Thursday, December 27, 2012

Deja Vu

This post feels a lot like the posts I wrote when we were renovating the laundry and the kitchen. It's been so long since then that I'd totally forgotten the potential agony and wanting to "rip my own hair out by the roots" feeling of a major project. I don't think I'll ever be able to find the strength to do our bathroom ...70's retro is coming back in ...right?

One of the projects that had been germinating in my mind for well over a year was a new outdoor setting. Our old one was a hand me down, and had definitely seen better days by the time we were finished with it.  I wanted something different and at about bar height to prevent the dogs from using it as a dance floor. And my idea was simple - wine barrels and planks of wood - it doesn't get any easier than that.

As usual, I imagined the whole process of doing this to be a lot easier than the reality.  I'm an idea and concept person. I don't bother myself with details when it comes to hammering and painting and gluing. That's Mr. P's job.  I just tell Mr. P what the idea is, what material he needs to use and then go merrily on my way looking for finishing touches to make it look pretty. 

This whole project has been fraught with minor hiccups which included waiting for the barrels to be delivered before we could think about buying seating because we weren't sure exactly how high the barrels would be. Then we had to find bar stools I actually liked that could be delivered 4 weeks out from Christmas. A couple of sales people actually laughed in my face when I mentioned that little detail because apparently organised people buy their seating for Christmas in August. 

Never mind that we asked twice if the bar stools came assembled and that the display model in the store had a sticker on it stating they came "fully assembled". When Mr. P picked them up this is how they came. Apparently this is "fully assembled" which is very interesting since it took Mr. P 6 hours to put them together after they arrived.

We had pre-selected some beautiful wood for the table top. But then I decided the table needed to be 60 centimetres longer than I had originally planned. Apparently the selection of wood available to you diminishes rapidly when you want three metre lengths instead of 2.4 metres. There was another delay while we found a supplier that had timber in the required lengths.  I completely abdicated at this point to play candy crush saga on my ipad because I was pretty much fed up with the whole thing.

It took Mr. P all day to stain one side of the planks for the table top. I don't know why. Maybe its because I'm a girl and I don't understand something crucial about the process. Mr. P has his own way of doing things and I generally don't interfere even when I see him doing things in a way that's going to take twice as long. Plus when the Queen abdicates to play Candy Crush Saga because she's fed up she really doesn't have any right to bitch and moan. 

And then my Father in law dropped over to look at Mr. P's handiwork and gave us the bad news that we were going to have to make a frame for the table top so it didn't sag in the middle. I don't have an engineering degree so that was news to me.  But he made the frame idea sound so easy that Little P probably could have knocked it together. Clearly I looked doubtful and more than a little pissed off because he took pity on us and made the frame the next day while we were both at work. 

It took Mr. P two weeks to stain and varnish the table top.  By that stage I was having kittens about it not being ready in time for Christmas. I had visions of us all squeezed inside Little P's new tent eating picnic style. But it finally got it's last coat a mere few days before Christmas because apparently there really is nothing like bringing an essential finish down to the wire to ensure your wife inherits a few more grey hairs. 

And here it is - a bit like Texas - the largest outdoor setting in the history of outdoor settings. Able to seat 12 people at once in comfort. I'm thinking we might need to buy megaphones so people at opposite ends of the table can talk to one another. 

Barrel legs 

But I really do love how this turned out. And no I'm not taking orders. Once was enough!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Running Away to Join the Circus.

I'm determined to make time to write a blog post today because I'm starting to be afraid I may have forgotten how.

The school year officially finishes here today. Part of what I do for a day job is to get little people and their families ready for starting kindergarten and school when school resumes for the new year so this time of the year is probably my busiest time. That's what I've been doing -working and valiantly trying to avoid going down in a screaming heap.

There hasn't been a whole load of craftiness going on round here and what I have been doing seems to be stuck in a state of "half finished". I start something and get distracted or start something else and end up with another half finished project to add to my ever growing list. I have half finished sun catchers , half finished quilts, half finished wind chimes, half finished herb markers, half finished re-upholstery jobs,  and a half finished outdoor setting all laying round here making me feel guilty.

This weekend is going to see some of those things finished, especially the outdoor setting because I need somewhere to seat people on Christmas Day- sometimes I think Mr. P likes to bring things down to the wire just to see if he can finally push me over the edge.

Last weekend saw us moving pool tables and pressure washing concrete ( I bet you wish you lived my life for the excitement factor alone ) but in between doing all that I managed to make something for little P. I've been wanting to make him a tee pee for ages but dowel here costs a fortune ( I dont know why - its basically just bloody sticks) and I'm too mingy to pay 60 bucks for sticks. While I was sitting at work having lunch last week an idea popped into my head out of nowhere, so I did a quick sketch and I spent some of the weekend trying to make the thing in my head become a reality.

It was not without incident and unpicking and minor swearing was part of the process but in the end of I was very happy with the result.

Forgive my shoddy photography . It was late in the day and I couldn't be bothered moving the tent!

I still need to add some loops of elastic to the bottom so I can hook those around the legs of the trampoline to keep the base in a nice round shape but you get the idea. 

A lovely little quiet spot for a little boy to dream of lions and tigers dont you think?