Friday, September 24, 2010

My Surprise for Juan

So this fortnight has been a mix of sadness and excitement. First, Juan went to "res week" for two weeks up at his university in Toowoomba. As he is studying via correspondence, once a year the students must attend on-campus prac. classes for a week at a time. Juan had two of them in a row! So with only a day to spend with eachother between the two weeks, it was a pretty sad time having to say goodbye to eachother for so long - twice. But the girls and I handled ourselves very well in Juan's absence, even if I do say so myself! The first week I was determined to get the house spick-&-span for his return. I wanted him to come home and say "wow! You've been busy! This place is so neat and tidy!" (something I rarely hear, despite his best efforts to look excited about my housekeeping 'efforts'... thank you sweetheart, you're very kind....) Ok, I admit it, I suck at cleaning. I actually hate it, but that's a whole other blog entry altogether.

So, I set to work, getting this place filled with storage solutions, throwing out cluttered mess, opening cupboards, rearranging pantries, etc, etc, etc. I even MOPPED! For those who know me even remotely well, they will know that I detest mopping with a burning passion. I will avoid it at all costs. About 3 months ago I made a vow to start mopping my kitchen floor so I bought a brand new mop, and I kid you not, I only just took the plastic wrap off the sponge last week. I was so proud of myself and, as hideously painful as the experience was, I make another vow to start mopping more often... Hmm-mm. So anyway, I was one busy chickie!! But I did it! I added shelf inserts to the kitchen cabinets, I rearranged the pantry, I decluttered the benches, I stored, I boxed, I made this place look great! On top of which I played with the girls and even managed to make them healthy meals. I was quite proud of myself that I managed so well. Then Juan came home and was totally impressed! Mission accomplished!! Well downstairs, anyway.....

But then he was off again a day later, and I was left at home wondering how else I could make my messy, cluttered house into a haven of neatness and prettiness. I knew we had no money left over this month, so I guess you could say my budget was.... well, tight. So I had to work with what I had... what did I have? I had a can of left over paint, a broken lamp, an second hand bedroom suit, a bunch of old black frames, an overgrown mini potted palm, and a set of curtains that just HAD to go. Hmm.. I could make this work.
So, with the help of my awesome motivating sister-in-law Cassandra, we got to work on the bedroom. The girls now have our massive master room, and the smaller bedroom had not had a make-over of any kind and I hadn't been bothered to even touch decor, let alone make it an enjoyable place to dwell. But I was sick of 'blah', and SO over my gross 'rental-look alike' motif. So I pulled the old paint can we used for downstairs out of the shed and we prepared the room. This is what we had to work with:
I wont even show you our curtains or bedspread before, as it is just too embarrassing. So the walls will have to do.
Now, keep in mind that both Cassandra and I have two children of almost identical ages. Two three year olds and two 18 month olds.... Was it actually possible to paint a room without disaster striking??? We would sure find out! We started the kids off downstairs infront of a Dora DVD, armed with crackers and popcorn. The TV was not currently working, so DVDs were our only hope without resorting to messy tactics like paint and playdoh. But all was going well until Cyclone Eadie entered the bedroom and well, in usual Eadith fashion, she managed to step into trouble. In this instance, the trouble she stepped into was PAINT.

It was quite hilarious at the time, and potential disaster was quickly avoided but it was a bit of a shaky start to our painting challenge. But alas, we pressed on, taking turns to trim and roll. Cassandra, you did a wonderful job for your first painting experience, and I'm sure my professional expert tips made all the difference. :-) yeah right, haha! Seriously, I think you carry the envied Alfred gene when it comes to painting and interior design! During the process, as dreaded and even expected, further disaster struck downstairs.
"Mum! The DVD is broken!" were words I really didn't want to hear right then. I went downstairs to find 40 little fingers all poking and prodding the poor DVD player in an attempt to get it to work. (Any guesses why it could have possibly stopped working??????)
I tried desperately to fix it but to no avail. Now the TV AND the DVD were useless and I had to entertain 4 toddlers with something to do that didn't require a large amount of adult supervision... what to do... what to do?? Ah-ha! Put them outside!! We could see them from the upstairs window, and what could they possibly do to our already feral, dirt-infested backyard? So, out they went, armed with balls and paint and paper. And back to work we went. Within 1 1/2 hours, to our shock and relief, the room was finished!! We had done it! And we were really happy with the result.
Downstairs of course, was a completely different story! This is part of what we found:

But that was ok, cause they were all safe and well (apart from Tori taking off all her clothes and running around in a fairy costume, and Eadie eating rocks behind her in this photo.....).

So, once Cassandra and the girls left we headed to IKEA to complete our new makeover. I have been meaning to get some shelves to put pics on for about five years and not until I was in a friend's house recently and I saw what they actually looked like on the wall, I finally said "That's it! I'm buying them!" (Chelsea, thank you for the motivation!) So I took my minuscule budget to the shops and walked away with a new shelf. Then went and found myself the cheapest, plainest lamp shade I could, and added it to my broken second-half lamp stem. Despite the slight tilt it still scrubbed up pretty good! Cassandra then gave me an old neutral colored quilt cover to go over the bright, very feminine, very "single girl" quilt I bought when I moved out after the mission. She also kindly donated a pair of near new curtains she never used to finally get rid of those awful curtains we had hanging for so long. I didn't replace our old pillow covers, but definitely will when we get a new quilt cover soon . And I admit, I didn't iron out the curtains, so they were still a little wrinkled, but still, they did the job! After drilling and screwing, decluttering, throwing out, covering up and replacing old for second-hand-near-new, I stepped back and was totally happy with how the room looked!

And the best part about the whole makeover??? I was able to tell a shocked and delighted husband that the entire change only cost $25.00 !!!! How great is that?!? The room isn't perfect, there are still more things I want to add and buy, but as they say, a decor change is as effective as a holiday, even if they changes aren't expensive or totally dramatic. For Juan and I, we feel like we are on vacation with our fabulous change of scenery in our once depressing room. I would like to thank Cassandra for all your help, Juan for letting me design it as I wanted and for the kids for not killing eachother or pulling down the house while we worked. I am also pleased to announce that upon Juan's return he managed to fix both the TV and the DVD player - thank you my love!!! And... SURPRISE!!!


  1. Great job Rani!!!! It looks so great!

  2. Looks fantastic Rani! An amazing job and I was inspired seeing you get creative with your tight budget!