Thursday, 25 January 2007

Warm and Crafty etc…

The snow has given us brittle cold, crystalline days, sharply defined light and the first (whole) sunny days we have had since being here; today the clouds are back and with them the warmer temperatures. M and I have succumbed to the hibernation urge and will only venture out to replenish supplies tomorrow, now that more snow is expected. Meanwhile, the mornings find us out but not for long! A brisk walk around the beach and garden and we head back inside to enjoy the lovely warmth our 1930's Rayburn gives us. We’ve polished up one of our old copper kettles and it sits on the stove all day long, gently steaming; hot drinks for free whenever the whim strikes.

This picture was taken the first week we were here. Things have improved a bit since then but the room looks essentially the same.

The old Rayburn (which needs a makeover) is in the long room that used to be the kitchen. Previous occupants decommissioned it and put mod cons in the scullery but the first thing we did was turn the “Dining Room” back into a kitchen and fire up the old stove. I’ve got great plans for this room (delusions of grandeur perhaps?); the wooden floor just needs TLC and more of a good scrub – I have done about a third of it – with scouring pads and washing soda. Afterwards, when I finish, we will strip off the dark stain, fill where the old tongue and groove has been damaged and seal. A quarry tile surround around the Rayburn and a long cooker hood will complete the really big work. Then it’s just up to paint and furnishings. Ideally I would like to use old Welsh dressers, freestanding cupboards and an old farmhouse table, all of which still have to be found, bought and restored.

In the meantime we have our dining table in here and I am using the “kitchen” end as a studio. This is wonderful; I get all the benefits of having the warmth and I’m next to the kettle. Poor M has to work in the workshop, which shares the wall behind the Rayburn, and he has to make do with the oil heater; that’s what you get for making lots of sawdust!

One of M’s first projects was to make me an easel from an old frame he had lying around. It was my Christmas, anniversary and birthday present rolled into one and it’s beautiful. As I have a lack of fabric and thread right now, my patchwork, quilting and appliqué are on hold until I can stock up but the supplies I do have in abundance are paint, canvases and board. It’s been about 30 years since I finished my (unused) Art degree and at least 20 years since I painted anything more ambitious than a wall but last year when I was ill, I bought all the equipment to start again (and never did)! Easel plus art supplies equals paintings? Not necessarily but I’m going to try. I’ve always considered myself a competent craftsperson but I wouldn’t ever claim to be more than a decorative painter. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the first one (just finished, photo below) even though I was trying something I’ve never done and the second one is proving much more fun (at least it’s in a style I can do).


An ideal occupation for the cold days and maybe I can get some stock together for the Country Art section of the website I’m trying to set up. Well anyway. I don’t know how to basket weave and I don’t have rope for Macramé yet (but more about that another time) so for now this is it. At least I’ll be off the streets! ;)


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