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.

 

(Dis)organised

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I have said before that this blog real.  What you see is what you get.

These are the views that greeted me this morning.

The ironing board is under this pile.

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This is my sewing/ironing/spare bed room.  There was more on the bed and even clothes in the basket to be folded.

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And more on the sofa in the living room.

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This was all washed early in the week but a busy week at work has meant that I didn’t complete the task by finishing the folding and ironing.

The total time taken to complete this was about 2 hours, however, this was interspersed by breakfast, a phone call and going to Maleny to pick up movie tickets for tonight.

The end result is here.  Shirts, trousers and dresses hanging up.

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Everything else folded.  This is a mixture of items that were ironed and those that were simply folded.

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And the bed and sofa are clear once more.

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The next project was to shorten and hem 2 new pairs of trousers for GMan.  I have done one pair but the others will have to wait until tomorrow as they are black and dark navy. The afternoon light is fading and I need bright daylight to be able to handsew dark fabrics.

 

 

Like a Duck

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I have been feeling a bit like a duck lately – all calm on the surface and paddling furiously beneath the surface!

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Work is busy and I have deadlines and targets to meet before Christmas.  I am hopeful of achieving them but I can only do what is humanly possible.

On the home front it is about the mundane things – washing, ironing, preparing meals as well as keeping the house in reasonable order.

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A menu plan written on the weekend is a must to keep me on track during the week.  Tonight was Mexican quinoa and while that was cooking I steamed a chicken breast fillet in preparation for tomorrow night.  In the morning I will take a tub of sweet and sour sauce and some rice from the freezer.  Tomorrow evening will be a simple matter of shredding the chicken, adding to the sauce and heating along with the rice.  Dinner will be ready in no time.

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Last night I did some ironing and tonight the folded clothes were put away.  A little bit each night helps to keep on top of the ordinary tasks and leaves me time for extra jobs on the weekend.

On Sunday we cleaned up the vegetable gardens and planted some new seedlings.  I hope to have some photos of the progress in a couple of days.  We also picked several kilos of cherry tomatoes which are washed, packed and frozen for later use.

 

The Time It Takes

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Well, it has been a while since I wrote a proper blog post.  I have been busy in the real world as things seem to speed up towards the end of the year.  At least some of it was of our own making as we chose to go to Adelaide for 3 nights about a week ago.

I managed to have the housework pretty well up do date before we left last Saturday but I have not had any free time since arriving home on Tuesday evening to an almost empty refrigerator and the prospect of long days at work for the remaining 3 days of the working week.

It would have been easy to say that I had no time but it really was a matter of making time.  Have you ever considered how little time it actually takes to do some of your regular household tasks?  It only takes me about 6 minutes to hang out a load of washing and about 2 – 3 minutes to get a load of washing off the line.

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So, during the past 5 days I have managed to unpack a suitcase, do a couple of loads of washing, including hanging, bringing it in and folding, plan and prepare meals as well as getting myself to work each day.

Things I do to create time where there does not appear to be any include preparing at least part of the evening meal for the following night while dinner is cooking, putting a load of washing on before I go to work, wiping over the mirror and vanity when I get out of the shower.

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Housework does does not need to be an enormous undertaking.  By doing a little bit often you can keep things humming along with very little time.  Other jobs that take a couple of minutes are unloading the dishwasher, wiping down the sink, cleaning a single shelf in the refrigerator, dusting a polishing a table and so on.  Every small task that you can slip into your routine is one that does not build into an overwhelming project.

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Did you notice the one thing I have not mentioned?  Ironing!  I need at least an hour of clear time to get stuck into a pile of ironing and make it worthwhile.

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How do you arrange your housework into the time available?

No Excuses

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I enjoy sewing and for the first time in my life I have an (almost) dedicated sewing room.  However, despite my grand plans I have done very little sewing in recent times.

There always seems to be something more pressing to do – cooking meals, washing, ironing, gardening and so on.  When I sew, I like to do it to the exclusion of the everything else so I have tended not to do it.  The ironing always takes precedence over sewing, especially since I have the ironing board set up in the same room.

Anyway, there can be no more excuses as I have finally got the space pretty much as I want it.

The bed is completely free from any piles of clothes waiting to be folded or ironed.

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The wardrobe is cleaned and tidied.

 

All of my sewing stuff is sufficiently ordered that I can locate what I need.  The iron and ironing board are ready to use.

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The sewing table looks untidy but much of it is projects waiting for some action.

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My first priority is mending (socks) and some alterations.  I need to take up the hem of trousers I bought in Canada as well as shorten a top I bought there, too.  Next, I will complete 6 pairs of boys shorts which are partly made and are destined to be donated to those who need them.  There is plenty more after that, including, finishing a long sleeved blouse for my daughter, the cover for the mattress on the day bed and dresses and tops for myself.

I will make time to sew.

Four Fabulous Days

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I have had the most glorious 4 days at home.  Friday was a well-earned day off followed by a long weekend.  Most weekends I am left with the feeling of wanting a couple more days to try to catch my tail.  I would not say I have done everything but I do have a degree of satisfaction that I have made some progress beyond the basics of washing and meal preparation.  The best part is that I have worked steadily but not frantically for some of the time as well as simply doing nothing at other times.

Here is a snapshot of what I achieved:

Washing and ironing – the first 3 days were brilliantly sunny with a breeze so all of the washing was done and dried which left me with a pile of ironing.  I tackled this with enthusiasm since I was armed with a new iron as well as the ironing board cover that I made on Friday.

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Shopping – most weekends I buy enough fruit and vegetables for the week as well as a few things from Aldi and Saturday was no exception.  However, I also drove a bit further to go to Morayfield so that I could stock up at Simply Good, where I buy all of the flours, dried fruit, seeds, nuts and legumes that I use.  I do this every 4months or so.  Spotlight is nearby so I took the opportunity to have a look and found the fabric to recover the mattress for the day bed.

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Decluttering/recycling – as we change and re-arrange furniture there is often some to move along to someone else who can use it.  This weekend I listed 4 outdoor chairs and a large pine chest of drawers on our local Buy, Swap, Sell Facebook page and they have now gone to new homes.  I also tidied and sorted the shelves in the wardrobe in the sewing/spare room and put a few things in a bag to go to the op shop.

Gardening – when I was at the market buying fruit and vegetables, I noticed a neighbouring stall selling seedlings.  I bought and planted out basil, beetroot and capsicum seedlings.  GMan mulched the shrub we cut down a few weeks ago and planted out several native trees and shrubs.

Outdoors – we have taken a few more steps towards finishing our outdoor living area on the verandah.  The newly painted table is back in position as is the day bed, albeit without the mattress yet.  I spent a good portion of today cleaning up the large concreted area under the house.  This is a lovely cool area in summer and I am trying to make it more useable.  I sorted and stacked various building materials so that they are in a logical order and easily accessible.

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What a shame that I have to go to work tomorrow – there is so much more that I could do here at home.

I will some more details of some of the things I have mentioned tonight in upcoming posts this week.

The Ironing Makeover

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As I mentioned in my last post, the ironing board cover really needed replacing so I made that project a priority for today.

I do not have a ‘before’ photo but I can assure you that it was ripped in a couple of places, very thin and badly stained.

Here is the new version which I made from a sheet which was no longer being used.  The fabric is strong cotton that I bough and used to make a fitted sheet several years ago.  I cut two layers for extra strength.  The inside layer is cotton/bamboo batting.

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The straps, velcro and binding around the edge were all salvaged and re-used from the previous version.

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There are a couple of old layers from previous purchased covers which are under the new cover.  It is firm but well-padded so a great surface for ironing.

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I use 2 straps underneath the board to hold it firmly in place.  You can see one of them here.

With a new iron and fresh cover for the board I am ready to do the ironing.  Like most tasks, it is made easier with the right equipment.