Friday, 19 October 2018

Colour me crazy.......

Earlier this week I wrote about my autumn project list, which includes a few areas of the house which could do with cosmetic makeovers.

Highest on the list is the dining room, which is sadly lacklustre and uninspiring.  It was last decorated *mumble mumble*  years ago.  It doesn't help that it's often the dumping ground for extraneous stuff as we only really use it when we have people come to dinner, so it's a bit wasted as a full-time dining room but that's what happens when you have too much space.

I was aiming for a gothicky look which didn't really come off, apart from the chandelier, of which more anon.

So I've been Pinteresting dining room ideas and had more or less settled on a classy, understated, monochrome colour scheme featuring a palette of greys. 

So far so boring.

But then.... serendipity.

A FB friend posted the link to a house currently for sale in Hastings and its interiors gave me pause for thought.....

It was clearly created by someone with real artistic flair, who isn't afraid of colour!  These days we're constantly exhorted to keep to neutrals to give our homes 'buyer appeal' but the more I thought about my safe colour choice for the dining room, the more I didn't like it.

I showed the colourful house to PP, and we 'oohed' and 'aahed' as successive fun, quirky rooms appeared... no two the same but all sharing an eclectic mix of colours which somehow worked together.  I'd already mentioned my grey idea to PP and she'd agreed, but now we were having second thoughts.  You could have knocked me down with a feather when PP advised me to throw caution to the winds and go for something less 'safe' and more fun.  After all... it's a room which is only used occasionally, so we could afford to do something rather more outré with it.

As a result, my Pinteresting has taken a different turn, down a more colourful scenic route and I already have already pinned a few 'off the wall' ideas.  Also, as it will have to be done on a budget, I've been Googling how to do stuff, like changing this....

To this......

Without going to the vast expense of replacing it.

Apparently it's doable... but tricky.  It will have to be 'upcycled' in situ, which means standing up a ladder for long periods of time, doing fiddly stuff.

And maths.

Lots of adding and taking away and times-ing and the thing with the tens and units.

Our chandelier has 56 prisms (those dangly teardrop things) and a grand total of 512 crystals (those things strung together)  Extensive Googling has revealed that I can buy the individual crystals, and the connecting rings, and make bespoke, multicolour strands in the exact configuration I need.

That's making 24 individual strands in three different lengths, using 512 crystals in a range of 8 different colours.

However, this sort of thing is right up my street.  My idea of heaven is to spend several hours sorting through my boxes of dozens of colours of silk ribbon, categorising them by shade and organising them into gripseal bags.  In my defence, at least my OCD has a creative bent.

So I'm totally up for the whole mulitcoloured crystal stringing thing, which I'm hoping will be the equivalent of adult colouring in terms of soothing and calming a troubled mind.

The bit I'm not so keen on is transforming the black glass 'skeleton' of the chandelier, into a thing of beauty and delight, with the use of gesso and acrylic paints.

Anyway....what could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Taxing times.....

One of the many things I dislike about getting older is that my perception of the passing of time is all out of whack.  

Nowhere is this more evident than when submitting my tax return.  Obviously it has to be done annually, but it always feels as though I only did it just a few months ago. Granted I do always put it off till the eleventh hour, but even so it sneaks up on me earlier and earlier each year.

We have a very good online system for self assessment tax returns, which is easy to use and helpfully flags up any errors as you go along.  I've used it for years and consider it a major improvement on the old paper forms.  Except, despite being able to inform the taxman (or woman) of all the minutiae of my financial doings, there is still a sizeable supplementary paper form which has to be submitted by the end of this month.

It usually arrives in April, and it sits in my 'To Do' pile of correspondence until I can no longer ignore it.  That time is today, so it's currently sitting in splendid isolation on the desk.

And looming.
It definitely bodes.... loomingly

Of course, as with all these things, it is the anticipation which is the worst.  Once we actually start and work methodically through, it won't be so bad.



Monday, 15 October 2018

Fall out.....

Since my last post I have been mostly photographing and listing dozens and dozens of items on the website.

It's a tedious task but there's nothing else to do but methodically work my way though it all.  It's heartening to see that the boxes of 'things to list' are gradually emptying, and the boxes of 'things which have been listed' are gradually filling, so I'm cautiously optimistic that I might, possibly, be winning.

However I'm impatient to get on with new projects... both miniature and full scale, as I'm aware that we're coming to that time of year when I need to unearth my SAD lamp and make a point of enjoying the last few weeks of reasonably light evenings before the clocks change at the end of this month.

I do envy people for whom autumn is their favourite season.  I really try to embrace it each year, but I usually fail miserably.

The days get shorter, the weather colder and gloomier.  Granted, our trees put on a reasonable show for a few weeks but then we invariably get a gale and all the colourful foliage ends up in sludgy, slippery drifts where it slowly rots away.

At least winter is just one step away from spring, and by the time we reach March I start to feel more optimistic and energised, sloughing off my winter torpor and looking forward to the warmer days and sunlit evenings to come.

Autumn though..... bleargh *sigh* 

Which is why I always like to have a few interesting projects up my sleeve... to see me though the coming dreary, dark months.  There are a few areas of the house which could do with a makeover, so I've been Pinteresting for ideas.  And as the workroom begins to take shape again after my blitz, I'm also looking forward to several new mini endeavours over the coming weeks.

So watch this space.....

Monday, 8 October 2018

Home straight......

Following Small Dog's pep talk yesterday, I dug deep and by late afternoon today I finally feel I'm on the home straight with my workroom re-organisation.  Admittedly there are still pockets of stuff for which I haven't found an obvious home, but the floor is finally clear and has been thoroughly hoovered, and most of the work surfaces are clean and empty.

Now that the worst is over, I can take my time this week to re-decorate the fronts of all the wooden drawers, and label them.  And at least while that is ongoing, I can carry on with other things.

Predictably, Small Dog is taking full credit for the transformation from total mess to almost tidy.  She's wandered into the workroom from time to time today in order to bask in her own glory.

However, one of the brainwaves for which she can't claim ownership is that I'm using some of the newly liberated storage boxes for 'work in progress'.  Hitherto I've had workmats scattered throughout the room,  covered with various unfinished projects.  

Yes.... stupid.  I know.

Sometimes I just run out of steam on a particular project, and hope that by leaving it out it might shame me into completing it.

That's all complete bollocks of course.

All they do is gather dust and clutter up work surfaces which could be put to better use.  So from now on, if I stop work on anything for more than a day, it will go neatly into a box, labelled with the contents.  I need to guard against amassing dozens of the WiP boxes though.  I'm only intending to use four, and when all of those are full I have pledged to complete whatever's in them.

Hmmm..... we'll see how well THAT goes.

I also need to realise that this latest re-organisation won't be the last.  As more spaces become vacant, I'll need to do it again.... and again.

However,  I now have 4 large boxes of miscellaneous miniatures, materials, tools and components which are deemed surplus to requirements, which have to be photographed and listed for sale on the website, so that's quite enough to be going on with.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Armageddon - Day 3

With the workroom now at Maximum Mess, I've hit a wall.

I keep wandering in, slowly turning round while I assess the mayhem, then skulking back out again...defeated.

I think the problem is, and bear with me here, I've now created pockets of empty space, and I don't know what to do with them.  I've always worked on the basis that empty spaces are there to be filled, so I'm struggling with the concept of leaving them empty.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that as I've been gradually downsizing the contents of the workroom for what feels like forever, I'd be glad to finally get to the point where I can clearly see the results of my labours.

Surely, empty spaces are A Good Thing?

I think I need to reboot my brain in order to see the room as half full, rather than half empty.

Even Small Dog is perplexed.

Scene: Sandra's workroom, which seems to have exploded.  Small Dog wanders in, carefully placing her tiny paws in the miniscule areas of clear space on the floor and surveys the devastation.

SD: *incredulously*  Mumm.... seeriyuslie.... WTF?!
Me: *chastingly* Language SD?!
SD: *chastised* Sorrie mumm.... butt reelie..... W. T. aktewl. F thoe?
Me: *sighing* Yes.  I agree.  I don't know WHAT I was thinking.
SD:*tries to find a space to sit, gives up and perches on a pile of papers* Iff yue doant mined me sayen... thiss iss anuthr fyne mess yuve gott yorself intoo.
Me:*defeatedly*  Yes.  You're right of course SD.  I thought it would be done and dusted by now.  I'm exhausted though, and it just keeps getting worse and worse.
SD: *soothingly* Doant wurrie mumm..... itts onlie a littel bitt wurs than ewsual. Hav yue konsiderd getten a skipp?
Me: *resignedly* Hmm.... or a black hole.  Perhaps if I had a black hole I could just sweep it all inside and just forget about it.
SD:*carefully*  Off korse.... thiss is reelie displaismint aktivitie... isent itt?
Me:*bristling* Displacement activity?!  Not at all.  This is a completely justified exercise... absolutely necessary in order to reorganise and consolidate, and sort out, and..... *trails off guiltily*
SD:*triumphant* Ha... ai new itt!  Yue hav maid this dogollmitey mess in ordur to avoyd doen UTHUR stuf that yue hav to do.  Yue hav maid the wurkroom kompleetlie unewsible DELIBURRAITLIE!
Me: *thoughtfully* Hmm... you know you may have something there SD.  I hadn't realised....
SD: *warming to her theme* Ai thort so. Yue ar avoyen doen yore tacks arent yue?
Me:*deflatedly* Well yes.... I need to complete my tax self assessment and submit it... but...
SD:*interrupting* And alsew.... yore buke.  Yue shude be wurken on yore buke.
Me: *firmly* Ah, now there I HAVE been making progress.  I have completely restructured it because it just wasn't working as it was.  Granted there's still a lot to do, but I'm much happier with the new format.
SD:*encouragingly* Gude!  Wel dunn.  Sew if yue kan jusst cleer upp this terribul mess yue kan gett on with itt thenn.
Me: *enthusiastically* Yes! Yes, I will! Thank you so much for this little chat SD.  You've helped enormously!
SD: *smugly* Kno problimm.   Yore welkumm.  Happie to helpp. 

A few minutes later, alerted to the sound of clicky tapping from the office....

Me:*calling from the workroom* SD.... are you using my laptop?  You are, aren't you?  What are you doing?
SD: *brightly* Neerlie phinished mumm.... aim just adden 'Moativashunal Speeker' to mai Cee Vee......
Me: *sigh*

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Armageddon - Day 2

There is a very apposite saying which absolutely resonates with me today.... *You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs*

Another totally appropriate one is *The darkest hour is always before the dawn*

Also, completely relevant is *WTF do you think you're doing, you muppet?*

Having systematically dismantled both ends of the workroom yesterday, creating an unholy guddle in the middle..... this morning I cheerfully started to rake out the contents of the remaining cupboards, reasoning that since I'd already made a mess, a bit more wouldn't hurt.

I expect you've already spotted the flaw in an otherwise damn fine plan as there are now piles of stuff over EVERY surface including the floor and I'm having to pirouette, tiptoe and climb around them as if I'm playing a surreal game of solo Twister.

Progress is slow, punctuated by cries of "So THAT'S where that got to!" and "Blimey... I'd forgotten all about THAT!" and "Ay Carumba!!! Why on earth did I ever put that in THERE?!"

I feel a bit like an archaeologist, unearthing long-forgotten treasures.  There's definitely a lot of dust.

And webs.

Many webs.... *shudder*

And even the occasional large desiccated spider husk... which makes me wonder if there is an ever larger, more predatory spider skulking just out of sight.  Biding its time....

There have been points today when I have questioned the wisdom of what I'm doing.  Looking around the workroom, it's hard to imagine it ever being tidy again. However the die has been cast and I've no alternative but to keep going.

Of course, inevitably, the chaos hasn't been contained to the workroom.  The 'surplus to requirements' wall unit has taken up residence in the hall, pending collection and transport to its new home.  Various boxes and miscellaneous stuff have been moved into the dining room, pending final decisions on their fate.  So not only have I messed up the workroom, I've also infested the dining room and hall. 

So yayyyy me.
What can I say... it's a rare talent.  A gift.

Friday, 5 October 2018

I'm back.....

Yoo hoooooo!  Yes, it's me!  I'm back!

It's been quite a year thus far....

An important milestone birthday *tick*
A two week odyssey round my homeland *tick*
A wonderful CP ceremony with my beloved *tick*
Two overseas holidays *tick*

But with only one quarter of the year left I have to get my act together and return to reality full time.

Easier said than done.

So today I took a turavee (as my Granny would have said) and spent a lot of time turning my perfectly serviceable, nominally tidy workroom into a scene from the Apocalypse. 

In my defence, there is method in my madness.

As my downsizing exercise gathers pace I now have quite a bit of empty space in assorted cupboards, so I decided to re-organise and consolidate, losing one wall unit cupboard in the process.  Also I have 5 IKEA Moppe wooden storage units, which have a variety of different sized drawers.

Up till now, I haven't really used them as efficiently as I should, and some of them were fairly inaccessible, due to the overhead wall unit on one side and the fact that the worktop spaces in front of them are usually covered with 'work in progress projects'

So I've moved all the storage units to the space where the wall unit was, freeing up a whole swathe of worktop where they were before, and making them all fully accessible from my desk chair in the process.

Here is the area behind my chair now, minus the wall unit....

Still a work in progress... that spare box doesn't look right there!
However, as it's been over 5 years since I originally decorated the front of each drawer, the printed papers have faded over time, so I want to return them to their former glory.  
This week I've reorganised and consolidated most of the storage boxes in the main open-fronted wall unit, relabelling them and replacing the equally faded and tatty paper inserts in them too.

Newly reorganised storage boxes with crisp new printed inserts
Hopefully, over the coming week, as I gradually fill up all the empty Moppe unit drawers, I'll release more space elsewhere and be able to free up more of the furniture.

That's the plan anyway.

However in the meantime, this is the current state of play in the workroom.

It's obviously such a mess that I can't actually work in there, so over this coming cold and wet weekend I'll be ploughing through the mess and putting the room to rights.

I'm actually quite looking forward to it in a masochistic sort of way.  Moreover, as it's the weekend, a consolatory glass of wine may have to be involved, although I'll have to clear a space for it first.

To be continued.......