Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Teenage Logic and Jealous Cats

Child #1 sat playing with her hair on the sofa next to me.

"Mum...I washed my hair with baby shampoo so it might grow quicker!"

I smiled, I can understand her logic I guess. I will miss them all when they grow up and leave, or even when they grow and stop saying things like that anyway.

Right...this week is going really fast, way too fast really...its nearly Thursday and I have lots to do still at work, home and everywhere in between. I did get these though (I know we have a homemade one too but there would be arguments if they didn't each have their own too...and yes there are 4, the 4th is for me, of course! 

I am feeling particularly enthusiastic about the house renovation stuff again now much so that I've re-started the home magazine buying (this is my favourite I think)...

I also took a lunch break on Tuesday, popped to WH Smiths and found this beautiful book...

Its just packed with amazing pictures that are providing so much inspiration that I now don't really know where to begin next. I nearly missed the book as it was in the magazine section but once I flicked through it I had to buy it.  Look at these...

The secret (but not for much longer) project is almost complete and then things get really exciting and scary all at the same time. The cat (Oscar) is a little jealous (and curious) of the stitching I think. He sits on the arm of the sofa attempting to attack the wool whenever he can...slightly cute for a while and then he gets told off...

There is a tiny sneak preview of the project in that picture. Here's another before I go to bed...see you again soon!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Productive Weekends

I seem to exist in a permanent state of busyness (is that a word?). Over the past few days I've done loads. I have...

Bought child #3 a new coat (as he lost the coat I bought him a month ago, after he lost the first coat). While I was shopping I just couldn't resist these...

I love them because they are so colourful. Since living at Vivod I seem to love colour more. I dislike anything plain and I often find myself pulling a look a disapproval to anything I own which is not colourful. I figure that I wasn't always like this because I must of liked the plain things I own when I bought them. The fact that I change over time fascinates me a lot. I wonder what I will be like when I am 45? or 55? I really wish I had a kept a blog at 25 too so I could look back and try to understand the younger me.

Anyway...back to my accomplishments. I did lots of Christmas shopping this weekend AND wrapped it all up.

I finished the Advent Calendar (Handmade Advent Calendar). I did lots of work on another project that I have to keep secret for a little longer but I promise I will show you it in a couple of weeks because it is really exciting. 

I cleaned, shopped, read, and watched lots of Greys Anatomy (one of my favourite programmes ever - its on a par with Desperate Housewives).

I finally took my car to the local Tyre repair and got a replacement for the tyre that keeps slowly deflating. (Quite proud of myself for this one - I am rubbish with anything car related in general - even cleaning it.)

Finally, I have just finished fitting these in Child #2's bedroom...

I did have an assistant and he was a great help, I think he was even slightly impressed with my non conventional, but none the less, genius method I adopted for drilling the holes in the batons in the right place. So now I am just waiting for Child #2 to arrive back from her dad's to evaluate my hard work. I still need to paint the batons white but that can wait for now.

So this evening I am going to take it easy (while doing an online grocery shop that is!).  I might also finish my Christmas present shopping online too!

Oh...and these arrived this week say we are all looking forward to it would be an under statement....we are all SOOOO excited!! As the Mumford and Sons tour has now started we are now hearing and reading things about other concerts and that just adds to the anticipation too! We can't wait!! Its Child #2's first ever music concert and its really great that I will be there with her. Child #1 went to see Coldplay earlier this year - I drove her and her friend there but I wish I could of gone in with her too to experience it with her so this will be great for Child #2 and I. At least it isn't a Justin Bieber concert either!

Enjoy your week, I will try my best to do the same. :)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Handmade Advent Calendar

Well it seems that my commitment to the completion of unfinished projects is really paying off. My home is rapidly filling with lots of lovely home made items that make me smile lots.  Today I have another to show you!

Do you remember this?

With Christmas approaching I realised that unless I got going again with it, it would sit there for another twelve months in the same state. Having started it for no real reason other than feeling a bit bored and festive I wondered what I was going to do with it once it was finished as I wasn't really keen on framing it. I wanted it to have more of a purpose. 

It soon became obvious what to do with it as long as I could finish the picture by the end of Advent Calendar. I've wanted to make one for years but was clearly never motivated enough before. The kids rolled their eyes in a kind of 'What's the point?' way. Hmmm. I ignored them.

Armed with stencils, felt, glue and scissors 'Project Advent' began....

This bit took AGES! I under estimated just how fiddly it would be and how much my right hand would hurt after cutting them all out. It was worth it though.

A pile of 24 little felt squares ready for sewing. The great thing about felt is that it doesn't fray so there was no need for hemming etc.

So I was all ready to glue the numbers on to the pockets but it was Sunday tea time and I was also trying to cook dinner and referee child #2 and #3 who were bored and annoying each other. With some hesitation I asked child #3 if he would like to do the numbers. His little eyes lit up instantly! He loved it but it did take every bit of maturity and parenting skills not to rush in shouting 'No!!! The '2' isn't straight!!!' I kept reminding myself I would love the fact that they were slightly crooked when it was finished because he had done them. So in the end I stayed in the kitchen and left him to it so I couldn't interfere.

He did a great job! We even managed to work together to create some holly too, I cut them out and he glued them on.

I finally finished the cross stitch picture yesterday too...

So today it all came together...I am quite pleased with the finished calendar, and I DO love the fact that some of the numbers are wonky too.

I also found out that my IKEA kitchen rails have a secondary use. This one is normally taken up with tea towels, an apron, kitchen towel and lunch boxes but all that is going to have to move aside for December and find another home. Now I just need to buy some things to fill each pocket with. Almost by accident I made the picture at the top a big pocket too, I think I might buy some stocking size gifts, wrap them up, and put them in there for Christmas Eve. Oh...somewhere along the way my cynical daughters admitted it was 'kinda cute and cool' too...I knew they would!

Well I am feeling quite festive now to say the least. I might even make a start on some wrapping later...if I can find the cellotape that is.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sunshine and Leaves

Well I didn't make it to the skips yesterday but Child #3 and I did manage the park. He had his BMX, and I had the ripple crochet. It was freezing but so sunny that I made sure I wrapped up warm so that I could sit outside and crochet in the sun. I love knitting and crocheting outside, I don't know why, it just feels great...

This picture shows off the colours of this wool really well too. I do need to knit some fingerless gloves for outside work the time we went home I could barely feel my left thumb and fingers!

Yesterday was a fairy typical Sunday really, we all did our own thing and then met up for dinner. Dinner was pot luck really, after a very busy day on Saturday I really couldn't be bothered to shop properly. Asda Online allow you to add everything from a previous shop into the basket at once.  I did this, thought about it briefly for a few seconds, added tinned tomatoes and baked beans and hit the pay button. I figured we did't starve 3 weeks ago so it should be ok. It was a bit like receiving a hamper really...I didn't have a clue what was going to arrive but we seem to be ok for lemon juice and basmati rice now anyway!

After what turned out to be a really nice dinner (complete with key lime cheesecake and cream - nice surprise!), I finished the last bit of my leaf tapestry cushion and, today, I sewed it all together with the pom pom trim. These pictures aren't the best as I took them in artificial light but it does prove I have finished another of my projects....

I will take some better pictures soon when I am actually at home in daylight again...hmmm...that will be the weekend then!

Back soon.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Let DIY recommence

My DIY time-out period ended today. It did last nearly 12 months and I think it was a very deserved break but lots of things around the house are now bugging me and so today I dusted down the tool box and remembered where B&Q was.

I decided I would start of with something simple. Child #1 decided she didn't want wardrobes but instead wanted a clothes rail. I wasn't keen on this idea but agreed to it at the time. I then suggested that instead of a rail we could put clothes rail into one of the alcoves in her room. She quite liked the idea, but this was some time ago. In the meantime she has used the excuse of no hanging space to explain the untidiness of her room on a regular basis. 

Child #3 and I ventured out early (to beat the Christmas Shopping traffic queues) and I purchased 2 kits for hanging rails from B&Q (designed to fit into one of their built in wardrobe ranges). They were only £7 each...bargain! We did stop for tea and toast in the B&Q cafe too which was delicious.

Once home I located a spirit level, drill, jigsaw, screws, etc etc. One thing I didn't mention about Vivod is that it was built on an angle. The front of the house, up to the midway point of the family room, is all crooked. Thankfully I'm ok with maths calculations as there are no right angles (or anything close to this) in the rooms up to this point. It creates a challenge to say the least. The house does then straighten out so the back bedroom, bathroom and kitchen are all quite normal thankfully.  When I suggested the alcove hanging space I did forget about this issue! 

I considered a couple of options involving cutting triangular bits of wood to attach to the wall, or chiselling out a bit of wood to angle the rail fitting into but in the end I kind of cheated! I drilled holes at an angle into the wall and used extra long screws so that I could attach the rail fitting onto the wall so that it was in the correct position to line up with the other side. Thankfully it worked! So this is how it ended up...

Surprisingly, it only took me a couple of hours too...I had pretty much allocated a whole day to be honest! Oh, and they are level too!

Anyway, having finished so quickly I had loads of time left to put to use some printed cotton fabric I found in Aberkhan a few weeks ago that matched the room perfectly. Nothing spectacular just a big cushion cover for now but I have plenty left over. 

Having located the sewing machine accessories during the stash bashing half term recently I decided, today, that I would give sewing machine button hole making a go. I was apprehensive to say the least. My sewing machine is far from top of the range so I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised. With the right foot and a read of the manual, it just went off on a sewing frenzy and created the perfect button hole...

3 Perfect Button Holes!!

So this was the final result....

Its a lovely, big, feather filled, cuddly cushion! She loves it. Now I need to think of other  things to use up the rest of the fabric too...possibly a quilt I think.

I'm feeling quite pleased with myself for resuming the house stuff and Child #1 has also had a busy day as she spent it spring (or pre christmas) cleaning her room - skip run for me tomorrow it seems! 

Time to relax now though

Friday, 16 November 2012

Vivod: The First Year

Happy Friday Evening all! I am currently sat in my kitchen, with a nice big glass of red wine not doing much apart from thinking about everything I have done this week, and everything I want to do this weekend. I love this particular time of the week, and I tend to sit in this spot in my house at this time of the week too. I'm not sure why, it just seems to happen this way. Anyway, I remembered (because I am planning on little DIY this weekend) that I began telling you about Vivod. So I decided I would fetch my Chromebook and tell you a little bit more about it.

I'm guessing, if you read my last post, that you may now be picturing me sat in a rather shabby, much unloved, house? Well in all fairness you aren't completely off the mark although it is a very much loved house to be fair. Tonight I am going to show you how it went from house to home in year one. We still have a long way to go but that's ok...Rome wasn't built in a day and I don't have an endless bank balance either!

As I explained, the nest weren't really as sold as I was on viewing day but by move in date they had come to understand, and maybe even support, my way of thinking. In return, I thought it only fair that in the first year I transformed each of their rooms into a space they had chosen. The bedroom allocation worked in this way. Child #1 picked first, followed by child #2 and then child #3 got the one that was left. To keep this fair too I agreed to do the decorating in reverse order.

Child #3 wanted 'lots of colours' and 'the shiny paper from the wallpaper shop'. What he meant was a border that he saw with lots of fish and seaweed on.  I figured that if this was what he wanted then we would take the theme a little further. So, remember, this is what he had on day one...(complete with junk, old furniture and bare floorboards!).

This is how it looked in about March 2011....

I did hand paint all the walls thanks to the OHP that the Art department at work lent me. I traced the fish and seaweed from the border onto the acetate and then projected them at different distances (to vary the size) onto the wall before painting them using acrylic paints.  He loves it, and I love it too! The guys in the carpet shop thought I was slightly mad when I asked for a carpet the colour of wet sand but then they understood when I showed them the pictures!

So then I moved on to Child #2's room. Now, she is a Marine cadet so likes the outward bound side of life, she, as stated by her, likes to 'run around with guns and pretend to shoot things'. She also liked to read things like Horrid Henry books, she played with cars and bikes and made friends with all the boys because the girls bored her. Based on this, I was expecting her to choose a colour scheme that reflected this. I was wrong. She chose the girliest design ever! She wanted pink. Pink!! She wanted white paintwork and a pink (pink!) carpet. So...this is how it started... (badly artexed ceiling, bare floorboards, no picture rail, a power socket on the floor (yes the floor!) and a ceiling fan)

By August 2011 this is how it looked...

I had the ceiling plastered, relocated the power socket, had the picture rail put pack in and redecorated and carpeted. Its such a pretty space now.

It was then time to tackle one of the biggest rooms of the house. Child #1's. It spans the entire front of the house and I do secretly have my eye on it for when she moves out (I realise I may be waiting a while but that probably suits the funds anyway!). Now Child #1 is the classic drama student. She, like me, likes to be different and these days isn't scared to be exactly who she is rather than follow the crowd. She wanted something that reflected that. She trusted me. She asked me to come up with some ideas and she went along with them. She started with this...not is such a bad state but still quite a distance from 'pleasing'! During the first week we lived here the entire nest slept in this room and there was still plenty of space, it's huge!

By the end of 2011 this is how it looked...

I do love it (on the rare occasion it's tidy anyway!). This weekend I am going to do a little  work on this room so I will show you that another day.

So that was suppose to be it for year one. I thought I was tough and adventurous and that I could cope with the the rest of the house. Including the bathroom. I was wrong (again!). I mean...come you remember it???...

Nobody is that brave surely?! So..I set myself a budget (helped by the fact that one of my  friends (and childminders) is married to the partner of Flintshire Plumbing and Heating and, on mates rates, the budget went a lot further. yet I still exceeded it big time!!....but so worth it!....

Gorgeous though isn't it?! I still love it but if any of you are considering installing so much 'self cleaning' glass please be aware that it really isn't self cleaning what so ever! I do burn a fair few calories cleaning that shower on a semi regular basis though.

So, apart from a bit of temporary superficial decorating on the ground floor that's about it for year one. I will tell you about the superficial stuff next time if I remember. After all those rooms and the extra stuff downstairs I was all DIY'd out at the end of the year (and broke thanks to that bathroom) so I took a year out. 

One thing that I do feel is that those rooms are nicer but haven't quite reached the level of homeliness I was after yet. I shall begin to resolve that this weekend though.  

Keep following, and enjoy the weekend!