Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Conundrum of the Creative Virgo

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. It might be an unexpected change in living arrangements. It could be turning up to work to discover it's your last day. It might be spilling red wine all over yourself at your own wedding.

Or it could be this:

Say whaaaaaat?

I hear you, scratching your heads, brows furrowed, staring at the image. Am I missing something, you ask? Let me explain.

I am a creative kind of girl. I love drawing and painting and pictures in general. Opening Pinterest is like cracking open a beer. It's full of promise and overwhelmingly exciting. Sometimes I take a still shot of a scene on the TV just because I like it.

When my kids say "can we make a cake?" I pretend I didn't hear them, buying me some time to come up with a super awesome distraction. "A cake? Pfft. Let's go to Luna Park!"

When the kids say "can you draw with me?" I'm on it in a heartbeat. In fact, quite often they've moved on and I'm still colouring in the sky. It's a similar feeling to finding yourself sitting alone on the lounge watching Adventure Time. You're not having a bad time, you just wouldn't wittingly make this choice.

On top of the creativity, I am also a Virgo. Virgo's love order and organisation. Amongst many other wonderful traits, we Virgos love things to match. For this reason, we are often the butt of our non-Virgo friends' jokes. We accept that.

So back to the textas. These fabulous Faber-Castell Connector Pens aren't like normal markers. They are Colour Changers. You can draw something in yellow, then go over it with the special white pen and it will change to red.

Funky right? There's blue that changes to yellow, brown that changes to green and black changing to purple. It's the lid that indicates the colour it will change to as you can see in this pic:

It's creative heaven. And it's a Virgo's nightmare. That, friends, is the conundrum. Many of you may shake your heads in disbelief but I am certain that some of you will completely understand how hard it is to NOT put the yellow lid on the yellow pen. So very, very hard.

When these colourful babies joined our household, it changed my life. Well not really, but it certainly made me think twice when the kids asked me to draw with them. I was all yes-no-yes-no with the children, jumping around all antsy-in-my-pantsy trying to settle the excitement and calm the twitch at the same time. Thank God red wine came out of the red wine bottle, that's all I can say.

Go ahead, Sagittarius, mock me, mock us all. We creative Virgos don't care. And when you're done, you'll find us happily humming away, arranging our wardrobes by colour. That's how we roll.

Is there something in your life that makes you twitch?

Sunday, 24 May 2015

One Marketing Promise Regularly Letting Us Down

Cheese. I love it. Next to potatoes, it's the ultimate. ON potatoes it's even better. Although  potatoes   are my all-time favourite - in any format - it's much easier to go without them than it is to go without cheese. This is based purely on convenience - it's a lot easier to grab a chunk of cheese from the fridge than to cook a potato. Word.

I  buy a lot of cheese and I buy it often. I'm not talking about fancy-pants blocks for platters (although I could live on those if the body would be kind enough to allow it). I'm talking sliced cheese, Parmesan, grated cheese (tasty, cheddar or sometimes pizza mix) and, usually when it's on special, big-arse blocks of tasty.

It's hard to be brand loyal when your financial situation can be likened to a steaming pile of puppy poo so I usually buy which ever brand is cheapest at the time.

And when brands are priced the same? How do I choose then? Why, the packaging of course.

Packaging. My jaw clenches just thinking about it. Little hairs rise on the back of my neck. Despite the cold, my cheeks burn with fury driven by one overused marketing promise:

Resealable? Pigs arse.

Can you see that? The strip inside the bag which, if the packet is to be believed, should seal both sides together, is planted firmly against one side of the packet only. The little male and female strips are working perfectly, sealed tightly together, snug and comfortable, totally oblivious to the gaping freakin' hole next to them.

This bag is therefore NOT resealable.  Sure, it comes with a promise. It even comes with the necessary equipment to BE resealable. But it's not resealable. It's just not.

You know how I feel about the labelling of shampoo and conditioner. You might recall my struggle with the tomato sauce bottle and I think we all want to bury the great Glad Wrap disaster of 2014.

Mankind is remarkable. We send rockets into space.  We replace faulty human hearts with viable working ones from a human who no longer needs it.  We can grow ears on mice. One of us even wrote Game of Thrones for God's sake!

Please. Please. Can we just try a little harder to get the basics right?

Have you been caught?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

This Old Cabinet Gets a Gorgeous Coastal Makeover

Back in January, I showed you my coffee-table makeover success story. To be fair, it was my dad   who did the work, sanding, painting, varnishing to achieve a lovely coastal look:

It brightened up the lounge room, creating the impression our furniture had been chosen and not just randomly acquired.  Of course it's beauty is hidden most of the time under a pile of kid's drawings, toys, textas with ill-matched lids and the occasional coat hanger, but you can't have everything, right?

Happy with the result, Dad stepped up again and agreed to take on another piece of furniture, this time a small cabinet:

Stain and wax had previously been used on the cabinet and Dad really had a hard time sanding back the top,  particularly in the grooves on the edges.

Luckily, the chalk paint went onto the cabinet without  any need to sand it - by far the biggest benefit of this paint.

We applied the white chalk paint to the bulk of the cabinet, leaving the top in it's natural wood state. I rubbed back the chalk paint in some areas to give a  distressed look. Dad then applied a gloss varnish over the whole piece.

The varnish was a little tricky. We actually did this back in January. Dad was pressed for time, it was extremely humid and the result wasn't great. We also applied the varnish with a brush which caused some dripping and pooling.

So on a more recent stay, Dad gave it all a sand and repainted it. I rubbed it back again and we then reapplied the varnish. This time it was cold and wet, so it still had trouble drying but I think that was better than the humidity. We used a foam pad to apply the varnish this time  and I really recommend that tool if you're having a crack at something similar. This is the final result:

I'd like to replace the handles with some coloured ones, probably blue, but that will be one day when I get around to it.

I'm considering tackling the dining table next and maybe the chest of drawers in my bedroom. I wonder when Dad's coming to visit again?

So what do you think? Are you a fan of this look?