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Things I Need to Achieve on My Holiday (It’s a Long List…and a Short Holiday)

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I wrote the following just before I went on leave last month :

…I have some leave coming up very shortly and it feels like it’s been a long time coming.  Well, it has.  I haven’t had a break for over a year.  And I’m a bit tired and over everything so I need to have some time off.  This is difficult because I don’t have anyone to cover me at my job.  It’s a drama getting one day off for illness, let alone a full fortnight of annual leave.  Luckily, an ex co-worker has agreed to come back and babysit the library for me while I am away.  Hooray!

14 days is not a lot of time to achieve a great deal.  But, of course, I have many plans for the time and am hoping that I will succeed in achieving at least half of my goals.  Ok, maybe a quarter.  Five things.  Look, at least one of the things on my list, ok?

Ideally, I would like to lose 10 pounds, become super fit and healthy, decorate my entire house, create a fabulous garden, write a business plan, organise my life and secure my financial future, all in the space of two weeks.  But, unless I also turn into someone else in that time, these things are possibly not really realistic.  So, I am aiming for a few smaller achievements.  Things I should have already achieved, to be honest….

  1. Decluttering : I have so much stuff.  I am always saying that but, this time, I mean it.  I have the hoard of a demented packrat and I need to get rid of stuff before it all caves in and I am swallowed up by it.  This includes my craft room which is two very short steps away from being condemned in the interest of public safety.
  2. Culling my clothes.  I have a lot of clothes but, sadly, do not have the type of body that really looks good in most of the things I own.  I keep things in the deluded hope that I will one day wake up looking like Gigi Hadid or someone equally “slim” and not middle-aged.  I also have clothes that, although they fit me ok, I have owned for more than a decade.  They have become security blankets or something equally sad.  I should probably try something new and donate/giveaway the items I was wearing in the 90s.  I’m not even kidding.
  3. My garden.  It is laughable that I am even calling it that.  It’s basically some sand with a few twigs and LOTS of weeds on it.  When I moved in, it was just sand.  But at least that sand was tidy.  I have, in my usual crappy adulting style, let it fall to wrack and ruin.  I’m sure my neighbours are appalled at this slovenly slacker who has moved in next door to them and brought down property values.  I must tackle the weeds and at least get them sorted so that it looks somewhat tidy out there.  Also, the weeds are getting so high I am frightened I might get lost in there or be attacked by some children-of-the-corn type figures.  Actually, I have never seen Children of the Corn, but I imagine there are fields of tall corn with demonic/murderous children in them.  I don’t want this to happen in my yard.  Although I am rather fond of corn.
  4. Paperwork.  I am THE WORST at filing and organising my paperwork.  I went into a panic last night because I couldn’t remember if my house is insured.  I mean, really!  Of course it is.  But do you think I could find the paperwork?  No, I could not.  So, that is something I need to be better at.  I need to file things and sort things and keep them all in one place so they are easy to access and find.  I need to shred my bank statements from 1992 and get rid of registration papers for cars that I not only no longer own, but that are probably scrap metal by now.
  5. Exercise.  I need to do some.  Not just to lose weight and look better, but because it is good for me and decreases self-loathing and will get me outside in the fresh air and amongst other human beings.  I need to learn to enjoy it.  I need to see it as “me time” rather than as a punishment.  And I need to do it every day.  Or at least five days a week.
  6. Take time to practice stuff.  I need to make scheduled time to sit and practice my drawing and painting skills.  Do the basics.  Spend a couple of hours studying up on how to draw eyes.  Or noses.  Or little pinky toes.  Until I can do it properly.  And learn to write neatly, in different fonts, so I can add that to my art work where appropriate.  My handwriting is the kind that gets ripped out of school books by disgusted teachers.  I know this because a teacher once ripped a page of my handwriting out of my school book in disgust.
  7. Get my finances in order.  I recently had some HUMONGOUS bills come in and they were very unexpected and they sent me into instant meltdown.  I do okay with money – being a tightwad helps with that – but I need to do better and keep track of things and save for unexpected bills etc.  Be a grown up, basically.
  8. Catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while.  Life is so busy and it can be months, or even years, between visits with some of my friends.  Which is not good enough.  Because I am lucky to have these awesome people in my life and I should make an effort to keep in touch with them. 
  9. Get into a better sleep routine.  At the moment, I go to bed far too late, don’t sleep very well, and then wake up horribly late in the morning.  I need to have a regular bedtime and get up when my alarm goes off, rather than making the snooze button my best friend. 
  10. Clean my house.  Seriously, I am a bit feral, as I have told you before.  I get very overwhelmed by it all sometimes and it just seems easier to ignore it.  But I am going to start being tidier and doing some form of cleaning every day, rather than letting it all pile up.  Even doing the dishes every night will be a start, and will encourage me to be tidier in other areas.  Basically, I need to stop being such a lazy arse….

Now, several weeks later, I can predictably say I did not achieve all of these things.  I tried, really I did.  But two weeks is actually not a very long time.  And things get pushed aside for other, more fun, things.  I did clean my house and it is fit for visitors and doesn’t embarrass me now.  I am doing my dishes every night (well, almost) and I put my laundry items away as soon as they’re off the line.  I even did a basket of ironing the other night!  Crazy!  But good-crazy.

I did cull a lot of my wardrobe.  Skirts that were too short or tight – gone!  Pants I can’t button up – gone!  Jumpers that are just plain ugly and make me look like some sort of sack creature – gone, gone, gone!  I also turfed (ie donated to charity) shoes I can’t walk in and belts I can’t wear unless I refrain from breathing.  I filled my car with bags and bags of stuff, including bed linens and blankets, pyjamas and underwear (un-used, let me just say).  It felt good, but I know I could have culled more if I was less of a hoarder.

Sleeping – hmm, well, I have done a bit better on that front.  I have been going to bed a bit earlier some nights and I am definitely getting up better in the morning.  I now put my alarm so far away from my bed that it is practically in another room.  I HAVE to get up and out of bed in order to switch it off.  This works 90% of the time.  Other days, I still hit that snooze button and go back to bed.  But not as often as before.  I have been having horrible nightmares again and so I am not sleeping well but, on the whole, I am doing the best I can to get a good night’s sleep.

Catching up with people – I achieved this one.  I went out for coffee and walkies and had people over to my (newly-cleaned) house.  It felt good to catch up with friends and family – I need to make more of an effort to not let the time slip by in between seeing them all.  And I need to stop being such a damn hermit.  I’ve even agreed to go out with members of the opposite sex.  Not on “dates” as such (Lord knows I am nowhere near ready for THAT) but just coffee catch-ups etc.  So I can get better at being in the company of blokes again and not be so anxious about it.  And just be out there.  Like a normal, healthy, adult human being.  Instead of some kind of spinster/loner/weirdo/hermit hybrid.

My finances are ok and the wolf at the door is having a little rest and looking less savage.  I just need to not provoke him by overspending or being unprepared for things.  Christmas is tricky because I really love to buy gifts for people and it is difficult to rein it in a little.  But I have kept to my lists and not strayed into gifting overload.

Exercise.  Um…..next!  I am a big slug.

Paperwork.  Erm.  Fail.  Actually, I did start culling it and sorting it out a bit but there is still loads of it and I can’t face it right now.  It scares me.  So it is just sitting there in piles, quietly mocking me.

Garden.  We are still dealing with a Children of the Corn scenario.  There could be anything living in there.  Tramps.  Herds of wildebeest.  Lost civilisations.  Who knows?  All I know is that it still looks bad and now the weather is heating up, I am even more inclined to just ignore it and hope it dies off by itself.  I repotted plants and got rid of some that were really not going to make it.  I did do a little bit of weeding but it was a bit pathetic and half-hearted, to be honest.  Lots of sighing and whinging about my aching back.  I’m sure you can picture it.  Let’s move on.

Practicing my drawing and writing skills.  Um, no.  This did not happen.  Another fail.

Decluttering.  I actually did get some stuff out of the house, which is an achievement for Miss Hoardypants.  I had to think “Will I ever use this?  Does it fit in with my life/house/values/décor?  Will I miss the darn thing if I get rid of it?”  And, more often than not, the answer was a resounding “No”.  But it is still hard though.

It’s funny how most people have time off of work and they think about travel and relaxing and maybe seeing some movies or doing lots of shopping.  Me, I use my time for mundane things like folding towels and repotting my plants.  But hey, that’s ok, right? 

Hope you are having a happy, uncluttered day – thank you for stopping by 🙂

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Culling and Doodling

Firstly, apologies for not posting anything this last week or so.  It was a busy, stressful time and I just lost track of the days.  Plus, I had nothing of interest to say!  Which isn’t unusual for me, let’s be honest.  I’m not exactly a thrilling person to be around (or read about)!  But the last week or two was focused on work stuff and other boring tasks and obligations.  I had some friends and family in hospital too, so that took up some time and brain power.  Basically, I didn’t have the “ooomph” to post anything.

I am currently on annual leave (thank the heavens!) for three weeks.  I just really needed time off – I was feeling like I was going to have a nervous breakdown or punch someone in the face (possibly one of those things, followed by the other).  I had time owing,  so I took it.  I was going to travel to Melbourne and have some time there, but decided to save my money and stay home and sort my shit out.

I have so much I want to do.  Most of it involves culling and cleaning.  LOTS of culling.  I have so much stuff and it is overwhelming me.  Most of it is just clutter and junk and silly little things I can’t get rid of, for whatever reason.  Today I went through my wardrobe (precipitated by me going to the op-shop yesterday and buying more clothes) and sorted tonnes of stuff out.  I made up three big garbage bags full of items I know longer need or want.  Shoes and handbags and pants and skirts and tops and EVERYTHING.  I seem to keep more handbags than I actually will ever need, in case I have a wedding to go to.  What kind of crazy reasoning it that???  If, in the event of being invited to a wedding, I find myself without a suitable handbag, surely I can just go and buy one at the time?  I don’t actually need to keep twenty of them in my house at any given time.  Plus, most of the ones I have are really old now and probably not in style.  Not that that normally bothers me, but it seems a bit ridiculous.

I have put on a lot of weight in the last year or so, so I really needed to bite the bullet and get rid of my “skinnier” clothes that I do not fit in to anymore.  While it pains me, and it does, these items are just sitting around, reminding me that I am a fatty.  I might as well get rid of them and use the promise of being able to buy more when I am thinner as an incentive to lose weight.  So, out they go.  I even have pants from when I was just out of hospital after my meningitis and they are like crazy small sizes.  I will NEVER fit into those again so why keep them?  The op-shop is getting LOTS of stuff from me this week.

I’m also taking the opportunity to sort my remaining clothes in to Summer and Winter stuff – storing the Summer items away in plastic tubs.  There are no in-between seasons for me – I am either freezing cold or warm.  Trans-seasonal does not exist in my house.  So I’m either in shorts or I’m in in thermals and walking around the house wearing a blanket. That’s how I roll.  It is still Autumn here but it may as well be the middle of Winter, as far as I’m concerned.  So, out come the jumpers and cardigans and long pants (ugh – how I loathe pants) and *shudders* jeans.  They all need ironing, mind you, so that’s the next big task.  I hate ironing and avoid it like the plague.  But I am not totally feral, so iron I must, if I don’t want to look creased and prove myself to be failing as an adult yet again.

My craft room will of course be on the list of things that need sorting.  It’s in such a state.  I will have to be brave and get rid of stuff.  I have a few arty-crafty friends who might take it off my hands, otherwise I will box it up and give it to the op-shop as well I guess?

Speaking of crafting…last weekend I spent a few happy hours at a friend’s house, having a lovely card-making day.  It was so nice.  Four of us brought our supplies and things to share and had great fun working away at our own little projects.  I’m not very good at working in a group, to be honest.  I think I am so used to creating on my own that I get a bit self-conscious around other people.  But I had fun anyway and made a couple of cards.  I didn’t bring a lot of supplies with me – I just wanted to finish some things off more than anything.  So I completed a couple of my “doodled” Little Peeps cards and I am reasonably happy with them.  One of the ladies at the table had a Big Shot embossing machine so we were able to have a go with that and create some nice backing papers and card (for example, the dotty white one I used in this Happy Birthday card).  We had some yummy lunch and caught up on each other’s lives and enjoyed some quiet, yet busy creative time.

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I stuffed up the stamping (of the text) in this one but it is ok I suppose…

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I won’t be doing any crafting this week, I don’t think.  I need to knuckle down and sort my life and house out.  I can reward myself later with some mess-making crafting.  For now I have to concentrate on culling and de-cluttering, sorting and organising. Not nearly as much fun, but definitely necessary for my sanity and state of mind.

Sorry for this boring post – just didn’t want to be neglecting my blogging duties altogether.  Have a happy weekend and Happy Anzac Day (tomorrow) to my fellow Aussies and Kiwis!  Lest We Forget x

Clay Tags

Clay Tags

I have been cleaning and tidying all day today due to having yet another rent inspection tomorrow.  I was hoping to be tidied up before today but, with the Christmas festivities and then New Year and my general procrastination, I didn’t get really stuck in until today.  I have to go back to work tomorrow (sigh) as well so it’s kind of a double-whammy of getting-my-act-together-ness.

Whilst tidying up, it is a general habit of mine to get distracted by anything and everything.  Mostly, I get distracted by my own stuff.  I find things I had forgotten about – unfinished projects, supplies I never put away, bits and pieces that are supposed to be part of something but never made it that far.  Today I found, amongst other things, these clay tags I had been making MONTHS ago to put on Christmas presents.

They’re just made from air-dry clay, rolled out fairly thick (to prevent breakage), pierced with a skewer, allowed to dry out and then stamped on with various phrases and sentiments.  Easy-peasy.  Now if only I had remembered to use them 🙂

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Worried that I will forget them again, I put one of them on the outside of the basket I have stowed them in – as a visual clue to what’s inside.  There’s not telling if that will actually help me remember…I could stamp “do the dishes” on my forehead and I probably wouldn’t remember to do them, so there’s no guaranteeing this will help me in this instance either.  But here’s hoping, I guess.

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So, I am aching and tired and over the whole cleaning scenario.  I even weeded the garden and did ironing today (!) so my body is basically going “what the hell???”  and hurting left, right and centre.  My feet are confused, due to me being on them all day, too.  Being tidy – it’s not good for you.  I think it is actually a health hazard 🙂

Hope you’ve had a productive day x

My Sunday in Pictures

My Sunday in Pictures

I went over to my Mum’s today with the intention of doing some crafting with her.  Epic fail.  We ended up just spending the day talking and having tea and admiring the cat (it’s what we do).  We looked at some craft magazines so I like to think that counts but really, we didn’t actually do anything constructive.  I think sometimes you just need a day like that.

Mum is trying to get her tiny little art/craft room organised and kitted out.  She doesn’t have a lot of room and so she has taken her time getting furniture in there and deciding on what kind of storage unit she wanted.  She’s making it look really pretty though and a lot more inspiring than my craft room (which is basically a mess all of the time).  She’s good at arranging things and grouping “like” things together in an attractive way (instead of my method of just cramming stuff wherever it fits).  She uses bought pieces and items she’s made to decorate and create charming little nooks and spaces.

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We visited a local scrapbooking store because I needed some glass slides to use with some memory frames I bought.  I came out of the store $47.00 poorer and still with no glass slides.  Oh well…I needed more paper and stamps and embellishments, didn’t I?

During my visit, Alexander, the very spoilt and gorgeous love of our life was a cheerful and attention-seeking companion, never far from where we were sitting.  He does, however, enjoy a nap in his “boudoir” which is actually Mum’s spare bathroom.  He has a whole set up in there.  A bed fit for a king in the bath tub.  Mum worries that he gets cold but he goes in there by himself and looks perfectly content to  me.  He gets to sunbathe as the sun filters through the big window and he feels safe and secure within the confines of the bath tub.  Sure, it’s a little bit odd but he likes it.  He’s 16 years old so we figure he can do what he likes.  Although he is a naughty boy and will scratch at Mum’s brand new couch.  He gets away with murder because we love him.  It is impossible to get photos of him – not just because he camera-shy but because he is very black and the camera doesn’t pick up his features very well.  He is the sweetest-natured cat we have ever had.  Never bad tempered or spiteful.  We raised him and his siblings from when they were only a few days old so I guess we brought them up “proper”.

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The “King” in his “boudoir”.  Comfortable much?

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I don’t know what he was saying here.  Most likely “Get that camera away from me!”  Look at those perfect teeth!  Not bad for an old man.

Mum showed me a couple of the things she’d been painting this week.  She thinks her painting is getting “terrible” as she is getting older.  I think she’s crazy.  If I could paint half as well as her, I’d be happy.

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Pretty little country scene on a Christmas bauble.  These are big sellers for Mum at our Christmas craft sale every year.  She never has any left by the end of the day.

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This “Frosty” bauble not finished yet but he’s cute.  I like the little robin too.

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This is going to be a brooch – it’s painted on a wooden “slice” from a tree branch.  I’m going to do some brooches with these too but Mum beat me to it.

So, not the most productive day (and of course, now that it is late, I am suddenly filled with creative spirit and want to do something…) but a nice, chilled one and no stress.  Back to work tomorrow.  Had an awful time at work this week just gone so I am hoping this week will be better.  Hope your week is great too 🙂

Proverbs for the Non-Conventional

Proverbs for the Non-Conventional

In cleaning up and tidying my spare rooms this week (yes, it has taken a week…and I’m still not finished), I have found lots of things that had been hiding, forgotten, in cupboards and boxes, stuffed-to-the-max envelopes and files.  One of these “treasures” was a list of proverbs my brother wrote with a friend, twenty years ago.  They were mucking about and being silly (as boys are), trying to think up things to put on t-shirts, and they came up with an extensive list of slightly “alternative” proverbs that make me laugh every time I rediscover them.  I’m not sure if my brother even remembers them or if he wonders where they ended up.  I’m the “keeper” in the family – if there’s a certificate or a first lost tooth or a movie ticket that was bought on such-and-such a day, I’m the one who keeps it.  Hence my continual tidying up and de-cluttering.  What can I say?  Some say “Guardian of Important Stuff”, some say “Hoarder”.  It’s a little of column A, a little of column B.

Anyway, back to the proverbs.  Here they are in their entirety (I apologise for any that are slightly risqué – we are talking about two guys in their early twenties here):

  • If at first you don’t succeed, break a leg!
  • He who laughs last spoils the broth!
  • Never look a gift horse in the bush!
  • A rolling stone catches the worm!
  • A wise man gathers no moss!
  • Too many cooks, try, try again!
  • When in Rome, call the kettle black!
  • He who laughs gets two in the bush!
  • He who laughs last puts all his eggs in one basket!
  • Look before you make love!
  • When in Rome, leap!
  • A bird in your hand spoils the broth!
  • Don’t count your chickens before you make love!
  • Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man spill the milk!
  • The Early Bird looks before he calls the kettle black!
  • When in Rome, laugh last!
  • If in doubt, break a leg!
  • If at first you don’t succeed, make love!
  • Beware of Greeks bearing children!
  • Too many cooks catch the worm!
  • Make love before they hatch!
  • A watched kettle never prospers!

So there they are.  Maybe they make me laugh because my brother created them and he always makes me laugh because I love him and like to see him being silly and happy.  Whatever.  Hope they made you laugh too and who knows, maybe one of them might actually apply to something you do today.  Let me know if you can add a few silly variations of your own 🙂

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Welcome…come on in and stay a while.

Welcome…come on in and stay a while.

Hello there.  Glad you could stop by.  Hope we’ll get along and that you feel comfortable coming back for a visit every now and then.  Don’t mind the mess – it’s the natural order of things in a crafty home.  In fact, if everything is tidy and in its correct place, well, you can pretty much guarantee there’s no crafting going on at all.  Or that I’ve moved out and someone much neater and, most likely, less creative has moved in.

Having said that, I am hoping to get myself (and my stuff) in order this year.  It may mean re-organising and (gasp!) discarding/donating some items so I can focus better and actually see what I have to work with.  As it is, things seem to get lost, never to be seen again, buried beneath piles of magazines, half-finished projects and jars of buttons and beads.  I would really like to see my dining room table again.  I would like to actually dine at my dining room table again.  As, I’m sure, would my husband (I think he’s in here somewhere – behind the stack of clothes I’m altering or maybe under all that scrapbooking paper?) who is long-suffering and permanently in eye-rolling mode.

So, do come in.  If you can step over that pile of egg cartons (I’ve seen an gorgeous mirror decorated in flowers made from egg cartons…I’ll get ’round to it sometime) and be careful not to knock over the collage I’ve got drying on the couch, I’m sure I can find you a spot to sit.  Actually, perhaps you wouldn’t mind having afternoon tea outside…I’ll just need to sweep up the leaves on the porch and find a place for all those bits of wood I was sanding earlier this morning, before I got distracted and started building the guinea pig a new hutch. Which will then need painting and maybe a stencilled design on the sides…  Maybe you should pop back tomorrow?  You know you’re always welcome.