9. the one with the after(ish) photos

just for comparison purposes, here is that photo of me crying in the corner.

remember? the day when we were almost finished plastering, and had in fact just finished painting the ceiling… and then the ceiling fell down. (you can read all about those woes here)

but by the end of last week, it was looking pretty good – a couple more coats of varnish needed on that beautiful floor, some levelling stuff in the fireplace hole, and a coat of white on the skirting board / where we’d boxed in the gas pipe. i wish it could’ve stayed empty like this forever <3

despite all of the fails and all of the injuries and all of dust & fumes, the only moment i lost my will to lol, was when i realised the windows (2 months work last summer, remember? 2 months of sanding. 2 months of Not Sewing)… when i realised the windows had been crying condensation tears all winter and would need another overhaul already. ffs.

well i can’t do anything about it until they dry out, so: *brainskim*

so today, sunday, was the day i finally got to move back in!
seriously you guys, i’ve been dreaming about this moment since may 2010 when i started Sewing For Proper.
in my sewing room fantasy though *misty 80’s dream sequence* it’s all beautiful real wood furniture, exp£n$iv£$ like out of the glossy mags, and bespoke storage units full of pretty haberdashery.

not second hand, mis-matched, too-big, cheap, laminate stuff. with additional storage box mountains. :(

those’re bespoke cupboard doors leaning in the left hand corner, i guess? and some time soon, my dad’ll build the fitted cupboard behind them that will house all of those boxes.
for now though, i’m just happy to get back to work. and even if that means back to organised chaos in a room that’s also a guest bedroom and laundry room as well as a sewing room, at least it’s no longer the building supplies room too.

no. the building supplies room is now in the living room. behind the sofa, and in front of the door.

but actually, with a budget of £0.00, i don’t think we’ve done too bad.
i’m just going to xbox for a week real quick while i recover, and then i’ll be back in business :)


8. the one with the floor boards


as IF.

we hired a floor sander for the weekend, but spent most of saturday morning patching  gaps and holes.
(what that actually means, is Husband was Doing Stuff, whilst i was stropping around, criticising his work, impatient to get on and use the glorious floor sander).

i forgot to take a “before” photo. it was kinda like this (“after” photo), but with trickster nail heads & deadly splinters everywhere, painted with that dark brown treacle the victorians loved so much, and well worn from 226 years of walking feet.

eventually, i was allowed to begin sanding…
*so excited*

“okay, Husband? i think i’m ready for you to take over now. you can finish it off.”

those things are HEAVY!
your ipod needs to be turned up all the way up to drown out the god-awful noise.
and you need a 6 inch thumb to be able to keep the ON button depressed while the rest of your hand is waaay over on the right somewhere, supporting the weight of the stupid vibrating thing by it’s cumbersome handles.

not a job for a lady with hurty rsi wrists.

“hey, lets take before and after photos of ourselves instead! it’ll be funny later when we’re covered in orange”

obviously there is no “after” photo. nothing was funny at 7pm.
i was hungry, tired and grumpy (and orange). my dust allergy was on RED STATUS (red like the rash on my swollen face), and i thought my vibrating claw hands would never hold anything again.

but we were finished…

… with the heavy grade paper.

today (sunday) was much easier, and we were finished sanding and cleaned up by lunchtime.
encouraged by our progress, i thought i’d make a start on the woodstaining. there’s a lot of very old wood in our house – panelling, beams, doors, floors – as well as the new(ish & refurbed) wooden furniture, and throughout i’ve used the same colour by THE SAME MANUFACTURER.

not today though. today i thought i’d use an economy brand.
and with such a large area to “colour in”, i thought i’d start the job with a half empty tin.

“work quickly and in the direction of the grain” the instructions say.

they don’t say what to do when you run out ON A SUNDAY. and the colour is all wrong anyway.


7. the one with my sewing room (part 2)

most of the time my sewing room functioned well enough.
it was clean and warm, so i sewed on.

every time we *did* tackle a renovation project however, there was this big pain the ass of packing away all of the stuff, sealing it all plastic boxes, moving everything to Safety, and shutting my online shop until After. when i’d spend a week monica-cleaning the entire house before i dared risk touching anything. fresh white cotton for eg.

mostly though, the last 2 years have been all about the sewing.

there was a month last year when i renovated all the sash windows (in my sewing room)

and a couple of weeks in october when we plastered and painted the bedroom.
and then a couple of weeks in january i spent painting furniture (in my sewing room) for the bedroom.

mostly though, the last 2 years have been all about the sewing, and *brainskimming* the fact that i would need to make a start on this room Really Soon.

last month, Really Soon arrived. :(

everything was packed up & shoehorned into our bedroom <– it took me a week just to move everything upstairs. seriously. *ocd woes*
and so it began.

i bitched and whined my way through the sanding & staining of the ceiling beams. all 11 of them. both sides.
i yelped and swore my way through the removal of the fireplace.

“i am wasting my precious sewing wrists on this effing hammer and chisel, Husband. i bet proper women don’t have to do this.”

i observed my way through the fitting of wall lights and the very many glorious plug sockets (Husband task), i nagged my way through the chopping in of cables and the boxing in of pipes (Husband again), and bitched and moaned some more at having to mix plaster for the ceiling.

“i am wasting my precious sewing wrists on this effing drill, Husband. i bet proper women don’t have to do this.”

i coughed and sneezed my way through the rest of the plastering – but with barely any complaining. hardly at all.

“will you be finished soon, Husband? only, my poor wrists are too hurty to cook dinner tonight”

yup, barely any complaining.
until the m*********ing ceiling fell down.

but we started again. did it all again.
and i bitched and moaned and complained about it all again. and now we are up to here:

with just the sanding & varnishing of the floors to go.

(and the building of some fitted cupboards)
(oh, and some woodwork to paint) (and the cleaning, of course) (and the rebuilding of the furniture and unpacking and…)

6. the one with my sewing room (part 1)

2 years ago, i accidently started a sewing business.

my main job at the time was renovating our cottage. it’d last been decorated c. 1980s, and had been standing empty for over a year when we bought it, so the garden was a little overgrown

and the house itself was…
also a bit overgrown.

after long, messy, exhausting and sometimes vile (^ kitchen for eg.) projects, my ocd for Clean and Tidy would be screaming at me for some Normal.
so during my Normal Person weeks, i’d cook and bake and wear clean clothes and do regular person cleaning, and sometimes i’d get out my sewing machine and make pretty things for When The House Is Finished.

we didn’t have room downstairs for the dining table back then, so it became my sewing table. in my sewing room. (which was – is – also the spare room, the laundry room, the building supplies room & occasional workshop)

i’d always intended to start selling my work eventually, When The House Is Finished, but fiona t. occurred sooner than planned when i realised that if i was sewing For Proper i couldn’t do DIY! :D

so i happily let the sewing spiral out of control at the expense of everything else.

until this january, when my ocd for Clean and Tidy started screaming at me that it couldn’t tolerate working in these outrageously chaotic conditions any longer, and DIY must occur. immediately.

5. the one with the picnic

the thing about being an anti-social (in a good way) crazy (in a good way) person with (selective) agoraphobia, is that you don’t get out much, or see people, or speak to anyone (via actual voice-technology) for days at a time.
all of my favourite people live inside the internet.

some i’ve known for decades (since way before the internet even) but some special ones, with their own varying amounts of mentals, i’ve “met” recently-ish via the internet where we are all Top Businesswomen.

imagine then, the excitement when we all climb out of the internet and get together IN REAL LIFE!

don’t we all look so very Normal? gathered round my plastering table enjoying our cheese & pineapple on sticks?

after months of DIY(woes), a glorious day like that ^ has left me feeling very relaxed. :)

so relaxed, that i thought i’d take this week off from painting and woodfillering, and catch up on some other, easier & slower-paced tasks instead…

but then i remembered this:

and my brain did this:

meanwhile, on facebook

4. the one with the weird f***in’ hail storm

exactly 2 weeks ago, right, i was in the garden.  *back story*
it was a gloriously hot summery-spring day so i thought i’d take a break, and sat in the deck chair with my knitting. IN A BIKINI. because it was THAT hot.

(the garden is yet another job that i’m part-way through. don’t judge.)

so i couldn’t believe it last week, when i fought my way to the post office through a SNOWY BLIZZARD.
i got really wet – my coat turns out to be Not Waterproof and i had massive jeans-seepage up to my knees.
i was cross.

it was sunny and warm most of today, so i really shouldn’t have been surprised when there was a sudden thunderstorm with crazy hail early this evening.

it was quite dramatic – the sky had turned black, the hail (it was some weird hail-sleet hybrid possibly) was sheeting down, settling on the cars & rooftops and river-ing down the cobbles & gutters, the lightning was flashing, the thunder was booming, the dog was frightened… and from my painting ladder at the middle floor window, i had the best view in the house! :D
so i settled there with a cuppa to watch the show.

imagine the hilarity when i came downstairs to find that our gutters were Full Up of hail-sleet, and this was occurring:

seriously! ^ lookit The Wet river-ing in through the back door.


3. the one where the ceiling falls down

“pride comes before a fall(ing ceiling)” as the old saying goes.

after Smug Saturday, came Shitty Sunday.
the sanding and staining of the old beams, the awkward plastering of all that in-between-ness, the re-cleaning and the re-staining of all of those beams, the priming of the new plaster so it was ready to paint, the ocd-precision of all that cutting in… it all took SO MUCH TIME and SO MUCH PATIENCE. and SO MUCH of my rsi WRIST.

i was all ready to apply the final, For Proper, actual top coat late yesterday afternoon. and then the ceiling would be Finished.

i knew there was a bit of a problem on this one bit; the plaster hadn’t bonded properly, but i thought if i stuck it back down with a bit of gripfill and painted carefully, it’d be ok…

but no.


cue drama queen tantrum. with paint scraper.


2. the one with the whisky

today was the worst
(mostly for reasons that’re now invisible)

today was also really really long
(11 hours of unnatural neck angles and gen. rsi)

tomorrow morning will be worth it. i don’t even care.

actually, we pwned DIY today.
we moved some more sockets, chased in some wires, boarded up under the chimney, removed bastard 1980’s expanding foam from an Awkward Gap, made 23647263468768 mixes of hardwall and filled in all of the gaps, primed the walls ready to plaster, plastered one wall, and did the faff cutting-in painting around every one of those effing beams.
i so deserve to drink all of the whisky.

future-blog – the one where i run before i can walk

often, things would occur and i’d wish to blog about them. immediately.
but then i would remember i don’t have a blog. even though i’ve been meaning to get round to it for, like, 4 years now.

probably because choosing a name was too hard, and my friends were less than helpful with their suggestions. and also because it would involve learning new things. i don’t like new things.
plus, i simply don’t have time to blog.

especially not today. because today i am priming a freshly plastered ceiling and am covered in sloppy white emulsion.

hey, d’you know what i hate more than name-choosing and the faff of learning all new things?