Friday, 29 February 2008


This is Gregory. He has come from a Wee Wonderfuls pattern that I downloaded ages ago, but which doesn't seem to be on her blog any more.

We had thought that Gregory was going to be a girl. After the stuffing, though, it became apparent that he is a boy. He would get more than a little sniffy if he thought he had ever been considered to be the tiniest bit feminine, so we shan't let on.

He has a bit of a limp, his front leg being a touch smaller than the other three, but he manages perfectly well and is a bit touchy about the trunkated limb. This is something else which is best not to discuss in his presence.

I realise that these last two statements may suggest that that Gregory can sometimes be a bit grumpy. This might be a little bit true - but we all get grumbly sometimes, and we all have things we'd rather not think about or discuss. Gregory is a perfectly lovely pig, and I would hate for you to think ill of him before being properly introduced.

He wanted a Fez. I dried to dissuade him, but he was adamant. I'm not sure it's a very succesful attempt at millinery, but he's thrilled, and is now happily muttering "Just like that!" in the corner, much to the disgust of the cat, who's trying to have a nap.

We both thought it would be nice to announce his arrival with an immediate blog entry and photo, but neither of us is very happy with the photo. I'm unhappy with the composition and lighting, and Gregory has noticed that the seam of his fez is in the picture, and that he has a huge cat hair on his nose.

However, It will do for now. We might take another tomorrow.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Manon de la Fleur

I was going to spend all day today doing house-worky stuff. And I have done some, and I will do some more after lunch. But the laundry-sorting unearthed a couple of torn vests. I hate waste, and the vests were too pretty for relegation to dusters. And the sewing machine was still set up downstairs....

So, meet Manon de la Fleur,

A stylish little madamoiselle, Manon embraces life and love. Her favourite foods are creme caramel and parma violets, her favourite scent is Rose Otto, and her favourite song is Lilac Wine (Eartha Kitt's recording, of course). She dislikes cheese, carbonated drinks and reality TV programmes.

She'll be spending her Sunday afternoon on a sunny windowsill, catching up on her reading.

Meanwhile, I will be cleaning, tidying and hoovering.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

My Wonderful Saturday

Lovely J's working away for the weekend. This is poo, because I miss him when he's away. This is also the reason for my Wonderful Saturday.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that Lovely J's presence makes my weekends less wonderful. On the contrary, having Lovely J around makes everything lovely and sparkly and rose-smelling.

This morning, however, I made a conscious decision to "do something" today, knowing that otherwise the day would be frittered away in a sulk on the sofa. Which wouldn't do.

So I went into town. The intention was to try to find a couple of tops suitable for the office without getting too cross in the changing rooms. On the way to the clothes shops I stopped by the indoor market, just to have a look to see whether the haberdashery stall had anything interesting (it did - I got a lovely length of pink ginham ribbon, which inspired me to also buy a little silver tinkly bell, a couple of brown buttons, and some toy stuffing), and whether the sweetie stall had any butterscotch tabs. (It did. I bought a quarter.)

On my way out of the market I stopped to giggle at this lovely lady who was selling little daffodils for Marie Curie Cancer Research. A bumble bee had become confused and was trying to collect nectar from her hat. Some kind people helped her to swat it away. I bought a daffodil from her.

After this my shopping trip was extraordinarily successful. I bought two tops from Dorothy Perkins (which aren't black!), three pairs of knickers, two bras and a (red!) top from M&S. (The top was actually Per Una, which I think is supposed to be a bit fancier - but is still M&S no matter how they market it).

I stopped to watch a group of buskers on Queen Street for a solid half hour - they were a Max Boyce tribute band (Boyce Zone), and were hilarious. It was a brilliant atmosphere, with Italian and Welsh rugby fans loving it all and singing along.

Then I got some culture. I went to a matinee showing of 'The 39 Steps' at the New Theatre. This is a picture of the theatre. It isn't a very good picture. I took it on my phone because I wanted a picture for the blog to show that I'd been to the theatre.

It was brilliant. I loved it and laughed pretty much all the way through. Four actors played all of the parts, which led to some hilarious dialogue/monologue moments with very clever use of costumes and props. I got completely over excited at the shadow-puppet chase scenes. I don't remember the novel being that entertaining.

I sat in the upper circle, because I'd only ever sat in the stalls before, and I wanted to know whether the extra money is really worth it. I haven't yet sat in the Circle, but I can categorically state that the seats in the Upper Circle are not as good as those in the stalls. I was very far away, so seeing the actors' expressions was quite difficult, and because I was in the front row of the Upper Circle, I had a hand rail and support placed smack-bang in my line of vision, so I watched the entire production stooped in a very uncomfortable and unnatural slouch.

And the seats in the Upper Stalls are much less comfortable than those downstairs. I could see the comfortable red velvet upholstery in the Circle and Stalls, but I was perched on a wooden-backed bench with limited leg room (or shopping bag room, as the case may be). I also noticed that the Circle had binoculars. We were further away, but had no binoculars.

The lady next to me let me look at her programme, and I offered her my butterscotch tabs. Next time I go for a matinee I will try the Circle. Hopefully I'll get a seat in the front row circle. I think that would be quite good.

After the theatre I hopped into a taxi and managed to get home in time to watch the second half of the match (Wales won. Yay!). Once sat on the sofa I couldn't help myself. I pulled out the bag of stuff I'd bought in the market (except the sweets, which somebody had eaten in the theatre), a pretty Fat Quarter from the wardrobe, and made this...

It's a pointy kitty, made from a free pattern I downloaded from Wee Wonderfuls. I love her, I think she's fantastic. When I started to make her, she was intended as a gift for somebody - but I might have to keep her now. I'm not sure. At least she hasn't been named. If she gets named, there's no way I'll be able to give her away. (There's no question of her being a girl, because she's covered in pink flowers, and has a pretty pink ginham bow from which her little silver bell hangs. The bell is so that she won't frighten the catnip mice by pouncing on them). There are more pictures of her on my flickr page.

I've had a very busy, productive and lovely day. Tomorrow will be less pleasant. I have to clean the house. Especially the bits which are scattered with fabric clippings and thread after today's bout of "making". I also have to do some laundry. I would like to do some visiting (perhaps partly to avoid the housework), but I don't know if my intended visitee will be around, so I may not be able to do that.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Welcome to the kitchen blog

I wasn't going to post about the kitchen any more until it was finished, because I don't really want this to become a home-improvements blog. But Lovely-J got all disappointed when I told him this, because he's enjoying seeing the pictures. And he reckons that we'll appreciate this record of work-in-progress when all is done and finished, the house is sold, and we're safely tucked away, smug and warm in our lovely 4 bed semi detached Edwardian / Victorian townhouse somewhere in suburban Cardiff.

Also, when all is said and done, this blog is here for me to witter on about things that are going on in my life at the moment. And right now it is mainly kitchens. :o)

So - here is how the kitchen looked when I got home from work yesterday afternoon....

Look! Units and worktops! I got really quite excited when I saw this. Not least by the lovely sheeny-shiny sink with it's sheeny-shiny taps (which twist with a lovely, satisfying smooth and ceramic-y clunk) and the lovely sheeny-shiny hob and its mean-looking burners...

We got so excited by it all that we rushed straight out to buy wall and floor tiles. You can see the wall tiles in the above pic - plain cream tiles. I didn't want any flouncy tiles, because at the end of the day we can't keep the kitchen - we're going to sell the house after all, and flouncy tiles should be something that any future owners should decide whether they want or not. Also, the plain cream ones were half the price of the flouncy tiles...

I'm not telling you about the floor tiles. They're awesome, too - but I'm keeping them as a surprise for later on.

When I got home tonight - I saw this...

.... with a little note telling me that the sink, electrics and cooker all work and are ready to be used, and that the cupboards are ready to be filled if I want.

If I want?!?!? Of course I want! Silly (and clever, fantastic, awesome, lovely) kitchen-building man.

(Note - I'm allowed to say gushing-nice things about the kitchen building man without Lovely-J getting uppity, because the lovely, awesome, fantastic and clever kitchen-building man is Lovely-J's dad.)

I spent the next hour arranging tins in cupboards and role-playing catering situations to help decide the best location for the baked beans or the tea bags. I then celebrated with a bacon butty. (I've been eating microwaved food for the past week, so cooker = bacon).

Just to prove that my life doesn't revolve around kitchens...

It's my new favourite picture. I took it the other day when I was on a site visit with work, it makes me chuckle.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


It's all starting to take shape, now. We have to go tiles and worktop buying at some point over the next few days.... It's gonna be lovely.

Monday, 18 February 2008

We got plastered!

I got home from work today to find everybody has been extremely industrious in my absence...

The kitchen has been plastered, changes to the gas pipes have been completed, the shed has been emptied, its resident spiders evicted and hinges oiled, and everything has been cleared and tidied away. And the new kitchen cupboards are loaded in the van ready to be installed tomorrow.

I was under the impression that having work done to your house is supposed to be stressful. Not in my case.... this is great! I swan off to work in the morning, and by the time I get home, work has been done and cleared away, so I can just sit down with a nice, hot brew and admire the progress.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

A Work In Progress

It's chaos round here! Everything is on top of everything else, and covered in dust and rubble and plaster and tea cups.

The plaster from the new damp proofing is still two-tone, but seems to be nearly dry now. Well, visually, at least - we won't dare decorate for another couple of weeks, at least. My beautiful hall, stairs and landing have taken a battering, but will look fantastic when re-decorated, carpeted and damp-free! Here is a picture of the stairs as they looked this morning. If you look near the bottom, you can see the dark smudge of wet plaster.

The kitchen is also looking very, very scary. The units have been ripped out and are currently piled up in the garden (we'll be taking them to the tip today. Joy!), the damp-proof plastering is still slowly drying, the wall tiles have been knocked off and carpet ripped out (yes, I had a carpet in the kitchen. It was green. It was supposed to be green, but wasn't supposed to have brown stains from all the food spills that you would expect in a kitchen. It was lovely.)

Here is one end of the kitchen. That's the washing machine floating around the middle of the room. It isn't plumbed in. I hope it won't be long before it's plumbed back in, or I'm not sure what I'll do for clean knickers and work clothes. In front of the washing machine is my washing up bowl. It's in the kitchen because I was using used washing up water to clean the cooker before free-cycling it. I will take it back upstairs to the bathroom shortly. Our dishes are being washed in the bath for the time being.

All the various holes, bumps and lumps have been fillen in and levelled out, although there is still some wallpaper to be removed. The electrician has sorted out new plugs and sockets. The plumber has done his first bit, including re-routing a gas pipe that was taking a tour around the periphery of the kitchen. Did you know that if you plumb in a gas oven under upvc windows, that the heat from the cooker will melt the window sill? Whoever put in the old kitchen didn't. So the window surrounds have also been removed, and tidied up with patching plaster ready to be replaced. We've had new skirting, too. The plasterer's coming on Monday, so it will look less like a building site when I come home from work tomorrow.

This is a picture of the other end of the kitchen. Look at the lovely new skirting and door frame to the pantry. I'm not changing the boiler, though - too expensive! Again, see the wet plaster along the bottom of the wall.

It's all looking very scary. But not as scary as our temporary kitchen / study / living area / dining area / storage area (previously known as the living room).

And lovely, clever J built a side gate. It's very large and very robust, and is very, very brilliant. Here he is, being all proud (and rightfully so). We hope that the gate will be enough of a deterrent that local skallywags won't steal any more wheelbarrows etc. from the garden. It will also be a good plus-point for selling the house.

No crafty pics or updates, I'm afraid - maybe when everything's settled down a bit. I don't really want my cross stitching to get covered in plaster dust - I'm sure you understand :o)

Monday, 11 February 2008


Phew! I've been busy! Far too busy and much too tired to blog, I'm afraid.

I started my new job - which is very tiring. I'd forgotten how exhausting it can be trying to live up to people's expectations. It's good though, I think. Too early to tell, but it seems ok.

We've had a man in to do the damp proofing in the house. And the kitchen has been moved into the lounge in preparation for a brand spanking new kitchen, which will be lovely, and will (touch wood) help us to sell the house that bit quicker.

My Japanese classes are good. The teacher is lovely and full of contagious enthusiasm, and is completely engaging. (Kon wan ban, Noriko sense). It's going to be difficult though, I reckon.

I've done no cross stitch, sewing, knitting or anything else even remotely crafty. That will come when all is settled and calm again.

And no photos today, either. Next time. I promise.