Adelaide apartment

After my gripping post about our new couches, I figured you would all enjoy an update on our entryway! Here’s an artsy pic of it.

And here is a boring shot.

We broke down and spent $100 on that little table. After trolling Gumtree for months, I realized that teeny, thin entryway tables are pretty hard to come by, so we bought this little guy new. I quite like him, though.

You can see that we have our pet paintings (sniffle), our wedding photo, a mirror, some pictures I bought from a lady who was selling a bunch of crap, a napkin holder that works as an outbox, a bowl for keys, and a flower. You know, the essentials.

And now to the fun part, here are some fun sayings I’ve noticed from people at work:

  • “Have a chin-wag” (have a chat)
  • “Spit the dummy/chewie” (throw a fit)
  • “Don’t get precious” (basically don’t be a princess)
  • “Dear” (expensive)
  • “Cheers” (thanks/bye)
  • “Good on ya” (way to go)
  • “Too easy” (no problem)
  • “Ta” (thanks)
  • “phone hookup” (conference call)
  • “Flick an email” (Send an email)
  • “trackie dacks” (track pants)
  • “to dack someone” (to pants someone)
  • “shivers” (expletive)
  • “far out” (exclamation of wonder or annoyance)

Also, the other day my co-worker asked me what I’d brought for lunch, and when I told her peanut butter and jelly, she seemed confused. Not that she’d never heard of a PB&J – more that she’d never seen one. She asked me, “So… do you mix the peanut butter and jelly together? Or do you spread peanut butter on one side and jelly on the other and then stick them together??” The concept of someone not knowing how to make a PB&J cracked me up. This, coming from someone who loves Vegemite!

Also, this, and variations thereof, are common conversations in my office.

“Amanda, will you please post this to Greg Palmer (pronounced “Palmah”)?

“Sure. Greg Palmer. Got it.”

“Yes. Greg Palmerrrrrrr.”

They get a kick out of my hard Rs. It hasn’t seemed to have gotten old yet!

When we first moved here, we set a bit of a budget for our house furnishings. The idea is that we won’t be here long enough to invest in really nice stuff, so I set my sights high on a Craigslist/Gumtree steal (which worked for me last time, back home) in the form of a $100 couch.

Well, that ended up being kind of a disaster. As you may remember, the couch turned out to be pretty grody but we bought it anyway (ugh, just… ugh). Dumbest move ever.

After realizing that no matter how cheap we were trying to be, I couldn’t fathom sitting on that thing for the next three years, I googled and searched high and low for a decent but reasonable deal. Eventually¬† I found a couch/loveseat combo for $695 at a place called Le Cornu furniture. And the best part is that tax is already included in advertised prices down here. We kicked our old grody bodily-fluid-ridden couch to the curb guest room and were left with this:

And then, blissfully, this:

Sure, $700 for two couches won’t buy you the highest quality out there (as was evidenced by our poor friend fearing that she broke one of the arms due to some mysterious creaking noises!). But if they at least last for half of their 5-year structural warranty, we should be okay.

TL;DR: We bought new couches.

For some reason lately I’ve been kind of fascinated by DIY clocks. I think it’s because I couldn’t find a clock in a store that I liked, and I really wanted one because when you spend all day at home like I have been (I don’t want to talk about it), it’s easy for time to get away from you. So I made this one.

I started out looking around online, and I really liked this one, and these two, and this one. But when I saw a pack of those pre-dyed popsicle sticks for $2 in the craft store, I knew they were for me!

Here are the materials for this project:

  • Ikea Rusch clock
  • Dyed popsicle sticks
  • Cardboard craft box (optional)
  • Sticky tack for affixing to the wall

Step 1: Deconstruct the clock. All you need is the mechanism and hands. (Alternatively, you can buy a clock mechanism.)

Step 2: Poke a hole in the lid of a cardboard box (these happened to fit perfectly, but you could also just use a piece of cardstock or some other creative way to cover up the black plastic mechanism- or just not worry about it). Stick the doo-hickey through the hole (um…) and then replace the clock hands on the doo-hickey.

Step 3: Play around with different arrangements.

I settled on the yellow, blue, and green.

Step 4:Stick it all to the wall with sticky tack, using the original clock face as a guide.

Or, if you’re nerdy, use math.

Step 5: Enjoy knowing what time it is!

Admittedly, it’s a little “kiddy” or maybe even modern for me. It might go better in a kids’ room or a nursery. But it was so easy to make, and would be so easy to take down, that for now it will stay in our wannabe grown up apartment.

I’ve been digging the secondhand shopping here in Oz. A few tricks of the trade I’ve learned: The thift stores aren’t that cheap, Gumtree (Craigslist) is just as good as it is back home, and Ikea is still a good standby if you can’t find anything else.

Here are some chairs I found and fixed up from the local Salvos (Salvation Army):

They were 20 bucks each, which I didn’t think was too bad. I figured I could give ’em a coat of paint and they’d be as good as new. Upon further¬† inspection (as always) I realized they were going to be more work than I thought.

I love natural wood, and at first I thought I would refinish them. But the veneer was chipped and generally in bad shape and it would have taken hours of patience to patch them with new veneer pieces. Since they’re not antiques or anything, I decided to introduce them to my friend, spray paint.

First, I squished some wood glue in between the peeling veneer and the chair and clamped it:

Then I went back and, using wood patch, filled in the nicks and dings as well as I could:

Sneak peak to this same angle all patched and painted:

Then I gave them an allover sand so my primer would stick better.

They each took a whole can of $16 Zinsser stain-blocking primer, at which point I realized this “cheap little makeover” might not be as cheap as I thought.

After a couple coats of paint, I realized my patch job still left something to be desired in some places, so I went ahead and patched over the paint. It turned out fine, but next time I’ll know that if I’m dealing with super old dried-out veneer that looks like it was painstakingly peeled off by a bored kid in time out, I need to patch it better. They ended up requiring three cans of Circus Yellow Dulux spray paint at $11 each. So the total for these chairs was over $100. This fact is a bit painful considering you can easily find chairs for $50 apiece, but these are unique and they’re mine so I love them.

Here they are again, my sunny little beauties!

For now, I kind of like the brown leather cushions, so they’ll stay. Now what is this scene missing… oh yeah, a table! It’s hard to find a teensy table that’s small enough for a 2-person breakfast nook, so the search continues, as do our meals at the coffee table.

There ya have it! My first project down under.

I’m actually a pretty big fan of “small space living”. Especially if I have an outdoor area (preferably a big yard, but a small patio will do for now). I’m also a fan of open floorplans and creating different “zones” in one big room. It feels cozy but not isolated.

In our “lounge room” as it’s known down here, we have to fit in an entryway, a living room, and a little dining nook. Below is my first stab at a layout.

It looks like there’s a lot of wasted space near the top, but I assure you the room is not that big. Plus, with a door and a short hallway, I think it would be bad feng shui to put any furniture there and impede the flow of the doorways.

Of course so far, the only things we have are a couch, a coffee table and two side tables, and two neat dining chairs I picked up yesterday. Now that we have the basics for eating (couch + coffee table = a just dandy impromptu dining room) and a place to drop our keys and mail (one of the side tables) I can relax a little more on finding things like comfy living room chairs, an actual dining table, a bookshelf, and a real console table for key-dropping. Oh and stuff for the walls.

So until the Gumtree gods smile down on me with a cute small table, this is where we’ll eat dinner:

And as always, if anyone has any genius ideas for the layout, I’m listening! Anyone else been drooling over the Small Cool entires? (Especially Yellow Brick Home’s!?)