Friday, 30 November 2012

A HWS Garage Makeover - The Water Sports Zone

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This is a post as an Ambassador for Howards Storage World.

So you remember the Festering Pit of shame right? - The awful shameful excuse of a garage we own. Well the makeover from Howards Storage World is well underway.

In case you need a reminder of what we were starting with look below. If you have a weak stomach, please scroll forward a little bit.


Ouch right?

Now I have to tell you this whole project was a little overwhelming to begin with. That garage was not just full of junk, it was full of all the tools of our lives including sports gear, equipment and boxes and boxes of my husband's late mother and father's things.

When the girls from Howards Storage came out and assessed the situation, they gave me the best advice ever and it is the philosophy they follow at HSW. When it comes to organisation and de-cluttering - Stop Sort and Solve.
So that seemed simple enough. We had to stop and assess the chaos, sort through it and together with HSW come up with practical solutions that would make life easier for us in so many different ways.

THE SORT OUT

We were feeling kinda daring and brave so we picked a weekend and just dived on in. Our goal was to create three piles. Keep, Chuck and Donate. We knew we would need a little longer to sort through my husbands parents belongings so we put them aside to start. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are dealing with emotional objects so we dealt with the easy stuff first.

Everything was pulled out of the garage and sorted. We had a truck on hand and we loaded up all the chuck and donate stuff so it was gone and out of the way.
Now my husband is an avid surfer and therefore he says he can justify every single one of the surfboards he had stored in the garage. I couldn't, so I enforced a cull.

This is what we were left with and what we had to find a storage solution for.



 And the rest of this stuff too.




Once everything was out we decided that the wall could do with a coast of fresh white paint, kind of like a clean palate, and if I want to get all philosophical on you which I totally do, I could go so far as to say it's a fresh start.

The hubby used a paint spray gun and had this wall freshened up within 2 hours.



THE SOLUTION

Now we had one wall that was a blank canvas and we needed a solution. This is where Ali our HSW Installation Manager worked his magic. He came out and took his time measuring up and talking to us about our lives, our interests and our goals for this space.

He wasn't just doing this cause he was curious, nope, he was scoping out everything he needed to know to come up with a functional plan for our Man Cave. A plan that would allow us easy access to all our gear and keep the OCD organisational dufus (me) happy.

Hence the idea of Zoning was introduced.

Zoning is all about creating zones in the garage, which are spaces dedicated to various activities. i.e. Gardening, Building and renos, Sports, Pets etc. The first zone we decided we needed was a water sports zone.

Water sports are huge in our family so we have amassed a lot of equipment over the years. Enough in fact to dedicate a whole wall for storing this equipment.

Ali suggested the elfa System as the savior for all our gear. The system is designed to provide a custom organised space at the fraction of a cost of a fixed customised built in.


elfa shelving is engineered to hang from a single fixed top track so it can be reconfigured at any time very quickly and very simply. It is made from epoxy bonded steel and it is backed by a 10 year elfa guarantee.
The components are available in traditional platinum or white and you can upgrade to optional timber trims in birch or walnut. With this system you only buy the components you need for your unique design.
You can easily redesign the system to suit your changing needs which is perfect for a family with growing kids and growing interests. 



Ali was back within days to start the install and had this whole wall fitted out in no time at all.


Bow Chicka Wow Wow. Can you hear that singing? That's the hubby singing his happy tune as he was so stoked to see his precious boards given the love they *ahem* deserve. For the record - His words not mine.

As for me - well I was happy dancing at having the wet suits hung in the garage rather than the downstairs shower. For The Win!


Now don't think for a moment the Tubtrugs (coloured flexible buckets) below are going to stay empty for long. No sirree. These are destined to store leg ropes, pool toys, fins and other water sorts paraphernalia as well as one being packed ready to go for a trip to the beach.

I'll share more of the details of how I organise everything a few posts later, once the bones of the Garage are in place.


I also have a couple of keen Rex Hunt wannabes in my family which doesn't really mean much on the fresh fish for dinner front, but I am forever getting caught up in fishing rods and tripping over tackle boxes.

Not anymore because Ali had the brilliant idea to install a row of Fishing Rod Holders to keep all the rods safely corralled together. An extra shelf to house the tackle boxes and well let's just say Happy wife Happy Life. You are a good man Ali and your wife is a lucky gal.


Alright so let's have a look at at the finished Water Sports Zone. Remember I still have to get in there later and add my OCD loving touches, but for now ..... MAN what a mind blowing improvement to say the least!


All the products used in the Water Sports Zone can be purchased in store or online at Howards Storage World. You can plan your Elfa Storage system online using the Elfa Planning Guide here, or you can book a quote and installation so all you have to do is sit back and watch your space be transformed.



OK We had two $50 Howard's Storage vouchers to give away didn't we?

I read through all the fabulous entries and wow you guys have some storage and organisation issues. :)

Even though there are only two winners today, don't worry, there will be plenty more opportunities to win vouchers and Howards Storage Products as my make over continues.

So the lucky Winners today are:


Congratulations guys - can you please contact me at lifelovehiccups@optusnet.com.au to claim your prize.

Work on the Building and Home reno Zone is underway so I will be posting again in 2 weeks time with an update. Bring it - I'm excited that the festering Pit of Shame is disappearing before my eyes.

So tell me - Do you use your garage for cars, junk storage / graveyard or is is a play zone?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Someone let Martha Mudguts Out....Again.

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Look out - Mad Martha Mudguts has been at it again. Yup it seems I have gone a little Christmas Crafting crazy .... again. You know in all my spare time between the hours of midnight and 3am. No actually I have been hiding out in my Lady cave on the weekends putting things together for Christmas.

Let's just make it really clear in case you haven't noticed, I'm kinda in to Christmas in a pretty big way.

So every year in our family, my brother and I take it in turn hosting a big Christmas Eve get together with our two families, our parents and any Christmas orphans that care to join us.

We sit around and laugh and stuff our faces with delicious diet blowing food. We drink a little, drink a little more, walk around looking at the Christmas lights to try and wear off all the food and drink and then we come back home and squeeze a little more food or drink in. You get the gist.

Now it is very important that one goes completely over the top as far as decorating and hosting this shindig, or at least it is important when it's my year to host. Mainly because I love a good excuse to get all creative and also because I love a good excuse to get all creative. Point made.

One of the things I like to do is put out little gifts and table seating cards at every place on the table. Its more polite than me pointing fingers and saying "hey you, you sit there, you there and you there!"
The table gifts are a work in progress and I can't actually tell you what they are anyway until after Christmas Eve as most of my family read this blog. Hi Mum :). But I can show you what I have made as place cards this year.

Little treat boxes full of extra sugar, just in case I haven't provided enough sugar in the desserts to get the kids like really really high!


This year I filled little cellophane bags with Gourmet Jelly Beans from the Jelly Bean Factory. These were gifted to me and I figured I would share the love rather than let my kids go totally ape with them.

Just a heads up - I have some great Jelly Bean Factory Giveaways in the December Reviews and Giveaways post that is going live on Saturday. Actually I have heaps of Christmas Goodies for you in that post so I am kinda excited for Saturday to arrive so I can share them with you.


Every little bag was loaded up with half a cup of jelly beans - cause I am an obsessive control freak like that. My oldest son insisted on helping, though I'm not really sure how scoffing the supplies was help but meh, I was happy to let him play Martha with me.

I made some little labels up on the computer with all my guests names on them and printed them off on black cardboard. I am loving the Eraserdust font at the moment and  you can download it for free from here if you are interested.

Since I absolutely suck at cutting straight lines I like to use my paper cutter to cut out the little tags. That and I need to show my husband that I really do use all these toys I spend money on.


I got the Jelly Bean Scoffer working again to punch holes in the name cards. Gotta earn his keep!


And because the men in my family aren't really big on the sweet stuff, I loaded up their little parcels with Wasabi nuts. They burn the crap out of your tongue but they are really good in a super addictive way.


The little cupcake favour boxes came from Sweet Style and they come in a pack of 12 for $12.95.
You can find them at the Sweet Sstyle website here. You can also buy the cellophane bags there too.



These little guys took all of 40 minutes to make. Way too quick in my humble opinion as I had to come up with another excuse to stay locked away in my office. I'll share the other excuses with you next week.


Have you been getting all Martha Mudguts on me? What have you been making? 
I'd love you to share a link to your Christmas crafts in the comments section so we can all have a stickybeak.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Making It Up to The Kids For a Moronic Mummy Moment

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***The Giveaway is now closed - please scroll down for the winner's details***

You may have seen on Facebook last week my totally moronic Mummy moment number #45738 or something like that. If you missed it, let me share it with you.

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to attend Santa's Magical Kingdom, now doesn't that just sound magical in itself? It was on at Richmond which although is a good hour and half drive from my house, I thought was totally worth it for the kids enjoyment, or at least for the mileage I could get out of the weeks leading up to the moment they would meet Santa and Mrs Claus.

Of course I worked it to the max. "Don't do that or I will tell Santa when we see him", "You have to be really good boys if you want to go and see Santa" and of course the old "If you punch your brothers Santa will see you and say oooo there's the naughty boys". Yep I gave it a good flogging.

Finally the day arrived. I finished work early and the kids dressed to impress the big guy. We all piled into the car for our epic drive to the promised magical kingdom. Somewhere along the way we decided we had better put the address in to the GPS so we could figure out where we were going and how long it would take us to get there.

The hubstar couldn't find the street name in our GPS, which is not unusual as it is a bit of a dinosaur, so I suggested he Google the address instead.

A few minutes later he piped up with this

"So. I have the address."

"Great, so how long will it take us to get there?" I enquired.

"Oh about 10 hours" he deadpanned.

I turned to look at him, confused with his attempt at humour.

"Its in Victoria Sonia" he said. "Only a SLIGHT problem considering we live in NSW".

At this point the kids were like REALLY excited. "We're going to Victoria". "Yayyy this is even better, thanks Mum".

Needless to say the tears flowed when the kids realised we weren't driving to Melbourne that night and we were not going to see Santa after all. My punishment was a trip to Maccas with an open menu and then home for a back to back Santa movie marathon. Fair game really.

So when I received the invitation to take the kids to the Ice Age 4 DVD launch and go cruising on the harbour on a Pirate Ship, I said "Hell Yeah"! Actually I said "yes please that would be lovely" but inside I was fist pumping at the opportunity to make it up to the kids.

I was surprised the hubby didn't ask me on the day if I was sure we were supposed to be headed to SYDNEY Harbour -  He didn't bless him. He kept his mouth shut.

So we headed off to Darling Harbour Aquarium to meet the Hausmann team and board the boat.
As we walked through Darling Harbour we were met with this awesome sight.


Yep hundreds, possibly thousands of Santas.

"Well Kids, I promised you Santa didn't I ?" I ever so smugly remarked.

"Wow we had better be on our really bestest behaviour" Flynn informed his brothers as he copped an eyeful of the Santa Swarm. I love that kid!

Now this was some kind of event. We boarded this spectacular ship where there were Pirates to greet us and everything. I may or may not have told the kids that there was a special plank that naughty kids have to walk. I really have to stop that right?

  

Sydney turned on the most spectacular weather for us and the harbour gleamed in the sun totally showing off.


We were joined by Sid one of the main characters from the movie. Were my kids excited to see Sid? Ummmm yeah! Excited is a slight understatement.


They got the kids and the hubby working on the boat. No lazy passengers on board that ship - except for me, I was very busy sipping cold lemonade and sunning myself while I took in the views.



They asked me if I wanted to climb the mast. I may have accidentally spat my lemonade on them when I laughed at the suggestion. The hubby didn't need to be asked twice. Showoff! :)



After the cruise we all retreated to the air conditioned comfort of the Aquarium for a special screening of Ice Age 4 - The continental Drift. The kids were plied with Popcorn and drinks and left to lounge all over the floor on comfy cushions whilst they watched the movie.

Us grown ups could sit back, relax and play with our iPhones. That said however I actually got completely sucked into the movie. It's an awesome film, the animations are fabulous and the story ticks all the boxes as far as kids movies go for me.Great storyline to keep the kids amused throughout and enough puns to keep the adults amused.

The latest Chapter in The ICE AGE franchise follows the old gang Manny, Sid and Diego on their latest world changing adventure, courtesy of Scat's age old pursuit of the cursed acorn.


Did I mention I had some fabulous company on the day?
Left to Right: Trish - My Little Drummer Boys, Emma - Emma's Brain, Me, The Captain, Tina - Tina Gray Dot Me, Kate - Woogsworld.
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is being released on Blu-Ray 3D & 2D and DVD today and it is a perfect stocking filler for Christmas. It is also available for download on Digital HD from iTunes.

Want more? Well there is also the Ice Age Village app that is available on iPhones, iPod Touch, iPads and Androids and when you purchase the Blu-ray or DVD you get 10,000 free coins (in-game currency) a special exclusive species and the chance to win an additional 10,000,000 free coins. That may not mean much to you but trust me on this, I saw my kids reaction and they were pretty damn enthusiastic about it.


Yep random photo from the day - my son being a bird. Ummmm every family has one right?


I have an extra copy of the special edition QUAD Play Ice Age 4 Movie and I am going to give one of you guys the chance to put it in your child's Christmas stocking. Or you can save it for a rainy day when they are doing your head in. Your choice!

Just leave me a comment about some moronic Mummy moment you have had. Any moment big or small, the aim is to just make me feel better about myself.

I will pick one winner who will be the person who makes me feel the most normal and I will send this prize out to you.

Terms and Conditions
Competition is open to Australian residents only
This is a Game of Skill.
The Competition is open now and closes at 7pm Sunday 02/12/12. 

I will contact the winner via email and you will have 5 days to contact me to claim your prize. If the winner does not make contact with me the prize will be redrawn and a new winner notified by email.


CONGRATULATIONS

Kelly Arndt  
Well, where do I start... I took my kids to school on the first day of the holidays last term...they thought it was funny, I could have done with a sleep in...On Book Week dress up day, I dressed my daughter as Jan Brady and was so proud of my efforts, only to be told by all and sundry that The Brady Bunch wasn't a book...I put my two year old son in my four year old daughter's undies one night instead of his nappy and he completely SOAKED his cot...I blame it all on Hubby being an interstate Truck Driver and me parenting four young children alone all week...perpetual 'Mummy Brain'!


Kelly, can you please email me with your address at lifelovehiccups@optusnet.com.au

So come on - hit me with it. What's your most moronic Mummy moment?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A DIY Vintage Christmas Mobile

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I'm a little drunk on all the gorgeous Christmas editions of my favourite magazines I have been devouring these past few days. Nothing like putting your feet up with a nice cold drink and pouring through page after page of the most incredible Christmas inspiration.

When I say 'nothing like' I'm not saying that I would turn my nose up at an offer to sit by a lagoon in Fiji sipping Pina Coladas and reading these mags, but beggars and choosers and all that!

I've been eyeing of some beautiful vintage Christmas globes in shops and magazines and in my Oh So optimistic vodka cruiser haze I somehow decided it would be like really fun and easy to make my own.

Fun yes. Easy?

Well the task itself was easy, but stopping a group of over enthusiastic kids from Modge Podging each other- yeah there are easier things I can think of.


I didn't have any pretty vintage paper so I just printed a scrap booking template off the computer. There are so many gorgeous designs to choose from and they usually only cost a dollar from etsy to download.

Cut the paper into strips, then again into small random triangle shapes.


I mixed some really fine silver glitter into my Modge Podge to give the globes a little sparkle, but obviously you can skip this step if you prefer it without.

I started being all neat and painting the Modge Podge onto the globes with a paintbrush, but as I went on I found it was easier just to get down and dirty with your fingers.

Keep pasting piece after piece of the paper over the globes, smoothing it all down as you go. Once the globe is completely covered, give it another coat of Modge Podge and hang them up to dry.


Find yourself some good strong sticks from the garden and use string to bind them together into a cross shape.

I then stuck some of these little picture hanging hook thingys in (I have no idea what the technical name is for them). These hooks will be used to hang your mobile.

I had purchased a whole heap of battery operated fairy lights on eBay for $15.00 bucks each. They are so handy to have around the house and they add a little twinkly magic around your home at any time of the year. If you are wanting to get some for yourself - here is the link to the eBay shop. They are very fast delivery and on both occasions I ordered them they arrived in just a matter of days.

Back to the lights, I wrapped them around the sticks and secured the little battery pack on the top of the cross with some more string.


The it was time to randomly hang the globes at all different varying heights.


Now sit back and admire your handy work. They will look so pretty at nighttime when they glow and sparkle.

If you are feeling a little more ambitious You could make quite a few of these to and hang them off a big stick above your Christmas table for something very special.




Martha - I hold you personally responsible for this. I used to be all about the Christmas parties and shenanigans, but look at me now - crafting like it's the new office party photocopier trick!

Have you got the Christmas Crafting Bug?
What have you been creating?
Just a reminder I also have 2 fabulous giveaways running at the moment.

Have you entered yet?
Win one of 2 x Howards Storage Gift Cards