Something Different

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As I mentioned at the end I my previous post, I spent the remainder of yesterday far away from my sewing machine.

If you think of the room with my sewing machine as my hobby area then the workshop is GMan’s hobby space.  From time to time we have a clean up and usually declutter a few more things.  Yesterday we had another go but this time the focus was the contents of the storage cupboards under the bench rather than some of the bigger garden items.

We decided to move all of the various jars and containers of nails, screws, rivets etc from the shelf in the cupboard to this set of shelves which we had inherited and mounted on the wall some time ago.  We had not really used the shelves but it is now much easier to see what we actually have.

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I finally found a solution for storing the various extension cords.  This metal bracket which came from my father’s workshop has been mounted just above the bench.

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We could not complete the final bit of organisation until today as we needed to buy some plastic plugs to allow us the screw into the concrete block wall to mount the shelf to the left of this photo.

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We have yet to put anything on it but there is plenty to choose from.  The shelf beside it was the subject of one of my very early blog posts – almost 6 years ago.

I found it interesting to re-read that old post because I realised that all of the items mentioned today actually belonged to my father – even the re-purposed tins cans for storing screws – on the bottom shelf of the first photograph.

And what inspired us to do all of this?  It was trying to find suitable screws and the correct size drill bit for another handyman project.  That will be revealed tomorrow.

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.

 

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.

Flexibility is the Key

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Menu planning, like any other plan, has to have a degree of flexibility built into it otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure.

In this post I listed my menu plan for the week up until last Friday.  Everything was going well until midweek when I found that I needed to attend a funeral on Friday, therefore, I would not be home at 3pm to put the potatoes in the slow cooker.  I also knew that we had a relatively small window of time for dinner as we were going to the movies that evening.

Since the weather was hot, I decided that an antipasto platter would do nicely so this is what I put together when I arrived home.

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There is a selection of fruit, vegetables and cheeses.  Dried apricots and raisins, fresh pineapple, walnuts, olives, carrots sticks, strips of capsicum, cherry tomatoes as well as goats’ cheese and cheddar.

I also made some gluten free mini pancakes rather than opening a packet of rice crackers.

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We did not eat all of the pancakes so I had some for my lunch the next day.

The great thing about this kind of meal is that you do not need a lot of anything so it is perfect for using up little bits and pieces.

The baked potatoes is back on the menu for tomorrow night.

A 15 Minute Job

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Sometimes it is difficult to find time to do anything much more than the basics – washing, ironing and cooking – done when I am busy at work.

However, tonight I managed to start and finish a small job in just 15 minutes.  I cleaned, tidied and sorted the drawers in the bathroom.  There are 4 drawers in the vanity unit but one is empty and I save that so that it is available for guests to use if they wish.

One drawer has GMan’s stuff, one is mine and the bottom drawer has the hairdryer so extra mini soaps and spare toothbrushes.

Here is my drawer before I started.

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There does not appear to be much difference once I had cleaned it  but a couple of things have gone.  It is a good opportunity to review what is actually in the drawer so that I can remind myself to use it.

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I did not photograph the other drawers before but here they are – clean and sparkling.

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Finally, I have finished the makeup that I wrote about recently.  These have been tossed in the bin and I am going to buy new lipstick, mascara and blush tomorrow.

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The cupboard in the vanity unit is the next thing on my hit list but not tonight.

Refilling the Wardrobe

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Our wardrobes were looking a bit depleted on the weekend.  We had been away for a few days the previous weekend so the regular cycle of washing and ironing had not been done plus we took some different clothes away with us so that added even more to the laundry.

I spent a considerable amount of time ironing on Sunday and this is the result.

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Here is my end of the wardrobe before I put my freshly ironed clothes away.

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And this is the other end where GMan’s clothes live.

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My selection of clothes is not spectacularly small but after a few years of carefully considering what clothes I purchase, I am pretty happy with the selection of clothes that I own.

Apart from showing you how much ironing I did I wanted to use this post to begin a conversation about how best to plan and organise the contents of your wardrobe.

I think there are nearly as many options as there are people on the planet so you have to find what works for you.  Over the past 4 years I have flirted with Project 333, wardrobe capsules, seasonal collections and so on.  All of these attempts have been part of learning what methods suits me and my lifestyle.

If you look closely at the top left-hand corner of the photo of my wardrobe you will see what is a large bag with some clothes in it.  This was my latest attempt in which I would put away the clothes that were not relevant to the current season.  While I have not found myself scrambling for the contents of that bag I have decided that I am not that keen on shoving clothes away in a bag.

It means that I have to hang and probably iron them again before the next time they are worn.  Also, I am not exactly sure what is in the bag which makes it difficult to plan ahead for the next season – what I may consider buying or making.

So, I think I have figured out a plan that is going to work for me.  I am going to do a bit of preparation over the next week or so and be ready to start in earnest on 1st December which is the first official day of summer here in Australia.

Watch this space………..

 

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!

Home Office/Library

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Today I have been revamping the home office/library area in our home.  This is really a follow up post to one I wrote in January which you can read here.

I finally moved the Australian Geographic magazines to the bottom shelf of the shelving unit in the lounge room and finally the bookcase was empty.

003I advertised it on a couple of local Facebook Buy, Swap, Sell sites and it looks as though it will be going to a new home tomorrow.

2011-12-21 01This is what one side of the office looked like a couple of years ago.  The freezer has been moved downstairs and with one bookcase ready to go we now have this blank corner.

009I am planning to get a comfy chair to put in the corner and create a reading nook.

Meanwhile, on the opposite wall we have a folding trestle table which we use as a computer desk.

001This was always only a temporary measure but it has been like this for nearly 10 years!  After much searching I have found this piece at IKEA.  I have only seen it online but hopefully it will measure up to my expectations.

indexThe look of the room has been changed by re-arranging some of the artwork we have.

007These are above the computer desk at the moment but if I end up getting the IKEA desk I will relocate them to the other side so they will be above the reading chair.

Here are a couple of others which have also been changed around.

008The office/library is a rather strange room due to the fact that the house was extended many years ago before we bought it.  This room was originally the main bedroom at the end of the house, however, it is now a walk-through room to the additional bedrooms.  The cupboards in the above photo would have been the original wardrobe.  The right-hand side is my linen cupboard and the left-hand side holds the filing cabinet.

004As you can see from the link in the first paragraph, we downsized from a 4 drawer filing cabinet to a 2 drawer one.  This left plenty of space but it was not particularly functional.  Today, we have cut down an offcut of melamine coated shelving and created a new shelf.

006There is still more to do but I feel as though I a winning the battle to make the office/library into both a functional and pleasant space.

My Turn

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Today it was time to clean and tidy up my pantry.

It is really not too bad but was definitely time to check for anything lurking in the background.  I wiped out all of the shelves, decanted a few things into the new jars and generally re-arranged it to work a bit better.

BEFORE

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001The space on the bottom shelf is where the dehydrator normally lives but I was using it when the photo was taken.  The pack in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo is some gluten-free bread mix which was 18 months past its best before date but I made it anyway and it turned out well.  There is a second pack in the box which I might make up next weekend.

I have moved a few things out of the pantry – a large coffee plunger which now lives on the shelf above the oven with the other coffee plunger and the teapot.  The coffee grinder which we never use is going to the op shop along with a plastic container which belongs in the freezer but I never have it in there as it just wastes space and limits how much I can pack in.  Finally, the pile of plastic plates and bowls (meant to be disposable but I keep washing and re-using them) have been moved from the pantry.  I have kept 2 of each in the cupboard for the grandchildren but the rest will be stored in the sideboard for use at BBQ’s or other events.  One day I may decide to offload them altogether but not just yet.

AFTER

005I did not take a photo of the bottom shelf and the floor but suffice to say they look a bit better, too.

Flashback Friday

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Here is one I whipped up earlier.  Four years ago, in fact.  This post with a video of how to fold plastic bags is one of my favourites.  Please let me know what you think.  Do you use this method?  Will you give it a try?  I find one of these takes up next to no space in my handbag and it is useful to have one on hand.

In the first days of this blog I posted a link on ‘How to Fold a Plastic Bag’ Here it is again for anyone who missed it.  This really captured my interest. I have two bags hanging inside my laundry cupboard where I store reused bags which I use constantly but I had another lot in the cupboard in the spare room which needed a better way of storing them.

2011-03-25 01I decided to try my new-found skill on this lot.

2011-03-25 02All folded on the bench – now for how to store them.

2011-03-25 03The only thing left to do is to put the box back in the cupboard.