Sunday, 31 July 2016

Time to think Big!

Evening, sorry for not posting much lately,  will explain later. In the meantime a new property arrived: Marshalswick House, which is the big and posh house on Memory Lane.

It is easily the biggest little house I've constructed so far, I mean, look at all those windows!   Eight windows, one door, actually it is a posh door as you will soon see.  I had to focus on the front, it was going to need the most work, and also needed a lot of thought.  I had to decide how to do it, brick or render, if render, what type of render?   Then it was important to get the colour right, it couldn't be an 'in your face' colour, it had to be a bit upmarket,  but also a little shabby round the edges.  So, once the wallpapering was done (forgot to take pics of inside, will do so soon),  it was on to the front, and out with the paper clay.

I covered the front with a piece of paper clay,  then left it to dry. It was rolled to about 2 mm,  I covered the front with a solution of PVA and water,  this helps to seal the MDF.  Then before I applied the paperclay I applied some modpodge, then carefully teased out any bubbles in the clay.  It takes about 24 hours to dry completely.   I find it best to do any trimming at this stage, before it dries, any remaining bits can be removed with sandpaper or a sharp blade. 

Once it was all dry I gave the clay a coat of the PVA and water solution,  this was to stop the clay absorbing too much paint.  Then I gave it a thin coat of paint, brandy cream, followed by two more coats. 

Next task, to fit all the windows and window ledges. I'd already given the window frames a coat of white paint, which was dulled down a little, did not want them to look too bright or new.  

I also used some molding paste as filler to cover any holes or gaps beneath the window ledges. 

I then had to cover the door 'frame', the external frame, with more paper clay,  I did the same with the step.  They were both fixed on with molding paste, this helped prevent any gaps. 

I'm now experimenting with some extra window decoration.  Think these are a little too fat, I might also make some quoins.   Then I have to do the roof, and finish off the rest of the brick work.  I'll take some proper pics over the next couple of days. 

I've been busy with appointments,  hospital and counselling.  This week I had to go to a different hospital to have my moles looked at.  I went prepared for the usual wait, took my kindle so I could read my new book.  Just got settled in the waiting room and, my name was called!   I had all my moles checked, and was given the all clear,  nurse explained what they all were and that I was fine, but I had done the right thing by getting them checked.   Then on Wednesday morning, I had my second counselling session,  it was more intense this time, and my counsellor explained that he was thinking that I may need a more indepth form of counselling, possibly psychotherapy.   I could have cried,  at last, someone was listening!    He'd taken on board all I'd said,  and wanted to know more,  so we talked for a good 45 minutes, and by the end of it he suggested that I needed the next level of counselling.  This does mean a wait, but it will only be a couple of weeks.    I'd actually gone to that session to say that I didn't want CBT again, it hadn't worked the last time,  in fact the mental health nurse felt that my first counselling experience back in 2013 had been mishandled,  they should not have attempted CBT, but recommended that I have a proper assessment.  The service I'm using now is totally different to that which was on offer in 2013,  and already it feels so much better.  

But my pain levels are really bad,  and the tiredness is back.  Hence I've not really felt up to blogging, or much else to be honest.   I did make it to Tesco,  he needed food, and food delivery wasn't due for another couple of days. So got Him food and treated myself to an art magazine, good job I did as there is a lovely exercise to try.  Don't usually buy magazines,  I'm fed up of the craft mags, they are all much of a muchness,  and as for the other stuff, the gossip types, hate them.  I downloaded the new Erica James novel, slowly working my way through it, oh it isn't a hard read, far from it, it just takes me ages to read a book.  Funny when I think about it, after all I have a degree in English Literature,  and used to read all the time.   If I'm honest there is a whole stack of books I've bought but have yet to read,  I hope one day that my love of reading will return. 

My brain also feels foggy,  my GP suggested I take a heavier dose of one of my painkillers for the back pain. I had a think and have added one more tablet,  not sure I want to take much more as they do make me feel drowsy.  I am seeing if I can do without the HRT,  so far so good,  just keeping my fingers crossed that the menopause symptoms have gone.   The horrendous heat the other week didn't do me any favours,  I hope we don't have a repeat of it.  I love the sun,  and I like it being warm, just not 34 C, that is just too much.  Poor Harvey also suffered,  I discovered that he'd missed his litter tray and had urinated on the carpet!   I got some stuff from the pet shop, and soaked the carpet with it, had to do it a few times, then a neighbour pitched in and gave it a good scrub.  The smell has gone thank goodness.  I can't think why he did it, he's never done anything like that before, not even when he first came to live with me, so I can only put it down to that heatwave.  I made sure he had plenty of water, but he didn't feel like eating, so I think he must have become a little dehydrated and so a bit confused.  He's now back to his usual self, but not happy that the new cat downstairs got a bit cheeky and came in the other day.  They had a big fight,  fortunately Harvey wasn't hurt, and I chased the other cat.  It's not a very nice cat, seems to be a bit of a bully and has had a few arguments with the other cats in the road. 

Now it is diary time.  Hope to blog more this week!  Take care

Friday, 22 July 2016

It's almost done!

Not much blogging has been going on due to some extensive 'building work',  or this cutie: Crimple Cottage.   Odd how the small stuff always takes the longest time. 

Of course being the smallest made it the fiddliest in every way.  Trust me, that window is tiny, and the post box even tinier.  The brick work drove me nuts,  just lining up the mask, plus I was also attempting to focus on the tennis, no easy feat when you are watching a Brit,  but he won, so I was happy. 

Then this week the heat knocked me for six, it was 34C here, way too hot.   Poor Harvey was also suffering,  we both lay on the bed, with the fan going,  my head was banging.   My flat was just so hot, and no amount of window opening helped cool it down. The worst thing was that on Wednesday I had to be up early,  just about managed it.

The cottage is at the start of Memory Lane, and sits next to Buttons and Bunting.   When I took the photo the roof still needed painting, and the chimney attaching. I did that today, but will take more photos of each property this week.

The next task, once the final property and lean to are finished, will be to create a 'lane'.    I'd like to master landscaping, so far I've just done bits and bobs, but would like to know how to make flowers, and hedgerows. 

But now I must unveil the, almost finished:

Memory Lane!   Just one more property to add, which will arrive tomorrow.  It is the posh house, the biggest in the lane, so it should keep me occupied for a while.  I'm already designing some wallpaper for it.  The last prpperty is called Marshalswick House, it fits between Daffodil Cottage and Nanna's Pantry,  the very last piece is a lean to which fits on the side of Purbeck Cottage.   I just about managed to squeeze these six on the shelf on top of the craft desk.   There are still some finishing touches,  more distressing, and those chimney pots are looking way too 'new'. 

You may write me down in history
 With your bitter, twisted lies, 
You may trod me in the very dirt
 But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 Does my sassiness upset you?
 Why are you beset with gloom? 
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells 
Pumping in my living room.
 Just like moons and like suns, 
With the certainty of tides,
 Just like hopes springing high,
 Still I’ll rise.

That is just part of the poem: Still I'll Rise, by Maya Angelou,  one of my favourite writers.  She is always inspiring.   I often use quotes from her in my diary entries.   

This week feels like it has been so full on,  that is partly due to the heat knocking the stuffing out of me.   As I said, poor Harvey was also suffering, he didn't want to eat, and when he finally did he was sick.   He's much better now, more like his usual uppity self, and tucking in to his (and my) smoked sausage.  

On Wednesday I had my first counselling session, after a near 4 month wait my appointment finally came through.   However on Saturday I got a letter from the counselling service apologising for the long delay, and asking that if I was feeling better I could cancel!   Then on Monday the letter with my appointment arrived...  yep, made me wonder if they knew what they were doing.  Anyway I'm going to give it a go.  Wednesday was the first session, though it was more of an assessment,  and took place in a very stuffy room, ugh,  couldn't wait to get out of there back into the fresh air.  There was actually a nice cool breeze coming off the river, it was really welcome.   And today I had a hospital appointment,  I had hoped to get the results of my tests, but nope, one test result had gone missing so it has to be repeated.  Plus I have to have a scan, then next week I'm off to another hospital to have some moles looked at, then in August I have to go to another hospital about my back.  

Plus, if that weren't enough, I got some duff advice,  but think I've managed to rescue the situation, at least I hope so.  

So best get this out there. 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Bouquets and brickbats, plus a pub!

I'm not in the best of moods, more on that later.  But let's head back to the pub.  Here is the front,  windows, door, sign...  one sign, there is another.  I pinched a pub sign from Google images,  then shrank it right down to ONE centimetre, so that it would fit inside the frame. 

I made a bit of a botch job on one window.   I glued it into place and left it to dry,  made a cuppa and then glanced at the window... oops, not quite in the right place.  Fortunately it hadn't dried so was easy to take off and resite.  Now I need to put the door knob back on, it has fallen off twice.   There are a few bits missing...  like the ledge above the door and that second sign..  

So,  let's move on to second pic

Tah dah!   Sign, ledge and doorstep.  No roof - yet.  The sticky out sign didn't come in the kit,  I bought it a while a go and was intending to use it for something else, but then changed my mind.  So I dug it out,  I painted the frame with some gold paint, the rest was painted black, and I inserted the small pub sign.  Looks rather natty.   I've also got a another 'A' frame signage board,  not sure when I'll use that. 

So, with all that done, it was time to focus on the other walls. It was a toss up whether to continue with the 'brick' look, or do a mix of brick and render, so went for the latter option.

So how to do this?   Simples,  I marked out the areas where I wanted the bricks to show through, then splodged on a load of PVA and sprinkled on lots and lots of sand.  Then when the render was dry I rolled out some paper clay,  and laid it over the area were I wanted the bricks.  Once glued into place, I then pressed in the brick mask.  Now it just has to dry.

Here's a close up, still needs a bit of a tidy up at one edge.  Then when it is all dry, it will be painted, then the bricks will be picked out with the sponging method. 

Might do that tomorrow... depends on how nervous I feel during the final.  It was great to see Andy make it to his 3rd final, but sad to see Roger lose.  I wonder if he will come back next year?   I'd hate him to go on too long.  I think his injuries and lack of matches caught up with him during his semi final.  But Murray played an excellent semi final,  so tomorrow we all have to keep our fingers and toes crossed. 

Why am I in a bad mood?   First the weather, it has rained all day,  did someone say it was July?  

Next a letter arrived,  one that is chock full of lies.  I was upset,  but now I've calmed down,  and I've got some help arranged to help me fight it.  Can't say too much, sadly, want to, but can't. 

It's been an odd week, got the bathroom sorted,  managed to find some positivity to do sorting of another kind, as in paperwork.   I disagreed with two FB 'friends', use the term loosely,  and they unfriended me!   Hilarious,  I wasn't rude,  just asked politely if they could not post propoganda on my FB page, and off then went in a huff.  I accept that if I post an opinion on FB then there is a chance that someone may disagree with me, fair enough, but it seems a few folk don't want their opinions or views challenged.   Not a bit bovvered,  nice not to have my FB page full of nasty propoganda anymore.  If you are wondering why I would be 'friends' with someone who has opposing views to myself, well it was because I didn't realise what they were like until very recently, in fact during the Brexit stuff.   They had their opinion, and wanted to us to leave the EU, and I thought that we were better staying in, so nowt wrong with that, after all the country was pretty much split 50/50.  But then all this nastiness started,  and all the truly awful posters, then the propoganda, from both sides, along with all the lies, again, from both sides.  And I began to see another side of some people, which frankly I didn't like, but I did continue to bite my lip until this last week and then I snapped, but in polite way.  Next time not going to be so bloody polite, or put up with it for so long. 

So now I am off for a drink, not at the pub,  just opened a nice bottle of red,  and it should be ready to drink.  So cheers all!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Whose round is it?

Evening folks,  this could get a bit disjointed,  I'm engrossed in football and tennis,  much channel hopping going on!  I'm also enjoying a nice, cool, lager.  

So, state of play on Buttons and Bunting,  it is just awaiting its chimney!  Yep, roof is painted,  and glued into place,  a little bit more distressing on the front, plus chimney and this little shop will be complete.  It all came together very nicely, I'm liking my much improved brickwork technique.  I'm using the mask but pressing it into the paper clay.  And on the subject of paper clay, I have found some UK stockists,  which is brilliant as delivery is far quicker.  Only got small packet, but that was my mistake, didn't read the blurb properly - doh. But I have some to do the brickwork on the pub.  Ooh I say,  Murray is up four love...  come on Andy!

To the pub, well why not!  This is the inside of the front wall.   Please trust me when I say that the wonky window is now straight!   It wasn't glued into place, just needed a tweak.  I'm using some black peel off stripes to act as window frames, just so the edges look a bit neater.  Need new blades for craft knife,  seem to have bought some rubbish blades, they are not lasting long and driving me nuts.

And here is the other side.  Looks kinda nice?    I did this yesterday, while the bathroom faults were being attended to, more on that in a mo.   Today I just did a little more sponging on the bricks.  But very happy with it so far.

The front with some windows, the lower two aren't glued into place, so they are a bit on the wonky side.   I got a bit engrossed in the Federer match, did think he might get beat, but he hung on in there.  I hope this will be his last year,  I want to remember him at his best.  Such a fabulous tennis player, possibly the greatest, but who knows.

Tomorrow is the Ladies semis,  and two Williams sisters,  they're not my cup of tea,  don't much like brutal tennis, or all that screeching.   All the British women capitulated fairly easily during the first week.  The British men were pretty much the same, save for Andy, what will we do when he retires?  Novak is out, so who will win the title?   I know who I want to win.. 

Well finally my bathroom is finished.   I did complain, sent an email, to be fair they responded very quickly.  Someone came to visit to see what faults were outstanding,  she took pics and promised to arrange for the work to be completed asap.  Next day a pair of workmen arrived, they listened, took my list, went off to get what they needed, came back and set to work.  It soon became clear that the first bathroom fitter had done something of a botch job on the bath panel,  and the box work, so that all had to be redone.  It all took till mid afternoon, think they liked my tea,  and it was all finished.  The chap told me what he'd had to do,  far more than I thought,  and that was just to put right what the other idiot had botched.  But bathroom now looks lovely, I was happy to thank them,  and today I emailed a compliment for such swift action.  Well fairs, fair, they did respond quickly and the work was done without delay.  Best of all is that my central heating is to be replaced!  Yeah, you'd think I'd be mad to want more work done to the flat, but the present central heating system is over 30 years old, and badly needs updating.   I should also save money,  managed to shave a bit of money off the water bill this time round, so my water saving scheme is working nicely.   I can't tell you how nice it is to have a finished bathroom! 

Not a good week pain wise,  or with the depression,  I had two very low days this week.  Wish I knew why,  there never seems to be a reason.  When the downers happen it is hard to stay focused, in fact, make that impossible.   Harvey has also been in fussy mode,  today I found that Felix have put together some new flavours,  so got that box,  this is all I get these days from supermarket,  his food!  The rest comes via Mr Tesco delivery man,  but I always need to get exra milk and bread, and food for Mr Fussy.   So far Harvey has happily tucked into two of the new flavours and enjoyed them.  Phew,  it won't last.  Had a bit of a laugh with a fellow cat owner at the supermarket, she was scratching her head like me,  both of us wondering what our cat would eat!   Then, would you believe, I went to get some sand,  from the beach,  what, pay for sand?   You are joking, I live just five minutes from a golden, sandy beach.   Just got a small bagful, dried some of it in the microwave.  The things us model makers do! 

Time for second beer...   and second half of the footie.   Should get a bit done on the pub tomorrow,  will only be half watching the tennis.  And Murray is through to the semi final!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Sunday, 3 July 2016

New balls please

Sorry,  I've been rather engrossed in the tennis, good job they have that roof on centre court.  One more week to go,  keeping fingers crossed, though Murray has a tough match tomorrow. 

Also been busy with Buttons and Bunting,  just in the process of finishing off the roof.  So far I have four of the properties that make up Memory Lane, here they are,  sitting on top of the craft desk.  Once I've got the roof finished for Buttons and Bunting, I'll take a proper photo.

A head on shot, although I'm not sure you can tell what I've been up to.  I stripped back Daffodil Cottage, just the brick work, and started over.  I then used the sponge method to paint the bricks, which I think is a much better finish. For the sides and rear wall I used the render finish.  The properties aren't in their finished order,  this is just to give an idea of how it all looks. 

And every community needs a pub!  This is the Marsworth Arms,  and mine is currently on the craft desk.   It has been prepped, papered and glued together, now waiting for the glue to dry overnight.   Of course there is much to do,  brick work, windows, door, and pub sign to design. 

Not been a busy week,  just a bit of pottering around the flat.  The last two days haven't been easy as I've been very sore and achy.   I have been trying to tidy up, things seem to have got a bit messy.  This was a result of the bathroom saga, which is actually still ongoing.   I'm still waiting for them to fix the faults, got so fed up of waiting that I put in a complaint,  and also told them that my glass shower screen was chucked out,  which I allowed but only because I was assured it would be replaced, well it was, but with a plastic curtain. 

I did make something other than a small house, a new keyboard drawer.  The bathroom fitter had chucked out a whole piece of board,  so I rescued it.  All I had to do was cut it, which was easy as it was only plastic, and screw it on to the keyboard drawer runners, easy peasywith an electric screwdriver.   It looks really smart.  I sill have some of the plastic board left, not sure what I'll use it for. 

The flat is now tidy, sorted out the mail,  I do open it, but then some of it has to be filed so I know where I'm up to with bills etc. It all piles up on the kitchen table until I'm in the mood to sort it.  And of course there were bills to pay,  plus car tax... but did that by direct debit for the year, that will be a blessing as I won't be getting a demand at Christmas.  Finally got around to going through the art stuff,  that had just been dumped on a chair, now it is in some sort of order,  others would call it 'chaotic', but I call it 'orderly'.  

My new plants are coming along nicely,  all have now picked up.  Did think a couple might die, but nope, they've sprung back to life.  The new rose bush, the patio size, is doing very well, full of lovely roses, and it has a light scent.  The winter Jasmine, that I thought really had kicked the bucket, it now positively blooming.  I came out the other day to start tying up the stalks, only to find my neighbour had done it for me.  He's such a lovely chap,  he gave me some more strawberries from his allotment,  they were lovely, so sweet and juicy.  Still got one more tub to fill,  no idea what to put in it,  I'll have to have a mooch round the garden centre. 

I'm now going to pour a glass of wine,  time to put my feet up I think.  Let's hope the sun shines this week,  think we've had enough rain.   Have a good week.