Wednesday, 26 November 2014

How to: Christmas house decorations

This year I plan to make a few of these little dudes (can a house be a dude? I don't know.  Perhaps I should schedule a post on the personhood of inanimate objects someday) for various folks - as 'first christmas in your new home' type gifts, 'thank you for having me' gifts and 'here, have a tiny village' gifts.

Step 1:  Select a short length of wood left over from making a play tent, I cut mine down to about three times its width:
Wood all marked up, lookin' shiny in the dim hallway lights.
Step 2:  Mark a cross through roughly the middle of the wood if you want two houses of equal height, or at some other point if you don't.  Mine was slightly off-centre, for artisticals.

Step 3:  Rig up a slightly dodgy-looking clamp assembly in your hallway, because it's too cold and dark for outside nonsense:
This is the first outing for my 'table vice'.  You can find marvelous things at Lidl.
Step 4:  Being moderately lazy, put together your electric saw:
There's a pre-step about charging your batteries, but your saw is probably more charge-holding than mine.  Or not electric, in which case, fuel it with a banana, or some festive lebkuchen.
Step 5:  Cut along one of your diagonal lines to separate your houses from each other.

Step 6:  Cut along each of the remaining diagonal half-lines to leave your house-shapes:
Little housies.
Step 7:  Change the saw-attachment for the sanding attachment, for you are nothing if not lazy.

Step 8:  Sand the roofs and edges of your little housies to make up for your shoddy sawing.

Step 9:  Tidy up after yourself, you dreadful slattern:
We have the niftiest little multi-vac thing in our house - great for jobs like these, plus it's cordless, so you can only hoover for a maximum of 20 minutes.
Step 10:  Mark out the features of your little housies with pencil:
Confession time:  I only did this for the first one, I freehanded the second.
Step 11:  Select a tip for your burning iron, fit it and turn the thing on.  This is yet another fabulous Lidl purchase, it's lots of fun, but you do have to be careful because it gets VERY HOT and the cord is quite short.

Step 12:  Carefully burn over the pencil lines, or freehand your way through it.  Add a roofline because your girlfriend says it needs something at the top.  Try to to hunch over your work too much or you will get hot smoke in your eyes and won't be able to see the table properly.

Step 13:  Burn snowflakes onto a bunch of little wooden discs you have lying around that were sliced of the excess from your morris-dancing sticks, just so you don't waste the heat in your iron.

Step 14:  Admire your handiwork and stretch your spine back into a more normal configuration.  Ignore any alarming cracking noises.  Sigh with relief.
Finished products.  I'm trying to decide whether I prefer the leaded lights of windowpanes.  There might be a prize if anyone spots the difference.
I think I could get quite the little production line going for these.  I'll drill little holes in the snowflake discs and use them as gift tag/tree decoration combos.  I may also wash the housies (or maybe just the doors) with a little paint or stain for colour.

Real Legs are Awesome

Well, they are.

At the top of Corrie Fee - knackered and fabulous!
The title of this post comes from a BBC 2 documentary about servicemen competing in the Invictus Games this year.  Specifically I think it was double amputee David Henson that said it.  And it's become one of the little mantras of our house (along with "No boshing, only loves", "Sounds sticky" and other such deep and meaningful thoughts).

So when Sally posted about loving her knees I was right there with her.  Because real legs are awesome.  And my legs are awesome.  Some of the awesome things my real legs have done recently include:
Off to chase a toddler at the park...

Climbing the back wall of Corrie Fee
Swimming a few lengths here and there
Gymming more than a couple of times each week
Dancing for pretty much 12 hours straight
Taking friends for turns on Daisy the tandem
Chasing toddlers around soft play areas and parks

They may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of legs, by the restrictive standards of conventional beauty, but they are strong and soft and real, and that makes them awesome.