Thursday, 30 July 2015

The wallpaper is up!

At last I've moved on to the inside.  The plan today was to get some wallpaper...    won't bore you with the details but my plans were somewhat curtailed, so I took a trip to Hobbycraft.   I'd already looked at their papers, but gave it another go, then had a brain wave, the 12x12 patterned papers were too big, or rather the patterns were, but not the 8x8!   Then I found some really nice paper pads,  which all had at least four sheets of the same pattern - success!   I also found some thin duck tape, silver, which will do nicely for the flashing on the roof. 

So after lunch I started wallpapering the upper floor.  I already had a template of the arched windows,  that made life much easier.  They do, as I have decided, need 'finishing off',  which I'll do tomorrow, and I'll explain what I did.  But it all quickly began to take shape, and looked so much different with the wallpaper up.  I also put in the acetate for the windows.  This part is the guest bedroom and the stair/landing area.  The landing area will have a sofa, bookcase and small table, oh and lamp. I want it to look cosy.  There is the half partition...  more on that in a mo!

To give a feel of what it will all eventually look like, I used part of a carpet tile, and placed one of the skirting boards along the wall.  Now it looks quite posh, but that window still needs to be finished!   The half partition,  well, this dolls house is accessed from the rear, so a full partition would restrict access to the rooms.  The partition still has to be papered and stuck into place. Oh, and there is a strip of paper to be added, I hadn't forgotten,  it was just starting to get late and I was getting tired, so I stopped.  Tiredness leads to sloppiness, which I'm trying to avoid.

The very top bit will have plain paper,  just to finish it off.   Round the windows will be an arched frame, I'll use some stiff white card.   The flooring will be carpet tiles,  tho for the kitchen and bathroom it will have a 'tiled' effect.     I gave the outside a good sandpapering, and finished off the window frames.    Yesterday I focused on the verandah,  sanding and painting all the woodwork, they still need a couple more coats, but are starting to look the business.    Today's plans went out of the window after I'd visited the GP surgery to ask if the doctor could prescribe a different brand of HRT, the one I'd been using was now out of stock everywhere.  The receptionist led me on a wild goose chase, saying that I'd need to try other chemists, first I'd have to get back the prescription,  So I said that on the prescription in question there had been other items, she said that it was on its own...   Anyway she rang round and found a chemist who had some of the HRT,  then asked me to go and retrieve the prescription from Boots. So off I went, knowing it would be a fruitless mission, and it was,  yep I was right, the 'script' had all my other medication on it, so it couldn't be returned to me...  At least Boots were very understanding.  I waited until surgery started up again, and yep, a new receptionist, who did as I requested,  she asked the doctor to prescribe another brand... sorted!   In the meantime my morning plans had been shredded,   it was too late to go to the Dolls House shop. Why too late, well I wanted to watch the women's golf, plus I can only manage a few hours of activity before tiredness sets in.   As it was I managed to tweak my back, so ended up in a lot of pain.   I had one thing to look forward to, my dinner: cauliflower cheese!    Real comfort food, and with new potatoes, and some butter!   So tomorrow has to be a rest day,   tho I will do more wallpapering, I can sit down for that.  Then on Saturday I shall venture to the dolls house shop and see what goodies I can find.  

Oh and if anyone finds summer, can you tell it to visit the UK?   It seems to have gone missing....

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

I'm building a house, but think it should be an ark!

It is building time!  Yep I reached the stage were everything had been primed,  all bits checked,  dry fitted... so it was time to start putting it all together. 

The way the house had been designed was to have the lugs protruding,  which I didn't want. So first job was to trim down all the lugs, except for those on the base.  Next part was to glue the sides, front and base together, using No Nails.  Then it had to be taped together to ensure a strong bond, and left overnight to set. 

Don't be fooled by the roof, it isn't stuck down,  it was used to hold the other bits together.  I put the gable on just to see what it would look like.

The next day the first task was to fill round the lugs.   Then it was time to tackle the interior.   Needed to trim the lugs a bit more so they'd slot in easily,  got the first floor in place, once again it was all taped up and left to one side.  In the meantime I did some sanding on the other bits, the fancy roof things, and gave them another coat of emulsion.   Then came lunch,  chance to watch the rain falling... 

Next task was to put the main room divider in situ.  This would help the first floor to be held in place.  This was the easiest of all the tasks,  it just slipped straight in!   I used a bit of tape to hold it in place, just in case.   I'd already gone round the joints with extra no nails, so the house was now solid.  And it was starting to look like, well a house!   I popped the stairs in place to see what it would look like,  there will be a rail round them at the top, plus half room dividers - to allow access to the rooms as the front doesn't open. 

This is the bottom bit, it will be the lounge, and study.  I looked in the dumping cupboard, (also known as the cloakroom) and found some bits of carpet tiles,  and some kitchen floor tiles.   I've got some paper, but not enough to paper a whole room.  There will also be skirting boards. 

I want this room to have an earthy feel to it, so there will be reds, browns, orange,   so it also feels warm.  Next door will be the kitchen and dining room.   I found some washable paper which I could use for the floor. 

Upstairs,  this will be the bedroom, and where the stairs are will be a seating area.  Next door will be the main bedroom and bathroom. 

Of course there is a long way to go before I even get to put one piece of wall paper on a wall.  The outside has to be finished, and the windows.  Need them finished so I can start putting in the 'glass' or acetate.  I've found a template for the arch window, it will come in very handy for when I am wallpapering.  The ceilings have been papered already. 

I've also got to do some 'fixing' round the door and top windows, they had a very awkward looking hinge arrangement.  So I had to fill in those holes as I'll be using proper hinges for the shutters and door.   I'm going to use some of the waste material to make a step outside the front door, and other bits as decoration on the walls.  

Today I made the roof tiles.   I'd seen a video on YouTube showing how to make roof tiles out of sandpaper.   I'd found some 12x12 sheets of grey card, so I used that,  it was fiddly with all the measuring and cutting, but it does look realistic.  I will need a couple more sheets of grey card, oh and some metal tape for the 'flashing'.  I had been wondering how to finish off  the joins, where gable meets roof, then just happened to glance outside and saw the flashing on the roof opposite.  There will also be drain pipes,  and guttering.  Yes I know I am being adventurous, but I want it to look like a grown up dolls house. 

So that's the house update.  The 'me' update, well I'm very achy at the moment, also getting a lot of numbness and frozen feeling in little and ring fingers on both hands.  Without an xray no-one can of course tell me whether a disc is bulging or not...   I am hacked off with all this 'saving',  it seems to me that they're not saving much by no xraying my neck and lower back. I read today about pain all being in the 'mind',  well it ain't.  Like lots of folk who have a bad back I have, in the past, been able to manage it successfully, but not now.  Nor do I give in to pain easily,   I know how important it is to move, not to sit too long, or stand too long.   I've kept my core muscles in good shape,  I've not been a lazy sod,  and I am just sick of being labelled by the press as being a scrounger, when will this bloody propoganda come to an end?   Up to you folks, stop believing what you read, start questioning it.

Right that's it, need to go do my diary.  Let's hope it starts to dry up, oh and it would be nice if it were a tad warmer!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

House update

The house!    Finally I'm starting to put it together.  In this pic you can also see the detrius of the tools and other stuff.  This was the 'after' pic - after I'd tidied up.   I managed to get the sides, front and base all glued together, now I need to let the glue really take hold.  I had attempted to add the dividing floor, but a few bits needed a trim, so I decided to leave it till tomorrow.   This pretty much took all afternoon, I did a dry run and found that some of the lugs needed trimming,  then it was a case of putting the bits together. 

This is it from the side view, all being held together by tape.  The glue had begun to set by this point, but I wanted to ensure a tight fit. 

I did a little bit of filling on the top, all the lugs have been trimmed and so the holes need to be neatened.   There'll be more filling tomorrow, then sanding, then painting.   Plus the roof needs to be built, but not glued down yet,  I want to have access to the top floor of the house for decorating.  

I found the mod podge in Hobbycraft,  it was with all the other glues...  !  So I got a matt and a gloss, the former being for wallpaper, and the latter for the flooring, or some of it.  

I've also made a decision on the lighting, and chosen to use battery lights.  To wire the house, and then add lights would cost over £50+, battery lights are much, much cheaper, plus there is no wiring involved and the lights can be easily moved.   Also found a site that has a sale on battery lights!

Good old Duck tape,  but with a twist, this is patterned.  I'm sure you've seen them in craft shops.  I was wondering how I could make a tiled floor for the bathroom and kitchen...  and this will do nicely!   I did think about printing but... there is all the mess of sealing it.  I can also use this on the walls for a tile effect, or find another roll with a different pattern.   I also wondered about mosaic tiles, those tiny ones you can get in the craft shops?  Saw some of those when I was looking for the acetate - lots of ideas floating around in my head right now.

I couldn't do any work on the house until Friday as I had a friend to stay for a few days, then had a hospital appointment on Thursday.    I also had raging toothache on Monday,  yep the tooth has gone, but the infection hadn't.  I felt truly rotten on Monday,  the day my friend was due to arrive.   But she provided the solution to my tooth woes, oil of cloves!   We got some the next day, it tasted absolutely foul, but it did the trick and the infection was soon on the wane.   Tuesday was spent with me shuffling around, and doing a lot of sitting in Cheshire Oaks, an outlet park.  I hate shopping,  my friend loves it...  so it was ironic that it was me who came away with two bargains, a very comfortable pair of Sketchers memory foam shoes, and new perfume, while my mate didn't find a thing!    We had a lovely lunch at Ed's Diner,  a very scrumptious burger and chilli chips, and to wash it down we had a budweiser.   My friend was so desperate to buy something that, as we left I spotted that there was a Debenhams, so we went in there and she got a shirt - phew.  

Thursday was the hospital, to be assessed,  well I learned a few more medical words for my condition,  have the choice of surgery or physio,  chose the latter but know that if it doesn't work then surgery maybe the only option.   I am concerned that so far there haven't been any x rays,  I'd like to know what shape my back is in, I know it is knackered,  but I'd like to know how bad it is.   On Friday and today the back and neck have been worse,  my little fingers on both hands are numb.  Alarmingly I discovered that the reflexes in my right knee are rubbish, on one side there is no reflex!  Didn't have much faith in the medic, he was too chatty, and not very observant for my liking.   On the upside my PIP payments have been continued, phew, a big relief,  mainly because it means I can keep my blue badge, which is a Godsend.

So plan for tomorrow is to finish putting the house together, then do the filling.  This week it will be more painting, putting in windows (hence the acetate),  sorting out the verandah, doors and shutters. Then I have to sort out the roof, put the shingles on it.   All that will keep me busy for a while!  Then at some point I can begin to think about decoration and furnishings, it will have a kitchen, bathroom, studio, living room, kitchen and bedrooms.  The verandah will have plants,  and some coach lights.  I think it will be Christmas before it is all finished. I don't  mind how long it takes,  I'm really enjoying the process.

So all for now, may post tomorrow if I get the upper floor done, and the roof.   Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Welcome to my new home

I have my own home...  well I'd need to shrink to fit into it, but it is mine, all mine.  It arrived at lunchtime, which was a relief.... why you ask? Well yesterday I developed toothache, which resulted in a sleepless night.  So this morning I rang the dentist for an emergency appointment, hoping I could get one for the afternoon, but, the only one available was for this morning...  I went, tooth was more important than house.  Fortunately a neighbour said she'd take the parcel, if it came while I was at the dentist.   Wasn't gone long,  tooth has to come out tomorrow,  which will be a relief.  I'm doped up with codiene and ibuprofen, which seems to be doing the trick.

So first photo shows the house,  in its raw glory,  with bits missing, like the verandah... not that they are missing, I just didn't put them on.  Everything is there as I checked,  also they put in all the bits that had been pushed out of windows etc, so I have lots of pieces of wood.... 

The side view,   all in all the house has four rooms, so I need four ceiling lights, and I'd like a couple of lamps.   There are some sticky out bits, but I can get rid of those so that the walls will be flush.  I need to figure out how to attach the shutters to the front windows, sadly those that came with it were damaged.  The buyer stold me that they were, so she was completely honest with me.  I could just stick the shutters on, but if I can find some small hinges...  There is also the veranda to think about, that will need some plants. 

Whoever had it before botched the windows, they stuck the frames on without putting the plastic behind them.  I wondered if the frames would come off, but they've been glued on.  So that means some improvisation.

The back view.  It is an open backed house, though I'll be sealing it with some plexi glass.  You may be able to see the wall paper effort that someone attempted.  It was awful, the paper was pretty, but they'd not primed the wood so it was all falling off.  It didn't take me long to remove it all.  There are stairs and room dividers, though they don't go up to the ceiling (to allow you to view the contents!).   Over the next few days I'll be priming it all, that means every bit of wood needs to be painted, two coats minimum.  And dry wood drinks paint!

Well he had to get in on the act!   He woke up and came to investigate.  I think it met with his approval.  There is so much to do!   Need to go get some supplies tomorrow,  sealant, glue, mod podge.  My head is already bubbling with ideas. First things first however,  after the painting comes the electrics, then the decorating, inside and out.  It needs carpets, flooring,  furniture,  still not sure what era to choose. 

I was thinking of my mum today and what she would have said,  it would have been: and where is that going to go?    It is a lot bigger than I thought it would be.   It will be occupying the kitchen table for a few months as it is the only place it will fit. 

All for now,  time to take more painkillers...  

Monday, 13 July 2015

Don't mention the tennis...

Best NOT to mention the tennis...   okay the better player won on Friday,  but he definitely isn't a match for Novak anymore.  I hope Federer considers retirement,  he had no answer yesterday.   So the tennis is over for another year...  now what to watch?  Golf...   it is the Open this week, happy days.

And here is 'himeself',  half awake the other morning.  Yes he was nice and cosy on the rolled up duvet,  looking like butter wouldn't melt...  that was after he'd woken me up demanding to go out at 5.30 a.m.,  he had no chance.  The girlfriend came round later, trying to steal his food until he chased her.   I like quiet in the morning...  got that Harvey?

Another life drawing exercise,  once again it was the feet that stumped me.  I'm struggling with proportions as well.  The book is packed full of info, so it is a case of getting my head round it all.  Once I was happy with the proportions it was easy,  I hid her hands! 

I was doing this drawing to dstract myself from the tennis,  I was getting too nervous to watch.   Harvey did his bit to distract me,  plodding in and out of the flat, then demanding to be fussed over - he hinted at this by landing in my lap.   Well he'd had an upsetting morning, my neighbour painted my bathroom, which was very kind of him.  Not much to paint as most of it is tiled.  There was still stuff for me to do, like wash the glass shelves, ceiling light, and of course make the obligatory cups of tea.  Not that I minded,  he is such a lovely neighbour, nothing is too much trouble.  So I have a lovely clean bathroom. 

This kept me occupied during the final.   Didn't get my usual Sunday paper,  got the Mail on Sunday instead,  paper lad claimed that the Express hadn't been delivered to the shop.  Anyway as I flicked through the magazine I came across this gorgeous photo,  it is of a model, she is now in her 70s and is still modelling.  I've just started to sketch the photo of how she is now.   I'm okay with profiles, and I think my 'ears' are getting better!   Beginning to understand them now, which sounds odd, then again ears can be odd.   Still need to make her hair much darker,  maybe add a bit more shading.  This was fairly easy to do, to my surprise, or was it because I was wondering why Fed had bothered to beat Murray?   I could imagine Murray giving Novak a proper run for his money, even beating him.   Fed just had no answer,  just please make this his last year! 

And then there is this...  my new project!   I felt down in the dumps last week, and sometimes when I am like that I start looking at dolls houses.  I had one as a child, which my uncle built for me and my sister.   Since then I've hankered building my own but never got round to it,  mostly it was a case of simply not being able to afford it.   So I went on ebay, and looked under 2nd hand, to my surprise this little beauty came up for the princely sum of: £20, I nearly fell off my chair.  I had a good look at the photos, description, checked out the buyer... then bought it.   I mean, twenty quid!   I've been watching videos on Youtube how how to build a dolls house, already got lots of tips, and I hope they'll help me avoid the pitfalls.   The videos are also chock full of money saving advice, like using scrap book paper for wallpaper, and flooring (use modge podge or something similar to seal it and make it shiny.).  So I realised that I can utilise a lot of my craft stuff, especially the papers. 

I need to light it first before doing any decorating,  just been checking out ebay for lighting kits but realised I need to know how many rooms I am going to need to light.   This isn't going to be rushed,  it can't be,   there is painting, sealing, stuff that needs to dry properly before moving on to the next bit.  The lighting looks pretty straightforward,  the video was very clear on instructions.   The presenter had also used eggshells as stone work!   I watched it and was fascinated, but she admitted that it did take a lot of eggshells to complete a wall.   I think if I did that the walls wouldn't get finished till next Christmas.  But then I thought about the molding paste...  see already thinking outside the box!   The house is due to arrive on Thursday,  so first update on it will be over the weekend. 

All for now,  thanks for stopping by and have a good week.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The English Summer...

Don't you just love the English Summer?   One week it is boiling hot, the next the temperature is more like autumn.

On Tuesday I was dodging the showers, really heavy showers!   Yesterday wasn't much better, really horrible in the morning, fortunately it was my 'rest day', need those nowadays.  And of course there was the small matter of the quarter finals... sadly no upsets :-(  Unlike Corrie,  more on that later. 

The dog picture,  well there are a few subtle changes,  still working on the shading,  this stuff can't be rushed.

This is the new project - a buddha.  I used a photo from my calendar as the model.  I'm on the third day, think this will take all week,   just about to start on the top bit of his head.  Then it will be shading, and more shading.    I've now got an 8B pencil, boy is that dark,  used it on the buddha to pick out the deeper shadows. 

This is on an A3 piece of paper,  the size intimidates me but I guess with practise I'll get used to it.   Or mabye I was nervous because of the tennis?    Not that the quarters were nerve-wracking,   I did wonder why they hadn't closed the roof since the forecast was for showers. 

I took a break from the buddha to attempt my first life drawing,  it is an exercise from an art book.  It is supposed to be in charcoal, but me and charcoal really don't get on.  I hate all the mess, plus there is something about charcoal on paper, bit like scratching a blackboard,  just sets my teeth on edge.   So I used my pencils, pretty much all of them. 

The hand and the foot drove me nuts!  Especially the foot, just couldn't get it right,  at one point I thought about covering her foot with a sheet!   But I persevered,  and I think I got it right.  This has been my biggest challenge, cos I've not study anatomy, well not for artistic purposes,  I did have to for my ambulance training.  But back then I didn't have to worry about the length of the leg, or arm,  well unless they were badly broken (and I had a few of those).    I got so involved with this that I forgot all about time, almost forgot the recycling, bin stuff...

Then there was Corrie.   Well we all knew it was coming, Deidre's death.  It was sad,  I felt tearful at times, then I cracked when Bev gave Ken Deidre's glasses, because something similar happened to me when my mum died.    I guess for the cast it must have been really difficult, but it was so well written. 

Now for tomorrow, the semi finals,  another nail biting afternoon.   The experts have all written off Gasquet, but I remember Conchita Martinez beating Navratilova in the final,  no-one gave her a chance but she did it.    This Wimbledon has been a bit predictable,  yep Nadal got knocked out early, but then that's happened for the last few years.   The women's final could be exciting, a new face - so she could play out of her skin or freeze.  We'll see.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Going to the dogs

Oh dear, think I may have put the mockers on Nadal,  I drew this while he was playing, then he lost...   Mind you I did like how his opponent played tennis, very exciting, and thoroughly entertaining.  Not sure Nadal appreciated it however.   Is he finished?   I do wonder if he can come back, he's been a professional tennis player since he was 15,  and at that time he mainly played on clay, which is a very tough surface, long matches etc.    Guess we'll all have to wait and see, but not sure he will ever figure atWimbledon again. 

And isn't it nice to have some cooler weather?    It was just TOO hot last week,  not enjoyable,  just makes everyone grumpy.  The sun was lovely, just not the humidity and high temperatures,  we Brits do far better in the mid 20s.   Mind you how daft was it to see the umpires at Wimbledon wearing a shirt AND tie!

This could be the last tennis drawing,  it is Amelie Mauresmo,  Murray's coach.  She won Wimbledon and the Australian open in the same year.   She also suffered discrimnation early on in her career, with some top players commenting on her sexuality - I hope they are now ashamed of what they said at the time. 

She was a fantastic player to watch, she just lacked confidence.    But don't we all?   I do, all the time.  I get so fussy over my drawings, little wonder they take so long to complete.   Today I gave one of my drawings away,  and was so nervous about it,  I was on the verge of apologising for it not being perfect.   I try not to be too fussy,  but far too often I am.

 And now, as they say, for something completely different, a sad looking dog!   He was for the dog challenge,  didn't think I'd manage to finish him in time, but I couldn't cut any corners.   He could still be better! 

Oh that drawing I gave away, it was the one I did of my mum.  I was so nervous about giving it to my niece, to then pass on to her mum (my sister), that I said to ask her to send it back to me if she didn't like it, or wasn't going to display it.   See, lack of confidence! 

It's been a tough week health wise,  no good in hot weather at the best of times,  but with my back being so bad it's been really tough.  Now my legs don't seem to want to work properly.  I over did it yesterday, though I didn't realise it at the time,  just went to the chemist, then I popped into a couple of shops to get stuff,  walked back to the car, then back to the chemist.   By the time I got home I was in agony,  took me ages to get up the stairs.  I was meant to be visiting my niece and her husband at the food and drink fest, but the car park was miles away and I just had to admit defeat.  Now I'm worrying about the budget, and what cuts that bloody Osbourne will dole out to the poor.   They, the tories, keep on using the word 'fair', yet they keep rewarding the rich and penalising the poor.   I've paid my taxes,  paid into the system,   and now I'm bloody angry that they, the government are reneging on the deal..  

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Best try again!

Had this idea: to sketch some of the tennis players..  only didn't figure for the heatwave!   We've had 30C here, and inside the flat it was 32C, so me and the cat melted together.  It also did for my sketching.

This was my attempt at Federer,  better than the first attempt but still not right.   I guess you could say it is 'getting there'.  The eyes are quite right, nor is the mouth...  so will be trying again, but will use a different picture. 

Yesterday was impossible,  from morning to night I sweltered.  Had windows open,  there was a slightly cool breeze, and the fan on.  Harvey eventually realised that if he lay in front of the fan he could cool down.  I was worried about him, he hadn't eaten a thing, I mixed some milk with water so he didn't get dehydrated, then cooked him some fish.

My attempt at Murray, eyes are fine, nose is okay,  but the mouth!   I should have locked the aspect when I enlarged the picture,  I didn't so his face is a bit longer than it should be. Again it will be take two tomorrow. 

I was watching his match yesterday, they were saying he slowed down, not surprised since it was 41.7C on centre court!   He was also playing a tricky customer, a bit of a streaky player,  not ideal in such heat, but he got the job done.  Nadal looked a tad rusty and nervous,  Federer is in good shape,  Novak also looks a little ring rusty.   Not much to say about the women,  Watson needs to up her game.  I remember them all saying last year that Serena would win,  and they're saying the same this year.  Well last year Williams got knocked out, so I am rooting for Kivitova.  Like how she plays.

And Novak,  best of the three I'd say, sketches that is.  In my estimation he has a long way to go before he can enter the same breath as Federer.  

Slightly cooler today,   my best bit of the day was in Sainsbury's,  just wandered around slowly enjoying the air con!    Had to laugh at myself this morning, caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror this morning,  what a hair style - it was all standing on end!   Ended up washing it,  which I felt was a waste of time since it would end up the same by tomorrow.   Just lay on top of the bed,  wondered whether to leave a couple of windows open, however Harvey has this habit of trying to get out through the window if the door isn't open, so I didn't chance it.   So he flopped in the hall, and I flopped on top of my bed.  No fan, the noise keeps me awake,  but I did sleep,   think it was because I was so tired.

It has made meal time easier, salad!   Though the first one was not so nice,  I'd got some little gem lettuces from Sainsbury's, and they weren't very nice at all.   Got some better lettuce today,  some cold chicken, my was the barbecue, his was the plain.  So tonight's dinner was very tasty,  diced some red pepper,  a large spring onion...   all healthy till I put the salad cream on it! 

They've said it will cool down, I hope so,  I no longer cope in the heat, all my joints ache for a start, and I just feel wiped out.   Trying not too moan, I love the sun,  and don't mind it being warm,  just not up in the 30s please.    Wonder if I can stay awake to watch the women's footie?  

Stay cool...