A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts


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Fun in the snow

The cats loved playing in the snow last weekend. Two of them did, anyway. Sammie refused point-blank to go out in it. Frodo was outside for most of the day, with a short interlude for a wash and a snooze on my lap. Rosie was outside for a fair bit of the day although she wasn’t as keen on the snow falling on her and didn’t like the sound of the snow crunching under my wellies.

This photo was taken on Saturday before the snow really came down on the night. There was just a sprinkling so it gave them a chance to get used to the idea before playing out on the Sunday in the deeper snow.Frodo had a whale of a time. He was chasing snowflakes, helping Stephen to shake the snow off the enclosure roof and stalking Rosie. Rosie was a bit more cautious but didn’t seem to mind the snow underfoot. It was great seeing them have so much fun and it definitely wore them out as Frodo spent the evening cuddled up next to me, fast asleep, while Rosie curled up in her favourite bed on the cat tree.

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Adventure playground

The cat enclosure is pretty much finished. We’ve got a couple of ornaments, the water feature & some solar lights to go out there but we’ll wait for spring for those now. Other than that, it’s all done, apart from a couple of places where the paint on the woodwork needs touching up.

I’ve taken a couple of photos…

There are planting areas around the roof supports. The supports are on bricks, which are cemented in. I’ve planted with lots of different grasses. They look a bit weedy at the moment but will be all different heights, textures and colours once they get going next year. I’ve left spaces between them for the cats to stalk through. I’ve added an extra layer of weed-proof membrane as I planted, so hopefully no weeds and the cats won’t be able to go digging. I’ve used river cobbles on top of the membrane as I love the look it gives and also I was hoping that the cats wouldn’t move them. I was wrong on that one. Rosie has been playing football with them. Still, they’re easier to put back than smaller pebbles so all’s good. The new step looks good and the cats love the border of slabs that goes around the edge. They like to lie on it, especially if the grass is damp.Frodo is enjoying being outside more as we can now let them out after it’s been raining. Before it would turn into a mud bath out there. He has some lightweight balls outside which he loves to bat around the grassy area. Sammie is a bit of a gymnast and balances on the roof supports. She loves all the higher sections, including the new shelf we’ve added between two of the supports. The big of garden immediately around the enclosure is looking good but the rest of it is still a mess. We’ll be working on that next year as well as sorting out the conservatory.


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Cat flaps

The cats are loving their new enclosure but it was getting a bit chilly having the back doors open for them to go in and out. Because of where we’re situated, and because Rosie tends to panic if she can’t get in and hide if she needs to, we couldn’t just close the doors and leave them out there.

We’d been talking about having a cat flap for a while but couldn’t decide where to have it. The options were to go through the wall in my craft room, which would be a big job but would only need one flap. I was worried about getting a draught in there though as it’s a cold room to start with.

The other option was to go though the kitchen door. Then to either go through the conservatory wall, or though the door, which is double-glazed. If the latter, we’d have needed to have a new glass bit made with the cat flap already in it.

We’d been going back and forth on it for ages so eventually we found a company online that looked reputable, (Facebook reviews/good website etc) and gave them a ring. They turned out to be a godsend as not only did they give excellent advice, but fitted two flaps the next day (last Friday).

We had one in the kitchen door and one in the conservatory door. We had the glass panel replaced by a solid one as the door wasn’t wide enough to take the cat flap and still be strong enough. It looks a bit odd having the glass on one side and a solid panel on the other but I can live with it. If it does bother me, I can always get the other panel replaced to match.

The company we used is All Glass & Glazing, and we’ll definitely use them again if we need any glass work done. They were fast, efficient and friendly and left absolutely no mess at all. They supplied the flaps, which we chose from their website and they’re plenty big enough for the cats.

Frodo got the hang of using them straight away. I’ve been trying to get a pic of him but he’s so confident that he goes through them at about 90mph. He’s loving it.

Stephen made a little step for them outside as we thought the drop might put them off using it.

Sammie took a little longer to use the flaps and would still prefer for us to open the door instead, but she has been using them and has been in and out a few times today.Rosie is the most reluctant. She has used them but isn’t keen on trying to push them open. There are magnets holding the flaps steady, so they don’t blow in the wind. The cats do have to push a bit harder than if there weren’t any and that is what Rosie is struggling with. She’ll soon get the hang of it though.I’m noticing that the back door needs cleaning. Everything got a bit grubby out there while the landscaping in the enclosure was being worked on. Now it’s pretty much finished, I’ll have to get my scrubbing brush out!

I’ve been taking photos of the enclosure and I’ll post them soon. We’re really happy with it, and so are the cats.


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Adventure playground – landscaping day three

Late shifts and rain have prevented me from posting the daily progress on this, plus the guys couldn’t work on one day due to unforeseen problems.

We do have lots of progress though. The gravel has been put down around the three sides, outside the enclosure, and it looks great. It’s still to be tamped down and levelled but we’re really pleased with how it looks.

The hardcore has been put down inside, leaving gaps where the planting will be. A finer layer was added after it was tamped down.

The slabs have been laid round the inside edge. They look great!

The step has been re-laid, with bricks beneath it and an extra step, partly because it looks nice, but mostly because otherwise we’d have had a patched bit of artificial turf as the roll isn’t quite long enough.

They’ve also weeded the patio and jetwashed the soil from between the slabs. They’re going to put some stuff down there to deter further weed growth as it’s a pain trying to get the weeds out of those fine gaps.

Looking good so far but lots more to do.


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Adventure playground – landscaping day one

I got home from work to find that lots had been done through the day. Just look at it now.

Stephen took a couple of photos during the day to send to me at work. At this point they’d put down the weedproof membrane.

They did a great job, tucking it under the enclosure so no weeds could come through and it’s tucked under the sleepers outside the enclosure too.

Talking of sleepers, don’t these look so much better than those old bricks that were on the verge of falling down.

And there are more sleepers supporting the slabs on the other side.

They’ve made a start on putting the hardcore down inside the enclosure, ready for the slabs and turf.

So far we’re really pleased with their work. I can’t wait to see what it looks like tomorrow night!

 


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Adventure playground – lots of progress

We’ve been trying to find the time, and the energy to get this bit of the garden landscaped for a while now. It hasn’t been easy, so we’ve given up on the idea of trying to do it ourselves and have found some nice chaps to do it for us.

It desperately needs doing and at the rate we’re working, it’ll still be a work in progress in two years time. Every time it rains it turns into a mud bath, which is why we have lots of cardboard down at the moment. My kitchen floor is permanently covered in muddy paw prints, or so it seems. Rosie loves the cardboard and burrows underneath it to dig in the soil. Not a great look on a cat with a white front and face.

I thought I’d take photos before, during and after as it’ll be fun to see the faster progress made by professionals.

This is how it looks this morning before the chaps start work.

The inside –  The safety porch –The left side – The right side – The back – The outside edges were knee-high in weeds but I had a good couple of days out there and got rid of them. Hopefully, once the chaps have finished, we won’t get that problem again.

Weather permitting, there’ll be more photos tomorrow.


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Scrapbooking – I’m on a roll

I haven’t scrapped for a couple of years, pretty much. I hadn’t realised it had been so long until I checked when I last uploaded any layouts to my blog. It’s been frustrating, to be honest. I have so much stash and I really want to use it, but every time I tried, it just couldn’t hold my interest.

I recently saw that one of my friends had started to scrap her holiday photos, days after returning from that holiday. The layout she’d done was lovely and it made me want to play with photos and pretty paper again.

So, I pulled out some photos that I’d already got a vague plan for and scrapped them. Just like that. Previously, whenever I’d tried, I’d pushed bits of paper around for an hour and then given up. This layout came together in about 30 minutes. It just felt right.

It’s a rubbish photo, mind. I seem to have lost the knack, (if I ever had it) of photographing the layouts straight. You get the idea though.

Once I’d done that one, I wanted to do more so this one was the result. Again, it felt easy to do.

Looking at the photo of it, in hindsight maybe the photo should’ve been a bit higher, but it’s ok. More to the point, I loved doing it (and the photo of it is a bit better).

Since then I’ve pulled out the Alaska/Rockies photos and have made good progress on those. Once I’ve got a few more layouts done, I’ll post a gallery of them.