Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Melvyn Is On The Case

Alas the house viewing didn't go well. It was too small for us, not that you'd have thought it from the 'Stretch Armstrong' pictures we saw on the estate agents website. I did mention to the estate agent how deceptive the photos were and how they immediately make the property a disappointment and her response was "we're not the only estate agent that do it".

We will press on until we find the right place to call home, but I hope we find it soon.

We have some help now in the shape of an orphaned gnome we found buried underneath a shrub in the garden of our rented house. He was very unloved and for obvious reasons was quite cross about being abandoned. He told me his name was Melvyn, which with the help of Mr.Google I have since discovered means strong friend or chief.

I brought him inside and gave him a good clean and a little make over. Quite right, you cannot afford to offend other worldly creatures.

He has put the word out to the fairy folk that we are looking for a lovely home and would you believe it, the very village we have set our hearts on has quite a lot of gnomes dotted about. Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Village?

We think we may have found the village we want to live in. We've already viewed The Manor House. Beautiful old building, circa 1670, utterly charming but needing at least 100k spending on it to bring it back to life. That's on top of the pretty hefty price tag. We decided on balance that even if we could afford to buy it, it would be a complete drain on us both physically and financially for probably the next 3 years. As we want to start a new business as well that's not gonna work for us.

We discovered the charms of this village whilst enjoying their open garden weekend. It's a very good way of getting the feel of a place, and also is a splendid opportunity to do a bit of snooping.

The village is well known for it's artistic, slightly bonkers collective personality and so is right up our street.

We're viewing a more modest house this afternoon and I'm hoping it will suit us. I'll let you know.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A Sentimental Man

My Dad did not appear to be a sentimental man. His coldness and lack of affection for his children I put down to his own childhood and life experiences. He spent 18 years in the army, the end of his career coinciding with the end of the second world war. He never went into detail, with me at least, about his army experiences, but he didn't need to elaborate on what he had seen and done.

He was nearly 48 when I was born and I think I came as a bit of a shock. We muddled along okay, given that I share his forthright temperament. But I can't ever remember him sitting or playing with me or indeed ever really talking to me until I was a young adult and could no longer be ignored. I say this not in an overly critical way, as I understand now what made him the man he was.

That's him back row, second from right. A picture celebrating a win for his army boxing team in 1933.

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered whilst clearing out his house after his death, every birthday and Christmas card I had ever sent him tucked away in his sideboard drawer. He surprised me again a month later, when a pre-ordered Christmas present arrived for my five month old son Jack. A little rocking chair with a small brass label on it 'TO JACK FROM GRANDAD CHAS'.

The little chair is now 27 years old and has a tremendous value to me and my son. So last week I decided it needed some TLC to restore it and protect it. About time!

The varnish top coat had become a nasty semi shiny vision in orange and there were scrapes and scratches all over the little chair.

I took it outside and gave it a thorough rub down then removed all the dust with a wet cloth.

I didn't want to re-varnish the chair, I really don't like that shininess, I feel it cheapens the look. So I popped into town and picked up some Briwax, which you all probably know is an easy to use heavy duty wax. It comes in many different natural wood shades and also in clear. I wanted to keep the wood dark so I opted for their Jacobean shade which looks black in the tin but comes up a really nice deep dark brown.

I applied a good coat of the wax, then left it to soak into the wood. Buffed it up then applied another coat.
I also washed and pressed the little cushion for the chair which I'd had made to match Jack's nursery decor back in the day.

I'm super pleased with the chair, it looks a proper family heirloom now. Plus I had the bonus of thinking about my Dad all the time I worked on the chair.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Bad Biscuits & Bargains

Shocking aren't they? You'd never believe my G G Granddad was a master baker. But what's that noise I hear? Oh, it's him turning in his grave!

In fairness they are my first 'go' at producing some royal Corgies and Crowns. I made them for my son's birthday on Sunday as we were popping over to see him. Dutiful young man that he is, he chomped on one straight away and pronounced them lovely. (Once he had finished laughing at them of course). Crafted with maximum love and minimum skill.

Since our recent move we are only about an hour away from him as he is based in Manchester. So on Sunday we combined our visit to him with a visit to The Ideal Home Exhibition, which was on at Event City about 20 minutes from his place.

Being thrifty we got free tickets through Martin Lewis's website, www.moneysavingexpert.com. They were £15.00 on the door so it was a good saving. You could book in advance, then they were £12.00, but then they clobbered you with an additional booking fee. Mmmmmm.......

We had a good look around, not masses to interest us, but we did find a company producing a wonderful Summer house. Which may be useful later once we get the 'big house'.

Anyhoo because it was the last day of the show there were a lot of discounts on offer so it was a good time to visit. I almost got out of the door without buying anything, but suddenly spied a small stand selling gorgeous bed throws. Made in India, ethically I hope, couldn't see any information on the website. Machine and hand stitched in 100% cotton, I was spoilt for choice. I opted for a neutral colourway in the end, and I'm super pleased with it. King size and under half price at £35.00.

The black strip is a soft black velvet, all the rest are nice crisp cotton. I have been toying recently with making a hand stitched quilt, this will come in handy as a spare cover until I make mine, which let's face it, won't be for a wee while yet. Not with two other WIP outstanding.

In addition to my lone purchase we were also given quite a number of goody bags, surplus to their requirements in the last few hours of the show. Lots of delicious edibles, healthy options too. With enough condiments to supplement the village BBQ this coming weekend.

Welcome to my new Google friend follower, although I'm not quite sure who it is? Nice to see my numbers going back up after my long blogging break.