Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hollyhock Cottage finally has Hollyhocks!

...thanks to the lovely Laura at 'my wee life'  As I mentioned in an earlier post, she had sent me a hollyhock kit from The Miniature Garden and being finicky plants they have taken a year to reach flowering stage.

at dusk

Like just about everyone else I have been down with a seasonal bug and lacked motivation to do anything except moan and whine (which I do with the same proficiency as procrastinating), so when life began to improve these were the loveliest project. I only wish they photographed better!

and in daylight

With a window sill, I was able to finally place the geraniums  (click for tutorial) made a  couple of years ago and some new pink  ones made  this week.

The children rushed into the empty house, running all over it, up the stairs and down. "Hannah, look at the cosy kitchen!" cried Jane. "Look, it's got a wide window-ledge for you to put your geranium plants on!The Happy House Children by Enid Blyton

A bit of playing still to do but it is lovely to see something happening and I haven't really been sidetracked from finishing the cottage...

(or the giveaway!)

Welcome to all the people who have called by, its lovely to see you and even better when I think of how much help you can be in the garden next time you visit. :D

Friday, March 29, 2013

Squeezing a March Post in

When you are a qualified procrastinator like me it is so easy to let months slip by without blogging (or doing housework, essential work training or even enjoyable things like keeping up with everyone else's blogs - sorry). So I am determined to get a post in this month even if it is a progress one rather than something achieved.

Taking up most of my time was some necessary repair and renovation to our ageing real life bathroom (towels and linen piled all over our house to a certain cat's satisfaction) then having to rest a strained hand (following sanding painting and tiling) but in between I began knitting a new give-away blanket (the other being rather dowdy and much more suited to be scrunched into a corner out of sight at Hollyhock Cottage.

As part of my fantasy to get Hollyhock Cottage to 'lock up' before the 3 year anniversary of building commencement, I also started on some windows which I have really been enjoying pottering with. Lots to go, the deadline has passed but as said, this is a progress report.

Meanwhile, Welcome to those who have popped in to visit and are scratching their heads at how someone can achieve so little and still manage to write a blog post!

To all have happy and safe  Easter 

(and I hope the Easter bunny remembers you!)

Cheers, Christine

Cats sleep anywhere...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Workroom show and tell: enter at own risk!

I've seen so many lovely workrooms recently, all amazingly tidy and all managing to be elegant as well as practical so I have joined the challenge of showing mine - BEFORE tidying it up. I may be deleting this post with embarrassment but while I am still feeling brave, here is the chaos in which I play...

Entering from the kitchen and turning left into a closed in verandah/sunroom facing north east (ideal southern hemisphere placement) which also doubles as a place to have tea and gossip with friends and family.

Furnishings a mixture of ikea, opshop 'elegance' and scratch built by me (less elegant!)
half a dozen projects on the go
suitable soft cushion in sunniest corner for Teddy the cat (minus cat)

edit: nipping in for a nap now that the camera activity is over.
continuing around to the dolls house end of the room and the books which inspired it
and the last wall with aforementioned tardis before returning to the kitchen 

I'm just popping the kettle on so make yourself at home.
Milk and sugar?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Milestone 50th post and 333 followers.

Just a quick post so people don't forget me. 

Life is currently busy with no respite in sight so not much progress on the cottage but I was a bit pleased with the carved bits to go above the front door. This turned out to be of those quick and unexpectedly easy projects and because it is such an old cottage a bit of rusticity (ie rough and amateurish imperfection) isn't too out of place. 

It's lovely to see new followers and while I haven't visited all of you yet, I am getting there slowly and as always am delighted and impressed with the imaginative and talented people out there. Isn't it amazing being able to share in the projects of people from all over the world in the comfort of your own home! 

 I have also pulled out the skinny knitting needles and started working on a giveaway to celebrate 50 posts and 333 (because its a cute number) followers. I'm not entirely sure knitting is my forte but perseverance is and this can be whipped out to work on in spare minutes so watch this space...

Meanwhile: knit one, knit two together, drop one, swear once (or more), hunt for hook, pick up dropped stitch, discover two others have fallen off, unravel, start again, knit one, knit two together...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Two steps forward, one backward and the moment I dreaded...

For an easy fix option, the extension has brought it's own problems and has already needed modification. By itself it had lovely proportions, once placed against the cottage and roof angles studied it became impossible. A thatched roof has to be at least 50 degrees for correct water run off - the angle on this extension was more suited to a corrugated iron skillion which was not an option! Lowering the walls and shortening the windows by one pane kept the proportions right, but the ceiling was then an inch lower than the opening to the main house. So the ceiling had to incorporated into the roof - what a pain! I'm still deciding between just plastering and painting the sloped parts or putting timber slats to line up with the flat part of the ceiling or having a dark wooden piece around the visible join... Opinions are welcome! Maybe I'll play with curtains first.

The moment to be dreaded was cutting the window in the sitting room into a doorway. In a 400 year old cottage (give or take 397 years) many things could go wrong. Out came my saw (which is the saw I use to do most of my building - you should see my impressive arm muscles!) and my girly stanley knife. Attempts were made to remove the timbering on both sides - minimal success then it all worked much easier than I had expected - Phew!

It was really nice to see the fireplace straight on, amongst the sawdust and building debris.

There is a step down to the extension, as at the other end of the house to the scullery and I plan some angled wooden bits on the top corners of the doorway as being in keeping with both the Tudorish/Jacobean and Arts and Crafts styles.

Next step will be thatching. Scary stuff!

Welcome to those who have called by and stayed. I really appreciate the feeling that people are interested and would make tea for you, but right now am a woman on a mission!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow
The year is going, let him go.
(In Memoriam,  Tennyson)

To celebrate the new year, in the style of the Queen's New Year's Honours, I wanted to honour a particular unrecognised greatness in this blogging community. 

This award is not given for talent (although the recipient is certainly well endowed with that) but for reaching out and making the blogger community a better one, leaving comments and encouragement to fellow bloggers.

The award originated here and there are no requirements of the recipient.

The winner of the 2013 New Year's Day 
Community Blogger Award





Thank you Irene for being an inspiration. 
As this is a personal award, you may display it on all your blogs (or none if you choose)

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2013 with projects new and interests shared with friends throughout the world.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's so easy to be sidetracked...

and build an extension.

Beginning this cottage nearly 3 years ago with lots of enthusiasm and no knowledge meant that as I have learned more, mistakes glare at me. Some I can live with as a sign of progress but others... oh dear.

The north end timbering (left side of the cottage) was one such instance and as rebuilding it would mean replastering the inside to match, camouflage seemed the better option so an extension was in order.

My plans were to do an extension in keeping with the rest of the house - stone floor, rustic beams, plaster, but that was before reckoning with Great Aunt Marigold! Great Aunt Marigold (Mrs Harold Hollyhock) lived in Hollyhock Cottage until 1941 when she bequeathed the cottage to her great nephew (and godson). It was she who decided in the early 1900s that a room to catch the sun would be a desirable thing and having recently seen a completed Arts and Crafts house, knew what style she wanted! (Great Aunt Marigold was a woman who usually knew what she wanted and usually got it.) She organised the builders and the project was begun.

Back to 2012: at this point the room is still in 3 pieces, stacked together for the photo but in this festive season, building progress is slowed. The windows are actually clear, the pattern being from the glass in the real window behind and I plan to cover the stone floor with a  parquet floor which will be more in keeping. Total size is only 6 inches by around 10 inches.

Welcome to my newest followers, I have popped in for a look at your blogs and I continue to be stunned by the level of talent, skill and professionalism displayed.  (and a bit envious of the workshops being attended!) 

Christine xx

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oh frabjous day! Callooh Callay ...

...she chortled in her joy!

Hi and welcome to new followers of Hollyhock Cottage. I hope you enjoy the sporadic progress of this little house.

Finally I have some progress to show you! 

The upstairs walls, both sets of stairs and the attic floor are glued in place!  A milestone which has been slow to reach thanks to continual procrastination as it is much more fun playing with the bits done and making new little bits than doing the many boring building bits required. 

Paula you are a wise woman growing your village with ready built houses! 

Doors with latches are in place, wires for lights and fires are in place, stair rail isn't in place...ooops. I knew I would forget something.

I have banned myself from 'trying out furniture to see how it looks' and am also banned from making bits of furniture, accessories and other fun bits until the windows are made, the fronts (walls and roof) on and the roof thatched! At the moment I am thrilled to have completed this much and seeing it actually become a cottage so I will be strong! (wish me luck)

Even the definite slope to the attic flooor isn't worrying me. (Did I actually measure the walls when putting the woods in to hold it a couple of years ago, I wonder?)

Off to grin idiotically at the frontless and roofless cottage and make more plans!