I am all out of fabulous crafting things to share but that is fine because we are working really hard on our new house. I have been paid working only two days a week for January and February which has enabled me to go on to our building site and do some manual labour (and make tea in really grubby mugs) for a couple of days each week.
Because we are self builders we have a range of people who work on our house. We do not have anyone who oversees it and we can't even call ourselves project managers because that would sound like we knew what we were doing but I try to coordinate materials for each person before they arrive and make sure everyone gets paid alongside doing some menial jobs myself in between.
I have been showing you snippets in my ing posts, usually a tantalising picture of something quite tidy and enticing which may suggest that we are nearly finished but in truth we are a couple of years away from completing this hobby house. The kitchen mostly looks like this: a fitted kitchen packed in boxes, a table with sticky cups, milk you have have to smell before you use it and soft biscuits which you still eat because the hard work makes you hungry.
We have windows but not a front or back door so it has been bitterly cold in January and early February. This is compounded by the super insulation so the cold air stays trapped inside the house. Some days when I am painting inside you can see my breath but the builders pointing the stonework outside are warmer than me!
I can light the log burner but it is futile without the rest of the heating system which is not ready yet. We use it to huddle round at lunchtime when who over is on site comes in to sit on plastic chairs and eat sandwiches, chat, tease each other and make plans for what to tackle next.
We only have temporary electrics so we have to have spot lights rigged up to see later on in the day. We only have an outside tap meaning we have to boil the kettle every time we want to wash our hands or in this case keep my hands warm enough to clean the grout from the lounge tiles with a bucket and sponge. I have done two coats of sealant on the tiles in the lounge and am finished here.
But floor work continues with another room to prepare, the kitchen, needed a full tile clean. This time with brick acid - nasty stuff. My cousin and I wore masks, gloves and glasses as we worked with caustic acid. The girls stayed outside and made sure the dog didn't wander in. Another spot clean for the ones which need a bit more mortar removal tomorrow and then back on my knees to add the coats of sealant. It is not all choosing curtains and cushions just yet!
The girls ate their lunch on bar stools today and the dog ran off with a huge chunk of cake when we weren't looking but he mostly likes to sniff out mice in the old grain shed when we are there.
There is not a staircase at the moment, it is in the kitchen which gave me the chance to paint the hall and landing in one swoop. When we have laid the parquet floor the staircase can go back in. Currently, the only way to get upstairs is via a ladder. This makes painting upstairs a pain. Everything has to be passed up the ladder but painting is a job I can do while other things are being done which I can't do or when builders leave our build to go and work on another. I plod on with three coats on every bare plaster wall.
Outside is another matter. The exterior of the house is nearly complete so we will need to remove all excess/broken bricks, tiles and stone now that we know what is surplus to requirements. This mess irks me because it is on the road side of the house and looks unsightly to everyone but it will be sorted soon enough.
There are moments of order. The office is fully painted, the window cill I showed you previously pointed up well with the piping bag. It looks lovely with the sealant finish. I spent four hours putting a desk together to check it fitted in the corner. I wanted it to be checked before the electrician adds plugs to the room. With a new build, you get a chance to uber plan where things go and limit trailing wires and light switches in the wrong places.
So you see, although I am painting, we are a long way from the end but we are trying to enjoy the process - a bit like when you crochet a blanket or knit a jumper. The process is important. It will be part of our lives and certainly part of our girls childhood memories.
I have chosen today to show you a little update because a) this is mostly what I have been doing and b) we are at the momentous stage where the scaffolding comes down this week and our house will be revealed to us just a tiny bit more. We are taking the chance to admire the view from the top level of the scaffolding before it comes down and this is what it was like today.
I love and loathe building a house but the good far outweighs the bad, even if at present, the beautiful does not outweigh the ugly in visual terms.
This post was inspired by reading A Colourful life blog this week. Christina's mundane titled post reminded me that we are all doing something different and it isn't always 'blog beautiful' but sometimes 'blog interesting'.
Thanks for reading. Jo xxxxx