23 Jun 2010

The Joys of Steam Power

I have had another slack tart episode and not posted in a while. Mostly this is because I haven't been doing any sewing but have been doing a lot of DIY ... or rather my Step Dad has and my Mother and I have been cheering (or heckling) from the sidelines whilst drinking tea.

I live in a hundred year old plus stone mid terrace house in an old mining village in South Wales, I may have mentioned this before. I mention it now because something that most people outside of mining villages either in South Wales or elsewhere probably won't know is that coal dust is everywhere. And when I say everywhere I do actually mean it in the literal sense. Despite the pit closing down in the late 1960's coal dust still remains. It was used for the garden, it was used in the plaster, it's in the bricks and the soil and the walls and the ceilings and the pointing and is 90% of the dust I collect in my now black but once yellow duster. This means DIY needs to be undertaken like a military operation.

Due to the age of my house I have fireplaces in every single room. Unfortunately due to the previous owners almost every single original feature has been ripped out of the house and thrown away. I have the bay window but the inside is 'updated' and lacks the pillars between windows and I have an ornate ceiling piece in the hallway along with original plaster coving.

The front room had been knocked into the back room, creating one long area that's still divided into two by the remains of the wall. The fireplace in the front room had been ripped out and bricked up and the one in the back room had been reduced in size and left open (although when I viewed the house there was a gas fire stuffed in the tiny hole).

My fabulous step-dad had already helped me knock out the original range fireplace in the old kitchen when I renovated that room and put the kitchen back in its original place, removing it from the terribly constructed back extension with no power, no ventilation and insecure roof and windows. We had to put in a new lintel as they had removed that too (!).

Once the kitchen was completed, my step-dad returned with the lump hammer and opened up the open fireplace in the back room (now dining room) to its original size, exposing the original arching lintel of bricks so definitive of the house's heyday.

And then, this past weekend, he returned again and heroically smacked at the wall to expose the hidden fireplace behind in the front room. Please note the coal dust all over the carpet, it's impossible to remove all traces of it and the area is now a grey-pinkish colour (Please also note that pink carpet is not my choice but until I get a job and/ or win the lottery new carpet is waaaaay down the list of things to replace).

My Mother and I then spent two days cleaning. The Entire House. From top to bottom. With a steamer. How awesome are they?! Mum gave me her old steamer some months ago and when I took it I remember thinking 'why on earth would I want one of these?!' Ha! Has that attitude changed!

You may notice that on the pictures of Gwenie, the black and white floor looks a little ... dirty. That is in fact grout from when I grouted the floor with no idea what I was doing. I'm proud of that floor, Mum and I laid that ourselves. I was not proud of the grouting because, frankly, it sucked. But with steam power that's all changed! My floor looks fantabulous!


Unfortunately, what all this DIY and cleaning has meant is that I have done absolutely no sewing whatsoever and am feeling super guilty over this, not to mention a little panicky that I'm not going to complete all my sewing pledges.

I should really pull my finger out and just get on with it. After lunch. Promise. Shame the steamer can't help me with this one!

Thanks for stopping by,


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