Creative outlet

I was about to say that “I believe everyone has a creative outlet” but I’m not so sure about that. I’m starting to think we are in a category of our own.

When I meet someone who is exploring their creative talents I am in awe. I have dabbled in a variety of mediums, starting with clay. My husband was an ambulance officer at the time, working occasional late nights. We had two young daughters, and to keep me sane I would spend my lonely evenings creating figures in clay which I would leave to dry enough that I could make moulds of them using liquid latex, and a mother mould of plaster of Paris. Funny now looking back, as this was when were living in Muriwai, a black sand west coat beach. Now, 7 years later, we are back on the west coast, but residing in Raglan this time, and I’m back, creating with clay.

This time however I have found an amazing group of people at the Old School Arts Centre, where I meet with other budding artists on a Tuesday night to work on our current pieces. With access to knowledge, slips, glazes and a kiln I am able to take my pieces to fruition, and can actually produce something worth sharing.

I’ll try to dig out the photos of my past casting creations, where my faceless women theme began. I think being faceless enables the viewer to envision themselves in my pieces. I’m not sure how my pieces will be received, these are early days.

Tonight I will apply slips to these lovely ladies, who will hopefully make it to the kiln this week for a bisque fire. One lady will resemble a bowling pin and the other has under gone a mastectomy. I think they are beautiful.

I also have some fun ocean pieces headed to the kiln which includes mermaids, fish and a maui dolphin. I cant wait to experiment with the slips and their applications!

Stay tuned…

FYI:  Found the shark head idea online





World famous for its surf breaks, Raglan is a key destination for New Zealand tourists. But regardless of whether its pumping or not, Ngarunui Beach offers paradise to it’s punters. There’s definitely something very special to be found here, with Facebook page’s littered with requests for accommodation and work from overseas travellers, who have fallen in love with the place and never want to leave. The endless beach opportunities offer weather dependant entertainment. The harbour, tidal changes, estuaries and cliffs beacon to be explored. And being a firm west coast location we are graced each night by the most amazing and forever changing sunsets. Just you try to catch a green flash!

Can you see an ape in the rocks?

Bridal Veil Falls

Being new Raglan residents we thought we’d better get exploring all that attracts thousands every year. I started an Instagram @exploring_raglan, a follow on from @thecoromandelguide and @exploringhamilton and look forward to adding our adventures.

Bridal Veil Falls is a NZ must do, and a short detour when en route to Raglan from Hamilton. You take a left down Te Mata Road off State Highway 23, go thru the township and follow the signs until you come across the parking at the bush walk entrance. Be weary of thieves, taking valuables with you.

An easy pram and wheelchair friendly walk leads you to the viewing platform at the top of the waterfall, 55m meters high!

Continuing downwards to the base of the falls is steep and tiresome, but definitely worth it. With viewing platforms and a bridge, you get immersed in the enormity of the Waireinga falls. The waterfall spray has enabled an interesting assortment of vegetation to grow on the sandstone walls, creating a tropical oasis.

‘Waireinga’ means leaping waters, referring to ‘wairua’  the spirits which leap the great height of this waterfall. Waireinga is also spiritually known by ‘tangata whenua’  the people of the land, to be occupied by ‘Patupaiarehe’, Maori fairies who are kaitiaki, the guardians of the area.

A photograph can be captured at the second viewing platform, where the origin of waterfalls name Bridal Veil Falls comes obvious.





On the move…. again



After 10 months in Hamilton we decided it was time to move back to the coast. With a surfer husband it was only a matter of time before we enlisted the help of local real estate LJ Hookers to draw in buyers to invest in our basic do up in Pukete.

After a month on the market we received an offer which enabled us to purchase the tiny 3 bedroom bach we had put a conditional offer on. We were thankful the tedious open home staging was over and we started downsizing our belongings. We were moving from a rather large 6 bedroom home to a 3 bedroom, with an amazing view.

Moving day had us jamming in boxes and bikes. I had booked a 50 cubic metre truck, and two burly men, however the guys turned out to be weaker than my 10 year old, and needed some training in Tetris, as the top third of the truck remained void.

A cat escaped from the car as the rain started. After a quick search all was back in order and we were off.

The excitement of our new abode was  quickly diminished as we found there was no power. I spent an hour trying to sort this while I directed colour coded boxes to either inside or to be stored under the house. The downsizing was going to take a while to get used to. Good in theory.

As boxes were emptied and thrown from the deck, belongings were shoved into cupboards. The kids beds were set up and their toys littered the floor.

We were in, well kind of.




A Collage of Bedrooms

Thankfully our kids are pretty resilient. They don’t complain about much, and seem to have faith in us. It is all just a big adventure.

The rooms of our Hamilton do up were pretty grotty. I believe the previous owners had rented out the bedrooms to anyone and everyone. The bedroom doors had dents, extra locks and even a periscope! Some of the hinges were damaged. I’m not sure what happened but I felt sorry for the house.

It needed some love and TLC. The doors got dumped!

After weeks of sanding, painting and repairing, the bedrooms finally resembled those of a happy home.

Real Estate’s False advertising

Isn’t it amazing how you can fall in love with a property online, and then when you go to the open home you wonder if you are in the right place! With the use of filters and the right lens the real estate agent can portray even the most dark and dingy of properties as sleek and stylish. In the advertised photo the bathroom appears a very bright white, when in actual fact it was a grubby pale yellow.

Replacing the vinyl would have been such a mission, as the Hardie Glaze wall lining sheets would have had to of be removed, and replaced, which was way out of our budget.

I removed the ugly cabinet, which intruded into the toilets personal space, and the broken heated towel rail. It was time to call a tradee.

Replacing the toilet and installing a pedestal basin were not in my list of skills, and so a plumber was required.

The plumber found numerous open pipes, which should have been capped by a previous plumber. These open pipes are unhygienic and can attract rats into the home, as we found out, uncovering the remains of a rather large rat nest. It was not pretty.


My crappy plumber knew that I was going to patch up the holes left in the gib, and yet he left pipes protruding out of the wall. My DIY skills are limited, and the tools I had available did not include anything that I could use to cut a brass pipe, and so I had to get the apprentice plumber’s supervisor to come back to cut back the pipes and to cap them. Weird I thought to of left them uncapped as we had uncovered others in that state that he had fixed up.

The toilet had a cistern within the wall cavity, so I opened the wall from outside, and removed it, repairing the external wall in the process.

With a coat of paint on the walls and ceiling the bathroom was complete. A functional clean and tidy family bathroom.

Recycling the deck

The entrance to our do up property was a bit of a mess.

The deck had been made to accommodate wheel chair access, but the ramp was now not only an eye sore but unsafe. The wood had rotten and warped. A fibreglass pond full of stagnant water offered a continuous supply of moisture and mosquitoes.

The weed matting was poorly laid, and prevented the existing plants from gaining any nutrients from the natural mulch.

The first thing to do was to take to it with a sledge hammer.

We found that at some stage, a second layer of wood had been placed over the top of the worn and weathered decking timber. We managed to salvage enough wood to create a new, smaller deck. We removed the nails, flipped it, and cut it to size, after replacing a few of the buggered joists.

With a coat of black decking timber paint, it didn’t look as good as new, but was a huge improvement to what was once there. The aim was to make the house a nice place to live, while on a very tight budget. The next owner will be able to add their own touch.

To create a private courtyard, we built a fence and a rather large gate. I wanted the entrance to be rather inconspicuous, adding to the secret garden feel.

The pergola got a lick of paint, and the plants got a prune.

A massive overhaul of the landscaping had us making many trips to the rubbish dump!

En-suite revamp

home house flip reno diy diym

An en-suite to be ashamed of!

I’m not really a big fan of en-suites in general. I’d much rather have a toilet attached to the garage! When I’m doing my business I like some privacy. I’m not really into my hubby being within ear shot, or worse, being waken by my trickling.

Even the door was uninviting. It swung into the bathroom, making it difficult to navigate my way to the bowl. And when the two of us wanted to brush our teeth we ended out doing the tango. So the door was the first to go. I eventually replaced it with a V Groove panel, hung on the most basic of hardware. But I tell you, it looks a hell of a  lot better than the other door!

Next, the crappy plastic vanity and the MDF shelving had to go! Don’t forget the plastic shampoo and conditioner dispenser glued to the shower wall!

I opted for a wall hung basin, hoping it would look clean and sleek. Unfortunately the nice clean cut guy in the flash plumbing truck, who came to give me the quote, wasn’t the guy I got! They sent me some young, not yet qualified kid, with a crappy bongo van as a work truck. What should have been a days work took three. After having to complain to the boss, and having had numerous visits from supposedly mentoring qualified plumbers, the job was finally complete.

I got the trainee who probably should have still be under supervision!

I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

The kid installed the white plastic piece. Of course being visible, I would have wanted the stainless steel one! Its not rocket science.

Jan17 354

Check out this handy work! The wood behind the gibb hadn’t been cut back enough, so the pipes didn’t sit flush within the wall. How was I suppose to plaster over that!?!

And those white plastic rings, needed to be changed to silver. He has also used two different hose attachments. I ain’t a plumber, but logic says they should both be L  bends.

Any how, after completing the plastering, painting the room, and the addition of a Mitre 10 mirror, towel rack and shelf, the en-suite was complete!

Oh, don’t forget that Senso self adhesive vinyl planking I love so much!

And so it begins….

We bought this unloved dismal 6 bedroom home in the Hamilton suburb of Pukete. The street is gorgeously lined with trees, and an entrance to the endless paved river walkways is just across the road. Its an awesome location for families. Zoned for Pukete Primary, and so close to the Te Rapa Shopping complex.

We were all moved in. Now we faced the impending do up….
Lets start at the bottom…

Downstairs is a large open space with a concrete floor, and two dodgy dark and dingy rooms with filthy carpet.

One room was a deep blue and the other a kinky vixen red. Something that could have come out of 50 Shades of Grey. The first thing to do was to rip out that nasty carpet and the prima the walls!

After freshening up the rooms with a nice neural tone, called Quarter Cloudy and painting all the trim white, I installed imitation wood self adhesive vinyl planks.

The rooms looked amazing! Even worthy of guest accommodation!

I am in love with Senso self adhesive vinyl floor planks, purchased from Bunnings. I used Rustic Walnut and I think it looks amazing! Its so much more realistic than some of the vinyl products out there, especially the ones at my end of the price bracket. It was so easy to lay, using metal rulers and a Stanley knife.

reno do up floor vinyl self adhesive senso bunnings

The new purchase/project

So with only a few weeks to purchase our new home, every waking moment was spent googling and trademe for potential properties. We knew nothing about the suburbs in Hamilton, or the deciles of schools. Every weekend we would truck the kids down to Hamilton for day trips, driving around the addresses of houses we had printed out. For most of them we took just the one look and kept driving.  After a day of screwing up print outs we would head home deflated.

Then came our 10 year wedding anniversary. My mother shouted us a night out and offered babysitting. We headed off optimistically, to spend our romantic evening in Hamilton, searching for a property.

Thankfully the search soon came to and end, after exhausting all our options, and we put in a crazy offer on a piece of crap in Pukete.

After a short negotiation, the humble abode was ours! It was final, we were moving to Hamilton!