Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Nativity Plays

Ken Bruce was chatting on the radio today about Nativity Plays.  Someone emailed him to say that their little boy had been given the role of Joseph, and when he'd knocked on the door of the Inn to ask if there was any space he was told that there wasn't, and that it wasn't his (the inn keepers fault), Joseph ad-libbed back that it wasn't his fault either ....
I emailed in with my friends story ...  Her daughter was disappointed that she'd only been given the meagre role of shepherd in the school Nativity Play, so my friend tried to console her that she might get a better role next year - only to be told "Don't be silly we're doing the Nativity this year, we won't be doing it again next year"....
Oh, shes got a lot to learn.....

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Laid today

A big thank you to Peter and Jonno for laying the concrete floor today, its finallly in.  It took one and half hours "barrowing" to get in 4 cubic meters of concrete into the house - we now have a level floor and I've had a night off, but my mind is already ticking over about what I need to do now.  My next job is to replace all of the lintels, and then it will be the attic conversion, with all of the associated RSJs and reroofing.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

And he painted matchstalk men

Me n Col went to the Lowry exhibition at the Djanogoly Gallery today, which was incredibly interesting.
I'd never realised that most of his pieces were painted from memory, the sketches that he did in situ were real rough sketches - one was only a couple of inches big on the back of an envelope.  I'm still smiling about the fact that on one occasion he went with a fell painter to the Lake District where they stood in front of Skiddaw to paint, and at the end of the day, the fellow artist looked at his painting and was astounded to see that instead of capturing the beauty of Skiddaw he'd been creating a Salford scene - the kind of story which typifies Lowry's contrariness (sea scapes with only sea and sky, no beach or boats)  and sense of humour (men fighting outside a shop called  A.S. Windlers).
I'd also been under the mistaken impression that all of his matchstalk men were featureless "ants", but many are quite funny; drawn deliberately with buck teeth, or without chins or teeth, and many of the faces are captured again and again. 
The white backdrops that he often favoured were initially done in childish defiance to his teacher who critiqued his pictures as too dark (some of the churches are so dark it is difficult to see their features), and his reductionist and niave style is used to create dramatic red eyed subject matters.
That said, Col spent most of the visit critiquing the frames  .....
Definately worth a visit

We've got floors (almost)

After what feels like months of digging out the old concrete floor, that had broken up due to a reaction with the sulphur underneath, we're nearly at a stage where we can start pouring the concrete in, and we'll have the luxury of having floors all over again. Only this time they'll hopefully be level - the house had moved so much over its lifetime that there is 5 inches of drop across the length of the house.
We've still got a lot of work that needs doing before we can move into the house; damp course, electics, a bathroom and a kitchen (currently we dont have either), although some things like a new roof and windows can be done after we;ve move in.
Yesterday Col was talking to a neighbour and found out that the road has had subsidence twice in his lifetime for 2 different but local colleries - cant imagine how gutting it will be if we get everything just right and it happens a third time.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Nearly there, thank goodness, I want my house back...

Only a few more decorations and bags to make, and then I think I'm ready for my first Craft stall.  I definately need a workshop, I cant see the floor in the attic for scraps of material, buttons and templates , things have started to escape from the attic into the bedroom downstairs, and the dining room table has been converted to a dress rehersal while I try and work out the best way to display my wares

Friday, 18 November 2011

How to tempt Pat into a bodice

I feel like I'm showing off a bit, but I'm  happy, really really  happy, with the news I got today. Some of my textile degree course work has been show cased by the Open College of the Arts.  Its always something I thought would be lovely if it happened, but never expected that it would actually happen to me.  I'm always so insecure about my work, that its really made my day to have been chosen, and the lovely comments have made me feel on top of the world. 
Here's the link if you fancy having a look.....

How to tempt Pat into a bodice

Thursday, 17 November 2011

No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

Col and I are continuing to work on the house in every spare moment, but we're getting so tired....
Cols work as a joiner means that he's used to manual work, but it also means that he's spending a whole day at his job and then coming home and starting work all over again.  My office job has ill prepared me for labouring, and having found that I'm useless at wielding a sledge hammer, and dig much more slowly than Colin I'm usually the one taking the buckets to the skip, and doing wheelbarrow duties etc, obviously this isn't as hard as what Col is doing, but as someone who is pretty sedentary during the day, its coming as quite a shock to the system.
The other day I was so tired that I managed to take a carton of (soya) milk in the car, and over to the house, without realising that I hadn't put the cap back on the carton - doh!.  When we got there I realised that I had an empty carton and a footwell full of milk.  Luckily soya milk doesn't smell quite as bad as rancid cows milk, but the car is a bit whiffy at the moment, and I've decided that I need a night off!

Countdown to a new sewing machine

I'm getting ready to do my first craft stall at a community event for World Aids Day in Beeston. 

The invite was unexpected and v short notice, consequently I'm feeling quite stressed and am now rushing around to try and get lots of little stocking filler Christmas items to sell.  Having never done one before I'm not sure how much of things to take, nor am I sure what kind of reception my work will get.  Its funny what a deadline will do for motivation; having generally played about with ideas aimlessly for months, my very short deadline has really focused me to get things done - just a shame that my sewing machine has decided to play up at this precise moment...... Hmm can see what any profits will be going towards!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Blood Splatter Analysis

It looked like blood splatter patterns, but actually it was port.  Anybody walking into our kitchen would have seen me n Col with red smeared hands, and port coloured stains up the walls, over the cupboards and dripping across the kitchen floor.
Even Dr Watson would have struggled to make sense of what happened tonight......
Colin had wanted to see how much port was remaining in our oak cask port barrel, and rather unwisely decided to test the depth by sticking a knife into the hole in the top of the barrel.  Then even more unwisely he let go of the knife and dropped it into the barrel.  At this point its probably best to explain that its quite a big barrel, when its full it holds about 20 bottles of port, and at this moment in time it was probably about half full. 
Obviously the knife couldn't be left in there, so after decanting the port into all of the available bowls and jugs that we had, Col set about trying to get the damn thing out - easier said than done....
Think of a blacksmiths puzzle using a big oak barrel and a pair of pliers and a crochet hook, using a high powered head torch with a barrel thats still got the last dregs of port in it, so that every time it moves slightly, there is a whole Hammer House of Horror special effect scene as its runs down your arms on to your hands, splashes across walls and floors, and dribbles like a baby.
Three quarters of an hour later, Colin, the king of puzzles got the knife out, three quarters of an hour after that we'd nearly cleaned the kitchen - although I do worry that we've missedt some porty stains  in some obscure place, and that when we sell the house, the new owners will wonder what went off .

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

It's still only Autumn, but it feels like winter will be coming soon.  The trees are almost bare, my runs have now turned into muddy off road affairs and I've started having porridge for breakfast!
With all signs indicating that I ought to be thinking about Christmas, I've been making a few decorations - now we're doing the house up in Brinsley and my loss of an income is iminent, money is particularly tight.  The last few days have seen me weaving stars using string and twigs, making tree decorations and drying out satsumas for garlands.
The satsumas garlands, which should be the easiest to prepare, are perhaps the most challenging, they just need to be left in a warm place for a nice long time so that they can dry out without burning.  Last year when I'd popped out for a run, Colin thinking he was helping, whacked the oven up high.  I came home to the smell of marmalade and a selection of crisp black oranges.