DIY week…

Some good progress on the renovation of the utility room (which was the ground floor bathroom at the back of the house) and the hallway, stairs and landing (HSL) area.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The wall paper has been stripped from most of the walls in the HSL and any holes filled in. Some of the hallway plaster had blown, mostly around where a long radiator used to be – the plaster had dried out too much. So, handy Matt knocked out a few places and filled it back in, mostly in a way approaching smooth and flat!

New skirting was also fitted on both sides and there were a few tricky padding out operations to be done. I made sure the skirting was raised off the tiled floor by about 15mm, to allow for new carpet which will go in the hallway once all the decorating has been done. We’re thinking something like sea grass matting or similar, which will be hard wearing right by the front door area.

The coving on the landing ceiling took a whole day in the end, due mainly to the really awkward angle on the new bathroom wall. Because of the 45 degree angle, the angle of the coving had to be 22.5 degrees, which was a total pain in the arse.

Claire was working on the utility and has painted everything, tiled and grouted and just a bit of boarding and skirting below the tiles to do, but a huge improvement. Tiling is very straight and it’s provided a much better area – final photos on the blog once it’s done.

We’re at the painting stage in the HSL so there will be some big visual improvements soon(ish) : )

out

Advertisements

Claire’s amazing tea cosy…

This is my talented wife’s latest crochet project…

A very cool, multi-coloured tea cosy. Very nice work there and will hopefully keep the contents of the tea pot toasty for ages!

out

Protected: Allotment weekend…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Family at the allotment…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Rococo Gardens…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Allotment adventures…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Allotment kick-start…!

After spending months transporting manure to the plot, planning what we’ll be growing and digging 2/3 of the area, we’ve finally started setting out and planting for this season. My target of finishing the digging by Christmas wasn’t exactly met but 2/3 isn’t bad and this will give us enough space to grow a lot of vegetables.

The day before this session at the plot, we went over to Dundry Nursery and bought seeds, potatoes and onions to put in over the next few weeks. It’s a really nice nursery and very near to the little airport, with propeller planes flying over every few minutes! The boys loved that + the large blue and green parrot which they have there.

I’d made a list of the most disease-resistant potato varieties from their website (very useful btw), but two of the second earlies had already sold out (Fabula and Milva) but we did get the Victoria main crop variety. We also picked up Maris Peer (2nd early) and Nadine (2nd early), which we’re chitting on various window sills, ready for planting in a few weeks.

We’ve also been reading up on the whole potato process but every author seems to have a different version of the timings. Monty Don seemed to have the best approach, which is just adapt the planting to the weather. He does set out some fairly precise planting tips, which also seem sensible.

Anyway, that was a good trip out in the new car and that late afternoon I went up to the plot and was digging for a straight hour until it got dark. I got some nice sunset, bird and moon images and it was a brilliant time in the peace and quiet.

The next sunny and warm day (and it’s late February!!) was spent for a couple of hours at the plot, digging, trans-planting raspberry plants, setting out spaces, aligning raised beds, shifting logs, scattering pot ash. The boys were amazing and very patient and helpful. Jamie was raking the ground which now looks brilliant and Jac was digging around and collecting water!

Both boys were also painting the shed and Claire managed to finally get our plot number painted on there, which is one of the requirements of the allotment (having the plot number displayed).

Defining the areas has really helped us get an idea of what we have to do and it makes it all more doable. There is now only a couple of hours digging left to complete the main potato/onion/leek growing area and enough space to the side to experiment with the three sisters approach, where beans are grown up corn, with pumpkins grown between. Lots of wild and other flowers will be going in to help pollination and more edging and plot defining to be done!

Can’t wait to get up there again. Just hope my back stays strong! : )

out

Claire’s birthday…

My lovely wife just had her birthday and it went really well. Her parents, grandparents, and aunt & uncle all came down for afternoon tea and it was good to see everyone.

Above image: real life

Bottom image: Pinterest version!

The cake turned out well and Claire’s Mum made the amazing top piece for the cake, which contrasted very well with the dark brown of the icing. I made the cake, with Claire helping by getting the tins ready and the boys helping to weigh out some ingredients.

out

Protected: Jac’s 3rd birthday…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Crickley Hill snow…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Christmas 2011…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Jac’s 2nd haircut…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Bonfire night…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Allotment progress family images…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Hearth stone goes in…!

An eventful half day (or maybe just a bit more) spent collecting and fitting the new fireplace hearth stone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Claire’s parents helped us out a lot here; Pearl by looking after the boys while Claire, Neil and I first went to the dump to drop off most of the stuff from the side of the house, then to the quarry to pick up the stone. The use of their Ford Galaxy was very helpful and the stone weighed a fair bit!

It’s a lovely colour and very thick, but we measured it just a bit too tightly, meaning we had to hack off some of the fire screed around the fireplace base. It slid in ok after that, and Neil put down cement for it to bed down on.

There was a fair bit of back and forth before it went in, and the levelling took a while! In the end, we got it level in relation to the floor and almost totally flat across it. we just have to let it dry for a few days then remove the paper and tape around the edges. Then the stove can go back in and be cemented in around the pipe.

out