Monday, 22 August 2016

Must be Monday...

Welcome to Snowdrop cottage!  As you can see I've been busy, wallpaper is up, flooring done, even got the door fitted.   Yes the top floor is also in good order,  as is the annexe. Just needs some furniture, maybe a few pictures on the wall?

It is easy to get carried away with these little houses,  they are so well designed, and very accurately cut. I went for floorboards for the ground floor,  not made those for a while.  And I used some canvas paper for the ceiling,  just gives a bit of texture.

Upstairs I decided to put use floor tiles.  I made the 'tiles' using Craft Artist Pro,  a bit fiddly but worth the effort.   I do need to put in another door upstairs. 

I also got round to the front.  The quions are on, those things on the sides, windows are in, and next up came the pebble dash.   Yep, it all has to be pebble dashed, but it is pretty easy,  just need to use plenty of pva glue, and not be tempted to tip off the excess too soon. 

First bits done, well half done.  Sadly the cat required feeding.   Harvey is in fusspot mode,  it usually lasts a week, then he goes back to being happy.   So I got him some fishy packs of food, they usually help the fussiness.  Had to go to a different supermarket, and it was tipping down with rain.  The things we do for our furry friends.  

And the Olympics is over,   have to wait for the ParaOlympics,  which sadly is going to be hit by some financial cuts. 

Not sure if I am going to have time for the cottage tomorrow, got a few things to do.  Just hope the heatwave doesn't get this far,  me and Harvey can't cope. 

All for now folks,  thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A golden fortnight

Wow, how amazing is Team GB?   25 Gold medals!    I'm exhausted by it all.   I've watched some of the early morning stuff,  occasionally it pays to have insomnia!  It is sad to see that so many events have been poorly attended,  and now it looks like the Paralympics will be badly affected by lack of money because the organisers have dipped into the paralympian fund.

In the meantime, between Olympic stuff,  I carried on with my pansy.  It is slowly coming to life.  I'm starting to add the darker shade of purple to achieve some depth.   I'll keep at it.  I saw a lovely photo of a badger which I must draw. 

I have been missing my housebuilding, so I caved in and bought Snowdrop Cottage, isn't it adorable!   It arrived today, was so happy to see the A5 padded envelope waiting for me when I returned from the papershop.   I couldn't wait to get started.   I've done all the prep work, and got some of the wallpapering and flooring done, but now need to print off more wall paper.   I've also got to put in a little garden, looking forward to that bit.

I didn't feel guilty about being indoors,  the weather today has been terrible.  So windy, and also raining, Harvey is unamused.  

He thought he'd look at things from a different perspective, sadly it didn't alter the weather!  But he did get a treat, some fresh chicken, which he loves.  I now have to make sure that there is enough chicken for me and him.  The things us cat owners do!    He's been a bit under the weather lately,  he's not liking his new cat neighbours, one is a bit of a bully, but he got his comeuppance the other day, picked on the wrong cat, not Harvey, but the big moggy! 

Yes this is amusing, but it also has a point.  I'm an introvert.  I'll speak more on this in each blog.  But please don't confuse introvertism with being shy or anti social,  us introverts sime like peace and quiet, and we need lots of it.   When I first read about being an introvert, I realised that I was reading about myself and my life.  It was such a relief,  my family always accused me of being anti social because I didn't much like parties,  though I would go, and in my own way I'd enjoy myself.  However my way was to sit and watch,  I was completely happy, but others decided that just sitting and watching was boring, and how could I possibly be enjoying myself,  I should get up and make an idiot of myself, or go chat to folk I didn't even know (or like).   Equally I knew when I was tired and needed to go home, but you can't ever leave a party early...   grrrr.  You can, and it doesn't mean that you are a miserable sod,  it simply means that you are tired and need to recharge your batteries.    More on this....

It's been a busy week, sadly some of the time was taken up with a bit of a crisis, not of my doing, and which was finally sorted out by a lovely lady who knew what she was doing.  So I spent the first half of the week totally stressed and very, very anxious.  Then on Thursday it was off to yet another hospital for an assessment on my dodgy back.  The verdict wasn't good,  in fact I was a bit surprised when I was told that I had damage to more than one disc.  I now need to have an MRI,  that will show how bad things are, not sure I want to know.  But my back really is bad,  on Monday I just turned and suddenly my back went into spasm,  I was in agony for the next two days until the spasm eased.  And today I've had a horrible dull ache in my lower back,  with some pins and needles, plus a loss of power, that is the only way I can describe it.   

Only one more day of the Olympics to do,  can Mo Farah get his second gold, I hope so, and I loved the hockey last night, what a match.   I hated hockey at school,   I never fancied getting hit by that very hard ball!   I preferred netball, or volleyball, and I wasn't bad at athletics,  fairly good at long jump, but I was a water baby, swam for the school team!  And I wasn't bad at tennis.  Think I've just realised why I have so many aches and pains, all those sports. 

Almost time for a well earned cuppa,  then I need to get Harvey to come in.  It would be good if it started raining now, that would bring him running home.   Will be back soon with an update on Snowdrop cottage, and the pansy.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The cat and the pansy...

The villian in my life,  or Harvey, he who rules.  Or at least I let him think he is in charge.    Wish I could say that it has been a quiet week, but it hasn't,  had a large chunk of stress on Thursday,  all caused by officialdom.   It should be sorted out this week, or so I've been promised. 

Until Thursday the week hadn't been too bad, aside from the weather, the usual summer stuff: rain, wind, dip in temperature.   Of course this didn't help Harvey's grumpy mood,  though I found out why he was grumpy, he had a tummy upset and was sick all over the carpet.   After that he was fine, though the grumpiness came back.  He's also been on wake up duty, or so he thinks,  just wish he'd remember that he has claws, that they are sharp and that there is no need to use them to wake me.    So what have I been up to, a bit of small housebuilding...

Nope, a bit of art.  I saw a step by step in Liesure Painter, so decided to have a go.  Plus it was for coloured pencils!   It is a Trompe l'oeil,  which is sort of a trick, or illusion.  In this case it is to make you think that there is a piece of paper lying on a piece of paper.  Hopefully it will look like that when it is finished. This was my first attempt.  The exercise used a technique I've never used,  you had to grate a pencil on a tea strainer, then use the 'bits' to shade the paper.  It took a bit of practice, first run wasn't so good, I'd got too much pencil dust, so had another go and it was much better.   This was going well until I made a hash of things with the eraser and left a dirty mark.  So it was a case of starting over!

This is take two,  it is hard to make out, but it is a pansy.  The pencil lines are deliberately faint.  I've also cleaned the eraser.  I'm happier with take two,  it is coming along nicely.  This is just the first layer of colour,   there will be a darker purple, then some cool grey, and some payne's grey.  It all takes time to blend in, and to get the lines in the right place to make it look like a flower.    But the Olympics are helping,  I can sit and colour while watching.   I've had to use the PC to watch most of the tennis and the golf. 

Today I did some gardening, or planted the new plant, then the neighbour came along and gave me a hand.  He helped fix one of the planters, then put some fresh compost in for me.  He's such a lovely chap, and his wife is nice,  both are really helpful.   I'd have not managed to do anything with the planter without his help.   He will also break up the old and rotten planter,  then we can cart it up to the tip, along with some stuff he needs to get rid of. 

So it is art for the next week or so, and also the Olympics,  we're doing very nicely for Gold medals!  Hope Andy can add another, although he is guaranteed a silver medal, but gold is a nice colour. 

Enjoy the week ahead.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

And now we have a street, or should that be a Lane?

Just had to share this pic with you!   I've had a very up and down week.  On Monday I got some bad news,  then on Tuesday I sorted out the problem which had arisen from the bad news.  Then on Wednesday I got a phone call asking if I was still interested in a place on an art course, silly question, of course I was!  So in September I'll be starting a drawing course.  Could the good news keep coming, well it did when I realised that I get free prescriptions!    It is definitely the little things that make a difference,  and all those things made a big difference to my week.   Oh, and I also got a lovely plant for the empty pot outside. 

I've also finished the last of the houses that make up Memory Lane, here it is in all its glory.   I did, sadly, spot a mistake with the roof, so had to reroof half of it.  I'm really chuffed about how it has turned out, love the brickwork, seem to have mastered this technique, and I'm getting better with the colour. 

So now I have to focus on how I intend to display them, in a row or, individually.  I'd like to put them in a row,  but I'll need a long piece of wood...  she thinks, then remembers that, she took down some shelves a couple of years ago and the shelves are in the cloakroom!  Oh joy!

 Here's the inside,  I used some different flooring.  The edges have now been tidied up.  Yep, you spotted it, there are no doors, or stairs.  They can be put in,  and I may do so.   But so far I've been more interested in the outside than the inside.  Maybe that needs to change?   Something to think about.

This is the front,  I actually used white acrylic to paint the windows, but I ended up with this silvery grey colour.   I'm experimenting with curtains,  using ribbons, of which I have a great many.    It is just a bit fiddly,  so need to order some patience... 

This is how Marshalswick House fits in with some of the other houses.    It will look good when it's all put together, and has a street sign.  Oh, there is one more lean to, it goes on to the side of Purbeck Cottage, the grey house at the end.

It's also been a lovely day here,  quite warm, and very sunny.  Long may it continue.  Of course the Olympics have begun,  I woke up at around 1.30 a.m., so I had a peek at the opening ceremony,  then fell back to sleep so missed Andy Murray carrying the flag.   Then at 4 a.m., I woke up again,  decided that a cup of tea would be a nice idea,  when I came back to bed, Harvey had taken over!  I've no idea how a small cat is able to monopolise an entire bed, but they can.  So that was me and him till about 6 a.m.,  woke up again,  needed my painkillers,  so also had some tea and toast, then back to sleep, well the painkillers knocked me out,  and woke up around 9 a.m.   Not having a great time getting a good nights sleep,  I've been in a lot of pain,  and the painkillers are barely touching the pain at times.     Oh to be a dormouse, or even a cat, they never have any problems sleeping - do they?  

Off to watch a bit more of the Olympics.  Thanks for dropping by.

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!