Running out of Candle

Today is the 1st of December. Hardly any time at all until Christmas! Usually I would be very excited about this but this year I feel very differently. You see, we are *so close* to finishing the living room! And we really really really want it done for Christmas. There is so much to do! Oh my. It’s all we can think about, all we can focus on and our December days are being counted not really by an advent calendar but by “Ok on this day the plumber/gas people are coming so we need to have XYZ done. On this day, this is being delivered and on that day that is. And then on the 20th the carpets are being fitted so we must, we MUST be done by then!”

I’m sure lots of you haven’t been reading me since we started doing this renovation, in brief we have lived here for just over 4 years and have been doing the living room renovation ourselves. (As a condition of our mortgage) we took the room right back to the original stone and brick work and installed some weird/fancy damp proof membrane all up the walls and have rebuilt the room back from that. There have been numerous difficulties along the way, most of the caused by the house being over 100 years old (late 1800’s), completely wonky and unlevel in all respects and hindered hugely by any work undertaken before being rather bodged shall we say. We’ve learnt a huge amount (neither of us has done anything like this before) and it’s come at a huge emotional and financial cost as well. It seems so simple just to write that paragraph there, I could never convey to you just how much of a toll it’s taken on us and just how difficult a time it has been but our blood, sweat and tears have gone into that room.

This final push to get it completed is rather exhausting and we’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately. Andy spends all of the weekend working on it and we both work in there in the evenings. We didn’t get to bed until 1:30am on Saturday night (TTB was up at 5:55, zzzzzz) but at least we’re making progress. It does feel as though we are running out of candle so to speak!

It’s always more expensive than you expect as well! Especially the last things like carpets, paint, fire surround and skirting boards. In a moment of madness I started making little doll/teddy blankets (pictured above) to sell to try and earn some money towards it but when I am going to get a chance to work on them I do not know! They are pretty though and it was nice to work on something colourful that progressed satisfyingly. I had been busting a gut to get my “Cottage” squares blanket finished as well but the person I intended it for (without them knowing) doesn’t really like the colours so I’ve stopped working on that indefinitely. Just got a big bag of squares laying around now!

A rather lovely break from reality came on Saturday when I went to the Country Living Christmas Fair in Harrogate with my friend Nina. It was super to see so much inspiration! Really good. There were so many gorgeous things, and a lot of handmade as well.

I couldn’t to buy everything I wanted (as I didn’t have several thousand spare pounds!) but I did fall in love with this wooden reindeer. He has come home with me to adorn our new fire surround for Christmas. But he’ll have to wait until that’s delivered and installed! He’s cute though. I’m quite particular about what Christmas decorations I like, I don’t have a theme other than “these are things that I like” but I am particular about what I buy.

On the way back to the car we popped in to Baa Ram Ewe which is very nicely presented and happily for me had a nice sofa to sit on. I wasn’t tempted by any yarn though, I think I have yarn fatigue at the moment. Actually just general “stuff and clutter” fatigue and my Stylecraft yarn is driving me mad as it won’t all fit in my expedit drawer any more and is spilling out everywhere.

Here are some Decembery things to show you. Of all the little pots that were in our yard (leftovers from the last couple of years of having bulb plants inside), TTB demolished most of them and I chucked the remaining bulbs haphazardly into this pot. Rather sweetly the little tete a tete thinks that it is Spring and is trying to flower! Aww. I wish I had the same optimism about the time of year!

I bought our panettone today! Last year we had “pizza and panettone” for dinner on Christmas Eve and it was maaaaaarvellous and I want to do it every year. The one we had at my mum’s last year was massive! We certainly don’t need on that size for just me and Andy though. And as for the pizza … well that depends on whether Tesco actually deliver my new cooker. I’m going to keep this casual as I say this, because after 11 months with no oven it seems surreal to think we may have on soon and I can’t even think about it until it’s done. And Tesco have already delayed the delivery once, and now this week is jam packed full of plumbers, playgroup and a glucose tolerance test and I’m freaking about when it might arrive as you can’t alter the delivery. But tentatively … yay oven. Man I’m going to be skint for a long time but at least I’ll be able to bake things again. Hurrah!

I’ve found it really hard to feel excited about Christmas in amongst all the lounge stress and felt quite down in the dumps after seeing my friends’ happy cosy pictures of their children with their advent calendars and Elf on the Shelf arrivals. I’m not one to decorate early for Christmas and I don’t “do” chocolate advent calendars but it made me feel a bit sad that we weren’t also experiencing the same child related Christmas excitement. I couldn’t even remember where I’d stashed the advent calendar I bought for TTB! Happily I found it (and the Playmobil Christmas set too) earlier and when Andy came home we gave them to him. He liked the calendar and predictably wanted to open all of the doors today (but of course!) and played really happily with the Playmobil before bed, making the “Daddy”, “Mumdeer” and “baby deer” all take turns to pull the sleigh.

I’ve got an advent calender too! Last year I shared TTB’s because he was too little really. This was a gift from Lucy and judging by her post it came from Salt’s Mill. It’s lovely and I like that it’s reusable too. TTB wanted to pop all of the animals out but did settle for just the owl in the end! Although I have since moved it up to the mantle piece as it turns out that he has go go gadget arms and can reach further than I thought.

Phew. And with that, time to go and paint the second coat of paint on one of the walls in the lounge. Hopefully I’ll be back to blog again soon!


23 thoughts on “Running out of Candle

  1. Sue Mayer says:

    Oh my goodness your post made me feel tired LOL. I had missed you and hoped that you and TTB were ok.

    The best bit about scrimping and saving and doing the DIY yourself is that magic moment when you have finished your project, when you can sit back and say “we did that and it looks great”. Been there and done that many times.

    “Gadget arms” LOL in my day it was “Twizzle arms” as the cartoon on the TV was Twizzle and he could make his arms grow longer so he could reach to pick apples off trees. I used to move things higher away from toddlers but then at a certian point I decided that they had to learn to leave things alone and on the whole it worked.

  2. Penny Park says:

    I feel for you. Don’t know how you’ve managed to keep your crafting and blogging going. Hope everything works out for you. Drag up the energy (emotional and physical) from the depths, and then enjoy Christmas. Have a great 2015 in your super sitting room!!

  3. Jackie says:

    It sounds like the final push on the room renovation front… go Heather, you can do it!! Quite agree with Sue, imagine how wonderful you’re going to feel when looking at the super room you’ve both created yourselves though all the blood, sweat and tears. I’m sure it’s going to look more than fabulous and most definitely worth it!
    Have you ever thought about selling some of your lovely work, either through your blog or on something like Etsy? I think there’d be more than a few people partial to one of your ripple blankets or other lovely goodies. I reckon it could be a really successful venture!

  4. Anne Marie says:

    How nice to hear from you again. I saw the stripes on Facebook and wondered what you were doing. I would buy one of your little blankets for my new granddaughter, Ellie, so let me know if you are going to sell.

    I know EXACTLY how you are going on, house wise. When I was about your age (almost a million years ago), we lived in a farmhouse in the Peak District and we had to tank the walls as everything was falling off them. We did manage to cure in the end. But for 6 months, we were walking on earth floors, over planks, when all this work was going on. We had a hole in the outside wall, just very conveniently, by the loo, so if you were on the loo and anyone came in, they would get a bottom view!!! Fortunately, it was in the middle of nowhere and you would hear a car draw up! We had no bathroom for six months too, and NO I didn’t stink, but begged baths from my friends at work during my lunch time.

    I’m sure you will be so pleased with your new living room and it will be so cosy.

  5. This time last year we were just about ready to move into our new house. We’d wrecked the bedroom (so there wasn’t one!) and had to sleep in the living room so my parents who were helping with the DIY could sleep in the spare room. There were boxes absolutely everywhere and it was just a nightmare!

    What I’m tying to say is there is a light at the end of the tunnel! When you’re living room is done is will be amazing, you’ll be so proud of yourselves and you’ll know it’s done properly and not bodged. TTBs still too little to know that it’s December 1st and he won’t mind if there’s no tree, so don’t feel bad, you’re doing a great job! x

  6. We’ve been where you are and when I think back to those times (sleeping in the dining room, looking through floor boards into the basement, piling extra blankets on the bed to keep warm in a house that had no insulated windows and walls ripped back to the lathing), they are some of my happiest memories. It was our love that turned that house into our home. It’s difficult now, but just think of it as the best gift you and Andy can give yourselves and your blossoming family. Don’t be discouraged; sometimes in the middle of tears, we’d look at each other and just start laughing at the absurdity of it all. We’d work all day, get to the house and change into work clothes and work there ’til almost midnight before heading back to our apartment to crawl into bed only to do it all again the next day. I thought I’d never get the insulation out of my hair! What I’m trying to say is remember this: you are making your house into your home, your shelter from the world, your safe haven and a place full of love. Best wishes to you this Christmas season.

  7. Torya says:

    I LOVE your little rainbow blanket on the left hand side! Is it Stulecraft, and if so do you remember what colours you used? I want to make a rainbow ripple for my house, but have been struggling to find the right colours.

  8. Wow, that’s so much to be doing. Like Nina, I’ve been there as well – putting the mattress on the living room floor because ‘it was only going to be a few weeks’, then having to admit defeat and borrow a divan base because everything took longer. Baulking at the price of EVERYTHING, wondering why it took so long to do something that was supposed to be simple (er…because we’d never done it before!), living in general chaos and longing for order. And I didn’t have a toddler and one on the way!

    I have so much admiration for what you’re doing, especially trying to keep your spirits up at the same time. Hang on in there, it’s worth it in the end!

    Also, sorry to hear the blanket would not be loved :/ Maybe it just needs some time on the naughty step before finding its true purpose.

  9. Have faith – it will be worth it in the end! We had an extension built one year which was only supposed to take a few weeks but dragged on and on – and like your situation, Christmas was getting closer and our kitchen was a builder’s yard! Amazingly, the builders mostly pulled it off just in time and we had a wonderful time in our new space (as long as we ignored a few things like missing cupboard doors!). You’ll be just the same and it’ll be done then before you get too big and heavy with Number 2 to be bothered with it at all xx

  10. Anne Marie says:

    I forgot to ask in my post above, why the two mini blankies look different. Is one started at the beginning of each row rather than turning work?

  11. Sarah says:

    Dear Heather, I have been reading your blog since you embarked on the living room.
    I know how much it means to you. It will be ready for you all to sit and enjoy Christmas.

  12. I had to laugh at the blog title- after reading it a second time bc the first time I was so tired I don’t think I got it! How apropo LOL I feel ya on running out of candle! So true.

  13. Wow! You are one busy lady. When you’re on the other side of this, you’re going to be just thrilled – it will have all been worthwhile. Best of luck to you!

  14. Alison says:

    Have a merry Christmas with your family which are in the end more important than a finished house or room or project. Although I know how wonderful it is to complete such a major task when pregnant and with children in tow! Fingers crossed all has been done and carpets are down.
    Please keep rested and look after your self the family depends on you.
    Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

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