Sunday, 28 October 2012

October Work Weekend Update

Well goodness! All my whinging that nothing much has happened, and then we go and have a pretty tiring and busy work weekend in which a couple of major things get done. What a relief!

The plan for the weekend was to focus on the spare room in order to hopefully get it finished. I'll be honest and say that it still isn't finished, but one of the major jobs got done and that feels like a big success. We wanted to build a cupboard around the boiler to make it look less minging, provide some storage for bedding for guests, and cut down some of the noise from the boiler for people who are staying there.

We managed to re-use a door which Sven had taken down in his room, and some architrave from the hallway we removed in the kitchen, but alas, (until our stocks are replenished by the massive wall-removing spree we're planning soon), we'd run out of stud work so bought some in instead. Sven and I set to it yesterday and made fantastic progress, with the last few bits being finished today by me and the lovely Zabelle.

Below you can see the cupboard springing into being, like a beautiful flower (or somesuch).

Unfortunately due to the epic dustiness created by the circular saw, and the general lack of space for additional people to work in the spare room, AND the fact we were having a Halloween party in the evening and everyone decided to make costumes, no other work on the spare room was carried out. It does feel like we might be on the home straight somewhat, though, as there's only filling the holes in the walls and then decorating to do before we can move furniture in!

If anyone fancies popping over and filling a few holes, we'd be most grateful. Or you can play with the toddler while I do some. There's dinner in it for you :)

Fortunately there was the unexpected bonus of another digger-day occurring, and some fantastic progress was made on the garden. We're working towards the next major phase, which will be digging the footings for the new wall. Getting rid of enough garden contents to do this has proved quite challenging, but after yesterday we are either there, or very nearly there! George has dug back to a previous wall, and uncovered what may be some quarry tiles or nice bricks forming a path (I'm guessing here) which I'm going to try to lift for re-use in the garden later on.

Here are before and after pictures for you to enjoy.

After the first two digger days

Third time's the charm!

Amongst all this excitement we managed to have a Halloween party, which featured some particularly awesome party food, and a truly spectacular costume from Joe, so I'm going to include some gratuitous pictures of them to show that we're not all about DIY :) - Hannah

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Now I am just showing off

Okay but look what I made for our bathroom.

I know it's not really a big thing in the grand scheme of doing up the house, but I'm hoping it'll make a difference to how cluttered our little upstairs bathroom will feel when there's often more than 8 people sharing it.

Hannah says it's a bit impressive that I do it all with a hand-cranked Singer and I'm not sure why because I like the slow and steady approach. This particular model took three months for me to get a wiggle on, but I like that this whole thing cost £6.99 for the fabric (with some to spare) and used no electricity in the making. Perhaps electric sewing machines are faster? But what can I say, I am terrified of them.

I stole this picture from this other blog after googling "angry sewing machine" - win.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Small Achievements, and Some Prettification Plots

Ahoy-hoy, lovely readers.

I do not tune in much here, because I am not able to get a lot done these days. But I have a little exciting success to report! I suspect that no one else is as excited as me by such things, but that will not stop me from showing you...

Our second compost bin!

Do not ask about the bath. We do not even.

Huh? Oh, it's the green dalek looking thingy, behind the fence...

The one on the left, also behind the fence, is a water butt with the *ahem* butt cut off, to let the worms and bugs in. We put it there a couple of months ago and what with there being seven adults and a tiny-massive-cuteface boy plus various guests, it filled up sometime a week or two ago. WOW.

I would be like, "what on Earth (pun intended) do we do with all this compost?" except, oh my word, have you seen our garden? We have no soil. We have an abundance of polystyrene balls, the like of which can be found in beanbags etc. And, most importantly, I found out today that the fire escape is STILL BURIED. If it were up to me and we had space and had previously befriended the mythical golems of Going Postal, I'd have a compost production line going on.

So if you're in Swansea, you can get a 330 litre compost bin for £18 from Swansea Council when they're usually £35+; you can even get up to three of them if you're so inclined. Smaller bins are cheaper, too.

In other news, we have a work weekend coming up, on 27th and 28th October. We will once again be working on the upstairs living room that will double as a spare room. The jobs seem to be largely cosmetic, with some carpentry thrown in. Here's some of the stuff that would be very valuable to us, and for which we will ply you with dinner and somewhere to sleep should you require.

This clothes-drying device is conveniently door-ish, so we're going to use it on the cupboard. Also, check out those holes. You could help filler/plaster them! It would be so helpful, and we would feed you handsomely.

  • Plastering/fillering the holes left from removal of kitchen tiles;
  • Building a cupboard to go around the combi-boiler;
  • Painting;
  • Toddler-wrangling a charming little pixie boy who is learning to talk and enjoys going for walks and playing with autumn leaves and flowers.
If you are feeling a bit DIYish (or in the mood to befriend a small boy) and want some delicious home-cooked food, please do consider coming along to assist. It would make us all very happy.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you are having a fabulous evening.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Small Things

So here we are again, and not much has happened. There's no progress on the garden wall, the spare room is still... spare, and the days are getting colder without a jot of insulation going in anywhere.

I'm not sure about the others, but I've been feeling a bit frustrated about all the work that needs doing, and all the weird barriers to it actually getting done that seem to keep popping up. With Finn in tow there is a limit to what I can do in terms of DIY, but I did hatch a plan to try to make a small improvement to the house, one which will actually act as prep work for us improving it further in the future.  Most delightfully, it doesn't cost anything.

I have started to scrub the Well of Despair. The walls and steps of this part of the house are covered in varying thicknesses of slime. Some of it budges easily and some doesn't, and even once it's off it doesn't exactly look great but it does look better, and that will do for now.

For now, it looks like this:

Which, after several hours of scrubbing, is a slight improvement on this:

Eventually this whole area will be painted (or covered in mosaic if I get my way!) once the concrete's up and the French drain is in, and then it will get filled with plants and some sexy green-roofed rubbish storage (again, if I get my way) and the end result will be rather like the picture below. Honest.

 Wish me luck!

- Hannah

Monday, 1 October 2012

Slow Times...

Although I've been very busy not blogging, things have been moving along slowly here at Golem HQ. We are mostly still mired in the saga of the garden wall, which promises to go on for quite some more time yet. Every time we do something to it, more issues arise which we couldn't have foreseen, and send us scurrying back to the drawing board, sapping our energy for other projects in the process.

There was another digger day, which there are no pictures of as I wasn't here, in which a skip was very laboriously filled with completely rubbish-free rubble and soil. Much as I agree with the legislation preventing inert waste such as rubble from being mixed with old batteries, suitcases and geotextiles (just some of the delightful substances abounding in our garden), I do feel for Lloyd and Joe, who had to sort through every scoop of mixed garden detritus by hand in order to make sure we weren't breaking the law. This was apparently very time-consuming, and by the looks on their faces when they recounted their day's work, not something they wish to repeat.

The fact still remains that there is too much stuff on the garden for us to clear enough space to dig the footings for the new wall, and that leaves us still stuck in a wall-less limbo, constantly hoping our garden doesn't make a break for it into the alleyway.

The digger was here on the same day as the planned work on the spare room was being done, and due to a number of diverse circumstances, much of the work in the day was done by Flick alone, with further work apparently happening later once Sven and a bottle of wine joined in. Loads did get done though, and it feels much more like a potential bedroom/sitting room now that all the tiles are off.

I've added a little bit of work since, but there is still lots to do. If any of you feel like popping around for a few hours, it'd be hugely appreciated, and I'd be happy to feed you in return. The next jobs are building the studwork for the boiler cupboard, or filling the holes left in the wall by the tile removal. Or, if you're so inclined, looking after the toddler while I get stuck in to some DIY.

We're also on the lookout for a tile cutter which can cut thick, large floor tiles, as nothing we've borrowed or bought so far is up the job, and it's stopping me taking the "Finish the kitchen" card off of our epic workflow wall chart.

More updates on future work weekends, and the grim saga of the wall will be forthcoming when I've got some photos to enliven them with!

- Hannah