Thursday, 8 October 2015

Down at the bottom of the garden...

I've been taking advantage of the mild dry weather to work on the shed. Like a woman posessed.

Are any of you familiar with the childrens book, ''If you give a mouse a cookie,'' by Laura Joffe Numeroff?

It goes, ''If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk, he'll probably ask you for a straw. When he's finished, he'll ask you for a napkin. Then he'll want to look in a mirror to make sure he doesn't have a milk mustache. When he looks in the mirror, he might notice his hair needs a trim.'' etc

Well, that was the story of my shed. My shed WAS that mouse. 

The parts where the rain were coming in were growing in number so I decided to re roof it. I did my internet research and trotted off to Wickes for all my supplies. 

I had one day to get it watertight before rain was due. Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline. 
I had to strip off the old felt before I began and the minute I got up the ladder to begin, I could see why it was leaking. What little roofing felt that was up there was very patchy.  
Inspect your shed roofs occasionally people! 

The roof guy in the film I watched...

... mentions nothing of the woodlice, spiders and spiders nests you will find when stripping a roof! Eew.

My biggest fear was finding the roof boards completely rotten and having to replace them. Fixing an entire new roof on is probably beyond my capability. Luckily it was sound apart from one spongey corner. The best tool I found for the job was an upholstery tool called a tack lifter...

 It totally sped the process up.
So here I am, well stuck in. My roof is a single slope. I did 2 layers, going in opposite directions. The first from one side to another, the second from the bottom up. Like tiles so the water will run off.

You seal the edges with the bitumin adhesive and use clout nails to hold it down. It's like wallpapering except you need to overlap the edges. As I was doing it solo I opted for the heavy weight roofing felt so I'd be able to weild the sheets onto the roof without them ripping. 

The bloke in the roofing video also forgot to mention the need for gloves and long sleeves. I got bitumin under my lovely new nails and had to soak them in white spirit to get it out. Also I skinned my knuckles until they bled and got a rash up the underside of my arms.

Once my two layers were on, I had to cut and fix down the edges. 

A typically wonky picture. I was seriously flagging at this point having been at it for 9 hours. 

The rain came the next day and there wasn't a drop of water in the strategically placed buckets inside. Result! 

Next I had to put back the fascia and bargeboards. Seeing as one snapped in the stripping process and they were a bit yucky I decided to get new ones. Finding the timber was a nightmare. In the end I used feather edge boards from a timber merchant to get the length I needed. 

So I thought, instead of just putting back straight ones, why not make them pretty? 

I made lots of measurements and divisions and drew round a glass to get a scalloped edge. I should have used a pencil and not lazily grabbed my daughters gel ink pen. The gel ink bled through my paint and I had to use a stain stopping primer over it. Lesson learned.

The cutting proved to be not so easy. I could manage one side of each scallop,

 but not the other so I flipped it over and re drew the line on the back of the board...

and Bob's your uncle...

Wehey! Obviously, it needed painting now. But I couldn't paint it until I'd fixed the missing putty in the windows! See how it's becoming a massive job? 

So back to youtube I went, watching hours of puttying videos until I felt I was a fully trained master glazier. 
And boy, was I wrong about that! In the end I gave up on the putty knife and opted for a chisel, perhaps because the rebate was so tiny as these are shed windows, not house windows.

So where am I now? 

I painted the trim and window frames (apart from the new putty which has to cure) a white colour and the rest of the shed Willow Green for a change from Country Cream. I like the contrast with the trim. It's never going to be a beautiful shed but it's a bit prettier now. And having watertight garden storage is novel.

I spent a day emptying and hoovering the inside and reorganising the space. 
All because it needed a new roof. 
So, beware of what you start!
Now those red gingham curtains are not working with the green... {sigh.}

Back soon with a post on The Handmade Fair. 


  1. Well, I think that's a pretty shed! And I hold you in even higher esteem than ever now, Emma - what an amazing job, I am most impressed with your roofing skills! xxx

  2. You really are Wonder Woman. That shed is gorgeous and the roof looks so neat. You did an incredible job. The mere mention of spiders sent my legs all of a quiver! xxx

  3. Very impressed by your DIY skills! Our new shed us in bits waiting patiently for us to erect it. Going for a dark brown look which will make a change from the dayglo orange look!

  4. Your little shed is absolutely charming! I can't believe.....well, yes I can...that you tackled not only roofing your shed, but cutting the scalloped trim and glazing the windows, too. I've done a bit of glazing on our old windows and it's not nearly as easy as my dad made it look. I kind of like the red checkered curtains with the new green color, but then again curtains and I are not the best of friends lately. I'm sure there must be an award out there for what you've accomplished. You make the rest of us look like sissies!

    There are a number of those books out now. My granddaughter loves when I read "If You take a Mouse to the Movies". They're so cute! Now I'll think of your shed every time I read it. :o)

    1. I love that one too. Sadly my little girl is not so little and I probably gave them away.

  5. Wow Emma you are amazing not a job I could have tackled that's for sure. It looks amazing love the colour and the edging is so cute. You are one inspiring lady well done, dee xx

  6. Wow, I gave my shed a makeover a few years ago painting it with blue and white stripes like a beach hut but I'd never even consider taking on a roof - you are brave and so damn good at stuff! Love the green, I have a little fence and gate between the house and the garden that I painted that colour xx

  7. The red gingham curtains most certainly do work with the green. Don't let the mouse make you think otherwise! Agree with beware of what you start - I find I change one room round and then because I've moved stuff elsewhere into another room I have to change that room round as well, and then probably the cupboard where I've put stuff.....Seriously though, roofing a shed, that is pretty amazing. I wonder if Elfnsafety was anywhere to be seen.

    1. Elfnsafety? Nah. I did it in massive heels on a wobbly ladder. ;)

  8. Blood, sweat and Bitch-mum, is what I'd call this post!! You really are, as the others have said, Wonder Woman with bells on!!
    Love those gingham curtains and you may not think it's beautiful, but I think it is very charming.
    High heels + ladder works in my book; the heel gives you something to catch on to as you flounder around dangerously!!

  9. oh I love it, you have done an amazing job x

  10. Seriously impressive! Felting a roof, reputtying windows, replacing bargeboards and making it difficult for yourself by scalloping them....I feel exhausted just reading about it. Seriously though, well done, I feel chuffed with myself if I bleed a radiator! I love the Willow Green and the red gingham curtains look fab with it. xx


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