Monday, 26 January 2015

Part of Jessie's Art Project

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Unbelievably Jess painted this crow on Aimee's back using nothing but face paints.

How clever is she.  Not only with the painting but actually getting Aimee to lay still for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Minimalising My Life

They say that irritability, lethargy, depression, sleeplessness, and all the other negative feelings that we might possibly suffer from on and off, can mostly be put down to a cluttered home.  Cutter is not only not aesthetically pleasing but it also harbours dust.  So no matter how much we clean there can very seldom be the feeling of complete cleanliness and brightness that comes with an uncluttered home.

When I owned a very large house, I owned over a thousand books.  To move into a smaller property when moving down here to Dorset, I cut that down dramatically.  I am living in a small studio flat, which barely has enough room to swing a cat, but I have still managed to keep and add to a book collection which today totals just over 200 books.

I own just over 150 videos that I never watch anymore.  26 Filofax's.  6 boxes under my bed filled with handbags, shoes (that I never wear), knitting that I will never pick up again, packed away ornaments which I have no idea why I keep.  And let's not even go into my wardrobe and bedroom chest of drawers.

I have sideboard chock a block with what I call stationery, thousands of photos of views of places visited that I never get out and look at, kitchen cupboards full of dishes that living on my own I simply have absolutely no use for whatsoever and will never ever use.  I have a bathroom head height cupboard and shelving unit full to the brim with bottles, jars, makeup, hair decorations, and goodness knows what else that I simply keep but never use.  I have 2 boxes filled with jewellery, the junk mixed with the good.  The list could go on and on.

No wonder that how ever much I clean, sort out, and move things around, that I always feel claustrophobic and squeezed into a small space.

I am not a hoarder, but I do collect things that really should only be temporary and then passed on to someone else that could make use of them.

So I have decided to take the bull by the horns, and however much it hurts, I am going to totally minimalise (is that a real word?) my environment.

Today I have reduced my books down to approximately 100 - the rest are being picked up to go to the charity shop.  With that 100, there are approximately 50 that I haven't read yet, but as I read them I will be putting them downstairs in a little area we have for leaving things that we think another resident might like to take if they want.

The remaining 50 I simply can't part with.  Those are several bibles, several spiritual books,  educational type books including a dictionary, and a couple of large history books.

I did find it quite hard because about 30 of the books that I am giving away are leather bound classics.  But I told myself that nowadays I can always download any book onto either my Kindle or my iPad.  I will never be without a book to read.  And of course if I want the feel of a real book there is always the library.

As I make room in my glass fronted cabinets, this of course will leave shelving space to bring out some of the ornaments that I have packed away under my bed, reducing the clutter from that space as well.

Over the next few weeks I am going to take one part of my chaotic life and reduce it down to the barest minimum.  Once that is done, I am not only going to totally give my home a complete new look by decorating and changing soft furnishings, but I am also going to take a look at the furniture that I own.  The questions I will be asking myself are, do I need it?  Is it really of use, or could it be replaced by something smaller - less bulky?

When first moving to this home I had been living in a caravan so I had to buy all new furniture to move in here with.  When doing that I not only stuck to the conventional but I also chose my furniture in the way I had when living as part of a family.  I did not take into consideration that I could in fact choose a different way to live once totally living on my own.  In the words of Julia Roberts, "Huge mistake - Huge".

Now I am quite excited at the thought of what I might be able to achieve.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Skimping and Scraping

I have decided that 2015 will be a year that I will not waste money.

Throughout these last few years it's been far too easy to spend money on things that I could quite easily have done without. 

Before the web there was a gap between thinking we wanted something and making our way into town to find it and buy it.  We would browse the shops and if we saw something we fancied it was only bought if we could really afford it.  If not we waited, and nine times out of ten by the time we had the money we realised we didn't really want it anyway.

Now, however, it's far too easy to visit shops whilst in our own sitting room and impulse buy.  Not that I have ever regretted buying anything I have, but there is a lot I have bought that I really didn't need.  Nowadays I don't even look at my bank balance before I click to buy.  I dread to think of the money I have spent on line these last few years that I simply wouldn't have spent if online shopping didn't exist.

I have therefore decided that 2015 is going to be different.

Before I spend any money I am going to give myself a period of time to think about whether it is necessary.  Is this just a treat for myself or do I actually need it.  I am also going to think whether I could make do and mend, as we did in the old days, rather than buy new.

What has given me the idea to skimp and scrape and make do and mend is that yesterday I had been scouring Amazon.co.uk looking for some lounging trousers to wear indoors.  This is to save on outdoor clothing and also washing.  It's so much easier to wash and wear lounging indoor clothes than washing and drying good quality outdoor clothing.  Wearing an outfit simply to pop to the shop if one changes out of it on arriving home, then that same outfit can be worn two or three times before needing washing again.

The trouble with buying clothes via Amazon one can never be certain of the quality of the clothing, or the sizing.  Many shops on Amazon will use the S. M. and L. for sizing and one can order an M or L. only to discover that the size turns out to be smaller than even an S. 

I then began to think how I would be better off making my own lounging pyjamas or trousers.  I decided that instead of hunting Amazon for trousers I would order a dressmaking pattern.  This I did and I'm now waiting for it to arrive.

I then thought how I could save even more money if, instead of buying new material I went and bought sheets and duvets from the second hand shops and use that material.  When I volunteered for the Samaritans we had stacks of really good quality, and in good condition bedding.  Sheets and duvets give plenty of material to make a pair of lounging pyjamas/trousers.

I am lucky in as much as there is a lot of money in and around this area, which means that our second hand shops have really nice quality stuff donated.  I am looking forward to visiting those shops and finding a bargain ready to make a start on my first pair of loungers.