30 March 2011

Weekly Photography Challenge - Week 13: Purple

Violet is one of Alex's favourite toys. Not only does she sing songs and know Alex's name, but her ears are delicious!

Tasty Violet, originally uploaded by rattyree.

27 March 2011

Alex's Extreme Bedroom Makeover: Part Two

Well wasn't that a great suspense-building break between episodes?

Firstly, the overall room shots (you can click on them for bigger versions).  Cue excessive "Oh My Gawsh!!!" comments.

I'm quite chuffed with the colour I chose for the walls, I think the grey works well with the black and white.  And it's nice and subtle and gender neutral and NOT BRIGHT BLUE.

And now if you don't mind, I'll point out some neat bits and pieces that I like.  

Alex's cot is full of handmade goodness - I made the sheets with nifty ribbon and lace edging on the top sheet, Mum and I made her mobile and Nev's Mum knitted the blanket.

It's not pretty, but I love the fact that her wardrobe is in the space under the stairs.  She has floor to ceiling shelves on the left, space for a toy hammock (my old one) and there's still room left over for us to stash computer hardware boxes at the end on the right.

Now that she is in her own room Alex has to share it with her Nana or Gran when they come to stay.  I'm sure that will be lots of fun (for her) when she's a bit older.

There are lots of goodies in these shelves too, including a Miffy money box (from Japan..nearly 12 years ago), the only analogue clock in the house, wooden name letters (Mum and I made these pretty), a hand knitted doll made by her .. uhm.. Nancy, a jewellery box containing a pendant made of Skye marble.

Aunty Christabel got this painting done for Alex while I was still pregnant.  As it's painted onto wood it's quite heavy so we were hesitant to hang it in her room in case an earthquake or something caused it to fall down.  So it is instead hanging in the hallway outside her room.  She likes looking at it when we carry her past.  

And lastly, Mum made (cross-stitched) this quilt for Alex's cot.  It'll be going on there when she's about a year old.  

And that's it.  We're busy concentrating on replacing the deck at the moment, just in time for winter!

24 March 2011

Alex's Extreme Bedroom Makeover

Alex's bedroom was the study for the previous owners, and they had a giant notice board covering the northern wall of the room.  It wasn't until we moved in that we realised why:  the wall was bright blue.  Combined with the burgundy curtains and bright yellow plastic light shade it made for a delightful looking room.

The wardrobe door handle had pretty flowers on it.  Blech.  You'll note the very stylish light fitting on this wall too.

Clearly this room was not fit for a baby.  Off with the wallpaper!  Basil helped.

There were three layers of wallpaper.  And three layers of paint.  In amongst the layers we discovered that at one point the opposite walls of the room were bright purple and yellow.  I'm guessing that's when the yellow light shade came into play.

We also discovered that they hadn't put any gib up between the edge of the door frame and the corner of the room, instead opting to just paper over the gap and hope no one would notice.  Uhm.

We got the electrician in to replace the light fittings as well as all the switches and wall sockets downstairs.

And now, in true annoying reality TV style:  Bus driver, MOVE THAT BUS!!!

 /cut to end credits.

The next episode will air in a couple of days.  *cackle*

23 March 2011

Weekly Photography Challenge - Week 12: Past

I went with this photo as my final choice this week. I quite like the contrast between the old and new buildings.  ...And I think the sky looks cool.

Past Meets Present, originally uploaded by rattyree.

I also went to Old Bank, on a similar past meets present theme.  I couldn't get a shot of the corner at the angle I wanted without the stupid skylight roof in the way (bottom right of this pic).

I also wasn't sure how the vault door next to the escalators would come across, but I find it amusing.

19 March 2011


It had been, oh, 18 months since I did anything to the veggie weed patch.  Can you tell?

At some point I subscribed to the NZ Gardener emails (??) and instead of instantly archiving it, I actually read this week's one.  It said that now is the time to sow carrots.  Our last crop of carrots was successful and Alex likes them, so why not try again?  Off to the garden store!  

I was feeling adventurous so I got some other veggie seedlings too.  Why is that adventurous?  Our last lot of seedlings was systematically destroyed by the cats.  Each day a cat would sit on a baby lettuce.  Or fall off the fence while trying to pick a fight with the neighbour cat, land on the tomato plants (containers to the left of the above photo) and break them in half.  They say to grow Basil with tomatoes...not so successful here.

So I'll see how this goes.  Maybe I need to build a netting frame to go over the baby vegetables.  My award winning* vegetable garden was inside one of dad's unused bird aviaries, so it's not such a silly idea.

Oh, and here's the other side of the courtyard.  I have great plans to tidy that up too.   It contains:  
  • wheelie bin
  • recycling bin
  • two petrol cans (empty)
  • our BBQ (obscured and currently on its side)
  • Naughty Cat Pen (for containing Basils when they keep trying to run away)
  • scooter cover (no more scooter)
  • bin full of some weeds I quickly pulled out of that garden
  • lots of weeds growing up between the pavers.  I hate them so much.

* First at my primary school, and third in the district!  I tell you, I used to be so cool.

17 March 2011

Weekly Photography Challenge - Week 11: Curves

Inspiration this week: ZERO. So I'm using an old photo.

Japan has been on my mind this week and this photo was taken when we were over there almost exactly a year ago. This is the view going down the escalators outside the Fuji TV Building, in Tokyo.

Fuji TV Building, Odaiba, Tokyo, originally uploaded by rattyree.

11 March 2011

Baby Babble

Alex:  Mum.  Mumumumummm.  Mum mum.
Ree:  *looks at Nev*
Nev:  Nope, doesn't count.
Ree:  But she said "mum".  Many times!
Alex:  Mammmmmmmmmmmmm-ah.
Ree:  See!  Mama!
Nev:  Nope.  Not a word until she knows what it means.
Ree:  >:-(
Alex:  *looks at Nev*  Mum.  Mum.  ...Mum.

So close, yet so far!

According to Nev, having Alex around so far hasn't been that different to having the cats - she needs looking after, is small, with a personality and a range of sounds to show how she's feeling.  It seems that words are going to magically transform her into a people.  I bet that's why he's not letting me claim "mum" as a word yet.

It is very weird to think that her Aunty was talking at three months of age.  Nev's mum thought that was the norm, and worried that Nev was a bit dense when he still wasn't talking by six months.  Sometimes I think she was right.  :D

09 March 2011

Weekly Photography Challenge - Week 10: Mess

This week's topic was mess. Alex's face gets super messy when she's eating, but I don't enjoy looking at other people's kids' mucky faces so thought I'd spare you all.

Sewing always makes a mess, so I don't tend to do it as often as I'd like. Makes for a pretty picture though!

Sewing Mess, originally uploaded by rattyree.

03 March 2011

Weekly Photography Challenge - Week 9: Large

I pondered doing something about the quake, but couldn't think of anything neat. So of course I took a photo of Basil. He's pretty large.  And also on the roof for this shot.

Large Cat is Large, originally uploaded by rattyree.

02 March 2011

Pimp my Pram

A week or so ago, one of my darling cats decided to forget what the difference between a pram seat and a litter tray is.  The pram was collapsed and  because the seat comes off completely I had it sitting upright next to the wheels/frame.  I went to the freezer to get meat out for dinner and got a whiff of cat pee.  In the seat.  Needless to say, it had soaked through the fabric into the padding of the seat and there is no way I can get that stink out.  I'm currently waiting to hear back from the shop about whether I can get a replacement seat cover separately or not.

In the mean time I have hauled out our spare pram.  As it had been heavily used for 15 months by the original owner, the state of the fabric was pretty shocking, and the seat padding smelled a bit...funky.  The fabric itself seems to be prone to pulled threads anyway, which makes it a stupid choice for something like a pram.   The general quality of the sewing was dodgy too, poorly finished and not so much symmetrical.

I made (symmetrical!) patterns and cut out the bits that were easy to replace.  I briefly contemplated attacking the faded, tatty canopy too but that looked like too much work for a temporary situation.

Then I sewed it all together.  The new seat padding has 30mm batting in it.  The shoulder strap covers also have batting in them and velcro on the back - the original ones were stitched shut and you had to slide them up the strap.  The bar fabric turned out too long and not quite wide enough to wrap around and velcro down, but it will do.

I think it looks a LOT better than it did before:

I took the pram out for a spin last Friday and I like making lists, so here's a list of pros and cons.

  • The storage basket is huge
  • The seat can lie flat
  • It is a bit easier to push up onto the footpath because it is a 4-wheeler
  • Red and black are better colours than the brown of my other pram
  • Alex grizzled about being in a pram for the first time ever
  • The storage basket is a bugger to get to if you have the seat reclined at all
  • When sitting all the way up, Alex's feet hang over the front edge already.  Possibly made worse by her cloth nappy pushing her forward?
  • It is too short for me, especially when walking downhill.  Nev looks positively silly when pushing it
  • It sounds like it is going to rattle apart when moving
  • I cannot for the life of me figure out how to put it up without looking a bit special
  • I cannot for the life of me figure out how to lock it together when it is collapsed, so it tends to fall open all the time
  • It is not dissimilar to steering a brick
I reallllyyy hope I can get a replacement seat for my other pram.  I could always convert this one into one of those nifty pet strollers...