Saturday, November 30, 2013

Making an Advent calendar.

Scraped in at the last minute. I bought this Kaisercraft Advent calendar back in March at Spotlight as a huge!!markdown and thought that leaves me plenty of time before Christmas right? So here I was in the last week of November trying to get started. Oops.

These are the pictorial instructions, eek! So I went to the Kaisercraft website to have a look. Lots of inspiration, check out the inspiration projects. They recommend that you assemble without the glue first to make sure everything fits.

I used double-sided tape to stick the cardboard boxes together. This was the bit that had me procrastinating for so long. How to make the boxes?

Made a pattern for the patterned paper sides and front and cut out all my paper bits.
Peeled the paper off of the tape and attached the outside paper corner by corner.

Started to paint the assembled and glued (PVA glue) frame in white, then changed my mind and painted it in Americana Buttermilk.

Painted inside each cardboard box Americana Antique White (old stock from the crafty cupboard)  Of course I didn't paint the inside of the boxes first, no that would be too simple. So after I had papered the boxes, I thought "I should colour the inside", which was a tad tedious trying not to get paint on the paper. Next time....

Used some old Michelle Anderson scrap-paper that looked like wallpaper (also lurking in the back of the crafty cupboard) to wrap around the inside of the shadowbox part. Inked the edges of the paper.

A bit unorthodox, but I used my favourite (floor varnish) to coat the insides and out of the boxes and some chipboard numbers. (I was really happy with how it went on the little table.) Water based and dries fast and is wipeable. Most people would probably use some Modgepodge, which I don't have. The numbers were random ones I already had (from the dozen or so scrapped pages I had done in an attempt to get my mothers to take up a new hobby involving pics of their grandkids)

The presents were bits of wood (off cuts from the door jambs) wrapped in paper and tied with embroidery floss and sparkly string.
 I got a hammering about my tree from no.2 son, said it looked more like a pot plant. Honestly, it's a wonder I make anything around here. I should be cowering in the corner.

The Christmas tree was made from cut pieces of garland stuffed into a painted wooden bucket (minus the handle) decorated with beads, berry ties, bells and a paper star. Hot glued into the shadow box. Also attached a bit of trim to the top edge.

The stockings were cut out bits of paper glued together, inked and attached with tiny squares of mounting tape to a pretend paper shelf, also mounted with tape.

The papers I used were double sided (4 sheets for $4.50) plus bits I already had.  Basic Grey, October Afternoon, Michelle Anderson, Crate Paper, My Mind's Eye etc.

Ok, now it's finished, had an idea (snort!) to make a paper chain to fill the empty spots. Mr CH said I must be really bored. Used pre-cut paper from something else I 've been playing with (will show another time) fiddly, but cute.
 Now the hard part, finding treats small enough to fit in the boxes, as I need two per box. My kids are too old for toys (mum says) so it's lollies, novelty erasers, balloons, poppers and choc coins for our tiny boxes. The love notes ended up being too large to fit in the little boxes (I would need to eat three lollies to make them fit, hmmm...) so they will go into the stockings.
Ideas for boys 
 lollies, balloons, slime, marbles, chocolate coins, shaped rubberbands, stickers, fake tattoos, tiny cars, Lego people, caps (for guns or those drop thingys), plastic soldiers/animals/parachute men, streamer poppers.
 Ideas for girls
 beads, puffy stickers, hairclips/bands, fake earring stickers, jewellery, lollie necklaces/bracelets, chocolates, gumballs, novelty erasers, charms, pretty keyrings, tiny toys/accessories, glitter.
Notes for activities - eg. drive to see Christmas lights, make a tree decoration/card/gift, buy a wish tree gift, find something hidden, an endless list really.

My favourite bit, the stockings, I'm glad they turned out looking like stockings.
Would I do another? you bet!
First day of summer can you believe! 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Old fashioned shed build-flooring and windows.

The flooring for Mr CH's shed arrived, he decided to use the same flooring that we used for the bathroom floor of the Reno cottage, water resistant particle board sheets, the brand name is Yellow tongue Sructaflor.
 Pdf  manual (44mb) on recommended installation is also available if you are thinking of using this product.
These sheets are often used under floating floorboard floors, however Mr CH had decided this is plenty good enough for his floor as is (after toying with varnishing/painting decisions). The sheets have a resin treatment to inhibit moisture which also gives it a smooth surface. We have good air ventilation underneath as well. As you've might have realised, we are going with a fitted floor construction (frames built first) which has the added difficulty of fitting the floor neatly inside of the completed framing with minimal gaps around the edges. The disadvantage of this is that there is little scope for slack measuring (me).

Forgot to take progress pics of the laying, blink and miss kinda thing. We moved the boards inside the same day they were delivered so they could acclimatise quickly (they are so heavy, which wore us out) The next day they were cut and laid (un-nailed). It is recommended that adhesive be run on the upside of the bearers before laying, Mr CH chose not to glue, as we are have used green hardwood for our construction (which is still drying) and he intended to rely on his nailing (nail gunned 65mm nails) instead. The boards were levered as tight as possible using a stud and block against the subfloor bearers. The last small board was dropped into place and fitted with wedges. Stringlines along the joists from wall to wall (which happen to line up with the studs) were used to mark the dots for nailing.

Yellow tongue flooring (19mm).

The good joins. The yellow stuff is the waxy edging.

The dodgy joins. Instead of prising up the heavy boards and trimming a sliver, Mr CH is happy to live with a gap or two. While I try to remember it is a shed. Glue and sawdust?

After nailing. The sheets butt together over a bearer for strength.

Only a few months ago.

Mr CH decided to use a piece leftover from the Reno cottage for the last corner piece. It's different in colour, but he doesn't mind because it will be under his bench and it means he can save the extra piece he was going to cut for shelving. Plus he will also have a full length shelf above the door from the side offcuts.

These old doors will be sliders. Hopefully.

Only one part of the flooring was damaged before it arrived and by complete fluke ended up at the opening of the sliding doors. This opening will be edged with some hardwood floorboards (leftovers from our house extension) so it won't matter.

Will never be this clean or tidy again.

Framing and fitting the windows

These three windows were freebies from a friend. He noticed that a neighbour down his road had left them outside after changing some windows and asked if he wanted them, which he didn't. They are in great condition no painting needed, just a good clean of the friction hinges to allow for easier opening of the windows.
Mr CH laid the windows down and built the frame around them. The frames were glued, nailed (and braced) and allowed to dry for a few days.

We bought these two single windows from a demo yard for $22 each, which we thought was worth that for the large panes of glass alone. These windows will need painting. One has a corner cut off which will need a patch-up job later on. These are for the windows that will face the road end of the shed, which is why this glass will be good for privacy.

Nailed into place.

Some progress to the walls.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A makeover, makings and a mo.

At the risk of sounding like that old broken record, I've been finding it hard to visit this little space much lately and when I do, I feel strangely distant, unconnected. Time waits for no man and trying to keep up with everyone's past news is almost impossible at the moment. Like everyone else, days are chock-full of work. There has been a concerted effort to get the shed finished before summer's heat and storms arrive, taking up most of the weekends and after work on some days. Which at night has us willing the hands of the clock to move quickly towards a normal bedtime. Is nine o'clock considered a normal bedtime for adults?

Have managed to fit in a few personal things (things that bug me and no one else) I've been wanting to get done for ages. As this old footstool has become more of a seat than a footstool, I've been wanting to add a slipcover to take on and off if needed. Took me a day (seriously) to work out how, as I wanted to have a go at piping as well, bias-schmias darn year 8 sewing. (Practice for those $5 outdoor chairs that need new seats/covers) One of those machine piping foots would have made the job easier but persistence has got to count for something. Unpicked parts of it twice and the end piping join is pretty average, but it sits well enough to keep me happy (being a non-sewer and all). Used what I had already, backed the top panel of fabric with some calico as I didn't have any interfacing (is that what you use?) and I just folded the sides in half.

Also gave the legs a sand and stain to change the orange-ness of them. As the newest, cleanest bit of fabric in the house, the cat has already claimed it as a perch.

Also made a pigeon pair of cushions from an old op shopped tablecloth. Still wanting to make a bag of sorts with the same cloth.

Made these bags first, from vintage 70's bed sheets, the orange ones were my sheets. I used calico as the lining so they would be soft and foldable to tuck in another bag. Even mitred the corners (inside as well) and was quite shocked, it worked. Could be a fluke. Sewers don't laugh at me. Would like to make a few for gifts.

My sort-of pattern. The strap was simply folded and edges tucked under. The lining was just a few mms smaller.

Finally got around to painting the new wood block surround on the laundry door. Mr CH installed a new door knob earlier in the year (to replace a slide bolt) and because there had been so many alterations to the lock area over the years, there wasn't enough solid wood left, so he added a routed piece and it's rawness against the white has been mocking me while doing the washing. Another job done.

Also papered the drawer fronts of a wall shelf in my laundry. Funny how a few simple changes brighten the space.
Have discovered a gifted bunch of daylily plants are a lovely red/yellow colour (now should I move them/leave them, decisions, decisions)  and we have enjoyed our last orange hippeastrums, all done until next year.

The vege patch has been making on it's own, pretty capsicums and strange round cucumbers which still need the skin peeled. Tomato plants have produced fruit and then died off (tommy toe). Don't know why.

Have been making bread every weekend lately, after a few years break. It was our Sunday thing while living in a small town, the shops were only open for a few hours on the weekends, so we baked our bread fresh.  Now remember why I stopped making bread, we eat too much of the darn stuff. Fighting over the crusts from a bread machine my dad picked up in an op shop in Emerald for $5 because it had no manual.

 The Christmas cake is made and tucked away in the back of the fridge. One job less to think about.

Had a go at making Amanda's Nanna's Apple Blossom pie. With a sweet name like that how could I not. Made a piecrust (and then overcooked it a bit) I left the passionfruit seeds in mine and topped it with some toasted coconut instead of cream. Lovely chilled pie especially if you like apple pies, which I do. It has condensed milk in it, need I say more.
            Sweet shortcrust pastry  (for the base)
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
125 gms butter (cold)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
Sift flours, add sugar and rub in butter with fingertips.
Add egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water and mix to form a firm dough, add second tablespoon of water if needed.
Chill dough in fridge for 20 minutes.
Roll out between two sheets of greasedproof paper and line pie plate.
 Bake blind (with paper and weights/rice/beans etc.) until firm.
Remove weights and bake for a few minutes more if needed.

Seems a pity to show this after a pretty pie. Mr CH is making growing a mo in support of Movember (Men's health). It has passed the "turning on him" stage and has all the potential for a sleazy car salesman, underarm bowler or 1980's high school teacher. Worse, his "bit of lint" seems to be sporting a middle part.
 When daughter saw it she said "That's gross, quick shave it off Dad!" He said, "Nup I like it, I'm keeping it".
I don't like his chances (though it does look a bit like a stray animal).

 Have taken to calling him either one of our favourite moustachioed TV/movie stars whenever the mood strikes. Tom usually wins out, 'cos in a few weeks Mr CH's mo might look a bit like his.

Have finally had some decent rain, after the weather taunting us for a week. Up until Saturday we had missed out, this time the kids were thrilled with hail, our first for around 10 years. We were fortunate to miss the golf/cricket ball sizes that did so much damage in other towns.
Hope you got some decent rain without any damage at your place. There is a tinkle of tiny hail on the roof now.

 Hope you're having a lovely day in your neck of the woods.


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