boss. Now Grandad Robin says 'Get down Christian!'
Starting the climb. G4 trying to tell Robin that he is the boss. Now Grandad Robin says ‘Get down G4!’

While the boys were staying I found some cool T Shirts for them to wear to church on the Sunday. I am amazed at the neat clothing out there for boys nowdays. There was nothing like them when my boys were young! I love them! What do you reckon? Do you think they are pretty cool?

Playing together so nicely!
Playing together so nicely!
Concentration!!!
Concentration!!!
So busy building
So busy building
Do you think Batman can go down the slide?
Do you think Batman can go down the slide?
How much fun to roll the ball down the slide...just need to get it up first!
How much fun to roll the ball down the slide…just need to get it up first!
Down Jayden goes
Down G2 goes
Jayden first and Christian follows
G2 first and G4 follows
So much fun on the trampoline
So much fun on the trampoline
IMG_5744
Just hanging Nana!
IMG_5746
I can hang too Nana!

The Renovations Continue…

We brought our home on Tate Road in Brixton approx 14 and a half years ago. Back then it was a house that needed major repair, but I saw heaps of potential in it, and it was a huge home. And we needed huge! With six children we needed the space. Space away from close neighbours and space to make noice! The boys were getting older, bigger and louder. They all loved living life loud! Daniel played various musical instruments, and he also loved to get into the garage and do some welding and grinding on his old car at any time of the day or night. Matthew, the eldest, had left home but he added to the family with his beautiful partner Rebecca and our lovely first grandchild Leeara. And they were here often as well, so we definitely needed this house. I saw rooms, plenty of them, and with the attached flat we would have two bathrooms! So very necessary. Robin saw work and tons of it!

The house from the driveway
The house from the driveway
Side view with the fish pond in front of the house
Side view with the fish pond in front of the house
The front of the flat and the kitchen window on the house
The front of the flat and the kitchen window on the house
Looking along the house to the flat
Looking along the house to the flat
The back door on the house
The back door on the house

The whole front lawn had been planted out with conifers. They were the first to go. The very weekend we moved in we had a big bon fire, and a chainsaw cutting down the conifers and any other trees we didn’t want. That fire was relit many times over the next few years.

Looking up the driveway to the gate
Looking up the driveway to the gate

We also had lots to demolish inside! Robin would go to work each day and come home to another pile of rubbish, and bare walls! The poor man never had any down time….but I was loving the challenge! We were lucky enough to have two kitchens, laundries and bathrooms. One could be used while the other was being renovated. And the kitchen in the house was ugly…and needed a complete rebuild. It also needed new french doors and a lovely big deck outside. All fabulous additions which we have been well used for many family gatherings over the years.

A partly demolished kitchen in the house
A partly demolished kitchen in the house
I still made the bare kitchen look like home...sort of!
I still made the bare kitchen look like home…sort of!
We have benches and a sink
We have benches and a sink
The windows come out and the French doors go in
The windows come out and the French doors go in
The new doors are in!
The new doors are in!
The new doors from the outside
The new doors from the outside

I started to paint the house in colours that were commonly used on old villas. The first big job was to clean down the windows so they would open. The whole house had been sprayed with a protective coating which glued the windows closed! Once cleaned off I could then paint the window frames. By the time I had spent hours on a couple of the windows and exposed the rotten timber underneath, we made the decision to replace all the wooden windows with aluminum ones! And by that stage I had gone off the colonial colours and decided to paint in more neutral colours! Thank goodness I hadn’t gone too far! And…we are still trying to remove the spray coating off the walls. Only part of the front wall left to do….thank goodness! Robin’s and my wrists and elbows are getting too old and painful to keep on doing all the scraping that is necessary. What we have done looks great and eventually the flat will be painted the same colour and it WILL look fabulous!

Jo and Jess outside the lounge window. Note the new colours!!!
Jo and Jess outside the lounge window. Note the new colours!!!
The front of the house with the garden still in front of Jessicas bedroom
The front of the house with the garden still in front of Jessicas bedroom
The veranda off the house lounge
The veranda off the house lounge
The start of the deck
The start of the deck
The deck in progress
The deck in progress

The place also had two big fish ponds. One was by the back door which was really unsuitable for little children so that was emptied straight away. Not a fish in sight! It had a dead hedgehog in the pool and it had poisoned all the water. What a smell! And….what a lot of rubbish from it. Emptied….smashed up…and then refilled with dirt…yes, a BIG job! The other fish pond was on the front lawn. I kept this pool for about 10 years as it was loaded with fish. The annual pool clean up was another big job but the reward of seeing the gold fish and lovely water lily flowers was worth the effort. Eventually I decided that the effort put into maintaining it was more than the joys I got from those flowers, so out it came as well. Much easier to mow a flat grass area than go around a pool as well!

I shifted plants and created new gardens, demolishing others. I made footpaths, pulled out hedges and we made garden edgings. My weekends were filled up with weeding and maintaining the beautiful garden areas around the section…and I loved it.

The garage window is seen just behind this overgrown garden
The garage window is seen just behind this overgrown garden
These trees were along the right hand side of the garage
These trees were along the right hand side of the garage
The lawn outside the flats ranch slider
The lawn outside the flats ranch slider
The back lawn
The back lawn
Planted out the back garden
Planted out the back garden
The garden in front of the flat
The garden in front of the flat
Looking across the front lawn
Looking across the front lawn
The back garden grows!
The back garden grows!
The plum tree and house behind
The plum tree and house behind
The new deck
The new deck
The front fish pond and new gardens behind it
The front fish pond and new gardens behind it
Garden looking through to the flats driveway
Garden looking through to the flats driveway
Looking back to the driveway
Looking back to the driveway
walkway from the flat to the front lawn
walkway from the flat to the front lawn
view from the deck when the wisteria is in flower
view from the deck when the wisteria is in flower
Looking across the front rence garden
Looking across the front rence garden
View from the end of the driveway across
View from the end of the driveway across
One of my vege gardens last year 2012. The other one has potatoes in it
One of my vege gardens last year 2012. The other one has potatoes in it
View across thegarden along the back fence
View across thegarden along the back fence
The flats back yard
The flats back yard

Robin was rebuilding the walls inside the house and doing a great job, but we eventually got a builder in to help out, especially in the bathroom and laundry area….of both the house and the flat. I started doing the plastering, but that also got to become too big for me, so a plasterer finished off the walls as well. But, Robin and I did all the painting and wallpapering. We picked all the earthy colours of bright yellow, terracotta, dark blue and green! Yuck….what was I thinking? I did actually love it all at the time though! Hence the reason that ten years later, I have now almost completely redecorated the whole house. I only have the passageway and the office left to go! Phew!

Looking from the back door out to the garden

Looking from the back door out to the garden

Look at the bathroom!
Look at the bathroom!
That was the bath!
That was the bath!
Ahhhhh the flats bathroom
Ahhhhh the flats bathroom
The laundry and toilet on the left
The laundry and toilet on the left
The flat lounge (our bedroom for a few years!)
The flat lounge (our bedroom for a few years!)
Looking from the lounge in the flat to one of the bedrooms
Looking from the lounge in the flat to one of the bedrooms
The flats bath and shower
The flats bath and shower
The flats kitchen
The flats kitchen
Ahhhhh....why did I put apricot coloured wallpaper in the bathroom? That goes!
Ahhhhh….why did I put apricot coloured wallpaper in the bathroom? That goes!
And blue in the laundry, back door area
And blue in the laundry, back door area
The bathroom in the flat gets a reno job
The bathroom in the flat gets a reno job
The bathroom looking through to the flat laundry area
The bathroom looking through to the flat laundry area
And why did I paint the bathroom that colour?
And why did I paint the bathroom that colour?

We lived in the flat as well as the house until there were only five of us left at home. The girls had their own rooms in the flat and Robin and I had always used the lounge in the flat as our master bedroom. It wasn’t until the middle of one night when Ben, our youngest son, had had a bad dream. He came wandering through the house into the flat in tears and said that it was quite scary to have the whole house to himself at night. I hadn’t even thought about him being the only boy left in the house. It was the push we needed to shift into the house which left the flat available for rental. Bonus! We painted over the wallpaper in the flat to give it a quick tidy up and then finally renovated it entirely between tenants only two years ago. The walls were painted in a neutral colour throughout, and now the house is nearly finished being painted in the same colour.

Bathroom in the flat
Bathroom in the flat
Bedroom two
Bedroom two
Bedroom one
Bedroom one
Looking out to the deck
Looking out to the deck
Flat dining area
Flat dining area
Flat lounge
Flat lounge
Kitchen back wall
Kitchen back wall
The updated kitchen
The updated kitchen
Laundry room
Laundry room
heated towel rail added along with new paint work
heated towel rail added along with new paint work

In 2011 we included the outside games room and the house back door area into the renovations. We had put a French door in our bedroom approximately five years earlier with the intention of putting a new deck off it. The project in 2011 incorporated a new deck extending from the back door right to the driveway. The games room was always the room that needed the most fixing, but that didn’t stop Daniel using it as his own little flat….followed by Simon and then Ben. Robin and absolutely love the room now. He has a great computer set up and I have it as a scrapbooking/craft room. The room is also fabulous for a sleepout for visitors. We put a roof and doors on the deck and also now have a conservatory that warms up beautifully all year round.

the deck roof has been removed
the deck roof has been removed
The french doors off our bedroom
The french doors off our bedroom
The side of the garage and games room
The side of the garage and games room
new construction
new construction

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

The flat and the house
The flat and the house
New path around the flat. Flat still needs painting!
New path around the flat. Flat still needs painting!
The new craft room nearly finished
The new craft room nearly finished
Back yard
Back yard
View from the deck off our bedroom and conservatory
View from the deck off our bedroom and conservatory

We have had so much enjoyment both living in our home, and renovating it. It is set on a half acre section and we have no immediate neighbours. I can look out the windows and admire the lovely view I get from each window. The gardens are now well developed and there are lovely mature trees. We can eat from our vegetable gardens and have enough fruit trees to both eat and preserve the fruit.

Now - Looking at the garage, porch and back door area
Now – Looking at the garage, porch and back door area
Now - My back garden - along the back fence
Now – My back garden – along the back fence
Back fence garden and vege patch
Back fence garden and vege patch
Now - The front of the house showing the part still to be cleaned up and painted
Now – The front of the house showing the part still to be cleaned up and painted
Now - The french door into the kitchen
Now – The french door into the kitchen
Now - looking at the laundry and toilet door
Now – looking at the laundry and toilet door
Now - looking out one of the dining room french doors
Now – looking out one of the dining room french doors
Now - the fireplace lounge
Now – the fireplace lounge
Now - our bedroom...still have to buy new bedside lamps
Now – our bedroom…still have to buy new bedside lamps
Now - looking down the nearly finished lounge
Now – looking down the nearly finished lounge

Yes…I love my house. It is, and probably always will be, a work in progress. It has never been perfect. It is old and there is a lot of maintenance needed, but to me it’s better than perfect…it’s home!