The Hazelwood Top

After wearing pretty much only tunics for quite some time I seem to have developed an interest in short tops. From one extreme to the other, I suppose. Not sure though if the love is being returned, as my rear end is somewhat generous and a short top does nothing to hide that. But I have been looking for a bit of a change and it definitely is that. So when I came across the Tessuti Hazelwood top I thought I would give it a go.


The skinny jeans are not my style, being a pronounced pear they definitely don’t do me any favours, as much as I like the look on others. But I thought that my wider, Oska style pants might be quite a good combination.

What possessed me to leave off the cowl I really do not know, it was one of the things that attracted me to the pattern in the first place. Fortunately I block printed some extra fabric to give me the option of adding the cowl later and I think I will. It needs a little more oomph, probably because the tunics I am used to wearing have a lot more of a ‘presence’ visually, almost like a dress, but a short top is just that, a top and pants. That has much less of the appearance of a complete outfit, and adding a jacket is not an really option. almost too hot right now and it is not going to get any colder as we go into summer.

What I do like is the block print though.

For the print I re-used a block I already had, so that was a quick and easy job. Here is the top I made the first time I used this block.


Block-Printed Toni

The StyleArc Toni Designer dress is one of my favourite patterns, although I dispense with the collar and pare it down to its basic silhouette. I have posted about other versions of this dress here, here and here.

This time I wanted to make a long sleeve version, using a lovely cotton jersey that would be a great canvas for a bit of block printing. I used the same motif as for this t-shirt, except for mirroring it into a sort of abstract leaf shape.

I am very happy with the design, although the actual execution leaves a bit to be desired. This is due to the nature of block printing, where every print looks somewhat different and none of them are perfect, most with random bits where the ink didn’t quite cover. This is unlike stencilling which has a more solid application of the ink, but is more difficult to use on large areas such as a nearly maxi dress. Still, the block print seen as a whole doesn’t look too bad and close up the unevenness of the prints has a certain artisan charm. You can tell it hasn’t been done by a machine, at least that’s my story and I intend to stick to it. 🙂

But looking at the photos, I really ought to slim down the width of the bodice a bit, when I compare it to the dark grey version below, which has a more pleasing overall shape, because it looks quite tight below the bust and only flares out from there.

The two dresses are actually cut identical, but the lighter grey jersey is not as drapey as the darker. Or is it the large print that makes the difference? It has been a truism as long as I can remember that large scale prints are only for the super-skinny, but aesthetically I just like large prints so much better than small ones. It is a trade-off, but fortunately seeking to look as slim as possible is no longer my top priority when designing my clothes. Still, there is scope to slim done the bodice, and I will try it as soon as i can find the time and see if it will do the trick.

To get a winter version of the Toni, I combined it with my TNT t-shirt pattern, the Burda Lydia, for the upper part of the bodice and also used the long sleeves from that pattern. The sewing details are on PatternReview.

The Mandy Boat Neck Tee

Tessuti are one of my favourite pattern makers, and I don’t mind shouting it from the roof tops in the hope that it will encourage them to make more and more fabulous patterns. A pattern maker whose taste aligns with mine is a gift from heaven.  The other company that comes up with patterns I love is StyleArc, and both these companies offer PDF downloads, which is great. These days to go to a shop to look through the pattern drawers to find the one I want, which is often sold out, is something I avoid like the plague. A bonus is that the patterns printed at home use up the pile of misprints that collect around the printers in the office, something which appeals to my frugal self that doesn’t like waste.

But let’s get back to my topic today, the Mandy.

The Mandy is an oversized tee, clearly designed for striped jerseys, and I do like that look. However, to try the pattern I repurposed a wadder I had made a couple of years ago, a very voluminous tunic that looked pretty disastrous when it was finished. The jersey was to plain, to beefy to drape nicely and too yuk on its own for the wide expanse of the style. It would have needed a fabric that did all the talking to look good, and this one wasn’t it. I kept it because I thought there was enough fabric to make something else, and I am so glad I did.

Talk about ugly duckling to swan! The beefy fabric suited the Mandy so much better, the inky blue I disliked on its own looked transformed combined with the black print, and the result is now a firm favourite in my wardrobe.

blue leaf top3blue leaf top2blue leaf top

The low contrast between the dark blue and the black is ideal for block printing, because it hides the fact that this technique can look a bit scrappy. The rubber block does not deposit as much ink on the fabric as one would like, leaving a few specks of some motifs uncovered or transparent, and a high contrast colour combination can really highlight this unfavourably. Block printing also tends to produce a few ‘oopsies’, where a bit of ink is deposited where it should not be. This of course depends on the skill and concentration of the operator, and I don’t know what this says about me, but I find that there are always a couple of spots somewhere. Dark-on-dark or light-on-light makes these shortcomings far less noticeable. It is also better if your design does not have too many big, solid areas where a nice even coating of colour is desirable. A design with thin-ish lines close together seems to be better suited to block printing.

The only mistake I made was that I cut this Mandy too long, as I realised later when I was forced into a shorter version due to lack of fabric. Fortunately this is easily fixed.

blue leaf top4

Here is the shorter version, 55cm long on my 161cm frame.

fish top

This time the print is stencilled on, the first time I have done large scale stencilling with a design covering the entire garment. I am still experimenting with stencil mediums, this time I used clear plastic meant for covering textbooks. I thought the adhesive side would help making sure there would be no bleeding outside the stencil lines, and the grid on the backing paper helped with even placement of the motifs.

The adhesive proved to be a disappointment, as it did not stick to the fabric very well, but being careful to apply the ink with the foam roller from the edge of each motif to the middle produced nice clean edges anyway. I might try another stencil medium next time. The freezer paper I have is in sheets and too small for a whole garment, but you can buy large sheets of stencil plastic. This is not sticky, but it’s stiffness will hopefully mean that loose edges in the design, such as the small strips separating the ‘fish bones’, do not stick to the roller and flip up as the roller is moved back and forth. I will report back after I have tried it, being designed for the express purpose of stencilling might just mean it will work better than the random stuff I grab and press into service, haha.

More pics below. Excuse the odd blurring on my face on the first one, my camera does this sometimes, it is not intended. It’s a good shot of the top, so I will use it anyway.

fish top4fish top2

fish top 3

Details about the sewing process are on PatternReview.

The Trouble with Perfect Patterns

I use almost exclusively so-called TNT (Tried aNd True) patterns, patterns I have used over and over where I know that the result will be a success. It makes sewing quick and easy and my wardrobe preferences are very much simple styles anyway. Good on you, sewist who are adventurous and like to try out the new and unusual, or who are keen to stretch your skills. I salute you and I admire you, but you are a foreign species to me.

There are those focused on detail, and those who see only the big picture. I am the latter, what matters to me is the look of the whole outfit. That needs to look professional, but the individual sewing techniques used to achieve this don’t matter much to me. I know I can do welt pockets if required, but my ambitions vere off into different directions entirely.

But back to TNT patterns. I have 3-4 top or tunic patterns, 3 dress patterns, 2 pants and 2 skirt patterns that are my staples. I sew something most weekends, so I have quite a few of each, but the fabrics make all the difference and only other sewists would notice that I use patterns over and over. As we are a rare breed these days there are not many in my real world orbit. Most non-sewing people would see it as personal style.

But sometimes I use a pattern so much, because it is stylish, flattering, economical with fabric, quick to make and oh, so very useful to sew down what I have in my stash, that even I have to admit that I have done it to death. Alas, my self-developed tunic pattern, with a swing hemline and side vents has been a firm favourite this past year summer and winter for both wovens and knits, and consequently is now in that category. I have posted about it here, here and here. May it rest now in peace.

Thankfully I have found a couple of patterns for tops that have sparked my imagination and may take its place. A little early to tell, I need to see how much I like wearing them over time.  They are both Tessuti patterns, who are one of my very favourite pattern makers. Quite a few of their patterns have been absolute gems, like the Eva and Lily dresses, the Jac shirt and the Fave Top. The latter in particular has been an obsession, that has now thankfully passed, but not before I made a gazillion versions in every conceivable fabric. My summer wardrobe is still full of them.

The Tessuti Mandy top has now captured my interest. It is still in my preferred oversized style, but a little more restrained than some of my wilder flights of fancy when I was in the grip of Tina Givens and Co.


The Tessuti Hazelwood top is not so much oversized as swing, a little short, but I love the look. Time will tell if I feel comfortable wearing it, and I’m sure I never will with skinny pants as pictured. I usually like to hide my bum as much as possible, and the new wide, cropped pants or culottes this might be a better option for me.



So watch this space for my version of these two. They would make a nice canvas for block printing too.

A Day in Taipei


I might have mentioned before, probably several times, that I visit my family in Austria every year. It’s a looong flight to Europe from Australia, which can’t be done in one go. That is fortunate, because 20 hours straight on a plane beggars the imagination, even for Aussies who are used to long flights. If you want to live in Australia you have to accept that the rest of the world is a long way away and if you want to go there you will be on a plane for many hours.

I always try to organise a stopover, because even with a fuel stop, getting off one long haul flight and straight onto the next is the pits. Much better to get a few hours sleep in a real bed in between, and if there is time to do a little sightseeing, that is even better again. This time I went via Taipei and had 18 hours to play with, getting in at 5am and flying out just after 11pm. I don’t know about you, but an overnight flight always leaves me with a burning desire to sleep in a real bed, so I had booked into one of the airport hotels for a nap. The airport Novotel is only 4 stars, but I was left to wonder why, as I can’t see how a hotel could be much better. Everything looked very new, or extremely well maintained if it wasn’t, and apart from a luxurious bathroom and comfy bed, this is what awaited me when I got to my room.


No getting lonely in your hotel room with that giant panda for company!

I always do my research when I visit a new place, and it is very easy to get around in Taipei by public transport. I avoid taxis in large Asian cities if there is a good metro system available, because many of these cities are notorious for traffic jams. In Beijing there are something like 30,000 new cars registered every year, and I have watched it getting steadily more and more congested over the 10 years I have been going there. I don’t know if Taipei is as bad, but I wasn’t going to risk it because my time was so limited. Fortunately the metro is very foreigner friendly with stations written in English as well as Chinese and maps everywhere. On top of that the Taiwanese are super friendly, you only need to look a bit confused for someone to come up and offer help in fluent English.

I had planned to visit three places in the time I had, the Yongle fabric market (what else?), the old town which was conveniently adjacent and Shilin night market. Night markets are a big thing in Taipei and the star attraction there is the street food. I have been to markets on the mainland, mostly Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, but the Shilin market really was about food, not the cheap and cheerful designer fakes that dominate the markets elsewhere. The idea is to walk around and pick up snacks to eat, and there were plenty of people doing just that. I didn’t see a lot of western faces, but I believe this market is very popular with mainland visitors, so definitely used to tourists.

I decided to be brave and try as much of the street food as I could manage. Below is a stall selling different types of octopus and squid. The fat things at the back looking like peeled bananas are actually octopus tentacles. They chop them into bite sized pieces and deep fry them, then put them into a cardboard cup for you to eat with a tooth pick. Utterly delicious!

I have a sweet tooth, so I enjoyed quite a few of the sweets on offer. Below is a lady who presses glutinous rice into the wooden mold she is holding in her left hand, to make the little cakes you can see on her tray. They are sprinkled with either ground peanut or ground black sesame. Very yummy!

I’m not that keen on meat, but there was plenty of it if you wanted it.

More meat in the process of being fried. Just look at the serious blow torch in the man’s hand.

I was impressed with the cleanliness everywhere, no litter, no flies, no scavenging animals. Many people handling food were wearing gloves, hats and even masks. Taipei is pretty developed and I was told the food in the markets was safe to eat. They weren’t kidding. I even had a papaya milk shake, which is probably more of a risk than I should have taken, but no ill effects.

The fabric market was less of a buzz, lots of poly and not much silk. Quilters would probably have enjoyed it a lot more than I did, I saw lots of very cute quilting fabrics and fat quarters of traditional Japanese fabrics. I managed to pick up some ultrasuede for a jacket, so it wasn’t a complete loss. A couple of friendly Chinese fellow sewists who spoke good English stopped for a chat, which was fun, and I also discovered that little girls in Taiwan seem to love ‘Frozen’ as much as my three year old granddaughter does.

I’m afraid I was too busy looking to take more photos of the fabric market, but there are probably quite a few online if you want to see. For my money, the tailors market in Shanghai is really the best place I have been to buy silks and linens if you get the chance. Lots of variety, great prices and easy to get to.

I didn’t spend nearly as much time at the Yongle fabric market as I had planned, which was probably a good thing because it made the rest of the day much less rushed. The market is right in the old quarter which is full of the most interesting traditional shops, so I had more time to explore and poke around. I was too busy looking there too to take photos, but I found a few online that will give you an idea of what it was like.

I have another day in Taipei on the way home and am really looking forward to it!

What I Have Learnt Installing an IKEA Kitchen

I thought I would write down my pearls of wisdom, such as they are, while they are still fresh in my mind, for others who are interested in doing their own kitchen reno. Mine has been thoroughly enjoyable and I wish you the very best of luck for yours.

First of all, I was impressed by the quality of the IKEA components. Everything had a nice solid feel and went together really well, without gaps or problems with the fit. The drawers, for instance, are absolutely sturdy and well made, and will easily take a load of heavy crockery or whatever else you are going to put in them. Ask me again after 10 years of wear, but so far the quality seems excellent. The design and engineering are really good, and a whole lot of thought has been put into every little aspect. Because so many other people have installed IKEA kitchens, there is a plethora of help and advice via google and YouTube to draw on. Make as much use of it as you can, it really makes the job easier.

Because we installed the kitchen ourselves, we could adjust our design as we went along and that was really valuable. Just be sure you keep all your dockets in a safe place, because if you need to exchange anything you will need them. We exchanged some cupboards for smaller and/or deeper, one door to a different colour because we were given the wrong one, changed the handles to a different style etc. Knowing where to find your dockets is also important if there is a problem with something later on. A friend of mine had her oven break down after a couple of years, and because she could not find her dockets she could not get it replaced for free. I put mine into an envelope and filed them in a safe place, so if I need to claim on my 25 year warranty I hopefully will be able to do so.

When your items are delivered, it is important to count the number of packages. I was not prepared and fluffed that rather miserably. In my defence, there were 130 flatpacks, plus handles, hinges and other small pieces, 189 individual items in all and they kept coming, some in bundles where you could not see how many there were. Once delivered and crammed into a small space they were impossible to count, so I just made sure all the expensive bits were there. Thankfully we were only short of two packets of legs, $10 in total, but that is just as well. You get 7 days to claim for missing items, and when I tried claiming a couple of days outside this period, because that was when I discovered the problem, they completely ignored me. I am not prepared to fuss over $10, but if it was more serious I don’t know how it would have gone. That said, I thought at various points that something was missing, only to find it later. Easy to do with 189 pieces.

Keep the paperwork the kitchen designer gives you that lists all the cupboards with their components. If you lose it, you are toast! Impossible to know what goes with what without it. I referred to it constantly for all sorts of things, like codes to find the right package in the pile or what type of hinges went with a particular door. It is your bible, keep it where you can find it!

Putting the cupboards together is easy and does not require any particular carpentry or DIY skills. But you need to read your instructions really carefully and completely. If you don’t understand something, take the time to research online and puzzle it out before you go ahead. Skimp on that and you will ultimately waste time having to undo and redo things. IKEA has tested and refined their instructions over many years, so if something seems silly, assume that you misunderstood, not that they are idiots. I know I sound as if I am on their payroll, but believe me, I’m just a satisfied customer.

Cutting the holes into the sink and benchtops is in a different league to putting together a cupboard. The former does require some skill and knowledge of tools, and a familiarity with carpentry. If you are a total novice, get someone else to do it or buy custom made. Or approach with extreme caution, read everything you can find online and watch all the videos. Be prepared for a challenging job.

All that said, don’t sweat the small stuff. We did make mistakes, but none of them mattered in the end. The small crack in the worktop behind the sink that gave me conniptions cannot be seen unless you specifically look for it, and the same is true for assorted other little oopsies. Probably the biggest mistake we made was the raw material we used for our display shelves. Too lazy to make the 3 hour round trip to IKEA, we bought melamine shelving from the local hardware store. When it was installed we were horrified to notice that the white of the melamine was quite different from the IKEA white. We fully intended to rectify this with proper IKEA shelves, but when we put all our display items on the shelves to see what it would look like, we were amazed to find that the colour difference disappeared. The eye was completely captured by what was ON the shelves, and the shelves themselves became background, totally unnoticed.

Timewise, while the cupboards go together quickly, the finishing takes much longer than you would expect. I would even go as far as to say that 90% of the work will be done in 50% of the total time. The last 10% will take the other half. So if you are planning to finish for Christmas Day, or that huge birthday bash for your darling spouse, be warned. On the other hand, a kitchen that is 90% finished will probably be fully functional, just not ready to be shown off in all its glory to your admiring guests.

So, can I recommend the experience? I can. Would I do it again? Absolutely!


An Eva in Winter

Our kitchen reno is dragging on. Three weeks ago it was 90% finished, but then we had a slew of social and work commitments: grandchildren’s birthdays, weekend away we promised my daughter’s family ages ago, unreasonable customers demanding things on weekends. Everything slowed to a crawl. Now we are 95% finished, but have come to a screeching halt over the colour of the walls. I bought the paint a while ago, feeling quite confident that I did not need to do any tests to get the right colour.

Well, that was a mistake. I picked quite a dark shade of gray, being a bit bored with light, wishy-washy colours. But gray can be tricky, with undertones of blue, green or yellow. The gray I chose is too blue, making my cupboard fronts look somewhat beige in comparison. Grrr! So back to the drawing board regarding the paint. I will need to get a few sample pots after all to get it right.

In the meantime I thought I might do a quick sewing post, to keep my blog warm so to speak. 🙂

I might have mentioned before that I have made one of my all-time favourite dresses, the Tessuti Eva, in a Ponte for colder weather, and I happened to have a few photos I took ages ago. Winter is just about finished in the Southern Hemisphere, but those of you living in the northern half of the planet will be starting to think of autumn sewing.

eva ponte5.jpg

The pattern is for a woven, but that only matters for the bodice. To adapt it to the knit, I merged the bodice of the Eva with the armscyes and long sleeves from my TNT t-shirt pattern, the Burda Lydia. The latter is unfortunately no longer free, but at $1.99 it is still a bargain, at least for those of us who don’t have access to the $1 sales of the Big 4. It is a great classic t-shirt pattern, very well drafted as you would expect from Burda.


Beware that Ponte is heavy, there is a lot of fabric in the skirt and this stretches the bodice downwards. That makes it especially important to shorten the bodice if you are not tall, or the proportions will be off. I am 161cm and take 5cm off the bottom of the bodice if I am using heavy, stretchy fabrics, which is about right for me. Because the bottom of the bodice is curved this also takes a few cm off the circumference and you need to adjust the top of the skirt accordingly.

I don’t adjust the skirt part for my height, or lack thereof, as I quite like the finished length.

eva ponte3eva ponte4eva ponte

The Accidental Renovation Part 5: Making a Splash

The splashback caused me quite a bit of angst and indecision. I would have liked glass or perspex, but that turned out to be rather exy, and we were going for a budget kitchen, not an all-singing-all-dancing extravaganza. I toyed with the idea of doing a blue/green/grey watercolour wash like I do on my silks, or even a block print, then put clear perspex over the top. But it got too complicated, the rest of the family thought it would look too hippie,  and anyway, even clear perspex spec’d for behind a stove is still expensive. So in the end I settled for the nearest thing, the IKEA Lysekil laminate panels.


These are thin melamine, double sided, and of course I chose the drama side. Cheap and cheerful, and easily cut to size DIY, they are a very cost effective solution. We put up several of the panels yesterday, and I love the look! The only thing that made me hesitate is that the distinctive design immediately identifies an IKEA kitchen, I would have liked to be a bit coy about the low cost of my wonderful new culinary installation, but that horse has possibly bolted anyway, as the handles we chose are very IKEA looking too.

We only got to work for one day this weekend, as we had friends down from Townsville. They left early Sunday morning and we started around 11 after taking them to the airport. Putting in the exhaust took a fair chunk of the day, and a few fiddly bits like the under-cupboard lights for the benchtops and finally the panels accounted for the rest.

Mr Rivergum at work


Mr Rivergum fending off the paparazzi


It has been almost exactly a month now since the flatpacks were delivered and all the cupboards have been installed, the drawers and shelves are in and the doors on. We are avoiding cutting in the hob after our experience with the sink, but that will be done next weekend. I am starting to realise how much easier the sink would have been if we had followed the instructions, instead of trying to wing it. When I saw Mr Rivergum use the template provided to cut out for the exhaust, I happened to comment what a shame it was there had been no template for the sink. He looked a bit sheepish. Apparently it had been tossed with the packaging. Grr!

Now that some of the backsplash is in, it is getting really hard to leave the protective plastic on the cupboard fronts. For a start the bright blue is a bit jarring with the panel colours. I am dying to see what it will look like with the light grey, so I have doctored this photo in Photoshop. But is it really what the colour will look like when the plastic is off? Patience is a virtue, but it can be tough!


Not much sewing happening here, needless to say, but I did make a jacket just before we embarked on the kitchen, which I have not blogged about yet because blogging about the kitchen is more exciting. I have also started a Marcy Tilton jacket, a very simple design that ought to be a quick sew, but with a couple of seams sewn per weekend it is taking its sweet time. And now I am prevaricating whether I should do a lining.

It is only 5 weeks or so before I am off to see my family in Austria again, and kitchen or not, getting my wardrobe organised is starting to figure large on my mental horizon. So if you are missing the sewing posts, there will be more of them soon!

The Accidental Renovation Part 5 Getting to the Fun Part

We are starting to put stuff back into the cupboards. Deciding where everything is going to go and finding that there is room to spare is such fun! Of course we are jumping the gun again, you are probably supposed to finish the whole kitchen before you put your things away, but it’s impossible to resist. I am also trying to do a Mari Kondo, but I have so much storage space now that I can afford to hang onto a few things that don’t spark any joy but may come in handy one day. — Spoken like a true hoarder.   🙂

Mr Rivergum, that prince amongst husbands, has installed my sink and it is now fully operational! I can’t tell you how wonderful it is for normal standards of domestic hygiene to be reinstated because I don’t have to run to the laundry to rinse every little teaspoon. And I now have this uber-sexy tap that has a hose attachment so I can spray water wherever I want. Well, around the sink anyway.


So here is my new sink, with a very attractive pile of empty cardboard from the flatpacks as a backdrop outside the window.  🙂



Last weekend we spent a good chunk of Saturday picknicking with family, but we still managed to make a lot of progress. The hallway wardrobes now have doors and are finished except for the handles.


In the kitchen we fixed almost all the cabinets to the wall rails, and clamped and screwed the lower ones together. The wall cupboards are in place, but the middle one still needs to come out again to have the exhaust fitted. In the meantime it has become a spot for a few things Mr Rivergum likes to have to hand.   🙂

top cupboards.jpg

We built and installed all the drawers and put on most of the doors. Last night we installed the carousel in one of the corner units and put the double hinged door on. The sink cupboard now has two joined drawer fronts that pull out the single drawer, with the garbage and recycling bins behind it. It even has handles!



The best things is that everything works, everything fits and it perfectly aligned. That is what makes this reno so enormously enjoyable, and it is very much due to the clever engineering that has gone into these cabinets.


Most things are perfect out of the box, but if they aren’t there are inbuilt adjustments. All the hinges and draw fronts have screws that allow 3-way adjustments: in-out, right-left and up-down.


I know this is pathetic and I should get a life, but I am totally blown away by this ingenuousness. Mostly because I am very much aware how much the alignment matters in the final look of the kitchen and if it is even a little bit off it will look shoddy. So when the joined drawer fronts in the sink cabinet stuck out a bit at one side and also did not line up perfectly parallel with the dishwasher next door, Mr Rivergum and myself were really worried. But after a minute’s search online we found the answer (thank you, YouTube!), that all we had to do is adjust some screws in the side of the drawer mechanism to fix it. How good is that! It is probably somewhere in the instructions too, but YouTube and other online resources have been an invaluable help with this project. IKEA’s pictograms are ok, but there is nothing like being able to see something in a video or in real photos to help you when you are stuck.


That said, not everything turned out perfect. Mr Rivergum’s DIY building and carpentry skills have been immensely helpful with this kitchen build, but sometimes a bit of extra research can make life so much easier. We were nervous about drilling the hole in the sink for the tap, so we researched it carefully and it went without a hitch. But when it came to cutting the hole in the benchtops for the sink it seemed pretty straightforward, so we didn’t bother to look for advice online. We did get it done ok, but we rushed because it was getting late and did not stop to work out how to attach the reinforcement rails underneath. Bad mistake, because the hole is large and weakens the long and heavy benchtop, so when we wrestled it into place, with the sink and big tap in a confined space, we managed to produce a hairline crack. Thankfully it is small and in a spot where it won’t be visible, but it still upset us. It will need to be sealed so water doesn’t get in and this seal might wear over time, causing the chipboard to swell. The benchtop is only $90 and we could replace it, but decided to leave it for now because I hate waste and throwing out an otherwise good benchtop that can be repaired does not sit easily with me. Mr Rivergum is not that keen on having to do the work all over again either, so we will chalk it up to experience and try to learn from our mistake when we cut the hole for the hob.

Here are some pictures of what the kitchen looks like now, still with the protective blue covers and with lots of stuff on the benchtops still waiting to be put away. That kitchen is being used! I promise I will tidy up for the big reveal photo shoot at the end.  🙂


The dishwasher is not in properly yet, and I have a towel on top to prevent steam getting to the underside of the benchtop when it is opened. This is not a permanent feature, there is a filler piece waiting to be fitted.


Mr Rivergum fleeing the scene because I am taking photos.



There is no denying that painting the walls would have been good before installing the cupboards, but who wants to do boring stuff when there are exciting flatpacks to be installed. The backsplash will cover a lot of it and painters tape will be our best friend for the rest. I am picking the backsplash up today!

Mr Rivergum is planning to install lights behind a white perspex cover to infill between the top of the wall cupboards and the ceiling. This should produce a nice soft light to wash across the ceiling, but we’d better patch and paint the bits that won’t be hidden behind the perspex!


The oven is in, but not yet connected. The sparkie has to come back because we didn’t realise that we needed 30 amps for the induction cooktop, not 15. So he will connect it all up once the cooktop is finally in. The oven cabinet was a bit of a challenge too, to get everything to fit neatly.  Once we had found the right page in the instructions it was easy, but trying to wing it first cost us a bit of time and frustration.