Monday, December 13, 2010

A Fairytale Weekend... least by the ambiance and architecture. A few images from our weekend in Alsace where yes, the houses do look like they are hiding any number of Snow White's relatives and sidekick dwarves.

Unfortunately I don't have as many photos as I would have liked and this for two reasons. The first, we visited Alsace during the Christmas Market season and I would have a difficult time explaining to you how many other people had the same idea. We should have expected it. We DID expect it! But maybe not to the extent we should have because oh the crowds! Wall to wall people made picture taking slightly difficult. But on the upside, it did keep us a bit warmer in the somewhat frigid temperatures, which is the second reaon for the lack of photos... hands were too cold to function.

But despite the cold and crowds, it was a lovely weekend and I discovered a place that definitely deserves another visit, though perhaps in a warmer, less crowded season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sparkly Stars in time for Snow

...and wintery weather all around. The temperatures have really dipped around here and it's keeping us indoors. Well, the temperatures and my littlest's newest cold that is.

But instead of sitting around twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do (except of course laundry and housework and meals and....), I've just uploaded a new pdf for your winter crafting fun. 3 pages of photos and templates to create this cute little paper star. A perfect craft for kids and adults and oh so easy!

To download your template, just click on the image or right here. Or, if you're lost, just go over to the column on the right and look for the Sparkly Star Ornament link.

Have fun!

PS - if you've enjoyed these templates, I'd love to hear from you. If you have other ideas of things you'd like to see, shout it out as well!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh the places you will see....

.... when you don't know where you are going and you've just told your friend "don't worry, the route can't get narrower than it already is."

PS - I'm adding in a photo of our second option that my friend emailed to me this morning. (She was on the good side of the car for this photo). It was a pretty hill, but in the end, we decided to turn around given lack of Wellie boots and 4-wheel drive.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just Listed....

... after a few trials and errors and lots of glue gone wrong, I've finally sussed out a workable pattern for your very own 3D paper star! Yes, an accomplishment to be sure. Now that the hard part is out of the way, I'll be making some more templates in various colours.

In the meantime, however, for your fun and pleasure, I've listed my very first template in my Etsy shop to you to print and make yourself. Hopefully you'll avoid the trial and error period if I've done my job correctly.

They do take a bit of patience to make, mainly gluing the points together, but they are worth it in the end I think.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something for a friend...

...I hope she enjoys it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just having fun...

...on this day off. 11th November is a holiday for most in France. Unfortunatly it's very wet and rainy and windy out and so we're all home tucked in and keeping warm.

Hubby's playing in the basement with the wetvac (an indispensable piece of equipment in these parts) and I need to keep busy. So, amid creating some new little box template I'll be listing soon, I thought I would have a play around with the Robin template you can download here. I thought a couple more patterns could be even more fun.

So here are two new versions for you to play with. Have fun!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Temps des Gaufres!

Or, in English, Waffle Time!

Since we've been living in our current location, our kids have had many occasions to test and taste the various types of waffles to be found in the region and just over the border in Belgium. We have very small and thin waffles that are sandwiched together with a spread of brown sugar or vanilla cream or speculoos inside. We also have the traditional "Belgian Waffle" that you would find at any self-respecting brunch buffet in the US. But regarding this last, the name Belgian Waffle is really quite inaccurate as there are many, many types of waffles in Belgium.

What I have encounted in the US as a Belgium Waffle is really probably closest to the Gaufre de Bruxelles or Brussels Waffle. But did you know that there is also the Gaufre de Namur, the Gaufre de Verviers, de Herve, du Perron, de Tilff, d'Outre-Meuse, à l'ancienne... You're probably getting the point.

I've left one important one out of the above list, simply because it's the one we find the best. It's also probably the one you'd be best off only smelling or at best giving a small lick if you're on any sort of calorie watching diet because it's full of butter and sugar, but oh is the combination so so good. I present la Gaufre de Liège.

Yesterday, I decided to try my hand at making this waffles from scratch for the first time. We have usually in the past only made the Brussels kind, but since I have finally found the correct sugar for the Gaufre de Liège, it was time to give it a go.

The recipe is quite simple and the biggest problem you may have is finding the sucre perlé (see photo). If you can't find this where you live (I got mine in Belgium), then I'm told that breaking up sugar cubes will do the job as well.

If you're interested in trying your hand at these delicacies, I'm giving you the recipe below.

For approximately 20 waffles you will need:

750g fine flour (though I used my regular flour and they came out just fine!)
270g warm milk
70g fresh yeast
3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp of vanilla or 1/2 sachet of vanilla sugar if you have some on hand
400g butter, softened
500g sucre perlé (or chopped up sugar cubes)

Mix all ingredients together except the butter and sugar and let rest 30 minutes. Personally, I let my yeast dissolve in the warm milk before adding this to the flour.

Add softened butter, bit by bit; by kneading it into the dough. I started off by hand as if making bread dough and then when there was enough butter incorporated and my hands and countertop were too greasy to work with any longer, I moved everything back into the bowl and finished adding the butter. Then add your sugar. It won't mix into the batter but rather will stay in lumps throughout.

Divide the batter up into 100g mounds (approximately 1 heaping soupspoon full) and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cook for 3 minutes on preheated waffle iron.

Now, here's what I noticed. As I only made half the batter, this may have been my problem from the start, but when I first mixed the ingredients, the batter was very dry so I added a bit more warm milk. Also, you'll notice once you start adding in the butter that it's very, VERY, buttery! I do wonder if you could use less butter to a similar result so I think this is what I'll try next time.

But in the end, if you follow this recipe, despite the butter overload, you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Opening Today - desMerveilles!

And that title rhymes, even better!

But back to the important bits, Anne-Marie has been working on this project for quite some time and today is the big, exciting day. is officially open!

What is desMerveilles? Simply put, it's an online boutique featuring 35 artists (mostly French) specialised in the world of our lovely future... children. She's done a fabulous job of putting together a great collection of items and styles and the boutique looks incredible.

So come an have a peek and see what's happening in handmade in France!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wintery Wonders!

It's out! The latest issue of Modern Handmade Child, Winter 2010. And this one is jam packed full of tutorials and yummy recipes to keep you and little hands busy during the winter months.

And on top of it, you can download here (over there on the right, under bits & bobs) a free pattern to make your own Winter Robin Paper Ornament.

So pour yourself a cuppa, get out your scissors and glue and come have a peek!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Little Things...

... I never thought I would do in my life. Before having a little boy, that is.

To put it in context, you should know that I have three sisters, no brothers, and although we are probably far from what one would call the sit-in-the-corner-playing-with-dolls type of girls, we're still girls nonetheless.

I also have two daughters. When they were each born, this seemed completely normal and expected to me.

But put everything on hold about 5 years ago when I was expecting our third child. Complete and utter shock when I was informed that the child to come was of the masculine gender. Impossible!

How on earth was I ever going to raise a boy? I knew nothing about them. Nothing! I lived in a world of pink and purple and sparkly things. I painted cupcakes and flowers and polka dots galore. Boys don't like pink and purple and sparkly things. And though they may enjoy eating cupcakes, they certainly don't do polka dots. Boys like racecars and dinosaurs and backhoes. They like trains and loud noises and racing about.

And as I found out yesterday on our little day out together, boys like boat elevators. And I'll very quietly admit, that I found it pretty cool too.

Continuing on our theme of the road less travelled tourism, below are more photos of the Ascenseur Funiculaire du Canal du Centre in Belgium. Currently the biggest boat elevator in the world, it raises and lowers canal boats (péniches) just over 73m or approximately 240 feet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thank you...

... to all those who have featured my work lately in Etsy treasuries. I really should do this more often and have made a mental note to do so, because I really do appreciate your including me in your collections. It means so much!

Please click on each of the images to see these treasuries up close and help out the curators!

Though I never thought of Chichiboulie or bunting as scary, someone else did! By Fruits of the Bloom:

One from Arzu Musa:

One from Evihan:

Another from Felicity Crew:

And another by Itty Bitty Birdie:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And maybe a winner....

...but definitely a finalist!

Modern Handmade Child magazine, mine and Shannon Hanley's ( little baby (along with a LOT of help from an incredible group of people) has made it into the finalists for Specialist Magazine of the Year in the Digital Magazine Awards.

We're SO excited!

We created this magazine just over a year ago with the idea of bringing handmade family living to everyone in a fun and friendly format. We had no idea at that point what would come of it, but thought it would be fun to give it a try. Boy have we come a long way since then! Our latest issue, Autumn 2010, has had over 15,000 views and our readership continues to grow. Our team has increased and solidified as we've welcomed some fabulous new members on board to join the other amazing contributors. And we have more plans to come....

The winners will be announced on the 27th of October so until then, if you could all just hold your breath for us, that would be much appreciated!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And finally a winner...

I needed to get this done on Monday but things weren't going my way. I'm still not 100% sure they're going my way now, but just in case they aren't, I had a quick free moment and child and now we finally have a winner....

Anyone want to supply a drum roll?

The lucky bauble winner is ..... JANET!! For all your replies, I did only count the correct one, but your enthousiasm paid off in the end. The wee fingers of my 4 year old pulled your name out of the bucket.

So, if you'd like to contact me and let me know which bauble design you would like, I'll get started on it while my fingers are still sticky from all the others.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone for playing. I'll surely have another giveaway soon so do check back!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

While you're waiting...

...just know that all of us here in France are waiting as well. Waiting for things to settle down and see what the outcome is, that is.

You may have heard about it on the news or read about it in the paper, but in case you haven't, France is on strike. It's been going on since September and originally it was about the change in the retirement age in France, though I now personally suspect it's about more than just that.

We've had teachers on strike so no school and the trains and metros on strike so no transport in the bigger cities. We've had the truckers on strike blocking the motorways and the high-school students on strike worried about their retirement (though I'll go out on a limb here and say that, although I do not consider myself right-wing, I do think they should try working a day first before worrying about retiring, but of course, maybe I'm just old!).

Needless to say, it's a bit of a mess. And now we have petrol shortages, though the government, up until today says not. Just for fun and just so you can all see what the petrol shortages mean, here is a little map of many of the stations in France where you CANNOT purchase petrol.

Fortunately my weekly driving is fairly limited and thus so too is my consumption as we don't know when this is going to go back to normal. And fortunately for me too, we live right next to the border with Belgium which seems to be slightly calmer despite their own political issues. They may not have a government, but they do have petrol and they do have a working post office (that I dutifully visit at least once a week).

So while we may enjoy fine wines and flavourful cheeses, there is at times a price to pay for all of that and at the moment, it would seem we're paying it!

PS - my apologies for any delayed shipments... I hope you understand!

It's coming...

...I promise!

I haven't forgotten about the contest, just having a few connection issues here. But I promise to have a winner up as soon as it's all sorted, which hopefully will be soon.

Since the closing date has past though, I can let you officially know that yes, the city is Tournai. I thought it would be nice to present one of Belgium's lesser known towns as a bit of travelling discovery, especially since this town really should be better known in my opinion. Not only does it offer tons of history, but it's a gorgeous place to visit with a wonderful "âme" or soul. We're there quite frequently as well for the yummy ice cream and waffles! Definitely worth the detour if you're ever in the neighbourhood!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Running out of time..., not you! For you all, there's still time to play and get your guesses in. It's me who's short of time at the moment, thus the lack of clues the past couple of days.

But I promise to make it up to you. So are you ready?

You already know that this town is in Wallonia and that it boasts not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage sites. If that's not enough for you to google, I'll give you a few more clues here:

- It is also home to the pictured bridge, known as Le Pont-des-Trous on the river Escaut
- It is the only Belgian city to ever have been ruled by England, from having been conquered by Henry VIII
- Under the Roman Empire, it was originally known as Tornacum

And lastly

- I chose this for my game on a whim last Sunday while we were enjoying ice cream and waffles on the Grand'Place

Have fun (and a great weekend... I'm off to cook!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day three and another piece of the mystery..., that is.

Ready for another hint: There it is in the photo. There are loads of these in the region of this town, so many in fact that they are part of the landscape actually. But some are real knockouts in the architectual beauty category. Like the one pictured here, in my opinion.

So not only does this charming little town have an outstanding cathedral, but it also has a beautiful belfry. AND.... both of these monuments are classified not only in their home country, but as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Does that help you out any bit?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Day, Another Hint

Time for a second hint.

There have been some good guesses, but I'm not going to give away whether or not any of them are on the money, or the bauble as is the case.

Just for the fun of it, here is another image to help you figure out what that famous landmark could be. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I'm pretty sure from this photo you can at least pick it out, if not name it. Hint: It's somewhat imposing and a one of Wallonia's major historical sites.

Any more thoughts as to where this is?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giveaway Time

I thought it was about time as it's been AGES since I've had any sort of giveaway. So raise your hand if you're excited!

It's the start of the busy seasons for me and I can feel the change in orders already. Lately it seems like a lot of baubles are going out in the post so I thought what better than to give away a personalised bauble to the winner. You can choose any bauble you want from the selection in my shop, or maybe we can even come up with a new one just for you!

Have you picked out your favourite yet?

Not so fast! You do have to do something in order to win this bauble so I thought I would make it a bit of fun if not slightly challenging. Of course, this may be a piece of cake and I'll get millions of correct answers. Or... It may be slightly more difficult (in which case I'll give you loads of hints because I do want right answers after all!). All correct answers will be put into a hat for a drawing, most likely by one of my children, but I'll keep you posted on that.

What lovely town is pictured in this post? First hint: It's in Europe (and one of its major landmarks is shown in the photo)

Put on your thinking caps and let me know your answers in a comment to this post. Enter as many times as you like (well, within reason, no listing ALL the cities and towns in Europe!). All correct answers will be entered into the draw. And if you want a second chance to win, just spread the word about the giveaway and you'll automatically get a second entry. Tweet about it or blog about it or post it on Facebook or take out a full-page ad in the New York Times. Your choice! But do let me know about it in a comment here so I can be sure to give you another entry.

Have fun! (I'll choose a winner next Monday, so until then, happy guessing and keep coming back for clues.)

Oh, and I wanted to mention that that blue sky in the photo is untouched. Not filter necessary!

Monday, October 4, 2010

National Cinnamon Bun Day!

I think I must just be genetically programmed from my Swedish grandfather. The past few days, I've been wanting to make something with cinnamon (despite my husband's severe distaste of the spice). I searched through loads of recipes and even printed out a few I was tempted to make. But in the end, the cinnamon buns won out. Maybe because they are something that you just can't get in this area. Or maybe, just maybe because of my Swedish roots, I just felt it was time to make them. For unbeknownst to most, October 4 is National Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden.

Who'd have known!

Certainly not me, I'll admit, if I didn't have a good Swedish friend who informed me of this little known fact.

But known or unknown, I did make my first ever batch of homemade cinnamon buns. It was a learning experience and there are definitely changes I'll make for future batches. But all in all, and based on the speed at which they disappeared around here, I'd say they were a small success.

ps - I don't have time at the moment, but if you're interested, I'll post the recipe I used. Just let me know or if you have any secrets yourself for making these lovely rolls...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Patchwork Profusion follow up on the Plethora of a few posts ago.

I'm still working on a few models, in particular a lovely wintery blue one, but I have managed to get these two sorted. And photographed. And listed. And in my world, that's something already.

So here are two new baubles to add to the collection this year. Patchwork Tree and Patchwork Mitten. Any suggestions for a third to accompany them? A snowman perhaps? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Although we've only just entered into October, I've already sold a few baubles this year so it's definitely time to start thinking about it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

We're Havin' a Party....

... okay, well we're not really. At least not at the moment.

But if you are, then I have something for you! Just listed - bunches of new invites for you to print yourself. Just purchase, send me your details and I'll send you the finished file for you to print yourself.

And as just about all of my prints can be made into invites, if you don't see what you need or want, just drop me a line and I'll see what I can do. Easy peasy and so much fun!

Check out the entire collection here.

Pssss - also planning some new prints for later this week as well as a bauble or two.... stay tuned!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sick Day

Today was a sick day for me. But as I work from home, that doesn't mean I had the day off. Instead, I simply made a slight change of venue. One of the advantages of working: on days when you're run down with cold so much so that your voice has dropped 2 octaves and become so husky that you could surely land another one of those work from home jobs (you know, the kind where you answer the telephone and have rather intimate conversations with strangers not, of course, that I have any experience in that!), you can still get things done and be cosy at the same time.

So today I set up shop in the sitting room, enjoyed the sofa and the sunlight while watching Julie & Julia (yes again, it was on, again) and got a bit of work done. Despite the pile of tissues that grew rapidly beside me.

I'm not the only one who enjoyed the change of atmosphere. I was joined quite quickly by Pippa, our Scottie. Our rather laidback Scottie, I should add. She isn't bothered by children dressing her up in various outfits, or by four-year olds tugging on her ears, and she doesn't ever bark. Ever. She truly has an uncanny ability to exude her relaxed attitude in everything she does.

And so laidback Pippa and I enjoyed the afternoon on the sofa. Me working and Pippa napping. In a somewhat unorthodox position. Or maybe it's just me, though I'm tempted to try this position out tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Do Ré Mi ou C D E...

Let the cultural war begin!

I'll start by giving you a bit of background. I grew up playing the piano. Sometimes I wanted to, other times my parents made me, but ultimately I'm glad I did it as it's become part of who I am. For a longtime after leaving home I didn't have a piano. And I missed it. Now that I do finally have my own, I don't play it all the time, but I am glad that it's there when I do want to sit down and "tinkle the ivories" so to speak. It's fun. It's soothing. And sometimes banging out a bit of Chopin really helps relieve a bit of frustration.

And so, with this in mind while raising my own children, I wanted to give them something similar. I suppose I would have to say that my mindset is that by getting my children involved in music lessons, I'm giving them the gift of music and something they will keep the rest of their lives.

It's a lovely thought isn't it. I thought so too. Until we moved to France.

Yes, France. That lovely country where apparently everyone who doesn't live here wants to move. I recalled this thought as my husband and I watched Julie & Julia last night. Sitting there on the sofa as Julia arrived in her new premises in Paris and gushed about how lovely it all is, I blurted out "yes, I can see how anyone watching this film would think France is utopic."

And then I turned to hubby and with a somewhat evil and definitely mischievous look in my eye, suggested someone make a film about children and parents and music school in France to give the viewers the other side of the coin.... The dark side as I like to call it.

Where to begin? I guess by explaining that in France, you're not actually allowed to learn music for fun. No. You're not. It's very serious business. Even if you are only 6. I found this out when we moved here and was told my daughter couldn't possibly enroll in the local music school in order to continue her piano lessons. For you see, it was January and school had already been in session and it's just not done. So it was either wait 9 months to start again or find a private, in-home teacher.

I went with the latter and hired a private tutor. The following week she turned up at the house in her very large gold Mercedes, standing about 6ft4 in her flowing dress, wearing a rather boatish-sized shoe and sporting a suspicous looking 5 o'clock shadow though it was only 1 in the afternoon. Though it is part of life, my stomach dropped at the thought of how to explain this to a 5 and 8 year old, especially since the 5 year old was on to her and proceeded to say so, directly to her face. Despite the somewhat bumpy start, we did have a few good months of lessons until summer when my oldest decided she wanted to play the cello and cello meant école de musique.

Those who grew up in France may very well be aware. And perhaps it's a club where they are sworn to secrecy, determined to let the uninformed suffer through and naively sign up for what they think is going to be simple and fun music lessons with a bit of theory thrown in. Oh how they must snicker as we sign on that dotted line, ignoring the finer points of the contract. For simple does not enter into the vocabulary of the école de musique. I have, in fact, been told by the current director that music school is not for fun. It is school and it is hard work. School is not fun.

Understatement of the year. The past 2 years of my life have consisted of driving back and forth to the music school at various times of the day and on various days of the week. There is music theory on one day and then there is practical, where you actually get to play the instrument not just talk about it, on another. With the 2 children in classes (my second has taken up the flute) we have also had 2 years of chorus as well as various concerts and demonstrations thrown in, mostly at highly inconvenient times. This year, much to my relief, we have been deemed to have done our time with chorus and I had a fleeting thought that in fact it may be a bit less stressful. Fleeting. Very fleeting. My oldest came home on Monday and announced that she's expected at orchestra class this year. At another time and day of course.

That was it. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back or as the French would say, goutte qui fait déborder le vase or, to translate, drop that made the vase overflow. And overflow it did. In the form of a complete and total meltdown in the offices of the music school and in front of a group of completely flabbergasted French men and women who obviously couldn't comprehend how having to be at the music school at 8 different times during the week could pose even the slightest problem. Ben alors?

As I search for a way for my children to learn music for the pleasure of it, we remain prisoners of the music school. I guess the problem is that culturally we are just very different. I want my children to learn music for their general education but mostly just to enjoy it and have fun. They, apparently, are hoping to form the next world reknown composer. They must already know that there is no hope in our house for that. Not only is the mother (that would be me) an American basketcase, but my youngest has just turned 4 and as of yet no symphonies has been composed. Not even the smallest concerto.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Plethora of Pretty Patchworks

I've been wanting to do something like this for a while now, but it seems that up until now time and inspiration were not willing to work together. When I had the time, no inspiration and when I had the inspiration, well, no time.

But persistence is the key, especially when creating a plethora or pretty patchworks - don't you just love that alliteration? - and so finally I've been able to cut and stick and glue and paint something along the lines of what I've had in mind. The end result? A few yummy mixed media collages using my very own prints and patterns.

I'm still working on more, but here is a sampling of the first batch, soon to be listed in my shop.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's the Braderie!

While we're waiting on the installation of the new bathroom, I thought I would offer you some other entertainment in the form of cultural history from northern France.

This weekend, it's the Braderie de Lille as is every first weekend of September. A braderie is something you'll find all over northern France as well as Belgium and in simple terms means that either the shops are having big sales or the town is having a kind of flea market or all-town tag sale.

In the case of Lille, however, it goes far beyond this simplistic definition. You see, the Braderie de Lille is the braderie of all braderies. Although the origins are not completely clear, there are stories that date this event back to the Middle Ages and it seems to have been going strong ever since. In modern times, starting about mid-week, signs go up blocking or diverting traffic and the city shuts down (or most of its streets do) to allow for sellers to set up their wares. In a couple of days and for a long weekend, the city transforms into a mix of professional and private sellers coming from all over and offering things such as antique armoires and chests to half-worn out shoes and coats. Anything and everything can be bought and sold from the estimated 10.000 sellers who set up shop at Europe's biggest flea market.

And given the estimated 2 million visitors that the braderie attracts every year, you can imagine that many things are indeed bought and to the some. Though many people come to find a bargain or that perfect piece for their collections, a lot come just for the fun and ambiance of the Braderie because, you see, it doesn't end with just the selling and buying. Oh no. This is northern France where mussels and chips/fries reign supreme and no festival would be complete without your traditional moules frites.

And so if all that walking and browsing and negotiating has gotten you a big peckish, never fear. Pull up a seat at any one of a number of restaurants and enjoy this traditional dish (with mayonnaise for the chips, please) as most of your fellow shoppers will surely be doing. Then you can proudly say that your meal has contributed to another one of the Braderie's traditions that you'll find scattered about the streets.... le tas de moules

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Just when you think... can start focussing on non-necessary, fun projects in your house, reality always seems to come back to remind you that it's just not going to happen.

I should know this by now as I've been through it enough. And yet, the optimist in my still holds out hope that one day we'll be able to replace the absolutely wretchedly ugly doors leading to our front hall and garage. Words cannot describe the state of these doors, but let me try. Hollow Core. Beige. Scuffed. Dirty. Broken glass replaced with plywood. Getting the picture? It is one of the intentions I hold closest to my heart to replace these doors, except it's not all that easy as we need to replace them with antique doors to go with the rest of the house, and this not only means hunting around for the right doors, it also means having the budget to purchase once they are located.

And that budget keeps getting diverted elsewhere. In the current case, to the upstairs shower room.

It looks all nice and innocent in the photo doesn't it? Well let me show you a different angle then.... You see where there looks like there should be a shower? Yes, there's the problem.

We left on holidays having a shower. We came back to a big leak coming through the downstairs ceiling. Wait, let me dig up that photo as well....Ah, here it is. Lovely isn't it.

The thing is, the leak isn't new apparently. It's years old. More years than we've owned the house. So another big old thank you to the old owner who thought it ingenious to trim the inside of the shower stall not with waterproof tiling, but with wood. A small note to anyone contemplating this small act of folly: DON'T DO IT!

Because this is what you end up with.... A big rotten hole in your floorboards and in your ceiling. And walls that are rotten and covered in mold (you can't see that here, we got a small peek this morning when the contractor removed the tiles). Oh, and sick children.

So we're at it again. Remodeling. But this time out of necessity rather than desire. On the bright side, I'll have a nice new shower and bathroom in the end. On the downside, I have to live with those horrid doors a while longer.....