General ramblings

Paper bricks

We have an open fire in our living room.

Not exactly a roaring fire, and a quite blatantly a picture taken at Christmas, but hubby refused to light another one just so I could take a picture-meanbag..!

Not exactly a roaring fire, and a quite blatantly a picture taken at Christmas, but hubby refused to light another one just so I could take a picture-meanbag..!

Which looks lovely.

But is actually a pain in the bum.

I say this like I’m the one who lays and lights the fires, and cleans it all out afterwards, but obviously I’m not. In our very traditional gender stereo-typing household, that is most definitely a boy job.

So it is the lovely hubby who has mastered this ‘dark-art’, after much trial and tribulation.

BUT it is a bit rubbish. It looks very pretty, and the thought of snuggling up next to a roaring fire is nice, but the reality is: not much warmth; a very jittery hubby who keeps leaping up every 5 minutes to waft it or whatever it is that is needed; a lot of crap and ash left at the end; using lots of very expensive logs.

We are researching the possibility of replacing it with a log burner. But it needs to be a very specific type to fit in the hearth. Obviously. Isn’t that always the way? I am not holding out much hope of finding one secondhand. Our best bet will be finding an ex-display model, but research is ongoing.

So in the meantime, we will never learn. Every weekend we say to each other “oooh, fancy a fire tonight?” (That could be mis-interpreted as some kind of code for hanky panky. It’s not.) And hubby dutifully lays and lights the fire. And we dutifully exclaim how un-warm it is, and how a log burner would be much better. And all the time, in not very Make Do and Mend manner, we are getting through logs like nobody’s business.

A couple of Christmasses ago, my parents gave us a very clever contraption for making bricks out of newspapers.

paper bricks1

We ooohed and ahhhed, and promptly put it in the garage with the large bag of newspapers they had very thoughtfully also provided. When we remembered it, we went and had a look and quite sensibly decided that brick making might be a summer job, so that they would dry well, and we would have a nice supply ready for the next Winter.

So this Summer….We forgot. Of course we forgot.

But then I remembered again!

So, this weekend, just as the weather turned colder, and the wind really started to bite, poor old hubby was dispatched to the garage with a bucket of water, some old newspapers (kindly donated by my parents again, after we recycled the last lot when they started to annoy us as they were getting in the way…) and the brick maker thingy. He was gleefully accompanied by BigSmall for about 5 minutes, until he computed quite how cold it was and came back inside in the warm (clever boy).

About half an hour, and several broadsheets later, hubby triumphantly emerged with these….

paper bricks21

They are now in the airing cupboard, and have been for about 3 days, but are not looking any drier…

They might just be ready for next year…

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  • Reply sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring January 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

    My husband ‘installed’ a woodburner last year and it’s great; we’ve got a 1930s house and hearth which required a funny sized woodburner. It came from a place up near Stroud; I’ll try and dig out the name.

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Sarah
      That would be fab, thank you 🙂

  • Reply Helen Manning January 17, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Hi Jen, we got our woodburner from an advet on a tescos for sale board . Paid £100 ( quite a bit but still cheaper than most ) rubbed it down , painted it, replaced the rope Round the door and voila! We have saved an absolute fortune on gas bills by using it pretty much every night in the winter. I’ ll admit it does help having a tree surgeon husband – endless supply of logs 🙂
    In the spirit of you make and do mend you could try contacting local tree surgeons . Bob has a list if people that use logs and if he’s nearby and has excess wood he will drop them in front gardens. Sometimes they are chopped, sometimes not but people are generally happy 🙂

    Also my sister in law just bought a canal boat to do up. It was basically just a shell but luckily it had a very manky old wood burner dumped in the bottom of it. It’s pretty rough but will be perfect for a boat .
    You never know where one will pop up! 🙂

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Hi Helen!
      Good idea to chat up the tree surgeons..!!
      The issue with the log burner is that we really want a very specific type, as it would fit int he space better, and also suit the style of the house better. We will persevere…!!

  • Reply judith January 17, 2013 at 6:43 am

    We’ve been making them since september . They take an age to dry but are worth it.

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Oh that’s encouraging, thanks Judith. How long do yours take to dry?

  • Reply antoinette . (@divasupermum) January 17, 2013 at 5:49 am

    sounds like you are really trying, try a log burner less effort more results, best of luck

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2013 at 8:08 am


  • Reply Sue Adlam January 16, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Log burner def better than open fire, more efficient and less heat straight up the chimney. Done the paper log thing… Saying nuffin! Check out a guy in woodcock trading estate does these nuggets of squished woodchips which are fairly cheap, but they burn quickly. As part of the house renovation we have a thermal store, a solar hot water panel and a log burner with a back boiler. Hoping that this will prevent the gas boiler from kicking in too much! Second hand log burners check eBay, new ones are also fairly cheap, especially the lower Kwh ones. X

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Wow Sue, that all sounds great! Very impressive indeed. Will check out the woodchip things too-sounds like you’re not too impressed with the paper bricks..! I am still holdin gout hope, if they ever dry out 🙂

  • Reply kimroper2010 January 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Mine are currently drying in the conservatory! Although they will be going in the log burner (yes it is MUCH warmer than an open fire!) I’d be interested to hear how yours burn…

    • Reply Jen January 16, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      We can have a race to see whose dry the quickest..!! Let me know how you get on 🙂

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