A long-planned project is coming to fruition this week.

It all started last November. Mr Snail and I were in the kitchen when the was a sudden creak. Before either of us had time to react, there was more groaning and then the shelves fell, spectacularly, off the wall. Admittedly they had a lot of cookery books on them and a large mixing bowl and a brass jam kettle, but even so it was a surprise. The mixing bowl did not survive, and the clothes airer that was beneath them was rather distorted (it’s metal – if it had been wood, it would have been smashed), but everything else survived pretty much unscathed. Except the shelves, and the wall. We were left with holes in the  wall and damage to the plasterboard (dry-wall) . The lower brackets were still attached to the wall, but the upper shelf (the culprit, as it turned out) had departed from the wall in its entirety with the brackets still attached and taken quite a bit of the plasterboard with it.

So, what to do? List the cookery books on e-bay? Put up new shelves? Buy some floor-standing shelves? Or dither for ages in a state of major indecision? So we went for the last one. I filled the holes in the wall; we bought some paint… and then we stalled… for a couple of months. The wall remained unpainted. The brackets that were still attached remained in the wall, we considered various pieces of furniture… and then we did nothing. Until a friend happened to phone one day and mention that his 30-year-old son had moved back in with them and was looking for work.

Admittedly, this doesn’t sound like the answer to many solutions, but Richard’s son is, in fact, a very skilled cabinet-maker. And so, after a bit of discussion, we commissioned Tim to make us a fitted storage unit for the kitchen – somewhere to store all the preserving equipment as well as all the preserved food I make each summer. In addition, there will be shelves standing on part of the work-surface, so they won’t be able to fall off the wall and I can keep all my books – hurrah!


we have a plan!

After much discussion, we agreed on a design and then came the issue of sourcing the timber. Tim visited a local saw mill to make sure the wood was good quality and stored properly before ordering it. Of course, when it arrived, some wasn’t up to spec. so more had to be ordered. Then he hurt his back and that delayed things a bit. During all this time, Tim was moving out of his parent’s home and setting up his new workshop, but we didn’t mind that it was taking a bit of time, we weren’t in a rush.


a sunny wall – with a few of Pauline’s light-catcher rainbows

And then, on Saturday I got a phone call to say that he was nearly ready to install the cupboards and would this week be convenient? The answer, of course, was “yes”, but that meant spending Sunday making the space ready. There was a dresser to be moved and a wall to be painted. Of course, once all the preparation had been done, the wall was painted fairly quickly… which is where the yellow comes in. We bought environmentally friendly paint, which goes on like a dream and does not smell (there are no VOCs in it). It’s the same brand that we used to paint the limery and that has stood up well to a very challenging environment, so this should be good for the kitchen.

And now, we await the arrival of Tim later in the week… apparently he’s just oiling the work top one last time. I can’t wait!

The Sisterhood…

Some of you will have heard of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook and some of you will not… a few of you are part of the sisterhood.

Last year, Anne Lawson decided to start a project to draw creative people together around the world. She made a book and invited fellow bloggers to contribute… all the folks who volunteered were women, and so the sisterhood was born.

This week the book arrived with me – the eleventh contributor on the list. From Australia, it went to the US and recently it has been travelling in Europe:


the journey of the sketchbook

It contains drawings, paintings, quilting, stitching… words and visuals… love and creativity. It has its own blog and I encourage you to take a look here at the posts from the contributors, where there are beautiful pictures and lovely thoughts. Here is a little taster of some of the contributions to date:

Sadly one of our sisterhood, Viv, passed away before the book reached her, but some of her words have been included in the book.

I’m currently working on my contribution… news will follow.

Paint it blue

The final bit of work – wiring in the lights – was completed on Friday morning and our official opening was held that evening:



So my blogging absence can be explained by a weekend wielding a paint brush and turning the bare grey concrete interior walls into vibrant blue:

The colour is called ‘pitch blue’, which doesn’t really make sense to me, but I like it anyway. Over the past couple of days I’ve applied an undercoat and two topcoats. I don’t find emulsion painting particularly inspiring, but I am pleased with the result.

This task revealed yet another ‘green’ conundrum namely the choice of paint. I really didn’t feel up to the task of a detailed investigation into the environmental credentials of every available paint, so in the end we went to a local shop* that specialises in eco-friendly decorating and took their advice. We bought Farrow and Ball paint, which is made in England, so has relatively few ‘paint miles’ and has no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). It’s not cheap. but it was lovely to use and I certainly didn’t end up with a headache even after two days of painting.


*The guy who owns the shop recognised me and after a short discussion we worked out that he was a postgrad at university when I was an undergrad! I would not have recognised him, although once I knew his name, I did remember him. Anyway, it’s good to know that old Aberystwyth Environmental Scientists are still doing their bit for the planet!

Grow where you are planted… and other lovely things

Blanket #1

Still loving the masterpiece blanket

I loved putting together my masterpiece blanket… the joy of creating an object with contributions from friends around the world. I sit on it every day as it adorns the chair where I do my editing work and where I write. The trouble is, I’m sitting on it, so I don’t get to see it much. Even so, I feel cocooned in the love and creativity that went into making it. Over the months, I have continued to receive more squares which will eventually be put into another friendship blanket for the ‘latecomers’… do let me know if you’d like to contribute a square.

However, I have recently developed the desire to enjoy seeing more of the work of my talented creative friends and so I have decided to decorate my work room with their (your) art. I already have Dani’s snowflake bunting adorning my bookshelves, although I might move it to show it off better.

A while ago, Kerry (Love those hands at home) sent me an antique piece of crochet ad recently I bought one of Anne Lawson‘s beautiful feather pictures. And, most recently, I received a wonderful, original mixed media piece from Pauline (The Contented Crafter) entitled Grow where you are planted. The latter is a swap – I admired this picture when she wrote about it on her blog, saying I would hang it on my wall in a heartbeat. Apparently this is the greatest compliment any artist can be given and so she offered to swap the picture for a crochet dragon. The latter is a work in progress, but her picture arrived here last week.

Whilst I was thinking about displaying these works of art, a framer who has recently started a business in the area happened to put a flier through the door. Serendipity! So, let the adornment of my room commence…



Light as a feather

Thanks to everyone who has sent virtual hugs and kind thoughts this week – I’ve made the changes that I needed to make and I’m moving on with my life now. I’ll tell you all about it when I’ve had a bit of time to mull things over.

My week is, however, ending on a high note – I’m having a day of baking and crochet and I’ve just received the most wonderful parcel from Australia.

For months now I have been visiting Anne Lawson’s virtual shop and trying to choose a painting to buy. I really wanted one of her feathers, but I dithered and couldn’t decide which one. And then a couple of weeks ago she offered to make any of her blog readers who asked a little sketch book – how could I resist? Sending something all the way from Australia seemed a big ask, but then I realised that if I bought a painting, I could pay for the painting  and for the postage for it and cover the cost of sending the sketch book.

So, after much more dithering a I chose a fabulous feather: toffee-coloured and created with a combination of watercolour paint and coloured pencils. And this morning this arrived:

My parcel

My parcel

As you can see, I even managed to curb my excitement long enough to photograph it before it was unwrapped!

The little bundle made me smile so much. The feather picture is beautiful and simple and will be on its way to be framed in the next day or two (I have plans to decorate my work room with art and crafts from my friends from around the world), there was a lovely card with a message from Anne and there was the sketch book – hand-stitched and made from watercolour paper with some of Anne’s work already on it (including more feathers). But what about the cover? A fabulous rooster adorns the outside. What a special gift. Thank you Anne… now I just need to decide what is going to go in my very special book.

and so my spirits are lifted… light as a feather and ready for the next journey…

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