Come on a journey of inspiration & adventure while renovate & restore a beautiful Victorian home 'St Elmo' in the picturesque Hunter Valley, Australia & laugh at a few of our family adventures along the way.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Improving on my photography skills

There is nothing I admire more than the ability to capture beautiful photos.Whether it be a family snap, landscape, pet photography , macro shot or a stunning sunset, I really do dream of being able to capture beautiful photos of the people & things around me.
I recently got a new lens for my camera, it is a Tamron 16-300mm, so very versatile , in fact I haven't taken it off my camera since I got it for my birthday 3 weeks ago.

I really shopped around on price & with delivery it cost around $700 which for me is a huge investment at the moment. 

If you want to know more about this lens you can read all about it here
As an entry level photographer with a small budget for gear I highly recommend this one. I am more than happy with the quality of the photos I am getting.

I have challenged myself to be able to perfect using my camera in manual mode, to use it to its full potential rather than cruising by on auto. I try to take a few photos each day,of different things or in different lighting situations, adjusting all of my settings to suit & hopefully it will all become second nature before I know it.

This old guy is always willing to pose for me.

The moon had this odd halo around it the other night & go figure it showed up well in my photo.

A little experimenting with my vintage typewriter

I am super happy with these beautiful frangipani photos, they have such stunning colour.

Now I used the full zoom capability to capture these spiders & it still felt creepy.

My gorgeous little nephew is learning to crawl, he tries ever so hard but doesn't get anywhere just yet.

and I saved my favourite for last. My baby turned 8 this weekend, my how time flies!!

So that's my current obsession & creative pursuit at the moment. If you have any tips, tutorials, or constructive criticism I would love to hear it. Maybe one day I will put some energy into learning how to use photo shop & do some fancy editing. In the meantime I will practice practice practice!!!

Trish xx

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Renovation progress' at St Elmo

Hey everyone, whats going on in your world?

We have been busy here at St Elmo, mostly just turning it into a demolition site.
I thought I should share our renovation progress so far.
We have achieved a lot but to the outside eye it probably just looks like we are destroying the place, Like they say
"No mess, No progress!"

My dream guy has been working extremely hard, not just on our house but also at establishing his Electrical Contracting business. Up until a week ago he has been working his full time job whilst working for himself but now its full steam ahead with his business, so if you know anyone in the Hunter Valley/Maitland area that needs an AWESOME electrician then give him a call.

0417 9450526

I have picked up the perfect part time job as a Design & Sales consultant at Amber Tiles in East Maitland which I thoroughly enjoy, the owners & staff are all lovely which makes for a really nice work environment. I have  so much to learn but am really enjoying the whole experience.

So in amongst all this so far we (by we, I really mean my dream guy) have replaced all of our water mains as they were leaking & we had very little water pressure. You only had to tap the old galvanised water pipes with the shovel & they sprung a leak.

We ran new storm water pipes as it had never been done properly & just collected on the ground around the house, no wonder those wooden piers had rotted away.
We only want to do this job once so we are ensuring that everything is repaired along the way.
Sometimes that does feel like you have opened a can of worms & that we will never finish.

 We pulled out 90% of the cottage garden & have  turfed & built garden beds that are more structured & formal, requiring a lot less maintenance.

You can see how they were pretty over grown & the up keep would have meant constant gardening.
We really don't have the time for that.

As you can imagine, no electricians garden is complete without some sort of lighting.
I do apologise for the poor quality photos, but you get the general idea of the direction we are heading with this.

This project isn't complete yet so a blog post will come with better photo's a little later. 

We have installed wool insulation
batts into the ceiling as there wasn't any & our house was ridiculously hot.They have made a huge difference to the temperature of the place.

 Some more piers have been replaced as well as some of the floor joists, there are still lots of these left to do though.

Currently we are stripping out what was the laundry to make a brand new family bathroom. This was the original kitchen when the home was first built in 1906 so it has a fabulous old brick fireplace which we intend to incorporate into our design. While the floors are up we will replace the piers in this area.
We will need to run all new plumbing, install a new hot water system, a gas instantaneous style, as we are currently on electric hot water. We will also be installing  a water tank to catch some rain water for toilet flushing & laundry use as we don't have that here & our water bills are far to expensive.

All in all, we have achieved a lot but the pretty stuff is still a while away.
The entire family is pretty excited by the thought of a nice bathroom though.

Trish xx

Friday, February 6, 2015

We made slime

I am always on the look out for creative craft or cooking activities to entertain the kids in the holidays.
Years ago we used to rely on 'The Useful Book" from the Tv show Play School but thanks to the internet & now the wonderful world of pinterest the activity inspiration is just an endless pool of great ideas & tutorials.
In the holidays we made slime, we got the recipe from
which is full of great ideas for sensory play.

All you need is;
1tbspn of psyllium husk
Food colouring
1cup of water
Whisk it all togethor in a large mixing bowl (it bubbles up really high)
Microwave for 5 min

It peels out of the bowl which looks really cool.
My kids rolled it around the tray for a few minutes with spoons because they were to excited to wait for it to cool.

Now this stuff kept my 7yr old amused for hours but my 12 year old helped with the slime making & had a great time playing around with it.

I have no idea how long it keeps for, we will probably keep it in an air tight container for a few days & see how it goes.

Trish xx

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