Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Normal Transmission has Resumed

Yes, summer holidays have come to an end and it's back to the school routine! Which means for me back to 9am-3pm each day. Now while I will miss having a whole day off, I also LOVE bolting out the door at 3pm...or looking at my watch around 2pm and thinking "only an hour to go". And those early starts were killing me.Now I don't mean to give the impression that I hate my job, I just don't particularly love it and don't really miss it when I'm not there. However, having said that, I have come to the conclusion over the past few weeks that it is just as well I do have a job, otherwise I could easily become a recluse and never leave the house! Think I better plan for some volunteer work when I eventually retire.....

The new school year started well, with Miss R finding the remains of what we assume was a sandwich in her lunchbox, left over from last year. Fortunately the 'science experiment' was fully contained in a ziplock bag which went straight in the bin with no need for the Hazmat suits. Seriously thought Miss R was old enough now not to have to check her school bag, but maybe not. Then in our haste to get out of the house, I neglected to change the Havianas I'd slipped on to put up the outdoor blinds (was a bit windy yesterday am) so had to wear them at work all day. Oops! No-one said anything so obviously no-one notices what I wear. Must wear pjs and slippers one day to see if that gets a reaction. (Although I did get several comments the day I wore a dress - I readily admit that I rarely wear frocks these days and I did feel like I should be swishing around singing "I feel pretty, oh so pretty...") But the important thing is that Miss R came home from her first day of Year 8 (high school here in SA) happy and looking forward to the year ahead. Yes! Hopefully the feeling lasts. And I've spent this evening writing all the relevant dates on the calendar - camp, Sports Day, Swimming Carnival etc - and filling out the multitude of forms that need to be completed at the start of the school year.

Anyway, now that we're back to a routine, I hope to be able to get some quilting done. I've been very slack in regards to stitching and have been quite envious of how many projects others seem to have managed (you know who you are!). But I also think I needed this break to refresh and recharge, ready to leap with enthusiasm into my next project! (Have been checking out the Moda Bakeshop and have found quite a bit of inspiration.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things I have learned from having a Holiday Rental

  • People are strange. (Actually I already knew this, it has just been reinforced.)
    • People have different standards of cleanliness. We've had both extremes - the ones that treated it like a hotel and just picked up their personal belongings and walked out the door, and the ones that have left it absolutely spotless AND left a bottle of bubbly in the fridge as a thank you. (No, no, *I* should be thanking YOU.)
      • Generally speaking, when people say they are bringing their well behaved pets, they really do have well behaved pets. Apart from recent evidence of a digger, and the ones mentioned previously that didn't bother picking up after their Shetland pony, there hasn't really been any evidence that a dog has been there....no scratch marks on furniture, no smells. Mr G was right, people who love their pets enough to bring them on holiday really do look after them (and their rental accommodation) well.
        • People really do appreciate the little touches, like toilet paper and Glad Wrap. Before we started this venture, we sought advice from a workmate who has a holiday rental in a nearby seaside town. He doesn't leave ANYTHING in the pantry and thinks we're mad for keeping the basics - oil, butter, foil, glad wrap, coffe, milo, soap, toilet paper, paper towel. Well apart from the fact that I can't be bothered carrying those things back and forth whenever we want to stay, I just think it's helpful when you first arrive somewhere to be able to have a cup of coffee and write your shopping list. And we've had several comments from guests letting us know that they appreciated how well stocked the kitchen was, so I really think it pays off. (This will, of course, be confirmed when we get some repeat bookings.)
          • Some people really don't understand the difference between rubbish and recycling. (The number of discarded nappies I've had to pull out of the recycling bin.....shudder!)
            • Driving back and forwards to do the cleaning really is tiring BUT I know how I want the house presented and I'm not convinced anyone else (including Mr G at times) will leave it to the same standard. Maybe I just need to let go a little......I mean it's not 5 star and we're not charging 5 star prices. (No, nup, don't think I can do it....)
              • We are going to have to think about scheduling 'unavailable' times so we can get down there to do maintenance and gardening. Yes, I know we'll have plenty of opportunity over winter but that doesn't help to establish a low maintenance garden over a hot summer.
                • Sometimes Mr G does know what he's talking about. I was very dubious about the whole "holiday rental" thing but we've been fully booked since the week before Christmas, our occupancy hasn't fallen below 30% since we started in October and we've made enough money to cover the mortgage & costs to the end of April. Projecting a loss of only around $8k for this financial year (and we will hopefully get more bookings between now and end of June so that figure will change). Mind you, I might change my mind if we ever get the tenants from hell!

                  Friday, January 20, 2012

                  School Holidays

                  Previous years, the summer school holidays seem to go by really quickly but this year it seems that Miss R has been home forever. I think the difference is that she is old enough to be more independent and so I'm not constantly arranging to drop her here there and everywhere to be looked after by someone. It's always a bunfight to get time off in school holidays, so this year I arranged to work 3 x 8hr days and take the remaining 2 days as flex/annual leave (I normally work school hours ie 6hrs/day). It's actually worked out really well and I'm hoping that I can continue this arrangement in the future. The days I've worked have been busy, but it's also great knowing that the reward is 2 days off - I really miss having days off during the week but life has been easier for after school activities & supervising homework if I'm home at a reasonable hour, so I'll be going back to that for school terms. As goodness know, Miss R cannot organise her way out of a paperbag, so leaving her to do homework unsupervised?? A recipe for disaster, given that she's starting Year 8 this year.

                  So we've been having a relaxing time, not doing too much, spending far too much time online but still managing to get some sewing done. I've made a couple more of these little purses to give away (do you know, I've made about 15 of these and have given every single one away....and taken no photos!), my scrappy quilt top is finished and in a month or so when the weather starts to cool, I'll start turning all my quilt tops into finished quilts. Right now I can't bear the thought of quilting them.....just too hot. (When I start a quilt, I like to finish it, but am having to compromise for now.)

                  Here's how the scrap vomit top turned out.The solid colour is called Turquoise, but when I started putting the blocks together, all I could see was Port Power teal....

                  Now as it happens, Mr G's mother was a one-eyed Port Power fan and his aunt (who lived next door) is the same. So I made the top smaller so it's lap size and will put that aside for her for Xmas. We usually buy her a small gift but she absolutely spoils Miss R so I hope she will appreciate this. However, it has made only a tiny, tiny dent in my scraps so I will continue to churn some more blocks out - just with a different solid colour! Months ago I made some scrappy string blocks so will use some of them for the back - I don't think it will look too scrappy, will it??

                  The weather was so good yesterday that I did about 5 loads of washing - one load was dry by the time the next was ready to hang out. Must have been in a bit of a spring cleaning mood as I decided to wash the cushion covers in the lounge, and thought I'd wash a few quilts at the same time. Naturally the red from the covers ran......one quilt was fine but the other 2 showed signs of 'pink'....but not all the white turned pink so it was very selective. Today I managed to find some colour run remover and it has worked a treat, so lesson learned the hard way! Wash the reds together! (I usually do but was being complacent.)

                  Neo had a trip to the vet yesterday to have his teeth cleaned. He has absolutely shocking teeth, despite us giving him 'crunchy' dog food, bones, Dentastix etc and so he ended up having 4 teeth removed. He had the same procedure done about 12 months ago where he also had 2-3 teeth removed...vet said this was most unusual. Not much else we can do though, so looks like he'll be costing us a small fortune each year until there are no teeth left!! We've been assured that dogs can survive very well without any teeth - good news as I'm definitely not forking out for doggie dentures!

                  Well, this has turned into a bit of a novel so will leave it there for now.....

                  Sunday, January 8, 2012

                  More 2 1/2" squares

                  Ever since I started quilting a few years ago (June long weekend 2009), I've been cutting my scraps into 2 1/2" squares with the idea that one day I'll make a scrappy quilt. I used a lot of them when I made the Triple Celtic Ring quilt for my aunt....

                  and a couple of days ago I stumbled on inspiration for another.

                  So yesterday and today has been busy cutting scraps into 2 1/2" squares....

                  and I can't wait to get started on piecing the blocks.

                  The sad thing is, I probably have enough scraps to make about 6 of these quilts. :-)