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Posts Tagged ‘Hesketh House’

Bee awareness.

I love our honeybees, I could go so far as to say I absolutely adore our bees, but they are not the only pollinators so we shouldn’t just concentrate on saving them.

These little ladies with the remarkable ability to cut so precisely may be in your garden.

Have you ever noticed little semicircles or circles cut out of your leaves? Then you possibly have Leafcutter bees.

Until we moved into Hesketh House, which is a wildlife magnet, I had never even heard of them – but apparently they are 10 times better pollinators than honeybees which is why they’re so important.

They are one of dozens of species of solitary bees meaning they live on their own and make little individual nests. As their name suggests, they cut out leaves and roll them up into tubes inside a tiny tunnel burrowed into wood – and in our case, an old beer barrel hoist on the front of the house with an extremely well used timber beam (seen above to the left of the front door).

They’ve come back for the last three years which is a huge thrill for us.

This is my new wisteria planted very recently to grow up the front of the house and is providing them with an easy source of nesting material – they obviously like it even more than the roses.

The sacrifice of a few holes in the leaves is well worth it for these industrious little pollinators, and I hope they continue to use our house for many years to come.

In fact, our roofer completed his restoration and had the scaffolding removed just as the Leafcutter’s returned for their new season…..a good thing too, because one of those posts was right against the wooden section they use!


#heskethhouseapiary #heskethhouse #BackyardBeekeeping #saveourpollinators #savetheleafcutterbee #leafcutterbees #solitarybees

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We had a dilemma – how to fix or disguise a number of unsightly problems in the corner of the Assembly rooms….  1. A missing piece of wooden panelling.  2.  An electrical socket in the lower wall.  3. Heating and water pipes coming from upstairs to the downstairs bathroom. 4. Another electrical socket near the ceiling (once used in the pub for a television mounted in the corner) and 5. The network cable box that had been dangling from the wall since it was installed a few years ago.

All of the above made for a bit of an eye-sore in an otherwise nearly fully refurbished room.  If we had addressed each of the problems individually, it would have taken a lot of time and expense, and rather than doing that I had an idea to cover all of them up in once fell swoop using a corner unit.  I would have loved a nice big, old oak corner unit, but that wasn’t happening on our non existent budget; instead we ‘bought’ this ugly 1980s horror….

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Apparently these are as common as muck – as I found on my trawl through an online auction site – people can’t ‘give’ them away because the last time I was in the charity furniture store there were at least 6 of these looking for a new home – unsuccessfully!

I landed up with this one for the princely sum of  £3.75 – the seller declined the 99 pence I had won it for!  I didn’t want them to go totally unrewarded so the £3.75 was the cost of 1 easter egg and a small bunch of flowers for them instead.

Getting it home, it seemed even uglier than I remembered and in a house full of lovely oak antiques it stood out like a boil in the middle of your forehead!  I did wonder at this point whether the finished repurpose/upclycle would in any way match the ideal in my head.

Armed with the plans (I.e. My imagination), a sheet of MDF and a couple of strips of recycled moulding, we set to work cutting, screwing and generally changing the corner unit to fit its new location.  Most of the mouldings on the unit were removed and replaced to wrap around the extended side sections; these ensured the unit was big enough to cover all of the problems we were trying to hide – like these pipes and sockets near the ceiling…..

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After day one we had the shell completed and all the screw holes and corners were filled and caulked to give nice clean lines when it was painted.

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Day two started off with sanding all the filler and getting the inside of the cupboard painted.  I chose to use because it can be painted directly onto most furniture and surfaces without needing any sanding or stripping.

The inside was painted the very bold Emperor’s Red…..

I didn’t waste time masking off the windows because it is so much easier just scraping off the paint on the glass once it is dry.  Here I used a utility knife blade…it would have been quicker and easier with my glass scraper, but as usual when you need a tool you hardly every use, it was missing!

Before scraping…..

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and after…..IMG_5869IMG_5868

Next we tackled the exterior in Old White; a good match to the rest of the whites in the room and gives the appearance of a little age…..

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It did take a few coats to cover up that horrid mahogany veneer on the front of the original unit, but once that was done all the hardware was reinstalled and we were done…..

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In the top (this was extended from the top of the original cabinet to the ceiling) is a little hatch which is clipped into place.  Inside is a set of speakers linked to the hifi unit in the base.  The holes allow enough sound through and is nicely hidden away so no technology is visible in the room.  I am now on the hunt for a matching colour fabric to cover the hatch and also create a frame on the lower door in the same moulding and fabric – for continuity.

It is a hot topic of debate about whether the natural wood moulding at the ceiling should be left as it is, or painted white like the rest.  I felt it tied the unit into the beams rather nicely, but so far I am in the minority so who knows if it will stay or go.

I think this was a rather successful project and definitely fulfilled its brief of disguising or hiding all the horrid problems in the corner of the room.

You’d never know that it had started out as such an ugly unit.  A great upcyle and repurpose of a piece of furniture that would definitely have found its way to the rubbish dump if we hadn’t rescued it.

 

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Such excitement at Hesketh House this week  – I got to eat my very first cherry off one of my Espaliered orchard trees!

We did get a few apples and cherries last year as well, but we didn’t get to the cherries before the birds enjoyed them.  I am happy to leave them for the birds for a few years before we start to net them, but it was rather lovely to taste the last couple left for us….and they were delicious!

The Espaliered orchard is coming along very nicely and it really does bring me such joy to see them progress from the little stalks that arrived in the post a couple of years ago.

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Considering it is winter I am amazed that every day we have butterflies hatching somewhere in our house! Today I have had these two beauties grace me with their presence….

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I wonder how many are in the rest of the house today – we usually have around four or five – what a lovely part of our homes amazing history – truly blessed!

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Famous last words by hubby! After about an hour he is done, but seriously, how many tools does it take to hang a mirror?
This many…..

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Wow! Now you can really see how uneven the wall is because it touches the wall on one corner only; but it certainly is pretty. Now all we need to do is decorate. You may ask why hang the mirror before we decorate but it is safer on the wall than propped up somewhere it may get bumped or broken.

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Not knowing much about butterflies, I am a little mystified by their behaviour in and around our house.  For the last few months we have had a constant influx of two different butterfly species that seem absolutely determined to get into the house; even when the windows are all closed they flutter against the outside glass as if they are trying to get in!  Curious really, but I did wonder if, considering the houses history with butterflies, they are actually trying to return to the roof space to lay eggs.  Sounds odd, but when we moved in there were hundreds and hundreds of them in the house as they had obviously incubated in the roof whilst the house was abandoned and boarded over and then proceeded to hatch the year we moved in.

Yesterday, whilst watching one of them and trying to get it back out the window, it made its way through a hole in the ceiling and disappeared not to be seen again!  

If you have any knowledge of peacock and cardinal butterflies and can shed any light on this behaviour please let me know because at the moment we spend and awful lot of time trying to evict them; speaking of which, I must go – there is another one fluttering between the sash windows!

 

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Our house has produced some fairly interesting items of up-cycling since we moved in and started the restoration.  None more so than today’s little (very little) project which helps re-use some of the old roofing lead we have stashed away to make some lovely little sewing weights for my sewing room.  I will use these to place on my pattern pieces and allow me to cut out without the paper moving all over the show.

A few scraps of fabric from a cloth nappy I am in the process of making, a piece of ribbon and a hot-glue gun – et voila! Up-cycling a piece of an old roof into a sewing accessory – unexpected and perfect!

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