Monday, 28 July 2008

Whew, well that was a busy weekend

We just managed to get the kitchen painted in time. Just. Really it needs another coat of paint but the parents-in-law turned up and we had to down tools for the night. All the important bits got painted though which is, well, the important bit! As a consequence of all our hard and diligent work however, we had to get up and get going Saturday morning. The runts-in-law are not letting any grass grow under their feet- or indeed, ours. We unpacked the kitchen, fitted half of the bottom cupboards, fitted all the wall cupboards, got the woodwork in the hallway glossed and faced the door frame in the kitchen just on Saturday. The boys did most of the hard work in the kitchen and the mother-in-law did all the painting with me floating around cleaning the incoming bits of kitchen and planning layout. This sounds like a good deal on my part but it basically meant that I was at everyone elses beck-and-call for the day. I enjoyed it however- especially getting to plan the layout for the kitchen and adding in details I hadn't thought about. For instance, it just so happens that I get an extra cupboard on the wall, a towel rail down the side of the fridge and a special shelf for my cookery books. The kittens get their own corner set-up with work surfaces to sleep on and a set of shelves to put all their toys and tins of food on. The best bit of it all though was that I got to start putting things back in the kitchen as early as Saturday afternoon. Last week was spent living in a little kingdom of boxes after we emptied the kitchen out. I haven't been able to put everything away as there are more cupboards to go in and the dreaded plumbing of the sink to tackle but the majority of crockery and foodstuffs are away. We don't yet have work surfaces though which makes it interesting when it comes to cooking dinner but the fun bit is that you can just reach into drawers without opening them if you need cutlery. Hopefully it will all be done by the end of the week (crosses all fingers and toes) and then the kitchen will look amazing. It already looks completely different and just so much better it's almost hard to believe that its in our house and not someone elses. We are going to have a pimped out house by next weekend! esp. as painting is getting done at the same time. The best bit of all though is that the father-in-law bought a massive power drill with him that is not only good fun to use but makes holes in two seconds flat. Previously to this we practically had to hand chisel them if we wanted to hang anything. The walls of our house seem to be made of super hard concrete that defies normal convention and mocks standard power tools. I will now be able to finish off all of those little irksome jobs in the rest of house that required th use of a drill like curtain tie-back hooks and hanging the 'door' to my wardrobe. Haha! What a great way to spend a monday evening...

Friday, 25 July 2008

I fixed the ceiling

Hah! Managed to make the ceiling look pimp- well, more sort of okay really. At least its not obvious that we have patched it anyway. By the time we've painted it you'll hardly be able to see it in fact. The kitchen still looks like a bomb site but we managed to get all the corners painted last night so that all that needs doing is rollering the walls in a few coats which is much quicker and easier. I'm hoping that the husband has managed to get at least one of those coats done this morning as the parents-in-law are arriving late this evening. I reckon we can get the room all painted up by then if we work very, very, hard and if I manage to get back home at a reasonable time. Apparently the roads through the city are chock-a-block with traffic so I'm not going to be able to get a lift home or catch a bus which will slow me up a bit. I will have to put some marching music on on my headphones and charge back up Cowley Road though I can't say that I am in any particular rush to get back to the house and start painting. I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Busy times and busted arms

Have been SOOOOO busy for the last couple of weeks. All the running around at work has now finished as various work experience kiddies and volunteers have trotted off to do other things. Whilst its been fun it's also be totally exhausting and I shall be quite glad by the time Friday afternoon comes around. However next week we have lots of work to do then as well as we will be fitting our new kitchen. The husband has been at home this week getting the room ready. We had an evening of arguing over fixing the ceiling last night- cutting plasterboard is not the most easy of things and when you are both over tired and feeling huffy its even more difficult. We did manage to get it done though and it doesn't look too bad. I have to go home tonight and get creative with some plaster to make it look spiky like the rest of the ceiling which is the next interesting moment. I can get on with that by myself however and so there will be less opportunity for falling out with each other. It still surprises me how long these things take to get done despite the fact that we have had enough experience to tell us different. The kitchen took all of an afternoon to strip out but will take two weeks to fill back in again. The parents-in-law arrive late on Friday and bring the new kitchen with them so next week will be full of forceful debate. Right now the idea of it is enough to make me tired but I'm hoping that I will be able to get a good nights sleep between now and then. I'm going to need it as its going to be a good week before I'll get to put my feet up. We don't have any plans for the rest of the summer as of yet other than to wait for a sunny week and put the sun loungers out in the back garden. It should be good though- I can watch the pumpkins grow and do a bit of knitting if my arm is better by then.
Ah yes, this is the reason for the busted arm comment. My RS injury in my left arm has been making itself known for the last three weeks or so and I have not been able to do any knitting (bar a little sock knitting every now and again) which is making me miserable. I have to be good though and save it for decorating next week so heaven knows when I'll really get a chance to have a good knit. I really want to get my skull scarf finished and there's some lovely wool at home that requires my attention. I have a bunch of sock wool awaiting me along with all the nice things I got for my birthday. And I ahve plans, plans I tell you. Just wait and see.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Anyone got a spare £6,000?

Or any idea how I might get it? Have just discovered that Queensland University runs a Masters course in Entomology which sounds pretty cool but I need £6,000 to pay the course fees. But then again maybe there just isn't any point in doing it- it's not like choosing entomology is a great career path after all.
So tempting however. I'd get to live in Australia for a year (gutted I'm sure) and study bugs whilst I'm there. The husband would be forced to come with me (equally gutted) and we'd be able to travel, see friends and try and find Hobbits in New Zealand. Putting the money worries aside there are only 3 downsides that I can see. Firstly, if I give up my job at the museum it ain't going to be there when I get back and if I don't work here then where? Secondly, what do we do with the house whilst we are gone? and lastly, what about my cats???
Only one of those is relatively easy to answer- the cats can always go and live with granny and grandpa for a year but the other two problems are far from easy to solve. I guess some of it just depends on how the housing market goes. And how much of our debt we manage to get cleared over the next year. Eurgh, there's a depressing thought. Maybe I should just stop dwelling on these things and assume that everything will work out for the best.
Oh, to have that kind of faith...

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Now just where did that go?

I can not believe that it is Thursday already (whilst at the same time wishing is was Friday...). I've had one of those hideously busy weeks where every time you sit down in a chair something comes up that drags you back out of it. Mostly because of all the volunteers and work experience people we have had in this week. Lots of fun but they require lots of looking after too. I was hoping to get some down time so as the husband has been in France since Monday but work has tried hard to compensate for this and either filled the extra time or left me too tired to do anything about it. I'd like to say that I'd been having a thrilling time and socialising with my peers but mostly we've been debating who the hottest celebrity is and whether or not David Tennant really has a 10" penis. No, really, this is what we've been talking about. It is of course one of those very important questions that should be answered somehow and I think it worthy of at least an afternoons ponderance but 4 days?? I keep sticking my tongue out at people and giggling. Hanging round with teenagers is definitely having a bad effect on me and its leaving me exhausted. Coffee just doesn't have the same effect on me as it does on them and I don't get to come in at 10 and leave at 4 either. And this is the second week of doing this so I started off with a low fuel gauge to begin with. We had friends over at the weekend which was lovely but I ended up with an awful headache that lasted the entire time and left me depressed, miserable and tired so I wasn't able to move around much or really enjoy their company or in fact sleep very well either. The husband got hideously drunk and spent Sunday feeling awful (serves him right) which meant he couldn't help me round the house so Monday evening (which has been my only free one so far) was spent tidying and cleaning. Argh! It all happens at once doesn't it? My headache cleared up sometime on Monday though I think mostly because I didn't have any choice- no time for that sort of thing! But the week is nearly thru now and today and tomorrow should be okay (crosses all fingers and toes). I have to pick the husband up tonight as he is back from his jolly abroad and it will be good to have him back. I keep getting lost in the king size bed and my feet are cold at night without him there.
Hmm, not sure how interesting a potted history of the last 5 days of my life is for y'all but it makes me feel better about not having written anything for a few days. Been just too darn busy to get anything done though I guess I must have been doing something otherwise I'd have done nothing... not sure how that works. But have demonstrated quite well that I need sleep badly!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Change of pyjamas

Look! One of our pet spiders has shed. Doesn't he just look beautiful now? This one is usually a bit nervy around people so has a habit of flicking all the hairs off of his bum. He's been running around with a bare arse for about six months and has now at last discarded the old suit for a lovely fluffy new one. He'll be all soft and squishy for a few days whilst he puffs himself up and then hardens up a bit. He should be well hungry by next week though (they lose their appetite before they shed. They won't eat immediately afterwards either as they are soft and vulnerable to damage- in fact, you have to avoid having any prey in the tank with them when they shed as crickets have been known to nibble on tarantulas when they are still soft!) so I'm going to order some nice fat crickets today for them ready for rumbley tummies next week. I'm also going to try and rescue the skin and get one of my minions to set it out for drying so that we can use it for handling. Thing I love about shed skins though is that they look like some kind of mechanical suit that the spider sits inside of and controls- I often find myself looking for the control panel on the inside.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Old for new

I have been browsing through some illustration sites today- not sure how I got there though I think it came from trying to track down the name of the painter for the picture 'Hylas and the water nymphs'. It is one of my favourite pictures and my parents have a copy of it in their dining room but I couldn't for the life of me remember who had painted it. A quick Internet search provided me with many versions of that scene- I think it was a favourite among many painters due to the large number of naked young ladies they were forced to depict. Found the one I was thinking of and it's by the wonderful John William Waterhouse who did a number of other pictures that I love though I hadn't realised that they were all by him. It was one of those curious 'pull points' where all these little things I had seen and heard about all suddenly came together and converged. Most intriguing. Especially as that lead me into the whole preraphelite period and it turns out that I liked most of that too without knowing the what or who. It really made me realise how crap my art teachers were.
Anyway, so this lead me into looking up a number of things including the name of the Czech artist who did the 'swirly ladies'. Better known as Alfons Mucha. I must remember that name as the number of times I've had conversations with people about this and they insist I'm talking about Gustav Klimt (when I'm not) is just unreal. Not that I don't like Klimts work, well, some of it anyway- more the trees than the young ladies but that's not the point. The point is that I knew it wasn't his work. Okay, so moving on. I then went into the whole illustration side of things and spent some time dribbling over Harry Clarke's stuff (thank you to the best friend for that one) and found a new favourite picture of his that I must have a print of for my bedroom wall. This then led me onto a chap called Arther Rackham who's stuff I now also must have for my own. In another roundabout circular type route it turns out that he did the illustrations for Lewis Carrolls Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I think I must either be very very stupid not to have tied all these things together properly before now OR today is a nodal day in my life when all those strands and fibres that have gently been piling up one across the other, get felted together into my brain.
Hmm, quite like that analogy really especially as I have been trying out some needle felting recently. It is quite fun and surprisingly easy to create good stuff but I'm very slow as it hurts my bad arm which is bad bad bad at the moment. Anyway, here's a Arthur Rackham picture too:

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Look what I made

I made stitch markers! I have put up all of the photos that I took onto my flickr page but thought I'd post my two favourites on here. The ladybird ones are for me because I thought I needed spoiling (don't I always?). I did think that they were the last two beads but I found more! along with some Hello Kitty and cake charms that my mum had bought for me. The Hello Kitty ones will have to be used as phone or bag charms though as they have wings on the back and are going to get snagged in thread. The cake charms will be okay (I'll take a picture sometime) though I think will be best for chunky knitting as they are quite large and would just look daft next to delicate lace work. My second but oh-so-close favourites are the skull stitch markers. I have made a couple of sets for friends and one pink set as an experiment. I reckon they look a lot better with the red beads though I wish I had some larger ones that are closer in size to the pink ones. The skulls are double sided which is nice as it doesn't matter so much if they spin that way as there is always a little face grinning at you one way or another :)

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

And breathe

Hah! Turns out useless bloke on freecycle hadn't checked his spam box which is where his computer was sending my e-mails. This is now all sorted and he is due to pick his stuff up soon as is the lady who wanted the pink fur. I have bypassed all responsibility re their pick up by putting their stuff in the recycling box next to my front door. This makes this whole process mega easy and I am now a happy stress free freecycler once more. I think have more stuff to go on it this coming weekend but I need to sort through my shed first and have a good poke around in the back room. The thrill of clearing out some of the junk is getting to me and if I get really carried away I might even attempt to sort out the loft which is in terrible need of a good tidy. Of course, it's much easier just to carry on ignoring that mess as I can't see any of it :)

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Freecycler badge

I earned my official 'freecycler' badge at the weekend by posting some offered messages. I had a good clear out of my craft boxes on Saturday evening (whilst the husband was out drinking himself yellow) and put together a bag of fabric scraps, a box of ribbons (which I was a little loathe to part with to be honest but I really couldn't justify keeping them as I hardly ever used them), some pink fur (which I have had since my first year of uni!) and three parcels of writing materials. I put the messages up at about half 9 in the evening and had takers for all of it by ten. I had tons of people asking for the ribbons and fabric scraps and at least two people who just wanted to take the lot. I refused to let it all go to one place as I felt it was both cheeky and greedy to ask for it all when I had deliberately put up six separate posts but did bundle the writing stuff together as a man said it was for his wife and daughter so I figured that that was good enough as it was for two people and the lots were quite small.
Unfortunately my experiences since then have not been so good. The lady who took the fabric scraps and ribbons came Sunday morning and arrived on time so all good there. The lady who was having the fur was supposed to come yesterday but cancelled. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt though she was one of the pushy people who wanted to take all of the stuff. She was a bit annoying however as I had to repeat about three times that the other stuff was already taken and then she asked if there was anything else I'd like to get rid of! Well, I guess if you don't ask you don't get but even so.... And the final person who was supposed to be taking the writing stuff, well, I've e-mailed him about 4 times now and I just keep getting messages asking what my address is. I've started to keep my correspondence with him now as they are either not getting through or he is missing their arrival in his inbox. I'm getting fed up of typing out the directions to my house though so he is going to have to shape up or I will be putting up another post so someone else can have the stuff. So some good, some bad experiences so far. If these people come pick the stuff up soon and without hassle I think it will even out to a good experience- we shall just have to wait and see.

Happy birthday to Fenway and Hoshi

My cats were 1 this Sunday so we had a little birthday party and fed them fish. It would have been a bit more of an exciting celebration had the husband not been horribly hung over after an all night drinking binge. I punished him by waving some salmon in his face when he was looking his most green. I was feeling fine though being a much more sensible person than him, so sang happy birthday to them both and made a fuss by myself. They had salmon pieces for breakfast with little chunks throughout the day whenever they popped back in though the cat flap to see how the corpses were (we had a couple of other bodies at one point) and for their tea they had a tin of mackerel fillets between them. I think Hoshi felt that this was all a bit suspicious and kept looking at her bowl as though somehow it was going to transform into Whiskers as she started eating it. Fenway on the other hand had no qualms about it and stuffed his little furry face until he was all fat and sleepy and came and cuddled up with me on the sofa. We had enough salmon left over that they could have it for their tea last night and I was going to give them some cream for pudding (all this postponed from Sunday as I figured that they'd eaten enough) but they were too stuffed with fish again. So so far they have managed to have three day birthday which is spoiling them horribly but they both have lovely glossy coats at the moment and are looking quite contented with the world. I am especially pleased by this as I was starting to get paranoid that someone was feeding them as their behaviour has not been so good recently. They kept being late for dinner and not finishing meals but I reckon they are now back onside after realising that we're they only people stupid enough to feed them salmon.