Sunday, 23 October 2016

We're going social

I am such a bad blogger.
Well, actually I think I'm a pretty good writer and blogger, it's just that life and work kind of get in the way and the time allocated to writing my own blog posts slides down the scale.
What am I talking about? I don't allocate time to writing my own blog posts! Maybe that's the problem after all!

Apologies to any 'regular' readers that have been holding out, and just itching for the latest news from the Kiwi Good Life. Yeah, I can picture all of you, thousands of you, weeping over your laptops and phones when you check the website and see that last blog post is still the same last blog post and the world appears to have come to an end. Maybe?

I have decided, in an attempt to help keep you all in touch with the Kiwi Good Life goings on, to open a Facebook page which should allow me to post lots more pics and updates, and let our regular followers (ok... there are may less than thousands) keep in touch easily.

So hop over and give us a follow on the big old world of Facebook - send us a message - share your lifestyle, garden and pet pictures with us and let's be social together!

For anyone that doesn't wish to be social with us - no worries - the blog will remain. I will continue to post longer items on here, but I'm afraid it will just have to be as and when the time and inclination lines up, maybe when there is a full moon on a weekend... or something like that!

Cue the busy writer memes....

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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Spring will surely spring soon

We're in the middle of a very wet and windy patch of winter here in New Zealand.
Our normally good-draining land is most definitely squishy underfoot and the dogs look like they need waders when they go out for a run in the field.
I'm not complaining - I always say that New Zealand wouldn't be so green if we didn't have good rain (and it sure does know how to rain good here). But the other thing is... it knows how to do bloody good sunshine and blue skies too! And quite often, they're all at the same time. I tell you. Super clever.

So this last week has seen some crazy winds come through our region. The book of Faces was full of pictures of trees that had blown over  - and then... I got to add one of our own.

Yes, our lovely Feijoa tree came a cropper. But thankfully it fell straight down between two greenhouses without causing any damage. However that's the end of our feijoa crop until our next tree grows up and starts producing.

Meer Cat is the first to investigate - as usual

With a sense of creative entrepreneurship we decided to salvage as much useable 'craft' timber from the fallen tree as we could (and it was way too small to go to the firewood pile).

Finding branches thick enough to cut out - the rest went into the compost bin

Slicing some of the bigger branches

When this is processed to the end product I'll be sure to take some pictures and do another post to update you.

Meanwhile we have taken shelter from the rain and been busy in the greenhouse getting ready for the so-close-you-could-touch-it season of Spring. When seeds germinate, green shoots emerge, and the greenhouse is so full of plants that you can almost see it pumping out big breathes of oxygen.
We've planted up heaps of seeds; all sorts of veges and new for us this year.. some bedding plants. It will be nice to have some colourful plants and flowers around the place, plus we can sell extras on our roadside stall that is ticking away nicely with a steady stream of regular customers.

So in a month or so (if you're in the Hamilton/Cambridge area) and in need of some seedlings for your Spring planting out - have a gander at our stall as it will be full to bursting with the fruits of our labour, which can then become your very own piece of our KiwiGoodLife in your garden.

A new - bigger - shelf and a potting bench

Seeds - seeds - seeds

The greenhouse is getting organised for Spring 

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Friday, 15 July 2016

Filling empty gaps - we've made a new room!

I love to see "before and after" pictures.
Anything... house renovations, haircuts, weight loss (or weight gain!), plants or animals growing.... you get the picture. And normally I love to share our own KiwiGoodLife transformations by showing the typical grotty 'before' photo and then the shiny new NEW update. If you also love these types of pictures I'll casually throw in a few links here to previous blog posts which include such transformations!

A facelift for our Kiwi cottage
Journey to vegetable heaven
Jess the dog
and Instant Christmas trees (to name just a few)

Anyway - the problem is, that I don't always get that all important 'before' picture.
I'll remember halfway through demolition of a wall, a kitchen, or a building - that I wanted to take a photo before we started. Quite often the hubbie has had to immediately halt and prop something back up so I can at least get an 'almost before' picture. This request does not always get a good reaction.

So after recently sharing our beautiful, delicious, sunny and light new kitchen in The Big Kitchen Reveal, I thought I should show you the old kitchen and what we've done with that space now.
Except - yes you guessed it, I have no pictures of the old kitchen.

Well, I have a few but nothing that shows you the whole picture and the real 'before' situation. We had done a few ongoing alterations to the original grotty kitchen whilst we waited to get consent to build the extension. So there is no physical evidence of exactly what we had to live with for the first few years we were in this cottage. But just believe me when I say it was not good. At all.

So we'll pick up the pictures from this point - it's a couple of months ago when the new extension was built and we were just fitting it out with the new kitchen. We'd purchased the new stove and it was installed in the OLD kitchen for the time being. And the hubbie had built the lovely butchers block you see, just so we could have some worktop and extra storage.
Looking into the new kitchen from the old kitchen

He also built those shelves on the left - again for extra storage
Originally the fridge (which was in the only place there was for it) half covered a doorway to a bedroom! We moved the doorway to another wall to remedy this!

Half way through pulling out the old kitchen sink = grotty

Patching and tidying up the old floorboards and cladding

And now I can show you what we have now... a super comfortable, multi-purpose, room for the whole family to use and relax in. It's a study, a craft corner, a reading nook... whichever... it just feels like it's a happy space now. And it's NOT a grotty kitchen.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a little part of this transformation.
I'd love to hear your comments in this little box down below... I sometimes feel like I'm talking to myself!

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Saturday, 9 July 2016

The big kitchen reveal...

Way way way back in October 2015 I blogged about Our Slowly Expanding House. This post marked the first really visible signs of our new extension which was to house a kitchen, diner and scullery.

I'm super delighted to now be able to tell you that the extension is almost almost finished (just the drains and a soak pit to do) but the interior is most definitely complete. WE HAVE A NEW KITCHEN!

We bought our little cottage in the country three years ago and knew at that point that it needed a little bit of extra space (it was less than 100m2!). So a small extension was eventually planned. It would be in keeping with the rest of the house, not too outlandish and modern, but allow us to have space to breathe out, relax and unpack our belongings that have been storage since we moved here!

The planning process in itself was lengthy but we had plenty of other things to get started on and keep us busy - as you can see if you read some of the other old posts on here!

That said, it was great to actually get the build started at the end of last year. It was a genuine home build with us doing as much as we could ourselves and just getting the official tradespeople in when we needed them for various parts of the job (roof, plumbing, electrics etc).

The slow process meant that we actually had a room of sorts for several months - and it eventually had windows put in, the roof joists covered up with a ceiling, and gib put on the walls until we got to kitchen fitting and decorating stage.

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.....

Our cottage in June 2013 when we first moved in.

The kitchen extension is where the deck and pergola at the back of the house used to be.

Old weatherboards removed and ground cleared for new extension
The floor goes down - with plenty of insulation in it

Framework / walls going up

We utilise as a deck whenever possible!

Roof joists go up


Just in time to use as a dining room for the New Year!

Meer Cat loves the indoor climbing frame we have built for her
Internal wall between the kitchen and the scullery

Doors and windows go in
and we have a birthday party and are able to see what a great space the new kitchen will be
Birthday trimmings get taken down and insulation goes in 
Meer Cat approves of the new bi-fold window 

We have gib on the walls - it's starting to feel like a REAL room!

Outside there are still some a few things to do - fascia boards etc 

Getting ready for decorating

the painting seemed to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R.....

But eventually we can start fitting cupboards, shelves and worktops

The external painting is finished and we have a bar leaner/shelf built on the wall under the bi-fold window
(we'll eventually have a deck running along the back of the house)

And then, just like that, it's finished!
We had a few busy afternoons and evenings unpacking boxes and boxes of kitchen things that we had not seen since we packed then up over three years earlier. We have so much space now with the new kitchen and especially the scullery - it's great to see, and use, appliances that we just haven't had room to get out. We 'found' favourite glasses, enamel pans, long lost egg cups and all manner of other items. And now we are completely enjoying using the wonderful rooms we have created.
Have a look....

View from the living room (our dining table used to be here!)
The old 'back doors' now go through to the kitchen :)


Refurbished sliding barn door to our scullery

scullery happiness

Crock pot simmering away on a cold winter Sunday :)

The wall between the kitchen and scullery is clad with the native timber boards we took off the original house

So there is our new kitchen - Don't you just love it?!

No doubt there will be an increase in Instagram pics and blog posts on all our lovely cooking we're going to do in here now!
See you soon.
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The Kiwi Good Life blog and social media pages are run by Vicki Annison (aka KiwiVix)