Lying Low

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The past 5 days or so have been interesting to say the least. Despite doing our level best to stay away from people, GMan and I have both been quite unwell. I think it is likely that we have contracted Covid-19, however, we have yet to receive the results of our tests taken on Friday morning.

Today is the first day that I have felt well enough not to spend more than half of the day in bed. In fact, I even managed to do a few things. I did not push myself so sitting and cutting fabric seemed like a reasonable compromise.

I am slowly but surely working on sorting out the fabric stash in my workroom and little by little I am deciding whether a piece is really something I need to keep and how I might use it. Any pieces that I have earmarked for patchwork (5 inch squares) are cut and sorted according to colour for future projects. This is what I have been doing today.

A few more piles to put away.

This is some of what I need to sort out. There is some overall logic to the placement but it could be much better.

In the meantime, I like to focus on the successes. This cube is mostly patchwork. Blocks in progress on the left and squares sorted by colour in the basket.

Small steps do make a difference.

Maintenance Mode & Mundane

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If my first few posts of 2022 were anything to go by, you would think there was always some huge activity going on here every day. I am sorry to disappoint you but that is not the case.

Yesterday included a routine doctor’s appointment, changing the sheets on our bed and a couple of loads of washing as well as cutting up some pruning I had done a few days prior so that it will break down more quickly in the compost.

This morning I decluttered some emails as well as the cane basket which sits on the kitchen bench next to the phone. It is our ‘dumping spot’ and occasionally needs a review and overhaul. The contents include a notebook, pen, pending correspondence etc.

I also shredded a small quantity of paper. We choose to handle all of our paper and cardboard at home rather than putting it in the recycle bin. The shredded paper goes in the nesting boxes for the chickens. Some lightweight cardboard is shredded for addition to the compost while the heavier cardboard becomes a weed suppressant to go under mulched areas in the garden.

The administrative maintenance – emails, shredding, notes and correspondence – done regularly means that I never need to have a huge declutter of these things.

Finally, we went shopping to top up our grocery and fruit and vegetable supplies.

Hidden and Forgotten

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My recent clean-out of the linen cupboard resulted in a few things that did not make the cut to go back in. There were various reasons for this and one item was simply because it had been pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten.

It is a 100% handwoven cotton rug. I inherited this when it came with a free chair I picked up from Gumtree some years ago. The rug was quite grubby but it washed up well, albeit with what looks like a couple of small rust stains. Anyway, it has been lurking in the cupboard with no particular purpose.

I realised it would make a great picnic rug and we could keep it in the car with the picnic set. It just needed a bag.

I have several cotton drawstring bags which sets of sheets came in and I decided that sewing 2 of them together would make a perfect carry bag for my newly-purposed picnic rug.

Ready to go in the car.

A Fresh Approach

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Tidying up the linen cupboard has been on my mental ‘to do’ list for a few weeks so the first day of a new year seemed like a good time to tackle it.

While it may not look too bad in the scheme of things, I was not happy with how things were grouped. I have assimilated several pieces that belonged to my mother as well. The various boxes and baskets were my first step in the process which was done a couple of months ago and that had certainly made a difference.

I pulled everything out, critically assessed each piece and repositioned a couple of shelves to make better use of the space.

I am rehoming a couple of items but most of it did go back. I tried to keep bedroom, bathroom and kitchen items grouped together as much as possible.

Top shelf: gym towels and beach towels

2nd shelf: Bathroom – towels, handtowels, facewashers and bathmats

3rd shelf: Bedroom – sheets and pillowcases

4th shelf: Kitchen – teatowels, handtowels, aprons and serviettes

5th shelf: Doona covers and tablecloths

The tub at the bottom now contains extra towels and facewashers that are not currently in use as well as an assortment of doilies, tablemats and odds and ends that I am not quite ready to let go of yet.

I have used some of Marie Kondo’s methods re standing items up. I find it works for me in some instances.

Creating With Scraps

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One of my longer term projects is to use up the many and varied fabric pieces I have acquired from multiple sources.

When I was tidying up a few weeks ago I found various pieces of denim offcuts. Once I collected them all together I realised that there was a significant pile. Many were pieces that had been cut off when shortening new jeans. Others were salvaged from garments that were no longer wearable.

Using an existing apron for a template I made a pattern then a patchwork denim apron for myself. The neck strap, binding and ties were all salvaged or remnants.

After posting this photo on my Facebook page I was approached by a friend who asked if I was selling them. Well, not exactly, but I did agree to make her one. This time I even included pockets. These were salvaged from a pair of GMan’s old gardening jeans that had been patched so many times that he had recently declared that they were only fit for the rubbish. That was the case for most of them but the back pockets were still in good condition.

I used flat felled seams to replicate the seams normally seen on jeans. This also meant that there are no raw edges on the reverse of the apron.

My pile of denim offcuts is now much reduced, although I do still have enough for the occasional mending task.

Changing Needs

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A chance conversation about 10 days ago led me to realise that it was probably time to reassess the single bed and trundle bed in my sewing room. We bought these on Gumtree in 2011 when our granddaughters were aged 4 and 2. You can read about how I used them in this post.

I decided that a sofa bed would be a better option as the girls are not here as often as when they were smaller. Also, the bed is too low to sit on comfortably when I am working in this room.

Ready to go to a new home.

So, I advertised the beds and they have now gone to a new home. We also sourced a ‘good as new’ sofa bed from Marketplace which now has pride of place in the sewing room.

I have chosen to place it closer to the corner in order to maximise the space near the doorway. It will be a simple matter to pull the sofa along when it needs to be used as a bed.

This is a good solution as I will use it as a sofa far more often than it is ever likely to be used as a bed. We have a queen size air mattress if the girls decide they do not want to share the sofa bed.

It pays to regularly consider your needs and the best choice of furniture for the purpose. There is ample opportunity to source good secondhand pieces as well as a market for anything you no longer need.

Buy Nothing November – An Update

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It is nearly 2 weeks since I first posted about Buy Nothing November. You can read the first instalment here.

Since then we have bought 2 more physical items which have come into our home. The first is a rat trap which fairly self-explanatory and does not need a photo.

The second item is a timber storage box. I had been perusing secondhand sites for a few weeks as I was looking for a seat for my mini-mudroom. That is probably too grand a description as it is actually a corner of the workshop near the entrance to the house via the internal staircase. Anyway, I turned my attention from benches to storage boxes and found this timber box in a neighbouring town for $50. The storage space which a box affords is an added bonus to the original purpose of providing seating.

I will provide a final update at the end of the month.

The Great Reshuffle – Part 1

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As a result of the new storage cupboard being completed we have begun re-arranging some things.

We emptied the contents of an old two-door pantry which was at the end of the garage. It was predominantly camping gear, however, all of it did not fit so some had been on top of the cupboard. We made a critical assessment of everything and removed a few items that were no longer required then transferred everything to the new storage cupboard.

There is much more space so we can easily locate things. Additionally, there is space for the camp fridge which had previously been elsewhere and a pet carry crate which are both on the floor of the cupboard.

There is a plastic laundry basket which holds the towels for use in the adjacent bathroom as it is quite remote from the linen cupboard upstairs.

The old pantry has a new home in the open space under the house where it will be put to good use. More about that another day.

Buy Nothing November

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As per the title, it is Buy Nothing November. Have you heard of it? It is the pushback against the mega-retailing phenomenon known as Black Friday.

Black Friday (the day following Thanksgiving in the United States) sales started to become popularised as a day for retail sales in the 1980s. This insidious spread of rampant consumerism has now spread its tentacles to the UK and Australia as well as other places of which I am unware. Of course, online retailing has jumped on the bandwagon in a huge way, too.

I found out about Buy Nothing November via The Story of Stuff on Facebook. Their actual post is copied below.

The Story of Stuff Project 

Welcome to #BuyNothingNovember! For years, the Story of Stuff Project has been actively promoting Buy Nothing Day, the alternative to Black Friday. But the holiday season, in general, has an outsized impact on the planet, so this year we’re expanding the call-to-action for the entire month of November. Throughout this month, we will be sharing facts and figures about the link between consumerism and climate change, and the ecological crisis at large. Refusing to buy new, nonessential goods is a direct-action protest against the corporate conglomerates who are destroying our home. Apple, Amazon, Coca-Cola — these companies are only allowed to be so large because we give them permission, with our dollar. It’s time we show them who is really in charge here. #BuyNothingNew

We generally keep our buying of stuff to a minimum and are certainly not enticed by the crazy Black Friday sales. I had no prior knowledge of this particular month and we track all of our spending so it is going to be quite easy to see what stuff we actually buy during November.

One third of the month is almost gone so it is probably time to review what stuff we have bought.

I am not including groceries and fuel which are both consumables nor ‘experiences’ such as gym fees, dining out and entrance to entertainment venues.

We have purchased and brought 3 things into our home. They are:

A pump for a 20 litre drum of chemical. It took a bit of research to find where we could source one but we succeeded.

A new lockable door handle for the freshly painted door between the garage and the workshop area.

A small bundle of fabric from the thrift shop. I have already used most of the orange fabric and the remainder will be used up as I continue making Boomerang bags.

I am pretty pleased when I consider how little ‘stuff’ we buy.

Wardrobe Refresh

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It is now over 2 years since I finished full-time work. I worked in a corporate office but not in a customer-facing role so my wardrobe could mostly be described as business casual.

My collection of clothing has gradually evolved to meet my changed lifestyle. Almost all of my purchases have been secondhand.

I generally have kept all of my clothes available in my wardrobe for the entire year but had begun to wonder whether this was really the best option.

Today I removed everything from my wardrobe, tried it on and decided on a course of action. Most of the summer wear went back in the wardrobe. I ended up with 3 other piles.

One pile was things to be donated. There were 4 items – a skirt and top that I made about 6 years ago and I have simply lost interest in them, a pair of trousers that were not quite right and a dress that had been given to me but I decided did not really meet my needs.

The second pile was my winter jackets, coats and trousers which are now in a plastic box on the top shelf.

The third pile was 5 dresses and 2 jackets which are simply too tight. I have put them away in a separate box. I will review these in a few months and decide on their fate.

There is a shirt, dress and pair of trousers missing from this photo as they are in the wash. This is my summer wardrobe along with a couple of pairs of shorts and a few tops which are folded up the drawers.

I think I have enough. Time will tell.