End of Easter

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Well, it is nearly 2 weeks since my last post and I honestly cannot remember what I have been doing, apart from to say that I was totally occupied by my paid work in the run-up to the Easter break and I spent a most enjoyable Easter with various members of my extended family.  There was not a chocolate in sight…………….however, 4 generations of my family were able to enjoy a shared lunch on Saturday.

GMan, my brother and I worked hard to earn our lunch as we positioned and concreted these 3 posts in place.

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This followed on from the 6 holes they had dug the day before.  It is all part of a project which has spent several years in the ‘dreaming’ pile and has now started to come to fruition.  You can read about it here.  We hope to have the other 3 posts positioned and concreted next weekend.  I am busily working on the design of the rest of the construction and hopefully it will not take too long to complete.

There were some other fun and games as my brother-in-law extricated a visitor from the hen house.  He had been there for a couple of days and we think he was looking for a warm, dry spot to digest what looked like a substantial meal.

Anyway, it was time to move along…………

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And off to a more appropriate spot………………….

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Today was quieter and an opportunity to catch up on some jobs at home so that I can start the working week with a clean slate.  I am pleased to report that all of the washing and ironing are done as well as some voluntary admin work completed.  I even made time to do a little bit of sewing.

I hope you had a safe and relaxing Easter break, too.

Organising Assistance

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I regularly speak out about the fact that you can be organised without spending ridiculous amounts of money.  I often read or hear about people buying dozens of matching containers to organise a linen cupboard or re-arranging their pantry with an entirely new selection of containers that happen to be the trend of the moment.

Apart from the cost, this behaviour bothers me from an environmental perspective because many of the containers are plastic and/or are manufactured in jurisdictions where workers are not paid a living wage, work in sub-standard conditions and the factories do not meet any type of environmental guidelines.  Next time you are tempted to buy new items that seem very cheap – stop and think about why they are so cheap.

Back to the main topic.  I did buy something which will be useful in organising numerous areas in my home and I expect that it will last me for a long time to come.  It is a labeller.

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I had previously borrowed one from work to label some jars in the pantry but finally decided that it would be useful to have one of my own.  It is battery-operated and the labels come in a cartridge which is inserted into the back of the machine.  I purchased 2 cartridges of the clear self-adhesive labels.  I also noticed that you can buy cartridges of iron-on tape so you can make your own labels for clothing.  This is not something that I would use but could be beneficial for my daughter with children going on school camps and similar.

My first attempt was to label this set of mini-drawers which fit perfectly on the shelf in my sewing room.  The drawers came from my mother and I have found them really useful for keeping track of some of the smaller sewing items.  I have memorised what are in the top row but other than that, I have to open the drawer to check.  That will be a thing of the past with these new labels.

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Now, what else needs a label?  I think I am going to have fun with this gadget.

 

A Spot of Re-Arranging

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While I am pretty happy with the level of organisation in our home, there are always little things that can be done to improve to make things work a little better.

We have a dehumidifier which is almost an essential in our climate.  In fact, as I write this the clouds are floating past the window.  The dehumidifier is generally stored in the wardrobe in the guest bedroom when not in use.  This is not a major problem although I do need to remember to get it out if we have guests coming to stay.  Moving it would also provide a bit better access to the hanging space in the guest room.

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I feel that the ideal spot to store the dehumidifier would be in the laundry, however, that is a small room with limited storage space.

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The project to re-arrange things has evolved over a few months and the first step was to tidy and adjust the shelving in the linen cupboard.  This was relatively easy as I knew the space was not being utilised in the best way.

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The ultimate goal was to allow enough space to store the vacuum cleaner at the bottom of the cupboard.

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Then it was a simple matter of relocating the dehumidifier to the laundry cupboard.

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When the electrician was doing some work earlier in the week I asked him to change the single power point in the cupboard to a double one.  Now, the stick vacuum charger can remain plugged in while I am running the dehumidifier.

The dehumidifier is portable so does get moved from room to room but it is great for drying off damp towels or freshly ironed clothes in the laundry.  Since it is a small room, the drying effect is magnified and quite efficient.

I am currently researching the next stage of the project which is to purchase a ceiling mounted airing rack for the laundry and then I will be able to eliminate the mobile hanging rack which I move back and forth between my sewing room and the laundry at present.  This is the sort of thing I am looking at.  I also need to check with GMan about the practical implications of installing it.

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Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t think of this long ago but on the other hand it can be better to allow ideas and processes to develop over time because you will generally get a better outcome in the end.

A Peek Inside

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On the weekend I did a bit of organising in the cupboard opposite the office/library.  The catalyst was a Christmas gift – a set of decorated peg magnets.  The are 7 which are labelled for each day of the week as well as some extras.

I decided not to clutter up the door of the refrigerator with them.  Additionally, I felt that they would not be strong enough to withstand the breeze which can be quite strong.

Instead, I opted to mount them inside one of the doors of this cupboard.  First, I had to create a surface suitable for the magnets.

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We called in to Bunnings and bought a flat metal bar which GMan cut in half and I mounted them on the door.  The pegs were placed at intervals and it looked great.

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Perfect!!  Or so I thought until I shut the door.  I did not realise but if you take a closer look at the first photograph you will see that the vertical divider in this cupboard is not centred.  The door should sit flush against it but the metal bar prevented that.

So, it was back to the drawing board.  I removed my handiwork, trimmed a small amount off each bar, re-drilled the holes at one end and tried again.  This time I placed them almost flush with the hinged side of the door rather than centering the bar.  The final job was to fill the holes from the original screws.  These are yet to be sanded and touched up with paint.  That may be a job for the coming weekend.

Here is the second version of my handiwork.

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I am not a great fan of diaries but I do love a list so I have started fairly simply with some small notes for the coming days.  My goal is to write down all of the little things I need to do or remember and each day I can refer to them.

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The rest of the cupboard needs some work as it is the mostly the repository for the many photos accumulated over the years which have yet to be sorted, culled and scanned.  That is a a future project.  However, tonight I did tidy one file of the filing cabinet.  It was several old work diaries which I have discarded.  I ripped all of the pages out and bagged them up to take to work tomorrow and they will go in the shredding bin.  It is a small step, but definitely one in the right direction when it comes to removing unwanted stuff from your home.

 

Christmas 2017 – A Review

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Christmas is over for another year.  I did not write about Christmas preparations because there really were not any preparations.  We arrived back at the beginning of December from our 4 week trip to the UK.  I had organised a week at the beach earlier in the year and bought experience gifts for our daughters and granddaughters.

I planned the menu, gathered up the food and utensils as well as some beach attire and headed off last weekend.

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We had a delightful week of relaxation and casual living.  The biggest decision I had to make was whether to do some more of the jigsaw or play another game of ‘Upwords’.

My daughter and I went to church on Christmas Eve.

The menu for Christmas Day was chosen to fit with hot weather at the beach and there were next to no leftovers.

Proscuitto wrapped asparagus and haloumi
Cold curried chicken
Rice
Parsley and cranberry crusted salmon
Mango and avocado salad
Beetroot and feta salad
Green bean salad with slivered almonds
Meringue roulade with berries and pistachio nuts

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A couple of days after Christmas I finally wrote a Christmas letter and emailed it to my close friends.

So, that was it – no tree, no decorations, no mad rushing around choosing gifts for the sake of it, no looking for a hundred ways to serve ham in January.  I know that this is simply not feasible for many people but every second year our Christmas is an adults only affair so we can approach the day quite differently.

I feel as though I drifted through the second half of 2017 in a haze of inertia following the death of A (our daughter’s partner) in May so relaxing with all of my immediate family was just the antidote we all needed.

I don’t have any major resolutions or grand plans for next year, however, I look forward to 2018 with the optimism that seems to greet every new year.

I hope your Christmas was what you had hoped and all the best for the New Year.

My next blog post will be looking forward to 2018 which conveniently begins on a Monday.  I  like the idea of a nice, neat start to the week and year.  Anyone else feel like this?

Before and After

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It is now almost a week since we arrived back home from overseas.  In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago.  We went back to work on Monday and after 4 very busy days it feels as though I have never been away.

I managed to do some washing last weekend and prepare meals for us but that was about it until today which was my day off.  We have 3 Air BnB guests arriving tomorrow and that will necessitate the use of both of the spare rooms.  The second bedroom is always set up as a guest room but third bedroom also doubles as my sewing room and ironing space.

So my focus today was the third bedroom.  It had been used for packing and preparation for the trip so there were a few random things left from that.  I stripped the bed and washed the bedding during the week.  There was ironing piled on the ironing board.  Then there was the small matter of the sewing projects that had got out of control and been abandoned in the lead-up to the holiday.

This was what I had to tackle.

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I started by moving the bed and vacuuming that side of the room as well as removing the inevitable cobwebs and cleaning the skirting boards and picture frames.

The bed was made and put back in position.  I had also cleaned the window by the time I took this photo.

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From there it was simply a matter of working my way around the room – and doing the ironing.

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I managed to fit the small cabinet of mini drawers into the bookshelves rather than having it standing on the table.  I am happy with the change.

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This bookshelf hand been swapped over with the one that we now have in the office.  However, I had not organised my sewing things properly so it was a good opportunity to do some rearranging.

Having a major clean up of my sewing things has meant that I have rediscovered some UFO’s (unfinished projects) which I have earmarked to do.

I even tidied the contents of the wardrobe.

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I have never been completely successful in getting this room organised but I am hopeful that my effort today will be the basis of keeping it under control.

The thing that I am looking forward to most is getting back to doing some more sewing.  I am reminded of the comment that Francine Jay makes in her book, Miss Minimalist, that having clear surfaces simply affords opportunity.  Whether it is a table to eat your meal, a bed to sleep in or a craft table to work at, you need a clear surface.  It really makes a lot of sense.

 

A Versatile Piece

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As I have minimised and streamlined my wardrobe over time, it has become increasingly important that individual items are able to be worn in a multitude of ways.

Everything is multipurpose to some degree but I think this piece is a clear winner.

We live in a relatively temperate climate where the maximum temperatures range between about 15C and 35C and the minimums between about 5C and 20C.  Consequently, we can wear variations of the same outfit for much of the year.

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The skirt shown above is a lightweight seersucker cotton fabric which is lined with an equally lightweight lining.  On the hottest days I can pair it with a sleeveless white cotton shirt and a pair of strappy black sandals.  Conversely, I have also worn it with a grey cowl-neck pullover, red trenchcoat, scarf, tights and knee-high black boots.

There are plenty of options that fall somewhere between these two extremes as I have a fitted black tshirt as well as a short sleeved black cashmere pullover.  A couple of different white shirts and a black cardigan complete the mix of tops.  A pair of black heels provides another option between the sandals and boots.

These are just a few of the possibilities which work with this skirt.

A relatively small selection of clothes means that each piece needs to really earn its keep.