Sunday, 30 October 2011

Boasting - only of interest to creative types!

A friend has recently had a baby. As she already had a boy and didn't need more boy things, she asked if I could "do him a page a bit like Angus's book."

This is what I made for him. I acknowledge that there are few original ideas here, but all the work is mine including the photos!

This was the layout. The colours were crystal blue, buttercup, and sorbet on colonial white cardstock with a bamboo background. All the inks and stamps are Close to My Heart and the patterned paper is from Caboodle, also CTMH. The embellishments are from various sources.

This feature opens up to reveal a mini album as below:

Most of the photos were taken by me of Joel when he was three days old. The colours in the hospital were too contrasting so B and W made co-ordinating easier and the whole layout cohere better.
I found the quote on a stamp set I have and was delighted as I had already embellished the layout with stars and it this tied it all together well. The space under the flap was left for the family to use. 

I am really pleased with the finished page, (even Ken thought it was rather good!) and as I said, just boasting!

Just a quickie

No news on the kitchen yet. The builder and the insurance company are negotiating.

We went away over half term catching up with friends and family in Macclesfield. It was lovely being able to spend a longer time there and wonderful watching Angus and his friends carry on where they left off several months ago: fewer arguments, more sophisticated games but the friendship hasn't waned. Wonderful. We even had super weather, except the day we planned to go to the zoo...

But the one event that really sticks in Angus's mind was the public bulb planting session in a park next to my Mum's house. We were looking after Josh for the day and so we all wrapped up, donned wellies, took dibbers and trowels and spent a wonderful couple of hours digging holes and planting crocuses and daffodils. The worms were a wonderful incentive! Isla was a star and loved it, getting really cross when bulbs went in upside down: "Wrong one bulb, wrong one!" The whole event did reach comic proportions, however, when Isla realised that the daffodil bulbs were about to have the turf laid back on top. She clearly found this quite stressful and started removing the bulbs back to the bag as quickly as she could shouting at anyone trying to stop her. Distraction bulbs were quickly arranged as the park keeper swiftly "put the bulbs to bed!"

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Small Achievement..

But quite an important one for Isla.

I was preparing lunch and Isla was busy playing in the porch. Not unusual for her. I could hear silence, then velcro, then silence and then more velcro. This went on for quite a while. Finally there was a shout of "Mummum, shoo. Agoo boots on!"

Okay, so they are on the wrong feet, and she decided for her own reasons to practice with Angus's boots, but Isla put on a pair of shoes by herself and was so proud of her achievement that I didn't have the heart to enforce the "No shoes in the house" rule over lunch. Does that make me a bad and inconsistent Mum? I was too proud of her to care.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Kitchen Update

Three of the floor joists have rotted - the kitchen has to come out.

I am not sure yet if this is good news (I may get a new kitchen paid by the insurance company) or just bad news (I won't be getting a new kitchen to compensate for all the mess and inconvenience caused. The old one will be  made to fit back again).

Right now I have three bags of groceries and only half the cupboard space as the others are piled elsewhere getting in the way. The work surfaces are covered with the contents of the missing cupboards and a whole load of dirt from when the builders removed the rotten plasterwork, which was a whole lot worse than expected. Why doesn't that surprise me? And I have to somehow find space to cook dinner. 

This picture is on its side, but this is what was under our kitchen floor.

And this is the rotten plasterwork. You can't see it, but actually most of the stuff on the wall is falling off.

Next time I will endeavour to write something more cheerful like a cameo of Angus at five or Isla at nearly two. There is plenty of fun material there!

Now, where am I am going to peel the potatoes for dinner?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Good News and the Not

You may recall the settled nature of my last blog: so many things done, not much left on the "to do" list and so on. To be honest, most of the rest of the work consisted (spot the past tense...) of things such as making decisions about curtains, light fittings, deciding on furniture layout and purchasing missing shelves/cupboards/units (circle as appropriate). Nothing was too essential and we could slow down and take our time making thisour home.

Then we smelled something.

It smelled like a damp forest floor. 

It came from under the sink in the kitchen.

At this point I need to tell you about the kitchen. Although the kitchen originally  had no ceiling, the rusted oven contained the remnants of the last supper, none of the electrical appliances worked and the cupboard insides were a health hazard (medals awarded to Christ and Tricia for stoic cleaning efforts), basically the kitchen was fine. The cupboards themselves, once you could see them, were structurally sound although we removed a couple due to a difference of opinion about the need for uncluttered work surface. Essentially we had a very good kitchen once we replaced the hob and oven and inserted our existing fridge into the newly-vacant slot. Even the floor tiles grew on me. It was the one room which could have been very expensive and proved to be a relief.

Then we noticed the smell.

We thought it was the dishwasher as, naturally, it didn't work and was now being used as a glorified plate drying rack pending a decision about its future.

We ensured it was dry. We turned off the water. We went away for a week hoping it the smell would go away.

It didn't - it got worse.

We pulled out the dishwasher and found...

(No, not a dead rat, that was the last house but one.)

completely rotted through floorboards.

That's right - the dishwasher hadn't been plumbed in correctly (we think) and the floorboards under the machine are pulp. We are hoping the joists aren't rotted through because if they are then the whole thing is even more complicated. As it is, we have had a drying company with dehumidifiers and a large fan. They noticed that the back wall was also soaked and measuring 100% saturation with the mortar falling off. Now signed off as dry, the builders are back on Thursday to rip out half the kitchen, replace the floorboards, replaster the wall, hopefully replace the cupboards and all will be sound. If the joists are rotted then the builders need to take up the entire floor: the tiles, the plyboard, all the floorboards, and consequently the whole kitchen will need to be replaced.We are not sure which way it will go partly as we have noticed that when the tile adhesive was put down they managed to cement in the cupboard legs.

The good news in all of this? For some absurd reason the insurance company are coughing up for the lot. We only have to pay the £200 excess. Phew.

RIP Kitchen - do spot the mostly full wine rack. We may be needing some of that soon! And the gaping hole under the sink where the offending dishwasher lived. I presume you don't want to see pictures of the rotten boards? Good.
The range cooker was a house-warming present to replace the rusted-rancid-grease-filled-one-with-missing-nobs-and-no-temperature-control that was there - I love it!