Saturday, 13 June 2015

Energy saving and British traditions



Right now I’m drowning in Magnolia and white gloss so quilting must wait.  But it hasn’t stopped me thinking (I know, a bad habit). As I’m now concentrating on renovation and decoration, one thing really irritates me right now. Energy saving in average British house. 

All the UK media are screaming loud – save energy! Install new, energy saving windows and doors!  Double glazing is the must!
I support energy saving and recycling. Reduce our carbon footprint! So I totally agree with double glazing and insulation. Expensive? Yes. But should be worth it, if... 

How about that hole in the wall? Yes, that one, called a fireplace.

Fireplace is a must have in every British house.  Designers call it a focal point of the British living room. Just close your eyes and imagine... Comfy armchair in front of that roaring fire with that British cuppa after a long walk in damp moors... Britishness to the essence, right? So every UK house has at least one.  More or less decorated hole in the wall, leading right up into the open sky.  

Roaring? No, of course not. Wood is expensive and I suspect, half of population now has no idea how to lit one.  So it’s better to leave that hole untouched. For that British dream, for the traditions. For that desired focal point (well, let’s be honest – nowdays the only real focal point in average UK household is that flat screen TV). 

Our house has two of these holes, called fireplaces. One is empty, hadn’t been used for at least past 20 years; other has a gas burner installed. And none have a damper!!!  So the both holes are opened to the sky 24/7!!!

So...  How the nation is supposed to save energy by installing double glazing and packing layers of insulation in the attic while leaving two open holes in the house? How double glazing helps if you keep at least one window opened forever? 

Why there are no adds telling nation to sort out their fireplaces? Adds for installing a damper? I haven’t seen even one add! 

Damp issues? Well, UK is damp, I agree. But modern double glazing windows are made to breathe, to sort out these damp issues, right? 

Dampers are dangerous in hands of idiots when burning coal? Right. Fumes, I agree... So how many UK households use coal? I don’t know, as statistically it goes under “solid fuel” and includes wood as well. But, anyway, in 2013 solid fuel was used in only 0.8% of UK households! Less than 1 percent!!! (In comparison, in 1970 there were 39 % of households burning coal).  

So maybe it’s time to stop fooling around with these better and more expensive double glazing windows and doors and start energy saving with that hole in the wall? 

Rant over. Sorry.

Monday, 27 April 2015

New table

While packing, weeding and painting walls, my old Singer has been completely abandoned and seems that it will feel lonely for a long time as my new sewing room even has no walls and windows yet. So I'm quilting in my head only right now, but...

I bought a quilting table. Gammill 14 ft in pristine condition. So non existing walls are perfect as now I will be able to plan my sewing room according to the size of the table.

Khm, now just one little thing - finding a second hand long arm which will fit on the table - no way I can afford a new Gammill machine. So if you have ideas and suggestions, you are very welcome! In general I'm thinking about something like Gammill Optimum, but I'm open to any ideas so please share your visdom!

Whatever is going on in my poor head, the spring is here in full bloom, I have new camera and even Ben and Jerry are enjoying the sunny days in garden. 




Monday, 13 April 2015

A splash of paint II

 Working hard, I managed to add few inhabitants on the nursery wall, but now I know that it will be the project to continue for few next visits as well.


Sunday, 12 April 2015

A splash of paint

My sewing machine has been put to sleep for a while now, fabrics wrapped to protect from dust, and right now, few plane tickets later, I'm having great time with my 12 yo playing on a 4 m wall of the nursery-to-be with some acrilic paint.

This is the fragment of the day One. The day Two will follow tomorrow.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Murder, she wrote...



As I suspected, shit had hit the fan.  After our not-so-romantic failure of a homesitter, my  dear husband and child went to France, leaving me behind to look after our dogs and cats. Missing holidays in France was a hard blow, but something I can survive. But! 

They also went ... house hunting!  Without me!!! For me it qualifies as plain domestic abuse.  And as I suspected, the worse possible scenario has happened. They bought a house in Southwest. A farmette in Charente.  A man and a 12 yo child bought a home. Without me! 

All I have is few pictures taken by our 12 yo who is blissfully happy about the choice because our next door neighbours will be the riding stables. Good for horses and maybe... for gardening.  And extremely happy husband who called right now to tell that he already has done all the measurements and has made all the design plans for our house.... 

I’m sitting here steaming. Totally and utterly pissed off.  Murder, she wrote...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

'No good deed goes unpunished

Do you know

the biggest complaints married women have about their husbands?

Lack of romance is a big one (among others, of course). When you look at a grumpy man carrying over half a century on his shoulders already, you do not expect much space for romantic behaviour.
Not my case.


Dear husband decided that this is the right time of the year to do something good. And he did. Invited in our home a homeless man. Lets call him John.

Sounds completely crazy, but actually this one was one of his best thought ideas. We knew John for over 3 years - nice, but mentally restricted, barely writes or read, but we never saw him drank or behaving badly so he seemed a real candidate to get a chance in life.

Husband, after his nasty burns, would do with an extra pair of even not so skilled hands for a help then and there. It would give John a chance to get off the streets, get back into same strenght and work schedule, and when he would be ready, my husband was planning to give him recomendations to get back into a proper job and start independent life off the streets.

We knew that John has epilepsy, so there were numerous limitations but we did our research and were ready for that hurdle. He also had no documents so my husband started to sort out all that right from the beginning.

So John came in and right into shower, his clothers were washed and sorted out, husband bought him new boots and some needed clothes, and good deed started. It was planned that we will be leaving for France past Wednesday, leaving him house sitting and doing some gardening when he feels like that.

 At the beginning seemed that all goes well - John was keen to do things, but some problems also arised. He needs to go to local pharmacy twice a day to collect his daily meds, and every time he dissapeared for several hours. The pharmacy is just 5 min walk from our house so it was weird.  But ok, John had been on streets for over  7 years, so maybe he is missing his street life?

Then on one of his walks he had a fit and was taken to hospital. Husband rushed there to find John smoking outside already. Well, that's the thing with epilepsy - fits come and go easily. Next day he needed to be collected from the hospital again - seemed that he had been hit by a car - John had bruised leg. But he still tried to convince us that he wants to do the work and that he can do it.

Next day husband went through his wallet and scratched his head - some notes seemed to be missing but again - as we were preparing for France, a lot of last minute shoppings were done in a hurry, so maybe he just forget something he spent the money on.

The next day we discovered the 20 pound note missing from the money jar, and this time it was absolutely clear that money is gone and only one person to be blamed for it. It was Tuesday afternoon, and we had ferry booked on Wednesday already. What to do?

Husband tried to find a last minute replacement (to look after house and after John) but all our unatached friends already had made some plans. Finding a professional home sitter on such a short notice and weird circumstances seemed mission impossible but husband still kept trying. I carried on packing...

And then I discovered that my photo camera also has gone. On Sunday night after Crufts I uploded pictures, and left camera on its usual place - on Tuesday night camera was gone.

That was the last straw for the big romantic deed. On Wednesday morning after the breakfast John was politely asked to pack; husband took him to shop to get him a new tent and back on streets he went. Seems like John forget to tell us one minute detail about himself - drug addiction.

So, ladies, next time when you complain about you husband being not romantic, please remember, that sometimes romantic ideas can be a disaster. This one not only cost me my camera, but also my long planned holidays in France. And might have even more long lasting effects on my life but that's for the next post.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

School bags and horses



Last week was long awaited midterm holidays, so Charlie sat down and played with treadle for the first time. 

After I played a bit with sewing machine embroidery last month, Charlie was itching to try it herself. 

Design ideas were no problem for Charlie as everything needs to be about horses. She made several drawings, copied it roughly on the black fabric and off she went. 

She had wanted to make a bag for herself for a while, and week-long holidays were just perfect for such a project.


The densely quilted bag was a very good project to get treadle motions under the belt. It took several broken threads until she learned the smooth forward motion, but in two hours she was able to put the needle exactly where she wanted at exactly the speed she wanted. 


The bag also has several rather advanced inside pockets, densely quilted (the only black fabric I had at hand was very soft, so dense quilting was needed to make the bag hold the shape and the weight expected from a hard working school bag. 

In some places there are 18 layers of fabric and the batting – thank God for the durability of an old Singer! 

What impressed me – she just kept working, hour after hour, and in three days her bag was ready – exactly the right size, right design and all that. For a 12 yo  it is rather impressive.