A Front Door And A Cat Door

We’ve finally reached that milestone in house building where you’re no longer using a sheet of plywood on two gate hinges for a front door.

We got given a fairly nice hardwood (faced) door, which I glazed (thanks for the education, Nora!) and Ben built a frame for, while Julian set about making the front door area look less like a shit tip and more like a welcoming home entrance.

The hanging of the door was mostly not fraught with nightmares, ish. And anyway, we got there in the end. About halfway through I noticed that we had not made arrangements for a cat door. So I knocked one through the wall. As you do.

It actually went surprisingly smoothly, and I was able to find enough thick plywood around the place to build a tunnel and a piece of oak for the exterior surface. One of the major plus-points of straw walls is how easy it is to put a big hole in it when you want to.

Jack figured it all out with only one demonstration needed. Clever boy.

Meanwhile, Julian’s office has come on a bit, with a floor now finished and some filling of plasterboard cracks (by Julian).

… and an actual plastered wall (by me) which, yeah, I swore I would never do again after I plastered the bathroom, and in fact, during the plastering of this wall. But you know the story. I am resigned to the fact that yes, I will plaster the rest of the house. Eventually.

And meanwhile, I am slogging on with the mosaic shower. Kind of wanting to die, but kind of being pleased at the same time. I just want it done now please.

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How Are There Still So Many Things To Do?

Seriously, how can I have done SO MANY THINGS and there are still things left to do? How!?

Here is what my floor looked like for a long time:

Yeah, that’s a big hole in the middle. But then I got my shit together, Michelle came round to help, and we got there.

It took some extra signage to remind us not to step on the freshly laid bits til they set.

And by the time I was done I was a) ready to never see tiles again and b) seriously thankful I saw sense for once and didn’t try to do something incredibly intricate over 12 square meters. Learned lesson? Lets hope so… Is the bathroom mosaic done? Nope.

Anyway, I’m particularly happy with the joining up of all the areas.

And in other news, I knitted a thing:

And grew some food:

But seriously, let’s just look at my floor some more.

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Bored? Start Another Floor…

Because I never have enough different projects on the go at once.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all the areas of walk-through floor, the bits between “rooms” in my entirely open plan ground floor. I had about a million tiles of varying size and colour (though mostly in the monochrome spectrum) and a selection of glass cubes and bars in shiny goldy red colours. I laid out a few variations and couldn’t get happy. Sent the most promising one to all my friends for advice and opinions and got a whole gamut of responses, but the one that tipped it for me was “it looks like the sort of thing you’d see in a wanky, corporate headquarters…” so I canned that design and came up with the one you see here. Which I’m pretty happy with. I think it’s my least favourite mosaic in the house, but that’s still a fair accolade.

I finished the above section and grouted it so we could actually walk around the house at all. And then yesterday and today I had a marathon session to cut (or break) and lay out the section inside the front door so we can get from the kitchen to the fridge.


The cat was most exceedingly helpful during the laying of the tiny cubes and bars. I had to chuck him across the room at one point.

I’m pretty happy with the way it came out. Grouting tomorrow and then moving on to something else, because I can’t help but leave every mosaic half finished for a significant period of time. It’s my thing.


Ben made a pizza shovel out of one of the very thin pieces from that sycamore tree.

It may be the most beautiful object I possess. I love it.

There was a bit of mossy bark still stuck to the handle which we left in hopes it will just survive, which I know is wishful thinking, but it’s charming AF while it lasts.

Ben was really in his element creating it and it was wonderful to see.

Bring on pizza season (which has to wait til we want to be building huge fires in the house, so… probably at least September or October.)

Ben stuck a couple of oak pegs into the kitchen pillar for it to hang in the meantime.

And in other news: another load of firewood. Hopefully that’s the last one we’ll need to get in before winter, but I’m interviewing another local firm for supplying because the ones I’ve been using have been so unreliable in communications. However, this last load was actually quite high quality. How annoying that they are complicating my decision to fire them.

Anyway, Julian looks good with an axe.

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Floor Floor Floor Floor Floor

So yeah, Sarah-May came to stay and shit got done.

In fairness, I did an epic quantity of cutting in advance of her visit, days and days of just cutting cutting cutting tiles, knackered multiple diamond blades (not cheap) because I get my tiles out of the skips at very good tile shops.

Once Sarah-May and I started laying, there was no stopping us.

Got to a stopping point where we really need to grout it and leave it so we can move the table over before we do the last bit a little later in the month. GOD I am glad I have a Sarah-May to help me.

Also, LOOK, our tree made a fig! I don’t know if it will end up being edible, but it’s exciting.

And here’s a picture of my beautiful house and my beautiful partner.

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Surprise! Another Mosaic

Because what my life needed just now was another mosaic. Well, what my life really did need was to have less in the way of mountains of reclaimed tiles in every corner. So I’m moving them to storage on the floor, stuck down with tile adhesive. It’s a slow process.

The pointy bits go down like a dream. So fast and easy compared to, like, everything else I’ve done with tiles. Which is my own fault for doing such fiddly, tiny, stupid things with tiles all the time.

The filling in bits are a bit slower, and I made some mistakes in the original batch of cuts (random angles bad, measured angles good) but I got the hang of it and they’re pretty easy to lay now.

Technically the red ones are wall tiles and not that high quality of wall tiles at that, so it remains to be seen whether they’ll hold up to heavy traffic. I may install a doormat nearby. And then forget to use it.

In other news, Ben has started on the spice/condiment shelves.

This half is done, installed and oiled, and the other half is on its way. They’re made from some the rest of that stair banister railing Anthony gave me from a job he did and some matchboard that came out of a basement he converted for someone. Top tip number one, make friends with builders! They give you so much great stuff that other people literally pay them to throw away.

When the oil dries, all the bottles can stop cluttering up a horizontal surface and start cluttering up a vertical one instead.

Meanwhile poor Jack…


A severe round of his traditional overgrooming. Sigh.

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