Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A lovely day at home

So yesterday was Australia Day... Mr Kitty managed to snaggle himself tickets to the tennis so he went with a mate from work leaving me to enjoy my day off with the animals - ah bliss! I love nothing more on my days off than to potter around the house and garden uninterrupted.

Harry puppy loves it when people are home although he ends up completely exhausted by dinnertime and takes himself off to bed. He started the day with a lovely long walk - there is a beautiful sanctuary and lake nearby so we generally go walking there - he also likes 'visiting' his doggie neighbours and saying hello to them through their fences/under their gates. As most of my neighbours were home he also got to run up to everyone for lots of loves and hugs while I was in the garden. The afternoon mostly consisted of napping while curled up on the furry rug ontop of the couch. Last but not least he finally had a long overdue bath - look how nice he looks afterwards! (just don't tell my neighbour that he's been traipsing through her pansies!)

Miss holly kitty is an indoor cat however she loves her little garden 'outings' which I allow her on when I'm home. She loves hiding in among the plants and watching insects and other creepy crawlies parade by her. She generally doesn't venture very far which is a good thing although lately she has taken to perching herself on top of the garden shed to give her the best vantage point to look down her kitty nose on the rest of us.

I also achieved the near impossible - I got a photo with both of them together in a single frame! Here they are sun-ning themselves by the back door. harry puppy is quite the poser isnt he?

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Not So Secret Garden

I've always dreamed of a walled garden (think the children's book The Secret Garden as well as the scene from the movie Notting Hill where Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts scale the fence into a private garden) and for the time being this is it. No, it's not your traditional completely enclosed private garden with ivy/ficus covering the walls but this is at least a good starting point - hopefully one day I'll eventually have the real thing.

I can't seem to locate any of the before photos of the courtyard however suffice to say (based on state of the house as described in the previous post) it did not look anything like it does now. The whole place was grey and drab - dull concrete pavers surrounded by a 20 year old unpainted paling fence. There were a few random flower beds here and there yet nothing grew in any of them. Basically it all had to go - like the inside of the house I wanted to eradicate all traces of the house's previous inhabitant(s) and make it my own.

I knew that I wanted sandstone style pavers - with such a small space you want it to look as bright and light as possible. These pavers were $$$ - just this lot here cost over half a month's pay and that was just the pavers by themselves. These pavers were also ridiculously heavy - they came shrinkwrapped in a pack of 3 which weighed around 40kg per unit (so more than 10kg each!). The poor guys who delivered the these had to unload each of these units by hand and stack them in my carport - it was ridiculous that the garden supply place that they worked for didn't provide them with a truck and forklift to ensure that they avoided any manual handling issues with unloading such heavy loads. I was tempted to contact Worksafe to let them know about the dodgy working conditions however I was worried that all it would do was stir up trouble and cause problems for the two guys involved. Anyway with the help of my mum's paving man the whole place was transformed in less than a week.

As you can probably tell I like pot plants - well its not so much that I like them but up until now I had moved house 3 times in 5 years and when you know that where you're living isn't going to be your 'permanent' home then you tend to keep things which can easily be picked up and moved elsewhere. The one problem I am finding with my pot plants now is that I have such a random collection that most of them really don't 'go' with each other (hence the whole still being forced to live in a pot) - I am yet to figure out where to position each and every one of them aside from the magnolias which you can see planted in the far garden bed. I also hate the idea of letting the ones that don't fit in wither up and die especially since many of them I have nutured in their pots for the better part of the last decade!

No, the kennel here isn't one that I bought for harry puppy to 'grow' into. It was from my greyhound obsession phase. When Mr Kitty moved in and had Foxtel connected I discovered the Sky Racing channel and most nights they show greyhound races. I loved watching them race and then I found out about the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) where you can adopt ex-racing greyhounds as pets. At the time I wasn't completely sure I wanted a permanent dog however they have a program where you can 'foster' a greyhound. Fostering a greyhound means that you're essentially helping it through the transition phase from being a racing/working dog to a family pet. If you fall in love with your foster greyhound then you will also have the option of adopting him/her. It's kind of like trying before you buy - pet ownership is a big responsibility (especially dogs) and this way you can know for sure if you are really ready for it. Anyway the I bought the kennel especially in preparation for fostering a greyhound (see I told you I liked buying things!) - its a state of the art canine home complete with red colourbond roof! (yes I've been known to stare at it just like the tv commercial! lol)

Stay tuned for a not so distant post featuring my foster greyhound 'Peggy' soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Home sweet home

Well here it is - nothing fancy but it is a place to call my own.

I love my teeny tiny home and have tried my best to make it as lovely as possible. The house didn't always look like this though - when I first bought it the previous owner was an unemployed chain smoking, non-stop tv watching stay at home bum and you should have seen how disgusting the place was...

Every single wall was permeated by nicotine - it took endless bottles of sugar soap and mutliple coats of paint to remove all traces of this however the smell took much much longer. I remember coming home from work the first summer after I moved in and the house absolutely reeked despite me leaving windows open all day.

The carpet throughout was horrific and there was a mysterious stain in the middle of the lounge room floor that looked as though something had died there - it had to go. Underneath however lay a real gem - solid hardwood tasmanian oak floorboards. I had them sanded, stained and polished and my floors are now stunning. The only drawback with dark floorboards is that they show up ever skerrick of dirt, dust and pet hair!

The kitchen paid homage to the most frightful colour imaginable. Now I'm normally a pink girl however this was like no pink I had ever seen before - it wasn't quite salmon, not quite apricot but something completely barf-worthy. Unfortunately I am yet to assail total anhiliation on this with it being still visible on some of the door trimmings and floor skirtings. The remainder of the kitchen however has been replaced by flat pack cabinets (one of the best inventions ever!) and while this will never be my dream kitchen (think glossy white 2-pac cabinets with granite benchtops, canopy rangehood and freestanding oven and stovetop) it is a vast improvement.

Unfortunately after having both the floors and kitchen done (plus all the painting inside) prior to moving in I ran out of money to renovate the bathroom. Instead I was forced to wear flip flops into the shower for the next 6 months (despite going through litres of bleach trying to rid the germs of the previous inhabitant) and put down a toilet paper barrier between me and toilet seat every time I had to go until I could save up for a new bathroom. I will never forget the first day in my new bathroom - it was heaven!

Looking back now there are some things that I would've definately done differently (Mr Kitty has caught me on numerous occasions staring for no reason at either my kitchen or bathroom - little does he know that dreams of french doors and a freestanding bathtub are what preoccupies my mind!) but I guess that's the beauty of hindsight.

I am forever grateful for being able to fulfil my dream of owning my own home (or at least having the bank own most of it for the time being) and buying my place before the insanity that is the current Melbourne housing market kicked in. In fact I am also extremely grateful that the place was in such revolting condition which kept most prospective buyers at bay and made it relatively affordable. That said if I ever do decide to sell I think I would merely be trading like for like rather than being able to upscale.

I'll put up some pictures of everything soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All about me

Well the title of this post is a little misleading since it would be near impossible for me to cram all my fabulousness (not to mention the lesser fabulous aspects as well) into such a tiny space however here are some things you should know about me:

I live in a very tiny 2 bedroom unit in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne with Holly, Harry and my other half who will henceforth be referred to as Mr Kitty (ie. making me Miss Kitty).

I'm a homebody and a bit of an all round sloth especially after coming home after a day at work - I like nothing better than curling up on the couch underneath my furry throw rug and lazing around and watching tv. I have a tendency of taking inappropriately timed nanna naps in the evenings and then having an inability to sleep later that night.

I love cooking and baking however due to the aformentioned laziness I find I have a set repetoire for everyday meals. Also since Mr Kitty is super finicky and has no appreciation for the finer culinary delights it just all becomes too difficult. I do however make exceptions for dinner parties and especially for Christmas where I will go all out to try and make up for my paltry effort the rest of the year.

I adore animals however little miss holly kitty is my #1 - I never thought anyone could surpass her predecessor mr kitty (white and furry feline mr kitty not human mr kitty) but I love her more than anything else in the world - human mr kitty does not like hearing this one bit! She is just the sweetest and most beautiful cat in the whole wide world. poor harry puppy comes in a distant #3 in the household.

I love gardening - I find it relaxing but also a challenge at the same time - the never ending war against pesky slugs, snails and weeds, trying to somehow keep an English style garden alive in the Melbourne summer heat while being a law abiding citizen and complying with our 3A water restrictions as well as trying to maintain splashes of colour throughout the year.

I am a self confessed shopaholic. I love sales and will drive almost everywhere throughout the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and beyond to look for an item on sale in the size/colour that I want and not rest until I have it. My shopping addiction doesn't just stop at clothes, shoes or beauty/makeup either - it extends to homewares, kitchenware, furniture, gardening paraphenalia inc. plants/bulbs etc. Even the humble grocery shop excites me b/c I never know what I might find on the reduced to clear stand tucked away in the back corner of the store. Unfortunately my enjoyment of shopping has led to hoarding and clutter issue in my tiny abode so I have decided that 2010 will be the year of the declutter for me and I will hopefully be able to overcome this addiction or at least manage my overwhelming shopping tendencies for the time being.

Well I think I've covered all the key points for now however I'm sure I will have more to add in future posts to come.

Friday, January 8, 2010

And then there were two

Unfortunately I don't think Holly was overly impressed when a small fuzzball in the shape of a dog arrived at the beginning of September 2009. Although she was like twice the size of him to begin with she kept her distance afterall what dignified cat would allow themselves to be jumped, pawed and slobbered on by a DOG!?! However they do now get along (well sort of...) and I think they may eventually be wonderful friends once harry puppy learns that miss holly kitty does not appreciate being barked at!

Now for harry puppy

I'm not sure why but harry never gets a 'mr' in front of his name whereas holly gets a'miss'. Harry was born on the 4th July 2009 and came all the way from a lovely breeder in Trentham (which is about a 2 hour drive north-ish of Melbourne). He's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with tan and white markings however the snooty name for that is 'Blenheim'. He's a complete social butterfly and always wants to be the centre of attention and adores both people and other dogs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Introducing miss holly kitty

Here are some of my favourite photos of miss holly kitty during her kittenhood. She was adopted from the RSPCA in April 2008 when she was around 10 weeks old. Most ginger cats are boys while tortoiseshell cats are girls however miss holly kitty is quite the exception! As you can see she is incredibly agile and oh so naughty at getting to places that she shouldn't be and of course I spoil her rotten with all her kittycat playthings.

The beginning...

At the beginning of 2009 I thought about starting a blog to compile the photos of little miss holly kitty growing up - alas 12 months has come and gone since then and now not only is she all grown up but there has been an addition to the household in the form of harry puppy.

Of course this blog won't be all about my furballs - I'll let you have a peek into my life, my teeny tiny house and garden as well as any other adventures that come along the way.