Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Back Online, First Day Decorating, and a Lovely Tea Party

I was delighted to receive our new router in the post today. Having been told it would take 3-5 working days, and I only ordered it on Thursday and with two bank holidays over the Easter weekend, I didn’t anticipate it arriving before Thursday at the earliest.

I have now set it up, and removed the old defunct BT Openreach modem from the system and so far everything seems to be working OK although the wireless signal isn’t that strong. We are currently using the sitting room in Mum’s flat because our sitting room is in the process of being decorated, starting today, so it will be interesting to see if the signal strength is any better once we get back in our own sitting room.

The redecoration of our sitting room has started today! Our neighbour from the end of the street, who is a builder and does all sorts of useful odd jobs at an extremely reasonable price, has already completed the ceiling and two of the three walls which needed painting (we have one wall which we are leaving dark red) – the walls will probably require a second coat, but the ceiling in fine with one. It’s coming on apace and I don’t think the room will be out of action for too long. Already the room is looking brighter with the white walls instead of cream. Here’s a photo at the end of day 1 of decorating – not too easy to see what’s been done in the night-time light but it looks very different with everything taken out!

07 End of Day 1 Decorating

Last night I cut a stencil for him to make a nice art deco border around the tops of the walls. This is the sketch I did, based on a design I found online:

06 Sketch for Art Deco Border

and this is the stencil I cut, from a polywallet that I cut open. This stuff is a lot more durable and flexible than acetate, which I have used before.

05 Stencil for Art Deco Border

I have cut a single pattern repeat, which I think he will be able to do. I really wanted to paint this myself but I can’t reach up there, right under the ceiling cornice. In the photo you can also see a selection of stencil brushes, and my “Stick and Spray” adhesive from Crafters’ Companion, which is a low-tack, repositionable spray adhesive which is great for stencils. As you can see from the stencil, there are several long, unsupported pieces which would not be usable without the back being sprayed with adhesive. It remains to be seen how well it works, and whether we can achieve the desired effect. I deliberately chose a fairly soft, curvaceous design rather than a highly angular one more typical of the high art deco period because our house bridges the gap between traditional Edwardian and modernism, having been built in 1925. Also, we have opted for a more traditional chandelier for the centre light and this border will be more in keeping with that, I think. Anyway, it will serve to soften the hard edge of the cornice when it is painted orange, and bring the colour down towards the picture rail which will also be orange.

Today we invited our new next-door neighbour and our opposite neighbour (the one who kindly gave us access to her Internet connection over the past few days) for tea so that they could meet each other. We had a lovely time. Yesterday I did some more baking – all quick stuff: chocolate chip cookies, plain scones and Scots pancakes (drop scones). We also had a few Hamantaschen and some of Kermit’s birthday cake, and our opposite neighbour brought us some of her sugar-free sultana loaf. The table was groaning, fit to feed an army! You will be glad to hear that we made significant inroads into this feast and I don’t think any of us will be wanting much to eat this evening!

Tea Party for New Neighbour 29-3-16

The sun was shining very brightly so the picture isn’t terribly clear, but starting top left, there’s a plate of buttered Scots pancakes, and beside this, some slices of Kermit’s cake interspersed with Hamantashen. Top right: plain scones. In front of the Scots pancakes, a bowl of Cornish clotted cream and a bowl of strawberry jam, both of which go with the scones to create a traditional cream tea (a speciality in our area). Beside the jam is a plate of chocolate chip cookies with a few bought chocolate biscuits (the only thing I didn’t bake myself). Then the cups and saucers and a bowl of sugar for those who wanted it, and the plates complete with pretty paper table napkins and tea knives and cake forks. The pot of tea and hot water and the milk were yet to be brought in.

We all had a lovely time, and we are so delighted to have such very nice neighbours. You never know what your neighbours are going to be like, and you sometimes hear real horror stories of rowdy neighbours, people with dangerous dogs, noisy people, people who are very untidy and make the neighbourhood unslightly… You can choose the best location to suit your needs, but you have no control over the other people living there! How blessed we are.

Today I also baked a loaf of bread in the bread maker – the first time I have used it since before I started my chemo. This is a half-and-half loaf – half white and half wholemeal flour – I find that 100% wholemeal is a bit heavy and this is a good compromise.

Half and Half Bread from Bread Maker

We are now relaxing in Mum’s sitting room, both on our laptops, happy to be back on our own Internet connection. It’s been a lovely day, only spoilt now by the thought of the mountain of washing up waiting to be done once I’ve got some energy back!


  1. I thought this was your WOYWW post Shoshi! Now I see that it isn't! It's great that you're back online! Good progress in your living room and great that you can spice it up with your own stencil. Your lovely laden table looks very inviting in the sunshine and the freshly baked bread very appetizing! I can almost smell it from here. Lucky I've just eaten, LOL!

  2. How lovely of you to stop by my desk even though you aren't taking part this week - thank you! I have to say I love your stencil and I think it will look spectacular along the picture rail - I think it's great that you are decorating sensitively to the age and style of the house. I have a 1960's bungalow and I have always yearned to live in an older property where the sort of Art Nouveau decor I love would look so at home. However I discovered many years ago that antique/vintage furniture and styling in a modern bungalow just make it look like an elderly persons home, whereas my friend with similar taste has a Victorian terrace that looks beautiful with quite a lot of my old furniture in it, because it's in-keeping with it's style! Sorry, I think I've rambled on a bit too much - I hope all the decorating goes well, it can all seem such an awful mess while you are in the throes of it can't it!
    Take care,
    Diana x

  3. Hi Shoshi, don't you over do it girl that looks like lots of work to me. I love half and half bread and could just eat that right now!! Take care and have a nice weekend, Angela xXx

  4. Hi Shoshi! Thanks for visiting my new blog post. I'll reply to your question here as well, in case you've missed it there. I cut the stencil from cardstock. I used to cut them from mylar and transparency sheets but I'm concerned about the blade wearing out. Cardstock is much cheaper as well. Works just the same, even with texture paste. Great idea with the freezer paper - I was wondering how to store the sticky stencils. I'll try using the waxed side of deli paper to see if that works too. I used 3M sprays - they're very sticky - that's how I ended up with those gold fingers! Have fun stenciling your walls! That's even more exciting than stenciling in your art journal!

  5. Hi Shoshi, just a quick note - if you use the 3M glue, make sure it's the repositionable one - the permanent glue will stick to the wall and bring the plaster down with it!

  6. Your feast looks mouthwateringly delicious. I do enjoy good scones, and such are difficult to come by in the States. I generally have to make them for myself! LOL What a lovely idea, to invite 2 neighbors to tea in order to introduce them. Lovely. Blessings for a fine weekend!


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