Sunday, 31 July 2011

So This Is Where We Went...

.... Brighton!!!

 Mostly around the North Laines...

Click on this one and enlarge the picture to see the notice in the window!

Some Snap-Happy Tourist reflected in the window. Not me...

 Tableau of superheroes'n'kitsch in the window display

The fantastic roofline of The Pavilion

Very thoughtful recycling opportunities


..... with some excellent souvenirs. A big plastic giraffe. From a 20p bucket outside a fancy retro boutique.

A bucket-load of postcards, which have been haphazardly slapped up.

And some silly fridge magnets. The photos are terrible - I've just taken these, and you can tell the camera must be a bit tired from the overwork I put it through. Yes, there are more photos...for another time.

Anyhow, we're back from a lovely week away by the sea. A strange week - the horrible events in Norway were happening just before we set off, then Saturday late afternoon we started unpacking, set up the laptop and heard about Amy Winehouse. I think everything nice has been already said about her on other peoples' blogs this week, and as for the nasty stuff, the Daily Mail and the Sun et al, lets just ignore that. And try to get over how unreal it feels that she's gone. Perhaps predictably, but too soon anyway.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Getting There

Well, I'm nearly there... as in nearly packed ready for going on away on Saturday. I can't believe how much time I've wasted this week without making a start on Doing Stuff. My mum does herself a timetable of what she's doing for the week before she goes anywhere; and she irons too - that's two things we do differently already. I've always envied that tale of Anita Pallenberg just jumping on planes with a credit card in her back pocket... you never heard of her trying to take the kitchen sink.

This is what I still have to do:

  • Wrap up 4 small packages for ebay
  • Photocopy some money stuff to get the 13 year old's school bus pass (though that can wait another week)
  • Clean the fishtank
  • Get the 13 year old's case packed
  • Get the 12 year old a haircut
  • Find all sorts of random ointments that we might just need while we're away - mouth ulcer stuff being the kind of thing they expect you to be able to produce at 11pm
  • Find our map of the place we're going to (handily found last month in a house clearance shop)
  • Pack the Pizza Express and Bella Italia vouchers that I traded in the Tesco points for
  • Watch some more daytime antiques programmes - who knew you could sell Russian cutlery for £6,000?

To make it sound better, these are the things I have done so far:

  • Peered inside the 12 year old's suitcase that he packed last week and shook out the screwed up hoodies and noticed that he's only packed 2 t-shirts and no underwear.
  • Packed my Ideal Holiday Capsule Wardrobe, then took out 4 things and put in another top, but no jewellery yet.
  • Left lots of space in my case for Items I Might Just Find In Charity Shops
  • Dyed my hair
  • Bleached the bathroom tiles and got that shower curtain in the machine - always an essential getting-ready activity, non?
  • Realised we have no food for today or tomorrow so went to the supermarket, and got fish'n'chips for tonight.
  • Watered the plants. The outdoor ones, that by law of averages will get rained on at some point next week. Haven't watered the indoor ones.

So, I must be all ready to go, right? I am pretending so...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

Its That Time Of The Year again. Where I sleep the sleep of the disturbed, the panic-stricken, for a week beforehand. We are Going On Holiday... and I just haven't managed to put my finger on what exactly I should be doing to get ready.

The venue is sorted - or rather was, until a text came through from the person we're getting the keys from, to tell me that someone else is giving us the keys. This someone is so far just a mobile number - would it be cheeky overly paranoid, or just plain sensible, to test it out, to make contact with this person, in case I've been given the number wrong? What if the original key person is as numerically dyslexic as me?

I've yelled at the 12 year old to shift the contents of his bedroom floor into the laundry basket. I don't know what I'd expected him to wear in the meantime, but largely thought I'd caught up on his dirty washing. Am also harbouring some kind of need to shove the shower curtain through a hot cycle and to clean the bathroom tiles, perhaps hoover the stairs; general pre-holiday malaise, nothing specific...

Actually I'm avoiding packing my clothes. I hate this bit; all I've got to do is get the clothes I usually wear and put them in a case, sensibly rolled up to maximise the space, etc. But 8 days, with nothing to wear except what's in the case is tricky. It calls for a bit of forward-planning and all that. It should be a doddle - a couple of pairs of black jeans, t-shirts, some skirts, a frock or two, a load of jewellery, and lots of layers... maybe a tarpaulin if this summer non-weather carries on. For someone who never has to have a different pair of shoes and matching handbag for every outfit, its a no-brainer really. So What Is My Problem??? Am I genetically programmed to be permanently

Sunday, 17 July 2011

New Kitchen Catch-Up

Earlier this year I started working out a new layout for the titchy, vintage-adorned but utterly impractical kitchen, in its original state above. More here:

As I hadn't got round to putting up the finished pictures, this post is a bit photo-heavy so as to give a visual recap to the lovely followers I've gained since the makeover started... its been quite a while ;)

This is how it was going to be, minus the horrible, indented, grime-catching 1990's doors:

It had to be another shoestring-project - existing cupboards, new doors and worktop c/o B&Q sale, sink and tap from ebay, a bit of assistance from a plumber and a kitchen fitter..... This is just after it was fitted:

Since this stage, I've sanded and painted the walls, put up shelves and worked some of the vintage stuff back in:

 Keef hasn't been hung back up on the wall yet... can't decide where to put him.

 Picked up the old soda siphon at the carboot last weekend. It's from W.E. Coombs, Northampton.

Some of the Hornsea has made it back onto the shelves; there's still some in storage.

 I love a good display of bashed-up frying pans...

The newspaper-collaged-paint-tin is the compost bin. 

Just waiting for a sample of floor tile from ebay, then the floor will become slate-effect vinyl.

So, that's the tour of the kitchen ;)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Chandelier On A Shoestring

This is the chandelier I made for the dining room last year. It's a charity shop lampshade, Poundland necklaces and plastic shot glasses from Sainsburys...

Version 1...

It just needed a bit MORE - it didn't go with the height of the ceiling.
It needed to look more randomly embellished. It needed more colours.

And, bang on cue, today Poundland had restocked their racks
with some suitable strings of sparkle:
£4 well-spent, plus an old pair of blue plastic-sapphire earrings from the 80s,
and teal beads from an old Tesco's bracelet. Voila, Version 2:

... Just need a prettier lightbulb now. Do they make sparkly ones?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Bit Of Shouting In The Morning

I'm typing when I should be getting up and putting on some music*. To drown out the through-the-wall ranting the old lady next door does pretty much every morning. Its a stream of gujarati anger, directed at her husband most likely. She's been doing this for the ten years we've been here; she shouts and rants, he mumbles, she shouts some more, and makes food. A bit pointless - they aren't going to change after all this time, so why the ranting? Must ask the grown-up children one day, over the garden wall, by the way what does your mum shout about all the time? Maybe I should find a polite way to ask them to close the bathroom window too, as there's a frequent phlegm clearing habit from someone in that house. Most charming when you're out on the garden bench, with  a cup of tea, contemplating life...

*Got the music on - found a cd while I was waiting for google to tell me how to spell gujarati - its Nick Cave's The Boatman's Call. Gloomy, and piano-laden.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Square One

After The Triumph Of Wednesday (and subsequent Appointment With Bucket of Wednesday night) the boy was much better yesterday, and fed up not being able to go to day 2 of the new school.

He felt much better yesterday, and behaved himself by getting to bed at a sensible 9pm. In fact, he was up at 6.30 this morning, bright-eyed and functioning. With 2 lessons this morning that he was looking forward to doing - art and drama. I was going to do the bus journey with him as he was a bit apprehensive about it being crowded. Hell, we would have gone by taxi again if need be..

So, it could only go downhill from there? Oh yes, indeed. Back under the duvet, pretending to ignore me, refusing to respond to praise, deals, ultimatums.... I've got a Bad Feeling about the outcome on day one of term in September.

It has brought me down so much this year that the only thing to keep me sane is to fight fire with fire. To keep my own life going - hence when he won't leave the house I still go out to meet friends for coffee, go thrifting, keep doing an interesting, challenging and exhausting job with other peoples' kids, blog about bad diy... right now I just feel like making sure that by the weekend that the crew in charge of News International will be out of work.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Catching Up In A Hectic Week

Thought I'd put up a little post, in case anyone thought I'd gone awol...

A major triumph chez Trashsparkle - the pale, skinny 13 year old boy who last autumn elected to withdraw himself from the wider world, in person and electronically, went to his new school today. It felt like a fluke, and at any second this morning it could have gone the wrong way, but he got there. It's been a horrible, angst-ridden, stressful three-quarters of a year, with a nice line in banging your head against the brickwall that is the mental health/education welfare/school system sector of life. He spent his breaktime and lunchtime alone, and my heart goes out to him, and he was so shattered he was asleep by 7.30. But he loved it.

All I've got to do is remember whatever it was that worked this morning and get him back there on the first day next term. And to learn to love ironing shirts...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sensible Sunday

Oh dear. I think I am finally learning the Art Of Being A Bit Sensible. Just got up to put the kettle on, and as I walked past the printer I found myself thinking "I could just dust that while the kettle boils". And I have, as well as the mantelpiece. Just goes to show, housework can't be that difficult... ;)