Sunday, 20 July 2014

All change on the patch

Today, I am having a *me day* for the first time in years. Just me, on my own, with no one to look after.

So far, I've made a special anniversary card for a special couple, made a start on July's challenge cards, cut the grass, had a go at crocheting a snowflake - DISASTER - done some housework, sorted out photos,  eaten chocolate, I'm updating this blog, spoken to my Mum & Mother in law & also to 'imself who isn't actually here at the moment.

*So what have you done with him ?* I hear you cry :o)


I haven't actually done anything to him, but he's in hospital. He'll probably be home tomorrow, but minus a fairly large part of himself.

Unfortunately, he's been pretty poorly for quite a number of years & even though those in the know acknowledge that there is something neurologically wrong with him, they don't actually know what it is. This has lead to mobility problems because he's pretty much paralysed from the waist down & long story short, on Thursday afternoon, he had his right leg amputated below the knee.

We've known since Christmas that it might happen & so, with that in mind, decided to see if we could come up with something to make the garden more wheelchair friendly, especially for the first couple of months when he won't be able to go in the husband hut.

Various ideas were thought of, but in the end, we decided to get rid of all the grass closest to the house & have the whole area laid to patio.

We got three quotes & went for the middle one who I am going to advertise here cos we LOVE what they did:

D.B Garden Services

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Dan is the main man & Richard is his labourer. Dan was here the first day to help do all the digging out, but it was Richard who did the rest of the work & I was HIS labourer. I had a ball :o)  It was hard work & it was very hot, but I really enjoyed myself :o)

Anyhoo - here are the before, during & after pics. Click 'em to big 'em :o)

The slabs around the grass were all higgledy piggledy & Shaun had an awful job using his wheelchair or walker on them. You can see two large dark green conifers either side of the rockery. They had to come out, so he set himself up in his wheelchair & attacked them over a week or so & managed - with some help from me - to get them down, branch by branch :o) The stump on the left was dug out as part of the patio job but we wanted the larger one on the right kept so that we could put a large stone frog on it.  Why ? Just because we could !! :o)

This very wishy washy photo shows the conifers removed & the large right hand stump waiting to be cut to ground level.

 Digging the grass up & part of the rockery out, to make a slope going up to the middle of the garden so that Shaun can get up there. He can't get to the far end, but by getting to the middle, at least he can see the whole garden.

This pic shows the rough shape of the slope looking down towards the house.

 Two thirds of the rockery gone, all the grass gone & the slope dug out. The old slabs were dug up & eventually relaid, along with new ones used for the slope & main patio area.

The partly laid patio.
It was a GLORIOUS week, but really, it was far too hot for such heavy duty garden work.
Richard turned a lovely brown, but ME ? Being fair skinned, I just burned & all my freckles came out to play as usual !! :o)

We wanted to break up the light grey slabs a bit, so Shaun suggested a simple pattern of half slabs around one of the new light grey ones.

Because the slope bears round to the right, Richard had to cut some slabs to shape. He did a BRILLIANT job, they look really good.

All finished :o) Looking down the slope towards the house.
He even managed to put a hole through the patio for my washing line :o)

Looking up the garden from the bottom end.

The rockery is now a lot smaller & much easier to keep control of - I hope !! :o)
To the left of the slope is the bird bath that used to live in the rockery.
On the right is the sundial that also lived in the rockery but was hidden by all the weeds & the heather that had gone wild & straggly over the years.
The little ghost statue is Morty, who I have had for at least 10 years & he used to live at the far end of the garden.

The back end of the rockery. We bought a few plants to brighten it up a bit for this Summer, but come Autumn, I'll get some early Spring bulbs to plant in there to give us a splash of colour after the Winter.
Hows that ? All four seasons in one sentence !! :o)

 The rockery after I'd planted it up. You can see our collection of frogs, including the large one on the conifer stump. We've had them for more years than I care to remember :o) The stone statues of the old man & old lady sitting on benches used to belong to my MiL but she gave them to us when she moved 13 years ago. I named them Fred & Mabel after my paternal Nan & Grandad :o)

And finally - with the garden table & chairs all set out. Like the first pic, it was raining when I took this :o)
The washing line has been taken down to make way for the table etc., but it's no hardship just moving the chairs & turning the table sideways on so that I can pop the line in its hole.

When Shaun comes home, the idea is for him to relax & recuperate in the garden, maybe wheel himself up to the middle if he feels like like & just get better in the sunshine & fresh air. IF it stops raining, that is :o)

He can use his laptop out there to watch a DVD, do some lace making, some tapestry, read or just fall asleep in his wheelchair if he wants to. And when he feels ready, he can go back to the husband hut and get going on a project or two.

 Grandson 1a has already suggested he make himself a wooden leg so that he can be a pirate :o)

No topping that, is there ?! :o)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Animals in June

We have had a LOT going on this past month, what with various hospital appointments & workmen all over the house & garden - more about that in my next blog - & although I managed to get my June challenge cards all done during the first week of June, this is the first chance I've had to blog them. And it's July. Already. 

This month's topic was animals, chosen by Liz. Included in my parcel from Liz was a frog image. Now, I don't know if frogs are technically counted as animals, but as it was there, I used it :o)

I really liked the ivy patterned card & thought the frog image would go nicely with it. All I added was the stamped greeting & card candi, everything else came from the parcel.

I've had this little frog stamp for ages but hadn't used it. Because I'd already used the image of the frog Liz gave me, I decided this would be the ideal opportunity to use him. I just added the glitter strip & stamped greeting, the paper was from the parcel.

This dog image was made by Tagxedo. You choose a shape, add the words & create a topper. I've used it a few times, but this is one Liz made. All I did with this was mount it on red card & then onto the background paper & added the card candi. Plain & simple but with a nice effect, I think :o)

This is the last of Liz's. Again, plain & simple :o) The bear image wasn't central on the card so I had to cut it as best I could. It annoyed me not being centred, so I added the yellow card candi & made part of a paper strip into a ribbon type doobery, just to balance it. I die cut some yellow card, plonked the image on it & then stuck it to the background paper which I'd already stuck to a card. I didn't add a sentiment or greeting, simply because the background paper said it all :o)

Now for Terri's parcel :o)

I liked the background paper so decided to use a stamped image I had in my stamped image box :o)  I wanted it to be fairly plain, so just used the pink & yellow from the background. I die cut some pink card included in the parcel, for the stamped image & greeting to be mounted on & just coloured the image with pro markers.

Just recently, for some unknown reason,  I have started to use 2 circles on cards, one for the image & one for the greeting. When I saw this foxy fella, I just thought he would look good in that way. I quiite like the end result.

I've always loved this little image - another from my box - & decided to keep it plain & simple , using the colours of the papers Terri had included.

It seems I've got a thing for stamped images this month :o) I really liked this cheeky cat & when I saw it in my box, just knew it would go with the papers Terri gave me. I coloured it with pro markers, added a stamped sentiment & coloured plain white card candi a terracotta colour to match the plant pot.

Lastly - this lovely elephant & the two blue background papers were included in the parcel. All I did was die cut all three with the same die & attach them to a pearly blue card. Three blue gems & a silver greeting - also in the parcel - were added to finish it off.

All in all, I think I did quite well with our animal month :o)