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Friday, August 22, 2014

Laundry and Powder Room Reno - Tiling Is Complete

 
There's been huge progress this week in the laundry renovation with the last of the tiling being done - the gorgeous 15x60 white gloss kick tile that we got in the same length as the 30x60 grey floor tiles have been laid.
 
The tilers matched up all the grout lines of the kick tile with the floor tile and laid them around the toilet to seal it in, and all the spaces within the laundry and powder room. It's really finished it off and looks great.
 
 
 
As for the splash back tile, I have to say it looks even better than I expected! For the laundry splash back we used 30x60 white gloss tiles that were leftover from the walls in the bathroom renovation and did a stripe of those top and bottom and then a feature mosaic in the centre.
 
I didn't want just a small stripe of mosaic, I like my stripes to be wide and noticeable and just love how the tiles contrast against the wood bench top too. We used white grout on this side so that the white tiles and mosaics blended together. In our bathroom we did a similar feature and used a mixture of white and grey grout.
 
 
 
Now for the toilet which we converted into a powder room with a vanity and basin, we decided to be brave in here and make a feature of the fact that we converted this into a powder room by highlighting the vanity. We have run the mosaics from the vanity all the way to the ceiling on both sides of the wall - they make a real statement too!
 
We used grey grout for here for a point of difference and also because we didn't have enough white grout! We were worried that the mosaic would look too dark with a grey grout but it has lightened as it's dried and I think it makes both of the mosaic designs a bit different to each other so they're not so matchy matchy!
 
 
 
I'm really impressed with the mosaics at $16.50 a sheet, so the splash back tiles cost $280.50 all up for both the laundry and powder room splash back. Of course labour is on top of that, I'll do a proper cost rundown on the laundry renovation once it's all finished. For the impact the splash back makes in the room, it was well worth the price.
 
This weekend we can put the finishing touches on the room and PAINT! I can't wait to crack open the new paint colour from Dulux who have kindly provided the paint for this project.
 
Next weekend the plumber is coming to finish and hook up the laundry sink, tap and shiny new front loader washing machine.
 
We are on the home stretch now!
 
What do you think of the splash back tiles?
 
To see our laundry renovation progress to date check out these posts:

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[All images my own]

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On Being A Book Reviewer

I have been writing book reviews here on the blog for about 3 years now for my monthly book club reviews and any other books I manage to read in between renovating!
 
This has evolved in the last year with me reading and reviewing books from publishers - both Random House Australia and NetGalley. I also share my reviews on Good Reads which is a fantastic website for keeping track of books I'm reading or want to read!
 
http://jarrahjungle.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/book-club-book-review-half-broke-horses.html
 
If you have a blog and love to read I really recommend you sign up with NetGalley - It's totally free to join and you just go through their list of books and request the ones you want to read. They'll then let you know the books they approve and you can download the eBook to your tablet or reader there and then.

The idea is that you read the book and write a review as close to the publish date as possible so reviews are available when the book is first released. You need to give feedback on NetGalley for the books you request so they continue to approve new books to read. I've also learnt not to have too many in my reading list, or your feedback score will be low which means you may not get approvals.
 
http://jarrahjungle.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/book-club-great-gatsby-by-f-scott.html
 
Some books which have pictures, such as cook books or gardening and design books, you need to download to your computer because of the formatting. But you can contact the publishers direct and ask for a hard copy of the book, I have done this a few times and sometimes it's a yes and sometimes a no but there's no harm in asking!
 
The exciting thing about most of these books is that they are proofs that aren't even published yet. I feel like a secret agent reading books that aren't yet in bookstores or available to the public and love that I'm helping the authors by showing support and reviewing their books.
 
 
One big decision I had to make with being a book reviewer was to make the transition from paper books to eBooks.

I was one of those people who said I'd never give up my hard copy books - I would carry around heavy books, sometimes too big to fit in my handbag, but I didn't care because I love the feel of a book in my hands, turning the pages, the marks and smells of the book. I loved it all!


But I found nearly all the books for review are eBooks - they can approve an eBook instantly and I can have it downloaded and be reading it within minutes without even leaving the couch!

Whereas when I requested a hard copy book there were only limited stock and sometimes there weren't any available. Other times, I'd wait weeks for the book to arrive in the post and by then I'd lost precious reading time.
 
So for convenience, I decided to succumb to technology and look into an eReader so I could read eBooks. In the end I got myself a tablet and downloaded the Kindle app for reading. I figured I could use the tablet for more than just reading and I am so happy with it, it's pretty much replaced my laptop at home - I can blog and read books - what more can a girl need?!
 
 
So if you read books and have a blog that you can publish your book reviews too, check out NetGalley you'll love it.
 
What are your favourite book review websites?
 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Laundry Renovation - Turning A Wood Panel Into A Bench Top

After shopping around for a timber bench top for the laundry room we settled on this large wooden panel in Karri wood that we found in Bunnings for $99.


We cut the panel to size to fit on top of our laundry flat pack cabinets and have quite a big piece left  over to make a chopping board or something out of.
 
We cut the panel with an electric saw and kept the plastic packaging on the panel to protect it so it didn't get scratched.
 
 
After the cut we did a fingers crossed it fits test to make sure it fit. Yes it fits and yes Lexi the Site Manager approves!
 
 
We then used a planer to make some final adjustments and plane the edge - this planed edge is going against the wall and the factory edge will be the edge of the bench that you'll see.
 
We also cut the hole out for the laundry sink using a jigsaw. I accidentally threw the sink template out and had to go scrounging around in the rubbish bin to find it - the template for the sink is the cardboard packaging it comes in so don't throw it out like I did!
 
 
Another fingers crossed it fits test to make sure the sink hole was cut properly and all the plumbing is going to line up and fit nicely.
 
 
Now to sand out any scratches or imperfections - for the deeper scratches we used our floorboard filler which worked perfectly and the colour match was spot on. Once it was as smooth as a baby's bum it was ready for a wipe clean with a clean dry cloth and a coat of varnish to protect it.

 
The wood had already been finished with a HardWax oil to give it a natural surface treatment for wet environments. We wanted to keep it natural but add another layer of protection from water damage being that it's going in the laundry with water splashing from the sink and humidity from the washing machine.
 
So we picked out this Minwax Helmsman Clear Satin varnish - being clear it will allow the wood tones to shine through and it was low odour and easy clean up as its water based.
 
 
In the end we painted on 5 coats of the varnish on both sides of the panel with a light sand in between each coat and allowing it to dry overnight between coats.
 
When we were happy with how it felt nice and smooth and knowing it's going to be water proofed with that many layers of varnish, we were done and this baby was ready to be installed.
 
 
We used the level and measured a zillion times to make sure the bench top was straight and then fixed it into place using metal brackets screwed into the wall and the bench underneath.
 
 
Once the bench top was in, we glued the laundry sink in using a SMX polymer that pretty much bonds anything to everything!
 
 
We weighed the sink down with some bricks to make sure it stuck good and water tight and left them there for a couple of hours.
 
 
It was a labour of love turning this wood panel into a bench top but just look at it now .... the Karri wood colour shows through beautifully and the grains and knots in the wood add a heap of character too.
 
What do you think of our wood panel turned bench top?
 
We are now ready for the trades to come back - the plumber to hook up the plumbing to the sink, taps and our new front loader washing machine and the tiler to finish the splash back behind the bench and vanity in the powder room and complete the kick tile all around the room.
 
Then we can finish painting and decorating and we are well and truly on the home stretch!
 
To see our laundry renovation progress to date check out these posts:
Laundry/Powder Room Renovation - Demolition Success
Laundry/Powder Room Renovation - Demolition Weekend Plans
Laundry Renovation - The Final Design
Laundry Renovation - Wood Look Bench Top
Laundry Renovation - Flat Packs Vs Cabinet Maker
Laundry Renovation - Flat Pack Assembly and Install
Tips for picking out laundry flat pack cabinets
Powder Room Renovation - It's All In The Flush
Powder Room Renovation - Basin and Vanity: Take Two
Powder Room Renovation - Basin and Vanity
Splash Back Choices - Be Brave Or Play It Safe
Laundry Renovation - Let's Go Mosaic Tile Shopping
Laundry Renovation - Picking The Tiles
Laundry/Powder Room - Floor Tiles Laid
Laundry Before - Our 1960s Laundry/Toilet
edesign Mood Board for the Laundry
Renovating - 5 tips for planning and designing


Sharing with link parties:
Home Coming - The DIYers
The Dedicated House - Before and After Wednesday


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[All images my own]

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Home Smoking Basics: For Meat, Fish and Poultry By Maria Sartor

This is a book review of Home Smoking Basics: For Meat, Fish and Poultry by Maria Sartor recently published on 28 June 2014.


We have just purchased a Bradley Smoker Digital 6 Rack Smoker Oven from a Perth local supplier The Smoke Shack. What we desperately needed was a cook book and guide to help us get the most out of our smoker.
 
The Home Smoking Basics has become my smoking bible over the last few weeks, it has step by step instructions on how to use different types of smokers - everything from an open fire to an electric smoker like mine. The different types of wood (flavour), basic tips and tricks, and is an all round great book for beginner smokers because it explains how the process works from beginning to end.
 
The book is split into chapters for each type of food - meat, fish and poultry. With a heap of different cooking techniques for each, everything from a cold or hot smoke, marinade, brines and rubs. There are basic recipes for cold and hot smoking and then there's more recipes at the back of the book using the food you've smoked.
 
I have been working my way through the recipes and will share these in a follow up blog post soon.
 
I recommend this book to the beginner smoker to use to get you started on your home smoking journey.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch re-runs of Neighbours than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up a pack of tim tams for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


Home Smoking Basics can be purchased from Schiffer Publishing

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

Disclosure: Schiffer Publishing and NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their books. Thanks to Schiffer Publishing for sending me a hardcopy of this book to review. As always, all opinions are my own.


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[Image via Schiffer Publishing]


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Girls Weekend Away .... Kalgoorlie Bound

Since my recent holiday at home post I've been thinking about my girls weekend away to Kalgoorlie for the Kalgoorlie Cup next month.

Now I know some of you may find this amusing .... although I'm a city girl now I really am a country girl at heart. Nowadays I follow fashion, always wear lip gloss, scream when I see bugs and like my cushions to match the decor at home. But I wasn't always like that .....

All dressed up for my country hoe down housewarming party!
I think the look I was going for was a cross between Dolly Parton and Daisy Duke!!

Growing up my Mum had to beg and bribe me to put on a dress and I'd only agree to get out of my jeans once a year for a special occasion! My idea of dressing up was wearing clear mascara and my hair in a pony tail. I use to collect spiders from the shearing shed on the farm and bring them up to the house in a jar until my Dad would find them and make me take the creepy crawlies back again!

When my girlfriends suggested we all head to the Kalgoorlie Cup this year for a weekend of fun and festivities that country girl inside me got all excited .... red dirt, sunny days and laid back people sounds like an amazing adventure!

It's time for this city girl to go country again!
  
Outback wrangling in Queensland!
 
For those who are wondering where the heck Kalgoorlie is - it's an outback town in the far west of Western Australia about 6 hours drive from Perth. I've been to Kalgoorlie a couple of times - I've gone by car, train, bus and plane. This time around we're catching a plane because it's the quickest way to get there, it takes 1 hour which means we'll get the most out of our weekend away.

To paint a picture of Kalgoorlie ..... there's red dirt everywhere (so don't wear all white!), barren but beautiful landscapes, clear blue skys, stinking hot days and chilly cool nights. It's an outback country town probably best known for the number of pubs on the towns main street - finding a cold beer here is never a problem.
 
Roadside views like this are seen on the way to Kalgoorlie
 
Our beautiful rustic Australian bush
 
The event that a lot of visitors come for is the Kalgoorlie Cup which is on 19 - 20 September this year and the place to be is Tentland with food, drinks, entertainment and of course horse races! I love watching the horses line up ready to race and the excitement as the horses and their jockeys power towards the finishing line ..... I hope I pick some winners!
 
I can't wait for this girls weekend away .... the promise of an adventure awaits and it's definitely helping me beat the travel bug with a holiday at home.

I'll let you know how our weekend away goes and remember you can keep up to date with my adventures on Facebook and Instagram too!
 
 
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[First 2 images my own - Special thanks to Dakota Johnston for last 2 images]

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Laundry Renovation - Flat Pack Cabinet Assembly And Installation

After a lot of planning we picked out the flat pack cabinets and accessories for our laundry renovation and then it was the fun part - assembling them and installation.
 
In all honesty, this is what you pay more money for when choosing flat packs Vs a cabinet maker - for someone elses time to put it all together and install because the carcases of the cabinets are pretty much made from the same materials.

The base and wall cabinets went together quickly without any problems but the drawer for the pull out caddy took a bit longer to work out.
 
So just how much time did it take to put these flat packs together?
 
Our flat packs for the laundry
 
4 hours
To do: 1 base cabinet, 1 drawer base cabinet and 2 wall cabinets
 
Base cabinet and drawer cabinet assembled
 
Upper head cabinets assembled
 
Now to get these babies in place and installed in the laundry. Starting with the base cupboards we worked from the corner and installed the drawer cabinet and base cabinet, made sure they were level, then screwed into the wall.
 
Instead of buying another side panel to go against the drawer cabinet up against the wall which you wouldn't even see, we cut off a piece from the kick panel and used that. It fit perfectly and saved us $90.
 
Base cabinet, drawer cabinet and end panel made from kick panel in place
 
Next was to install the other end panel and fit the bench top (I will do a separate post about our $99 bench transformation). 
 
Mr P spent hours making supports using the left over kick panel so there was more than just the end panel holding up the bench top for extra strength - but we realised the supports wouldn't fit due to the height of the washing machine. So in the end we used some simple metal brackets, which fit perfectly and took up less space than the kick panel turned brackets.
 
Take my advice .... always measure your appliances first so you don't waste your time!
 
We also had a delay with the end panel as it was bent when we unwrapped it. Thankfully it was an easy exchange at the store for another side panel. Once the side panel was installed all the base flat packs were officially in!
 
Second time lucky just making sure this panel was straight!
 
Now onto the upper head cabinets .... we worked out the right height (not too high so I can reach the shelves easily!) and then attached a level piece of wood to the wall to act as a guide for placing the cabinets above and it also took some of the weight off me trying to hold them up for Mr P to screw them into place.
 
Working out the heights first
 
Attaching a piece of wood to act as a guide
 
Drilling out a hole in the cupboard for the air conditioner tap to come out the wall
 
A perfect fit - that's why you measure a dozen times just to be sure!
 
A plug and a screw and drill straight through the cabinet into the brick to secure to the wall
 
Fitting the end panel
 
Fitting the other end panel and making sure all the cabinets were square and lined up
 
Upper head cupboards in and doors attached
 
All the flat packs, bench top and trough are in
 
We will put the handles on later and remove all the protective film once we've finished working in here - no the cabinets aren't blue, they're a gorgeous glossy white!
 
Now we can get our tiler back to do the splash back tile behind the laundry bench and powder room vanity, and to finish the kick tile as well.
 
We then need to paint, paint and paint some more and I'm really excited to be partnering with Dulux for a painting project again!
 
After a few weeks delay things are back on track with the laundry renovation .....If you want to see our progress to date check out these posts:


Sharing with link parties:
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
Home Coming - The DIYers
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday and Before and After Wednesday

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[All images my own]

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review And Preview: People I Want To Punch In The Throat By Jen Mann

This is a book review and preview of People I Want To Punch In The Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann that is due to hit book stores on 9 September 2014.
 
Jen Mann writes for a number of publications and has a very popular blog of the same name People I Want To Punch In The Throat where she has won a heap of blog awards for her writing and humour. Jen lives in Kansas USA with her husband and two school aged kids.

 
As the title suggests, this book is a funny and sarcastic tale of Jen's sharp wit and opinion against motherhood, marriage, and everything in between.
 
There is no real beginning or ending in this book, it's a compilation of short stories very similar to Jen's blog. Some people have suggested the book is a compilation of blog posts from the blog, but this is not the case. The content in her book is not on her blog, it's all fresh and new.

Jen doesn't fit into the perfect mould of a Mum and Wife and these are her very funny and snarky stories of the challenges she faces each day. My favourite was her driving to school pick up in her pajamas when all the other Mums are in their designer clothes with perfect hair, of course that's the one day when she had to get out of the car because her son wasn't there waiting for her!

Jen doesn't have a filter she cuts the fluff and tells it like it really is and I think that's what makes her so appealing to readers. I was cringing and rooting for her all at the same time.

Being a blogger myself, I am always interested in reading books about bloggers. Whilst I hadn't heard of Jen's blog before and am new to her short and sharp writing style, I did find it very easy to read like it was a friend telling me stories and I finished reading this short book in just a few days.

I recommend this book to readers of the People I Want To Punch In The Throat blog and Mum's who need a good honest laugh.
 
I give this book 3 stars out of 5
 
Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch re-runs of Neighbours than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up a pack of tim tams for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read

 
People I Want to Punch In The Throat can be purchased from Random House

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

Disclosure: Random House and NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their book and I was given this eBook published by Random House Ballantine Books to review. As always, all opinions are my own.
 
 
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[Image via Random House]


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