Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Buttons, bunting and bricks!

Just two more days of that blessed referendum.  But back to more interesting things:  Buttons and Bunting!  The little shop has been coming along very nicely.  Since I last saw you much progress has been made.
After completing the front wall I gave a coat of light grey,  which does resemble mortar.  Once that was dry I got out the paint,  a bit of this and a bit of that, this time I applied it using a bit of cut and dry foam, this meant that you could actually see the mortar for a change.  Must say it is rather a nice finish.  I kept going until I was happy with the colour, then I gave the lower half of the shop front a coat of raw umber. I had to trim the bricks back a bit so that the frontage would fit nice and snugly.   That was all put aside to dry, while I assembled the windows and doors.  Next job was such a task,  put dinner in microwave!   Having chilled meals this week, can't be bothered to cook.

This is how complicated it can all get.  This is the front door to the shop, it includes a vestibule area.  To hold the two parts of the door together I used some clothes pegs. 

Today it was all about assembling the various bits and bobs for the front of the shop.  I inserted the shop sign,  made using Craft Artist Pro.  The front window took some persuading,  just got a little too much paint on the inside of the window aperture, once that was sanded back it slotted in perfectly.   This shop has two pillars, and a small ledge that goes on top of them.  I used some gold paint on the sides of the pillars, and round the edge of the ledge.

Last few jobs of the front, glue on the door,  then the window shelf,  and the smaller window ledges.  Phew,  the door was a bit fiddly,  it had to be raised to accommodate the floor, luckily I did remember!  So one shop front all done.

I've also used the brick mask on the other walls, so those three require painting and some finishing off.  Then the final task will be the roof, as it always is.

I clean forgot to take any pics of the new plants.  I managed to get them in on Monday afternoon when the sun finally made an appearance.  I used my little stool, so I could sit and take my time, but not put any strain on my back.  The new rose is beautiful,  I will need to do some dead heading,  but it has lots of buds on it.  The fuschia has settled in nicely, as have the bedding plants,  though one is a bit too droopy for my liking, hoping it will perk up. 

So tomorrow is the big day and my third vote on the EU.  I wish Cameron had taken a back seat in all this, that man truly gets on my nerves. He is so bloody patronising, as for Boris,  his shambling man act is wearing thin.  Did you know his father is voting to remain in the EU?  Mind you Boris wasn't sure was he, he'd written two articles, then what, did he toss a coin, best of three was it?   So not exactly genuine in his convictions.    It would have been nice if the remain campaign had also focused on the positives of EU membership, many communities around the country have benefitted greatly from EU money.   Instead we got fear and threats from both sides,   I stopped listening to them.  I am wondering how the Tories will put their party back together, can we hope that they just might tear themselves apart?   Anyways,  tomorrow we get to have our say,  then of course there will be endless analysis. 

So I think I am now deserving of a glass of wine.  Wonder if we'll be in or out when I next blog?  Don't forget, remember to vote!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

New week and new things to build.

Say hello to Buttons and Bunting,  my fourth Memory Lane project.   This lovely little shop arrived on Thursday,  and she was carefully put to one side whilst I watched the tennis and football, and did a little more landscaping on another project. 

Of course I watched the final today,  it was a bit nail biting at times, but the boy came good in the end.   Now have to hope he can win Wimbledon!   He was in good form, and being aggressive, which is what he needs to do. 

Good job that there was tennis on the telly as the weather has been awful.  It was fine this morning, then slowly the clouds crept in, and just after lunch it began to rain, and it hasn't stopped since.   Harvey is unamused,  though he did get a treat, some smoked sausage, which I thought he wouldn't like but he did.

On Friday I began work on Buttons and Bunting.   First job was to make some wallpaper.  I used Craft Artist Pro.   I chose some of the 'material' from the various digi kits, then made a small tile out of it,  next it was a case of copying and pasting until I'd made the wallpaper.   I did the same for the flooring,  managed to find something that resembled a tiled floor.  The next logical task was to get wallpaper on walls, which is fiddly, and time consuming but worth it.  Though once again I was a bit distracted by the tennis.   It was all left to dry thoroughly overnight.

Once I'd glued the side and rear walls together, I began work on the shop front.  Like Nanna's Pantry,   it also has a shop front,  but the upper half of the wall is made of 'brick'.   I wondered whether to use the paper clay or molding paste.  In the end I used the paper clay, but used the brick mask  Once I had the clay in place I put the brick mask on top, then using my mini brayer I rolled over the mask until I was happy with the impression.  Got to say it turned out better than I imagined.  Just waiting for the clay to dry then I can tidy it all up and paint it.   I only need to put bricks on the rear wall as the shop goes between two other properties.

Inbetween the nailbiting moments of the tennis I also painted the doors and windows.  Yes that black funny looking thing is a door.  It has three parts,  the big bit, the door bit, and the door frame.  The two rectangles with holes are for the top of the chimney.

 This is the brick mask I used. The nicest I think,  or it could be that it covers the most area. 

Aside from housebuilding I've also been sorting out the garden.  I've ignored it for the last couple of years, then I realised that I'd let one of the lavender plants die because I'd not watered it.  That sort of knocked me out of my inertia.   I got out my little stool,  just right height for the pots, and set to.  Took out a rotten old rose bush,  my next door neighbour helped get rid of the rotting wooden pots, and he kindly refilled the new plastic pots that have been laying in the shed.  I let him figure out the best place for them, well he is the garden expert.   Then it was a case of what to put in the empty pots!  So on Thursday morning I popped up to one of our many garden centres,  I got a lovely fuschia, and some bedding plants, so that was two pots filled, two to go.  I fancied putting in another patio rose,  one for my mum.  So today I went to another garden centre, and found the perfect little rose,  it is called 'sweet memories' and is a lovely shade of coral, which was my mum's name.  I got another plant as well, but can't remember what it is called, but it is full of pretty flowers.  I'll put them in tomorrow.   My neighbour also offered to take apart the two large wooden planters, both are also way past their best.   Just seeing the pots full of fresh peat made me feel better.  My neighbour's garden is lovely,  he's even growing some tomatoes.  The other day he gave me some strawberries that he'd grown on his allotment, they were so sweet. 

Must take some pics of the new plants tomorrow, the weatherman has promised a dry day.  I also have to make some phone calls about the bathroom.  It still isn't finished,  the damaged bath panel hasn't been replaced, and I'm miffed that they didn't replace my glass shower door.  I've also found a few other things wrong.  

Time to stop I think, wine time.  Enjoy your week. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

A tale of two rooves and a chimney, or two

What a day, more of that later.  First to focus on the rear wall of Nanna's Pantry.   I used the mask and molding paste,  then gave it a coat of chapel stone (grey).   Left that to dry overnight, then rather than use paint I decided to use the Tim Holtz distress ink pads, various colours.   I used some cut and dry foam to apply the colour,  just kept going until I was happy.   Then I smudged on some TH black soot distress ink. Not finished yet...   left it all to dry.  Next day I used a scribe tool (anything sharp), and began to just pick out the 'mortar' under the ink.  Still working on that, takes forever,  but it is starting to look more like a tiny brick wall.  I will seal it with some satin mod podge.   Doing this has rekindled my interest in mixed media, still got my other masks...  watch this space. 

These are the colours I used to get the wall colour.  I keep them out of the sun, in a cool dry space.  Oh, I also used 'old paper',  which also gives an aged look.  So let's fast forward...

Two finished properties!   With rooves, all painted, distressed, with 'moss' and their chimneys.   The chimneys took the longest,  for the one on Nanna's Pantry I used some of the paper clay and the brick mold, or stamp,  it is just the right size for such a small item.  For Purbeck Cottage I just applied some render.  To fix them both into place I used the molding paste,  thought it would fill in any gaps, and it did.  The moss is just some grass.  So all done,  now need to choose which property from Memory Lane to do next.

Back to my day.  I had to attend an assessment, yes, on a Sunday.  A neighbour said she could come with me,  that made me feel a little better.  But at the last minute her sister in law let her down, she was meant to be sitting with my neighbour's husband who has alzheimers.  So had to go alone, well my neighbour took me there.  I felt really sick, and cos it was so early I was still very achy and sore.  I was ready for a long wait, last time I waited nearly an hour to be seen.   But this time they were fairly quick.  Even so I was still dreading it.  It is like an interrogation, can you do this, how do you do that.  Stuff like how do you feel if your GP is delayed seeing you.  To me that was irrelevant, I've been using the same surgery for umpteen years, I know the staff, they know me and my medical history.  Instead I explained how I felt bloody angry the other week as I had to wait over an hour at the hospital.  Then I realised that I was hanging on to my ecig!  Not sure if the assessor was worried I'd use it,  so I said I was just holding it to calm me down, using it would have helped calm me.  On it went for nearly an hour, then I could go.  Got to the toilet and broke down,  just sobbed,  thought I was going to be sick at one point.    I got a lift home,  well a taxi, which happened to be driven by the boyfriend of another neighbour, it was nice to see a friendly face.  Took me ages to calm down,    had a cuddle with Harvey,  a nice cuppa and sat down to work on the houses.  Felt better for distracting myself. 

I'll have a quiet day tomorrow,  and choose my new property,  four to choose from!   One is called Crimple Cottage, how cute is that?   Need a quiet day,  for the last three weeks my flat has been invaded by workmen,  one was supposed to come back last Thursday to replace the damaged bath panel,  then arrange a time when he could repair the other things he got wrong.  Guess I'll have to chase them up,  wish they'd never had to refurb the bathroom,  I had no option,  others who've had their bathrooms done haven't had any problems, trust me to be the one who ends up with a useless workman. 

I now need a glass of wine.  Some tennis on the telly tomorrow,  Queens,  oh and Andy Murray has teamed up with Lendl again!  Good news.  Now for that glass of wine.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

How many workmen does it take to fix a shower...

Let me take you back to Monday, this was how my shower looked.   After another phone call an electrician was sent, one that knows what he is doing.   He agreed with me that the water pressure was too low,  so he sent for a real plumber.  Was told he may not be able to come till Tuesday, ho hum, more waiting.   But... he arrived at 4 pm,  and sorted out the pressure problem,  took him about fifteen minutes.  Relief,  I could have a shower, or could I, mmm, couldn't find the cover.  Either electrician had waltzed off with it or I'd put it somewhere safe.  Oh noooooooo...   Well I'd waited this long, so surely I could last one more day?   Course I could, grudgingly that is.  I was feeling tetchy, but that was because of the heat, which, for some reason, makes me very achy.  So I sat down stairs, on the stairs,  it was lovely and cool down there,  and watched Harvey bask in the sunshine.

Yes!!!!!!!!!!   A fully functioning shower, at last.  Actually it wasn't quite fully functioning on Wednesday.  However I did find the cover, but had no screws, bathroom fitter had gone off with them.  So I found some screws to act as a temporary fix, and sod it, I was going to have a shower.  Was the wait worth it, oh yes, actually it is a pretty powerful shower without actually being a power shower.  It certainly helped with the aches and pains,   also washing my hair was much, much easier.   The extractor fan also did its job and kept the steam out, not that there was much as I didn't need a hot shower.    Then later that afternoon another electrician arrives, with right screws, followed by the man who checks the work.  I pointed out the snags, as in damaged bath panel, and a loo that wasn't screwed to the floor, and a missing tile behind the loo.    They both said that the shower had to have a silicon seal before I could use it,  so I said that I already had!

Right, to Memory Lane.  Purbeck Cottage and Nanna's Pantry have now got a roof.   That's how I've been using my time,  working on the houses, while waiting for workmen.   I've put a first coat on the rooves,  and sorted out both of their chimneys.  For the rear wall of the Pantry I went back to the mask technique,  then used a variety of the TH distress inks to get the colour.  But I'll show a few photos of that tomorrow, and which ink pads I used. 

As you can see Nanna's Pantry is looking the part now.  For its roof I used card from a cereal box, as advised by Bea in her how to book (will give a proper plug tomorrow).  I have to say that I prefer using the cereal box card,  it has given a much better look to the roof.  So I'd best start eating cereal.  Actually I tend to eat cereal in the summer months, nothing nicer than cereal and cool milk.  A neighbour has just passed in some strawberries that he's been growing on his allotment, I had some last year and they were delicious. 

Now that the bathroom palava seems to be at an end,  I can focus a little on the garden.  Need to get some bedding plants, how long have I been saying that?   Just not been in the mood, and the bathroom saga really got me down.  The black dog has been following me around a lot lately.    I heard someone refer to depression/anxiety as a mental injury, and they were right.  That is exactly what it is, something is broken,  and it has to be treated, but treated properly.   They've now come up with a blood test that can help with the diagnosis and also what type of anti depressant you need.  If that really is the case then that will stop a lot of unnecessary suffering.  At the moment finding the right anti depressant is a lottery,  your GP will go for what he/she has always used, you get told it takes a few weeks to kick in. So after a few weeks and you feel no better he/she ups the dose,  you wait again, still no relief,  no counselling cos there is a bloody long waiting list.  Back you go,  doc says try this anti depressant,  usually the cheapest, see if that one works. And so on and so forth.  You can wait years to see someone who knows what they are talking about and can prescribe the right antidepressants,  during all of that time you cope as best you can, only some don't cope.

Fed up of this EU stuff,  seems like nothing else matters.   As for the shambles on the vote registration page, er why did so many leave it so late to register?   We had local elections recently, so clearly many felt no compulsion to exercise their francise then.   I may have said, but my first ever vote was the first referendum on the then EEC,  and I've voted in every election since.  I did miss a few local elections because of my army service,  but I have always exercised my right to vote.  What I have found very illuminating about all this EU stuff, or the mud slinging, is that we now know that we were all lied to during the last election by the Tories, they never had any intention of getting immigration down,  cos they knew they couldn't.  Oh and more come to this country from outside the EU, and I ain't talking about refugees. 

Think I need to get out tomorrow,  going a bit stir crazy.  Nope, no mention of that final,  just think Mr Murray let his opponent off the hook, hope he has learned that lesson once and for all.  Wimbers in a couple of weeks,  some tennis from Eastbourne, then Queens before the All England.   Now off for a much needed cuppa. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Not exactly showered with success

As they say: phew what a scorcher!   Boiling here,  a tad too hot for me, and for Harvey who sadly is unable to remove his fur coat.  Just no-one mention the French Open, not quite the result I was hoping for,  only a couple of weeks to wait till it is time for Wimbledon.  I'll update you on the bathroom at the end... oh yes, the saga continues!

In the meantime there is Nanna's Pantry, which is coming along nicely.   The front is now complete.  For the shop window I used raw umber, to give it a washed out look. Then for the front door and upper window I used Lamp Black.  The shop window also has a display shelf,  I gave that a very thin coat of cream paint, then dabbed on some TH old paper, to give it a distressed look.  I had to trim the acetate for the shop window, which proved fiddly because it was in situ.  Note to self, check size next time. 

And the rear wall is also done.  I did try to use the scribe method on this wall, but for some reason couldn't get straight lines.  Also I was having problems making the grooves for the bricks, my right hand has been really sore of late.  I've lost some strength in both wrists and hands, but the right hand is the worst.  Guess it makes sense as it is my dominant hand.   So I reverted back to molding paste and the mask.  However, rather than paint it, I used the TH distress inks to get the brick colour. First I gave the bricks a coat of chapel stone grey,  using a Crown Tester pot,  then let that dry overnight.   Then came the fun part!

These are four of the five inks I used, the fifth being the old paper.  I began with the rusty hinge, then used the fired brick (very apt), some walnut stain, and kept going until I was happy.  Then I dabbed on some of the black soot.  It will be sealed with a coat of the glossy mod podge.  It does save all that mucking around with paint.  

So shall I return to the bathroom?   Not literally.  In the last post I said that I'd fixed the flush switch on the toilet (with the help of YouTube).  After I tested the shower, the electrician had said that a screw needed to be tightened, with a bit of help from YouTube, I located the fixing screw,  and was going to tighten it, but... the plumber had put the screw in the wrong place, meaning that the shower could not be properly located into place.   It needed a masonery drill, which I have, but which, I discovered, is now too heavy for me to use.  I decided to risk it anyway, so put the front cover on, and switched on the shower... nothing, nada, zilch, no water!   Some expletive, deletives followed.   Then I made an angry call to the chap in charge,  who said he'd get it fixed on Monday.  So have to make do with the bath, which is just not as convenient as the shower.

I was also delayed at the hospital, and got to see the doctor an hour after my appointment time.  She did apologise for the delay,  I was more worried about going over the two hours in the car park and having to pay £7 if I did.    Not a lot to report other than I have chronic anaemia,  caused by who knows what,  actually I just couldn't be bothered to ask.  I was hot, fed up and the black dog was by my side (depression for those unfamiliar with the black dog analogy).  Plus the doc is a bit miserable,  I said that I was an 'oddity', and instead of getting a reaction she just carried on typing on the computer.  So she sent me off for more blood tests,  apparently my liver test was a bit high, and of course they immediately accuse you of drinking too much.  I'm drinking far less these days, but am on a tremendous amount of painkillers.  The liver test was in the danger zone, only very slightly high,  but the one I had at the GP only a few weeks ago was normal.   It felt like one of those days when things were just never going to go right.  Like with the traffic, I seemed to get stuck behind every dozy so and so, or choose the most congested route.  Then at the petrol station I chose the wrong pumps,  taken up by two people who took their own sweet time to fill their cars, then go pay for them...  then saunter back, the final insult was the woman directly in front of me who then decided to chat to her back seat passenger before moving off!   Please note, that if you are at a petrol station and you notice long lines of traffic, then DON'T do a go slow!   Why was I rushing to get home, because the plumber had promised to return to finish off a few small jobs, he never showed up, which is why the shower isn't work, and why I had to fix the flush button.  

The heat is making me very achy,  going to enjoy a nice, cool, glass of water,  got a jug cooling in the fridge.   I'm only moaning about the heat cos it affects me, I know plenty of others are loving it, and so they should.  Right, off for that glass of water,  enjoy the upcoming sunny week.  And thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The very posh bathroom

Isn't the weather bootiful?   Makes a change for us 'oop north' to have the good stuff, long may it continue. 

Have you spotted it?   The photo, a finished bathroom!    Could have danced for joy, only my back wouldn't have like it or allowed me.  It was almost finished yesterday,  only almost.  But I did at least have a working bath, sink and loo, even if they were missing a few bits. 

The new sink,  sadly it needs a new tap, this one is way too short to flow properly.  Wish I'd not chose the mixer tap, not even sure why I did. The sink is a bit shallow for my liking, though I'm sure I'll get used to it.   There was one problem, the water pressure, which was diabolically slow.   I couldn't figure out why,  the taps in the kitchen were fine.  Eventually I figured it out, one of the stop taps hadn't been opened fully...   simple mistake.  Once it was fully open the water pressure was much better.    Loved all the new boxed in work, much better than the rather chaotic diy effort.  That wasn't down to me,  it was done way before I moved back home.  Now I've got some nice shelves to put stuff on. 

Shower is missing its front plate.   I'm blaming the electrician, who was here yesterday and could have easily have fitted the shower, instead he spent an awful lot of time on his mobile phone, before taking an early dart.  Then today, rather than turn up with the plumber he comes after he's gone. So, that meant the shower still isn't working, plus at that point I'd not sorted out the water pressure problem.  The compensation is that I do have a working bath, which I tested this morning.  Oh it was bliss to have a bath,  it did help the back, and this bath has handles, and is shallow, so it wasn't too bad to access.   Now got my grab rails, and my bath board is back in situ.   There was one other problem, the loo.  Or the flush mechanism, which the plumber hadn't seen before. So I figured how it worked, showed him,  said he'd have to cut a bit off the two flush bars, well he did, but not enough.  I only found out when I went to flush the loo, first the button cover flew off... put that back on,  loo flushed but then wouldn't stop!   I realised what was wrong, but should I fix it or wait... sod that.  I unscrewed the button,  took it apart,  cut off a little more from both bars,  put it back together... success! 

Now for something completely different, Nanna's Pantry, which is coming along nicely.   I finished off the front, complete with brick work.  This time I didn't use the mask, but some paper clay,  which I scribed using a piercing tool.  Once that was done I mixed up some mortar looking paint,  applied that and then did the bricks.  The shop front took the longest, I kept changing my mind on how I wanted it to look.  I did the sign using Craft Artist Pro;  after measuring the aperture, I made a text box using the measurements, then added the text.  Then I found some peel offs, well... why not!   Used them on the detail pieces,  now it needs the windows, and the door.  Also have to finish the back wall,  the sides can be left unfinished as it will be sandwiched between two other properties.  Then just need to complete the roof. 

We've had fun and games here today.  Unitied utilities arrived, think they were either going to put in a water meter for my neighbour.  Anyways,  I was engaged in putting stuff back in the bathroom.  Next thing I hear the workmen outside let out a string of expletives, me being nosy went to have a look...  well they'd only gone at broken the mains pipe.  There was water everywhere, and men running round like headless chickens.    They did try to fix it,  first they used a pump, but since the water was coming out faster than they could suck it out it seemed a bit pointless.  They abandoned that idea,  while one phoned 'home',  or HQ,  the rest put up more signs!  Water is still flowing like a river down the road, apparently they did tell one neighbour that they'd fix the leak tonight...  I doubt it.

Got another hospital appointment tomorrow, find out the results of the tests.   I'm still feeling very tired, and a bit breathless, so something isn't right.  I've been dutifully taking the Vit D that the doc prescribed, but can't say they've made much difference.  Also feel incredibly achy all over,  as for the back,  it is killing me.  Yesterday I got cramp, it was so bad I couldn't drive the car, had to wait in the car park till it passed, it took ages.   I'd had to go to the supermarket cos Mr Fusspot, aka Harvey,  had no food,  and I was also out of milk, and neither of us could wait till Mr Tesco came with the delivery today.  At least I was able to cancel the milk and cat food from the order, phew.   As I said, the bath this morning helped the very sore back,  but only for a little while.

Think I need to go rest my back.  It would be nice if I could have a lie in tomorrow, but have to be up early for that appointment.  All for now, thanks for stopping by.