Friday, 18 November 2016

Just strumming...

Hi there, it is a tad cold round these here parts.  Got my thermal socks on, jumper...   not yet resorted to gloves.  
Have you spotted Harvey's new sleeping space?  Yep, atop of my printer,  well, why not?   Honestly,  why do cats choose the silliest places to sleep?   He is on the mend,  he had a flea problem, but wouldn't let me near him with the 'spot on', so got a collar,  but he was also allergic to the fleas so had a few 'sores',  and so I got some cat tea tree cream, which he likes and is doing the trick nicely.

To the pub, no the miniature pub...   Started the roofing last Friday.  I took the tiles slightly over the edge,  but it worked out nicely.  I used some grey card,  sadly it wasn't the right colour I wanted for the tiles but it would do as a base.  After the tiles were on, I gave it a coat of flat grey emulsion and left it to dry thoroughly for twenty four hours. 

Then, a few days later it all looked like this!  Still got some 'distressing' to do on the roof, but the pavement is done,  filled in a few gaps round the steps,  then had to carefully apply some paint, using the smallest brush I have.  Then it was a case of a bit of tidying up,  oh and sorting out the chimney.

The chimney was provided with the nobbly covering, so I had to really focus on the ageing,  I also added a couple of little 'pots'.  It is now finished!   Used lots of bits on the pavement, grass, sand and 'leaves', then just kept on dabbing on various browns till I felt happy with how it looked.  I sanded the pavement down in a few places, to make it look worn.   Very happy with the result. 

I've been watching lots of 'how to' videos on line, but not of mini houses, rather how to build your own guitar!  No, not planning to,  it is rather specialised, and you need a bit of woodworking experience, plus muscle power.  I also watched a few videos of how to repair guitars, which I think may be useful, stuff like how to keep your guitar in good order,  just some maintenance stuff. And how to check the action, or the string height. 

And here it is, my guitar, looks very smart.  And it sounds lovely.  I checked the 'action' and it is spot on,  not bad for a supposedly 'cheap' guitar.  I have changed the strings,  I was finding the steel strings very difficult,  and wasn't able to practice for long. So did a bit of research and found that if you get silk/steel strings, they are easier on the fingers.  So I invested in a set, and it is bliss!   I can now practice for up to ten minutes at a time, still need to build up the callouses on the fingers, but with these strings it is so much easier.  I've now mastered three chords,  doesn't sound like much, but I'm chuffed.   When I took the old strings off I gave the fretboard a bit of TLC, it felt a bit dry, so just dabbed on some almond oil, one chap said he used it on his guitars, some use linseed, others said they liked lemon oil, while quite a few used some professional product that seemed to cost an arm and a leg.  Nah, used the almond oil, the fretboard came up a treat.   I now know all the bits of the guitar,  frets, fretboard,  nut, bridge and saddle...  and watched a lady bring a very old guitar back to life.  It was fascinating to watch,  the neck was broken, the body had a few cracks,  the finish needed to be stripped back and replaced, it had no bridge, so she had to make on,  she also had to get some tuners made,  that was because it was so old the measurements were different.  She also French polished it,  which is quite a skill, something my uncle used to do.  The guitar turned out to be over a hundred years old,  but she managed to restore it, and at the end she played it,  it sounded wonderful.  

I'm very happy with my guitar, it isn't a full size guitar, and I am relieved it isn't.  It  had occured to me that I might not be able to hold a full sized guitar,  not with the back and neck issues.  So my guitar is a 3 quarter model, and is perfect for me, doesn't put any strain on me.  I had been advised to buy a 'name',  but they cost a lot of money,  yes they are worth it, but I needed to know if I could manage to play, and more importantly will keep it up.  Besides the entry level 'name' guitars are okay, but if you do get into playing, then you are probably better paying over a hundred quid and getting something really decent.   I also looked at a few videos which examined what they call 'chibsons', or the Chinese copies of the Gibson guitar, and boy are those 'Chibsons' rather ropey.  Poor materials,  low quality electrics,  some even arrive broken, oh they look like the real thing, but they're not.  A few folk spend a bit of money and do end up with a half decent guitar, but I feel for anyone who falls for these fakes.  But it is worth doing some research before you buy a guitar,  and don't feel pressured into buying something really expensive if it is your first guitar.  And if those steel strings hurt, then switch to the Martin, low tension silk/steel strings,  you'll love them,  and look on ebay, they'll be far cheaper. 

So me and the cat...  well he is much happier, more his old self now.   As for me, still in pain, lots of it.  A pity I can't just put on a velvet collar and make it all go away,  much easier for cats.  At least Harvey will soon be a flea free zone. 

Bye for now.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Whizz, bang and numpties

Evening,  it is a bit on the chilly side tonight.  Even Harvey has opted to stay in,  although he has had a short evening stroll tonight.  It's okay,  he never ventures far, he's not shut out,  he never is,  and as soon as the numpties start letting off their fireworks he comes back home.  I've never understood the appeal in wandering around on a cold night letting off fireworks,  it is a very expensive way to have fun.  

The Travellers rest has really come on this week.

The front facade was a bit tricky,  it wouldn't set straight.  Couldn't think of how to prop it up, then,  boing, the elastic bands!  So I put them round the whole thing, then made sure the front facade was sitting snug agaist the rest of the house,  then used a couple of books to act as a weight - success!   I'd already 'laid' the pavement, some air dried clay,  and then I pressed the pavement mold into it.  Next bit was to 'age' it, different bits of paint, sand, grass is next..   then some added wear and tear.

This front view lets you see that archway,  all timbered, and paved.  I think I spent the most time on that bit.  The stone steps came with the kit,  all I needed to do was paint them.  I didn't use white paint on the house, but a very light cream,  white is too stark and I wanted the pub to look old, which is why the timbers are pale brown.   The next step is to tile the roof, and fix the chimney into place.  I'll then need to turn my attention to some Xmas cards! 

I've also got a parcel coming tomorrow... a guitar!   I said that I was  hankering after one,  well I'd looked on ebay, there were quite a few bargains to be had, but I wasn't sure if I wanted second hand or new.  Then I had to consider how much I wanted to spend,  I had thought of one which was £70, a good guitar and boy was I tempted, but I resisted.  On Tuesday I had a look in a couple of second hand shops, they only had either the really cheap stuff, or electric.  Then I had a long think, did I really want to spend a lot of money,  what if I got bored...  so went back on line,  now I was looking for something in the £40-£50 bracket, a beginners kit preferably.  And finally I found one,  checked up on the sellers,  found some very good reviews for the guitars,  they'd also uploaded some videos to YouTube, so I could hear the guitar, it had a nice sound.  So after a cuppa and a little more deliberation,  I checked to see how much I had saved, almost £30, the guitar package was £44,  so I bought it.   That was yesterday, and it will arrive tomorrow!  Just the treat I'll need as I am also off to see the specialist about my back,  which has been giving me hell all week.  Tuesday was the worst, didn't think a very short wander between two second hand shops would be too much, but it was.  So I've had to rest up a little,  which gave me time to check and double check the location of the hospital. The appointment is at 5pm,  so going to hit rush hour - groan.   It is a straightforward route, just have to hope that it isn't too manic. 

Well I have a diary entry to do, then a bit more ukulele practice.