Friday, 31 July 2015

Preparation for a New Garden Shed - Housework/Funwork 59

If you missed the previous post about our old wooden shed (which was quite some time ago) then head over to
Demolishing a Garden Shed 
first and if you don't want to read the whole post you can just watch the short time-lapse video.


Today's post is getting everything ready for the new shed.

This involves the clean up after the old shed was removed and the work since then before the new shed could be erected.


CLEAN-UP

Well first we had a skip to fill to get rid of all the wood from the shed and Fred & I managed this part which gave me a lot of exercise walking back and forward with the wood etc.

By this time we were very happy about the shed being down and in the time-lapse video below you can see fred waving & smiling into the camera a couple of times and if you watch carefully you will catch a quick kiss (might as well make it a bit more fun).





Then we had the clean-up of the rubbish that we found around the back of the oil tank which I had not known was there from moving into the house 4 years ago.

Balls, plastic planters, bits of wood, bricks, old patio slabs, 2 swings!

Added to this then was the taking care of the water connection and electric connections that had been inside the shed.  These were there because of the little stone water feature on the decking.



CREATING A BASE FOR NEW SHED

Well we had to wait over the winter until this summer to be able to lay the concrete before we would erect the new shed.  Working outdoors in Northern Ireland is always subject to the weather especially as we are at the top of a hill and then we have to work around Fred's travel schedule for business.


Fred measured out and cut the wood to make a wooden surround into which the concrete would be poured.




He had to dig out a little bit of the ground at the back because the new shed was longer than the old one.



He also had to make sure it was in exactly the right position.



The old shed had been on a wooden base which had rotted but underneath that there was a large concrete slab.  This was however too low for us to use for the new shed because we wanted the bottom of the shed level with the decking.



Hence we needed to put another base on top of this original concrete.

And this was the finished surround.





Then came the day of the pouring of the cement and we were so glad to see this happen.

But I forgot to start taking photos of the work until most of the cement had been offloaded.


Notice we had to tie back the water tap while the cement went in and be careful about the placing of the electric cable.

Although we got someone experienced in working with concrete to come and do this, Fred wanted to help as usual.




The cement lorry was parked at the front of the house and they had to wheel the cement into the back garden in wheelbarrows along the path at the side of the house and through the small gate to the back.



Then when the area was full it all had to be levelled off




and then smoothed



For a few days we had to water the cement as it should not dry too quickly and then the wooden surround was removed and we had our concrete base ready for the new shed.

BUT what I presumed would be a grey base turned out to be a cream base - I can not remember ever seeing cream concrete before.

This was rather disappointing as the decking is grey so there is a contrast with the cream!

So for this part of the Shed project we started with this





and ended like this



Well Housework or Funwork for this project?

Definitely Funwork for me - not too much hard work, more helping out with something different and having excuses to make coffee because you have to keep the workers happy & me!


Next month I'll have the details of the erection of the new shed  -  what a job that was!


So how did I manage with my decluttering for 365 items in 365 days this month?

Remember I'm trying to declutter 365 things in the 365 days of this year.

I did quite well!

From the last post in this Housework/Funwork series you will know I Organised the Printer Unit and the set of shelves beside it and from that and a couple of other things I managed to declutter 26 items

15 items Thrown Out

10 Puzzle Magazines -  they were all almost finished so I had some different times this month finishing them off
Some old envelopes.
1 book
couple of pens
remains of a set of labels
1 glass that got chipped

8 items To Car Boot Sale
3 books
4 DVDs
some hangers

3 items To Give Away
3 books


So running total gives me

January     29
February   42
March       31
April           8
May            0
June          57
July           26
TOTAL     193 items  in  212 days  


Only 19 short at the moment!








Linking Up with Metamorphis Monday



Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Alligator in the Ditch - A Dose of Encouragement 83


You know when you are going somewhere different and you really know nothing about the place.

Then suddenly shortly before you travel you see a programme on television, or you read something in a book, or a friend says "did you know..." or you see something on the internet and it's about the place you are going to travel to.

Well that is what happened to me when I knew that I would be flying from Northern Ireland to the US to meet up with my husband after a work conference he was at in Hilton Head.

Way back nearly 30 years ago.

I was to meet Fred in Jacksonville, Florida and we were going to visit a few places in that well-known state.

Now getting to meet Fred was not the straightforward task it should have been but that might be written about another time.

Even our first night in Florida was not at all what we expected so that might be in another story too.

But for this blog post I'm thinking about the alligator.




So back to what I was saying previously.
Shortly before the trip I saw a programme on the television about alligators in Florida and thought I would watch a little bit of it because we were going to Florida and we were going to go to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine.

This programme was not about alligators that are kept on farms or even in the swamps, instead this was about the fact that alligators can be found in other strange (for wild animal sightings) places like back gardens and roadside ditches.

Fred had not seen this so when we set off in the hire car the day after we arrived in Jacksonville I started to tell him all about it and I said we needed to watch out for these large drainage ditches at the side of the road and we might see an alligator.

Well one of the first places we visited was that Alligator Farm in St. Augustine and that was nearly too close to alligators for me and I really did not like the thought of being near one when I did not have a large, strong fence between us.



Well a live one that is because I do love the sculpted alligators in the Musical Animal Fountain in Tervuren.

Having spent almost a week in Florida I was still always keeping an eye on these ditches as we drove along but never really expected to see anything.  Then as we were driving towards the Kennedy Space Centre we saw a car stopped at the side of the road and two people out standing with a camera pointed towards a ditch.


Well we slowed down to see and

YES!  An alligator was in the ditch!

We pulled over for a minute had a quick look and then drove off again wondering why that couple were standing there with a camera.

The simple answer is - they wanted to take a picture of the alligator at the side of the road but obviously they had never seen the programme I had seen because if they had they would have known how fast an alligator can move and if that alligator darted towards them suddenly they may not make it back to the car in time.

Now I was thinking that even if I had not seen that programme I still would have had enough respect for the animal (insert - enough fear!) not to get so close and certainly not to stand focusing to get a good picture.



 Well except if it was a baby alligator being held by a keeper at the farm.

But I certainly would have no intention of putting myself in the position where I might have been chased or attacked by an alligator because I could not have wrestled one and overcome it.




As Christians we should know to treat sin in the same way as we should treat an alligator:

stay away from it.

Let's treat sin like we would treat an alligator!

Even if we have not been specifically told exactly how quickly sin can grab a hold of us and conquer us, regardless of how long or strongly we may try to wrestle with it; we should by instinct know that it is wrong to stop and have a look at the sin or spend a little time trying to capture what that sin is really like.  

We should curb our curiosity.

Sin is our enemy, sin is something that Jesus has died to release us from and we must not be tempted to even have a look toward it because we don't want to be back in the grasp we have been freed from.

It is our choice.


Is there an Alligator lurking in the Ditch?

We can remember and be encouraged that even though we cannot overcome sin by ourselves; 

we can do so with God's help.

We need to hold unto the fact that Jesus set us free from that grip sin had of us and He wants to help us stay free.

Jesus says He will be with us forever and while He is with us He is going to help us against sin.





Let's allow Christ to help us, to give us His strength to turn away from sin as soon as we recognize it.

So just as we were sensible enough to stay in the car when we were near that alligator we all know that we can stay in the safety of Jesus when we see that sin lurking nearby.




Sunday, 26 July 2015

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 34


Each Sunday I am going to choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on  it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 34 


Another one of my favourites from when I was a teenager.



This Psalm falls into six parts:

V. 1-3
Exaltation of the Lord

V. 4-7
Testimony of Deliverance from fear & the enemy

V. 8-10
Encouraging people to seek the Lord for themselves

V. 11-14
Advice on how to come before God

V. 15-18
The Reaction of God towards the Righteous & the Unrighteous

V. 19-22
The Results of the Righteous & Unrighteous Life


To me the whole psalm is written around this verse






Exaltation
The Psalmist desires that everyone would worship the True God.
He starts by giving His Adoration but then comes to wanting everyone to experience what he has.


Testimony & Encouragement
He tells what God has done & encourages people to turn to God.


Advice
He gives basic advice on how to have the proper awe and reverence towards God.


God's Reaction
How God treats us as righteous in His sight when we have truly turned to trust Him, compared with how He must treat us if we do not.


Results
The hand of comfort, healing & protection is on us.
God will bring us through all the tribulation others will put on us.


Basic Good Advice to Start your Christian Life


Surely when all of this Psalm is understood and acknowledged then you and I can truly say with the Psalmist:






Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Seagull in Jersey - A Dose of Encouragement 82


While Fred has been travelling a lot these months
I had pulled out my box set of Bergerac Dvds which I had never found time to watch and settled in most evenings to watch an episode or two from this old Detective Series from the 1980s before going to bed.

First thing I had noticed was how much the young John Nettles who played the character Bergerac (he also played Chief Inspector Barnaby in Midsomer Murders in more recent years) looked like my middle son. So I had some fun teasing Daniel about that.

Then I got to thinking about the Island of Jersey where the series had been set (and filmed) realizing that even though we had once had a holiday there I didn't remember any of the sites of the island.  Of course that holiday was a long long time ago, maybe around 20 years ago.

There is one thing about that holiday that none of us will ever forget.


It has nothing to do with the sights of Jersey.

It has nothing to do with any activities that we had great fun in doing on Jersey.


My only real memory of Jersey was 

the 
Seagull.

Photo credit - Pixabay


This is how I picture that seagull to always be.


I never think of it as one of those almost comical trotting birds you see as they hobble along over the sand or rocks.

I will not even imagine it in a group of seagulls like we often see hovering down ready to catch a fish in the sea.

Photo credit - Pixabay


Yes I always remember it to be

an angry bird,

who saw something,

wanted it

and 

took it!


We were each enjoying a large ice-cream 
when this seagull swooped down out of no-where 
and stole my brother-in-law's ice-cream from his hand.



It was so sudden, so quick, it was almost unbelieveable except that we had seen it with our own eyes.

It must have been such a startling, frightening surprise for Victor as he was holding the ice-cream close to his face when it happened.


Now I can hardly see a seagull without thinking of that event.

I always view seagulls as untrustworthy, callous creatures because of that single event.

Will my impression of them ever change?

Not very likely.


Does my impression of the people I meet ever change?
Does that bad impression stay with me forever?

or

Does another person's impressions of me ever change?
Does that bad impression stay with them forever?


I hope not.

Sometimes it may be difficult to shrug off those impressions because of further meetings or time spent with a person if there is more evidence of their behaviour being similar to the first time.

Sometimes it may be easy to change our minds and see someone in a better light because of getting to know them better and seeing different facets of their behaviour.

But for most of us most of the time those bad impressions are hard to forget.

So do I want to be remembered like



Do I want to be seen as the one who saw something, wanted it, and stole it away?


Did I steal someone's ice-cream?


Do I want to be seen as the one who had to be better than others?

Do I want to be seen as the one who knew more than others?

Do I want to be seen as the one who is more important than others?

Do I want to be seen as the one who stole the attention from others?




Do I want to be seen as the one who was jealous of others?


Because that's what it may boil down to - us simply being jealous.

So we feel the need

  • to say something to show we know more than others
  • to do something that makes us appear better than others
  • to do something to draw the attention away from others
  • to speak of someone to make them appear less worthy than us 

We need to steal away, from them, the favour we want for ourselves.


Do we want all the favour for ourselves?


Truthfully, within us, we can all be jealous of others 
but if we recognise this human failing in ourselves
and then determinedly step away from it 
and do not act on it in any way; 
we can defeat that jealousy, 
conquer that jealousy 
and 
be more like the person God has created us to be.





Sunday, 19 July 2015

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 2


Each Sunday I am going to choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 2


This Psalm falls into three parts:

V. 1-3
People and Nations in Opposition to God.

V. 4-9
God sees all.
The Lord is on the Throne, He is in control.

V. 10-11
Warning to the rulers that if they do not serve God they will perish.



Overall Theme

No matter who thinks he is better than the Lord and God's people, he has to remember that Jesus is Lord and will do with them as He wills.




This Psalm encourages us to know that God is in supreme control.

People & nations may seem to be making the world a horrible place to live in 
but there will be an end to this.


The end will be GOOD for those who have trusted in God.






Friday, 17 July 2015

An Organised Printer Unit - Housework/Funwork 58

There is a place in every room where you just tend to leave things down.   True?

I know that happens in our house and I am pretty sure it happens in your house too.

But the Printer Unit in my Study really is not the place I think that should happen but that is exactly what has been happening.

I think it was because it was the place that had shelves that were not so full of things - well to start with!

Then it just seemed like there was space there so something (and everything) could just be set down there until I had time to put it away or indeed decided where it should go.

Hence it became one big mess.





The only way to do the job properly was the usual Sandra method of

"take everything out and only put back what needs to go there"


But Fred calls it

"take everything out and make a mess somewhere else"


Well what else can you do until you have decided where all the "stuff" will go?


So I cleared the shelves and left only 3 things:

  • the printer on the bottom shelf
  • my containers for various sizes of laminating pouches on the second shelf up
  • the A3 laminator on the middle shelf




The printer goes on the bottom shelf with plenty of room above it for the back feed tray and also a better position for lifting out unto the floor when needing to get at the connections and plugs.

The second shelf up is a pull out shelf and I keep the laminating pouches there handy for use with the laminator just above on the middle shelf.

I love the containers I have for the pouches because they hold the different sizes (except for A3 but what could hold A3 size?) and they sit on top of each other taking up less space.
They were a good buy but now I don't remember where I got them.

There are three containers


The first is A4 size so holds the A4 pouches and then there are two A5 size, one for the A5 pouches and one for the A6 and A7 and business card size pouches.

At the moment I have run out of the A5 size which explains why one is empty.

These two smaller trays sit on top of the larger one


supported by the shape of the sides of the larger tray.

Very handy to grab the pouches as I need them and just lift the front top tray to get at the A4 ones in the bottom tray.

So these were the essentials for the printer unit.


Then the decisions had to be made about what other things I should keep on the other shelves.


The most obvious thing would be to have anything else that I would normally want to use with the printer at close to it but I already use the two Ikea drawer units immediately to the right of this unit for all my paper and card and I see no reason to change this because there is a drawer for each type of paper and card so that is all well organized.

All I had to do with it was tidy up the top of it to make it neater  -  easy job.


So what should go on the other shelves in the Printer Unit?

Well I decided that I should consider how to make the best use of the space.

That would not be to store my A3 white, black & coloured cardstock because that could mean losing out on the height allowance of the shelves by putting in something large and flat.

In the end I decided it would be best to store my various boxes some with old greeting cards, some with note paper & cards and some with more miscellaneous items.  These are boxes which I will not be lifting out and in too often so it doesn't matter that some are on top of others but look how well they fill up the two top shelves - good use of space here.




Something which should be kept in the unit are the new ink cartridges for the printer so I grabbed an old small black box I had kept (knowing it was good and sturdy and would come in handy for something) and put the cartridges in it and placed it at the back left corner of the middle shelf behind the laminator.

Another item that made sense to be in the unit because of it's height and what it is used for was the Photo Negative Scanner so I placed it at the back right corner of the middle shelf again behind the laminator.





I have a small metal case which came with a shaver or something for my husband a couple of years ago and I decided straight away that it would be ideal for keeping things to do with my phone and mp3 player and bluetooth gadget and charging leads so it was put back on to the shelf beside the laminator pouches where it had been previously so not much change there.


Well when the printer unit and the drawer units were done I thought I might as well finish off with the metal & wicker shelf unit that stands to the left.

This is now the place for most of my other books that I need to read and then after that decide to give away or keep - they are in the wooden crates with the chalkboard fronts.




The other nice boxes and files are for

  • my recipes,
  • greeting cards for use throughout the year,
  • old letters
  • A4 Overhead Projector Song Sheets for when we are working with the Kids Club in the school.


Hope you noticed the little bit of decoration was added back too!

Yes the heart that had hung on the key before


is back again - it is a heart and I love Hearts and it is dark red which ties in with other decorative things in the Study.  Plus I love that old "Home is where the Heart is" phrase.


And now

I am pleased with the difference in looks and the better organisation of the unit and the shelves.





compared to the before





This was more Housework than Funwork this time and more housework to come very soon with the sorting out of the other stuff that had been left on the printer shelves in the past

but

then eventually it will be more Fun because I will take some time to read my old letters and look at the old cards and enjoy memories  with a nice cup of coffee on several occasions yet to come.


It also brings another project to my mind

How to imaginatively keep old greeting cards - might need a bit of research time on Pinterest for that!

But for now this job is finished and the pull down door can be closed on it when we want to but if it remains this well organised we won't need to try to hide it.












Linking up with Metamorphis Monday