Saturday, 13 February 2016

Introducing: Church Farm Cottages

My first blog on Church Farm Cottages.    I've had a busy few days working on it, doing lots of prep work and figuring out what was what.  

The first task was to give the whole thing a coat of diluted PVA glue, this would act as my primer and stop paint and other glue from simply soaking into the MDF.  Next it was to draw a dividing line between the large and smaller cottages as both have different frontages.   Then I needed to have a quick look at Bea Broadwood's Exterior Finishes book to see how to recreate the render.   Then at last the fun could begin!    I decided to tackle the brickwork on the smaller cottage front first.  I've pretty much got the hang of the mask and paste,  I'd got half done and, disaster struck - I ran out of masking tape, so I had to stop work for the day.

 The next day I continued work having restocked on a few supplies.   I finished the brick work and set it aside to dry.   In the afternoon I was able to mask off the brickwork and make a start on the render.   I had been mixing the sand and paint, but the book told me to apply a layer of PVA glue and sprinkle on the sand, so that is what I did.  That was also set aside to dry thoroughly.  I then thought about the inside of the house, would I paint it again or use some wallpaper?

So I had a look for printable wallpaper and found some at   I made my selection and printed off a couple of sheets.  Here is the result.  This is the small cottage, doesn't it look pretty?   I also printed the flooring.  And you can spot the fireplace, not yet finished or secured into place.  I've still got to put in a skirting board.  

The other cottage is larger, so I decided that the occupants would have 'grander' wallpaper.  I made a slight mistake with my measuring, so I printed off a border to cover it up.  Again the fireplace is just to give an idea of the room will look like once finished.  I think the wallpaper makes a huge difference to the look of the cottage.  The web site also has other free printables such as rugs, signs and lots of other things.    They do stuff in 1:12,  1:24 and 1:48, plus links to other useful sites.

 Today it was time to glue the carcass together, hence the masking tape.  This is a picture of the small cottage,  just two rooms,  I can, and may, add a few outbuildings such as the toilet and wash house.   The upper floor has floorboards,  yep, putting all my new found skills to good use. 

That's all I could do, aside from give the window frames their first coat of paint.  Tomorrow I will continue with the brickwork on the rear wall, and the render.   Then with that drying I will be able to paint the front of the house, and wallpaper the inside of the frontage.  When I think back to the first house I made I realise how far I've come, and how much I've learnt.    I think the trickiest part of this project is going to be the thatched roof,  I have a choice of using the technique given in the book, or buying some thatch.  Not sure which to go for. 

I also had some sad news this week, my neighbour, who lives in the groundfloor flat has to go into residential care.  He's not been well for sometime,  though for a long time he seemed to bounce back after each illness, but not this time.   His medication is causing making him confused, plus because he is unable to get out as he used to do, he's becoming lonely.    However it has given me an opportunity to move into a one bed flat, and also stay in the area.  So wish me luck!   I can't see any problems with me applying to move,  they are eager to let folk go to one bedroomed flats.   It will make life much easier for me,  I do find the stair difficult at times.  Like today,  my back has been giving me hell, and has affected my left foot, it feels like I am walking on a red hot poker.  The painkillers only take the edge off the pain, as do the anti-inflammatories as I can only take a low dosage of them.  The weather is also now playing  a large part in what I can and can't do.   Today it was freezing,  I don't mind cold, frosty days, rather that than the wind and rain, but because of the Raynaud's I can't stay out in the cold too long.   I've got some thermal gloves, which help, but think I need some thermal socks!   However the cold also affects my back and my wonky knee.   I think we just crept above freezing today.   I stayed put,   the sun kept the flat warm, and also Harvey.  I think he'll enjoy living on the ground floor, it will mean he can use the window to go out, and also use the communal garden at the rear of the flats.  None of us actually use it,  this is because we all have to go out of our flats, take a short walk and go through the gate.  Frankly no-one can be bothered,  they really should have put a door in the ground floor flats so that the garden could be used.  Poor planning. 

I've not been good in other ways,  life seems to be a battle at times, that is why I'm eager to stay in familiar surroundings,  I'm not sure I could cope with a whole new place to live.   I've done my fair share of moving over the years,  once with my parents, then the army,  then I came home, after that I headed to London for a while,  came close to living down in Gloucester but decided to stay in Liverpool.   When I was in the ambulance service I came very close to actually buying my own place, and if I tell you I would have been living in the Albert Dock, think you'd be shocked!   Back then the Albert Dock apartments were very cheap,  I'd moved onto to full time emergency work in the ambulance service, and had just begun my training as a paramedic.   So I decided to save up and get my own place,  two years later my world was turned upside down,  my dad died after a long illness, and I was facing a medical discharge from the ambulance service.   Just shows how quickly life can change.   I guess had I not hurt my back then my life would have taken a different course. 

Well I think I've bored you all enough for tonight.  Harvey has decided against heading out for the night,  seems he wants to keep warm.   Stay warm.  

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