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.

Another Weekend

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Well, Sunday evening has rolled around yet again in the blink of an eye.  The weekends are simply not long enough for me to achieve everything I hope to do.

Some weekends are more productive than others and I am pretty happy with what I managed to accomplish.

All of the washing and 95% of the ironing are done.  Why 95%?  The iron decided it was time to die when I only had a few items left.  So, one of my jobs for this week will be to buy a new one.

I have planned our menu for the week, bought fruit and vegetables, swept and vacuumed the floors as well as doing some painting on the verandah.

GMan and I went to the computer shop to buy a new tower for the desktop computer as the other one had been deemed as unrepairable.  The new one should be ready next weekend.

Apart from sanding and painting GMan managed to do all of the mowing so he has been busy, too.

However, the weekend was not all work as we went to the movies in Maleny on Saturday evening to see, ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’.  It was both funny and sad in places and I really enjoyed it.

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Weekend Washing

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You all know the never-ending cycle of housework – washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning.  That seems to be the routine every weekend as I ready myself for the week ahead.

This weekend was all about washing, and not just clothes, although I did that as well.

I washed my car which is a fairly rare occurrence.  It positively sparkled in the sunshine by the time I had finished.

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Then GMan and I washed 3 sides of the exterior of the house.  The long side which faces the street and the 2 ends are done and we will tackle the long, back wall next weekend.  The part that we have done is relatively easy as there is verandah on those 3 sides so access is not difficult.  The last side is a different story as the house is high-set at the back.  We will assemble the scaffolding to reach this part.  It takes a lot more time as you constantly need to move and re-position the scaffolding along with climbing up and down but it will be worth it.

Finally, I washed and cleaned all of the kitchen windows.  There will be more to do once the back wall is cleaned but it is definitely a job worth doing.

Back to the Laundry

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It is a while since I have cleaned the laundry thoroughly and it was beginning to show.  The general view of the room looks OK but I was starting to feel that things were just being shoved in the cupboards.  I was finally prompted into action after we went to the Kin Kin markets yesterday to stock up on more laundry liquid and pre-soak/stain remover that are made locally by Felix at Kin Kin Naturals.

005I have 2 storage areas in this room.  One is the cupboards under the bench.  The other is a tall cupboard opposite the washing machine.

This is what the cupboard under the bench looked like this morning.

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006I found that I had a couple of half-used bottles of laundry liquid so I condensed these.  I also decided to change the storage container for the dry cat food from a large, round bucket which is never full to a more manageable oblong container.  The spare spray bottles which were living in the rectangular bucket have been removed and will be stored downstairs.

The cupboard, shelves and inside and outside of the doors was wiped down and cleaned.  I was astounded at how grubby the insides of the cupboard doors were.

The finished cupboard is a bit more organised.

008Then it was on to the tall cupboard.  Here is the before photo.

002For a moment, I was tempted to just ‘tidy it up’ but decided to remove everything (including the rack on the inside of the door) and do it properly.

007Everything got the ‘once-over’ before putting it back.  I scrubbed the small stepladder, removed and cleaned the liner of the laundry hamper, washed the plastic bag holders and repaired the rag-bag where it was coming unstitched.  I realised that I barely scratch the surface of the pile of rags in the bag so I sorted through them and have sent a few downstairs to the workshop and thrown a few in the rubbish as the fabric was not terribly good for any sort of cleaning job.

I checked what cleaning supplies I had and made sure that they were all things that I will use – either currently or in the future – before putting them back.  Like every other area of the house, I have been working on reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ that is in here by using it up and in some instances not replacing it.

Once I had refilled the rag-bag and plastic bag holders it was time to put everything back in its place.

013Whilst the overall view is not substantially different, I am happy that I know what is in the cupboard and exactly how much I have.

Doing the Doona

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Do you feel like you’ve just stepped out of the boxing ring by the time you have finished putting the doona/duvet back in its cover?  I don’t know that I would be that dramatic but it is certainly not one of my favourite tasks.

I was recently looking at something on YouTube when I saw a video on how to insert a doona into a cover and then promptly forgot about it.  Since then I have changed the cover to the darker one which I use during the cooler months.  However, I kept the lightweight, polyester insert as the nights were still relatively warm.  I used my usual method which I can do by myself but is easier with the assistance of GMan.

The overnight temperatures have now signalled that it really is autumn so today I decided to change over to the feather doona.  I remembered to take some time to search YouTube for the trick to easily putting the doona in a cover.  There are several to choose from but I thought that the instructions in the following video were as clear as any.

After watching it twice, I decided to test the idea.  The first problem was when I discovered that the doona was nearly 30cm wider than the cover.  I have had this doona for many years and never noticed that before so I just persevered.

Perhaps it is just because I am not overly tall and we have a foot end on the bed, but I found that I walked from one side of the bed to the other numerous times as I was rolling it up.  I had excess doona sticking out from both ends due to the doona being wider than the cover.  I followed the directions and it worked well.  The excess just seemed to disappear into the midst of the doona.

The end result looks much the same as any other method and I am not sure that there was a great deal of difference in the time it took.

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The only real advantage that I can see is that my method does entail lifting your hand well above your head in order to shake the doona into place.  If you have shoulder problems the YouTube method would eliminate that.  I do not think it is worth the effort of turning the cover inside-out and laying it out absolutely flat with the corners of the doona matching.

Will I do it again?  Probably not.

How do you get your doona into the cover?  Would you consider trying the method shown in the video?

Little Bits

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If you haven’t already gathered from the lack of blog posts, this has been a busy week at work.  The next couple of weeks don’t look like being much better, either.

I have been getting along by just doing a little bit each morning and evening.  There are no major achievements but at least the household hasn’t fallen into complete disarray.

2012-01-20 04We have managed to have a home-cooked meal every evening, packed lunches and a healthy breakfast. I at least partly make the lunches the night before while dinner is cooking.

2012-05-05 04The dishwasher is loaded every day thanks to GMan and it only takes a few moments to unload it.

The washing is done and I have ironed enough clothes to see us through the week.  There are a few extra items that I will need to do on the weekend.  Having the clothesline on the verandah means that I can quickly hang washing out or get it in when we arrive home.  It is then folded and put away.

2013-02-15 02Everything has stayed tidy because there is no-one here to make a mess.

I hope to have something a bit more exciting to share with you on the weekend.