So to follow on from my other 2017 Reading List, DIY Projects, etc. Here are a few ‘design’ related techniques I would like to master this year, plus a few design projects that will inevitably be completed at some point.

Firstly, the design education part:

a) Double Exposure Graphics – I think these look really cool (not sure if the word ‘cool’ is actually cool anymore. I follow a few people, organisations, ‘big’ churches on the popular photo publishing social media site and I’d really like to master this, I’d like to do a blog post graphic occasionally that would have double exposure in it. It all comes back to – time – but I’m hoping to learn and practise this technique.

b) Split Image Graphics – These sort of graphics I have done to some degree in the past, but again I’d like to further develop this skill and take my post graphics ‘to a new level’ – a bit corny… maybe…

I always like a little challenge for myself and I feel these are achievable so I’ll let you know how it goes, probably via a blog post or something.

Projects for this year; Kiri has come to me and asked for a few adjustments to her website, and obviously, as her ‘Creative Director’ (self-given title) I need to get these done otherwise I may get moaned at as she had her blog first – so I’m reminded…

Also I’d like to update my website to be less ‘blog-like’ and more portfolio based as I try to capture more projects that I complete – but I’d better do Kiri’s jobs first… #husbandproblems.




2016 is done and dusted – my word where has the year gone. I’m looking forward into 2017 and look at everything that needs to be done. This post is part of a mini series (probably a bit much) where I plan out goals and things I’d like to get done this year. You can also see my list of DIY projects for 2017.

This list is for books I’d like to read this year. I think I’ve said before that I’m not an avid reader – if you want an avid reader blog, head to Kiri reads lots of books – VERY QUICKLY – It puts me off reading books as she’s so quick (poor excuse I know) I remember one time when we were dating or newly married that there was a book that we were going to read together – separately, but together… not like some weird couples story time… that would be odd. Anyway Kiri was always waiting for me to catch up as I’m a slow reader. Kiri on the other hand can consume a book in an evening… what’s worse now is that books are purchases on our tablet and they have statistics that go with your reading for things such as; What percentage of book you’ve read, what the average speed to read the book is, etc. Kiri is always way ahead of the ‘average’ (show off) and it pains me to think how far behind the ‘average’ I would be.

Anyway I challenge myself every year to read 2-3 books in that year. Sometimes I complete this momentous task, others years, not so much. 2016 has been a year of, not so much. Maybe due to having another baby and the prep for that and a number of DIY projects on the go. Oh and a toddler who thinks I’m some sort of Jester, I occasionally name myself ‘Jester Daddy’ as “Daddy do it” is said probably 1,000 times a day.

Anyway my challenge of 3 books for this year is:

1. Multiply – Francis Chan (I actually started this book last year but haven’t finished it yet)

2. Easily Distracted – Steve Coogan (Kiri bought me this for my birthday and I still haven’t started it)

3. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes – Kenneth E Bailey (One of Kiri’s favourite books on the cultural significance of the time Jesus lived in)

That’s my list; lets check back in a years time and see if I achieve this…



So 2016 has come to an end and it’s time to sort out a list of DIY Projects to do in 2017. 2016 was a year of quite a few projects, however having baby #2 limited the time I could commit to ‘major’ projects over the latter part of the year. Even though I was not able to do any I’ve had a few things in mind that need doing – some of them are alterations to completed projects as I try and make the best of all the space in the house plus realise that my toddler – and in a year or so other toddler will be walking and for example my bay window desk has a corner on it which Nate loves walking in to. Other projects have been discussed with Kiri as we set out to make further changes to the home to make it ‘ours’ from the previous owners. So here is a list of few projects that are on the To Do List for 2017.

1. Finish the front garden – I started the front garden around May time in 2016 as the front garden shrubs were over grown and attempts were made to reign them in were futile and a couple of the shrubs were sending Kiri’s hay fever off the charts meaning that windows weren’t opened etc. so they were removed this year and alas – windows have been opened – much to my delight. Half of the garden had a shrub edging and the other side didn’t so I moved some of the shrubs from one side to the other to make a finished edge. The one thing that didn’t get finished was digging out all the old grass and weeds and laying new seed – that will be a job for Spring 2017.

2. Lounge Decoration – we had a new carpet in our lounge and dining room in the summer, but the previous owners had a dark red feature wall (if you read my wife blog you will see some of the horrendous colours our previous owners liked). The red feature wall looks great at Christmas time, very festive, however makes the room very dark. So the idea is to bring it in line with many other rooms in our house and paint the feature wall ‘Chic Shadow’ grey in other words. I can see this taking quite a few coats of paint.

3. Office transformation (Take 2) – I built a bay window desk which is great but as a mentioned above, Nathanael loves to come in and cracking his head on the corner so I plan to round these off in line with the window ledge – everyone will be happy. Also Kiri doesn’t know this yet, I don’t think, but I built a Guitar Case Rack this year also which was a project that didn’t quite get finished in time before baby #2 arrived and as its sat there, very functional, at the latter end of this year, I feel I could make some improvements to it as I finish it off next year. It may be moved to the other side of the room as well to free up some space so may need to ‘tinker’ with the current office storage unit that’s there to fit it all in — I’ll keep you posted, and if Kiri lets me…

4. When we had our Kitchen modified, well the utility room really, we put in a floor to ceiling pantry (American style so I’ve been told) the door needed painting, which one side did get painted when I decorated the room however I never did a second coat or the inside and to my shame it’s been like that for over 18 months… That was on the list for 2016 but didn’t get done before baby #2 arrived so will be a job for 2017 – I promise, Kiri!

5. Our back patio slabs are a light colour and I fixed some edging around one section of the garden this year but that left some of the patio that was previously covered by this edging now uncovered and showed now discoloured our patio is. So a job for next year is to make the patio sparkly.

6. Garage Organisation Part 2 – in Part 1 of organisation it was basically clear the garage that had become a dumping ground and make some functional spaces. One thing I mentioned in Part 1 was that I had made a space for tools and a little workshop, however my tools are still all chucked in boxes and drawers in this area and it needs a proper sort out, clear up and specific hanging for some tools so hopefully I will have time for this next year.

There are some others that Kiri and I have discussed for 2017. A sandpit, a chalk board. Lots of outdoor children activities. I’m sure there will be other jobs over the year that will be added / take the place in the pecking order of these. So ‘stay tuned’ for the blog posts about these next year.





Christmas Time; My favourite time of year… not. Its dark, cold, wet, windy and people bang on about Santa a lot. Yes I know I’m slightly grumpy there but I’ve been a grumpy 50 year old for about 15 years now!

Anyway December means Christmas Decorations, there is always the debate of when do you put the decorations up, the first Sunday of Advent? This can sometimes be the end of November (probably a little to early). Christmas Eve (probably a little pointless by this point). A good rule of thumb I like to work towards is the first or second week in December then you’ve got them up for long enough to enjoy them before you have to take them down… Another benchmark, are the neighbours; if they have theirs up its socially acceptable to put ours up too.

There are however many frustrating things about Christmas decorations that stores should warn you about. Things such as, after you buy these christmas lights, the bulbs will become discontinued and you will never be able to use them once more than 5 bulbs go. There is always a broken ornaments that will lead to an argument about who didn’t put them away in the attic carefully enough, or not getting them out of the attic carefully enough – not that this happens in our house, I’m always careful… err…

But anyway to get to a place where getting the decorations out of the attic and up in a reasonable time that doesn’t seem like an eternity, here are a few ways of storing/organising decorations when you put them away after Christmas.

1. Light holders – tree lights inevitably get tangled and twisted however nicely they are put away, its like the christmas fairy messes with them throughout the year to bring that extra bit of ‘joy’ when putting up the decorations. I use the light boxes to make a holder that keeps the lights all neat and tidy.

2. Tree Ornament Boxes – if you are buying ornaments, especially expensive ones, keep the box it came in for safe storage for the 11 months it not in use. We have a big box to keep all the tree decorations in where the individual boxes can be put.

3. Photo’s of where you put things in the house is always a good idea to remind you what goes where, that’s obviously if you put everything in the same place every year.

4. Keep this years Christmas cards so you have an idea of who to write christmas cards to next year. Not so much a storage solution but very handy with all the other craziness of Christmas.

5. Suit bag for wrapping paper and present bags – this is a great idea (that Kiri found somewhere so I can’t take the credit) but essentially use a cheap see through suit bag put the wrapping paper at the top end under where the hanger goes and when you’ve done fold it over so the suit bag is in half and hook it up in the attic, no more ripped paper or damaged boxes, works a treat.

I hope this list helps make your decorating day and the run up to Christmas go more smoothly.





Christmas time. A time of year that used to start the beginning of December, but in some shops starts mid August when they bring out the wrapping paper, etc. But now with Halloween taking the UK by storm Christmas “starts” after halloween — approximately.

As a Christian, the season of Advent is an important marker in the Calendar, where we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The word ‘Advent’ is apparently (after a quick Google) taken from the Latin word adventus, meaning ‘coming’. As Jesus has already come to earth and Christmas is the annual celebration of this, it is only in Advents shadow that the significance of Christmas can be truly seen.

He is the visible image of the invisible God. – Colossians 1:15.

This snippet of Colossians 1:15 depicts it perfectly, Jesus came to be the visible representation of God to mankind, coming as a baby.

Becoming a father for a second time recently (September) the magnitude of this is absolutely huge; God allowed his Son to come to earth, not as a man with an army – not that that couldn’t have been done – but as a baby, a helpless child who was completely reliant on his parents for everything. Someone who went through the same life ups and downs as the rest of us – but for one main purpose, to take our sin. Jesus ‘coming’ is a reminder that God is not distance. He is into relationship, He is into conversation, He not only wants to be involved in your life, but wants to transform it. Jesus came as the gift to earth from God which we can receive.

Christians speak of the power of Easter and the importance of Easter, which is true. But the significance of Advent, the coming of Jesus can not be overlooked for tinsel and fairly lights. Without the gift of Jesus coming there would be no Easter and no salvation.

Enjoy Advent and have a great Christmas season.




Life watching, or people watching, it’s a little creepy, however I think most of us at some stage would say they have ‘people watched’ – just me… oh!

I don’t get as much time to people watch now-a-days, not that I would purposely go out and do it, I really am starting to sound creepy. With a toddler I spend most of my time watching where he is, especially when out and about and he rushes off or suddenly stops to check out something super interesting like a snail on the pavement. I’m surprised I haven’t actually walked into other people or walls or something as I’m looking where he is.

However, there is a certain amount of ‘fun’ to be had in life watching. When I was a teenager, my friend and I used to go to Meadowhall Shopping Centre. This was a time before every child had a smart phone (Nokia’s were King in those days) – but we both didn’t have a phone. We would go with some other friends or parents and would ultimately split up and shop separately. My friend and I would go around together looking in shops that we would never buy anything in, we were both slightly addicted to the Gadget Shops with lava lamps, water bubble lamps (can’t remember their official name) and those rectangular spike shape things… (bear with me while I search what the heck they are called…) Google doesn’t know – Pin Impression Kits? I’m going with that – Disclaimer: Other search engines available – But anyway, I digress. These were some of the things we would actually buy from the gadget shop.

After a while of walking around the malls we would inevitably get bored and find an appropriate bench to sit at. One particular time after we’d sat down we noticed a Smartie in the middle of the walk way right in front of us. Once we’d clocked it, we then watched the unsuspecting participants walking passed to see if they would kick it or stand on it. We must have looked like right idiots, “ooow-ing” and “ahh-ing” every time there was a near mess. Needless to say we didn’t have girlfriends at the time. No idea why. Life is much busier now and I’m probably one of the people who is watched rather than a watcher…