Friday, 25 June 2010


Today is my last full day at the house. In the last three weeks I've organised:
  • 10 wasps' nests killed in loft
  • garden reclaimed from the jungle!
  • replacement of double-glazing
  • replacement of two ceilings
  • nearly all the ceilings stripped of their stippled artex and re-plastered
  • a whole wall replastered (it came down when the ceiling was replaced)
  • repairs to the roof
  • new bathroom fittings to replace the ones that the tenants damaged
  • new light fittings in the kitchen and bathroom
  • new locks
  • air vent fitted in the box room
  • extractor fan fitted in the bathroom
  • removal of old agent
  • appointment of a new agent
Plus I've found people to paint the house exterior, repair the front canopy, build a conservatory and resurface the front garden, to be done on future trips. And I've sized all the new ceilings except for one which isn't dry yet. Not to mention a hundred and one other little tasks, too numerous to list here.

I'm tired, I'm aching, I'm just now feeling the effects of the junk food I've lived on, in the absence of a working kitchen. I haven't seen any of the other friends I wanted to see. I've only had an hour with the niece and nephew and a few hours with MIL/FIL. It's been hard work. I'm meeting up with friends tomorrow on my way back to my family's, then I fly back to Australia on Tuesday, arriving in the early hours of Thursday. Then I can have a bit of a rest, and I'm looking forward to it.

I may not post again until I get back (internet access at Mum's is dodgy) so have a great weekend, and COME ON ENGLAND!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Scrap Whispers Challenge #68 - as many as possible

I truly welcomed this challenge at Scrap Whispers! Helen came up with the brilliant idea of using as many stickers or rub-ons or die-cuts from the same sheet as possible, preferably sheets which have been lying around for a while. Inspired.

We've all got those, haven't we? Every time we open the folder/drawer/binder, they're there staring at us reminding us that we've tried to use them before and discarded them - every time. So now's the chance to take the bull by the horns, and give them the attention they deserve... even if it's only so we can go out and buy some more to replace them!

For this challenge, I used my beautiful sheet of home-made Designer Paper ;-) from Tuesday's tutorial challenge, along with some Basic Grey paper from the Lemonade collection. The stickers came free with a magazine a year or two ago, and the bottle-top stickers from Creative Imaginations were part of my Scrap Jazz prize. The chipboard letters were inked with Artnic Pea ink.

So now it's over to you. Post your entry onto the Scrap Whispers blog site, and you'll be in with a chance to win this month's prize. Good luck, and happy using-up!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Scrap Whispers Blog Hop!

Hi everyone! It's the 15th again, which means the monthly Scrap Whispers Blog Hop. This month we have a tutorial from Helen, our Scrapbooker of the Year Winner. She's showing us one way of becoming a designer by creating your own, completely individual Designer Paper. There's no prize this month, but it's such a fun and easy project that you'll want to join in anyway. If you didn't come here from the link on Scrap Whispers, go there first and check it out.

So here's what you have to do:
- follow the tutorial, and link to your creation on the Scrap Whispers blog site
- hop through all the DT blogs and leave a comment on each

It's that simple!

I used my new Craft Fair wineberry Smooch Spritz ink on this one. I couldn't wait to try it out, but once I'd got all my newspaper laid out on the floor, I couldn't get the spray head to spray. I pressed and pressed it, without noticing that the nozzle was turning round. When it finally squirted, it went straight into my face and down my neck! Purple glitter ink doesn't come off easily either, so my finger nails looked a bit gory for a few days, but hey, it was all worth it.

I used Banana Frog stamps with acrylic paint, the Smooch Spritz ink and some Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Snow Angel to make it really shimmery. That was all.

Here's my finished result. It was made with a special LO in mind, showcasing my precious girlie-girl niece, but you'll have to wait till Friday to see that :-) Until then, hop on to Kelly's blog and see what she has created, and have lots of fun making your own!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Deer me!

Our garden again. See anything? Look really closely. There, right in the middle.

There she is. A female roe deer, just chillin' out, chewing on some brambles. She sat there for about 25 minutes, not even moving when I opened the window although she turned her head and looked straight at me. After a while she unhurriedly got to her feet and wandered up the garden, munching as she went. She had a good old nose around our decking, chewed on some roses, then ambled past the front door and up our drive. She disposed of some weeds, then went up onto the cul-de-sac and was gone. Have I mentioned lately how much I love it here?!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A beautiful day

Today is Saturday, and apart from a leaking cistern and a third replacement ball valve, I have nothing fresh to report. I just thought I'd post some photos from yesterday of how absolutely heavenly our garden can look on a beautiful summer's day. DH these are for you.

The end of our garden looking into the beech wood beyond. Doesn't it look like the gateway to fairyland?

If I were a bee I would make my honey out of buddleia globosa nectar too.

This wild rose was right outside the kitchen window. It used to be a cultivated one, but it has reverted to its roots over the years. I caught this moments before the gardener cut it down. It was a shame, but it and its accompanying brambles, ash seedlings and escaped passion-flower plants just had to go.

Later I went out to eat my tea on the sea front while I watched the tide go out. An imposing rain cloud was rolling in across the sea. Actually, although this looked as if it might make the roof leak again, it went straight over. I think it must have dropped everything over those mountains.

When I got home, the setting sun was lighting up our larch tree as if it was on fire underneath. This photo doesn't do it justice, but the tree is actually the darkest green in the garden.

I dashed upstairs just in time to catch the last rays as they sank between the rolling, purple cloud and the purple mountains. This, THESE THINGS are why we are coming home at the end of the contract. Singapore and Australia have their own very individual, wild, exotic beauty, but oh for me, for me - nothing beats this.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Wasps, ball valves and dust

That's been my life for the past week, in case anyone had missed me! I'm back in the UK overseeing the renovations to our little house after good tenants, not-so-good tenants and an agent whose laziness and lack of communication has not helped the state of our property.

So this trip I'm having double-glazing done, repairs to leaking roof, two new ceilings and most of the others reskimmed, the bathroom and our tiny en-suite repaired and refurbished, the garden reclaimed and advice on damp-proofing. I'm on day 5 now and things have been... interesting.

The windows are going in OK so far with only a small amount of blue air from the men. But I didn’t have any hot water until Wednesday (arrived here on Sunday afternoon – no water at all till Monday lunch-time – it was all a bit smelly!) because the ball valves had jammed causing the overflows to pour out, and when the poor guy tried to go up in the loft to change the ball cocks, he got chased out by wasps from about 10 nests up there. All work halted till I got pest control in. Then the loft hatch came off in Mr Pest Control’s hands. And he asked did I know I had mice up there too? Nice.

That was Monday. Tuesday night I showered at MIL/FIL’s, and drove back through the rain to find a puddle on the hall carpet from the hole in the roof. This should have been patched by the roofer and checked regularly by our agent. So, the washing-up bowl has had to live in the middle of the hallway to catch the drips until the lead arrives (hopefully today) so the roofer can fix it.

And only then can the ceiling man take the ceiling down and replace it. But that’s OK because he’s been kept a bit busy taking down our bedroom ceiling today. I’m not sure he meant to, but it cracked and bits started falling off. And off the lintel. Poor (silly) chap hadn’t brought a dust mask and I was coughing 2 rooms away. I started searching our cellar in case we had some masks, until I realised he was taking fresh air breaks to breathe in plenty of good old nicotine. Then I decided he could take responsibility for his own lungs.

I’ve had 3 different opinions on the damp problem in the downstairs room, and until I can find an expert, I’m going with the easiest solution (a vent in the wall) before I authorise any hacking up of floors/plaster/injection of chemicals. But at least the guy managed to lift the hatch on the inspection pit in the garage floor for the first time since we bought the place, and there aren’t any corpses down there. That’s good.

I had a few chats with the neighbours too. I'm not even going to start on what I learned about our tenants, but let's just say that I'm going to be checking our property's credit listing and crime records just in case. Tenants, aaargh.