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by Julie Brooks

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Saturday, 23 March 2013

DIY and new arrivals

Hello all my lovely followers, thanks for sticking with me during these last few months.

Unfortunately I don't have anything crafty to share with you at the moment, but for two very good reasons ..... we are having some big cosmetic surgery jobs done on the house which are long overdue, including the ceiling reboarded in our lounge (the original one had no less than SIX holes cut in it by previous occupants to accommodate lights!), a stone-clad eyesore demolished - you may recall my post prior to Christmas when we painted said eyesore white in an attempt to brighten up the room, all the lounge walls plastered to cover over some lovely red and yellow lead-based paint (that's when you know the house was definitely built in the late 1950s!) and along with this is the need for new skirting boards, new cabling for light and power and eventually (not there yet though) a new carpet. On top of this, we're about to rip out the kitchen and fit a lovely new one which we bought in the sales recently. It's currently sitting in boxes in our shed and I'm itching to see the old kitchen out and the new one in its place! BUT, this also entails some mammoth electrical work, including a new consumer unit and associated wiring as the existing one isn't up to the task of powering a modern home!

The existing kitchen is custom-built pine, which sounds heavenly perhaps, until you know that it was custom-built for a kitchen WITHOUT an electric cooker or hob and WITHOUT a dishwasher and half of the cupboards don't even have a back on them, AND they are only 450mm deep front to back, unlike standard base units which are 600mm, so they're not big enough for all our stuff. The previous occupants had a little gas cooker in one corner of the kitchen which they must have had all their married lives because it was ancient and disgusting, so when they moved out they took that with them and we knew we would be all electric so the gas feed was capped off too. However, the tiny corner space was not a safe place for a cooker, being right next to a wall so not safe for saucepans at all, so that space got taken up by our fridge/freezer. We have been managing to cook our meals for the last 2.5 years with a combination microwave oven and a portable two plate electric hob which my sister and brother-in-law kindly loaned to us! This has been less than ideal as I am sure you can imagine, and Christmas dinner was a real challenge, I can tell you! So, it's high time it was all sorted out, even if only to give me a proper oven and hob! Also, the worktops are a hideous dark green (and there was equally hideous dark green paper on the walls when we moved in, AND hideous dark green venetian blinds at the windows - needless to say they went pretty quickly!). I can't wait for our new beech kitchen with granite worktops to be fitted and to have a proper oven and hob for all the cooking and baking!

So, chaos and mess have become the order of the day for the last several weeks and this is set to continue for at least another six weeks I suspect while everything gets sorted out. I am hopeful that by the time we get to May, we will be somewhat straighter!

On top of this, we became the proud new owners of two 3-yr old male guinea pigs, which my gorgeous son has named Phineas and Ferb after his favourite animated TV characters! Their previous owner had become bored with them and they needed a new home. They are lovely and have such quirky personalities and I really don't understand how anyone can become bored with them since they're always up to something! When they arrived they were in a tiny hutch which wasn't big enough for one, let alone two fully grown Rex breed guinea pigs (for those not familiar with guinea pig breeds, Rex is one of the largest guinea pig breeds and ours each measure about 25-30cm long which is quite big and weigh in at just under 1kg EACH), so straight away we had to go out and buy them a new and more suitable home. We ended up with a two-storey hutch far more suited to the needs of two big boys like Phineas and Ferb! But they currently don't use the lower level and we think this is because the ramp is too steep with rungs too far apart so they really struggle to get back up once down there, so this will be modified as soon as possible. Of course, they need to be indoors during the winter, so this posed another problem for us - where to put them! Naturally the only option was to sacrifice half of the craft room to accommodate their hutch and associated gubbins - hence the other reason for no crafting going on - I have nowhere to work at the moment! But, I wouldn't have it any other way. The piggies are cosy and safe and being inside means they've been able to get used to us quite quickly, whereas if they'd been outside or in a shed they'd have hardly seen or heard from us on any given day. Equally, it's meant we've been able to get to know them!

We also give over a big chunk of the floor in the lounge to a run for them when there's no painting or other DIY going on. They need space to run around, get some exercise, and to do what guinea pigs do so well, forage and popcorn! Yes, guinea pigs jump around like popping corn when they're happy, and we've seen a lot of this from our two. They really are the cutest things ever. Here's a photo - I'll try to get a better one of them for next time.

Ferb in front with Phineas right behind, just off to explore! This was their first time in their new run!
So, whereas there's no crafting going on, there's a lot of other stuff happening, including continuing to teach my gorgeous boy amidst all the mess and chaos of the DIY. But, at least he's been getting some opportunities to see first-hand all the steps involved in these DIY jobs, and has even helped with wallpaper removal and eyesore demolition! If in school he would now be half way through Year 6. I've been teaching him myself for 4 years now - can't quite believe it and wonder where the time has gone! But it's so rewarding - I love it.

Anyway, that's all from me for now.

Thanks for popping in, please stick with me as I will be back crafting in the very near future.

Take care in these wet and snowy conditions and keep warm.

Love from me xx