Tuesday, 23 November 2010

30 Days of De-Cluttering : Debriefing

I mentioned a little while back that I was embarking on a project to throw one thing away (or recycle it, or donate it) every day for 30 days. I was going to blog about it, perhaps once a week, but my - how the time has passed! I did follow through on the actual project however, even though I got behind a couple of days here and there. And it really does feel good to throw things away! Once I've managed to work my way past that little voice in my head that says, "I might need that one day", "that was a good book, I might read it again" or even just "noooo!".

Even though it might be boring, I'm going to list what I threw away every day, just to prove that I really did it! And cos it makes me feel good about myself.

1. oil burner - as I've already discussed, it was broken and I told myself to turf it instead of trying to fix it!
2. sneakers - they were old and dirty and the padding was all gone. They were uncomfortable to walk in. Plus I'd already bought new ones a few months ago!
3. bathroom things - some extra bath puffies and a wire soap rest (rusted).
4. cardboard boxes (2) - old tissue boxes with pictures on them that I was going to use as covers for recycled paper notebooks. I just knew in my heart that I'd never get around to actually making them, though. So out they went! (Into the recycling!)
5. plastic bags - a few years ago I'd been planning to cut them into strips and knit with them. I had cut a few, but geez it's a pain! I can't see myself ever doing any more. So I chucked them out.
6. makeup - threw out some that were out-of-date or colour repeats. I'd rather use powder eyeshadow now than eye pencils. They drag less on my skin.
7. work drawer - some ziplock bags and other things I probably won't re-use.
8. crappy yarn - it was so bad I just threw it in the bin! Not even the charity shops deserve yarn that bad!
9. coffee table - it used to be a TV stand, but now we have a rear projection TV so we don't need it. I put it out on the nature strip and it was gone soon afterwards.
10. tea ball - I have about 3 and this one was rusted.
11. work papers - I went through and weeded a bunch of papers at work that I no longer needed.
12. blogs - I decided to shift all of my blogs from Bloglines to Protopage. Any that hadn't updated in over 6 months or were no longer about topics that I'm interested in, didn't make the cut. (This actually took way, way more than one day!)
13. Facebook games - I decided to not play any Facebook games for one week. It's been 3 weeks and I don't miss them at all. I feel like I've taken some leisure time back in my life that I can use for more productive and satisfying activities.
14. shoes - the shoes I wore every day in Europe. Ohhh, so comfy! But now when I hold them up, there's a hole in the sole so big that I can see light through it. So sadly they had to go.
15. shoes - another pair that I've had for ages. They were some really cool loafers that had a pink argyle pattern on them. Rather than try to find a similar new pair, I just kept wearing them until they were all dirty, until they had holes in the toes, until a friend said she wouldn't speak to me if she ever saw me wearing them again! I saved my friendship and turfed the shoes.
16. nail polish (1) - it was all gluggy and gross, so I used it in my art journal.
17. socks (2) - big holes in the heels! I bought some new ones.
18. nail polish (6) - ditto to nail polish from Day 16. Also there were some very similar colours, so I weeded out the ones I didn't like so much.
19. yarn (gave away) - I was sending some yarn to someone for charity knitting, so I thought I'd add a few extra balls.
20. mobile phone book - While I was waiting for a friend, I just happened to have my mobile out, so I went through and deleted anyone I hadn't spoken to in 3 years.
21. used envelopes - we get a lot of mail at work, so I save spare envelopes with cool security patterns on the inside for my art journalling, but I'd collected more than I could ever possibly use. So into the recycling they went!
22. old clothes - I found these in a bag as possibilities to take to the Op Shop. I do have to admit that I went through them and took a couple back out again!
23. handbags (4) - I ordered one on Etsy to replace an old one that's looking a bit shabby. Then I decided to donate a few more as they weren't really my style anymore.
24.egg-shaped containers - Boy and I got them for Easter a few years ago, filled with lollies. We were going to use them for something, someday, but can we really be bothered? No!
25. hair wrap - the elastic had gone on it, but I couldn't be bothered fixing it. I've discovered that a normal towel works just fine to dry my hair anyway.
26. used diffuser sticks - I was going to use them in some kind of art journalling experiment, but I use diffusers quite regularly so I'm sure I won't be short of them if I want some in future.
27. spare backpack - I bought a backpack on Ebay, but I didn't realise it was a two-for-one purchase. So I put one in the Op Shop bag.
28. pink sneakers - More shoes! These were worn out ages ago and I kept them - why? I don't really know! Did I think I could fix them or recycle the sparkly pink bits from them in something else? My life is too short!
29. toiletries - Actually, I mixed some together that were just taking up space, e.g. coloured hair serum and frizzy hair serum. It saves time too because now I only have to apply the one mixed product to my hair instead of both whenever I've washed it.
30. toothpicks - every year Boy and I receive 2 packets of toothpicks in our Christmas hampers. This year we decided to chuck them in the bin as we still had about 3 packets left over and we don't use up a whole packet in a year! (Though I did keep one packet for mixing small amounts of paint together, etc.)

All in all, this project was a good exercise in confronting an issue that I've always had, and has gotten worse over the last few years. I remember a couple of years ago making a pact with myself to clear out the hobby room, get rid of any stuff I no longer need and make it all pretty and inspirational. Yet somehow I managed to accumulate more and more stuff and the situation became worse instead of better. And still I look at the pretty, crafty, neat and tidy rooms on other people's blogs and sigh and dream.

One day! I swear!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

New Works in Progress


Here are some projects that I've started recently. I was home sick today - my Ulcerative Colitis was playing up. But it gave me a chance to have a nice, quiet crafty day and work on these (I was playing around with the picture effects on Photo bucket):

Baby version of the Jayne hat I've made before - two this time.

An iPod holder that I'm going to use when walking, etc.

My attempt to get my total number of projects down to 30 has failed miserably so far! I'm of the opinion that things like this don't count though. Right?

I'm making a banana bread at the moment. I'll post a pic next time if it's photogenic enough.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

In The Kitchen: Ricotta Cream

I want to share with you this recipe that I made up when I was looking for a healthier substitute for cream to use as a topping on desserts, etc.

equal part Extra Light Ricotta Cheese
equal part No Fat Vanilla Yoghurt**
sugar substitute powder to taste (optional)

** You can use any flavoured yoghurt you like. Today I used Yoplait ForMe in Sticky Date Pudding flavour. That's why it has little brown bits in the picture below. ehehhe

Shot of fruity breakfast pancakes cooking which will end up underneath the Ricotta Cream:

Shot of finished dish. As I figure it, there would be less than .5g of fat in a tablespoon, so feel free to add more! hehehe

Friday, 5 November 2010

{ Monthly Zakka } - Pair of Washcloths

Zakka = A Japanese term, literally "many things". Broadly defined as any everyday object that improves ones home, life or appearance. For me, Zakka is a handmade or vintage object which is functional and simple, but also aesthetically pleasing in a whimsical and charming way. It makes you smile whenever you use it.
Monthly = Here, "monthly" means whenever I feel like it, or alternatively, whenever I finish a project that I feel could be described as Zakka. Hopefully this is at least once per month.

I've had this idea swimming around in my head for quite a long time now. It's related to my ongoing quest to create a harmonious and even inspiring living space. Of course, when I first heard what Zakka was, I jumped on it straight away. I collected a long list of projects to make and I wanted some way of making sure that I worked on them, as well as the living project, on a regular basis. The phrase 'Monthly Zakka' kept popping into my head. But then doubts started to creep in - what if I don't manage to finish a project every month? What if I finish one too soon or at the wrong time and I want to start another one sooner? I have some larger projects that I've nearly finished which I think could qualify for MZ too - what about those? It was starting to become ridiculous! So I thought, stuff this! When have I ever finished anything 'on time' or 'to order'? Never! (Well, not for ages, anyway.) I decided to just work on projects as I feel like it, and if they 'feel Zakka' to me, I'll do a Monthly Zakka post. So you may see another one next week. My situation is amenable.

For my first Monthly Zakka, I made a set of two washcloths from Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton. They're squishy and blue and remind me of the sky - if it was square. I'll enjoy washing my face with them. I made the design up myself, so I thought I'd write it up into a pattern. I've nearly finished it and I'll post it soon.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 4 November 2010


On the weekend, Boy and I visited his lovely, lovely parents. We had a gorgeous roast lunch, and I was lucky to come away with some yarn and this pattern book:

The two aren't specifically meant to go together, but somehow a new project magically appeared soon after I got home:

It's a pair of bedsocks! I have some nice warm slippers, but they're the type with no back, so I can't really wear them when I'm curled up on the couch. Also, they fall off whenever I get up from my computer chair. So I thought a pair of socks would be the perfect solution. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the first sock already. Despite the fact that it's a 'beginner' pattern, some parts of were quite confusing, but I nutted them out in the end.

I hope this unseasonably cold weather lasts long enough for me to finish them!

I've also been working on the Giant Granny Square Baby Blanket quite a bit, while watching such TV shows as Man Vs. Wild with Bear Grylls. In a perverse way, I enjoy watching him struggle through the wilderness eating raw bugs while I sit with a hot cup of tea crocheting with a warm wool blanky spread over my lap. I'm not knitting it to a pattern, so I can make it any size I like, but think it only needs a few more rows. Here it is at the moment: