Marmalade cottage was built in 1917. Then it was renovated in the 1950s. Then nothing, really. It's been empty for a couple of years and still has its fabulous, kitsch linoleum floor coverings. And an outside loo and a beautiful cream and green Metters wood stove. Come with us as we transform a gracious shell into a functional house and create a fragrant, edible garden around it.
This is the old lounge suite. The Practical Reinventor has always hated it. It's not fitted into any house in which the reinventors have lived and it dominated (and not in a good way) Marmalade Cottage.
And this is how much space we discovered when we removed it.
And the new rug
And the new lounge suite with Creative Reinventor ensconced
And suddenly there was enough space to put up the Christmas tree!
The Practical Reinventor has been busy. Stupidly so. But she is still ashamed at the lack of blogging, and after gentle chastisement from Carol, will endeavour to catch you all up.
The Creative Reinventor has possibly been busier, what with running Bolt Coffee and all, but he never blogs so that's immaterial.
So, since... May, Marmalade Cottage has:
A brand new, shiny rangehood. We're still wiping that greasy film off everything and marvelling at its ability to suck;
A new (old) lounge suite that fits in the lounge/dining room and looks gorgeous. It's a 1930s merry widow suite (three-seater and two armchairs) loving reupholstered in luxe gold, green and plum fabric. The purchase also necessitated the purchase of a new rug for the lounge, which involved some quite funny conversations in a number of rug shops;
Gotten rid of the hideous queen sized bed that took up far too much space in the spare room. (How wonderful is social media - where you can post a picture and have someone come and take it away and pay for it, all within in the hour?!);
Also gotten rid of lots of other bits and pieces, again via social media, to create lot of space; and
Acquired quite a nice sofa bed and another new rug (no funny conversations about that one, the Creative Reinventor just went and bought something he liked) thus transforming the spare bedroom into an art studio.
There's also been some upgrading of MacOS and iPhones which has rather messed up the smooth transfer of photos to blog. Sorry about that. Hopefully that'll be sorted soon.
Meet Maddie. Years and years ago, we were around when lovely friends L and D rescued her. They've had her for all those years and have just upped and moved to Canada. Somewhat rashly the Practical Reinventor suggested, that if the worst came to the worst, and L and D couldn't find a new home for her in Melbourne, she'd be welcome at Marmalade Cottage.
And so it was the poor dog had the worst day of her life at the end of March. Taken away from her home without even a blanket, loaded into a cage onto a plane and flown across the country to Perth.
And here's what you do when you're a bit settled in and you've had your first bath, it's a beautiful day, and there's a new park to explore.
She's a Maremma, an Italian sheepdog, and we suspect of quite a distinguished bloodline.
Jodie the neurotic kelpie is very, very slowly getting used to the idea of not being the only dog. They're not friends yet, but after a fair bit of resentment and a bit of blood, they've reached some sort of detente.
And yes, with one wife, two girlie dogs, one girlie cat and six hens, the Creative Reinventor is the only boy in a multi-species household of girls.
This plum tree came with the house. It's properly mature, probably 30 years old and the neighbours kept telling us how much fruit it produces.
Except it's never produced fruit for us.
One or two, despite clouds of divine blossom and the efforts of our bees.
We gave it a savage prune.
We fed it.
Talked to it.
No change - just a few sad fruit
Our lovely next door neighbour has a similar tree. Same problem.
We'd just decided to cut it down and replace it with a productive tree when a farmer friend suggested that the problem was likely to be that it needs a pollinator.
As it used to fruit, we think the pollinator was in someone else's back yard.
There are a lot of old houses around us disappearing to make way for blocks of three and four units. The developers clear the blocks completely.
The practical reinventor managed to pick one plum and take it to a specialist propagating nursery. Turns out it's a Kelsey plum. Fairly unusual and a lovely fruit, with sweet pale yellow flesh and lots of juice.
This is a mariposa. It's a blood plum and should provide both ours and our neighbour's tree with the right kind of pollen.
The practical reinventor loves to sew. After eight years of working pretty solidly on it, she's pretty good at it. Last year's resolution was to make clothes rather than buy them, so during the year, she made all her own knickers, worked out how to make t-shirts and continued with blouses and work tops.
For her birthday, the creative reinventor did this:
This started off as a bar with a couple of stools.
The stools went off to Bolt Coffee, and this started its transformation.
It's the right height, and has a handy shelf, but it wasn't long or wide enough.
Or pink enough.
The pink was pretty easy to take care of, but the long and wide bit required a trip the to Green and Orange Temple to Lost Weekends for a sheet of MDF.
The two screwed together didn't fit through the door, so it had to be assembled in situ.
Et voila! A pattern cutting table!
Which is what you get for the sewist who has almost everything.
It's since had a cutting grid glued to its top, which is a huge help for accurate fabric cutting.
As a sustainable present, it ticks a lot of boxes: something that will be used for years and years, very little of it was new, and it was extremely thoughtful.