Home Improvements…

We’ve recently had a new bathroom installed. This was after a major upstairs leak was discovered. We were still in recovery from the downstairs leak… So with further ado, our new bathroom:  


Damon chose the Lino…. I like it in a ‘I can’t believe I agreed to that’ kind of way. (And I like colour generally and this colour palette!) Sam put it perfectly when he said ‘that’s equal parts genius and a crime…’.

So if you have crazy Lino, you might as well have a bubble mirror, right?


The room is tiny. Just enough for a bath, loo & shower, but as you can see we’ve replaced our bath with a fabulous shower!

And downstairs we now have a fabulous slate effect floor!  


This is still a work in progress. All I’m saying is one of the wall colours was inspired by a SuperDry bag…

Family & friends · House · Knitting

Not missing, just decorating. 

I have hardly knitted anything for the last week. I’m actually suffering withdrawal symptoms! The only knitting I did manage was while we were staying in Stroud for a family party.  

The weekend was fun. Celebrating my Dad & stepmum’s 70th birthday.  Here’s me with my sister in our best frocks. I would have shared one of the numerous pictures I took of me & D but sadly he looks a little worse for wear in all of them despite being quite sober! 

So, last week, with my new job start date in early June and the above mentioned weekend away ahead of us we agreed to get on and decorate our bedroom. It’s the only room we haven’t done in our little shoebox house and it hasn’t been decorated at all since D painted it sludge green for his then 13 year old son some 14 years ago… That son is now the father of our two grandchildren, I moved in 10 years ago and we have never got round to doing it! But FIRST we had to clear it. It’s a small room, I have NO IDEA how we fitted so much in there!  But we did and as I write it is now a lovely Dulux shade known as ‘gentle lavender’ on three walls and waiting for some pretty flowery wallpaper on the fourth. We’re having fitted wardrobes put in (date tbc) and then will have new carpet, new bed, new blind, new light shade and new bedside lamps. Yes indeed! I am putting most of my redundancy money in the bank but we’re treating ourself to doing up the bedroom. Here’s the colour:  


It’s very very pretty. I just want it to be done so we can stop sleeping on the sitting room floor! (The other two bedrooms being filled up with other stuff!) 

House · life

Epic pipe fail…

Let’s start with a pretty picture of crochet stars before we head into what’s been happening to me.


Friday morning I went away for the weekend to Birmingham where I was part of the mentor team for a training weekend. I had a great time. On Sunday morning, Damon put his washing in and went to bed (he works night shift). He got up at 5pm to find the kitchen floor a bit wet. He assumed we had a problem with the washing machine, cleared up the floor and forgot about it til I got home, when I went into the kitchen and discovered about 6×2 feet of the carpet in the diner half of the room was sodden. Not just damp but saturated. I asked him about this and he said that he had felt it was a bit damp but had left it. I was very cross and assumed he couldn’t be bothered to clear up properly. I spent ages with towels…

I phoned the washing machine repair man on Monday, got an appointment Tuesday. Noticed on Monday morning and evening and Tuesday morning that the damp patch had got bigger and that no matter how hard I pressed towels on to it that it made no difference.

This afternoon while waiting for the washing machine repair man, I phoned the company we bought the carpet from and the very helpful man advised us to immediately remove the underlay as that was effectively acting as a sponge and would simply rot, not dry.

The washing machine repair man came, inspected the washing machine and could discover no fault at all. However he did discover a constant leak coming from the pipe to the kitchen tap behind the washing machine…

I phoned our plumber. He’s my Mum’s best friend’s son in law and absolutely wonderful. I trust him absolutely. He came and fixed the leak in a jiffy and then had one of those conversations with Damon that made me feel a bit sick and then switch off. Apparently the plaster on the back wall is ‘blown’ and needs replacing and they couldn’t see how far along the problem went; the immediate adjacent kitchen unit ditto; the vinyl floor covering is lifting and the floor underneath is likely to be damaged; the skirting board is rotten; the partition wall (its part of the arch and has a little radiator on the other side) may be compromised… the leak had been there for a long time quietly and insidiously leaking away.

It got worse. I asked Damon to help me remove the underlay so we could try and get the carpet dry. When we lifted it and removed the really sodden stuff we discovered the damp went much further back on the underside of the rest of the underlay. As the plumber had said, water has a way of getting everywhere. His theory is that the water has been leaking and pooling under the carpet for ages and that on Sunday for some reason that an amount that had built up spilled out onto the lino and actually showed itself through the carpet.

Damon then decided two things – we just needed to get rid of the carpet and we would do that tomorrow, and that he would ring our household insurance and start a claim. There’s a £350 excess for water damage but this is going to cost a lot more than that!

I therefore took a day off work tomorrow and stood down my friend who owns a cleaning company and owns a carpet cleaner that sucks up water, which I thought might be a good plan on ours. Damon then discovered we have to leave it down, no matter how much it stinks, until the assessor comes. They’re going to ring us to *make an appointment* in the next 24-48 hours. It niffs already, its going to be mighty fine by the time they do arrive!

So, this evening I have given Damon a list of shopping that includes a lot of anti smell and nice smell products! And some things for me to complete my homemade Christmas decorations…


As there is going to be a lot of time spent on cleaning and tidying over the next few weeks (and probably months), I have mentally given myself permission to stop working on Christmas gifts. I have ordered a toy black Labrador for my godson (who adores Mollie) instead of the star blanket, which I will finish sometime and keep for next year. I haven’t decided yet whether to give my sister her shawl at Christmas and then give Mum her bathmat when I finish it, or keep them both till both are finished. Maybe I’ll give them a New Year gift! And my stepsister didn’t know about the grey shawl so I will just buy a present and save this one for next year. All I have to do therefore is finish sewing in the ends on the waistcoat and block it; and finish making my Christmas wreath and decorations!

Oh and tidying and cleaning and sorting. As I’m asthmatic and can’t sit in the damp, I am going to make myself a crafting den in our spare bedroom instead of on the kitchen table, which is going to involve quite a lot of tidying up and getting rid of junk. But hey, I have a day off and no pressing crafting to do…… trying to look on the bright side now, but earlier in the day I could have cried buckets!


I forgot to mention we decorated our sitting room!

20140726-215919-79159960.jpg Mollie laughing at me.

Well we did. We decided to paint the walls neutral (they’re two Dulux toning shades called Ivory Lace & Hay Bale) as we’d ordered a new teal sofa. We had the new carpet put down. Neutral with black flecks in to hide the Labrador fur…. The sofa arrived. It was *slightly * larger than we expected…




I like it but it feels very bare at present. I think I need more colourful crochet or knitted cushions (in the same Noro Kureyon), a standard lamp behind the sofa and maybe a larger picture on the wall. And a rug. My sister is encouraging me to crochet one in Aran weight. Anyway the room is done. Now I just need to put all the crap previously resident in the sitting room somewhere else. I suspect half of it will be filed in the dustbin.

Crochet · House

Saturday afternoon crochet

I started my sister’s birthday present today. I had to go up from a 6mm hook to a 6.5mm to get the tension correct.


This Rowan by Amy Butler yarn is PERFECT!

And the reason I’ve not been posting or crafting much (apart from the whole Mollie thing) is because I’ve been decorating. This shows the new colours of the walls in my sitting room. Nice & neutral (and not in my usual palette!) but perfect to go with a teal coloured sofa! (Arriving soon.)

20140621-203340-74020843.jpg the colours are both Dulux and are Ivory Lace & Hay Bale.


And relax

Our guests have been safely taken to Heathrow; everything we have borrowed and loaned out this week for various family parties has been returned to its proper place. The house is tidy upstairs and passable downstairs. D is threatening to do the washing up; I’ve said if he does I’ll hoover; then we’re going to sit in front of the TV and do nothing. Well he might listen to the Manchester United match on Five Live. Cheese & biscuits for dinner (leftovers from yesterday). I’m going to tackle weeks 11 and 12 of the CAL. D isn’t working tonight so a rare night in together nice and cozy as its raining here in Somerset. Tonight is for being lazy. Tomorrow D is back at work and I must block my sister’s birthday cardigan…

House · Sartorial elegance

A good day

My colleagues gave me my birthday present today as I have tomorrow off. I had to share it as its so wonderful. It’s a tray:
I just love it!

I took our guests to Clarks Village shopping outlet in Street today. They were in shopping heaven! I left them to it and had a mooch about. I treated myself to a green blue Nica handbag 😄
It’s my favourite size and shape. And colour! With a long enough strap! I do love bags but I’m pretty brutal about not buying ones that aren’t completely practical. So this is a real find 😄


Expecting guests…

D and I don’t have many people to stay; my family mainly live locally, and when his sons visit, they tend to come one at a time. However, this weekend for the first time since 2005, we need both our spare bedrooms in use as bedrooms.

We live in a 1980’s shoebox and the rooms are very small to start with (readers from outside the UK, I’m talking about rooms that are 11ft by 8ft and a little larger). So, not large. Add to this the fact that the smallest bedroom (the now ‘pink’ room) is my space, where I keep clothes, shoes, bags and MY STASH… Until we decorated, you could just about walk in and turn around it was that full! The back bedroom is where the ironing basket hangs out, along with suitcases waiting to be put away, our printer, our boxes of paperwork etc.

Our guests are two cousins; the 17 & a half year old daughter of the German friends we went to Poland with, and their 16 year old niece. Until the decorating spree and the purchase of the futon, our spare bed was a small sofa bed, which I doubt they’d want to share for a week!

This week I’ve been sorting out the rooms, turning them into bedrooms, which included moving the boxes containing my stash into the larger green room. A major spanner was chucked into the works a few days ago when D’s eldest son unexpectedly invited himself to visit for a night on Saturday… I’ll be in London with the girls and won’t be back til Sunday evening, but I had hoped to leave the bedrooms ready for them… I bit back the stepmother rant I could feel brewing as I do recognise D wants to see his boys, even if some of them don’t remember his birthday, Father’s Day etc. I bent Mollie’s ear on the way to collect Mum from a party and hers all the way back (!) and she kindly offered to pop in on the Sunday when D & his son are out and make up the second bedroom and pretty it up in a way D wouldn’t think of. Which was a relief.

So today I made up the pink room ready for guests:

I like elephants!
The little ceramic turquoise chap came from a shop in Krakow that sold things made by graduates of the Krakow School of Art.

The back bedroom is ready for our one night visitor too. See the stash! The green boxes are paperwork; the yellow ones stationery, the big one bags, the rest is stash!

Here is another view of that room to show how small it is:

It’s got a good view though!

I’ve put the covers on the duvet & pillows for the back bedroom so Mum will just have to put them and the sheet on the bed rather than make it up fully. I’m as prepared as I can be now. All I need to do is work out the menus for next week! So now I’m going to have a little sit down and a bit of a knit. 😄