Friday, January 19, 2018

Creating space, creating a habit

I've been decluttering my craftroom.  I still have a little more to go, including a box of stuff on the floor that I can't seem to find places for, and some things to take to school. I'm giving away some fabric and I've sorted through my scrapbooking things. But I still have a room packed full of things.

During last year I found this little 2-seater sofa at an op shop, and it changed everything about the room. But until now I had no time to really make it all work. 

Originally, I had these cute vintage velvet wingchairs in my craftroom. I loved the look of these chairs, they were a bargain, were in good condition and had just the vintage vibe I wanted. 

This is how I had the sitting area of my craft room set up originally
(on the other side of the room is my desk and most of my craft supplies) 

... and then I rearranged when we inherited this lovely leadlight cabinet.

But the trouble was that the chairs only looked cute. They didn't feel so great. When I sat on them I felt both constricted by the arms and wobbly on the seat cushion. My great plans of sitting daily to read the bible and pray on these chairs came to nothing. We sat on them on Friday nights for date night, and the rest of them time they just held piles of stuff, and I wondered why I didn't sit on them more. 

Then came the sofa.

Not vintage. Not the best colour. But comfortable.
A real game-changer.

And now I get to my new habit:

Each night I light this little candle

I open my little pencil case (a gift from a Korean student) and take out a pen.
(I keep the matches in there, also)

I open my bible

And my day-to-a-page diary (Aldi)

and I get reading and writing and praying.

You see, when I was younger I read my bible everyday, but as I got older, I found it hard to make the time.  This year I've discovered a few other things about me:

A lighted candle helps to remind me to stay and read and think, not to jump up and do something else. It makes the time a bit special (and smells amazing, the nicest vanilla candle I ever met ;)

A diary with pretty pages, smooth paper and the perfect sized page and just one page seems doable, compared to my old burnout style of writing pages and pages in a journal one day and not touching it again for months.

It helps to have a colourful bible and pencil case that coordinate, because I'm just that kind of girl.

A reading plan from my minister for our church to read Matthew 14-28 in the month of January has really helped. Especially when I recoloured it and made it pretty to match my diary ;)

I have a couple, but just a couple, of other reading and resource books in the pile for when I have extra time.  I plan to re-read the Jesus Storybook Bible again soon, I just love it, and it's not only for kids.

The other thing I've done is moved some suitcases which were piled up in the centre of the room. They were handy for storage and putting things on when I'm sitting at my desk, but not worth it in the end because of the cramped feeling they gave me. I also had a nest of tables in here, which felt rickety and not quite right. Now I manage with the little table attached to the standard lamp. And in case you're worried, I still have the olive velvet wingchairs, one in the craftroom next to the sofa, and one in the living room. And I still have some furniture from this room and elsewhere that I need to find space for, hmmm.

I'm so pleased that I was able to use this holiday time to manage the space and feel of this room, and to finally use it to accomplish one of my original aims of this room - to have a quiet space to sit and read and pray each day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Some breathing space.

Time to read

and read

and read.

A few outings.

This was Cooper's first time at a beach.

He loved it.

We normally have a picnic sometime after New Year.
On the 5th we headed to Lavender Bay, somewhere we hadn't been before,

and to Wendy Whiteley's garden

where we dodged sprinklers

and discovered treasures.

 It was great to be by the harbour again, even if just for a short time.

And we finally got to take that family portrait I'd been wanting for a few months.

Even if it was just a selfie.

I've been decluttering like mad, and trying to incorporate/give up/sell furniture rejected by Laura, she has all new black Ikea furniture in her room now, gifts from her 18th birthday. I've almost reached the stage where I feel that every cupboard, shelf and surface has been checked for items to declutter. I like to think this is the first sweep with more sweeps to come, but I know that's unlikely once school and uni begin again. But perhaps with spaces slightly less cluttered I can cull an item or two from time to time as I can gradually loosen my hold on things.

Emily turned 20 on the 7th, and we celebrated with all sorts of vegan treats

 (well, ok some of our treats weren't vegan but hers all were) and I replicated a delicious vegan pumpkin pie we had on Christmas Eve, yum.

She is all about bootcamp and smoothie bowls these days, so I made her the perfect card.

Steve and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a visit to the city, where we had Thr1ve burgers (I had a gingerbread smoothie), then headed to the art gallery to see the Dutch Masters exhibition, which was amazing. So hard to conceive that these paintings were about 350 years old and painted on the other side of the world. I've just read Remembering Rembrandt which was great timing. 
(If only it wasn't so tiring standing looking at paintings with other people around ...)


Not this one, of course, because I'm not 350 years old.

And I bought the cutest sundress at Dangerfield. That evening we went out for dinner and saw a movie, The Post. We really needed some time out without girls or dog, just enjoying ourselves, it was great.

The next day I took myself out and dropped off a load of decluttering and bought a plant.

Because the New Me can keep plants alive.


And the New Me doesn't eat sugar and junk food anymore, as of 12th January. Christmas munching is well and truly over, although some of the treats remain. I'm keeping them for little daily rewards for sticking to a meat/fruit/veg diet each day, I really need to do it, enough is enough.

I've also enjoyed some good viewing - Home FiresHidden FiguresDeath Comes to Pemberley and more; and plenty of internet surfing, largely on minimalist themes and now moving onto education. 

And, of course, these holidays have been all about the dog. He's 8 months old now.
Now Steve's back at work I'm responsible for the morning walk, which happens with mixed success.
Sometimes tears.
But mostly with some good solid walking in large chunks, interspersed with Cooper plonking himself on the grass and sitting happily, while I go through all sorts of antics to get him up and going again.

Thankfully after that he sleeps most of the day, except for a play sometime in the afternoon and a good run around with Steve in the evening. At night, Steve and I take him for a good long walk and he gets through the night with just a bit of barking at passersby and possums.

So things have really progressed from those scary months early on when we felt we were being attacked by little sharp teeth all day long. 

Here he is having a cuddle with Laura this afternoon.

It's been good to look back at photos now that we're half way through January, and see that I haven't been sitting and/or decluttering all holidays, like I thought I had been. We've actually had a few nice outings. It feels like luxury to be at home with the freedom to do whatever I want, after two years straight of working full-time and studying. Last summer I had the constant pressure to study and write assignments, and I might do the same next summer, but I needed this summer to stop and breathe and take stock, and remember who I am, and who we are, and where we live.

There have been some really hard things this month, also, but they have been balanced out by rest, relaxation, hope, projects at home, and these good family times to remember. 

I want to hold on to these good things.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Closer to Christmas

Here's a couple more cards I've made this Christmas, using up some of the hunter green card I seem to have a lot of. Although it's a classic for Christmas, and I used to use it all the time, I tend to go reach more for olive card with red these days. The Merry Christmas stamp on the first card is a cheap one, from a polymer pack from Riot Art & Craft, and the Lovely as a Tree stamp is a classic, and so beautiful.

The weeks are rushing by, just 16 days till Christmas now. I've written most of my cards but might need to make a few more, my card list has increased significantly with new families at church on top of adding my 40 or so colleagues at work last year and this.

Tonight I was at my staff Christmas party, which was lots of fun. I'm grateful to have been working two years with these lovely people. There are five more school days this year, plus another function and two long staff meetings, it will be strange to be with my work friends so much this week and then it will suddenly stop, I won't see them for six weeks. But ... we teachers all need a holiday!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Creating for Christmas

Since my uni semester finished in October, I've been busy making Christmas cards. This has been quite therapeutic in the midst of some difficult things going on in the family (and cheaper than therapy?)

I've made 100 cards so far, here's a sampling of some of them.

And now the fun part's over, I need to get writing!