Saturday, 16 August 2014

fill your wedding for free - part two

since last weeks post I have spotted another four abandoned chairs, bringing the new total needed to just 138...

but if you've read last weeks blog you will also realise that this proposal has been nixed.

table decorations on the other hand tho.....

now the areas where we agree on what we want for our wedding are very few... to my fiancé's (nearly 8 months later and I think I'm getting used to that now) annoyance, I am what is know in this modern world as 'a groom with a view', I am a husband-to-be that actually cares about my wedding, and not just from a financial perspective, but with my eye for aesthetics and a creative passion that runs through my family, I also care what our wedding looks like.

somewhere amongst the many times when she has made up her mind, only to change it again later, and often without warning, we agreed on something like a homely, shabby-chic style look for our wedding... except it won't be one of those twee shabby-chic weddings that are everywhere right now because the twee shabby-chic look is in, I don't want a wedding look that is 'in' or 'on-trend', I want a wedding that will reflect us.... and what reflects us better than her tendency to be drawn to pretty patterns and details, and my tendency to want to save as much money as possible and get creative at the same time?!?

somewhere amongst the many times when she has made up her mind, only to change it again later, and often without warning, she asked some friends and family to save their empty jars for us.... within a sub-two week period we were inundated with empty jars of differing shapes and sizes and had to ask friends and family to stop saving their jars for us...

we have paid out for the venue, the caterers, the photographer...  none of them were cheap and all of them I have agreed to because I have faith in them and I believe they will be worth it.

but in terms of my own creativity, I was down with this whole 'up-cycling' and 'repurposing' before it was even a thing... and so I spent last Saturday trying out a few different techniques and ideas on a small selection of donated jars, using leftover paints, free wallpaper samples... and my trusty mod-podge.

with 365 days until our wedding, I posted a status on facebook saying that in a years time everyone will be complementing the bride on how beautiful she looks, and complementing me on some interesting tables decorations

Her mum wanted to know what that meant (about the table decorations, obviously), but with a combination of donated jars, beads from a thrown out hanging door curtain, charity shop purchases and a Russian doll/pirate that was another street find all sitting on our dining table serving as somewhat of a dry-run, I think I should fall plenty short of the estimated (and frankly, quite slender) budget we have allowed for table displays....

Sunday, 10 August 2014

fill your wedding for free - part one

Why stop at the home and garden?!?

With the average cost of UK weddings clocking in at around the 21 thousand pound mark, and with me currently lined up to have two weddings next year (an English ceremony and a Hindu ceremony, same person... don't worry) I thought it perhaps wise to apply the same principles by which I live my home life to my impending nuptials.

There are, of course, stumbling blocks.

And our most prominent stumbling block is numbers... y'know I mentioned a Hindu ceremony... yep, Indian family... by Indian wedding standards our wedding will be small, in terms of finding a freebie venue and convincing guests to each bring a dish, it was a bit of a no-go (not that I was actually brave enough to ask)

In our horribly post-modern world that is despicably tainted by celebrity culture, the ideal of the fairy tale dream wedding is rammed down your throat, leaving the bitter taste of huge over-inflated cost in your mouth as you struggle not to choke.

But keeping costs down is where it counts, if you're as financially savvy and creatively inclined as I am it is not only rewarding on the pocket, it is also a personal reward in itself as you peruse the 'accepted' versions of weddings and the inherent cost of them and realise that a) you don't really need all that stuff, and b) you can put your own personal stamp on proceedings for a fraction of the advertised costs

Obviously, there are two people in a relationship, and quite often a few more people that are looking to voice their opinions and have their own say on your wedding, so agreement is key

Currently we don't agree on chair covers

She wants them, and has rather admirably negotiated them into the cost of the caterer (Go Team Super-Scrimper!!)

I, on the other hand, agree that if we are using the venue's chairs then they will definitely need covering, however I have suggested an alternative seating arrangement.

Our front room is home to a number of abandoned chairs, previously I have visually logged a catalogue of discarded chairs, and certainly, since wedding plans have begun I have spotted a number of cast-out chairs that would be warmly welcomed by myself at the wedding

By my current count, I would only have needed to find another 142 chairs before next April to fill the required quota, but of course, this would also have meant finding storage for a rather hefty amount of chairs, and I've got barely any more room at home already for free stuff, let alone some 160 chairs!!

So I have relented on this idea (begrudgingly)... 

table decorations however...

Saturday, 2 August 2014

fill your garden for free

Much the same as Kirsty (Alsopp, I remembered, or at least researched her name in a moment of sobriety) encouraged us all to fill our houses for free, so I thought I would extend this idea to the garden

I love my garden, but it is questionable how much my garden loves me back.

I have spent a number of summery days trying to make good the decking, I have used the jetwash, I have swept it, and I have re-stained it with the marvellous disappearing Cuprinol...

But far beyond the decking, far beyond the grassy mid-patch and the sometimes flowering borders is another matter altogether...

In the space occupied by the shed is a concreted wasteland, I used to take my spray paints to this section of the garden but now I barely recognise it, beyond the shed, beyond the usual attention shown and the sight of our eyes is a place over run by ivy, a place where 'out of sight, out of mind' has rung true for too long...

But wait for me, for this shall be my sanctuary.

I'll (eventually) defeat the bamboo that was once so useful but now travels to parts of the garden (and beyond, on to next door's garden!) and eventually tame the forever growing wild ivy that wants to infiltrate the shed, even tho it is unwelcome 

And then, and only then (or sooner, if I get impatient) shall that end of the garden be my sanctuary..

But I refuse to pay a fortune for the privilege, since turning my attentions to the garden, wanting to fit a higher trellis above the back fence as a deterrent to would be thieves and football fetchers, and create a secretive yet secure space, I have been on the look out for the resources to help complete my project

So far I have seen a bin and a couple of buckets chucked out, a rather dashing orange tub and an old pre-loved planter, these will fill the (in progress) space perfectly, I also found three recycled glass plant pots/vases thrown into the bin at work that I couldn't bear to see go to waste, so now they live on my kitchen windowsill, and I also intend to take a number of cuttings, all with the greatest intention of filling a fully functional leafy hideaway for as little as possible.

tomorrow I intend to get up early and thwart the bamboo and chase back the advancing ivy, but be trustful that my garden may not be minimal in a stylistic sense, but shall certainly be minimal on my pocket.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Kirsty told me to fill my house for free

Obviously Kirsty's advice is old news by the time that I hear it...

'Fill your house for free!', she urges the nation...

Shut up Kirsty!! I was on to a good thing before you started spilling all my secrets!

Kirsty Whateverhernameis from Channel 4, I love you but you're bringing me down, I feel that you are taking all of the treasure away from me, making the scrounging, freewheeling lifestyle of mine suddenly BoHo and 'on-trend' and turning the term 'skip diving' from a frowned upon nasty, nasty business into a medal-placing sport!

I rejoice and despair all in the same breath.

Finally the world agrees with my methods.

But stop pilfering all my resources!!!!!

I glance around my front room.  Our front room.

And I see how little I have spent.

Bought new.... a floating shelf... the small wall-mounted cabinet housing our (ahem) 'borrowed' projector... the sofa from Ikea and the cushions (that my partner thinks we should now substitute for something more grown up....

A charity shop provided the secondhand table and a couple of the chairs...

For free....  a 70’s teak sideboard (from down the road), a bakery tray tv unit holding a fat-back tv that formerly lived in an outdoor toilet... salvaged chairs... a vinyl cabinet (from down the road), the filing cabinet (from one road away), a drop-leaf table (from down the road), the record player (from a few roads away)...

and that is just one room!!

The cost of living that has been a constant source of ire to my girlfriend (now fiancée) is a minimal cost.. from the description you may think we are living in something like a junk shop (just don't check the shed), but the truth is we have a unique home that reflects a passion for things that people think are no longer useful... yet they've saved us a packet... and they've meant we can grow our own style naturally

It has taken time, but in some respects my other half has definitely converted

Kirsty may be trying to sell the 're-use and recycle' idea to the mainstream, but avoiding the twee chiché and with a twist of Ikea chic, we have made a home for ourselves that exists outside the world of leather-corner sofas and 'neutral' colour paint schemes

Thanks Kirsty, but we've already got this covered.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The mystery of the disappearing Cuprinol

I'll admit it sounds like the most boring chapter in the Harry Potter series or perhaps an adventure that Sherlock Holmes and even Scooby Doo willingly passed on.

But the combination of 'home' life and steadfastly fixing my age at 30 finds you suddenly caring about the oddest things.

Those of us that remember the way things were remember when crisp packets held more and Wagon Wheels were bigger, and in a similar entry of world weary dissatisfactions I have now found that cuprinol seems to disappear.

(Anyone uninterested in D.I.Y based rants/observations may want to find something more thrilling to do with their lives right. about.   now.)

Certainly, the tin looks full upon opening, but as you progress trying to preserve your decking, behold, that it disappears before your very eyes.

I'm currently on my 2nd (new) tin this summer, having found the first was empty after only coating the decking 1 and a half times...

The old tin I just finished, it managed the decking twice over and then some, a few additional coats plus yearly applications to the garden furniture and a few touch ups here and there that saw the first tin last around 3 years.

And now, with the newest tin opened I want to cry thinking how much I have just paid for it and finding that it doesn't want to go very far.

Friday, 11 July 2014

'When I Was Young'

A rather recent concern of mine is something that is new to me.

As someone that has felt that in my day to day life I have seen what there is to see and had my fair share of experiences, this new feeling is troubling to me on so many levels.

Because I love music, and I listen to a lot of music, but since I turned thirty (for only the second time) just over a week ago I have felt a whole new sensation that leaves me cold.

Older music used to remind me of when I was younger.

suddenly, old music reminds me of when I was young.

yes, the difference in the written form (or even the spoken form if you aren't capable of silent reading) is only slight, but the ramifications for me are overwhelming.

I hear Stardust's Music Sounds Better With You, I hear Usher's You Make Me Wanna, I hear Sixpence None The Richer's Kiss Me (to name just three examples off the top of my head that I have heard today alone) and I think of other times, and other places, and this is nothing new, but now I think of someone else.

I don't know what happened, perhaps making the conscience decision from now on to lie about my age has triggered a wholly unexpected alternate past.

But suddenly, the person I am now feels almost completely disconnected from the person that I used to be...  It used to be a thread that ran from then until now, but now I feel that I am on the other side of the glass, looking back at what once was.

Not only that, but previously, I felt that everything that happened to me was leading me somewhere.  Now I am somewhere, rather lost with no clue where I am going still, but all of that time that has passed, I don't know where it has been...

So, this isn't ageing I don't think.  I think I am aged.

My life is still going somewhere, but the youth that trailed me is barely even in my orbit.

I'm still too young to feel old (I hope), but something changed.  and I don't think it could ever change back to the way it was.

I guess I can't be the first person to feel it, but as a person it is the first time I have felt it for myself.


what happens next? 


Thursday, 10 July 2014

a lengthy absence.

Oh.  Wow.

Over 6 months have passed.

More than half a year.

In real life, that is a long time.

In blogging life, that is a phenomenally long time.  So much so that I thought I would never come back.  When it's been that long is there really any point? Any momentum, any sort of pace or direction or forward motion has planted itself solidly in the ground.

Regardless, I've always written purely because I love writing, when I get the bug for it it's like an itch that I just have to scratch.  I need to find more time to scratch my itch.

Back when I was on more regular blogging duty, a couple of weeks felt like a long time and I would feel the need to apologise for such rubbishness.  and the I vowed to stop apologising for such rubbishness because it was turning into a whole load of apologising for such rubbishness, but right now is an exception.

Cos I've been rubbish.

At times, life has been rubbish.  Personal circumstances have been spectacularly rubbish at the worst of times, and sometimes not even that great at the best of times.  Life was changing, my job changed, since January I've found myself stuck behind a desk, one place I never thought I'd actually end up, all of these things, the time constraints, the constraints of having too much time to think while you mindlessly process data-entry yet never find time to act upon your 'real' thoughts, they have affected me.

When people say that they 'weren't in a very good place', I think I've been there now, it's true, it's not very good, don't bother going there, don't even pass through, there is nothing to see there.

It hasn't been completely fruitless, reviews and articles and mixtapes have cropped up in a few places, but for a long time it's been hard to feel like myself... I think I may be finding my way back there slowly.

in just this week alone I've managed to knock out a couple of reviews, as well as getting slightly more creative/constructive things done around the house/garden, and I thought a new entry for the blog should be next in line.

And there it is I guess, nothing too special.  But it is just me, writing again. and it feels better than it has for a long time.