Wednesday, 17 September 2014

WOYWW 276

For details of how to join in the world’s most famous nosey fest, please click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar, which will take you to our hostess Julia’s blog, where all will be explained.

I’ve actually managed to do a bit this week in my ARTHaven, but not a lot, because I’ve had quite a bit to deal with lately (see my previous post) and as a result I am quite exhausted. Mum is away at my sister’s for ten days to give my hubby and me a break, and we are trying to take some trips and enjoy a holiday at home in her absence.

Here’s my desk this week.

WOYWW 276

For several weeks now, I have been intrigued by Angela’s masterboards, and at last have managed to start making one! I shall be blogging about it soon. It is not finished yet. I have just ironed off the clear embossing that I used as a resist.

Underneath you can see a couple of pieces of paper. These were the sheets I used to iron off the embossing. They are both interesting enough to do some inking on and maybe do something with.

You can see some archival and distress inks that were used to make it, and also the roll of baking parchment I used when ironing off the embossing powder onto another sheet of paper. Dare I mention the dreaded pot of dirty water yet again? It’s now become such a permanent fixture on my desk that I am actually feeling quite reluctant to empty it!! You can see that I have put away quite a lot of my gel mediums, to make room for the A3 sheet for the masterboard, but that doesn’t mean the rest of my ARTHaven is tidy, because it isn’t.

While I’ve been resting on the recliner this week, I’ve been going through my blog and replacing some of the photos on the earliest posts that had got corrupted, and also started creating some new Pinterest boards of my own work. I will eventually put links to these on my blog, but all the images will link back to my blog. I thought it might increase exposure of my blog, and it’s also quite a quick way of searching for things rather than trawling through the blog archive or labels. It’s turning out to be a really fun exercise as I’m getting the chance to look back at a lot of older work and comparing with what I’m doing now, and it’s made me want to revisit some old ideas with the benefit of more recent experience. I just need a whole lot more energy!!!

I’ve been a naughty girl today and ordered some fun stash! I can’t wait for it to come. It’s ages since I’ve bought anything, and as I am not going to any craft shows at the moment, thought I’d treat myself online. I am in serious need of some retail therapy to cheer me up after everything that’s been happening. I’ve ordered a few stamps and stencils and one or two other bits and pieces, and most exciting of all, the new We R Memory Keepers envelope punch board. Having Pinteressed it (new verb!) I have discovered there are endless things you can make with this, and with Christmas coming I thought I’d make up a few little gift boxes etc.

Blog posts will be upcoming about most of this stuff, so Watch This Space.

Have a great creative week, everybody.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Health Update–September 2014

Following my last health update, I have been taking the Omeprazole for some time now, and it definitely seems to be helping with the reflux, although I am still aware of something at the back of my throat. I am not coughing as much, and haven’t been disturbed at night by acid in my throat, but the GP said I should definitely see the ENT surgeon just to make sure everything was OK.

I had my hospital appointment today, and after a brief consultation he shone a light in my mouth, and palpated my neck. I thought that was going to be it, but no… he then sprayed some local anaesthetic up my nostril and proceeded to poke a light up my nose!! It was very small, on the end of a flexible tube, but despite the local anaesthetic, it felt like a lamp-post! It was pretty unpleasant. My nasal passages are apparently very narrow (which would explain why my nose is so often blocked). He said he needed to examine my vocal cords and the back of my throat in general, and said that there was still evidence of reflux there.

He prescribed Gaviscon Advance for six weeks, and said to continue with the Omeprazole, and then see my GP. The Gaviscon puts a blanket layer over the top of the stomach contents, and along with the acid-reducing Omeprazole, this should sort the problem. He also recommended propping the head of the bed up on bricks to elevate my upper body so my hubby is going to sort that – although what it will look like I don’t know – it’s a four-poster and might look like a ship on the high seas!

I saw the gastroenterologist a few weeks ago about my ulcerative colitis, and he continues to be pleased with my condition, which is responding well to the Pentasa medication. I had thought that my next colonoscopy wouldn’t be until August 2015 (two years after my first one) but he wants me to have it in February, which will be something nice to look forward to after Christmas (not…)!

Following a recent blood test, I have been told I am still mildly anaemic, so continuing with the iron for another few weeks. I am probably bleeding from the bowel although I’m not aware of it, but it could be enough to lower my haemoglobin sufficiently to need medication.

I bought a circulation booster from Ebay and it really helped with the swollen ankles. Now the weather has cooled off, the problem really isn’t so bad, and I have stopped using the machine for now, but it’s there if I need it.

Since my recent heart attack, I haven’t really been feeling myself – not exactly depressed, but feeling under the weather and a bit down, and rather unsettled. This is very unlike me because I’m usually very upbeat and bubbly. My creative mojo seems to have departed a bit recently, too. I had put it down to the constant low-level stress I suffer from with Mum in the house, but the other day I thought to myself that whenever I’ve had a day feeling like this, after a good night’s sleep the feeling generally disappears, but recently this has not happened. I mentioned it to my hubby at this point, and he said he wished I’d said something before, because he knows that it is very common indeed for people to get depression after a heart attack. I had no idea, but since then have spoken to several people who have experienced it. My hubby told me to Google it, and 18,900,000 search results appeared!!! He said, “Well, get reading then…” and I said if I read all that lot I’d be severely depressed by the end, not to mention still being at it well into the New Year!! It made me feel a lot better knowing that this was quite normal, and although I felt very down a couple of days ago, I’m feeling very much better again today.

I think I have to accept that it’s going to take time, and that my whole system suffered more of a shock than I was aware of. The most important thing is not to worry, and to know that it will pass. I don’t feel it’s bad enough to approach the doctor with.

My M.E. is ongoing, of course, and fluctuates from day to day, but there’s nothing new to report there, except to say that the dry mouth problem was probably a recurrence of this very common M.E. symptom, which has now gone into abeyance again. I have been continuing with the Sterimar routine before bed, and making sure my nose is as clear as possible before I go to sleep, and this is helping.

Ending on a cheerful note, I have been doing the 5:2, or “Fast” diet since our return from holiday towards the end of June, and am happy to report that this is the most brilliant diet I’ve ever been on. Because you reduce your calorie intake on only two days a week, and eat normally for the rest of the week, it is sustainable. Having to watch one’s diet every day, and deprive oneself of all the things one enjoys, soon becomes very tedious, and this is why so many people give up, especially when the weight loss tends to plateau, sometimes for several weeks.

I have had a three or four week plateau when I lost no weight, but I’ve stuck with it, and over the past couple of weeks, the weight loss has started again, resulting in a further half-stone coming off! I have now lost a total of 1 1/2 stone since June, and I am highly delighted. It doesn’t seem to be showing much – at least, not where I want it to (my stomach and bum) but one or two people have asked me if I’ve lost weight as it’s showing round my face, apparently!

So, generally speaking, I am pleased with how things are going. I am hoping that will be the last of the hospital visits for the rest of this year, at least for myself!

Mum, on the other hand, seems to be constantly going to the hospital or GP surgery these days. She had a TIA (transient ischaemic attack, or mini-stroke) a little while ago and has been undergoing tests since then, resulting in a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF) and she is now on Warfarin, necessitating a weekly blood test until they stabilise the dose. Her blood pressure continues to be very high, and she is therefore at increased risk of another TIA or more serious stroke. She has bashed her leg again… and a few weeks ago, Phoebe, one of our kitties, scratched her arm, both of which needed an A&E visit and dressings which required changing – each time she has such an injury to her paper-thin skin, she digs her heels in and refuses point-blank to go to the hospital and we have to go through the whole process every time, of my hubby getting really stroppy with her and bullying her into submission! She never learns… she has no idea how serious such things can be at her age (93), and how they could easily get infected and lead to ulceration and worse. Oh well, my sister can deal with it for 10 days – we are currently enjoying a lovely break! After everything that’s happened recently, I think we deserve it – my hubby especially, as he is the one who has to drive her, and pick up all the prescriptions, etc.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

WOYWW 274

You show me yours – and I’ll show you mine! Desks, that is… To find out how, visit our hostess Julia’s blog by clicking on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar, and come on in and join the fun.

So – what’s on my workdesk this Wednesday? As you can see – not a lot!

WOYWW 274

As often happens on a Wednesday, I am between projects, so my desk is bare. Well, not bare – I’ve always got loads of clutter on it, but bare of projects. Dare I admit it, that water jar is STILL there! I think the level is going down by evaporation after 3 weeks. I wonder how long I can keep it there?

You may remember what a complete tip my ARTHaven was last week, being full of all my office stuff while the new shelves in my office were being reinforced with extra supports. I took advantage of having to take most of the stuff out, to put a different rug down, as the tiny one that was there wasn’t much good for stopping my office chair scooting all over the place on the laminate floor. Having cleared some junk out of the corner, I find I can now use my big comfy chair in there after all, which makes a lot more room in the far corner of my ARTHaven where it was taking up space. I’ve just got enough room to swivel on it!

Here’s my office now. I really like the look of the red rug which goes with all my red office accessories.

01 Office with Reinforced Shelf Supports and New Rug

For those of you who expressed an interest, I have at last finished the bereavement card I was working on, and it’s been sent off. Here’s a couple of pictures.

13 Finished Card - Overlay

14 Finished Card - Overlay Turned Back

For full details, please see my previous post.

Since there isn’t much of interest on my desk this week, I thought I’d go all foody again and show you what I cooked for our meal last night. It is a courgette gratin and I got the recipe off Pinterest. Here it is ready to go into the oven.

Courgette Gratin Ready for the Oven

And here it is just out of the oven – I have taken a scoop out for Mum for tonight. At 93 she has a very small appetite and I can usually spare a bit without noticing it too much!

Courgette Gratin Ready to Serve

I’ve made this before, and tonight’s was a bit wetter than it should be – I think I cooked the courgettes for too long before making up the gratin. It was delicious, though! I substitute plain yoghurt for the cream as it’s a healthier option now I’m on a diet.

Talking of which, I have hit a plateau with my weight loss, but I am not too demoralised because having visited the 5-2 Fast Diet website it appears that it is very common to stop losing weight after a while, but with perseverance, as one’s body adjusts, one starts to lose weight again eventually. I am very encouraged, though, because I have lost 1 st 1 lb (15 lbs for our Transatlantic cousins!) since I started towards the end of June.

One other bit of news – my hubby and I heard back from our local community college today, that we have both been accepted for our evening classes starting later this month. He is doing “improvers’ watercolour painting” and I’m doing feltmaking! I only hope I am up to it, because they say it’s fairly strenuous… I shall give it my best shot anyway, and let you know how I get on. I’ve registered for 2 five-week courses, one this autumn, and the other after Christmas. I’ve also just been given a huge quantity of lavender by our opposite neighbour who was cutting back her lavender hedge, and as it was starting to drop everywhere, I’ve stripped off all the flowers (mammoth job) and am planning to make some essential oil and maybe some natural cosmetic products which will be nice for presents.

Have a lovely creative week, everyone, and happy WOYWW.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Christian Bereavement Card

Recently, a good friend of mine finally lost her battle with cancer and passed away at her home, surrounded by her family. She was so young and full of life, and was a wonderful Christian believer, as are her husband and two children – in fact I was privileged a number of years ago to witness the whole family being baptised together. She and her husband were part of my Bible study group for several years, and we had many wonderful times of fellowship together.

I needed to make a very special card for this very special family, and have given it some considerable thought and prayer. For Christians, although the loss of a loved one through death affects us as much as it does non-Christians, and we have to go through exactly the same grieving process, the Bible gives us hope of everlasting life, and reunion with those we have lost, and I wanted to reflect both these aspects in my card.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

One of the songs we used to sing together was “We will dance on the streets that are golden” – a picture of the heavenly Jerusalem, and I decided to use this as the theme for my card.

The first step was to make the golden pavement and draw a dancing figure on a piece of recycled watercolour paper. (This drawing was adapted from an image I found online.)

01  Drawing and Golden Pavement

The golden pavement was made from a piece of gold mirror card. I drew some perspective lines on the back and then hand-embossed the card from the back with a large embossing tool, and picked out the lines between the paving stones with a smaller embossing tool from the front, working on a piece of fun foam. I outlined the drawing with a waterproof black marker pen and then added some colour with my Derwent Inktense Pencils, blending them with a water brush.

The next step was to cut out the dancer. Here is a mock-up on the white base card.

02 Mock-Up with Dancer and Pavement

I then began work on the drawing on the base card, to form a “Heavenly City” background. I added a few Zentangles, notably “Float Fest” to give the suggestion of more domes extending into the far distance, and began colouring it with Inktense pencils as before.

03 Working on the Drawing

At this point I got a bit carried away and forgot to stop and take any photos! The next photo shows the finished card front, complete with an emerald rainbow (as described as being around the throne of God in the Book of Revelation), and the addition of little spots of Stickles glitter glue in various colours to represent the jewelled foundations of the Heavenly City showing through the transparent gold paving. I also made a separate banner from the recycled watercolour paper, with the words “Dancing on the streets that are golden” and stuck this down. For the banner and for the dancer, I used Scotch Quick Dry adhesive, which is a good strong wet glue. As usual, the photo doesn’t do justice to the golden, glittery effect!

04 Finished Card Front

As this is a bereavement card and I wanted to convey my feelings for their loss, the front of the card needed to reflect this, and although the above shows my friend in glory, free at last from all pain, and carries the hope of reunion in the life to come, the present also needs to be addressed.

I decided to make an overlay from translucent parchment paper with a message on it, but through which you could just glimpse what was beyond. Looking through my stash, I was delighted to find some parchment that I had printed for another project, and made the mistake of not choosing the “borderless” option on my printer, which left an unprinted border, so I couldn’t use it. It is fine for this project, though, as I had already decided to make a paper border to cut out and stick down around the edge of the parchment, which will cover this unprinted part. You can see that it is a subtle blue colour with some butterflies on it.

05 Printed Parchment for Overlay

Working on the border. I chose a piece of A4 100 gsm copy paper which has a lovely smooth finish, and folded it in half. The back could be cut away to leave a small amount to stick down onto the back of the base card and form a hinge, and this would also hold the parchment piece in place. Again, I used my waterproof black marker pen to create a text border. I chose a verse from one of my favourite hymns, which we had for Dad’s funeral last December, “Teach me, my God and King” by George Herbert. The verse I chose is as follows:

A man that looks on glass,

On it may stay his eye;

Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,

And then the heaven espy.

This is so appropriate for the situation! We can look at our circumstances and our loss, and we can also look through it, and see the hope and beauty beyond. The parchment paper can act as the “glass” which we can look at, or we can see, “through a glass dimly” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, the golden bejewelled image beyond; and in our case, we can also turn the page and see it in its full glory.

In the next photo I am working on the border. Between each of the words I have used a tiny drop of bisque Liquid Pearls – this stuff is gorgeous!

06 Working on the Overlay Border

Here is the finished border. At this stage I had not yet applied any distress ink because I was waiting for the Liquid Pearls are dry. The next step would be to cut out the middle, and stick it down onto the parchment, and then create some slips of paper with some Bible verses on them.

07 Finished Overlay Border

Here is the text border complete, having been distressed with Old Paper Distress Ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster – these large soft brushes are ideal for this kind of thing because they are so gentle and do not snag the edge of the paper. Laid on top is one of the text pieces that would be attached to the parchment overlay.

08 Overlay Border Cut Out

Here is the parchment overlay with the first text, which I have hand-written direct onto the parchment, and the other cut-out piece ready to stick down.

09 Overlay with Text

For the main text across the centre of the overlay, I spent some considerable time selecting and cutting out a series of letters from magazines and newspapers (like a ransom demand!) and arranged them into words. In this picture I am beginning to cut the words out. I was quite pleased with the result because the letters added a bit of colour to the front of the card.

10 Cutting Out the Words

Here are the words stuck down onto the parchment overlay. I used 3M spray photo adhesive – a recommendation I found online – but it wasn’t easy to get the pieces to stick initially, and once the glue was dry, I had to apply a small amount of Scotch Quick Dry adhesive with a cocktail stick to make sure each piece was securely adhered. Parchment paper can be quite difficult to deal with.

11 Parchment Overlay with Text

Here is the parchment overlay together with the text frame, both of which have now been trimmed down the left side, ready to apply to the base card.

12 Parchment Overlay and Text Frame Trimmed

On the inside of the card, I wrote the Aaronic Blessing from Numbers chapter 6, and afterwards embellished it with some more bisque Liquid Pearls, and wrote the greeting on the other side. Having thought long and hard about what text to add to this card, in the end I felt that the Bible said it better than I ever could!

15b Card Inside Text Blurred

I attached the text frame to the parchment overlay with 3M photo adhesive spray, and this was attached to the base card using the red-backed ultra-sticky double sided tape.

Here is the completed card. You can see the golden picture underneath the parchment overlay. You can see that I have also added some embellishment with a black marker pen around the cut-out words, directly onto the parchment paper, to give the design more cohesion and to link this central text with that at the top and bottom of the card.

13 Finished Card - Overlay

The finished card with the overlay turned back. I wish the photo did the gold pavement and the Stickles better justice, as it is very shiny and sparkly.

14 Finished Card - Overlay Turned Back

I feel very privileged to have had this lady as my friend. She was such fun, and so full of life, and had such a strong faith. She and her husband brought up their two children in the love and fear of the Lord, and they are now being launched into the world in their chosen professions, well equipped to be good citizens, and to cope with everything that life will throw at them, with God’s help. My love and prayers go with them all.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Outing to Plymouth Barbican

Yesterday after a friend suggested she take Mum off our hands so we could have a nice day out together, my hubby and I went to Plymouth for a lovely outing to the Barbican, the oldest part of the city, down by the sea. It is a place full of atmosphere, with cobbled streets and tiny narrow winding alleyways, and a rich maritime history. Along the main streets there are plenty of gift shops and art galleries and eating places. There is a small covered arcade of shops called “The House that Jack Built” and it was in here that I discovered a shop entirely devoted to buttons! Here is a decorative tile set into the floor which took my fancy.

01 Tiled Floor in Button Shop

Buttons, buttons, buttons!

02 Buttons

and more buttons!

03 Button Wall

We found a shop that specialised in chocolate sculptures and exotic cakes, and I couldn’t resist this glorious wedding cake with a sea theme.

05 Shell Wedding Cake

Here’s one of the chocolate sculptures.

08 Chocolate Sculpture

It was a bit difficult to photograph things in this shop window because of the reflections.

Here is a view of the main shopping street.

09 Street View

Some art glass in one of the galleries. The artist is called Richard Glass, appropriately.

10 Glass Wave Sculptures

This is New Street, which has to be one of the oldest streets in Plymouth – not easy to get a good photo, and apologies for the wheelie bins!!

11 New Street

This is the site of the old Fish Market, which now houses shops and restaurants. I remember coming down here many years ago, very early in the morning, and witnessing the fishing boats coming in, and managing to get some scraps for the cats! I also picked up a scallop shell which had been thrown aside, and which I still have.

12 Old Fish Market Location

The Dolphin Hotel, with its well-known facade.

13 The Dolphin Hotel

Another street view, overlooking the harbour.

14 Street View

This has to be one of the oldest buildings in the city. I love the stone work, and the filled-in arches which show how the building has been changed in the past. The roof is obviously more modern, but the chimneys are old, and boast quite a lot of plant life growing out of them!

15 Ancient Building

One of several snickets, known as “opes” with a view of an old warehouse in the distance. You can make out the crane with the pulley, which was used to lift things in and out through the large doors at the top.

16 View through Snicket to Ancient Warehouse

Another ope with the Custom House in the distance.

17 View through Snicket to the Custom House

Interesting street sign.

18 Interesting Street Sign

More art glass.

19 Art Glass

20 Art Glass

Our afternoon culminated in a tour of the Plymouth gin factory.

21 Gin Factory Entrance

This has a very long and distinguished history dating back to the 1400s. It is a small concern but is still producing Plymouth gin in its distinctive bottles, in both “normal” and the stronger “navy” strength. We saw the single still that produces the gin, and in the tasting room, examined all the “botanicals” which go into the gin to give it its unique flavour – not just juniper berries, but lemon and orange peel, cardamom, angelica and other spices! We had a taste, and were then treated to a gin and tonic before we left via the shop, where I bought a bottle of their gorgeous sloe gin – quite the best commercially produced I’ve ever tasted. A lot of people make their own around here from the sloes which grow abundantly on Dartmoor (which the Plymouth Gin factory also uses) and this always tastes a lot nicer than the normal commercial stuff. It was a very interesting tour.

Years ago we had a French lady staying with us, who went on a tour of the factory, and on her return, when we asked how she’d enjoyed it, she replied, “It was bizarre…” and described how she couldn’t understand what was going on at all, with the large copper vessels and pipes and so on – she’d understood she was going on a tour of the Plymouth Jeans Factory and was mystified by the complete absence of even a shred of denim!

The weather was horrible yesterday and it poured with rain on the way over and on the way back, but we managed to escape getting wet, and were able to sit on a bench overlooking the harbour with all the boats, to eat our sandwiches. You can see from the photos how overcast it was, but we didn’t let the weather spoil our enjoyment. We used to live in Plymouth and have always loved the Barbican, and it was fun to return and be tourists for a day!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

WOYWW 273

For details of how to join in the world’s most famous nosey fest, please click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar, which will take you to our hostess Julia’s site, where all will be revealed.

Are you ready for this?

WOYWW 273

My poor ARTHaven… I can’t actually get near enough the actual “desk” (main work area) because most of my office stuff has been dumped in my ARTHaven! Yesterday Andy and Paul (the builders who worked on our new house last year) came to finish off a few jobs that required attention, such as fixing my bath properly, to stop it moving. It is a free-standing one and came with no instructions for fitting, and I soon discovered that it wasn’t stable, so I haven’t really been able to use it, but have had to use the shower all the time. They also mended my ARTHaven sink tap which was broken, and put some silicone caulk around the sink, and around my bathroom counter, as there had been some settling over the months and the grout had cracked away. They also replaced the electric shower with a mixer tap shower in my hubby’s bathroom and fitted a grab rail for him (the poor chap is feeling his age since his retirement lol!). Finally, they added some more shelf supports for the long shelves in my office (small section off my main ARTHaven) as they were proving not man enough for all the stuff I need to store on them. Because of this, I had to move everything through into my ARTHaven, hence the chaos you see above!

We are going out all day today so I won’t be able to start visiting desks until later, or tomorrow. I cannot sort my ARTHaven till all that is over, and I’ve recovered after the day out, and also there is a spare rug in the loft which my hubby is going to measure, and if it’s suitable, I shall empty the bookcases in my office so that I can move them and get it laid down – might as well do this when half the stuff is out anyway! It will also give me the opportunity to clean the room, which is very dusty. Autumn cleaning? Why not!

You might just be able to glimpse over the chaos onto my desk, and see the bereavement card – I have made good progress on it and it is more or less complete now. I’ve finished the two-layered front section and have been working on the inside. The blog post about it shouldn’t be too long coming now!

Finally today, I’m taking a leaf out of Bridget’s book and posting a couple of foody photos – last night I made a rhubarb lasagne. Here it is ready for the oven:

Rhubarb Lasagne Ready for the Oven

and just out of the oven, being served:

Rhubarb Lasagne Ready to Serve

The colour in the second photo isn’t that good because it’s in artificial light and even with some manipulation I can’t get it right! Anyway, you can see the layers in the lasagne in the dish. If you think fruit lasagne is weird, I can assure you it’s quite delicious! The middle layer consists of cream cheese and some cheddar, with egg and sugar. The other layers are the rhubarb, spiced with ginger, and on top is a sort of crumble, and I have added some flaked almonds. I have the equivalent recipe for apple lasagne, and that one is spiced with cinnamon. They are both absolutely delicious puddings and I served last night’s rhubarb one with Greek yoghurt. Yum yum.

Happy WOYWW everybody.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Our New House–Final Jobs

After the builders left last year, there were a few problems that developed in the ensuing months, and yesterday Andy phoned to say that at last they had a day between jobs, when they could come and tie up these odds and ends. He and Paul arrived early this morning, and it was quite like old times having them around again!

The main job that needed attention was my bath in the en-suite bathroom. This free-standing bath came with no fitting instructions, and Paul did his best at the time, but I found that the bath was moving if I leant on one side, and then a few months ago I was showing some people around the new house and one of them sat on the end of the bath and it all started to tip up! As a result of this I was very loath to use it in case the movement had caused any breach in the waste, which would cause a flood. Paul did come back and try another tactic to fix it but it didn’t work, and today he finally fixed it for good, by attaching two L-brackets to the side of the bath and onto the floor – very difficult to get at behind the bath! Unless you look behind the bath, you really can’t see them, and it now feels rock solid. Very pleasing! I did warn Paul not to drill right through the second skin of the bath and make a hole right through, because I didn’t fancy pretending to be a little Dutch boy every time I had a bath, plugging the hole with my finger!!

23 Paul and Chris Unpacking the Bath

The grab rails in my bathroom that came from Amazon look brilliant, but the design was awful – they were a real pain to fit, and the covers kept popping off. Paul did glue most of them down but he said that a couple of them seemed to be OK so he didn’t bother. In the meantime they have both popped off, so he has now glued them like the others, so they won’t shift.

04 Grab Rail Attachment Detail

Finally in the en-suite bathroom, the counter Paul had built for me had settled very slightly, pulling the grout away, so he has now gone right around with silicone caulking and it all looks very neat. It won’t be fully cured till tomorrow morning so meantime a lot of my bathroom stuff is back in the bedroom!

11 Cabinet, Basin and Accessories

My hubby has been complaining recently about the electric shower in his bathroom being far too weedy to be any good. It is obviously pretty old, and rather than trying to repair it, he decided he’d like a mixer shower tap fitted to the bath, so Andy turned up today with a second-hand one from his store, for which he charged us a very reasonable sum. It looks great on the bath! The hose from the electric shower is visible on this photo, but my hubby has since unscrewed and removed it. We are leaving the actual shower in place, because to remove it would involve making a mess of the wall. They also fitted the poor old chap a grab rail – he’s feeling his age since his retirement!!

04 New Mixer Tap Shower in N's Bathroom

In my ARTHaven, the grout had also cracked away around the sink, so that is now beautifully finished with silicone caulking. Also, a few months ago, the head of the tap fell off! It is an extending tap with a hose, and I was able to manage jut using the hose, but Paul has now re-attached the tap with his special super glue. I had pointed out to him a little lug on the underside which fits into a corresponding groove in the main body of the tap, but he forgot about it, and glued the tap on so that if you engaged the lug in the groove, the tap was pointing at the ceiling! He said that as soon as he’d done it, he remembered, but by then it was to late, as the glue had set. While I did agree that an indoor fountain may be attractive, it wasn’t really what was required! In the end Paul cut the lug off altogether, and the result is better than before – the tap can now be located in any position without the inner pipe showing, and it’s now working absolutely fine again.

02 ARTHaven Tap Mended and Silicone

In the office section, the two long shelves they had fitted were certainly showing their inability to cope with the heavy loads I imposed on them, so they are now strengthened with a wooden batten, and additional supports have been fitted.

03 Office Cleared for Shelf Repairs

In order for this work to be done, I obviously had to take everything off the shelves, and clear space for them to work. All this stuff was dumped in my ARTHaven:

01 Office Stuff in ARTHaven

Lovely mess, isn’t it. I am not intending to put it back until my hubby has had a chance to measure a rug we’ve got in the loft. If it is suitable, I shall move the bookcases in the office so that I can lay it down, and it seems sensible to do all this while a lot of the stuff is out of the office anyway. The reason I want a rug is that the laminate floor is rather slippery and offers no resistance to the castors on my office chair, which tends to scoot around all over the place when I want it to remain stationary! This has also proved to be a major problem in the ARTHaven proper, so I am unable to use my lovely comfy revolving chair, which is now just taking up space. Instead, I am using my old wheelchair (with the foot rest removed) – I can lock the wheels and it stays put. It is also very comfortable!

Moving everything out of my office has made me realise how dusty everything was, so I’m also taking advantage of this situation in order to clean up a bit in there. We are out tomorrow so I won’t be able even to think about it till Thursday and probably not then, because I will probably be too tired after our outing.

The final job was to fix Mum’s new door. They had fitted this when they replaced the window with a smaller one, so that she would have independent access into her little patio and wouldn’t have to come through our part of the house to get out. The trouble is, she simply can’t get to grips with anything mechanical, and these modern doors are more complicated to work than old-fashioned ones – she found lifting the handle in order to lock it quite incomprehensible, and somehow kept managing to lock the door when it was open, so that the lock projected and prevented the door from closing at all. She then kept banging the door incessantly, trying to make it close, and making the whole house shake in consequence, and the result was that the door wouldn’t close at all without an effort – she had obviously forced something and it was out of alignment. Paul whipped the hinge covers off and adjusted the hinges, and it now works like a dream! The trouble was, Mum then said she’d be able to lock it again herself, and I had a terrible time persuading her NOT to do this, but to continue to rely on my hubby and me to do it for her each evening. We don’t want a recurrence of the problem!

13 Annexe Steps

So all in all, a good day, with lots achieved. All those little niggles are now sorted!