Saturday, 16 April 2016

Busy, busy, busy!

What a week! Because of it, this is a HUGE blog post, so grab a cuppa and put your feet up for a few minutes while you read it!

We've got the decorator in. No, that's not a euphemism - we really DO have the decorator in.

Chateau Squidge has been in dire need of decorating TLC for some time; our loft extension was completed Feb 2007, and we promised ourselves we would decorate the hall, stairs and landing as soon as we were able. I bought the curtains I liked (cream base with brown and green circles on them) and painted a few match-pot squares around the place to check I'd found exactly the right colour...

However, about the same time that the loft extension began, Big Bob (our wind turbine) was being built, and that took rather a lot of pennies - pennies we didn't have as Mr Squidge also cut his hours at work so he could manage the project. Couldn't afford to decorate, not just yet.

Then the house started to fall down. It's quite common for 1930's semis like ours, with the staircase built onto the outside wall, to have the outer wall begin to bow and peel away. Unfortunately, in our case, it wasn't helped by leaky drains in the drive. So - drains were mended and the wall was pinned back in place. No point decorating until all that was done...and it took even more of the pennies we didn't really have.

We also needed a new bathroom. A shower was much more practical for two teenagers than the old cast iron bath - which, being essential - rather took priority over prettifying the hall, stairs and landing.

Oh - and then Mr Squidge decided to insulate the same outside wall that was now securely fixed. By now we were OK with the pennies, it was just a matter of lining up the jobs in the right order.

Finally, we were ready to paint. We've cheated - got a man that can in to do it, because we were working on the theory that if he does it for a living, he'll be a lot quicker than us! Plus, although Mr Squidge's back is vastly improved after his operation, we didn't think that so much painting would be particularly good for him.

Dave has done a brilliant job so far - here's the pics to prove it. Mr Squidge had managed to do most of the wallpaper stripping before his recent back trouble, but the ceiling was done by Dave and his mate, Paul. It was a pig of a job for them - and took out some of the ancient plaster as well, it was stuck so firmly...

But we're already lining-papered and painted - still got the gloss to go on a few doors, but we've got walls of Faded Leaf and Crushed Pearl instead of mucky pink...

I am ridiculously excited to think of having everything smartened up at long last. There's only the new stair carpet to sort out now...before I move onto decorating the lounge. At least I can manage that one myself.

But there's more! The final edit of StarMark has been seen and sent back to BInk...I think I might have mentioned that it was available for pre-order? *wink wink* And I've been putting out feelers for a venue for a launch event...

I've also had to prepare some presentations on my trip to India, which will be delivered next week to members of our church congregation at a social event AND to around 400 schoolchildren in two assemblies! Lovely to revisit the photos and go back through my notebooks and remind myself of that amazing experience. If you've not read the earlier blogs about it, you can find them here: First impressions; Saratha's and saris; Tea and elephants; On India and spiritual matters. 

There's something else I've been doing too. Remember I did some quilting?  Made a small quilt as a bit of an experiment? And that I was booked onto a quilting course, with the idea of making myself a rainbow quilt? Well, I've done two of my four Mondays on the course...and I'm loving it!

For the 'Falling Blocks' pattern I'm making, each block is constructed from three pieces;

Oh, the seemingly endless cutting to size!

I ended up with 80 blocks - spot the not-strictly-in-the-rainbow colour, which I had to include to make the finished quilt wide enough for our double bed. (I also had two emergency extra colours in mind to add on the far end if eight colours weren't enough...but I don't think I'll be needing them.)

I had a play with layouts...

...and plumped for the last one, because it has more rainbows in it. Look closely and you'll see there's a rainbow from left to right; diagonally up from left to right, and diagonally down from left to right.
Here's the entire layout on the floor of my lounge;

Next week, I hope to get all the blocks pieced together ready for the actual quilting. Because it's a big project and I only have two more lessons left to complete it (which would have been perfectly do-able if I'd stuck to the small quilt planned!) I realised there is one important thing I don't know how to do - add the binding around the edges - and I'm never going to manage to do all the quilting on the sewing machine before I finish the course. So...I had a play with a smaller quilted project, with the aim of trying out hand quilting AND asking the teacher about the binding.

In my fabric stash, it'll come as no surprise that I have quite a few fabrics left over from different rainbow-y projects made over the years. I decided to add a few more into the bedspread ones and make a vertical rainbow quilted panel. Apart from the fact that I had to buy a lot of extra cottons to match the fabrics (which will be used on the bedspread later), it's looking rather good, and should be enough to find out how to bind it properly.

Not convinced I've got quite the right shade of
green for the top green stripe...

If it was turned the other way up, apparently
the colours are perfect for my chakras!

All that, in just one week! I'm exhausted reading it all back...but I hope you've enjoyed seeing what we've been up to - and why I've not blogged for a few days. 

Here's to a less busy week next week?

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