Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Hopefully no longer on facebook

Have I managed to unlink these two things?  I'm hoping so.  Maybe I'd even use it again...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brainstorming the bedroom 'issue'

Eesh, I just can't remember to do this every day, which means I can't get into the habit, which means I only do it on those rare occasions I remember. Blimey.

SO! The boys bedroom is DONE! dark bamboo flooring (that also goes out his room & along the landing), white walls, new skirting, and his awesome high sleeper bed with wardrobe, shelves, desk underneath. It leaves him plenty of floorspace to lay out his train tracks or hot wheels tracks, his clothes all have a home, some of his toys can live in his room AND he can tidy them away afterwards, and he has space for some of his books. As he gets older he'll be able to sit as his desk to do drawings or homework and maybe he'll eventually have a computer...when he's OLD. Because of the bed style, there's still space for an ottoman/blanket box in the bay window where his bedding & assorted cuddlies live, and we think there will be space for a narrow bookcase too. I'm *really pleased, and it looks really nice - I even put bunting up - red white & blue, and in the open shelves we have red storage boxes, blue bedding and curtains, and the wall is blue above the picture rail. He has a blue clock and a couple of star shaped blue lights on the wall (to go with the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling) and of course the toys that are out on the shelves are all 'nice' toys - a red wooden ark, a wooden farm with a red roof, and so on. It looks smart and attractive and SO FAR (nearly a week) he's even kept it tidy by putting his toys away again after he's played with them - which of course was half the point.

SO! two more bedrooms upstairs. Our room is the smaller of the two (but it looks out of the gardens and allotments and the field beyond that, whereas the bigger room looks out onto the road and the houses opposite) and ours is alomst more junk-dumped than the front bedroom. That room is filled with J's guitars, amps, leads, pedals, and so on, and also his home-brew equipment - including some demi-johns with wine in - his CDs on shelves, three bookcases (which I colour-coordinated and they look so much better!) and the rest of the boys toys. Our room basically has everything else - one whole wall taken up by mirrored wardrobes - and opposite the bed, eek -obviously filled with clothes, shoes, coats etc. We also have things like photo albums, my almost-entire yarn stash (which obviously needs some whittling but I can in no way do that), my shoe collection, my nail varnish collection, my make up, two jewellery boxes (one for good, one for 'junk' jewellery) and also a jewellery manniquin on my bedside cabinet for everyday stuff. I've got a mini handbag with hair clips bands ties and flowers, we've got a chest with bedding and spare duvet. Under the bed is the suitcase, my camera equipment, my studio lights, tripod, etc, and we've got sleeping bags, backpacks, holdalls and I have just a few handbags ;) Then there's a box of fabrics I use for lining knitted bags or making cushion covers or what have you, a box of out-of season clothes - at the moment filled with swim gear, sun hats, and shorts, a box of cosplay gear - clothes that are needed for our costumes but really don't need to be in the wardrobe as we use them maybe 5 times a year in total (two Expos, one film and comic con, one usually-pirate party and one halloween!). There's my one and only wedding hat, a box of spare bathroom supplies - buying in bulk is the cheaper way to do it, but when you have no storage in your bathroom, maybe not the best - a box of sentimental stuff - childhood memories, things from our engagement, our wedding, the boys birth & some birthdays. There's a box of Jem dolls who are desperate for a place to live out on display :D oh and there's a box of birthday party stuff - pirate tablecloths, bunting, banners, balloons, paper plates etc. There's probably more but this is just using my memory...

I have to clear all this out before I can even *begin* to do my room. EEEEEK.

Okay - so some can go up into the loft, I suppose. Party box, out of season clothes, maybe even fabrics if we can guarantee that the loft is NOT damp (some of our Christmas decorations were not perfect when we got them down last year). We're hoping we can put in a dressing table type area, which will hopefully give my girly stuff a home - well, make up, hair stuff, nail varnish (I class it separately as I have a lovely sized collection and YES I do where them all. Sometimes 10 at one time ;)), jewellery boxes (one is a beauitiful silver box with indian elephants on, and one is my nans old jewellery box I used to browse through for hours playing with her trinkets, so I do have to keep both - useful, attractive, AND sentimental all in one. I'm hoping to keep the blanket box for duvet & bedding storage, but the suitcase can go to the loft as we holiday maybe twice a year - maybe with the out-of-season clothes in it as timing would be roughly correct. We could then use under the bed still for my photog. stuff but maybe also a clear underbed thing for my yarn..? sleeping bags, spare duvets - maybe loft. Photo albums want to be somewhere accessible - and I'm looking forward to putting so many pictures up in frames on the walls, once we've got rid of the different busy-textures on every wall - so they should also take up less space as there won't be so many to hang on to unframed. Studio lights can go in the loft (how strong is our loft!?) but the rest should be accessible else I'll never use them. Holdalls can also go in the loft as we rarely go away for short breaks and when we do we're likely to know about it enough in advance to get them down. Sentimental stuff should go into a beautiful box and maybe go on top of a wardrobe with the photo albums so it's accessible but not in the way, and Jem dolls can stay in the new wardrobes until I work out the perfect place. Bathroom stuff WILL go in the bathroom once I've bought a storage cabinet and maybe cosplay gear in the loft too. That way - my wardrobe can have shoes and handbags in the bottom of it, like a normal person.

Blimey. How strong *is* the flooring in the loft? Maybe we should lay proper floor down up there before we take all this up there.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

We're going to redecorate...the entire house.

Well, so we've lived here three years in March. It was always alright though and we've not done anything really with it - apart from fill it full of junk, of course - and we've worked out now that we want to change pretty much everything.
The boiler is 25 years old and has never been serviced, and we can't have hot water on without also having the heating on, and vice versa. Yes, our bills are lovely, thanks. In summer, we *really* need the ceiling fan.
The doors / windows / double glazing are nice - wide bay window at front, patio doors at back, SO much light in our through room, and when we park on the front we can see the trees in our back garden through the windows - for some reason I like this. It's also dark wood and leaded and I think it quite pleasing to the eye. It's rarely been weather treated though, is gappy and drafty, and front and back doors both stick in the damp weather, so it needs some work too.
The porch roof tiles are slipping and the gutters front and back leak something terrible when it rains (sorry mr postman).
The front of the house is ORANGE AND YELLOW. Yes.

Hallway! decent size but the wooden panelling below the dado rail is getting tatty, the wallpaper above the dado rail is *awful* (looks like nicotine stained pattern but I *think* it's intentional) and above the picture rail is textured artexing - a different one to the ceiling artex, and both of them clash with the pattern on the wallpaper.
Open-plan living/dining room has BUSY (but lovely) wallpaper all over it - TOO busy - as well as a crazy-paved fireplace and hearth surround, oh and the archway between the two rooms has a stone edging too. They've GOT to go. Once it does, we'll also have to replace the floor throughout as it's been cut (wooden floorboard style laminate) to fit the 'paving'. Alcoves either side of the fireplace - one is the boy's 'toy store' and other is tv / xbox area. Dining room has huge display/storage units to ceiling, my cluttered computer desk / yarn store area and a huge dining table that seats 6-8. This is rarely used for more than us three because...
Kitchen! - tiny, galley kitchen. Can't fit two in at once. Not much workspace, even less cupboard space, curruntly also boasts boiler cupboard. Old oven that doesn't really work, though the hob is okay. New! Washing machine and dishwasher since we moved in and new-to-us fridge freezer as well (which meant having to lose a couple more cupboards). Basically, one cupboard for cups & glasses and a so-called 'useful' drawer, one double cupboard for plates bowls pans etc, one double cupboard for foodstuffs, one narrow cupboard for baking supplies & spices and one end cupboard for storage of bulk & spares ie unopened rice & pasta, oats, dried milk etc.
Upstairs - one tiny bathroom, door opens onto the loo, sink nect to loo, bath next to that, one shelf underneath window, built in cupboard under sink is not enough space to store spare toothpaste AND shampoo let alone towels, mouthwash, medicines, soaps, bath products etc. Quite nice (balck laminate floor, white tiles, reasonably newish) but no storage at all so everything has to be out and clutters the room up to look even tinier.
Our room - smaller of the two double bedrooms but is out back - trees and foxes rather than cars and buildings ;). Opens to entire wall of mirrored wardrobes. Ugly mirrored wardrobes, too. Only storage in house but eesh. Also have bed (nice black iron look bedstead, bought with employees discount when I worked for a bed manufacturer), one ottoman / blanket box (dark wood, old neighbours antique-ish, needs a polish) and one chest of drawers which we bought when Isaac was a baby as a shelf on it folds out to a changing table - very clever AND a nice looking peice of furniture. Oh and two rubbish bedside cabinets. We have to edge around sideways to get anywhere. The above-dado rail wallpaper is awful and old-lady ish. The below-dado rail wallpaper is even worse Both clash with the awful curtains. They all manage to go really badly with the horrible carpet.
'SPARE' room - sometimes called Daddys room, sometimes called Isaacs playroom, this is full of toys, cds, bookcases, 7 guitars, assorted demi-johns full of wine, empty wine bottles, and boxes. Once in a blue moon, these things at least partially fit inside the wall full of mirrored wardrobes in here, but most of that is taken up with amps and guitars and so on. I've been informed this room has both carpet and curtains, and that they are both horrid.
Isaacs room - has a bed, a cubey-drawer unit, a clothes rail, and a bookshelf/blanket box area. Is about 3 steps long and one wide. Wallpaper has been torn off and scribbled on. Posters (dr Who, pokemon, dinosaurs etc) try to hide this fact. Bed - was COT, now converted - has not lasted 5 years - broken slats all over the place. Curtains are fine, but curtain rail is hanging off the wall.

It's going to take a lot of work, and I don't know where to start!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wow. And to think, I wanted to post here at least weekly, if I didn't have time for daily. Heh.

2010. At the moment, it sounds kind of scary. As the clock was still chiming, I shouted 'welcome to the future' or something equally champagne-inspired (what? It's the bubbles) but it does feel kind of strange that now it's that year, you know, of that film. It sounded so far in the future 'back then'. I can't wait, though. It's going to be a really good year. Not because there's anything in particular I have planned, but because this year I'm going to improve on the things that were good from last year, and cut out the things that were bad from last year. I'm in a good place, and my boys are my world, and the allotment, and health and wealth and so on. We're moving in the right directions every year. This year? Bit healthier & fitter, house sorted rather than allotment (as we concentrated on clearing that for the last few years and ignored the house) and we're going all minimal/simple living / chemical free / and obviously some kind of japanese-meets country type interior. Clutter free and japanesey works, clutter free and country style does NOT, so we'll work out some kind of in between that works for people who grow & make their own as much as we do and will. We'll still like comics and x-box games and culty tv but I think evreything else is pretty much back to basics - growing and eating fresh and unprocessed foods being the main thing I'm looking forward to.

My house smells of home made bread as we speak. Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Exciting things...

I'm so excited at the moment! Not only have we booked our family holiday, but I've just this morning paid the deposit for a short break for JUST Hubby and me - no boy pestering us, asking us for things to eat, getting bored of waiting for things to eat, talking non-stop, etc. I can't wait!

The family holiday will, of course, be in Uncle Toms Cabin in Hemsby, as ever. We're going to have a whole two weeks there, which is *great* - and gives us plenty of time to relax as much as possible while still having plenty of days out. We'll eat at a few lovely pubs by the broads, we'll visit a few gorgeous long sandy beaches, we'll wander around a few broads, we'll visit a windmill. It'll be lovely.

The just-us-two holiday is at a village called Wilmington in Devon, 6 miles from Axminster. We will be visiting the River Cottage Canteen & food store, and we'll go to Lyme Regis too. The place we're staying is rather plush and has amazing views, and I plan to sit at the picnic benches in the wildflower meadows eating local fresh food, and take as long as I want to about it all! It's going to be starnge without the boy, but it's going to be *quiet* too. Today he went on his first ever school trip (to the beach!) so at the moment, quiet is something that quite appeals to me...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Knitting projects update

The knitting I have on the go at the moment :

  • Beach Bag from jute twine, for the beach, duh.
  • Chevron Scarf (which I'm going to save and take on holiday with me in August)
  • Full Metal Alchemist bag - yes, the THING thats' been hanging over me for so long, I've pulled it off the needles and I'm just going to start again. I've cast on and st st-ed a few rows...and put it down again. One day!
  • Wrap with birthday wool - okay, I'll be finishing this tonight, so it's almost cheating to include it, but it's pretty and sparkly and I might even wear it to the summer ball, so that's exciting.
  • Teachers Gift scarves - one for Mrs Sparks, one for Mrs Sharp. Okay, not actually cast on, but I know what patterns I'm doing, and I need to finish them both in about a month, so I really should get round to starting...
AND the stuff I want to start soon: A chevrony blanket to use up all my odd balls of cheap dk. A 'toxic' nappy cover for my rock friends baby (due in July). Some interesting yet manly gloves for my husband, possibly for Christmas. (any suggestions?) A gardening bag for my mother-in-law for Christmas. The Brea Bag for my sister for Christmas. A tea cosy for hubby's grandmother for Christmas. An Odd and an Adipose for my son and his cousin to fight over for Christmas. Some fingerless mittens (Princess mitts, I think) for hubby's cousin for Christmas. And to finish those damn socks. Hmmph. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Allotmenty updates

Well, March and it's mad-oh-god-there's-s-much-to-sow season is half way through. We've got way too many tomato seedlings jostling for space on the windowsills, and also have leeks, cabbages, turks turban, chillies, peppers, marigolds, rudbeckia, nicotiana, and assorted other flowers I can't quite remember. In the garden, the crocuses are finishing, the daffs are opening, the buttercups are taking over, the hop is coming back (yay!), the bleeding heart is shooting up so fast you can practically see it growing. The angelica and the foxgloves are both doing their big thing this year, and one of the japanese quinces is still flowering, after getting very confused in December and peaking too early.

In the allotment we still have a few leeks in the fground and the perpetual spinach is still going pretty strong. The overwintered onions, shallots and garlic are all doing fine, and the new season red onions are finally being left alone by the birds, who love pulling them up as soon as we put them in. What's that? Netting. you say? Well, where's the challenge in that?

The broad beans are starting to emerge, and *some* of the peas have made it over winter, but we'll shove a few more in for good measure next weekend. I don't think it's possible to have too many pea plants, after all...We've been manuring the 'other beans' bed in preparation too, and have our seeds ready to go.

We've sown half a beds worth of assorted lettuces and salad leaves, and I think this year we'll be transplanting some of the lollo rosso and little gems into their final position as that worked really well last year. We're growing some saltwort this year (land seaweed!) as our 'unusual' salad, although I'd like to get some perilla out there as well. The rest is mostly mixed salad leaves for the cut-and-come-again goodness. Oh, and radishes as well of course - we've got some french breakfast as usual but some lovely looking ones called amythyst that look really good from the packet.

The gooseberry is going great guns and we're hopeful that this will be it's first year of fruiting, as it's looking really healthy. Both the blackcurrants we took as cuttings from our bush in the old house are doing good things too, so we're hoping that this year they *might* fruit. (We've lived here just over 2 years now, huzzah!). The new raspberries are showing a couple of leaves so we'll see if they do anything this year, dunno. The redcurrant isn't doing much but it's not dead either, so maybe it'll cheer up as the weather warms up. The plum trees are budding - including some activity on the dead side (previous owners were even more clueless about pruning than I am) and this year I've decided to leave the apple tree alone, as I gave it it's first pruning in 20 years for last year and it didn't fruit so well, so I'll give it a rest this year and see how it gets on, and prune it again next year. My vine looks pretty dead, but I'd rather get a new one anyway - a named variety rather than a random cheap vine.

The flower beds in the allotment are slowly being cleared, I've got plenty of seeds for them but I want to sow indoors and transplant into it, rather than not knowing what's weed and and what's wildflower when they emerge. The globe thistle is still in there somewhere, but it's a pretty late flowering thing so I'm still okay with it being quiet. The borage looks like it's done some self-seeding, which is brilliant, and I want borage in every single area I've got - allotment flower beds, tea garden, actual garden, and maybe even the front garden - as it's a really nice looking plant and constantly had bees on it last year. Haven't unearthed the passionflower yet, but our jasmine is doing very well and is desperate to be planted somewhere with sun and trellis.

We are diggin out the tea garden, which is our first real foray into the second allotment. It's basically made up of bindweed roots with a covering of soil, so is slow work - but very satisfying. We've *nearly* dug out the whole bottom third of the second allotment, and once we've done, we can level it out and make a circular bed, with a circular path around it, and curved beds around the outside. The middle bed will be split into eight and planted up with the most invasive sort of tea plants - mints, lemon balm, etc - with others around the edges, and access to our hedge at the side as well (sloes, blackberries, rosehips, etc). The path will be covered in gravel to differentiate it from the rest of the allotment (which is / will be barked) and also to help drainage for the non-frost-hardy tea plants (lemon verbena, for example) which will stay in pots so we can move them inside in the winter. Any seeds that are coming up already for it will go into pots until we've finished prepping the ground for them, and I'm *really* excited about this area. Justin is looking forward to making beers from most of my tea plants too...

The woodland area is basically being ignored at the moment, I've got a few things I want to put into it, but at the moment the nettles, bindweed and brambles are a bit too invasive. A lot of the seeds I've bought for the woodland might well be better to overwinter them anyway - they like a bit of cold to help germinate - so it might have to wait till autumn, or at least until the made new season rush dies down a bit. Come May, June time things are mostly looking after themselves as wlong as we harvest regularly and do successional sowing where we've got the space, so maybe we'll look at it again then.

The pond and bog garden seem okay. The bog was new last year, so we're keeping an eye on it, and this year we're going to give up on hoping to afford a pond liner, and we're going to move the rigid pond into the hoel. We'll build up the sides with cobbles and so on, but it's been sitting there over a year waiting for us to afford the right thing. To move it, well decant into buckets and refill it once it;s in place, so the plan is that at a later date we'll do the same in reverse to get it out and put a soft liner in place instead. It's not a bad shape after all - your typical kidney shaped pond, with one shelf, and a *bit* of a slope up that we can build on - and I'd rather have something in the ground than a big rigid liner full of water, plants and snails, but so high up in the air that nothing else can get in or out. We'll keep an eye on it that things can get in an out - we want to make sure it's safe for our slowworms, in particular, and I know that rigid ponds sren't, usually, hence the need for plenty of sloping sides that aren't as steep as the ones the thing comes with. It was free!

Costs for the allotment are still balancing okay. The raised beds were free - wine bottles collected over the year, top soil from freecycle, manure from a local organically-fed stables. The pond liner was free - found in the back garden of my ex-boyfriends mums house, and kept for me all these years in my mums garden. Considering I've been married for 7 years this year, that's not bad! We're moslty using coppiced branches from our unwanted trees to stake beans, raspberries, and other things as they need it. The bog garden is using the punctured water-feature base we unearthed from the old water feature at the bottom of our garden, and with the fence panels our nieghbour gave us, we've got enough wood there to edge all the planned beds in the second allotment, and still have enough complete panels to build a shed. (Which is coming along slowly). I'm starting to suspect we might have enough plastic bottles to start making a greenhouse now, so when we've cleared more of the second allotment, we'll find a space for it.

Things that we *have* spent money on - compost, bark, and seeds, mostly. Compost to improve the soil in a few beds, or to them up, as neccessary. We've got one compost bin but it takes a while, we've got soem turf loaming itself too. It just takes a while to get that going, and we plan to build a compost bin with the spare pallets as soon as we've got time and space for it. We've been using the bags to line the access paths with, and then putting bark down on top of that, but we might buy some weed supressing fabric instead, as couch grass finds it's way between the bags. We have a shredder which we were hoping to make bark with but it's a bit dusty, so we'll probably still buy bark. And seeds? Well, this year I spent £50 on seeds (so far!) but I've bought a lot of weird and wonderful plants for the tea garden and the wildflower area so the costs should be much lower next year what with perennials, self-seeding, seed-collecting and sp on. We're starting to grow our own collected veg seeds from last year as well, so it's an exciting start. Our re-planted garlic from last year is so far doing better than the newly bought stuff, which is interesting...

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