A New Year

Last year I had my diary and a couple of calenders out on the table on New Year’s Eve and I filled in all my important dates, and all the birthdays I needed to remember. Things like that. This year I do have a calendar but it’s still in the wrapping with the magazine it came free with! This year feels much more like a continuation rather than a new start – does that make sense? I think it’s because I put all my baby thoughts and planning on hold until after Christmas, because we were so busy with the lounge, and now it is January it’s really not very long until our baby will be here.

Last year I started doing Project Life and I LOVE the two albums of photos I’ve made from it. I chose to do it purely as a photo album (scrapbooking and papercrafts aren’t my thing really) and it felt so good to actually DO something with all my photos. When I became pregnant, something had to give and Project Life was that thing and I’ve been playing catch up ever since. It’s ok, my method now is just to do everything as a 6×4 photo and bung it all in the album and call it done. I’ve got 6 weeks of photos left to sort and order and then that will be done enough for my liking. I’m going to do it again this year but in an even lazier way (as soon as I figure out what that way is.) Getting this 2014 album finished is my main crafty focus at the moment. A couple of friends are doing “one thing every day” and at the moment ¬†sorting photos is my “one thing”.

This year, I’ve been watching what other people are aiming to do, or committing to do, with their year. What do I want out of 2015? Well, I’d really just like to cope! It’s only 9 weeks until baby is due, and that’s going to be a BIG change for all of us and I’d quite like to just cope well and not end up in the dark place in my head that I did after TTB was born.

I would tentatively like to continue using my dSLR more and getting more confident with manual settings. I used it today for the first time in a while (89 photos of TTB, three of the church clock …) and it’s very satisfying to do so. Someday I’d like another lens for it. I’ll be 30 in 2016, perhaps I could justify one then?

Coping, using my dSLR more and continuing to do Project Life in any way that I can … that seems to be quite enough to commit to really. Lastly I would like to continue my battle against clutter in our house. I’ve made huge progress lately, spurred on by my very nesty feelings right now. I emptied and bleached two kitchen cupboards at the weekend, and washed up and sorted everything in them. I like to go and look at them occasionally since they are the only part of my house that has “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”! I’ve also taken about ten carrier bags of things to the charity shops and I’ve really enjoyed purging all of the things we don’t need.

We’ve unpacked the 20 or so boxes that were still packed from when we left Leeds in 2009. I’m determined not to be a hoarder and its felt very liberating to say “nope, don’t need or want that” about lots of things. I mean, if it’s been packed for 5 years do I really need it? No. Farewell, university work!

I’m determined to work hard now and make the house nice and sorted for when the baby arrives. I’d like to do it now so that I can concentrate on enjoying my last weeks of it being just TTB, and get him used to having the cot up in his bedroom for the baby, and things like that. We moved some furniture around at the weekend, and I’ve ordered a few new babygros and a changing mat. I’ve bought some mini shampoo for my hospital bag. I will be ready and organised this time! I need a new cot mattress, another baby monitor, and I’d like a new sling (I’ve heard good things about the Connecta but all the pretty fabric ones are out of stock) and I’d love a fold up pushchair to increase my child transport options (I’m trying to save up for/justify the cost of this one). But other than that … I think I’m doing ok. It’s mind boggling how quickly this pregnancy is going. To begin with I was unsure how I could ever love another child as much as I love TTB but with every wriggle and jiggle and kick this little one makes I just know that I will. It’s going to be hard work … but so worth it. I’m actually getting quite excited to meet him/her now! It won’t be long.

The other day I started to feel a bit sad that I’ve not made any blankets for this baby yet. Then I opened a drawer and found 6 baby blankets, and I looked around TTB’s room at all of the blankets in there. Plenty of blankets. Loads. I’ll make one when there is time but until then … yes, I think we’ll be ok for blankets!

 

Hello

Hello and Happy New Year! Sorry for leaving it a whole month without posting, things became very busy and something had to give. Actually a lot of things had to give, namely blogging, housework, crafting, sleeping, thinking … you get the picture. But, everyone was fed, everyone was clean, everyone survived and most importantly we managed to get the living room finished for Christmas. Yay! I don’t have loads of photos to show you yet because it’s been Christmas and now we’re sorting out our huge backlog of boxes (they’ve been packed since 2009!) of books etc that have been in the corner of TTB’s room for a long time. We’re getting there. In the meantime, here’s a photo of it all Christmassed up. It’s hugely thrilling to have this room done and we’ve been SO enjoying using it – finally! I’m so proud of Andy for working so hard on it and doing such a good job.

Here’s a few before and during photos …

It’s been a lot of awful, dirty, dusty work. I hadn’t looked at those photos until the other day and it made me feel like crying remembering just how dusty and hideous it was taking all the plaster off. Still, it’s done now! (Just the rest of the house to go …)

In amongst all of the work we did (and trust me, every spare minute of November and December was spent working on it!) I did manage to do some festive things. Unfortunately our cooker never materialised because Tesco and Indesit are lying liars who lie. Andy bought us a little mini cooker (I know a lot of you suggested this at the start) and that’s been nice to have, I’m still getting to grips with it because of how shallow it is, the food is always close to the elements and it often burns the top of things if you use the top element or makes the bottom of things very tough if you just use the bottom element. HOWEVER, baking cakes and biscuits for the first time in a year was super and I felt all giddy with excitement.

My mother in law knitted an advent calender for TTB, what a huge amount of work went into that! Look at all those little pieces to put inside it. He’s loved it. Now I’m just trying to work out where to keep it for the rest of the year as it’s quite big. We’ve done lots of playdough, written Christmas cards and I treated TTB to Christmas pyjamas – I’m quite jealous they don’t come in my size!

Christmas Eve was lovely – I was able to spend a lot of it baking. It didn’t yield much because you can only do tiny batches in the mini oven but it was fun nonetheless and I was happy to be able to make some puff pastry mince pies like I did on Christmas Eve in 2012. It’s daft but I’d been really sad about not being able to make them, what with having no oven and all, so I’m pleased it all worked out. In the evening we left one of the mince pies for Father Christmas, along with a drink (TTB assured me that Father Christmas drinks “purple squash” aka apple and blackcurrant – who am I to argue?) and a carrot for the reindeer. It’s both wonderful and surreal to be the parent in this situation rather than the child. Being the eldest of 4 meant I was able to play along with this for a lot longer than if I’d been the youngest! I think TTB had forgotten about having left the tray out when it came to morning though, but he was delighted to find new matchbox cars and brio trains in his stocking. He loved opening presents too, well, he was very lovely about it actually and was more concerned with handing them all out and making sure that people opened them rather than the contents. Then later on he was a bit taken aback to find a new box of duplo and books and things on the floor!

The day after Boxing Day we travelled down to see my family. I was so looking forward to seeing them! We’d planned to visit before Christmas but had to postpone it what with getting the living room finished. Unfortunately it took us five and a half hours instead of three hours to get there, gah! Snow in the Midlands and thousands of other people travelling were not a good combination. I don’t ever want to travel at Christmas again! I loved seeing my family though and wish the visit had been longer. I had planned to go down again in the next half term holiday – until I realised just how close that is to my due date. I keep forgetting how pregnant I am – it explains why I feel so tired at least. I have started doing some planning and cleaning now which feels good, somewhat necessary since I’m 30 weeks already. Goodness me. 2015 is going to be a busy year I think.

x

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!

x