Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The end is, sort of, in sight!

Progress has been slow on this project,  there just seems to have been an awful lot to do.   The house has a full timber frame,  so that meant a lot of painting.   Today I managed to get the last of the timber frame on,  and start work on the roof.   I first had to sort out the small roof over the window.   Luckily I had a few of the small shingles left over, just enough to cover the small roof,  with a bit of clever piecing!   They had a coat of terracotta,  then some walnut and finally a smudge or three of black soot - TH distress ink.  I also dabbed some on the house before adding the frame,  and the camera has managed to blend in the distressing.  

This is the left side, with the double window.  This was the easiest to fit as there was plenty to support it.  It did get fiddly with the timber frame.  I'd used some molding paste round the joins so the fit was a bit too snug, so a little sanding was required.  

Now we're round the back of the house.  I mixed some filler and applied it all round the chimney.  I needed to cover the joins,  and also to give it a bit of a rough look.   I was also mindful that those timber frames had to slot into place,  but they fitted perfectly.   It was the same with the windows,  it was vital that I didn't get too much paint on the inside of the holes,  and that the two pieces were aligned, otherwise the window wasn't going to fit.  

A bit of the front and the side, plus that roof.  It is card and it has to be shaped, so to speak,  then the tiles have to go on.   I may need an extra pair of hands... 

I got my blood test results today,  not good as I have more tablets to take, and have to see the GP next week.   But at least I may at last have an answer to the reason for the extreme tiredness.   I've got  little better at pacing myself,  trying not to do too much in one go so I don't feel as tired, and have a little energy for other things. 

There's been a bit of a drama with my neighbour.  On Christmas eve his GP sent him to the hospital,  so I wasn't sure if they'd keep him in or not.  Luckily he came home later in the evening.  But on Boxing Day he had to call the ambulance,  I told him off as the first thing I knew about it was when I saw the ambulance parked outside.  I've told him to let me know if he doesn't feel well, but he says he doesn't like bothering me!   Men!    So he's now in hospital,  and it looks like he'll be there until next week.   At least that stops me worrying about him.   Then I learned that the daughter of a lady I used to clean for, had died.  I was so shocked,   I've kind of been in my own bubble this year,  plus I don't get the local paper so I didn't see the obituary.   Life truly sucks at times.  A few years ago it was my cousin who was rushed to hospital with double pneumonia,  sadly he died a month later.   Death at this time of year has an added poignancy.    My own father died shortly after New Year in 1987. 

And it is raining - again!   Will it ever stop?   Over the weekend I had to keep the lights on it was so bloody gloomy.   The rain has been relentless, and our canal is creeping ever higher.  There was some flooding in another part of the borough, but nothing like as bad as it has been in Cumbria and York, etc.   I noticed that the Prime Minister didn't bother talking to local residents - I wonder why?   And how he has the nerve to say that they've not cut funding - did you see his nose growing by the minute? 

Oh well, one day left of 2015,  will the new year bring anything different?   I guess we can only hope.   That's all from me for tonight,  I will pop back tomorrow for a final post.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

And that was Christmas 2015

Here is the failed mouser...  he's been booked in for a refresher course on mousing.   I think he's a tad embarassed that a mouse got the better of him as he had a right old row with his girlfriend!  

I've been getting over the lurgy.  The sore throat is much better, as are the aches and pains.   I had to make an emergency dash to the supermarket yesterday to stock up on ibuprofen,  plus cat lit.  Poor Harvey has been forced to use his tray because of all this bloody rain.   It rained all day yesterday, it finally stopped in the evening,  I noticed that the canal is very full, just glad I don't live near it. 

Now best update you on Winterberry Hall.

Progress has been slow because of the lurgy.   Yesterday I finally got round to glueing the extra bits to the walls. This bit is the back wall,  just need to add the last bit of the chimney.    I put the window in,  once the chimney has all its pieces I'll go over it with some filler to accentuate its wonkiness.     I still have to put on the timber frame, once I've worked out which bit goes were.   Some of it is easy to place, other bits less so as they have the possibility of two locations. 

This side is complete.   I love the detail on the timber frame,   plus it has the overhang as it would have done back in Tudor/Elizabethan times.   A lot of the buildings in Chester have the timber frames,  it all looks pretty but not sure I'd like to live in one.  

I've put some molding paste round the seams,  though the roof bit won't be seen.  There have been so many bits to paint on this project,  and there is still a lot more that needs to be assembled.  Not that I mind, I've enjoyed the challenges it has thrown up.  The brick work was a revelation,  and the mask will be used again.   I intend to get more of the brick masks for future projects. 

This is the opposite side to the one above.  It now has to be dressed, as it were with more timber framing, and that also includes the windows.   The paint is grey, but the daylight lamp has bleached out the colour. 

At least today it was dry, and we even enjoyed some sunshine for a while.  Such a relief not to be stuck in the gloom all day long.   Watching the news has been heartbreaking, so many ruined houses and businesses.   It made me laugh when they said that the soldiers had given up their Christmas... er, as an ex army type I can state that when you are a soldier you are on duty whenever you are required.    At our base we could alternate between Christmas or New Year, but not have both, and then we'd only be granted leave if we not needed on camp.    You are also paid for 23hrs and 59 mins,  as a staff car driver my hours were as and when required, so some days I could be working right up to midnight, it all depended on what engagements the Brigadier had.   So folks, the army comes as cheap labour, they will do a great job and do whatever is asked of them.  As will all the other emergency services, who are being hammered by cuts under this bloody government.  

So that was Christmas,  a miserable one for a great many this year,and not just in this country.   Mine was quiet,  which was my preference.   I've done many a big Christmas celebration,  worked my way through left overs on Boxing day in a relative's house, and wanting to be anywhere else.    I've had nice Christmases with my family, and a few I prefer to forget...  in fact the last family Christmas kind of put me off wanting to do it ever again.    It was a disaster,   we had been warned (me and mum) that we wouldn't be eating dinner till around 5pm.  That was fine, knowing that meant we could plan, and so we had a late breakfast, and it was a full English.  We'd no sooner arrived at our destination than most of the family were off to a care home,  well we knew that was going to happen.  We kept ourselves amused,  cups of tea, mince pies, not too many as we still had dinner to enjoy.   So, hours passed, finally the rest of the family arrived,  more talking, no sign of food, mum and I are starving and fed up.   The chef, my BiL, finally started on dinner around 5pm,   two hours later we were all still wondering where our dinner was?    Cos BiL was faffing about, so wife and daughter got involved and sped things up, but it was not a meal to remember, no turkey either.   Then as the evening wore on, BiL became more intoxicated, he succeeded in winding up his daughter, so a huge row ensued... at which point I'd had enough of sitting in an uncomfortable chair all day and went to bed.   Boy was I glad to get out of there the next day.  Yes, bah humbug!   And I decided then that I'd had enough of 'doing my duty' and so stopped,  leaving the family somewhat baffled.   Hey ho. 

Now Harvey is desperate for his supper, so best go feed him...   hope your festivities went off without a hitch,  and that you are all safe and dry. 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

There's a mouse loose about the hoose...

At last I can show some pics of Winterberry Hall.  I apologise for the absence,  been hit with some sort of lurgy.  Woke with a raging sore throat, and an uninvited guest - a field mouse!  More on the mouse later.    I've been gargling with salt water, which has helped, and dosing myself up with stuff and feel a little better.  The chronic tiredness is persisting however.   But I have been making slow progress with the Hall.  There is a lot of stuff to be painted, so that is what I concentrated on for a couple of days.  Then the brick template arrived and I could move on.   I know I could have done my own thing, but I loved what Bea had done using the brick work, so had to go with that look. 

And, I hope you'll agree, it was worth the effort of obtaining that mask.  The fireplace will be closed off,  there are a few more layers to be added!    I was going to use a stone floor for the ground floor, but just didn't have the patience.  That is for next time.    There is a tiny bit of finishing off to do on this element, but not a lot.  The floor is some 'aged' paper,  given a few coats of glossy mod podge.  And we have stairs...  plus the inglenook. 

Upstairs there are floorboards, which I got from an online shop: Malcolm's Miniatures   -  a really good online shop for all things miniature.   Oh, they were fast on delivery, which is always a good thing.  These are self stick, and can be trimmed,  and stained.  They were easy to fit, and cut.  

More brick work on show here.   I used a terracotta acrylic paint,  and then some dark walnut TH ink pad, to darken it further, only lightly.   The walls are a soft cream,  I know cos it says so on the tester pot lid!  

There is a very long way to go with Winterberry Hall, lots more pieces to be painted and glued into place, then there is the base to construct.   It will keep me occupied for a while, or that is the plan. 

Now, back to the mouse... which appeared on Monday morning!   I have a feeling that Harvey brought it in from the field at the bottom of the road.   Naturally it looked for somewhere to hide, and kept Harvey very occupied all day!   As was I,  my preference was for the mouse to go back to where he/she came from!   The mouse seemed to like Harvey's meat treats,   I had no traps, and wasn't up to go and get any.   So my hope was that Harvey would do his cat thing and catch it.   After many hours he cornered it in the spare bedroom,  I frankly believed it was 'all over',  for the mouse that is...   but at 3 a.m. there came a rustling, okay it was Harvey making a noise in the hall.  On investigation it was a stand off between Harvey and the mouse - again!   Then Harvey took a swipe at the mouse and sent it tumbling down the stairs,  so...   it landed near the front door.   I managed to catch it before Harvey, and the mouse was put back into the wild, off it went with Harvey in hot pursuit.   No, sorry I wasn't going to stop Harvey, what he was doing was perfectly natural, plus the mouse had outsmarted him all bloody day. 

It is time for me to stop, and go make a cuppa, then sink into my bed.   Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Dashing through the snow...

Here's my Xmas tree,  huge isn't it?   NOT!   But it is still alive, and I hope to be able to plant it outside.   No lights, or baubles,  got nothing that small.  There is some glitter on it,  and if I had gone for the next size then I could have had a few lights.  Might do that next year.   You can just spot the Yuletide Shoppe beside it.  Next year I will be able to add Winterberry Hall!

Why this tree?  Well because of this tiredness I just didn't feel up to putting up a lot of decorations.  So it is the tree, my cards, candle bridge,  advent candle and a few bits that never got put away last year.   And you know what, I actually like the minimalist look.    Plus there are plenty of lights in the street to look at, one house has gone a bit bonkers,  they've even put a Christmas tree outside, and have lots and lots of lights. 

So from trees to bricks.  I completed both front bits of Railway Terrace.   Lots of weathering went on,  think it was bundled twigs wot got used, plus another dark brown.   I stripped off the rendering from the front,  I'd changed my mind on how it should look.  

Here's how it will sort of look when it is finished.  I managed to get the rear part of the roof stuck on.   And you may just be able to make out the pebbledashing.   I think if I were to do it again I'd changed which bits were the brick work,  in fact I may invest in a few more brick templates.  Once I'd got the knack of using the template, or mask,  it was easy, even doing the repeat pattern wasn't too horrendous.   I also remembered that when I'd used masks and molding paste in the past I had worked in - the kitchen.  Makes more sense as the mask has to go straight into water, so it saves having water on the craft desk, and risking knocking the bowl over. 

Just one last pic, an angled view. So there is the roof to be tiled, pebbledashing finished, front doors stuck on,  pavement glued and dressed... so not a lot to do really!?  

It's been a quiet day.   Poor Harvey was confined to base until this morning, when it had finally stopped raining.   It threw it down all bloody night,  poor Harvey was desperate to get out,  I did try telling him that it was teeming, but he had to go have a look for himself,  harmless you may think, and possibly so - but NOT at 3 a.m.!   Okay so I was awake, and had made myself a cuppa, but that didn't mean that I wished to schlep all the way downstairs just to prove to Harvey that it was raining.   And finally he used his tray, not sure how many hours he'd been crossing his legs...   but he did look very relieved.  He went out at 6 a.m.,  my second wake up,  or if you like: when I gave up tossing and turning.   I didn't get up, nooooo,   just made some tea and toast,  let Harvey have his morning walk, then once he was back in we both carried on snoozing for a few more hours.

But not done much,  aside from load the washing machine,  hobble over to shop for milk,  and marvel at the blue sky and sunshine!  Yes, sunshine!!!!!!!!!!!!     I wondered whether to take a picture just in case I don't see it again for another couple of months.   Feeling a little less tired, but that is because I've been resting for the last few days.

Got to go cos I'm now on skype.  Take care all

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Just another brick in the wall...

My mini brick template arrived - yippee!  I put the penny in the pic just to give you an idea of how tiny the bricks are.    What was most amusing was the size of the envelope this small template came in - A4!    But I was happy to see it,  it meant that I could make progress on Railway Terrace at last.

The first job was to paint the frontage of the terrace, grey to mimic the mortar.   Then came the nervous bit - applying the molding paste.  I practised first,  and wasn't too bad, so then I went for it.   Yep, there are some smudges here and there, but I actually don't mind as this is supposed to be 'weathered',  so a few lumps and bits missing don't matter.   Then I just had to wait for this section to dry before I could complete it.

I did the other front, and the chimney breast from Winterberry Hall.  Then I had a cuppa and watched the rain come down... in buckets! 

Finally I could do the other section, and once that was dry I could begin the painting, or weathering.   This is a coat of terracotta,  tomorrow I'll add some darker colours, do some smudging,  bit of sandpapering.    I am chuffed as to how it has turned out, and that this is my very first attempt at this. Now I just have to complete all the other brick work on both houses.

The craft space is rather, er, untidy,  or shall we say - littered with bits of Winterberry Hall.  Plus paint,  more tester pots,  one I have to say was a rip off as the little pot was only half full.  But it was the only dark brown I could find.   Amazingly the DIY shop was quite full, one funny scene that I spotted: two chaps trying to load a pink wendy house into van...  small van, unsurprisingly the wendy house didn't fit!  Plonkers... why not just get B&Q to deliver?

One last pic, the floor boards,  they're self stick, and just about ready to be stuck down.   I got a lot of the painting done today, with it being so bloody miserable weatherwise.  I am sick to death of the rain, that is all we seem to have had in this neck of the woods.   I'd rather it be cold and frosty but dry,  anything but this bloody wet stuff.

The supermarket was full of dazed looking folk,  all with full trollies,  and all because the shops will be shut for... one day.   I think they should be shut on Boxing Day,  the shop staff deserve a proper break.    It will get crazier next week,  with people buying enough food to last them weeks.  Then will come the idiots who haven't managed to buy any presents and who suddenly realise that it is Christmas.   Just work in any large store and you will testify that this is true,  it is incredible how many people don't buy any presents until the very last minute - and worse do so when they are drunk. 

I'm all done, cards posted, just have to hand out some to my neighbours.  My last bits of shopping will be milk, bread and food for Harvey.  Who is also disgusted with this wet stuff,  he can't go out to do his ablutions,  which he prefers to using his tray.    He had some of my chicken chow mein, well the chicken bit, tonight.  He wasn't too sure at first, then he got tucked in.  He'll be getting either some chicken or turkey on Xmas day depending on what I choose to cook.

So I'm off to watch the final bit of SCD.   Thanks for stopping by :-)

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Seeing Stars

It has, sadly, taken me till today to get over last week.   I'm so sick of feeling tired,  yesterday I barely did anything and yet I was in bed by 8.30pm.  

What has cheered me up is receiving these gorgeous swap stars from my friends in the craft group I belong to.  They're a little too big for the tree, but fit perfectly on the candle bridge.  Harvey was curious and had to sniff them all, guess he was hoping one may have contained catnip.

I've been making slow progress on Railway Terrace.  Today I managed get the render on the back and sides.   Then there is the roof, a big roof!   It's funny how it all seems to go slowly, then all of a sudden it just comes together and you're on the home stretch.

This is one set of windows and a door, all glazed and ready to be fitted.  I got some more tester pots of paint,  best way to buy the paint for the houses.    I'm still debating whether to use some of the glass paint on the small panes in the windows.   

And here is Harvey, busy on the kindle.  He's watching his cat game!   If I dare to use my own kindle he tries to take over.   His favourite toy is the laser pointer and chasing the red light.  It's keeping me amused, and isn't as tiring as any of his other toys which all require me to pull them across the floor while he watches. 

I finally managed to get my cards in the post,  then when I got home I remembered that I'd forgotten two people.  To my surprise the Post Office still had Christmas stamps,  usually by this time they've run out.   My Christmas shopping, such as it is, is all done.    There has been a few bits of bad news, a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer,  life does suck at times.    This friend is a really good person,  she doesn't deserve it,  not that anyone ever does, and a neighbour was rushed to hospital this morning.   There will be a few prayers to say tonight.

Well the energy levels are starting to dip.   I'll be back over the weekend with an update on the house. 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Turkey, tinsel and a Full English...

A bit of a gap between posts, all due to a friend spending a few days with me.   We enjoyed a lovely Christmas lunch in Chester last Thursday.  My energy levels were very low, so we didn't really do much, other than have a good old catch up.  

So due to having a guest there wasn't a lot of building going on.   Winterberry Hall arrived on Friday morning,  7.30 a.m to be precise, delivered by a very apologetic postie.   However as my friend was still with me, I couldn't even have a look inside the package!  

I am keeping things festive on this post - here is the Christmas Shop.  It is now a part of my Xmas decorations, such as they are.  I shall take a picture of my Christmas tree, I got a real one this year! 

Yesterday I finally got to inspect the components of Winterberry Hall, and there are an awful lot of bits and bobs!  I did my usual check list,  like to do that to make sure all the vital bits are present and correct.  Then I put it all back in the plastic bags,  I was far too tired to start building.  Instead I finished off the few Christmas cards I'm making, plus the stars, so they are just about ready to go.  I seem to be way behind on everything festive,  not having any energy isn't helping.  I've been taking iron supplements but they've had no effect.

And of course the Post Office, a place that we are all visiting at this time of year.   And where I'll be heading to on Tuesday to post all my cards. 

Last Friday I enjoyed a Full English, and oh boy was it delicious!   My friend and I were planning a light lunch,  then we spotted that the cafe we'd popped into for a quick cuppa were doing all day breakfasts - we couldn't resist!   It just about kept me going for a while,  it was the bitingly cold wind that got to me in the end and so we headed back home.   At least we had two dryish days,  sadly on Saturday the heavens opened again,  my heart goes out to those trying to clear up after the floods, it seems no sooner have they mopped up than they are flooded yet again.   Let's hope they have some relief soon.

I'd like some relief from this tiredness,  although I now have a energy saving way to keep Harve entertained.   My friend bought him a laser pointer,   so I can sit and just point the thing for him to chase, and he loves it!   He also loves my Kindle, he now insists on playing his 'games', plus he also likes watching other cats on Youtube - I kid you not!  My friend will testify that she and I watched Harvey watching Youtube videos of cats doing silly things, he was fascinated.  I'm hardly getting a look in on my Kindle, if I start using it then Harvey comes up and insists on taking over. 

Well I'm off to rest now,  I should be back tomorrow with a report on the latest building project!

Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Will it ever stop raining?

I'm thinking of  buying a wet suit, and swapping the car for a boat.  Fortunately, while we've had a lot of rain, we've not had any flooding.  I feel so sorry for those in Cumbria, and just before Christmas, it must be heartbreaking.   The high winds did cause some damage here,  my trellis almost bit the dust,  it is broken but has been tied up for the time being until I can replace it,  luckily my lovely neighbour has offered to do the job when the weather improves.

I have been absent from my blog, all due to extreme tiredness.  I'm having to be very careful about how much I do, and ensure that I get plenty of rest.  It's affecting everything,  including my crafting!   The Railway Inn is finished, but I've yet to start on its stand.   I've put a pavement round the pub using the air dried clay,  but as you can see it is waiting to be painted. 

The piece of wood I'lll be using for the pub will take two properties.  So I'm wondering whether to put the Cottage Stores with the pub?   I can't make up my mind,   I'm also waiting on a new kit,  a terrace of two houses, which I also think would go on this stand with the pub - decisions, decisions!   There's no rush, so I think it best to wait until I've constructed the terrace and see what it all looks like.

I've also cancelled my CnC membership.   I'm afraid I was fed up of the same old stuff and shows,  if I'd seen one more tattered lace die I think I would have screamed.  Don't get me wrong, they are lovely dies,  I've got some, but they seem to be the only dies shown on CnC.  Not that I watch that often these days,  because there is nothing I want to watch.  After I cancelled the membership I got a phone call the next day,  I think from India, asking why I'd cancelled.  It was a most irritating phone call, at first I thought it was a sales call,  whoever I was talking to had a very thick Indian accent, it was hard to understand him, and nor did I wish to engage in small talk,  I also objected to CnC calling me after I'd cancelled. 

Harvey has been using my Kindle Fire,  no I'm not kidding!   I downloaded one of those games for cats,  I didn't hold out much hope of him watching it... however, to my total surprise he was hooked!    It kept him amused for well over an hour,  in fact he would have carried on watching it only I wanted to use my Kindle, he got pretty upset when I picked it up off the floor.    He was so funny, I must try to film him,  he was captivated by the mouse, kept trying to figure out where it had gone when it went off the screen.  

I've also been making cards... quite a shock to the system.  I'm using a card kit to make some Chrismtas cards,  but also using some of my own stash to titivate them.   I also had to find 7 stars...  now you'd think that at this time of year that would be easy - yes: wrong!   It has been anything but easy.  I searched Hobbycraft but they didn't have any stars, or ones that were big enough, or affordable.   Ideally I wanted some clear plastic, or glass stars,  but quickly gave up on that idea.  Yesterday I went to my old craft shop, and after a good search managed to find some stars, sadly haven't got seven that are all the same, managed to get five, and then had to buy two different stars.   So far I've decorated one and a half stars...   and made 5 cards.   I even dragged out the grand calibur!    I'm wondering how I used to make so many Christmas cards!    Although I have to admit that batch making cards used to drive me nuts,  I didn't mind making very personalised Xmas cards, but stopped making the regular ones a few years ago.   My hat goes off to those who do hand make their Christmas cards.

That's all from me,  need to have a rest now.   I hope to be blogging later in the week.   Take care,  and stay dry.