Sunday, 21 December 2014

Merry Christmas..........

Merry Christmas! I hope you are all ready for the festivities!
We have my folks driving up from England and my sister and her fella coming from Australia this year...... its the first time we have been able to celebrate Christmas together in 8 years so everyone is very excited. Getting this project house ready for guests both in terms of finishing the main rooms, and renovating bedrooms and bathrooms to accomodate guests, has meant a rather intense few months of non-stop DIY.
Mostly for poor Euan who is the builder, the joiner, the electrician and the plumber......when he isnt doing his actual job.

Frustratingly we just needed another week and all those unfinished things wouldnt have been. But we are out of time (and money!)  Time for the christmas decorations!

The hallway off the kitchen was a lot narrower 6 months ago (you can see from the ceiling lights which we havnt yet moved or replaced) and just didnt feel right so we played around with the layout in this part of the house which is an extension. We also put in a drop-down attic ladder.I will write a post about all that work after Christmas!
But its looking pretty back here with a real tree and some maileg pixies.
I love my antique Mora clock, it makes such a beautiful sound when it chimes and I had been waiting for the right place to put her.

We have changed a few things in the living room since its big renovation 2 years ago. I repainted over the magnolia on the walls....I didnt realise how much I hated it or how 'dark' it actually was until it was gone. I reupholstered the coffee table in some Linwood wool fabric bought for steal on ebay and we treated ourselves to some new sofas at long last.

We have had the famous Ikea Ektorp ones for the last 6 years. They were cheap and cheerful and they did well but became so uncomfortable that I have actually preferred sitting on the floor for at least a year.
God bless DFS and 4 years interst free credit. These are the Loch Leven ones from the Country Living range in Oatmeal and are massive in comparison to the old ones, incredibly deep and very very comfortable.
For all our good intentions to 'not let the dogs up on the new sofas'...I know it wont last so we have some quilts on them to protect the fabric.

There was another reason I sat on the floor though......this is what happened all too often on the last sofas... 

We also replaced the carpet (after the great new-carpet dissapointment of 2013.........)

We would have loved to have the Kitchen Island built in time but it would have been too expensive at the moment. Its on the New Year to-do list.

Have a really wonderful Christmas however you are spending it, hope Santa brings you what you are hoping for .......and fingers crossed for some snow. xxxx


Friday, 17 October 2014

2014:The Year of the Garden.............

Well folks, its coming to the end of the 'outdoor work ' weather here in Aberdeenshire and so a chance to look back at what we have been able to get done in the garden this year. 
It was only last year that the pond was filled in giving us a much larger garden space and the grass seed has grown over it nicely. In that area of the garden we marked and dug out some decent sized flower beds and planted them up with as many shrubs and flowers as we could afford.....roses, lavender, daisies, agapanthas, fuscia, more roses, potentillas, hydrageas, delphiniums, loopins......all the cottage garden favourites and some evergreen shrubs thrown in for winter structure. Even my parents helped me out with the digging and my Mum brought us up a car load of plants as she always does.
I have tried to give the lawn a shape with curved edges......its not a perfect cicle but I think we get away with it. We have also planted some trees randomly in this area, picked for either thier foliage in the Autumn or blossom in the Spring.
The flower beds are all edged in box hedging- they are only small just now but I know in a few years they will all join up and form a neat little hedge. So far we have put in about 500 of them at 15-20cm tall.

These shots were taken from an upstairs window. Bats live in that Ivy to the right
 which has totally taken over our giant Ash tree.

We were able to tidy up the patio area quite a bit too by extending the original patio out to one side over a pile of rubble and meaning we can now actually use our utility room door. We dug out a gravel path along the front and this will exend all the way down the garden when I find more old bricks at the recycling centre to edge it with!!
We added a new step down onto the path which is not quite finished and will use some old stone to clad the breeze block to blend the extension in with the old part of the patio when we get around to it.

We are planning on replacing all the windows with Georgian bar panes as it will look much nicer..........thats why there is only one window on this side that is glazed like that- it was the new one we had knocked through.

You can just see our 'trio of monkeys' looking out from the kitchen doors there...........

I have used bark for the first time, mostly because the flower beds are pretty large and consequently there is a lot of bare soil...every time it rained, at least 100 new weeds appeared. It is working very well as a weed suppressant and just makes things look a bit neater. We got a delivery of 3 tonnes from the local  timber yard.  That was about 200 wheel barrows to back will argue that it was more..............and we still have a lot left.

 Around the other side of the house is the vegetable plot we built last year. We had such high hopes to really get stuck in 'growing our own' but we have been working so much over the past 12 months that we havnt grown anything but weeds. Next year!!

After the weedkiller had done its work...............a bit depressing isnt it? I wish I had more time.

Last winter we planted 300 beech to form a hedge around the property.......These were bought at 90cm and have really taken off, I think we only lost 3 or 4.Another 300 to go in bare root over the next few months.....its a much cheaper way of planting a hedge.

Its been a lot of work but I know the rewards in the long term will be worth it.....I kept reminding myself that we will never have a lovely garden here unless we plant one and its already come a very long way. 

Back in May 2013.......what a mess!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Westie named Elphie

With Maggies passing in April, there was a spot open at Drumhendry. .....and it has been filled by this wee pocket rocket...... (centre)

We have taken on a 1yr old West Highland Terrier whose previous owner knew they wernt really giving her the time and attention she deserved so asked us if we could give her a new home.
We have renamed her Elphie.....if you are a fan of Wicked you will get it! We have the CD on all the time, despite having not yet seen the musical tickets for 2015 though!
I have never had a terrier or a little dog of any sort before....I grew up with big dogs....Newfoundlands and German Shephards and am more of a big dog person but she is a sweetie.....very quiet, has scarcely made a sound in 2 months which is a relieve as I am not a fan of 'yappy.'
Elphie is very gentle, loves a snuggle, follows us around like a wee shadow and totally idolises Molly and Isla.

As far as our cats go, she has made friends with Darcy, formed a very unlikely alliance with Buzz but unfortunately she likes to chase Tabitha...who runs away and being a terrier, she just has to tear after her. We are working on that.

I have never seen a dog SO excited about her dinner- she literally jumps and spins round in the air with glee.
Euan is trying to get her swimming which is so funny...he lifts her in and her wee legs start paddling just before she hits the water. I dont think westies are really water babies but she wants to go in with Molly and Isla so much.

Its quite difficult to get a photo of her as she is on the move constantly..............a wee pocket rocket!!!
But for some reason she likes to jump up and sit on the dishwasher door if we leave it open!!

Have a great weekend everyone xxx

Thursday, 29 May 2014

My Dream Kitchen.

Believe me, I do know how lucky I am. Euan has done himself proud building us this gorgeous new kitchen. He has made the units, doors and drawers from beech and pine and we painted them in Farrow and Balls Dimnity,the insides varnished.
I suppose its very like our old kitchen in terms of style but then, you like what you like dont you??!
Its warm, light and friendly with all the essential elements of a modern country kitchen.

The Country Range Cooker - Our electric Redfyre is 5 years old now, it was a luxury purchase for our last house and there was no way we were leaving it behind! The beam came from an online reclamation yard, the brick slips from Ebay.
Clock from TK Maxx.
Silver Letters from Annie Mos- '&' given to me by my Mum and sprayed silver to match!

The Belfast Sink and Taps-Ebay.

Solid Oak Worktops- Ebay. The upstands are actually made from some oak going spare from new window sills being installed at my work that happened to be the right size.
Built in Dishwasher. Another Ebay buy.
The Dresser- The base bought on Gumtree and painted in Dimnity to match the kitchen units. The top with its glass doors and T&G back was made by Euan.

Retro Fridge/Freezer- Miles better than a SMEG by all accounts and bought online as a shop return because it has a dent in the side (saved quite a bit of money there)

Curtains and blind are from Next.
Ghastly bare bulb has been replaced with slick modern ceiling spotlights.
Doors replaced with period pine ones bought on Ebay and Gumtree.

I really wanted one of those gorgeous Neptune kitchens like below but we did not have the funds for that. Euans kitchen is a darn good copy though!  We were even able to source similar handles and knobs online.

I love this little wall unit he has made for all our baking bits and bobs.

Its not quite complete..............theres no skirting, a few things to be done here and there and we still have the Central Island to build. I hope we can get that done in the next few months .... the cost of the huge oak worktop has put it on pause for just now.......and we are tackling this area instead.

But the horrendous strange and unsafe spiral is gone and after 7 months climbing a ladder, we finally got some stairs in the new hallway.
Still a lot to do here but no more ladder!!!

All in all, this whole space that was once a freezing cold ugly kitchen with a skull cracking stone floor and falling-to-bits deathtrap spiral staircase in it, is a totally different space with a proper entrance hallway for the stairs.

Love to everyone xxxx

Friday, 4 April 2014

For Maggie......

We had to say goodbye to our little cat Maggie on friday morning so in the tradition I have seen many times amongst my blogging friends, I am going to post a tribute to our very special little cat who will be dearly missed.

We adopted Maggie just 3 years ago from the SSPCA after seeing her scraggy little face on their website. She was old and had been waiting for a home for a long time. I couldn’t stop thinking about her so like idiots we drove over 100 miles to Inverness to get her. She hissed when we went into her compartment but we later realised that we had startled her because she couldn’t really see.
She was tiny, literally half the size of our cat Buzz but really overweight. I used to joke that she looked like she had been riding a really fat pony- she had real barrel legs. But a diet and the chance to get outside soon fixed that.
She quickly because best friends with our two dogs and was sleeping in their beds with them or on top of them within a few weeks. Molly and Isla have always looked out for her and been unwaveringly tolerant ….she was always clambering right over their heads as they lay asleep in the floor.
 They have been very quiet, especially Isla, over the past few days and this morning both kept going
over and sniffing her empty basket and looking at me.

Maggie loved to snuggle and was very affectionate- you couldn’t sit down in the living room without her climbing up your leg to get to your lap.
Being blind, we have had so many comedy moments from her ….. the time she tried to jump onto our bed and jumped up about two feet away from where the bed actually was………….  and she ran daily into doors, furniture and the dogs, darting around fearlessly!! There are still cushions on the floor all over the house in front of things she was always running into.
But she was very happy, never happier than when there was a fire lit and she was snuggled with her friends.

I found Maggie just as I was leaving for work, in her spot by the fire but clearly having suffered a stroke during the night. She purred when I went over to her but she couldn’t move at all. I carried her through to the bedroom with me to wake up Euan and we both agreed that Maggies time had come. 
The vet wasn’t able to come to the house until lunchtime and that gave us a  few hours to spend time with her and say goodbye. I am so thankful for that time.
We have buried her in the garden and I have planted some snowdrops over the spot. They are out in our garden just now so we will remember her when they come up each year at this time.


We will miss you wee one xx

Friday, 28 February 2014

We have a kitchen in our kitchen.......

After complaints from my family (who all live a long way away) and who check in with my blog to see photos of our renovations progress .....I thought I had better put up some more pictures of the kitchen.
I was avoiding posting about it again until we were all finished but that is still a few weeks away.........its taking a bit longer than we hoped.
As you can see, its very much still a work in progress.......Euan is building the kitchen units from scratch again and he still has to finish and hang the doors and make the drawers.

The oak arched beam I bought from a reclamation yard about a week after we moved in in 2012.....I bought it knowing it was destined to go over the Redfyre one day so its been under the bed since then waiting for us to get round to the kitchen! The design is very like the kitchen we built in our last house....handmade painted wooden units with oak worktops....its just a lot bigger!

Buzz sunning himself in the window behind the new sink!

Remember the drawer unit from my last post?
Half the drawers are untidily open in this picture but its been painted to match the new kitchen, new handles added and a top built. Again, thats not finished yet- its needs a top cornice and glazed doors!

We are going to build a big central island thsi time instead of a table, hence the wires sticking out of the floor under the table.

But we do have a working sink and a dishwasher so we are feeling a bit spoilt after going all winter washing up in the disgusting utility room as it has a sink but it has no proper internal walls or flooring!!

Its going to be lovely......just a few more weeks/months but we have come along way since...

 Its feeling very spring-like, even this far north.......Cant wait to get stuck into the garden again- I have so many ideas!!! xxx