Saturday, 3 December 2016

I have bad builders karma

I have to face facts, my karma when it comes to employing tradesmen of any kind - builders, electricians, plumbers, kitchen fitters, whatever - seems to be very poor.  I try to do everything right: I seek recommendations, I investigate references, I research online, I do a lot of advance preparation and planning, I get more than one quote....  and still they let me down, don't turn up, don't do what they contracted to do, don't supervise their subcontractors, work erratic hours, go wildly off piste from their instructions, or just do bizarre things like leaving unsightly eight inch gaps between the top of the refrigerator and the overhead cabinet, or leaving me a gap for my dishwasher but not actually providing any electric point to plug it in or any gap for feeding its drainhose through to the wastepipe.

The latest to let me down is a plumber/builder recommended by neighbours for having done a really good job on their recent bathroom remodel. I've been waiting almost two years for the builder we used on the house renovations to find time to put a shower into our main bathroom so we don't have to all use the (leaky) shower in the ensuite, so I was excited that I might have found a replacement.  I sent the new man an email, he didn't answer. I followed up a week later with a phone call and he made a firm appointment for last night. So I spent part of my day off cleaning the main bathroom and ensuite, working on design sketches, pulling together a brief, emptying the walk-in closet that might get converted into a shower so he would be able to measure, and I made sure I was home in good time for work.  Did he show up? Did he even call to say he wasn't coming?  Of course he didn't.  I called after half an hour and left a message, and he eventually got back to me an hour and a half after he was meant to be with me to basically say that he'd forgotten all about it.  Just the kind of business person you want to commit several thousand pounds of work to.  Not.  But I'm desperate so I've made another appointment for next week and hopefully this time he will remember.  Grrrr.  I feel like I have money for this project that I can't give away.

On my day off I once again put some time into dollshousing.  I had already sanded down the filler I spread on the shed base last week and given it two coats of brown paint. So I was able to start the basic flocking with various ground materials.  I was going for a variegated effect but at the moment it is looking too patchy. But I think once I start adding plants and bushes it will look better.  Here's a picture just before I glued the shed in.

And here's what it looks like with the shed glued in (now with
windowboxes and hanging baskets) but without the gap around the
shed filled in yet.

TV knitting this week has continued to be the Gilmore Girls mystery knitalong cowl and I'm almost finished. This is Clues 1-4, each with a different contrast lace pattern. So I just need to knit a couple more contrast stripes and then graft the end back onto the held stitches and block it.

I haven't managed any sewing this week yet (I'm hoping to do some today) but I did cut out a pair of pyjama trousers using the free pattern I got at the Sew Brum day.  I measured a couple of my existing pairs of pyjamas to decide what size to cut out. I also modified the pattern by lowering the front of the waist by a couple of inches as I didn't think it was going to fit very well if the front and back rise both measured the same. My plan is to baste it together and see if the fit needs adjusting any further.  This is cut out in a blue polkadot cotton which is a slightly heavier weight than quilting cotton, that I bought on the market in Leicester before my holiday.

I've been making a bit of a push on my Idrija bobbin lace doiley because I would like to get it finished so that I can start practicing for the Bucks Point class I am taking in March.  It takes me about 90 minutes to do one 'curl' of the outside border, I'm quite slow. I do find having to constantly stop and do the sewings to connect to previous work a bit tedious. I think I prefer Torchon where you can just make the lace stitches without interruption. So I don't know if I will do much more in this type of lace.

We've started putting up Christmas decorations bit by bit.  Last week we did the lights in the trees outside.  I was up a ladder cursing under my breath as I wrestled with the satan's tangle of wires, lights and branches, wondering why we had ever had such a stupid idea in the first place, when a family walked by. The Dad looked up and said how glad he was we were putting lights up again because they had looked so nice last year, and they all beamed at us. Ahhhh, bless....  We did eventually get everything untangled and into the trees and they do look very nice. We;re hoping to go get a tree today.

I also got out the Advent calendars and put them into action on Thursday.  This one is a quilt panel which I made up several years ago and always enjoy using.  You put an ornament on the tree every day until the tree is fully decorated.

The rest of my free time this week was mostly spent on picking photos to go in a 'scrapbook' of our Japan holiday. I have put 'scrapbook' in quotes because it isn't a proper scrapbook like scrapbookers make. It's a child's A3 colouring pad into which I have stuck various maps, brochures and ticket stubs while scribbling a narration in my appallingly messy handwriting.  I've chosen 316 photos to go into it and have uploaded them to Snapfish and ordered prints. I stuck post-it notes onto each scrapbook page with the photo numbers so that when the prints come back, I can stick the correct photos onto the appropriate pages.  This is the first time I've done anything like this but a friend made a simpler version from her holiday and I thought what a better way of preserving the memories than just keeping a couple of hundred prints in a box I never look into. Yes, it would be nicer if it were tidier, but I think the main thing is that it gets done while I can still remember the holiday, ha ha ha.

Have you seen this free knitalong on Ravelry The Night before Christmas by Frankie Brown? When you open the knitted book, it reveals a complete knitted Christmas scene.  It's cute and I think I might have a go at it. I've ordered some plastic canvas for stiffening the pieces. I think Frankie is releasing a free pattern every day in the run-up to Christmas for all the component parts.

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