Not Quite the Deckchairs

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‘Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic’ is a phrase which is often used to describe a futile action in the face of impending catastrophe. 

Far from being a futile exercise, I have been rearranging furniture recently.  As we continue to gradually reduce our possessions we have less need for storage.  Bookshelves/display units are a perfect example.

A few years ago we had 2 of these shelves filled with books.  One was sold a couple of years ago and the other is going to a new home today.

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When we seriously downsized the number of books we had a couple of years ago, this shelving unit became useful storage for sewing fabrics and projects.

The sewing is now housed in this large IKEA cube unit which was previously a display unit/bookshelf in the lounge room.

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Here is a closer look at the sewing table which is ‘new’ to me.

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This white laminate desk came from my daughter as it does not fit in her new accommodation.  I was very happy to have it to replace the folding trestle table which I have used as a sewing table for many years.  This one is more compact and suits the decor of the room but, most importantly, it is solid and does not shudder when I am using the sewing machine at fast speeds.

Additionally, there were 2 smaller IKEA cube units in the lounge room originally which have since been moved around.  One of them spent some time in the sewing room and the other as a stand for the television before we gave one to our daughter and the other became the bookshelf in the library.

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The other smaller cube unit has recently come back from our daughter as she no longer needs it.  So, back to the lounge room it went.

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The other significant piece of furniture in the lounge room is the television stand.  This was made by my father about 60 years ago from then-salvaged silky oak.  I had it restored and modified slightly a couple of years ago and it now has pride in the lounge room.

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I am pleased that nothing has been wasted and many pieces have been able to be repurposed by thinking laterally whilst reducing our overall possessions.

 

Newly Retired

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Blog posts have been few and far between over the last 6 months as I navigated the countdown to retirement.  I had previously managed to successfully combine the running of a household with full-time work but once I could see the end in sight I tended to put several things on the back burner so that I could focus on tying up as many loose ends as possible in my job as well as training my successor.

So, my last day in the office was Thursday 4th July, otherwise known as Independence Day.

I searched for a suitable retirement image but nothing sums it up better than this photo.  We now have the time to explore our own backyard as well as further afield and simply enjoy being surrounded by scenery like the amazing Glasshouse Mountains.

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The past 3 weeks have been an absolute revelation.  You do not have to be constantly busy.  It is OK to take your time.  What does not get done today will be done tomorrow.  It has been a huge relief to feel the pressure fall away.

The first week of retirement coincided with school holidays so we had our granddaughters visiting for a few days and managed some outings and activities with them.

Since then I have caught up on sleep – no more 5am starts, exercised – walking each day and socialised – lunch with school friends, morning tea with cousins and several more lunches planned as well as a gallery visit.

Catching up on appointments is much easier without having to juggle them around work.  Dentist, optometrist, financial planner, tax agent and so on.

On the home front, meals are prepared, rooms cleaned and washing done with the minimum of fuss.  I am doing some sewing, too.

Meanwhile, we are putting the finishing touches to the plans for our next overseas trip.  We leave in a little over 3 weeks and have a couple more train trips to book.

That is only a brief overview but suffice to say that I am not bored.

I plan to share more details of the day to day activities now that life is running at a much more reasonable pace.

Thank you for sticking with me during the very lean blogging periods.

 

Wardrobe Audit – Another Month

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I am a bit slow on reviewing my wardrobe this month but here goes.

2019 is now 10 weeks old and I have worn all of my summer clothes apart from one sleeveless top.  I like it and it is an identical style to two others so there is no good reason for not wearing it.  Anyway, we still have plenty of hot weather ahead so it will definitely get an airing.

There have been some milder days so I have even worn some of my jeans, 3/4 sleeve shirts, boleros and a cardigan.

The following photos show what remains on the backward-facing hangers.

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The sleeveless top is at the extreme right hand end.  The remainder are mostly jackets, long-sleeve and 3/4 sleeve tops and shirts as well as a trenchcoat.  The exception are two dresses – an emerald green lace frock and a black sheath.  These are rarely worn but serve a purpose and deserve their place in my wardrobe.

There are some 3/4 sleeve tops and cardigans folded in the drawers which have not been worn either.

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The lower hanging rail is almost devoid of clothes as I have now worn all six of my skirts, three pairs of cropped trousers and three pairs of jeans.  All that remains are my green jeans, good black dress trousers and two pairs of fitted trousers (black and charcoal) that I only really wear with my knee-high boots so they are definitely winter attire.

The exercise of turning the hangers has been a useful one for me.  I am confident that everything I own will be worn during the course of the year, with the exception of the two special occasion dresses.  I am happy that I generally have enough, but not too many. clothes.

I bought three items in January from the local recycle boutique but nothing since.  I am sewing a couple of new sleeveless shirts so they will probably be added during the next month.

Have you tried turning your hangers backwards in order to see what you actually wear?

Busy?

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Well, it is over 3 weeks since my last blog post so you are probably thinking that my excuse will be that I have been busy.

While I did not trumpet any New Year’s resolutions for 2019, I made a decision that I would not tell myself or anyone else about how busy I was.  I have recently become aware of some of the negative connotations of the word ‘busy’, and therefore, I have made a conscious decision to remove it from my vocabulary and thoughts as much as possible.

So, what of the past 3 weeks?  I have simply been otherwise occupied and not writing.

Cooking, sewing and generally keeping home and hearth together.

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Full-time paid work.

Involvement in community activities.

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Socialising, welcoming visitors and travelling to visit friends.

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As I said, not busy, simply living and loving life.

I am looking forward to sharing some more happenings soon.

 

Custom Made

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Sometimes we make things to satisfy a creative urge, save money or simply because we cannot buy the desired item.  My most recent sewing definitely falls into the latter category.

Today I made a table runner for the top of the chest of drawers which which GMan uses.  I wrote this post a couple of years ago when we had it restored.  The top of it had been bare and I had not really thought about adding any linen to it.  Lacy doilies would definitely not have been welcome.

I recently found a piece of blue fabric when I was digging around at the op shop for fabric suitable for the Boomerang bags that I make.  I realised that it would be perfect to make a table runner.

Some test stitching to find something suitable to embellish the edges.

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The finished article.

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Pressed and in place.

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The new runner provides a finished look to the chest of drawers, blends nicely with the colour in the bedroom and is not in any way frilly or lacy.  I think it works perfectly.

I think I would have gone crazy if I had set out to find this ready-made.  It needed to be a specific length and colour which I think would have made that quest close to impossible.  However, with a relatively basic sewing machine I was able to create exactly what I needed.

Life Skills

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The topic of tonight’s post is relatively minor and almost insignificant.  On many occasions I would not have even considered it as a potential blog post.

However, it has recently occurred to me that a lot of what I do and take entirely for granted are activities or skills that would be completely unknown to many people.  Therefore, this year I am going to make a concerted effort to post about some of the little things that fall under the broad category of life skills.

I made a sampler of different sewing stitches when I was 8 years old.  It was a laborious task undertaken in school sewing lessons in Year 3.  The sampler is framed and hangs in my sewing room these days.  There are 6 different stitches, one of which is blanket stitch.

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I don’t think I have ever used blanket stitch in over 50 years since that sampler was completed.

Nevertheless, when I noticed the stitching at the end of a blanket coming unravelled  today, I immediately knew that I would mend it using blanket stitch.  It was a bit like riding a bike – you never forget.

The blanket is one of a pair that we have owned for 40 years so I guess it is not too bad that it needed some running repairs.  I simply threaded a large needle with the unravelled thread and restitched the edge with blanket stitch exactly as I had done on the sampler.

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The left hand side of the photo is the existing machined ‘blanket stitch’ and the right hand end is my repairs.

Collective Action

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Much of what I write about here falls under the broad categories of cooking, gardening and sewing and of course, the all-encompassing category of self-reliance.

The little things that I do every day contribute to my overall philosophy which is summed up in the byline of the blog – ‘A Simple, Sustainable Life’.

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It is important that we should never underestimate the value of the little things that we can all do each and every day.  However, sometimes we need to look beyond our own backyards and get involved on a larger scale.

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8 days ago on 30th November several major Australian cities and regional centres saw significant numbers of school students, young people and adult supporters marching for their future – a future generated by renewable energy, not coal.  I marched in support of these intelligent and articulate youngsters.

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I am somewhere towards the rear of this photo which was taken today.  There were many, more more out of view of the camera.

Thousands of people marched again today and will continue to do so until our state and Federal governments take serious action on climate change.  The most pressing issue is to have the proposed Carmichael mine by Adani in the Gallilee Basin stopped.

There will be more events in the coming weeks.

All of the research shows that a clear majority of Australians support this action so please consider being involved.  Stand up and be counted and let the politicians hear our collective voice.

Meanwhile, I have made another batch of strawberry jam.  That is 8kg of strawberries made into jam.

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