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!


Cheery Trees

Evening all. I am amazed that I am sat down with my laptop open! TTB has a cold and his back teeth are hurting … it sounds very mild to write it so simply like that when I can see how much pain and discomfort he is in. This does mean that when he goes to bed he wakes up every 20 minutes or so until I go and stay in there all night with him. I know that he needs me to make him feel better but being needed so much day and night is a bit draining. I feel mean feeling frustrated about him being poorly and I’m trying not to dwell on it. It won’t be forever and the best thing I can do is just cuddle him (upright) and chuck all manner of vapoury mentholy calpoly things his way until he’s better.

Until then, I am going to cheer myself up with these trees. When we stayed with my mum a couple of weeks ago we went for a rather glorious Autumnal walk in the woods. It was perfect really, bright blue sky, sunshine, a bit chilly and lots of Autumn things like leaves and mushrooms and sweet chestnuts. The later were rather shrivelled and no good but TTB thought the spiky cases were most excellent and collected loads of them for my poor mum. He didn’t seem to notice the spikes on them at all but did push them quite hard onto her hands and she definitely felt the spikes!

How many times have you seen a photo of feet in leaves this Autumn? I bet its a lot. I know I do it every time I am walking in leaves in my boots!

Well, I’ve been up to TTB 6 times in an hour and a half so I’ve given up and now he’s on my lap “helping” me write this. I can’t reach the keyboard to type much so I’ll just say: I love trees, pretty light, lots of leaves, TTB loved the woods. There! Now, I guess I’m going to have to go to bed so I can hold him upright again!


In Progress: “Cottage” Squares blanket.

A few weeks ago, after dropping TTB off at playgroup my feet led me to the yarn shop and I came home with nearly all of the colours from the Attic24 “Cottage” colour selection. I already had some of them, and two (Khaki and Magenta) the shop didn’t have. I’m ordering some Magenta today but I’ve decided to omit the Khaki for the time being as I’m not keen on that colour. It might turn out that I need it to make the colours work properly and if so I’ll give in and get some but at the moment I like it how it is.

I do like ripples. I really do. But I’ve already made a big ripple blanket this year (that I completely ballsed up the border on which is why I haven’t posted the finished thing yet. It’s in the corner of shame!) And you know me, I really do like squares. I wanted to see how the colour pack would translate to a square blanket. (Big Elmer Squares, of course. My favourite.) This has the bonus of not needing to worry about colour order until right at the end and I can just work away making squares in whichever colour takes my fancy at the time, without much actual thought.

The other bonus is this: I will know exactly how many balls of yarn it took to make the blanket. I get asked a lot about how much yarn a certain blanket has taken and my answer is “I don’t know!” because I never keep track, I work on several projects at one time from the same stash of yarn and if I run out I just buy more of whatever colour as I need it. But this time I am using one ball of each colour (bar khaki as stated above) and then, THEN I will be able to tell you how much yarn I used. Incidentally if you are wondering how much yarn you’ll use … just buy one of each ball to start. Then see how you go. And then buy more if you need it.

I’m just doing 4-round squares this time rather than five because variety is the spice of life, right? And it means I finish each square faster ;-)

This is by no means the final order of the squares as I just laid them out a bit randomly to show you them but you can sort of see how it might look. You know, it’s a beautiful sunny day today, the sky looks gorgeous and the leaves on the trees are illuminated perfectly. But none of that natural light is in my house and so the colours look dreadful but I think I’m past caring about that, you all know what Stylecraft looks like and if I waited for perfect light I’d never get any blog posts done. This is real life and quite often the light is dreadful!

I didn’t really mean to start another blanket, this is a completely accidental WIP. Whoops.