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When I Have My House

House-buying is hard.  It is scary.  You have to deal with sharks and idiots and your own self doubt and timidity.  You have to worry about money.  You have to worry about making bad decisions.  You have to fight your fear of being locked in and stuck in a situation you fear you can never get out of.  You have to fight the urge to crawl into bed for a hundred years and not come out until the world is less scary again.

But, on the plus side (and I am really trying to find plus sides in my life right now), you get to have a home.  Your own home.  It will be a struggle and new worries will pop up now that you are responsible for everything that goes on within those four walls.  If stuff needs fixing, you have to get it fixed – you can’t just call the property manager and get them to sort it out.  But, by the same token, you can get whoever you want to fix it and WHEN you want them to fix it.  You don’t have to wait three weeks to have a leaky tap sorted.  Granted, you could also be a grown-up and learn how to fix a leaky tap yourself but let’s deal with one thing at a time here!  Baby steps, people, baby steps!

So, this morning, feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed, and sad about having to leave my little rented house and the lovely suburb that has been my haven and my security for the last three years, I started trying to think of all the things that I should see as positives.  And there are lots of them, if I just take the time to really look (and not be such a party-pooping, down-in-the mouth pessimist).

  1. I will have my own home.  I never thought I would accomplish this.  Fifteen years ago, I had about $1000 to my name.  Now I am buying a house.  I have worked hard for this.  I have saved and scrimped and been a total tightwad so that one day I might be able to buy myself a little house that is all mine.  I’m allowing myself a little bit of pride about that.  It’s a big deal.
  2. Having your own place means you can paint walls bright purple if you want to.  I don’t want to, but I can if I want to.  And nobody can stop me.
  3. No more rent inspections.  Hallelujah!
  4. I can get pets!  I get to be crazy old cat lady after all 🙂 Finally!
  5. I can knock as many holes in the walls for picture-hanging as I like.
  6. I can knock out walls altogether if I like.  Although I should probably get a professional to do that.  Not just start swinging a sledgehammer about because I’m bored and there’s nothing on TV or I’ve watched too many episodes of Masters of Flip.
  7. I can have a beautiful garden.  Or let it all die and just have weeds if I like.  It’s my house AND my garden.  I can do what I want.
  8. Nobody can tell me I have to move out.  Except maybe the bank, if I forget to pay my mortgage.  Or my hoarding becomes a real issue and the council condemns my place and tells me I have 30 days to exit.  Don’t laugh – it could happen.
  9. I don’t have to worry about spilling stuff on the carpet, or marking the walls, or breaking stuff.  I don’t plan on doing those things, but if they DO happen, no one is going to get cranky except me.
  10. Because it’s a two-storey, my craft room will be upstairs.  So all my mess and junk and chaos can be contained on one floor.  The ground floor will be neat and tidy and look like a grown-up lives there.  This is my plan.  I’m not very good at following plans, so we shall see how this one pans out.
  11. Financial security.  Nothing is certain in these un-certain times, but equity is something to hold on to.  And I don’t want to be still renting when I am 80, because rents will be like a bazillion dollars higher than they are now and I will be a crazy old cat lady pensioner.  As it is, I will be paying a mortgage until I’m in my 70s.  Which is a little scary.  But I am trying not to think about that right now.  It makes me hyperventilate and feel a bit sick.
  12. I will have an actual spare bedroom.  Not just a couch.  My Mum can come and sleep in an actual bed when she stays.  I can have my nephews and nieces over to stay.  Friends can drop in and stay the night.  I can be a proper hostess.  I can also just hoard more stuff in the spare bedroom.  Let’s not kid ourselves – you know there’s a very real possibility of it happening.
  13. While I’ve been fretting over the thought of being locked in to a mortgage, I should have been calmed by the thought of never having to move again if I choose to stay there long-term.  I hate moving.  It’s the pits.  I’ve moved four times in the last 9 years and also moved three libraries – I’m so over it.  After this month, I never want to see another packing box ever again.  Or at least for a good long while.
  14. I can start decorating properly and figure out what my style is.  I can experiment with colour and designs and really make this home my own.
  15. I can discover a new neighbourhood.  While I am going to miss South Perth dreadfully, I am going to get to know a new neighbourhood and maybe find some awesome spots to walk and eat and catch up with friends.  Maybe there’s some nice parks.  Maybe they have cool shops.  Maybe I will have really great neighbours. I don’t know the area well at all, so I am going to try and be brave and get out there and see what’s what.  And I have a car – I can always drive to South Perth if I am having withdrawal symptoms.
  16. The house will be all mine.  Did I say that already?

So, there’s lots of positives.  I know I am lucky to even be able to purchase a house at all and I am trying to remember that.  Because not everyone is so blessed.  I’m lucky to have always had a roof over my head, whether it be a rented one or my own.  Coincidentally, the roof in the new place has some issues, and I will have to sort them out otherwise I might NOT have a roof over my head but, I can do that.  Because it’s my house and my responsibility.  Roof and all.  See you in 30 years 🙂

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Be You – (and try not to hoard)

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For your consideration today, a couple of doodled Little Peeps cards… I’m trying to pack everything up in my house and, unfortunately, that includes all my craft stuff.  So, doodling is about the best I can do right now.  Otherwise, I will do like I’ve done in the past and have stuff EVERYWHERE and try to create things in the midst of boxes, packing tape and general chaos.  Like the year I made a whole bunch of Christmas cards, despite the fact we were moving in a few days time and I was supposed to be tidying up, not making more mess.

As I pack up my stuff and decide on which pieces I should cull before I move (SO hard – you know I can’t get rid of stuff, right?), it occurs to me perhaps now is the time to develop some sort of decorating identity based on what I actually like, and what speaks to my nesting soul.  I am going to try and keep only what really resonates with me and not what I think I SHOULD keep, for whatever bizarre reason.  But this new plan has some fatal flaws.

For instance.  I have an ugly, stained-glass rooster lamp.  My cousin gave it to me when I moved in to this place, my first rental by myself.  It’s ugly, the lamp.  And slightly demonic-looking when lit up.  But I keep it because I love my cousin and she bought it for me because she thought it was quirky and different.  Like me, she said.  How can I get rid of it, knowing she bought it because she was supporting me in my individuality and going completely against her own decorating taste which would, in all honesty, have burnt the rooster lamp as some sort of effigy to the design-deprived?

I have ornaments that sit in boxes because they don’t really appeal to me, but the person who gave them to me does.  Getting rid of them would be like telling the person I no longer have a need for them.

I have teddy bears given to me when I was ill in hospital.  I’m 42 years old and I don’t need teddy bears, don’t particularly even want them, but there they sit, in my lounge room, on their own chair.  Because someone gave them to me.  Out of love and a desire to bring me some comfort when I was at my lowest.  I feel like I should keep them just because of what they represent.  Even if I really don’t have room for them, and the people who gave them to me in the first place would probably tell me get rid of them anyway.

So, this packing up process is going to be a tough one.  But probably an important one.  I need to stop hanging on to things that really don’t matter, and focus on what does.  I should surround myself with things that say “This is Me”.  As opposed to things that say “Someone really nice gave this to me and I like them a lot so I can’t get rid of it, even though it clashes with everything else I own and doesn’t actually fit anywhere and kinda makes me a bit miserable because I could actually put something nicer there that speaks to my soul and makes me feel good”.

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I should probably have a chaperone.  Someone who will shake their head and say “No, you do not need that broken teapot/frayed cushion cover/doll-with-no-legs and [insert friend or family member’s name here] will not mind if you remove it from your home. In fact, they will probably wonder why in the heck you have kept it for seventeen years…”

I WILL do it.  I will.  Maybe.  Bit by bit.  With a few relapses every now and then.
Although, my new place will most likely have an extra bedroom so, y’know,
that means extra storage space.

🙂

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Bright Lights…

Bright Lights…

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.  Actually, it does – I’m a miserable bugger – but small things do mean a lot to me.  One thing I think makes everything better, without fail, is fairy lights.  It is fair to say I would put them on everything if I could.  They’re twinkly and pretty – what’s not to love?

This weekend, when I was supposed to be cleaning up for rent inspection, I took some time out to add some fairy lights to my bathroom mirror.  As you do.  I had picked up these lights in the pre-Christmas sales and they were super cheap.  I don’t have a big Christmas tree or anywhere else really suitable for a large string of lights (I had considered over my bed head, but had visions of me entangled in them while I slept so put that idea on the back burner), plus these were plug-in ones, not battery operated, so they needed to be near a power source.  I also got some little adhesive hooks to attach the lights to.  I am fully expecting these to fall off in the near future, but we’ll wait and see…

So, an hour and a half later and a few scary minutes teetering on a chair in the bathroom, I had a lovely, sparkly and bright extravaganza around my mirror.  So pretty.  Makes me almost believe I am pretty and sparkly and bright too.  Well, let’s not get carried away…there’s only so much good lighting can do, after all!  But they’re fun and make my bathroom seem a little less pedestrian and unisex.  The only annoying thing is the settings keep resetting themselves each time I turn the lights off.  So I have to re-do the setting each time – otherwise I get an epileptic-fit-inducing strobe effect happening.  I just want them on static – no flickering or strobing, thank you.  This is not a disco.

Anyway, finally a project I completed and am happy with.  I am trying to get around to doing these little things around the house, instead of sitting on the idea for years, until I no longer want to do it.  For a mere $7.50 and a little bit of time and effort, I have prettied up my bathroom and made it look like I give a damn.  Next up – painting my coffee table and doll house!  Stay tuned!  (you might have to get comfortable…) 🙂

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Mum’s Xmas Pimping

Mum’s Xmas Pimping

My last post featured my attempt at sprucing up my house with some festive decorating.  This takes me one evening and I give up about half way through and say “that will do”.  My lovely Mum, on the other hand, goes all out and makes her home a veritable Winter Wonderland.  Even though Christmas takes place in our Summer.  And it takes her about a week.

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My Mum has the “touch” when it comes to coordinating ornaments and colours and themes.  Her arrangements look “just so” whereas mine tend to lean towards the “just because”.  She is far more organised than me and all her stuff is neatly packed away each year so she knows where to find everything the following Christmas.  Her baubles and candles match or complement each other, as well as coordinating with everything else in the room.  She has “themes” going on.  Like, blue and red and white in one room, or natural greens and browns in another.  Her Christmas trees have themes.  And I say Christmas trees plural, because she has, like, six or so trees.  She actually bought another one today while I was with her.  Her old one was looking a bit ratty and sub-par.

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The only year I have ever known Mum to not decorate to some degree, is the year she split from my Dad.  That year everything was just too hard and icky and she didn’t have the emotional strength.  But it bothered her, and she missed it, and the next year she was back with a vengeance, not letting anything stand in her way of creating the perfect festive flurry of coordinated loveliness.

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But a lot of the things she uses to decorate with are second hand finds, op-shop treasures and vintage pieces handed down.  She doesn’t spend a lot each year on new baubles or other trim – she makes a little go a long way.  Mind you, she could easily fill a room with all the stuff she has and that’s even after getting rid of a lot of things she no longer loved or needed (her decorating style has changed over the years, as anyone’s does). But I love that she takes pride in it.  And I love that she is anti-bah-humbug, like me.  We love Christmas.  We love it because we are blessed and lucky to have the life we have, the friends we hold dear and the family who supports us.  The decorating is just really a shrine to that.  A shiny, glittery, sparkly shrine.  With a tree or two or six to round things out.

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Someday, I hope my home will be as pretty and well set out as hers.  I try not to compare myself to her because we are different people, after all, and we lead very different lives in terms of the time we have to devote to making a home, and making it beautiful.  Plus, I am a messy slob and she is not, ha ha.  That’s probably the main problem, to be honest. I think she despairs of me, secretly, but she never says anything about my mess.  And, to be fair, I have inherited my hoarding tendencies and love of “stuff” from her so, y’know, she’s got some blame in all of this 🙂

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I hope your home makes you feel warm and secure this festive season, whatever it looks like and whoever you share it with

x

Xmas Pimping

Xmas Pimping

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or Chris-mess, as I call it in my house).  As I was feeling better in the last couple of days, I decided to get my Xmas butt into gear and do some decoratin’ as my place was looking decidedly un-Christmassy.  I don’t go all out – I don’t have the room for a huge tree or anything fancy – but I do like to have little Christmas vignettes here and there.  Wherever I can fit them.  If that’s on a shelf in the hallway, or a side table in the lounge, then that’s where it’s going.

I like the woodland theme – lots of stags and little trees and natural colours.  A little splash of red but not too much.  I adore my little Christmas scene painting I got last year in an op-shop.  I nearly had a conniption last night because I couldn’t find it (but then it turned up EXACTLY where it was supposed to be, despite me looking there several times throughout the evening, getting more and more anxious as time went on) and I couldn’t get things just right.  But in the end I guess it’s ok.  I’m trying not to be fussy this year.

Hope your festive season has gotten off to a bright and happy start 🙂

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Home

Home

This weekend just gone, I was very busy with one thing or another – picking up people from the airport, babysitting and catching up with friends.  I am trying to be more social and force myself to go out at least once a week.  I’ve gotten in to the habit of staying home, alone, a lot.  There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I am prone to being a hermit and I don’t want to get too comfortable staying away from people.  Being WITH people is hard for me.  I always feel out of place and out of touch and just plain wrong, especially in groups of people.  I realise this is why I find the working week very exhausting.  Being around people constantly is hard.  I love my friends and I am eternally grateful that I have them in my life but I am not sociable by nature.  I enjoy one-on-one situations, where talking is easy and there is no competition for attention or trying to get a word in.  Mostly I just feel self-conscious in a group of people and so I am getting very good at avoiding being in those situations.  But I have to try and get better at being in someone’s company, other than my own.  And I don’t even like myself that much so anyone’s company should really be preferable, if I think about it sensibly.  And I have wonderful friends, I really do.  THE BEST.  I don’t know what I did to deserve such lovely people in my life, but I will never stop being very thankful for them – each and every one.  And I want them around me more than ever.

My home is very important to me, and I am trying to make it a space in which I feel happy and secure, content and relaxed.  I’d like it to be a place in which I am happy to entertain, instead of being an embarrassment of mess and chaos.  I like having people over to share a meal or watch a movie, or just talk and chill out.  But I don’t do it as often as I should because my house-keeping skills leave a lot to be desired.  My house is clean – let me just assure you of that – but it is generally in a state of disorder, created by crafting and cooking and MAKING things.  Which is fine, I tell myself.  I am creative, I say.  I would rather be drawing than ironing.  I’d rather be stitching and beading than mopping, or washing or tidying.  But I suppose I should learn to find a happy medium between the two.  Create a little, tidy a little.  IMG_0161

This weekend I spent some time doing just that.  I finished off some jewellery for a co-worker and then did the dishes.  I potted some plants and then vacuumed.  I did two loads of laundry and some ironing before re-arranging some of my ornaments and other knick-knacks to better display my collections.  I found that if I break up the chores I have to do, rather than attempting to do EVERYTHING all at once, making myself miserable and resentful, I got more done and at the same time felt as though I had been creative too.

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I have tried to make little “pockets” of cohesiveness in my home.  Making this corner have a theme, or that shelf a clear collection of things that go together, however vaguely, brings a sense of order and tidiness. Which are two words that I don’t normally associate with myself.  I am not tidy nor am I orderly.  But I am trying.

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The problem, if it is a problem, is that I like lots of different things.  I don’t like just one colour (though I am generally drawn to blue the most) and I don’t adhere to one kind of style.  I have bright things and shabby chic things, cute things and grown-up things.  I have dark things and magical things.  I have vintage and new things.  Nothing really goes together but the challenge is to make it all seem like it does. 

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And, at the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter anyway.  I want my home to be comfortable and pleasant to be in.  I don’t want visitors to feel they are in a show home.  My couch is meant to have feet on it and my table shouldn’t be so perfectly arranged that people feel they can’t sit at it for a chat and a casual cuppa.  So I am trying to figure out what makes my home mine.  What says “I live here”.

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Little by little I am figuring out who I am and what my place in the world is. Starting with one corner or shelf or bookcase at a time.  As long as I don’t have to dust them, I’ll be fine.

x

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! (Animal Jars)

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! (Animal Jars)

A quick post this evening with a quick and easy craft project.  You may have seen these on other sites (they’re ALL OVER Pinterest at the moment), but they are so easy and satisfyingly fool-proof, you should definitely give them a go.

You need jars (with lids), super glue, spray paint in your desired colour (I used silver chrome) and plastic animals (like the kind kids get in zoo or farm sets, but you can of course use dinosaurs or other creatures). Make sure the glue and paint are suitable for use on plastic.

Start with some nice jars with metal lids – I bought some from $2 stores and other discount places, but you could be good and save jam jars if you plan ahead.  Make sure they are nice and clean, dry and free from any grease or grubby fingerprints (a good idea is to give them a wipe over with a vinegar and water solution and dry them with a clean, lint-free cloth).

Remove the lids and using a strong adhesive (I use Pritt Gel which has apparently changed its name to Pritt All-Pupose) attach the critter of choice onto the top of the lid.  Leave to dry and set (24 hours is usually best to make sure it’s nice and sturdy and won’t break off at the slightest provocation!).

Remove the lid and place on something like an old yoghurt container or similar that will fit inside the rim of the lid (that will enable you to spray evenly all around the lid and not have it stick to whatever it’s sitting on).

Shake your can of spray paint as directed and then have fun coating the lids and critters in an even coating of paint.  Spray-painting is addictive…I kept looking around my house for other things I wanted to paint – I even considered having a chrome-coloured bookcase (haven’t quite given up on that idea yet!).  Leave to dry – doesn’t take long to be touch dry but it’s best to leave for a few hours to make sure it is set and isn’t going to smudge or budge when you handle the lids.  I found that one coat was plenty (with just a tiny bit of touch-up where I had missed spots or underneath the animals).

Put the lids back on the accompanying jars and voila! You have some nifty animal containers for storing bathroom stuff in or to give as gifts (or to give gifts in!).  They’re really cute and amazing in the metallic colours – I am going to do some white ones next.  They’re so easy and the result is very cool and looks more expensive than it actually cost to make them.  Give it a go!

🙂

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