One Simple Change

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A few days after Christmas we ordered a new lounge suite.  This had been on the agenda for quite some time and we finally found the time to search out what we wanted on the internet and then went to see (and sit in) it in real life.The delivery time was expected to be 10 – 12 weeks but we asked if we could make a bit longer so that it would be delivered after our holidays in April.

One of the reasons we were looking at an extended delivery time was because we knew that there were a few other jobs that we wanted to do before we had a new lounge suite in the living room.

The main priority was to have the vinyl flooring in the lounge, dining room, kitchen, hallway and study re-surfaced.  This had not been done since the flooring was first laid about 10 years ago and was well overdue.  The main problem is that since it comprises such a major area of the house it is a challenge to move all of the furniture out of the way.  This seemed like the perfect time.

So now there is furniture and contents of shelves and cupboards stacked almost anywhere I can find a space.

The guest bedroom

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The front entry

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The floors are not the only area in need of some maintenance.  The kitchen ceiling was in poor condition and was GMan’s list of jobs.  He had already noted that since the living areas of the house are open plan that he would repaint all of the ceilings.

Of course, you paint the ceiling before refinishing the floors.

The kitchen and front entry were done a couple of weeks ago.  You can read about it here.  The lounge and dining room are currently being painted.

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Our bedroom has been completely emptied and GMan repainted the walls today.  The photo is before the painting.  Tomorrow the carpet will be replaced with vinyl flooring which will be much easier to keep clean, especially since we live on acreage in a semi-rural area.

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The bed frame has been dismantled and is in the study.

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We are sleeping on the mattress on the floor in my sewing room for a couple of nights.

Once the bedroom flooring is done and that room can be reassembled things will improve a bit.  The next step will be to arrange for the resealing of the other flooring.

Moving furniture is almost as much of an impetus to declutter as moving house.  We will not necessarily be putting everything back where it came from as we have realised that times have changed and some things that were essentials 10 years ago do not necessarily have a place here anymore.  There is no rush so we will carefully consider everything as we reassemble various rooms.

There will be ‘after’ photos in due course.

Decluttering, Again and Again

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Have you ever met anyone, either in real life or online, who has told you that they decluttered their entire home in a weekend?  I have read these kind of stories a few times but I have a really difficult time getting my head around the concept.  Unfortunately, they usually involve a huge garbage skip and wholesale dumping of perfectly useable items.  I find this strategy a disgusting waste and totally unnecessary.

My approach is the complete antithesis – a little bit at time and I often go back to the same area multiple times.  Also, I never dump anything.  I try to find new homes for them using a variety of strategies.

The bookshelves in the study/office is the perfect example of my method.

Once upon a time this is how it looked.

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As the culling continued over several years we whittled it down to one bookcase and sold the other.

The small freezer was moved down to the workshop.

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We upgraded from our folding table.

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To this desk.

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We added a blind to the bare window.  I wanted to create a comfortable reading area/library so we sourced 2 armchairs.

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Fast forward a bit more and we have culled the books even further.  There were some non-fiction ones which have been relocated to the shelving in the living room.

This shelving unit was originally horizontal in the living room but was moved to the spare bedroom/sewing room to store some of my sewing materials and equipment.  We decided to swap it with the light-coloured bookcase which will work better for the sewing stuff and is aesthetically better in the other room.

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Here are 2 views of what I think is the final state of the office/reading room.

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It has been thoughtfully curated over a period of time as our needs and ideals changed.  I certainly could not have achieved this in a single weekend for one room, let alone a whole house.

There has been no waste as all of the items have been reused in our own home or found new homes.

A New Chair

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Last week in this post I mentioned that I had moved the chair from the office desk.  I addition to the arms banging the desk I did not mention that the finish of the upholstery was all cracking a flaking.  The wear on the front edge of the seat was so bad that I had previously made an elasticised fabric cover for the seat and I noticed that the back was showing the same tendencies.

It was definitely time for the chair to go.  I was not hopeful of finding a new home for it but placed an ad on the local Facebook Buy, Swap, Sell page give it away.  Happily, it was just what someone wanted so it has gone.

The dining chair was not a suitable long-term replacement so yesterday we looked for a replacement at Officeworks.

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We were a bit like Goldilocks trying out all of the various options which ranged from very lightweight and uncomfortable to positively luxurious and everything in between.  In the end this is what we chose.  It is sturdy, comfortable and relatively compact.

It fits neatly under the desk and I am very happy with our new chair.

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Clean and Uncluttered

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Last weekend I was doing some general housework and I cleaned and polished this small table.

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The furniture polish I use is a quantity of the cheapest vegetable oil I can find with a few drops of essential oil to create a pleasant odour.  I use either lemon or lavender oil.  I put a small amount of this mixture on a soft cloth (old t-shirts are good) and apply to the timber then rub it in and buff.

I washed and ironed the doilies and then replaced the ornaments.

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I love this table which I have had for about 20 years and all of the ornaments are special to me.

I keep most things fairly simple but do not subscribe to the minimalist style of an almost bare room.

I prefer the mantra of, “Keep only those things which you use or love”.  These are things that I love.

Completed Chairs

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GMan has been steadily working on assembling the chairs and now they are all done.

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Before he put the final one together, I grabbed the seat and traced around the seat.  This is now going to be the pattern for making some seat cushions for the chairs.

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We are planning on painting the existing table.  The most likely colour is red so I am thinking of perhaps using striped fabric which includes some red for the cushions.

I hope to be able to show you the completed dining setting before too long.

Living Life

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No blog posts for 5 days!  What have I been doing?

I have been doing the routine things that keep our life ticking over day by day and week by week.  This has been interspersed by a couple of interesting diversions.

A couple of weeks ago we managed to go to IKEA on a busy day trip to Brisbane.  Our mission was to buy some new chairs for our outdoor setting.  We bought 8 chairs as the table we have is quite large.  GMan has made a start on assembling them and did 2 the other night.  This is what they look like.

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The old ones are the director-style chairs and they are impossible to keep clean as our cat believes that each one of them is his bed and they end up covered in grey cat hair!  I plan to make removable cushions for the new chairs so that we can have padded seats with the benefit of being able to easily remove and store them when not in use.

I have mentioned before that I menu plan our evening meals.  It is difficult to emphasise how much easier this makes shopping for and preparing meals.

Here is my plan for this week.

Saturday – Dahl with brown rice and steamed carrots and broccoli

Sunday – BBQ eye fillet with sweet potato chips, roasted beetroot in caramelised balsamic and crumbled goat’s cheese and green beans with red wine viniagrette and toasted sesame seeds

Monday – Vegetable quiche (adaptation of zucchini quiche) and salad

Tuesday – Tumeric chicken with brown rice and salad

Wednesday – Stuffed mushrooms with side salad

Thursday – Hamburger patties with home-made tomato sauce, fried mushroom and onions and salad

Friday – Baked potatoes topped with refried beans and cheese plus salad

Salad will be lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and capsicum with the addition of cheese on Tuesday and Thursday.

Sunday’s meal was actually lunch as we had guests.  It put a lot of restaurant meals to shame.

I had time this morning to prepare the mushrooms before I went to work so all I needed to do when I arrived home was to microwave them until cooked then top with a little extra grated cheese and finish them off under the griller.

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Any plan needs to be flexible and menu plans are no exception.  I try to make choices based on our activities and needs but sometimes those change.  I cook the baked potatoes in the slow cooker for 4 hours so I would need to be at home to turn it on at about 3pm.  This was going to be OK as I planned to work from home on Friday, however, I need to go to Brisbane and may not be home by 3pm so I have decided to make that meal for Sunday and we will have an antipasto platter and salad on Friday as we need to eat fairly quickly before heading out on Friday evening.

Moving the Furniture

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Gosh, it is 4 days later and I am yet to tell you about the rest of the furniture re-arrangements.  You see, I have been too busy actually doing things to write about it.

I had already removed the storage boxes before I took this photo.  I had earmarked this storage unit for my sewing room once the TV cabinet was restored and in place (see previous post).

001Here it is in the new location in the corner of my sewing room.  Not completely organised but a vast improvement on what things were like before.

004This meant that I could permanently re-home a couple of my other storage solutions from the sewing room.  A set of plastic drawers that I originally had for paperwork and documents when I was in a different job.  It was re-purposed for the sewing a few years ago.

2011-06-22 01 Now it has been emptied and has gone to a neighbour who was keen to have some more portable storage.

002This small white chest of drawers was also used to store fabric and craft supplies.  I bought it a few years ago from Gumtree and painted the bare chipboard with gloss white paint.  Thanks to the wonders of Facebook it now has a new home not far from us.

001The sewing room more strealined but still needs more work.  Most of the other rooms in the house have been decluttered, simplified and generally remain as they should be but the sewing room seems to be the one spot that regularly defeats me.  I have works in progress, things I have yet to start and general chaos but one day it will be sorted and mean that it is easier to actually sew rather than tidying.  I live in hope and anticipation!

New to Us

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I have been looking on Gumtree for the past couple of months for an armchair to go in the vacant corner of our office/library.  The space was created when we decided that we only needed one bookshelf rather than two.  You can read about the previous steps of the revamping of this room here.

This morning I found a listing on Gumtree for 2 chairs which were to be sold as a pair.  Although I really only wanted a single chair, we decided to take a look as it was not too far from home.

We bought the two chairs and by moving the bookcase slightly we can actually fit them both in.

012They are solid timber and are over 70 years old.  The current upholstery is in excellent condition and works perfectly in this room.  It is great to be able to find quality furniture and give it a new home.

In preparation for more furniture re-arranging tomorrow I have sold this small chest of drawers.

001They are nothing special, I bought them from Gumtree a few years ago when they were bare chipboard and painted gloss white.  I have used them for storing material and craft supplies in my sewing room but now it is time to move them along.  They will be collected tomorrow morning.

Come back tomorrow to see the newly re-vamped TV cabinet and more changes to the location and use of our existing TV stand.

A New Desk – Part 2

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Well the desk is all assembled but not without a hiccup or two.

This morning we opened the box containing the hutch and it was the wrong colour!!  Yes, we had managed to pick up the wrong one.  So, it was off to IKEA again which really threw our plans for the day into disarray.

The traffic was a nightmare on our way home but we finally made it back and set about assembling the hutch.

Here is the final item all completed and in position.  It is shorter and narrower than the old table so creates a bit more space in the room.  I have been able to conceal almost all of the cables behind the desk which is much neater than before.

2015-07-18 01I moved the pictures that were above the old desk to the other side of the room now that the second bookcase has gone.

2015-07-18 02Now I need to find a suitable chair to place in the corner to create a comfortable reading nook.

I am really pleased with how this room has been altered and redefined.  I have some plans for minor alterations to a couple of other rooms in the future.  No doubt, I will post about those when they happen but please don’t hold your breath.

A New Desk – Part 1

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I have just checked the date and realised that it is 10 days since my last blog post.  I have been busy – in that time my mother has come home from hospital after having undergone heart surgery, I have attended a gathering of my extended family which I organised to celebrate a milestone from my grandfather’s life and been away for a work conference for 2 days.  That has all been in addition to running a household and holding down a full-time job.

There will be some blog posts about some of what I have been doing,but that is enough of my excuses for the moment.

GMan and I both had a day off today and we decided to make a round trip of over 200km to IKEA to buy a new desk for our home office.  I had searched online for either a new or second-hand desk and the one we bought was definitely the best to suit our needs.

indexWe arrived home this afternoon with 3 large packages.

2015-07-17 01GMan and I have spent several hours assembling the desk.  We are very happy with how it has turned out so far.  It is currently sitting in the middle of the office.

2015-07-17 02Tomorrow we will move all of the stuff of the existing desk and position the new one in its place.  The next step will be to build the bookcase/hutch section which attached to the desk.

Watch out for tomorrow’s post in which I hope to show you the completed desk and revamped office/library area.