Monday, February 28, 2011

Double choc-chip and cranberry biscuits.

US, NZ, UK and CANADA use 15ml tablespoons

1 teaspoon 5ml
1 tablespoon 20ml
1 cup 250ml
1 egg 60g approx
Moderate oven- 180c or 350f


125g butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

1 egg


1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

1 cup of white and dark choc-chips mixed.

(I like to use the choc-melts and chop them into chunks)

1. Beat softened butter and sugar to a cream.

2. Add the egg and beat well,add dash of vanilla.

3. Add choc-chips and cranberries and mix well.

4. Add the sifted flour in two lots, mixing well between additions.

The mixture should come away from the sides of the bowl and hold together in a soft dough, firm but not dry. Depending on how generous you are with vanilla you may need to add a tablespoon extra flour.

5. Roll a tablespoon and a half of mixture into balls and gently flatten on greasedproof paper trays.

6. Bake in mod.oven until lightly browned.



Sunday, February 27, 2011

A busy week - get cracking!

Lots to do as usual and with Mr CH still on "light duties" I decided to start a few jobs I can do on my own.

Last week I was busy painting windows for the reno cottage and skirting boards for our bedroom.

These old school chairs were offered to us on their way to a country dump. While in shabby condition they are a perfect fit for the old school desk in no.3 sons room. The recent wet weather had them coated with mould so I thought now or never!

A good sand and a bit of filler in the veneer, and removal of some graffiti (primary school style).

How sweet back-to-front s's.

Me and ?

I almost caved in after sanding, thinking I can't paint wood!

A bit of undercoat, but I've changed my mind on that green( leftovers) not dark enough for a boy!
Have to get some new paint.

Need to finish this in green as well.

At least the undercoating is done.

My mirror from the op/thrift shop got a light sand and a shellac-ing as well.

What is shellac?

Beetle poo in flake form mixed with methylated spirits(denatured alcohol).
So easy to use.

I only wiped on four coats so it wouldn't be too shiny.

Just needs a couple of screws and wire (or chain) to hang, it's pretty heavy! Sorry not a very good photo.
Another vintage mirror to reflect some light.

I started work coating the bedroom floor on the weekend - one coat a day.

But now I have to go sugar soap stuff while I wait.

Until then

Friday, February 25, 2011

The culprits!

Number 2 son has been amusing himself taking photos of the caterpillars that have been eating our garden away. In just a few days they have eaten one pentas bush 1x1m to a pile of green sticks. Lucky they're so cute.
Who's been naughty?

At least they don't like the crepe myrtle, which for once a year is allowed to spread to it's branches covering other trees and blocking pathways, all for the enjoyment of it's gorgeous flowers.
Which in the recent showery weather proves a challenge avoiding dripping branches.

Our little hideaway has been almost hidden by flowers. Pity they don't last more than a few weeks.

But isn't it worth it!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's a boy thing!

They are in the wars again.
With three(four) boys in the Crazy House I have learnt never to gasp! at injuries. So, arriving at school to find #3 son looking like this I hardly missed a beat. Quietly asking "What happened to you?" stirs no tears until an Aid pipes-up with "I think he might need stitches". Wouldn't you think some people working with small children would be more tactful in front of an injured child. Tears started to well until I said "you'll be right, it's all blood and no bite!"
After being accidentally shoved into a wall by a larger kid running around a corner #3 son had blood all over his shirt,hat,hand etc.
I won't show any gruesome pics(which brother took anyway).
After 70 mins at the doctors, promising not to wet his head for a few days and getting superglued back together, all ended well with a few jelly beans and his relief at avoiding stitches ( inspite of missing his swimming lesson at school).
Needless to say, a few days later Dad plonked him on the (repaired) go-cart and said it was time he learnt to ride it by himself. No helmet or shoes and look how thrilled he was. Boys!!

You might remember somewhere I mentioned Mr CH had decided to take up a new sport after the broken ankle incident. Kitesurfing.
After months of rain and deciding that drying-out his kite under the house was a bit on the inconvenient side, he has been eager to get back to the beach.

Resorting to stealing an hour after work to test out his (kids) new land-board to ride up and down the sand. And not being well practiced of late, fell off when he couldn't stop (duh!) and hurt his ribs and winded himself( and bruised his ego).
So after a week of discomfort he went off to the doctors who then said that he might have cracked a few ribs!! He went for an x-ray yesterday and won't know until the doctor checks the film.

At least #2 son has been having a ball learning how to handle a training kite.

On the bright side the brushes for the mitre saw have arrived. $3.50 parts instead of a $300-$400 new saw, very happy. Now I just need someone who is not injured to cut and fit a few new floorboards so I can get on with finishing the bedroom floor.
I want my bed back!!!

one new part old parts
Roll on weekend !!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cutting a new doorway.

Can't turn my back for a moment!

While I've been stuck washing and baking Mr CH has been demolishing without me!

Bed 2 before.

Ok it's only a doorway, but still.
I just noticed the difference in these two pics before and after the house stumping was done, it looks strange, one down and one up.

By the time I came over to check-out the noise, Mr CH had removed the tongue and groove boards from the wall ( to be used for patch-up jobs later). He had started cutting through the hardwood supports with our favorite tool. A battery-powered saw.

Perfect for sawing at waist height.

And for sawing above your head. Hee hee!

A famous Australian actor recently quipped"You know what they call wood in Australia?- hardwood!"
The only problem with hardwood is, it gets harder with age which makes it difficult to cut or remove. That and the two to three inch nails holding everything together! These houses were built to last.

Mr CH wobbled that piece for so long that he took a "cuppa break" in between.

Got there!(and caught his breath out of sight)

It's only a doorway but it's still nice to make a change so that this house feels like ours instead of someone else's dump.
We are all enjoying the novelty ofwalking through two doorways at the moment.

Only problem, Mr CH has that taste for demolishing again and is looking for something else now. He just grins and says" You have to make a mess to get rid of one".

Bathroom-walls,insulation and ceiling painting- catch-up post.

Yes, you do have to spend your holidays fixing this!
Does a picture say a thousand words?
After a variety of wall coverings were removed (masonite,plastic etc), Mr Crazy House has added extra studs to fix the new cement wall sheeting to. He has also built a new frame for the steel bathtub we picked up at a demolition yard for $40.
In Australia it is illegal to do your own plumbing or electrical work, so for us it's a case of "not what you know, but who you know". Doesn't mean you can't assist though does it?
Mr CH used his "fitting" skills to attach the pipework for the bath and shower taps so the bath could be fitted for building in.

Extra studs in wall to support new walls and bathtub surround.

View to kitchen and into Bed 2 (through old window space).

Fast forward a few days and the walls have had some insulation added into the wall cavity to provide a little extra comfort esp. during winter. Some wiring for a light and a powerpoint has been pulled through (for later).
The old bubbled ceiling paint has been peeled and very carefully sanded to feather back the layers of paint and washed with sugar soap and rinsed clean. Peeling the paint off by hand has left asbestos fibro bare and we don't want to sand that!

There has obviously been a problem with ventilation being a tiny bathroom and the mould growth has been ignored for too long.

The ceiling is getting undercoated with"Prep-Lock" by Dulux to"block stains and seal odours" and so"adheres to surfaces without sanding". You can use it to"cover fire damage,mould,mildew,water stains,graffiti,food and beverage and crayon marks", Wow! lets hope it works.

Normally we would skimcoat the uneven paint with a filler before undercoating, however Mr CH decided to totally seal the fibro first and fill afterwards if it looked bumpy.

Which ended up being my job anyway. The can says you can brush, roll or spray it on. I chose a mini roller and should have used a mask right from the start as it is a metho-based paint and stinks something bad!

Half-way looks a bit bumpy still, and will probably get a skimcoat when dry but it's hard to make an old neglected surface look new without being able to sand properly for fear of asbestos exposure. If it doesn't work we might try adding a new ceiling over this one.

Getting there!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Creating a hideaway..

... for Mum and Dad to escape for a cuppa and a chat. 
It's amazing what some weeding, mowing and a whole lot of rain can do.
After the fence was erected  and the ground cleared of weeds we set to work to lay a small paved pad for a few chairs.

We decided to move the fenceline a few metres into the reno cottage yard for me to expand our garden and to create a little spot to hide from the kids.
Plants were transplanted (a hibiscus,pentas,blue sapphire,geraniums-pelagoniums,wormwood, crocosmia bulbs-monbretia) and planted (pachy stachys,cats whiskers,erigeron,purple perennial verbena,miniature gardenia, shasta daisy,dianthus,thyme,azalea, summer love and fast-growing perennial salvias.

Add a ridiculious amount of rain throughout Winter, Spring and Summer and you get an almost instant garden.

Front of reno cottage before.
Front of reno cottage now looking good.
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