Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Unintentional Patriotic/Jubilee Knitting

Over a year ago (while we still lived in Reading), I started knitting a jumper for DC. At the time he hadn't yet turned two (or may have just about turned two, depending on the exact date of jumper-commencement), but luckily I clearly had the foresight to realise it would take me a while to get round to finishing said jumper and I decided to knit the size 3-4years (also, DC is quite long in the body, so that's another reason why I chose that size.)

Fast forward a year; we're now living in Zumerzet, DC is now three years (and two months) old, and the jumper is still a Work in Progress. So, why am I telling you about it now? Well, just last night I realised I've been knitting a really patriotic jumper and with the Jubilee weekend fast approaching, I thought it was time to share (even though it's still a WIP.)

Sirdar Snuggly wool in unintentionally patriotic colours!

Back of jumper

Front of jumper (very nearly finished!)
It's a pity that we'll be in Spain for the Jubilee weekend as DC could have worn this little number (if I'd finished it...) and looked a right royal bobbydazzler! As it is, the Jubilee pressure is off, and the hot weather we're currently enjoying also means I don't have to rush to finish it. Just so long as it's done by the time DC turns four...

So, that's it for a week from me, we're off on our jollies in the morning (DC has asked if I'll be driving the plane, bless him); I hope you all have a wonderful Jubillee weekend. Hip Hip! Hoooooraaaaay!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Cabinet Reshuffle

You may recall from my post a little while back that I have a little bit of a problem with books; the buying, (not) reading and storing thereof. So much so that my bookcase runneth over; indeed, the snug was beginning to feel like an explosion in an unwanted book factory. Since this photo was taken, things have got even worse and there's now a small, but potentially lethal pile to the right of this bookcase.
However, redemption has come in the shape of this little lovely (the cabinet, not the child encased within; we've let him out now so there's no need to call the authorities.)
Hubby actually bought it a few months ago as part of a dresser which we intended to use in the dining room. We were very excited when we heard from the auction house that hubby's commission bid had won, and he dutifully trotted off to collect it. It sat in the garage for a few weeks while we summoned up the strength, patience and general 'being bothered-ness' to heave it into the dining room and find just the right spot for it. So we hefted this section (which is supposed to be the top of the dresser) and we hefted the bottom section (similar width, but slightly deeper) and then we heaved the top section onto the bottom section and as we wobbled and wibbled and it waved around in the air we came to the awful realisation that top + bottom = too high for our room. ARRRGGGGHHHHH. So, in disgust, we threw both parts back in the garage and hubby listed them on eBay so that they would never darken our doors again. However, fate played a part and for reasons too complicated to go into, the dresser never got sold. So we ummed and ahhed and debated putting it back in the auction, until we had a brain wave and though of something that you've probably figured out all along - use the two parts separately! I must say though that the reason we didn;t come up with this plan really quickly is that the base of the dresser actually has holes cut in it that the top half rests in, so using the bottom half separately will require a little more work.

Anyhoo, after a few more weeks in the garage, hubby and I decided to forgive the dresser for being too tall and thought long and hard about where we could put the top half; we chose the landing and we decided that it could be a repository for even more of my books. Huzzah!

And then after another couple of weeks of the dresser top sitting on the landing looking like this
this weekend I finally got around to giving it a really good clean and putting it together. The shelves were a little grubby to say the least; this one was probably the cleanest of the bunch:
I got the feeling from the greasiness that the dresser had been used in a kitchen. Still, nothing that a good rub down with some Ajax cream couldn't solve.
 And now the little beauty looks something like this:

 Give it a few more weeks and I'll probably put some books in it...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

House Renovation. One Year On. 27.05.12

So, this is what our kitchen looked like on the 27th of May 2011. Quite something, isn't it? A bit of al fresco going on, living at one with the elements. You can see the drop in floor level that marks where the original house ends and the extension begins. Luckily the builders levelled the floor out so we're not constantly tripping up/falling down a step when we walk around in the kitchen and living room.
These days we're going for the more everyday kind of look, with windows, walls, a ceiling, and plenty of kitchen mess. Very au courrant.

 Turning to the right, this is what would become our living area: again, open to the elements...
But these days, we are immune to all that nature stuff - we have windows, we have french doors, we have a ceiling. We live a life of luxury!
 And a little trip outside on 27th May 2011. A little more of the extension's rear wall is in place.

Whereas today, we have all of the wall, and the windows and lots of patio-based detritus...

 And now, to the garden. I'm totally amazed by these photos from 27th of May 2011; the garden was just soooo overgrown. In the background you can just about make out a couple of the woodshed's windows; to the right of the photo is one of the apple trees and in the middle (in front of the woodshed) is what was a fruit cage (full of raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and red currants), but the cage itself was in a pretty bad state - ie the wooded posts holding it up had rotted, the metal posts had collapsed and the netting was sagging under a ton of dead leaves.

And now, the fruit cage has been dismantled, the fruit bushes removed (we have two large beds full of raspberries in the middle of the vegetable patch, so we didn't really need more, we also don't like red or black currants; the gooseberry bush survived the cull though and is now flourishing in the middle of the chicken run), the apple trees have been trimmed, the rose bushes cut back, other plants/weeds have been hacked back, and the chickens have been installed in their very own fenced-in area (to keep their poo off the patio and their hungry little beaks out of the veggie beds!)
And now you can actually see the woodshed from this side of the garden.
 This area up against the lovely back wall used to be somewhat of a dumping ground: 27th May 2011
 Now, it's hubby's pride and joy - just one of several productive veggie beds he has established in this part of the garden. Quite an improvement just one year on.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

House Renovation. One Year On: 25/26.05.12

Two days in one post as I didn't get a chance to switch the computer on yesterday.

Here's our entrance hall on Wednesday 25th May 2011; I'm standing in the front doorway looking towards the stairs; the open door on the left goes through into what is now the dining area; the doorway that you can just see the edge of on the right goes into the snug.
And today, Saturday 26th May 2012; one shot with the door to the dining area open
and one shot with it closed, so you can see where our coats live! A bit of a change - new carpets, new wooden flooring, new doors, the bannister, newel post, etc, etc have been painted bright white, new understairs cupboard, new lights.
Here's a lovely shot of what was the downstairs loo, immediately to the left as you came in through the front door.
And now: new window, new radiator, commode chair instead of toilet...

Now, heading outside on Wednesday 25th May 2011; this is a close up of what would become the kitchen window and the french doors to the far left.
i.e. this: here we have new windows and doors, new outside lights, new patio, not to mention actual walls!
Here's a shot of the whole of the back of the house; well, when I say the 'whole' what I mean is, the 'hole' really. There was a day when there was literally nothing at the back of the house except some joists holding up the ceiling. That was a scary day. I'll have to dig that photo out.
And here we are today, Saturday 26th May, swelteringly hot - hence the swimming pool/slide contraption in the foreground that helped keep DC entertained all day (yipppeeee.)
Here's the back of the house the following day, Thursday 26th May; doesn't look all that different from the day before, although some more of the wall had been built to the left of the kitchen window.
What a difference a year makes.
And finally, the obligatory garden shot. This time I'm standing more in the middle of the garden, with the house on my right, facing the fence. Oh, you mean you didn't realise there was a fence there? Yes, and there's a path too, and a step up from the lawn on to said path. Dont believe me?

 See; told you there was a fence and a path and a step. Admittedly, these are new fence panels and posts that hubby and our neighbours erected a couple of months back, but there was an old rickety fence there originally. Also, there was always a gravel path, but hubby has laid new weed membrane and lots more gravel to tidy it up a bit.
 Next job is to clear away the beds either side of the step and return them to lawn; and also to tidy up/thin out the bed along the fence border.
 Still, it's definitely an improvement in the tidy stakes to what it was a year ago (although a part of me does miss that 'Secret Garden' vibe that was going on.) Still, we needed to clear it back in order to get a better idea of what's there so we know where to go from here on.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

House Renovation. One Year On. 24.05.12

Phew, exsqueeeeze me while I sweat cobbs (cobs?) taking photos for your delight and delectation. Obviously I'm not allowed to complain that summer has finally arrived, but given the choice, I'd prefer it to be a leeeeetttttle bit cooler, thankyouverymuch.

Thank goodness I only had to take two photos today before rushing back in to the coolness of the house (although due to my and hubby's offices being in the roofspace, it's not so cool up here). For some reason this time last year (ie today and the two days before) we didn't take many shots of the house, I'm assuming we were either away or nothing much had happened that was worthy of a photo. Oh, wait, I've just checked and it was the weekend, so obviously no building work had taken place.

Anyhoo, here's the back of the house on Tuesday 24th May 2011. The (ugly, reconsitituted, but matches the rest of the house) stone wall of the extension is taking shape over the insulation blocks.
And here it is this evening, Thursday 24th May 2012. Complete with summertime detritus well and truly in situ.
Then a quick nip round to the front of the house. Here we have the hallway, sans front door on 24th May 2011.
And today, Thursday 24th May 2012, we are fortunate to have not only a door, but two lovely glazed side panels to let extra light into the hallway.   
Oh, and that hugemoungous bush to the right has been hacked back to its roots. Now we just have to decide what to do with the bare patch under the right window - grass seed is my preferred option. Oh, and I'd like to get another outside light fitted to the left of the front door to even things out a bit and also so that we can actually light the way up the garden path, and I'd  also like to move the downpipe round the corner so it's out of sight and not making the door look all off-centre. But I'm just picky like that.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A LazyHill Kind of A Day

You may or may not know that on Mondays during the "summer" season I work at a fabulous gallery in Abbotsbury owned by my fabulous chums Rachel & Gordon.

Behold the wonder that is Lazyhill Gallery. I'm not going to get too wordy, but be warned there are a lot of photos here. So, grab a cuppa (or a long, cold one since the weather's so good at the moment) and come for a wander round the Gallery...

Here's the view from my perch behind the counter, looking towards the front door.

And here's the view if I turn 180 degrees and look towards the back of the Gallery.
 Now, time for me to get off my lazy behind and take you for a tour of some of the goodies you'll find in store (and available to purchase via their website/by email/phone!) Miniature oil paintings by Paul Dolman
 Silver jewellery made by Rachel and a host of other silversmiths
 Glass ornaments
 Ceramic pebbles by Clare Mahoney
 Felt brooches by Jackie Cardy
 Framed boats by Liz Clammer using driftwood and flotsam.
 Dr Beans bags!

 Poppy Treffry tea and coffee cosies, and more.

 Door stops with character!
 Sarah Jane Brown's fabulous driftwood and metal pieces.
 Felt Me Up's cute birdies.
 Sara Nichol ceramics
 Rupert Blamire's jugs, pots, oil pourers and more.
 Jane Cox's vibrant turquoise range.
 Caz Scott's paintings
 Fiona Kelly's practical ceramic pots, bowls, soap dishes
 Brighton Roc's mirrors

Wonderful decorative tiles and buttons by Caroline Barnes
And much, much, much more. So, next time you're in the area, pop in and have a look round - you won't be disappointed (she says, in her best sales pitch voice!). And if it's a Monday (during the "summer") say hello to me; any other day of the week you could always say hello to Rachel and/or Gordon too - I'm sure they'd be very chuffed to see you.

P.S. You can always call/email/visit their website if there's something that takes your fancy... I should be on commission. Yes, might have to mention that.