Monday, 25 February 2013

Can you see a difference?

I have had an afternoon in the attic; it was so dirty up there I had to keep washing my hands. Eugh.
But well worth it. I got so much cleared out and began to see how my space will work when I get my table, my armchair, my resources.
I couldn't believe how much stuff I had up there that was really just junk! And how many boxes of books does one woman need? Seriously! I could open up a second hand book shop..... but I'm setting up a craft attic instead.
Here are my photos.
 The attic as it was at noon today. Just a big jumble, all boxes and no sense to it.
 I mean, seriously.... How many boxes does one family need?
 You can see the bags of material I have; loads and loads. This is only what's in the attic. There's more in the guest bedroom, the family room and (ahem) on top of my wardrobe. I never know what I've got so I always buy more instead of using my stash. That will change.
 The three boxes under the skylight have sat here for eleven years. Since we moved in. I know, if we haven't needed them by now, we don't need them at all. But they are (I think) the boxes from Mr Angel Jem's childhood. I can't be the one who chucks them! (except at him with a snarled 'rationalise these, will you!!!!')

 There is now a system at work here. This is the keeper pile. Material, objets d'art for the attic.... and a lamp for reading by.
 This is the Ebay pile. I need to photograph, describe and list all of these over a few months on Ebay.There is a cot bed, shelves, clothes, clothes and more clothes, a travel cot, books and toys all to go through and get rid of. Any funds raised are going towards my heater. I've been looking already.... any suggestions?
 This is my last corner to attack.I think most of the bags on the left have wool. The large boxes are (did you guess?) books. What I like is the space; look at that floor. I can see it!! Just last week when I started thinking about this as a possibility I could never have known that there was a floor in the attic, let alone see it!

 This is the view from the end of the attic; this is where my dresser will stand in the end but where the junk piles up at the moment.
 This is the view as you enter the attic, you're looking up from the stairs here and across to the ebay corner.
 And this is my space. I moved the table up all by myself. Really. See the space to make and create, the room to gather friends and work together and the light shining (ok, treacling) in. I think at this time of year this is really the lightest room in the house. The trees overhang so I will have to see how the light goes in the summer, but I could always just trim a little branch to make it better.
The bin is full (again) the paper recycling is full (again) and the week ahead means I probably won't get a chance to get back in again. Added to that the need to get stuff out of the house and in to my attic to do the house decorating that is my real purpose behind this exercise, and it will be  a few weeks before I move any further on my attic craft space quest. *sigh*
But I will be decorating inside so I'll have plenty to show you!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

An Award and my reply (better late than never)

Jan at Softie's Place nominated me for an award! The Liebster award is for blogs with less than 300 followers; that's me! Thank you!
Here are the rules;
“The Liebster Award is for bloggers with under 300 followers and the rules of the award is that the nominee must link back to whoever awarded them, write 11 random facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions from the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer. It’s a great way for new and undiscovered bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that they want to follow.”

Softie's Place answered her award here. I got this last week (or the week before... oops!) but this is the first chance I've had to do the post.
My random facts;
1. My little finger on my left side is smaller than the right. I think this shows I'm highly evolved. My brothers say it makes me a mutant. Hey! I can be an X Man!

2. I love Paris. I would love to live there for a year, but I think my time for that has passed. :(
Dancing in front of the Musee D'Orsay
3. My favourite colour is red. Red red red. See the photo above for my bag colour.
4. The only car accident I have had so far and hopefully ever will, was into the Chief Constable of Merseyside. He wasn't driving, his fully anti-terrorist avoidance techniques trained driver was. And I was only 19 and still managed to get them full on in the side. Whoops.
5. I really enjoyed giving birth. If you know anybody who needs a positive birth story, I am it.
6. I am going to write a book someday. It's the only thing left on my wish list to do.
7.My project this year is to get the house finally FINALLY sorted. We've lived here eleven years. I want to get rid of the boxes that are in the attic and have been since we moved in.
8. I love rollercoasters, but I haven't been on one in twenty years.
9. My favourite food is confit of duck. I will learn how to make it. I will.
10. Eleven is a hard number. I like five best.
11. My nickname is the Christmas Fairy.

Here are the answers to Softie's  Eleven Questions:
 1.Where would you travel to for your dream vacation? Easy; Paris. Anytime.
 2. What is your favorite dessert? For a second I read this as desert. The Gobi? No seriously. My favourite dessert is Tiramisu. Love it.
3. Do you prefer mountain views or ocean views? The Ocean. Especially the view from a cottage we borrow in Wales.

 4. In how many different places have you lived? Since birth, 4. Since marriage, only two. And when you say places I have only lived in two towns; Rainhill and Liverpool. I like railways because if you live in Rainhill it's the only famous thing that has ever happened there.
 5. Which do you prefer a wedding band or wedding set? A wedding band. At the moment it's the only ring I'm wearing.
6. Did you have any input in choosing your wedding ring or was it a surprise? I chose it. He paid.
7. Saver or spender? (blush) sp...sp...spender (sorry)
 8. What is your favorite film or movie? I have loads..... but I like A Few Good Men, Jane Eyre, Amelie, Star Wars, Thor.....

9. Vintage or Modern? Vintage or vintage style. I'm an old fashioned gal.
10. Do you have a favorite quote? The days are long but the years are short. I know this from personal experience. How I wonder where the time has gone since my babies were.... well, babies.
11. What made you laugh or smile the most this week? I visited an art gallery with my brood for someone's homework. They got bored after a while and began to play assassin. That's where they try and creep up behind me and frighten me. Watching them creep around trying to be invisible is so funny. And I just went off to have a cup of tea instead.

My questions to other people;
1. What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
2. What clothing do you like best?
3. Where would you like your heart to be buried? (like Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee)
4. How do you prefer your eggs?
5. What was your favourite toy when you were young?
6.Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?
7. Why did you pick your blogname or online name?
8. Do you have a favourite cocktail?
9. What is your favourite time of year?
10. What was the silliest thing anybody ever said to you?
11. When in history would you like to have lived? (you can take some modern conveniences with you if you like)

And my bloggers that I would like to pass this on to.....
Everyday Life on a Shoestring
Keren Baker's Blog
The Cookie Jar
Not Your Average Zoe
Jumble and Jelly
Through the Keyhole
Not eleven because there are people I would pass the award on to who have already done it. Here are links to them instead.
Tales from a Happy House
My Blethering Blog
Softie's Place
I hope you all have a good week and I'll be back again soon!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Thank you for coming back.

You saw the attic yesterday, right?

You saw the boxes, the papers, the cots,
Just all the stuff. Depressing. Nasty. Not useable. A waste of space.
In our original plans for the house we wanted to raise the roof. We wanted to make a Master bedroom suite, with a bathroom and a walk in wardrobe. To decorate it with cool cream and have a chaise longue and plain linen blinds. Lovely. But it isn't going to happen. I'm not likely to get the full time job we planned on having. I don't think we'd get the planning permission and I'm not sure I could cope with the mess, the men, the all-pervading dust that would inevitably be everywhere and for ever.
Dreams are lovely, but they are not immutable. Not fixed. Open to adaptation.
So I have adapted. I have changed. I have got a new dream. And this one is doable. This one might just work. This one is for me.
I found this blog; It's me, Sarah. and her excellent craft room pages. And I looked and looked. I found another blog and another and another.
My dreams are white walls; a red dresser to hold the china and my haberdashery, a check-covered table with sewing machine and space to create. perhaps even a vinyl sticker with a quote to remind me to play, breathe and be.
A crochet-covered armchair with my knitting in a basket next to it.
Baskets of wool waiting to be used; fabric neatly stored on shelves painted apple green.
fabric organization
From Craftaholics anonymous
A kettle and my dotty mug, with a small biscuit jar ready with bourbons and custard creams.

By next year this will be my window on the world. This will be my haven.

Eleven years ago today....

The presents sit waiting....
I woke at 3am with contractions 3 min away.

I have to draw the birthday cards, it's a family tradition.
I told my husband who told me to wake him when they were closer.

Opening a Sylvanian Family present, of course
I rang my Mum at 4am to say 'Happy Birthday Mum! And, by the way, could you come and look after the boys. The baby's coming NOW!'
I'm conscious that the years of cute presents won't last forever.

I got to the hospital at 5am and told the midwife the baby would arrive by 6am.

She chose the dotty paper.
My princess arrived a fashionable 10 minutes late.

Happy 11th!

I have never had a moment's peace since, and I love it.
Happy Birthday Princess!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Confession is good for the soul...

This is a true confessions post. I am about to admit to the true state of my house. It's a tip.

This is the study. Better, but still not good enough. There are too many piles of fabric, too many boxes of paper that have had no home.

This is the small bedroom.

 This is a true embarrassment. Two years ago it looked lovely, blue, tidy and clear enough to have my friend stay there; now it's full of stuff waiting to go on ebay, go to charity, go to hell. You can't get in there, you can't invite a friend to sleep over, I haven't got it as an option to put one of the lads in when I decorate their bedroom. That is completely unacceptable.

This is their bedroom. Perhaps this is what sparked me off; their room has lain dormant for 10 years. They like the colour. They like the arrangement, the bunk beds, the books. To an extent I know I have to leave the arrangement to them, they are, after all, teenagers but I want it to be acceptable. This is not acceptable. (I know, I sound like a programme of Supernanny. Used to love her!) I need to get their bedroom sorted and organised and soon.... my eldest has GCSE's next year and deserves an area where he can work and read in peace.
And my external storage areas are.... stuffed. Overfull. Packed. This is the garage; most of those bikes are too small.

This furniture is waiting for Bulky Bob to collect it and take it away.

These bags are stuff already shifted from the house.

You can't see the stairs in the corner. They lead to the attic; big enough for the Mad wife, and full enough to drive her crazy.

Spot the cot; boxes of clothes from my pre-children days, a Christmas train track,

Books, bags of wool, suitcases of more clothes,
 More boxes. Some of these have my Mother-in-law's china in. God knows what else.
 More material. More stuff. More. More MORE
If clutter truly has an impact on a person's size and mental wellbeing, then I know where my size issues come from.
But I have had enough. Posting these photos are my line in the sand. I am declaring war on the stuff in my house. I have been reading the minimalist blogs. I have been dreaming. I have plans.
This post is long enough; come back tomorrow for the plans. Please. You are involved.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

When I say I love you, I say it with all my hearts.

Ready for a reveal? I set myself a challenge to make something every month. I am, of course, behind schedule. This was my January challenge.
Inspired by the doyenne of crochet, Attic 24, I wanted a fireplace garland. I got the tutorial off Bella Dia, collected my wool (simple red and white cotton DK) and settled down with my hooks.
From Bella Dia, this picture can be seen here
No luck. I can crochet, but these just weren't feeling good. Didn't like the surface feel. They just made me go meh.
So I thought that perhaps I should try my first craft, knitting. I don't knit often enough. Too many stitches to lose. But small hearts, they must be doable, right?
I figured that the same pattern would work for knitting as crochet; so I basically just followed it. It worked out so easy by the second heart I was working without any pattern. It is not rocket science.
I'm so glad I did. I love this heart.

 It was so easy to make. Here's my (first ever) pattern
 Cast on 2, purl 2,
 inc 1 into each stitch,
 purl every alternate row from now onwards,
 inc 1 stitch at each end of a knit row to 20 stitches,
purl next row
 Knit 2 tog knit 6, knit 2 tog. Turn , leaving last 10 stitches on needle.
Knit 2 tog knit 4 knit 2 tog
Knit 2 tog knit 2 knit 2 tog
Knit 2 tog, knit 2 tog
Purl last two stitches together.
Join on thread, complete second top of heart in the same way as the first.

I finished off with a row of double crochet all the way around in white. I made a chain of crochet the length I felt I needed for the fireplace and worked a row of double crochet as the second layer. I spaced out the hearts and attached them by making a chain of 2, slipstitching the heart on the next stitch, chain of 3 and continuing the dc from the same stitch I stopped at.
I apologise for the bad light conditions on such a dark, dank, dismal snow here and gone again day. It means my lovely recycled candles look warm and welcoming.
And my Snow in Love candle just needed to be lit today, didn't it?

Monday, 11 February 2013

Surprises by post....

When I got home from a busy day at school last week, I found this waiting on the doorstep.

It took me by surprise. I hadn't ordered anything; definitely nothing from America where the label came from. Then I read the customs declaration;

Tea, chocolate, notecards, notebook.

The tea swap!  Inspired by a post on my happiness blog, Happy Angel, Lucy in the Sky  suggested a tea swap! I haven't got moving on my parcels yet.... there is no time limit, so I don't feel guilty. But somebody obviously has got organised!

 I love the look of the cinnamon tea! I really love Chai tea so I'm hoping this is something similar... guess I'll find out!
 Chocolate with sea salt is my guilty pleasure, two squares a day eaten slowly with a warm tea. A little decadence every day.
 Mmm! Lip salve from Burt's Bees. Love it.

And stickers, notecard and a lovely green notebook. How pretty and how useful!
Thank you very much to Jan of Softies Place. She sent me loads of cracking stuff! I will savour every bit with pleasure!