Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time for a major update!

Well we've had a busy few days and made a LOT of progress but before I update you all I want to answer a few questions from the comments made on the blog... so here goes:
  • Penny :) I'm so pleased to hear you've been inspired to start on your bathroom!! I hope you enjoy your D.I.Y. project as much as I am!
  • Ilka :) Thank you so much for all your comments!! I love how enthusiastic you are and Krystal loved her praise too!!
  • Jenny :) I've had a little bit of practice with the Numeracy Project a couple of years ago but this is my first time working in the senior primary area.
  • Janine :) Did I really need the gym workout??? Sure did!!! This physical work definitely increases the appetite LOL Plus I've found the gym workouts give me so much more energy and a HUGE upside is that I've had no trouble with my back during this whole project which is super cool!!!
  • Irene :) Yep it's definitely satisfying doing these kinds of projects and we've been making lists of further 'weekend projects' to keep us busy over the coming months LOL
  • Kirstin :) I'm teaching Year 5 & 6 this year. Thanks heaps for the offer to pick your brains about Maths because it's not really my strength!
  • And last (but definitely not least!!!) Thank you Hannah for all your positive words of encouragement and support!!! I hope you're having a great time with your family and enjoying some much needed rest!

Right on with the update! On Saturday night we did do the first coat of sealer on the concrete but unfortunately it didn't work quite the way Dave had hoped! His plan was to did some soft brooms in the sealer and brush it on... sounded like a great idea to me until I noticed that we'd been through nearly half a tin a sealer in a matter of minutes so it was out with the 4 inch paint brush and on hands an knees for ME... because we only had one big brush!!! We got it done though and it looked great! Next morning I get woken up at 7am (Sunday morning sleep ins are a thing of the past around here!!!) to be told... "you better get that second coat of sealer on if you want it done"... so I was out with the 4 inch brush again! And how long does it take to do EACH coat of sealer on 3.6 metres of concrete??? 90 minutes each time!!! Mum reckons I'm either dedicated or insane... Thanks Mum... I'll go for dedicated thank you LOL

I'm super happy with the finished result and it's going to be really easy to keep it clean too :)Yesterday we had a real 'go ahead' day... I got some more batons stained... and these were the worst ones in my opinion because I do not like heights and these ones had me hanging on!!!Once that was done Dave got into building the first part of the new fence!!! We painted one side of each pailing and put that up facing the neighbours place so they get an instant new fence... I have to admit it looks pretty good from her side!And Krystal got busy staining more fence pailings too!Plus as you can see on the trailer we picked up some top soil, new live pungas, and shredded bark. I also bought some lovely new plants :) I got two coats of stain on the new fence after Dave was finished and got the capping stained (love that charcoal colour!) but it was a bit late to get a good photo so I took one first thing this morning! I love how it's turning out!!!Which brings us up to today! For those of you who remember when this happened... way back on the first day!!!Dave fixed it up this morning and it looks great now! (We've still got to do the long side of the wall but at least this one is done!)Dave got busy digging out some of the soil from behind the pungas because it's had all sorts of things over it... concrete spray, acid wash etc and I knew that nothing would grow in there!Then we recycled some of the old fence pailings by staining them and using them to cover up the back of the concrete. Plus we put some more in directly behind the pungas to hold the new garden :)Then it was in with some new top soil!

Then Dave and Krystal went down to get some more fence nails and I got busy weed matting, planting and spreading out bark... and Miss Mikayla took a sneaky photo!!! Gee Mum you've got them both catching me out now!!!I'm really happy with how the garden turned out and it's going to be super low maintenance! I've been watering the pungas too so I'm hoping they get some new fronds on them over the coming months.Once that was done Dave got underway with building the fence. I stained the pailings with two coats before he nailed them up so that I wouldn't have to try and paint them from the other side and it looks great! Then it was just a quick trim along the top with the saw and it was ready for staining on the patio side!It's a bit hard case when you're trying to build and stain a fence at the same time but somehow we seem to manage it. So far I've done a first coat on two of the sections and tomorrow I'm going to do the third section and then give them all a second coat reading for capping!Other things on the agenda tomorrow include buying Mikayla's school uniform because she's off to high school this year! I've also got to do the stationery shopping but luckily they've both got their lists of requirements. Time is definitely flying!!! Krystal starts school on Thursday, Mikaya starts on Friday and I've got Teacher-only day on Friday as well and then we officially open on Monday. The last few weeks have really flown by but this project has been awesome and we're getting a huge amount of satisfaction from seeing all our hard work finally paying off!

Thanks again to everyone for all your comments!!! It's so nice to hear what everyone has to say... and I promise to get some comments of my own on your blogs just as soon as I can!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's been 3 weeks now!

This morning when I woke up I realised that we started this project three weeks ago... I really didn't have any idea when we started that we'd still be working on it... and I had no idea that this project would grow so big!

There's been a lot of highlights... and a few 'lowlights'... and I'm amazed at how many things I've learnt how to do along the way... my D.I.Y. skills have definitely grown a lot!

Last night (after I blogged) we all felt energetic... I think it was something to do with the cooler evening... Dave decided to start cutting batons for the fence railings. He's decided that his new saw is pretty cool too LOL

This doesn't happen very often but I decided to listen to a very wise piece of advice from Mum (don't go into shock Mum!)... she suggested that I give the pailings a coat of stain before putting the fence up... especially since we're not putting any gaps between them... and YES I did listen!!! I got them all stacked up on their sides and gave them the once over:By the time I'd done that Dave had some railings up so I got started painting them... you know you're keen when your painting before the 'builder' has even finished nailing things up LOLWe finally knocked off working at 9pm last night but it was so worth it to see how much we got done! This morning Krystal and I went to the gym since we missed our workout yesterday and on the way home we called into Bunnings for some supplies... as you do! :) Then when we got back Krystal decided to help me with the painting while Dave carried on putting up the railings.Yes that is my linen shirt!!! But I'll admit that it's an old one and I actually put MOST of the stain on it myself LOL Krystal worked really hard and by 3pm she'd done all of these!!!Dave finished getting all the railings on and I finished staining all of the posts black and then after a bit of a tidy up the three of us acid washed the concrete again... it's turned out really well this time so later on tonight we're going to put the first coat of sealer on it!!We had a bit of a break and Krystal had just sat down when Mr Tequila came up for a cuddle... I think he gets tired 'watching' us work!! So now we're having a bit of a break... having some dinner and chilling out while the concrete dries and then we're going to seal it so hopefully I'll have some great photos to share with you tomorrow :) Thanks to everyone for your comments!!! I love reading what you've been writing and it has been quite motivating too :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another busy day :)

Dave took a much needed break today so I got on with staining the inside of the deck with the second coat. I'm not going to be humble... IT LOOKS GREAT!!! LOL I finally finished about 2pm and was so pleased with it... I moved all the pots back to their 'normal' positions and took some photos:I love how cool the blue pots look up next to the decking:And I've decided that one weekend... not sure when... I'm going to give my lovely park bench a bit of a makeover as well!

Dave got a burst of energy this afternoon and we measured out all the post heights for the fencing around the patio... it's pretty serious stuff too!Then it was out with the saw to trim everything up. I got the 'lovely' job of holding the tops of the posts while Dave did the cutting... sawdust is ITCHY!!!Then we took turns sanding the tops so that they were nice and flat and we even rounded off the tops a bit so that they'll match in with the fence capping :)Just as I was doing the last post I looked down and saw the most beautiful little punga frond poking up... it has survived being pulled around when we ripped out all that ivy... it's had concrete acid run over it... and it's been covered in dust, concrete and all sorts of other nasties but it's survived and looks really happy in it's little environment!

Well that's my break over... time to help Dave cut up pailings and batons for the fencing! Hopefully it will be another brilliant day tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A busy and productive day :)

We've had awesome weather all day today and gotten heaps done! I made a start on staining the outside of the deck early this morning and by 10am I was finished :) It looks so awesome now! While I'm on the topic of staining... Mum sent me an email last night regarding me not putting any photos of myself working on the blog... let's just say that I'm much more comfortable taking photos than being photographed. However, here is a snippet from Mum's email:

I told Krystal to take a photo of you painting but she said you wouldn't like it. Oh well. I see David and Krystal on the blog so how is it so different for you?????????? Totally unfair that we should be denied seeing you in all your glory and tossing a paint brush around. We could all do with a good laugh. Old clothes, sweaty, hair a mess, bare feet.. Why not a photo to show you off??????????

So here's a couple of photos of me in all my 'gloriousness'... don't say I didn't warn you Mum!!!

Once I'd finished staining the outside of the deck (I've still got to do the second coat on the inside yet) we took the scaffold back and then got busy giving the concrete a wash with acid. Miss Krystal decided to take a sneaky photo of my doing that as well!!! Gee thanks Mum!!! You can stop giving her ideas now!!!!!!!!!!Meanwhile Miss Krystal has been doing some digging! She's actually really good at it... maybe she got the talent from her Grandma??? So far she's finished two post holes for the retaining wall and started two more :)She wanted me to take this photo too so that you could 'get an idea of the depth of the hole'... sometimes she comes out with some really funning sayings like this one from yesterday... 'I'm getting really good on the sledgehammer now!' That's great Krystal... just make sure you're actually breaking up something that needs to be broken!!!Today has also been retail therapy down at Bunnings... it didn't feel so theraputic today when I saw how much it all cost though LOL At least now we've got all the pailings for the fences around the patio area!Then it was back to Bunnings for the baton rails for the fences... but what do you do when the batons are 4.8 metres long and the trailer isn't??? You just tie them onto the roof rack of your car and go around corners SLOWLY!!! We were/still are hoping to get the sealer onto the concrete today but we've had a few spits of rain so we might not get that done yet. Meanwhile, Miss Krystal has made nachos for dinner and I'm starving!!! All this physical work really brings out your appetite! :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Someone's been doing a rain dance!!!

Thank goodness they seem to be taking a rest! Speaking of rests... we had a wonderful day on Saturday... spent some time browsing around the shops in town and then bought some yummy treats and had a picnic out at Lake Tarawera. It was a perfect afternoon just chilling out and relaxing after all the hard work we did on Friday.

On Sunday I went up to Hamilton to pick up the girls from their Dad and they'd had a wonderful time. Their Dad and I seem to be on the 'same page' as far as parenting the girls go too which is fantastic and it's really great to have his support.

Then on Monday we were ready to get back into it and it RAINED all day! We didn't overly mind but then on Tuesday it RAINED all day again and we really did mind! We all started suffering from the indoor blues a.k.a. cabin fever! It was so frustrating to want to get outdoors again and not be able to!!!

Thankfully whoever was doing their little rain dance seems to have taken a break and after a very cloudy morning we've finally got some sunshine again and we're back into it :)
I've finally finished the first coat of the stain around the outside of the deck and started on the second coat. Can't believe how good it looks!!!

I've also painted the posts of the driveway part of the fence so that we can start to put up the battons and pailings. I can't do the ones around the patio yet because we still need to acid wash the concrete before we can seal it... hopefully it will be fine all day tomorrow so that we can get that done.While I've been busy doing that Dave has put the vents into the fibro so that's all ready for painting now too :)Dave took the boxing off the concrete and it's looking pretty good. On the facing side of the steps I've got some terracotta tiles that we're going to cut to size and put on... can't wait to see how that will look!Then Dave got stuck into digging out the last of the grape... I couldn't believe how far down it went but it really is all gone now!And as we speak Dave is spraying pretty purple paint to mark the posts for the retaining wall. We haven't done anything with it since it fell down but after the last couple of days of rain we realised that we really need to get onto it otherwise the neighbours back yard will completely fall away!I'm just hoping that the sun shines for us again tomorrow so that we can keep going!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I've got concrete!!!

We've finally done the concrete and it looks FANTASTIC! Before I show you how it all turned out I need to back track to Thursday. The weather forcast was for CLOUDY weather... ha ha ha the joke was on us because it was blazing hot with only a couple of little wispy clouds in the sky but the concrete truck was already ordered so we had to keep going.

Dave finished leveling everything off and then we got in the compactor... talk about noisy and there was dust everywhere... my kitchen floor now has a gritty feel to it!

After that was done we had to get the sprinkler on it all to keep the dust down and so that it wouldn't soak up all the moisture from the concrete and dry it out too fast.Seeing it all prepared made me realise what an awesome space I was going to have for 'patio parties' LOL And as you can see from the photos I've created some really good 'indoor/outdoor flow'... obviously I've seen far too many home improvement shows!While Dave was getting that done I managed to get another side of the deck stained! I'm loving how it's all turning out!And then came Friday... again the weather man told us to expect cloudy weather which we were really relieved about... and again the joke was on us!!! I woke up at 5am because I was so excited about the concrete and at 6am I was down at the gym... thank goodness for the great workout because I seriously needed all my energy to get through the day!!! I came home and did some more staining and then it was into the concrete.

Unfortunately we were all so busy that I missed a couple of photo opportunites. You'll have to imagine that you've seen a big yellow concrete truck in my driveway... and I got two of my ex-students to come and help us for the morning... Thanks Vernon and Viv!!! They're brothers and also the son of 'Big Vernon' who did my tattoo... and yes Roo I have a great sense of humour and laughed heaps at your comment!

Vernon is now 13 and I taught him when he was in Year 4 and we've always had a really great relationship. Viv is going to be 11 on Monday and I taught him last year in my role as ICT teacher. They're both great kids and boy did they work hard!!! Thanks heaps for your help guys because we couldn't have done it without you!

When we were done there was some concrete left over so I got Viv to make it all into 'cow pats' so that when it was dry I could pick it up and get rid of it... some of the cow pats look more like buffalo ones they're so big but it sure makes the final clean up more manageable!

While we were pouring the concrete Dave was trying to screed it all and the concrete was drying FAST so I got on a trowel and learnt very quickly how to work with concrete... and even Dave said I did a good job :) I also screeded the step at the top all by myself!!!

Once it was all done (think a couple of hours working fast and hard here!!!) we sprayed the whole surface with retarder to stop the top layer of the concrete from setting so that we could expose it.

Then Dave and I were into it with the hose and brooms trying to brush off the top layer of the concrete. Sounds easy but because of the concrete setting so quickly, and it being really hot it was actually pretty hard work!And here's what the finished result looks like... I really love it and it feels fantastic under your feet!This morning I got up after sleeping for a full 12 hours... yesterday was HARD WORK!... and put the sprinkler on it so that we don't end up with cracked concrete and it really does look amazing!So that's us so far... we're having the rest of the weekend off! My girls are coming home tomorrow from their Dad's so I've got to go to Hamilton to pick them up and today we're going to go out and not even think about concrete and fences LOL We've still got to acid wash the concrete and put on the sealer and then we've got fences to build but for now we're done :)