Monday, 28 September 2015

A few more bricks in the wall

Cottage with 'bricks',  kind of.   This is 'take two',  I had painted the bricks yesterday but it was all wrong, far too dark.   So stared at the houses opposite whilst washing up.  Sort of pinky/orange,  light in places, dark in others...  So red and yellow, with a bit of raw umber...  yep that will do for a base.  Then using the rough brush I've been dabbing a mix of paints here and there, so it is beginning to look like brick work.  The little bit at the front will be covered with some gravel, so no need to worry about the mess.   I didn't like the yellow paintwork, so went for green.

The roof has had the 'filler' treatment,  to try and make it look wonky.  The little impression is where the chimney will go.   The dorma window has been made up, and it fits, may need to trim back the filler a bit.  This now needs to be sanded back till it is smooth.   I've also made some roof tiles,  following the instructions in the booklet.   They should look okay once glued down and painted.

The back has now been etched,  it took a while.  I found another scribing tool,  it belongs to my encaustic wax kit,  but it is very sharp.

The filler bit did take all weekend,  with the mixing, then putting it on, and of course the drying bit.  Plus the etching,  I'm glad the cottage didn't have too many windows!   That was the tricky part,  putting the filler round the windows.  I've learned a lot,   and will do better next time.

This was the last side,  by this time I'd got the mix right, not too wet but still easy to spread.  Just had to put a little filler round the windows,  once that is dry, I'll tidy it up.  Tomorrow and Wednesday will be all about painting the brick work.    Then the roof,  in between the car has to be MOT'd. 

Did you see it last night - the Blood Moon?   I caught the end of it,  can't say it was red, more like a rusty orange.    I didn't go outside,  just gazed through the window,  Harvey wasn't interested, he carried on sleeping.  And after 2 days of ultra fussiness, he is now eating his food again.   He had a small treat today, some fresh chicken,  only because I was making a chicken curry.   It didn't take him long to polish of the few pieces I gave him.   He then spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the sunshine.

This Indian Summer is very nice,  a pity it wasn't like this back In August.  My rose bushes are still sprouting roses,  but the planters are still empty.  Just didn't feel like planting them up this year.   I may get some bulbs, plant those for the spring.

That's it for today,  hopefully back tomorrow with a paint progress. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Just another brick in the wall.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon practising how to make the brickwork.   I had three pieces of wood,  so alls I had to do was follow instructions.  On the first piece I forgot to cover it in PVA glue, so the filler didn't stick very well, got it right on the second piece,  PVA, then filler.. on the 3rd piece I tried the molding past.  All were left to dry.  First piece (no PVA), well it worked but it was coming off the wood; second piece (see pic),  much better,  stuck nicely to wood and easy to work. The modelling paste didn't work, it was too soft.   But it was a relief to know I could do it, and that it wasn't as hard as I feared it would be. 

So today I mixed up a batch of filler.  It shouldn't be too wet,  and have a ricotta consistency.  I spread it on two sides of the house, plus the front, about a millimetre thick.  Then it was left to dry while I gave the windows and other bits another coat of paint.   And had another practise,  I used my pokey tool,  you also need a paint brush to remove the dust.  The lines didn't have to be straight,  and it didn't matter if bits fell off, this is an 'old' cottage.   Just need to sort out what colours to use.

The front was dry first, so with a slightly shaky hand I started.   I then realised that if I made a mistake all I had to do was use a bit of water to smooth the filler.  I sanded the surface first,  then got going.  It is important not to go too close to the window edges.  I'd drawn round them so I had some idea of how much space to leave.  When it was all dry I tidied up the window spaces and tried the windows to see if they fitted, yep, slotted in nicely.  I put a little filler round them.

Just need to tidy up round the window a bit more.   But it was looking okay.  I can go over it all again tomorrow,  not sure if I had left it long enough, it was still soft underneath.  But I am pleased with the result, once painted it will look okay.  

I also have to put some filler on the roof.  It needs to look a bit wonky, or undulating as it says in the instructions. 

I just got some cheap filler,  £1.50!  You don't need the posh stuff.  The tricky part was getting the consistency right,  not making it too wet.  I added the water gradually,  just till it spread a little more easily onto the walls. 

I used a knife,  it was just easier than the palette knife, or the plastic spreader.   The paint will pick out the tatty nature of the bricks.   It has been very fiddly painting the windows for the cottage, they are smaller than those on Teacup Cottage.  

And the prize for the most awkward sleeping position goes to - Harvey.  He was completely zonked,  head buried in the blanket, snoring...   He's in fusspot mode at the moment, doesn't like any of his food.  He was like this yesterday,  kept on howling,  and mooching around my legs, till I shouted at him and pointed to the kitchen.  He then sloped off in the direction of the kitchen and ate his food!  It was so funny.   In a day or so he'll be back to his usual self, eating anything that gets put in front of him.  

He was also after my dinner last night!   I bought one of those frozen meals, a roast beef dinner.  Well nothing ventured...   but for £2 it was delicious.   But Harvey could clearly smell the meat.  No, he didn't get any,  I've never fed any cat from my plate,  it is a bad habit.   I'll sometimes leave some meat for him, but I put it in his bowl.   I don't want him to get the idea that he can scrounge from me. 

A nothing day in terms of going anywhere,  back has been really sore these last few days.  I have been told that I have a curve in my spine,  and not were it is supposed to be.  This means I'm prone to sciatica,  and boy do I know it.   Even just getting out of the car can do it.   I also wanted to get an early start on the cottage so that the filler would be dry. 

Well all for now,  I should finish the back of the cottage tomorrow, still have one more side to cover with filler.   It is the fiddly side with the windows.   Hope you're all enjoying this last bit of summer!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Sticking at it...

Look, no masking tape!  The gluing has begun.  Looks so tiny,  well it is tiny.   I've decide that a lady lives her, and she is a potter.  She has some chickens, a vegetable patch,  her shed - or if you wish to be posh - her studio.  Oh there is a cat, a stray that popped in one day, and has never left, she sleeps curled up in front of the fire. 

Today was painting day!  Not only the interior, but also the window frames,  inners and outers.  Oh plus the dormer. 

I chopped down one of the fireplaces, now it fits nicely into the cottage.  Looks awfully bare inside,  but there will be furniture.  There is the pot sink, more suited to this property than the other.  The upstairs will be her bedroom, plus ensuite bathroom!    Darn it, I knew what I meant to do, take a photo of the outside chimney!   I made it all by myself, used some balsa,  used the measurements from Teacup Cottage, and took a little bit more off.  It fits just nicely.   As opposed to something that didn't...  more later.

Another interior view, oh, you can now just spot the chimney!  It will be covered up soon.  I have been giving some thought to the windows, and what to use for curtains...  and the answer was kind of staring me in the face.  Well almost.   On a shelf, above the desk is my ribbon store,  yep, ribbon!   Perfect to act as curtains for the little houses.  Need some cocktail sticks now,  for curtain poles.   The cottage won't have a door, but it will have a curtain, through from living room to kitchen.   Also found some rugs, at the right size, for the cottages.  I guess I could make some...  am I that mad?  Possibly. 

And one more from the side. The rear roof is glued down, while the front comes off for access.  The front bit of the cottage is also removeable,  it will be glued to that little pavement.  The roof is wonky, like that,  guess it could be thatched, but I don't think I'll be attempting any thatching just yet. 

The sides and back are now stuck down,  once I've given the ceilings another coat of white, then the rear roof can be secured.   Then the fun will begin!

Back to Teacup cottage.  I'd glued the upper room divider into place,  left it to dry properly.  Then today I put the roof back on, but it didn't fit. I was sitting proud of the house?   I was baffled, it had been okay, so what was the problem?   Well after a bit of head scratching, I concluded that it was the room divider. it seemed to be a bit taller than the two ends of the house.  Mmm, had I got it in the right place, checked plans, yes,  it was were it was supposed to be.  In the end I trimmed some off the bottom,  and then the roof fitted perfectly.  

Drama over,  Teacup cottage is still awaiting its fence, and furniture.  There is too much choice at Petite Properties!   Once Thimble cottage is complete, I'll focus on the landscaping for both, and furnishing them.  

Well Harvey has just proved how thick he is!   I closed the living room door,  not completely,  so if he wanted to get into the kitchen all he had to do was push it open. So, what does the wally do?  He pulls the door towards him...   !!!!!!!!!!     He had already fallen off the bed, he was having a wash, then he  turned round,  and since he was close to the edge he fell off.     That has kind of completed his day, I'd disturbed his morning snooze in the airing cupboard, by putting on the washing machine.   So he found a sunny spot and lay down there, then the sun went in!    He decided to go on my bed, so there he was as I came out of the shower,  with wet hair,  so he was disturbed again as I had to blow dry my hair!   Little wonder he tucked himself into the airing cupboard all afternoon, that was after a large lunch.  Think he is discovering that it is nice to have a full tum.  As far as I could gather he had no routine at his old house,   his dish got filled with dry food and was left to get on with it.  Don't agree with that,  cats need a routine, so I've been coaxing him to adopt one, and he is finally starting to get the hang of it.   He tends to eat more in the evening, and through the night.   And now he is going bonkers!   Yep, full daft cat mode.  Why me? 

Never made it beyond the front door today,  just didn't feel like it.   So, that is all for now. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

From Teacup to Thimble... tales of a miniature property tycoon - not!

It's arrived - Thimble Cottage.  As you may be able to tell, I've made a start.    I've painted the inside,  now it's all drying. 

I'd been working on Teacup Cottage in the morning,  doing skirting boards,  and finishing off the pot sink.  That was after the shopping,  any wonder I'm feeling tired?    It was an early start today,  mind you when I woke up it felt much later than 7 a.m.,  even Harvey was still snoozing,  it took him a while to come to, he's worse than me! 

This is what the call the 'dry' fit, making sure you've got all the right pieces,  the right way round and in the right place.  I also checked the other pieces, windows and doors.  All are there, and there are two parts to the windows.  This time the roof is a solid piece,  not the mount board as with Teacup Cottage.   It also has a tiny pavement round the front.   It isn't as upmarket as the other cottage,  no stairs, just a ladder.  To think such places were homes once. 

The right hand side.  It will soon look very different.  The instructions also have details of how to do the brickwork.   I had wondered if it was the air dried clay,  but it is filler, the powdered stuff.  A mystery solved.   That means I need to get some practise,  it sounds rather like the molding paste.  I intend to have a bash,  I've got some spare pieces of wood.  The roof is given the same kind of treatment,  and then has tiles laid on it.   Instructions are given as to how to make the tiles,  the same as as I made for the large house.  Just a LOT smaller!

Last pic, the plain left side.  Which could end up with a chimney.  Well I have a template on the other cottage, and just need some wood!   Got all I need,  may as well experiment. 

I'll pick up a packet of filler tomorrow, the instructions say that the cheap stuff will do. And some stiff card, for the fences, and for some paving stones.  The card I have just isn't stiff enough, or it is too stiff, need something in between, probably mountboard.   My painting skills are about to be put to the test as well,  good job I have plenty of paint, and lots of brushes. 

I did use some emulsion for the inner walls,  I wanted a rough look to the interior.   And I got some landscaping material, well a whole pack for a pound?   Who could resist?   By this time next year I'll have a whole villlage!   These small houses sort of remind me of the village my aunty lived in,  Market Deeping, which has changed greatly since the 60s.  That was when mum would take us for our summer holiday,   my aunt and uncle had both been in the RAF,  then they were posted near Peterborough.  They chose to rent a cottage in Market Deeping rather than stay in quarters.  My aunty was not very domesticated,  which is what I loved about her, she preferred to enjoy life.  She was very arty,  would try anything, and usually found she had some skill at whatever she tried.   She'd have loved these little houses,  anything creative in fact.  When she died we found so much stuff,  Chinese painting kits,  so many other crafts she'd dipped into.  She also did the very fine crochet,  with cotton, she taught mum.  It was beyond me,   far too fiddly,  I could just about crochet a square. 

Yes, definitely tiredness is starting to set in.  I slept like a log last night, a change from last week when I couldn't even get to sleep.   Dinner was going to be an omelette, then somehow I ended up making a batch of chilli con carne. Going to get another pack of quorn and do some cottage pies.  Well, the colder days are coming,  soon it will be stews simmering in the oven.   I remember my mum making a meat pie,  oh boy was it delicious,    she used a can of meat, but with it she put the most gorgeous gravy, we all loved it.   She hated cooking,  yet she was a very good cook,  I think she enjoyed it when I took over some of the cooking,  I'd do the fancy stuff,  stir fries, curries, and she'd do the staples.  Dad wasn't keen on what he called 'foreign' food,  when I was younger he would cook the Saturday night dinner, which meant steak, usually very, very well done!   Well he did try,  he also got us kids to do the housework, so mum wouldn't have anything to do when she came back from work.   I think we always used to be relieved if mum suggested fish and chips.   Her best dish was scouse,  which was most Mondays,  made from the leftovers from the roast.  That is all scouse is,  lamb or beef,  from the Sunday Roast,  chucked into a pan, some potatoes, left over gravy, and left to cook - trust me, it is stick to your ribs food, and very comforting.   Sadly, I can no longer make it,  so have to go to a cafe, or make do with a scouse pie.  Not quite the same. 

Right, all from me, just watched Corrie,   do you think they stole the story line from Brookside?  You know that they won't be able to move the body...  !    I did like it when Sarah asked if he was dead, considering he'd just been hit with a heavy wrench, then yep, he was dead. Please will someone end the Callum story line?   It is now very boring.

Back tomorrow... the cottage may be glued together!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Keeping it simple...

Things are coming along nicely.  The roof is slowly being distressed,  using the brushes which are meant for painting leaves on trees.  They're very firm,  bristles going off at angles, so they're excellent for dotting on paint randomly. 

The exterior walls are also being toned down, frayed burlap, bit of moss green and the odd dab of black soot. 

Most of the interior walls are now in place, except for one.  

Not sure about the large plant pot, or maybe it is the plant - it should be a plain green bush?  Spotted the fence?   I had several stabs at it, first with the lolly sticks, but I felt they were too big and out of proportion with the house.  So look for some card, thick card and took the back off a drawing pad.  Think this works, but the fence posts need to be closer together.   I also need to work on my cutting accuracy,  the posts are a bit wonky,  which is fine, but a little too so.   So it will fence part two tomorrow.  Not that I mind.

See, too far apart,  need to be closer.   I also tried a stone wall,  bit of a botched attempt!  Forgot some basic rules, so have clay, will experiment. 

I've also ordered a new house,  even tinier than this one!  It is called Thimble cottage,  just couldn't resist it I'm afraid. I've made another promise to myself, one I can't reveal here,  but it will mark a change in my life. 

I've enjoyed many crafts,  paper, cardmaking, multi media, art...  but none have ever given me the satisfaction that this does.  It's quite extraordinary,  but I intend to go with the flow!    I'm hoping that Thimble cottage will arrive tomorrow, so is Harvey, as he needs food!   He has enough till tomorrow,  I found a few packets of the fishy stuff, which he tucked into quite happily, in fact he scoffed a dish of it in one go.   His fussiness has paid off for once,  as I often keep what he decides he doesn't like. 

Last night I found him staring at something,  at first I took no notice, but the staring continued so I had to investigate and - YIKES, it was a HUGE spider!    And while he is good at spotting them, he is not inclined to do anything about them,  so I am afraid it was sent to a better place. 

All for tonight... 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The finishing post is in sight..

It's all been a bit distressing...  It was sort of, as I had to glue on the fancy gable bits (they must have a proper name), onto the ends of the roof.   They had to fit close to the house,  so house went on box, roof went on house,  out came tweezers and glue.   Finally one was in place,  had to hold it till the glue 'took'.  The worst bit was the chimney end, as the piece came in two bits, and had to fit up against the chimney, very fiddly.  But equally it showed the attention to detail that goes into these tiny houses. 

I left those to set, and gave the sink unit and corner shelve another coat of paint.  Then watched the Davis cup, it was a bit tense to start with, Andy Murray looked a bit out of sorts, he must have been shattered as he'd carried the entire team. Finally he got his reward and Britain are in the Davis Cup final! 

Two pics of the roof to start with,  both show the flashing I put on. It wasn't the silver duct tape, I had found a duller grey roll of duct tape which was more suitable.  However it also needed to be cut into small strips...   Stuck a strip down onto the glass cutting mat, then just cut a few strips.  Easy peasy!   They went on easily, and are also helping to hold that roof together.  I'd finally worked out why it wasn't aligning properly,  some of the inside beams were slightly out,  two on the main roof, and both those on the smaller roof.  So off they came,  and I also manipulated the roof a little, putting on the tiles had warped it a little.  Took a bit of fiddling till it was all in the right position, the last bits of fancy wood bits also helped keep the roof straight.  And finally it was on.

The fancy bit,   which didn't want to stay in place!    Well this one didn't,  I just had to hope that the phone didn't ring while I was holding it all together.  

I painted the ends of the roof the same green as the wood work.  And I've given the interior roof the first coat of paint. 

I was also able to start distressing the roof.  Mixed up different shades of grey,  and some pearl black, then just kept dabbing away. 

Still got a lot more distressing to do. I also experimented with the distress ink pads, to see which one could 'age' the house.  Old Paper was the best,  it toned it down nicely,  just did the bit round the porch,  sadly it isn't showing up on the photo, but there is only a light coat so far.  But what is there has taken away the brightness.

It is so nice to see it looking 'finished',  well almost.  The inside is bare,  and lacking in some home comforts.  That will soon be corrected,  still wondering about curtains, the windows look rather bare. Will try to find some tiny lace. 

Final photo, to remind everyone of how small the house really is, I popped the pot of mod podge next to it!  I think that clearly shows the tiny scale of the house.   Hasn't been as fiddly as I thought it was going to be, the furniture certainly is!  I had glued the gate leg table together, only to have it fall apart!    One side will have to be permanently glued down to give it some strength.  The long kitchen table is fine, as are the chairs,  the sink unit just needs the sink to be added and it will be ready to put into place. 

Going to spend next week on the garden.  I decided last night that there was no way I was going to cut all those little lolly sticks using the hacksaw.   My hands aren't up to it anymore, so I'll be buying a cheap jigsaw.  I don't need anything fancy, it will only be used on hobby projects. Found on in B&Q, which had 5 star reviews, and is only £18.   It will also make life easier in future when it comes to trimming roof tiles.   I found it hard going cutting the excess off with scissors.   Someone told me that if you use scissors to cut sandpaper you blunt them, well all my scissors are now nice and sharp! 

Here is the villain of the piece,  doesn't he look innocent?  This was taken after he'd been plodding around and letting out loud miaows.  Then he had a mad five minutes,  raced round the flat, up and down the stairs...  and then finally collapsed onto the bed.   He's had a lot of cuddles today, he is a cuddly cat,  loves to be picked up and cuddled.  If I ask him 'are we friends' he likes to rub heads with me.    And he also now likes to sit on my lap,  of course he always chooses the most inconvenient time to do so.  Cats!     Today he had the remains of my tirimasu,   he chased the little pot round the carpet until he'd licked it clean.    He has some odd tastes,  Ms Mufti, my old cat,  loved noodles with soy sauce,   and loved fish... woe betide anyone who tried to remove her saucer of fish.  Harvey is faddy with food,   he does like chicken, but now I limit him to just a few bits now and then.  When I first got him he'd only eat the fishy packs of food, now he only has the meaty ones, with the occasional packet of tuna.   Loves his treats,  yes those Dreamies are amongst his favourites.   In the evening, just when I've sat down at the computer he starts yowling at me,  what does he want?  Well he wants me to show him where his food is, I kid you not, so I have to follow him to the kitchen if I wish to have some peace and quiet.  Funny, during the night he manages to find his food unaided. 

Funny old day,  felt really achy this morning,  didn't have a lie in,  but even so I woke up feeling really stiff.  I've put an extra blanket on the bed,  it was a bit chilly last night.  Guess the duvet will be making an appearance soon.    Didn't feel like doing the ironing,  there seemed to be a large pile of it,  however when I looked closer there wasn't that much.  Needs must, so it got done.   The reward was a sausage butty, lovely.  

That's all from me, I may have a fence to show off tomorrow!  Or part of one.  Will also order a bit more furniture for the house. 

Have a lovely week, and remember, keep smiling, it always makes others wonder what you've been up to! 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

From start to finish (well almost!)

Shall we go back a few weeks?   This is how the house looked,  plain, no windows, no porch, tiles, chimney's...  not a lot inside. 

It was the start of the journey,  and there would be mistakes,  some of the 'blindingly' obvious variety, others less so. 

I was determined not to spend too much, use what I had in my stash, and only buy what was needed, or what I couldn't make. 

So where are we now...

A house, with windows, doors, a porch, chimney's.  It has been rendered, painted, and tiled. The last bit was added today, the wooden strip that goes right round the house.  And which I almost forgot! 

I painted the wooden strips first, and began making up the little sink.  While they were drying I tiled the very last bit of the roof.  It got a bit hairy towards the end as I wondered if I would have enough tiles,  I had lots of bits so I could make up longer strips from them.  As it turned out I just made it!  I do still have all the excess,  which may come in handy for others projects.

Yep, that strip goes all the way around.   Nope the roof still isn't stuck together, and it won't be until the main part has been weathered.  It has had its first coat.  I've started the weathering process on the toilet and small porch.

The fancy bits on the ends of the roof still have to go on.  Well I was being bothered by Harvey, for some reason he decided to stay awake for most of the day!    When I left to go to the supermarket he was sprawled on the living room floor, in the middle of a sunny patch, naturally.  And he was still there when I returned.  Then he wandered in and out,  he was about to settle down for his afternoon nap when, I began cooking my chicken curry.  I have no idea how he knows that there is chicken on offer, but he does.  The piece was big enough to cook some for him, but of course he isn't very good at waiting for it to cool down!   Once he'd polished off the chicken he finally retired for his afternoon nap, and I could enjoy some peace and quiet.

Notice the white tube things?  They're part of the chimney,  that was definitely a tweezer job.  It was taking ages for the wooden strips to grab onto the render,  had to slightly overlap them to get a nice finish.   They are straight,  the photo isn't!   Or should I say, what the house is standing on isn't straight.  I was careful about the measurements, used a piece of wood, marked at the correct height to check the strip was in the right place.  Now you can see the back of the roof, all tiled.   It was time consuming to go round the long chimney. 

Last pic shows the house now in position in its garden.   I began measuring how big the fence posts should be.  I may have some tall ones at the back of the garden.   There has to be a gate!  Ours in the bane of my life,  I find it odd that someone can open it to come in, but never shuts it on their way out! 

I forgot to check out the straws in the supermarket,  then again I almost forgot to get any eggs!   I did manage to get a new pair of slippers, the old pair were looking rather tatty.  The new slippers can go in the washing machine.  The shop was also very quiet,  unusually so for a Saturday morning.   I didn't mind, it was nice to be able to get around without children running all over the place.   My mum rarely took us with her to the shops,  it was very much a last resort. She'd leave us with a neighbour or my aunty.  So I really don't understand why some consider the supermarket as a family day out.  Different if the mum or dad has no choice. Worse are those shops which provide child size trollies - why?  Invariably the child doesn't look where it is going,  the mum has to check what the child is putting into its trolley... a really stupid idea. 

So what is on the agenda tomorrow,  well finishing off the sink,  painting it, and the fireplace.  Sorting out the inside,  one partition is still missing a door and skirting board. Marking where the final bits of the roof go, sticking them on.  And weathering the roof.   There is also some ironing that needs doing!   Yuck, hate ironing.  Think that stems from the army, when everything had to be ironed perfectly,  the shirts we had were a nightmare,  the collars were separate (I kid you not), they had to be starched.  To attach them you used collar studs,  you first tucked your tie in the collar, then attached the collar to the shirt (which you had put on),  then tied your tie, a Windsor knot only, which had to sit neatly.   They also kept changing their minds about whether the tunic sleeves should have creases or not.  As a staff car driver I had to wear the formal uniform,  so it would get creased, and need to be ironed every night. Sometimes we cheated, left them in the bathrooms,  all that steam meant the creases just fell out.  And then our shoes had to be gleaming!   However,  even though I hate ironing I can never wear anything that hasn't been ironed.  I had a friend who hardly ever bothered,  then she met her partner, who did iron clothes, well what a revelation, suddenly my friend preferred her clothes to be neatly pressed!  

Well we are one win away from the Davis Cup final,  the doubles was a bit nerve wracking, it is fair to say that if we didn't have Andy Murray we'd not have a hope.   I hope they do it,  he deserves it for all his committment to the team.    And the rugby is underway, that will keep my niece and her husband happy, they are rugby fans,  though they are Welsh, so we do have a few disagreements.  I have the best of both worlds,  the Irish bit of me supports Ireland, and the other half  England.  .

Harvey has returned from his evening stroll,  clearly his active day is catching up with him as he is now fast asleep. 

More tomorrow..

Friday, 18 September 2015

Up on the roof...

Look we have chimneys.  All the fancy bits round the windows have been glued into position.  You could say that today was a productive day.

Even more, I managed some dusting, and was up at a decent hour.   The only down side, a very restless night,  Harvey was fine, he had a full tum for a change.  So he was happily snuggled on my bed,  it would be nice to just be able to switch off my brain.   And Harvey had his usual morning, no builders,  so off he went for his walk, and came back to tell me all about it.

A big difference,  the house almost has a roof.  Just got the back half to do.  Why, you are thinking, is it taking her so much time to put on these tiles? Well it is a small house,  and there are lots of tiles to put on, and each row must be straight,  and overlap the other correctly.  And all that takes time.   The chimneys also needed to be covered in sandpaper and painted, then glued into place.  They were made of dark wood, so it took a few coats of paint to cover it all properly. 

I also started to distress the porch roof, oh and the toilet roof.  Just made up some streaky grey, different shades and dabbed it all on.   Will have to put up some before and after photos soon.

Look, and outside toilet, with roof and door,  just hasn't got a toilet yet.  I already have a tenant lined up to move in - honest, one of my craft friends is going to shrink so she can move in. 

I gave the gable roof a coat of paint.  Now that it and the front bit of the roof have been tiled, they fit snugly together.  Would be nice to have some guttering, and drain pipes,  straws will do - tiny ones.    The gable roof does look as if it is ready to collapse,  that's only because it hasn't been glued into place yet.   Which it will be tomorrow. 

Yes, it is all looking very bright,  distressing will begin to happen over the weekend.

And here is Teapot Cottage,  with some steps down to the garden.  Think I'm going to take a look at all the new cake cutters,  I may just find a small square one.  I can still cut the clay,  and I have begun to colour them, trying to make them look like York stone, still got a way to go. 

I've settled on a position for the house in its 'garden'.  There has to be more room on the left to accommodate the toilet, that is also were the washing line will be.  Guess the gable ends also need to be painted green?  Oops, nearly forgot, there are some other fancy bits to go on the ends of the main roof. 

Got some trimming to do on the roof,   nearly had a disaster while I was trimming round the hole for the gable,  some of the tiles fell off!  Luckily they came off in a chunk, so I could just glue them back on.   I'd also learned from tiling the big house not to try to skip the gaps, but to carry the tiles over the gap. I ordered two packs of tiles,  needed to allow for the porch roof, toilet and gable,  and I'll have quite a few left.   I would have liked the 'wonky' tiles,  but sadly they were out of stock. 

So the outside is just about finished, and I can shortly turn my attention to the inside and think about furnishings.  After that will come the small garden.  Nope, it can't have a big garden,  it is a small cottage, the folk who live there work at the farm.   Did I tell you that there was a farm, and a manor - could be Downton! 

Harvey has now gone off for his evening patrol,  just turned his nose up at his food,  typical.  Oh he'll eat it, that much I have learned, just have to stay firm with him.  He was very cosy around 5pm, so was I, in fact I wondered why it was so warm in the flat,  yikes, the heating was on!  How'd that happen?  Ah, dusting, see it can be dangerous,  I'd knocked the thermostat so the heating had come on.  It was soon switched off,  no need for it, this flat is well insulated.  It was a bit chilly last night,  but I've still just got a sheet and one blanket on the bed,  oh plus a furry hot water bottle called Harvey.   Nope, no need for the duvet just yet.   Guess I should dig out the winter curtains,  well it is nearly October.  I've got one friend who is wrapping Christmas presents... oh please. 

Will wrap things up now,   should get the rest of the roof done tomorrow.   Depends on the tennis... !

Do make the most of the lovely weather we've been promised, probably the last decent bit we'll have.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

An afternoon on the tiles...

It was an afternoon on the tiles.  I did what I promised, started with the toilet roof.  They went on fairly easily,  made sure I drew a straight line for the first row.  Then it was a case of cut and stick until I reached the top. 

I gave it a coat of grey paint, but will begin the distressing once the rest of the roof is finished.  I found myself looking at the roof tops opposite, just to see how they'd weathered, and the different shades of grey. 

Next came the porch roof.  Think I was getting the hang of it,  a little more confidence as well. 

The afternoon hadn't started well, discovered that the mod podge hadn't stuck down the grass.  So used the PVA, and it is now firmly stuck in place.  I also made up the chimneys,  was a bit confused by one,  there were three parts...  the instructions weren't very clear.  So had to study the picture.  It showed a small chimney at the end of the main roof, and then a long one on the side of it.... clang, penny dropped.  The three bits needed to be glued together to make long chimney. 

Close up of one side of the gable roof.  I had discovered that it was best to trim the ends off as I went along instead of waiting until I'd finished.  This is unpainted,  which is kind of giving me the clue to how to best distress the roof.  For the walls I thought I might use my distress ink pads, and a sponge, then seal it with varnish.  I need it to look a little less 'new'.

The whole house, and with a path!   I must confess that the path is still drying, and will need some sanding,  and of course painting.  I used the air dried clay,  really need a smaller cutter - if that is possible!   I was also thinking of experimenting with my masks, pressing the clay into the mask.  I've got a honey comb mask, that could be used as paving.  It is, as it is with all crafting, all about experimenting, and thinking outside the box. 

I honestly thought I'd have the house finished by now.  Not that there is any rush,  simply because it was so small.  Yet when you think about it I still had to make the windows,  prep the walls,  do all the stuff I did with the larger house.  So it will take just as long, if not longer.   There is no comparison in quality, this is a rolls royce, the first house was more like a trabant on a bad day.    It hasn't been as fiddly as I thought it would be,  just needed to use the tweezers now and then.   There is of course still much to be done, but that is all part of the fun. 

I was up early this morning,  managed to get more sleep during the night,  well Harvey did wake me up because he was hungry!   No bloody wonder, he'd not eaten much during the day, but got through two whole packets of food during the night.   He's just tried being fussy, it didn't work, so he just sat down and ate his food.   He wasn't happy this morning, he'd just gone outside for his walk and the builders came, so he shot back in!  It is the sound of the ladders that upset him,  around 6ish a bloke came to sort out some of the scaffolding, Harvey never batted an eyelid, so it is the sound of ladders. Why are cats so thick?   He's now perched on the end of my bed,  content because he has a full tummy. 

Well more roofing tomorrow,  feel as if I am in competition with the builders across the road!   Me building my little house, and them drinking endless cups of tea and doing a little bit of work now and then. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Going green...

A rully rendered house!   It is between coats of paint, hence slight difference in colour.  Needs at least one more coat,  the porch bit, not the rest of it.   The sandpaper worked a treat,  wasn't too difficult to cut either, and cheaper than using the proper render.

I'm now, as you can see, putting in the windows. They come in two bits, inner frame and outer frame, with the acetate sandwiched in the middle.  It makes it easier to put them in place, as the inner bit is a bit smaller, so they just slot in neatly. 

The whole house, looks the part now.  I've now order the roof tiles, and some kitchen furniture, and an outside loo.  The order is now on its way to me.  Fantastic service from Petite Properties, will be writing them a very good review soon.   I also spotted the next house I want to build..  oh dear.  They are just too tempting.  It won't be happening until this little cottage is complete. 

There is still the roof to tile,  and all the outside decoration to go on.  The window frames need to be varnished, oh and the chimneys put into place.   So lots still to do.    I've just about painted all the little bits that go round the windows,  I had very green fingers by the end of it. 

I've made a step for outside the front door, which is to be distressed, same will apply to the kitchen door.  

I remember my mum, and all the other housewives in the street, scrubbing the step every week.  Then every summer the backyard would be whitewashed.   On Petite Properites website I spotted a little cooker similar to the one we had, and which lasted over 30 years!   I kid you not,  mum only agreed to replace it when we could no longer find replacement taps for it.  Every gas engineer who came couldn't believe that we still had this ancient cooker.   I even remember when the country switched to North sea gas, and all the palava that went with it.   We also had a gas meter, it was in the cellar, I hated going down to put money in it, then every week a man would come and empty it.  Ah, the good old days, not,  I prefer central heating, thank you.  Oh and double glazing.  It was no fun getting up on a freezing cold morning in the winter with no heating in the bedroom, and ice often on the inside of the window.  Then there as the smell of the paraffin heater, yuck. 

However we did have a high street packed full of shops,  butchers, fruit and veg, deli,  cake shop, shoe shops... all you needed in one place. What a novelty to just walk to the shops. Which we could as we only lived one street away from the high street.  There was also a lovely chippy on the corner, they made the most delicious scallops, no not the fishy ones, these were rounds of potatoes deep fried then drowned in salt and vinegar.   I read in the paper last week that people are starting to eat bread and dripping,  my dad loved it, I hated it.   I didn't mind fried bread with a full English, which we had on Christmas morning.   Yep, chips cooked in fat,  roasties in dripping... how did we survive? 

I've got a gateleg table to go in the kitchen,  and found a bed similar to the one mum and dad had. When we moved mum got lots of new furniture,  but me and my sister ended up with old beds.  Then aged 16 my back 'went', it seized up,  very odd for a 16 year old,  the bed was ditched and mum got me a brand new one, oh and one for my sister.   Then I got the bedroom to myself as my sister decided to go and work in a hotel down south.  It was lovely having a whole room to myself.   Little did I know that in a couple of years it would be me heading down to Guildford to start my army training, and my sister returning home.  My brother never left home till he married,  it wasn't so bad except he liked James Last, and played the records continually - just no street cred.

Staying close to home at the moment,  my back is very sore,  msut have tweaked it at some point.  So I'm in a lot of pain,  and my joints are also sore and stiff.  Has to be the weather.  Poor Harvey got a shock earlier, he wanted to go out, so off we went, down the stairs, I tried warning him that it was wet, but no, he wanted to go out,  until I opened the door, then he stood and watched the rain come down.  He's not a happy cat,  his girlfriend attempted to swipe his food,  I chased her, he chased her, so he did get wet! 

More tales from Teacup cottage, yes I realised that I'd got the name wrong, though I think I prefer Teapot cottage, tomorrow.   With green fingers no doubt.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Somewhere to take shelter...

Today I wanted to try out a few ideas on how best to decorate the exterior of the house.  I'd read on some blogs how you could use polyfilla,  or mix sand and pva.  Both seemed rather messy.  I wondered about some really rough sandpaper, would that work?   Only one way to find out.

I used a spare piece of wood, cut out a small piece of sandpaper, stuck it down and painted it.  Yep, that would do nicely!   For the colour I mixed, white green and paynes grey.   Next I decided to use the small outside porch as the test piece.   It was fiddly, especially painting those teeny tiny bits.  But the sandpaper worked a treat.   It wasn't too difficult to trim,   and any scruffy bits near the window and doors would be hidden. 

So, next stage was to do the back of the porch, or part front of the house. I decided to remove the windows, easily done.  This bit was the trickiest, as I had to pull out my glass cutting mat and balance the front on it.  Why, cos else it would have been very difficult to trim! 

At this point disaster struck, I knocked over a pot of water...  luckily I'd been keeping everything tidy, so all the windows and other bits were in my bits and bobs tray at the back of the desk.  Fortunately only the paper towels got soaked, and the carpet, but it was only water. So had to stop and mop up,  good thing I had to dry the carpet else I wouldn't have spotted the small piece of acetate for the window that had fallen on the floor.

Another angle, and that bit that is sticking out, is now glued down.  I switched to the PVA glue, the mod podge wasn't strong enough to hold the windows to the sandpaper.   Also, mod podge being water based was making the window frames a bit soggy. 

I gave the sandpaper a couple of coats of paint.  A couple of sheets will be enough to cover the house.   So money saved, which is also part of the exercise, to make use of what I have here.  So there is plenty of paint,  glue, spare acetate (in case I do lose any of the small bits from the kit), and tools.  So far my only purchase has been the blades,  well yes, the kit as well.

And here it is in position.   The front area will have some gravel, plus flowers, and a large flower pot.  Well it has to look nice! 

I like my green/white/grey colour combo!  The green I had was too vivid, it had to be toned down, but not made too dark, hence the white. For the window frames I used green and grey. 

So tomorrow the rest of the rest of the house will get the same treatment.  I'm glad that I didn't glue the upper floor divider into place,  if I had then cutting out the windows would have been very tricky.  

I am wondering how I can make curtains, the windows are so tiny, but I'd like something on them.  I checked my bits of lace and don't have anything suitable, or rather small enough.   There has to be something I can use. 

The weather has changed,  rather chilly here.  I could hear the rain in the night, so could Harvey.  He was in extreme fuss pot mode last night,  refused to eat his food.  So I left the food were it was and went to bed,  at some point he ate the lot,  obviously his rumbling tummy got the better of him.  At around 5 a.m. he woke me up for breakfast, and ate what I put down without any fuss.   Tough love seems to be the order of the day with Harvey.   He's getting the hang of his eating routine,  it is clear he's never had one,  and that someone kept on giving in to his fussiness.   I'm being firm with him, as I said, tough love.    The rain kept him in this morning,  in fact after his 'breakfast', he went back to sleep, not waking up till I did.   Usually he is keen to go out,  but not if it is windy and wet, and it was both.  

I had a very long lie in,  9.45 was when I woke up, and of course I was so stiff.   I was glad of the extra sleep, but not at the expense of the ultra stiff joints.   So my plans to go out were shelved,  it took me ages to get myself mobile.  Then I watched the Labour Leadership contest,  I have to say Jeremy Corben has behaved with great dignity throughout, and has refused to slag off his opponents.  I think it is refreshing to have someone like him at the forefront of politics,  no more clones please, or media savvy graduates with a 2:1 in Political history or law.   I noticed that my BiL had made some snide remarks about Corben's win,  his views are based on what he reads in the Telegraph.  Narrow minded doesn't come into it. 

Just thinking about what I need to do tomorrow,  Harvey requires food,  I need milk, oh and wine...   most important,  red wine...  so supermarket trip, and must use up petrol points or lose them.  And I have a mammogram to look forward to on 30th September, oh joy.

Right, hoping to have a much different looking house tomorrow...   enjoy your Sunday! 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Divided we fall?

A completed house?  Nope,  just a dry fit of the roof. 

There was also another reason for the roof, I needed to measure up for the new room.  I had the spare divider,  but I'd forgotten the gable roof, so that meant if I wanted the 'room' then I'd have to cut my own room divider. 

So I did what anyone would do when one needs to ponder, made some tea.  

I did have some spare wood, I also had some mount board.   Which to use, and how would I measure it?   The answer to the latter was staring me in the face, the front panel - doh!  

I went for the mount board, and carefully cut out a room divider.  I used the door frame to make the hole for the door.  Tip: always use a fresh blade when doing any cutting.  So next task, try it out, would it fit, would the roof still go on?  

Answer to all questions: Yes!

Just to prove it,  house with roof!  The divider isn't stuck into place yet.  I don't take chances these days, double check everything.  And you can see the roof supports. 

The masking tape was to hold the porch while the glue was drying.  I also gave it a couple of coats of undercoat.  Don't the windows look nice?    All the fiddling and cutting ate up the afternoon, that and reassuring Harvey,  he kept on running to hide whenever he heard the builders climbing their ladders.  He is such a wally. 

Another view,  showing the two room dividers.  One reason why I moved the door over was because it would have been right next to the other door, and it looked a bit daft.   Now is it a bedroom, or bathroom?  I think a bedroom, as you can get an outside loo.  We had one when I was a child,  I hated it, it was full of spiders, and freezing cold in the winter.  I was chuffed when we finally moved to a new house, our own bathroom, indoor loo. I remember my mum spending a lot of time making it look nice, it came in handy that my first job was in a wallpaper and decorating shop!

So tomorrow there will be a lot of fixing of room dividers and upper floor being glued into place.  Then the outside needs to be painted,  windows and other decorative bits put in place, the two chimneys built, oh and the tiles for the roof.  Then I can do the rendering,  finish off the porch, and begin putting in furniture.   Must also order the outside loo and washroom,  and source some tiny figures, and other bits that will make it into a home. The kitchen will have a table, dresser, cooker or rather a range.   Living room needs some comfy furniture,  and a cupboard,  beds for upstairs, and other bits.  Of course the outside needs some decoration, a bush maybe, the flower pots I got can be used, they'll add a nice touch.    Then I will be ready for the next project!  Shop or pub?  

At least I managed to get some sleep,  oh I woke up at 2 a.m., again,  but this time I managed to get back to sleep around 3ish,  woke at 6 but after a cuppa and some toast I fell back to sleep till 9.  I felt a lot better for a less disturbed night.    It was very warm today,  opened the windows but it was so windy that I had to close them.  That wind was a little on the cool side as well,  a hint of what is to come I suppose, autumnal weather.   I do like it when the leaves start to turn and we get those glorious shades of red and gold.  

A bit surprised today that there was hardly any mention of 9/11,  nothing on the BBC.  Still hard to believe it happened,  that day will be forever imprinted on my brain.   It was so hard to comprehend,  and such a fearful time for everyone.  

Well off to my diary,   it helps to write down my day and my feelings.   Enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by.