Sunday, 26 May 2013

Outside Space

At the beginning of this year I said that I would make the effort to so something with my outside spaces this year. The front garden isn't too bad, just a bit boring and normal but its tidy and the shrubs and rosemary I planted last summer are doing well. The back garden, however, is a different story...

It has potential but requires a bit of investment really and I guess that's one of the reasons I haven't given it too much thought over the last couple of years. Lately it seems to have bugged me a bit more though and yesterday must have been the final straw. Yesterday I sat out there, crocheting, and all I wanted was a table. Just a table. To put a drink on, or a hook, or book etc. It just annoyed me that I didn't even have a table out there!

Its the space at the bottom of the garden (where the bins and chairs are above) that I have the most inspiration for because that's the spot that you get the sun for the longest in. Its not there first thing because the back walls block it. By late morning, though, its sunny and remains so all day until the sun starts to set at the front of the house. In my head I picture myself sat there at the end of each day surrounded by colourful plants and pots, at varying heights, reading or knitting, or just doing nothing for once.

I like cluttered gardens, full of interesting pots and recycled containers. I hate contemporary gardens, especially in a house like mine, like those you see on TV, or in garden centre brochures that just have a bench, pergola and water feature. I just don't see the point. A garden is suppose to be alive and vibrant, I don't understand the minimalist thing outside at all but each to their own.

I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to the kind of stuff I like, but recently I watched an episode of 'Amazing Spaces' on Channel 4 that featured a flat in London with a brilliant garden. The flat itself is actually a converted underground public toilet block. Sounds revolting but when you see it (google it - there is loads about it on the internet but here are some photos) it really is amazing. However, whilst the flat is lovely, its the outside space that impresses me the most. They turned the entrance (stairwell) of one of the sets of toilets into a 'garden'...

I know it won't impress everyone but I love it because it's a tiny space (my garden is small), the designer retained bits of the building's original use within the renovation, like the tiles and security gate, and its cluttered with plants in pots. That's all I really want.

I looked at it again this morning, and realised that it wouldn't actually take much to turn that section at the end of my garden (which was once an outbuilding, probably including the toilet, and remains of it still exist) into something a lot better. So much for my nice relaxing weekend of doing nothing (this always seems to happen though). Within a couple of hours I was on my way back from B&Q armed with a table and chairs, plants and various other items.

To be honest there wasn't that much work involved but the main task this was to remove all of the old floor tiles that had been down for decades. They were stuck down really well (well I guess that's obvious from the amount of time they have been there) so removing them wasn't easy and I am already feeling the aching in my arms, hands and shoulders - tomorrow will be agony at this rate. I still have a few to do but I did as many as I could before I finally gave in at 5pm. I was then able to sit and appreciate this...

I do have further plans for the walls and floor but this will do for now - and I have a table!

I just had to have the dragonfly...he blends in so well with the look.

I love that the original gazed bricks are visible, albeit a bit worn. I love that the perimeter walls of the old outhouse are still a brick high in most parts around this area. I also love that this little window that I retrieved from the attic clear out last month now seems to just blend in here - I'm not really sure what else to do with it but it's a little bit of Vivod history that I don't want to skip just yet.

So my day ended with me sitting in the sun, crocheting, glass of wine (on the table!), appreciating the calm around me while the birds sang. Ok, not quite, at 5pm I sat at the table, with a nice chilled glass of vino, and the ripple blanket, crocheting away whilst listening to the 'entertainment' from the local pub, alongside my neighbours arguing, and the birds trying their best to out do the lot. Thankfully, I generally live with a 'live and let live' philosophy and a sense of humour helps so it all just made me giggle. Despite all of it, I was happy and sat there smiling like a lunatic for a short while just looking around. It clearly doesn't take that much to make me happy.

Now I am longing for a nice long hot summer so I can make the most of this but I will settle for the odd day or two here and there as usual. Rain tomorrow though apparently...nevermind!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Ok...where did May go??

I'm such a rubbish blogger lately! To be honest, apart from my antics last weekend I have done nothing but work and paint the attic so it wouldn't really make for very exciting reading.

Anyway, the funding deadline at work is out of the way, and next week is half term so no (or very little anyway) work for me. I'm seriously in need of some playtime I think. 

Last weekend was good though. Recently Child #2 has been rather challenging to parent resulting in meetings at the school regarding behaviour and commitment. During such a meeting it was suggested that Child #2 should be offered a reward as an incentive to stick to her promise of good behaviour and attendance. That's all well and good for her (should she stick to the plan) but I realised that Child #1 attends every lesson without any issues, never causes me any problems with the school, and has spent the last couple of weeks with her head in GCSE revision and coursework. It seemed only fair that she should be rewarded now, for doing what child #2 needs to work towards. One purchased River Island outfit later and all was good and fair again.

In the evening I finally managed to catch up with a good friend over a bite to eat at the Glasfryn in Mold (totally delicious food!). I think we last managed this back in September and I commented then about how it never seems to happen often enough - once again we have vowed to do it again a bit sooner...we will see! 

Sunday was nice too. We went to a 'Family Fun Day' for charity...

Child #1 in 'reward outfit' of course - not particularly good Tractor Wear though!

The weekend was finished off with another meal at another pub! By Monday I was back on the fish and salad, and avoiding the scales! :-)

So this weekend I have the following planned...

  • Crochet
  • Knititng (maybe)
  • Reading
  • Sewing (maybe)
  • Wool/fabric etc shopping at the Wool Heaven (aka Aberkhan)
  • Hanging Basket Shopping
  • More Crochet

Well I better get cracking...but for once the list excludes 'Work'!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

It's all go!

When I look at my blog, and take note of the number of posts I've done by month it's so easy to see when I've been busy because one of the things that doesn't get done is the blogging!

Work is crazy crazy crazy busy. Let's not talk about that though.

The attic is well under way, and looking very very bare...

What I thought would take half a day last weekend to strip it all, actually took just over 8 hours! I am still living in the attic room in amongst all of this too for now, although that will come to an end, this weekend, when I vacate it ready for plastering next week.

To keep my sanity I have been a bit creative too...

My son loves these, partly because he can hide all the mess behind them, I think, but he chose the fabric a while ago on an outing to Aberkhan, so he's pretty chuffed that I found a use for it.

I also finished the Emily Peacock hug kit too...

I was offered the matching 'Kiss' kit for my birthday but, obviously during one of my sensible and mature moments, I declined this and asked for it for Christmas instead or I will never get the attic finished, work under control or Felicity Stitches moving again!

I am having a bit of a blanket phase too...

Child #2's blanket (on the go for nearly 2 years now)

A new ripple blanket made entirely of stash wool that's been around for years in my house.

A new granny stripe blanket. Just because.

I've not been cooking much lately as I'm on a bit of healthy diet at present and doing well for once at sticking to it. Long may it continue.

So that's the highlights, I could bore you with lots more but that will do for now.