Monday, 18 June 2018

Monday, 4 June 2018

Loft conversion craft room on its way

The guys have had only a couple of days on converting our loft into my new craft room but it’s taking pretty good shape so far.
If we can get a couple of Velux windows here in time for Friday, then those will be fitted then to bring light in. First fix electrical work is happening next week. 

The room that used to by my craft room is immediately below this room. That is going to be dry lined and also have new windows, it will become a guest bedroom with a Jack and Jill ensuite shower room. The ensuite will have a door from that room and be shared, via a second door (hence the term Jack and Jill) with the other first storey bedroom which MTM currently uses as his study when he’s working from home. I also have my desktop computer in that room. 

Most of today I have stayed out of the way in my outdoor studio making beads whilst they got on with it but came indoors briefly to make bacon butties for us all late morning. This afternoon, I came indoors to prepare some packages to send out before the post goes at 4.45pm so I was in the study printing packing slips and sellotaping beads into five packages. 

On the radio, entertaining the workers, was Steve Wright’s unfailing chipper cheerfulness, golden oldies incongruously mixed in with medical matters such as information on sciatica and the latest developments in antibiotics. Not my idea of good listening, I realise I sound very ungrateful for all they have achieved today but at one point, I had my head on the desk whilst MTM laughed at me “when are they going home?” I wail; they’ve been here since 7am! Fortunately, I only had to put up with it for an hour but the antidote (as soon as they’d gone) is the melancholy lyrics of Justin Currie and Del Amitri. Del Amitri are touring England and Scotland in July, some venues still have tickets. 

By the time of the concerts, I hope the renovations will be finished so all that’s left is decorating which I can do myself .... whilst playing my own choice of music.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Sock yarn stashbuster blanket



We are gearing up for more renovations here at Doran Towers. I have had to clear out my craft room before work commences. Most of the contents have gone into a storage locker including six big plastic boxes of my yarn stash. It was quite a wrench letting them go along with the furniture.

Many of my WIPs (works in progress) that I couldn’t bear to live without and I may want to work on here have had to be squirrelled away and are currently nestling in various hiding places in the rest of the house like sad little refugees til I can get round to finishing them.

The one pictured above is the largest. It’s a sock yarn scrappy blanket. I throw away very little. I am a hoarder, particularly when it comes to craft supplies. Every time I finished a pair of socks, or any 4-ply project, leftover yarn was chucked into this box. When I got enough to make a good start, I cast on about 150 stitches using four strands at a time on 9mm circular needles. Every time a ball of yarn ran out, I Russian-joined another in, doing a few odd rows when I wanted something I could knit without thinking about. As it’s the biggest WIP, and nearly large enough to be considered finished,  I’ve given it a priority to complete.


My embroidery threads are living behind a cushion on the sofa, bless. The DMC cotton in the brown paper bag were rediscovered from my cross-stitching day’s in the late 80s. I forgot I had such treasure (told you I never threw away craft supplies). 



So there is a downside to the latest refurbishments but the biggest up is the discovery, under a cheap carpet, of a wonderful floor of real floorboards. It’s a bit careworn in places, some old woodworm and paint spattered but it’s beautiful and destined to be a backdrop to many photographs in the future.





Saturday, 12 May 2018

Easter cactus plant renamed



I don’t know if you remember my Doctor Sue posting in 2015 about a Christmas cactus which I bought cheap as a casualty. This is it today, flowering its heart out on my kitchen window cill. 

The fuchsias I bought at the same time also survive as cuttings taken every year and overwintered in the greenhouse. The original standards snapped off in some windy weather. Entirely my fault, I didn’t secure them properly but it’s great that from that original investment, I get plants for free which repays the cost of heating the greenhouse at night during the colder weather. 

I’ve renamed the cactus as it seems to prefer flowering at Easter, I haven’t told it that it’s late ... again! 

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Garden visiting .... and the snow stayed away

I am pleased to say our friends, Bill and Kaye, visited us yesterday.


We had a lovely afternoon visiting former Gardener’s World presenter, the late Geoff Hamilton’s Rutland garden, Barnsdale. I’d like to have a bubbling fountain like this in our garden.


As you can see, there’s no snow on the ground (for a change). Even the rain held off. The weather was overcast but mild and still, just right for garden visiting.


Bill and Kaye are amongst our oldest friends .... in terms of how long we’ve known them, not their ages! Here they are still acting like teenagers.


That’s better!


This bench looks pretty with plants underneath, we have one like this in our garden, must plant around it. Barnsdale is full of ideas and inspiration.


I like the rusty grill on this ... erm ... not sure what it is, but I like it.


Topiary spirals here are beautiful, I won’t tell you what MTM said their shape reminded him of.


These quite tall white plants were in a semi-shaded area, I'm thinking they would look nice in our garden too.


Bill checking out the bee hive compost bins. Got lots of old pallets we could use to make some like these. 


MTM isn’t showing his age here. The huge smile was down to being absolutely delighted to get a quid concession off the entrance price. The rest of us were far too young to qualify. 


Lovely paviors


Concentric circles of pipe ends make a texturally interesting centrepiece for this circular paving.


A huge mop of black grass, we have two smaller specimens in our garden, the foliage looks stunning with this sedum and heather, contrasts beautifully..


Toadstools, a bee hotel and smoke breathing dragon under the bridge.


The catkins on this tortured tree looks amazing against the red dogwood stems, photo doesn’t do it justice.


Barnsdale’s floral display confirms Spring has definitely and finally arrived. Earlier when we were showing Bill and Kaye our garden (still very much under development) we spotted a big dead tree branch that the river had deposited on the bank. Bill suggested such driftwood gifts from the Witham could contribute towards a nice triangular bed like this ... good idea! 


We have lots of plain leaved arum growing wild in our garden, the lighter veining on this variety is very special, I must try to get hold of some.


Paved path with mixed materials.


We came home with a souvenir plant courtesy of Bill and Kaye’s generosity, couldn’t resist the startling colour of this primrose.

Dinner at our house,  bœuf bourguignon cooked by MTM rounded off a super day. We must do it again soon.