update for August…

Surprisingly, I managed to get down my pile of paper work though it took me two whole days and a lot of concentration to balance the statements, change mobile provider and file.  OH signed us up to a new gas provider EDF so we are hoping for savings there and better customer service in the event we need to contact them.   I also discovered in checking our accounts that more interest had been added to one or two of our ISA savings which was a nice surprise.

Once the finances were back under control I decided to turn my attentions to doing more decluttering and organising and have been spending quite a bit of time reorganising the storage in the bedrooms.

The new wardrobe in the recently decorated bedroom is now my linen store which has freed up space in the main wardrobe in our bedroom.  As luck would have it my younger daughter, who is in North Yorkshire, is moving soon to a bigger house so she will take a lot of the excess towels and linens that I have found and don’t really need freeing up even more space.

I have also assigned one of the drawers to hold my fabrics.  I was quite ruthless going through the fabric pieces and reduced the amount I am keeping to a more manageable level.  I came across a number of projects that have been hanging around for ages:-

  • A knitted cushion made by my mum but it requires sewing together.
  • A Xmas stocking that I found had a pin left inside lodged in the padding – this needed unpicking a little at the top edge – the pin removing and then sewing back up so I did this straight away and it didn’t even get a mention on my To-do list.  It took all of 10 minutes and it must have been waiting for a few months!
  • As we have 3 new family members now – the partners of each of my daughters and my granddaughter  – I need to make three additional Xmas stockings. I have the fabric ready to make them I just need some time to get down to doing it.
  • Bunting – left over from the wedding I have a number of cut out flags and I always intended sewing these together.The bits and pieces of fabric from the wedding bunting too small for flags will be used to make patchwork squares or strips for a memory quilt for my daughter.
  • I bought a set of tea towels from Sainsbury’s with hens printed on intending to make a tea cosy.
  • A silk scarf that I bought turned out to be a square with fringing all round rather than a long scarf.  I was never keen on the fringing so decided to remove it – a 10 minute job and now I have a new scarf.

 

and a pile of fringing!

So out of seven sewing tasks I did 2 of them within half an hour but I need to put aside some time to complete at least the cushion cover and the new Xmas stockings very soon.

Whilst all the sorting has been going on we have been putting the finishing touches to the newly decorated room.

OH made the wardrobe door handles as I wanted white-painted wood and IKEA do not sell theses without the free-standing wardrobe they go with.  The last coat has gone on and these have now been screwed in place.

He has also put up some narrow picture ledges for the books and pictures, cut down the blind and fitted it today – we have gone for just a plain white one and are not putting curtains up again – I like the simplicity of the blind – you might think otherwise when you see it.

For the time being we have put the old carpet back down.  Although it is 20 years old it is still in reasonable condition but the colour looks a bit too creamy now against the cooler grey walls, however, it will be better than having dusty floorboards until all the rest of the house is done and we have the same colour carpet put down throughout.

The duvet quilt cover I have bought is not what I had originally intended either – the one piece of furniture, besides the bed, that we are keeping in this room is a vintage blue Lloyd loom bedside cabinet that once belonged to my mum-in-law and it is something that I have always coveted since I first visited my mum-in-law’s house back in the seventies and now it is ours.  To tie in the blue I decided on a duvet cover from Next children range called Vintage Ditsy which features a very similar blue to the cabinet amongst the pink flower print.  I had not intended it to be flowery at all in this room – but there you go!

Rather than me trying to describe everything I will take some photos soon.  I am back at work tomorrow so it will be later this week. Promise.

Meanwhile here are some photos taken whilst at the caravan the weekend before last and a progress report.

 

We now have grass again on the seaside side of our garden – the contractors laid down new topsoil and grass seed once they finished the reconstruction of our stream bank – albeit complete with many dock leaves – but our main problem is with the rabbits eating our new plants.  We extended the trellis border making it wider to accommodate some seaside plants that we bought in the summer.  We are hoping they will seed and spread quickly and eventually provide a natural look along the stream bank.  We have had to put chicken wire around these until either the plants recover or the rabbits get fed up and move on to something else – hopefully the docks!

They seem to be leaving the Delphiniums in the Woodland walk alone this year and I have a nice clump of them  – some are still to flower.  I love this deep blue against the orange of the Monbrettia.

There is not a lot of colour going on around the pond at the moment so I might add some late summer / early Autumn planting to rectify this next year although I often quite like to have a parts of the garden that are just restful – the pond is definitely a Spring / early summer corner.

For bursts of colour you cannot beat Hydrangeas – this is one of my favourites and it really brightens up this spot by the daisy path.

Back at home I now have Sweet Peas to cut at last – I planted them late and so this is the first of them – a lovely velvety deep purple with a sprig of  – you’ve guessed it – orange Monbrettia – it colour coordinated so well with my mixed fresh fruits for breakfast today.

During my ‘sorting out’ I discovered some instructions and directions that I had photocopied to turn into care cards – see here if you are unfamiliar with my way of dealing with this kind of information – I have now laminated these and they can be placed where I need them to refer to.

Tomorrow is work again and it will be a day or two before I can get back to the decluttering.  My next project is to go through the boxes in the wardrobe in the middle bedroom to reduce the amount of stored ‘stuff’ and get the room emptied ready to decorate.  The wardrobe in here which has sliding doors is to be dismantled to make way for a newer version.

Back soon x

 

 

 

Advertisements

My new Focus for this month…

It is so lovely to see little signs of Spring creeping in everywhere, the lighter nights and mornings, sunnier days and the first burst of  colour as the Spring flowers emerge. I feel winter is definitely behind us now and we can give a huge stretch and come out of hibernation.
It is with this in mind that I have decided to dedicate my focus this month to an energetic Spring Clean and I must say I can’t wait to get started.

Spring Clean

After the long winter months I can finally blow away the cobwebs, throw the windows open wide and  let some fresh air into the house, put the washing out onto the line to dry and clean, scrub, clean until every nook and cranny in the house sparkles.

Washing Day

If you click on the drop down menu above on the tab Focus 2014 you can see my plan for March.  Each day I will tackle a different task which will lead me to my goal of a clean house.
For those of you who have been following along I will be updating you on my previous projects for January and February – focusing on Finances and Simplifying my Space, the former actually proved to be easier than the latter and I think this is mainly due to the fact that I could do a very small financial related task in the evening, whilst the clearing tended to be left for my days at home.
Did you watch the video about Innermost House on my previous post – I know some of you did and there were mixed comments but I think the general consensus was that there was something quite magical about it even if it is definitely not for you. 
For anyone who missed it here is the link again – Innermost House
…and for those who would like to see more this is another video called ‘On the way home’

I have watched them a few times over now as I see and hear different things at each viewing –  there is something of the spirit of the place that I would like to capture and apply to my own home – for instance I love the fact that she has ‘chosen’ what she wants to live with her in the house.  As the documentary says there is nothing superfluous there and that really appeals to me so whilst I continue to simplify my space I will be putting this into practice and really choosing only the items I want to live with.
Did you notice that when asked if she was a Luddite she didn’t rush off to Google – instead she took a beautiful leather bound book off the shelf and looked the word up.  We often have to resort to this method when we are at our cottage as we have no computer up there, or internet connection or phone line even and funnily enough I never miss it.  If we need to know the answer to something we go into town and generally ask Billy in the Hire Shop he is our Google  – a font of all knowledge or (and Dar will love this) we visit our local library – but you have to leave plenty of time because you will be drawn into a lovely long chat with the librarians.
Most people commented on hearing the sounds in the documentary – the sounds of nature that are often go unheard these days with all the background noise pollution we suffer from having electricity and engines surrounding us.  I must say that I might find the lack of listening to music a problem as I expect having no electricity would mean no means of playing CD’s etc.  Maybe they have musical instruments and I definitely would have to have room for my piano.
And just what is in her cupboards?  I am curious to know what she is keeping in there – what chosen articles are allowed to be part of her life.  I have so many unanswered questions and each time I watch it I want to know more – I expect you can tell that it has had a profound affect on me!!
After discovering her website I will be definitely settling down tonight for a good read. www.innermosthouse.com
My meal plan for the week, grocery spending and what I have bought last month will all be on my re-routed blog click here.

Focusing on Simplifying my space update # 2…

Simplifying my space has been a harder project than I first thought and of course I am nowhere near finishing but the areas I have completed are working so well it is motivating me to press on.  As you will have noticed I have produced very few posts about this project as time has not been on my side during February but I will keep you updated as I complete a task.  I am concentrating my time in our home office at the moment which is probably a months work in itself.  Hopefully this weekend I will get to photograph the fruits of my labours!
Whilst I have been doing all these tasks I have been thinking a lot about how I can make my space both simple and uncluttered and keep it that way.  In fact I did wonder if I am simplifying at all or just reducing.
Even though simplifying and reducing are closely related terms I think there is a big difference between the two, for instance I could simplify my meals without reducing the amount I cook or I could reduce the amount I cook but still keep my meals quite complex.
The dictionary says to simplify is to make easier – so how would I make my space easier once I have reduced the contents?
This is what I came up with –
  • I can rearrange the items to make a more workable space – both the furniture and the decorative objects.
  • I can make the cleaning easier – washable surfaces, revamp existing items, maintain existing items, clean simple lines and shapes.
  • I can simplify how the space is used so it is single rather than multiple use eg the kitchen for cooking, the bedroom for sleeping and dressing.
  • I can simplify the decor making it more restful.
  • I can introduce better storage.
  • With my finances I can simplify the way I am dealing with them and tracking them as well as reducing the amount I am spending.
So as I am reducing I will also simplify by keeping in mind the above check list.
Whilst on the subject I thought I would share this short video I came across recently on You Tube and although this is a life taking simplicity to extremes it does have a certain appeal to me. 
They have named their tiny home Innermost House – such a beautiful name and I especially like the fact that even the few books that they have with them are ‘chosen’ to live there.  If you have a few moments take a look and tell me what you feel after watching it.  Would this life appeal to you or fill you with horror?

Thoreauvian simple living: unelectrified, timeless tiny home

Tomorrow I will reveal my new Focus for March and do a catch up on my weeks spending and the menu plan.

Sweet Summer…

Oh sweet summer stay and sleep
A liquid sun beaming today and forever
Lingering dreams and afternoons of heat
The boats adrift in the harbour.

by Wayne Jarus

This weekend I wanted to capture a little of my summer garden to bring into the house – so with scissors in hand I went outside and collected a few of my favourite flowers and herbs to make a tiny posy.   I love the soft purple and pinks against the bright green of the Lemon Balm and the deep purple of the Black Knight Buddleia.  Sadly, the summer feels as if it quickly slipping by now and I have hardly spent any time in the garden at all this year.

The project to improve the area where we store our two wheelie bins is still waiting for us to have a free Saturday but we do have a new fence now which our neighbour has replaced.

This is the ‘eyesore’ corner but we are in a dilemma because this is not the fencing we had in mind to enclose our bins.  We had thought we would buy some of the larger square heavy-duty trellis panels to match the fencing on the other side of our garden which has weathered down to a nice grey colour.  The panels that our neighbour has used is not as high and quite lightweight and also a bit ‘yellowy’ in tone at the moment but they might look better when weathered.

So do we continue with the same fencing as this which we are not as keen on or put up what we had originally thought???  I think for the whole area to look neater and not stand out too much we are going to have to buy the same fencing as this. Whatever we use we will be growing climbers up it so I don’t suppose it will matter too much.  So watch this space…I hope we can find time to get it done this year.

Related Article

 

 

 

Its bin a wheelie trying day