Monday 29 June 2015

Half way through 2015

Way back at the end of the December I decided that  I would look at the messy places in my house  and say goodbye to as many of them as I could.  

I actually said one place a day but that soon went by the board and in many ways I am more pleased with the way that I have gone.  You see, I think that what has been happening is that my house has been losing weight.  If I had set out to lose weight from my body I would have fallen off the wagon and not got back on, but with my house I have repeatedly taken myself in hand and got back to the job and refused to be discouraged.

Instead I have set to with a will and the Room of Doom is well on the way to be the playroom of my dreams.  I can walk in and out without endangering myself and I can sit at the desk knowing that I can actually use it.  I am not kidding myself that I have thoroughly decluttered (I've got a splendid storage unit which hides a multitude of sins) but I can continue with the process of sorting and slinging far more easily.

The kitchen too has profited from the extra attention and I have been able to undertake the major project of doing a lot of the cooking for a party to which 150 people were invited. However, the jam jar mountain still needs sorting.   I have sorted the dining room/sewing room/spare bedroom to the extent that I can swap it around within a day but the size of the fabric stash is still shameful.

There is still a very long way to go (and the garage won't even get started until 2016) but I know that if I achieve as much in the next six months as I have in the first half of the year I shall have cause to be proud.

Sunday 28 June 2015

My house pongs something wonderful!

This morning I had a wonderful present when I arrived at church - the churchwarden had got me a big bag of elderflowers.

I LOVE elderflower cordial but I am fussy about the source of my elderflowers.  I won't have them from the roadside because of pollution from passing vehicles and I won't have them from hedges near fields which have been sprayed.  I find that the best place to get them is from churchyards.

As soon as I got home I dragged out the stockpot (my largest stainless steel vessel) and tipped in the elderflower heads, 2 ounces of citric acid, two sliced lemons, two pounds of sugar and three pints of boiling water.  And now the whole lot is meditating and will do so for the next five days before I bottle it.

I shall freeze some so that in the depths of winter I shall be able to drink bottled summer.  Sheer luxury!

Oh FC, what big stores you’ve got!

Way back in January I decided that I wanted to end 2015 with fewer messy places than I started it.   In most places that involved giving stuff away or, if necessary, slinging it.  Yesterday I neither gave nor slung. I just made a place less messy and resolved to get rid of stuff gradually - by eating it!

As you may have noticed I don’t just stick to one room at a time as I declutter.  Oh no!  The Room of Doom had a lot of attention but now I have diversified my efforts.  I’ve been “spring” cleaning the kitchen cupboards little by little.  I can’t stand on steps to wipe shelves and check for lurking naughtiness so I just do a cupboard each time I have someone visiting who is happy to help.  I’ve done the cupboards containing china and chutney, cleaning products and cookware so now I need to look at the tinned goods store.

Once again I forgot to photograph before I started but here is the result of two shelves of my labours, just the two with tinned food.  

  Oh FC, what big food stores you’ve got!

Item                                                          Size in grammes           Quantity
Salmon                                                    170                                     4
Tuna                                                         160                                     4
Sweetcorn                                             160                                     6
Salmon                                                    418                                     1
Lasagna white sauce                          465                                     1
Sardines in brine                                  120                                     1
Corned beef                                          340                                     1
Chick peas                                              210                                     3
Red kidney beans                               240                                     1
Chopped timatoes                              400                                     6
Baked beans                                         220                                     8
Mushrooms                                           285                                     11
Carrot and coriander soup                                                           1
Chicken noodle soup                                                                     1
Lobster bisque                                                                                 1
Beef consomme                                                                              1
Minestrone                                                                                       1
Cream of mushroom                                                                     5
Mushy peas                                           300                                     1
Pineapple slices                                   140                                     3
Pineapple chunks                                140                                     3
Sliced peaches                                      410                                     5
Apricot halves                                       410                                     1
Mandarin segments                           298                                     3

Coconut milk                                         400                                     2

I hoped that printing it small would make it look less.  It doesn't.

Saturday 27 June 2015

Visiting National Trust properties on my budget holiday

I've got my accommodation for my holidays booked so now for things to do!

Cornwall is rich in National Trust properties, far richer than my own area so I plan on visiting several gardens whilst I'm on holiday.  Not only do I love visiting gardens, I love people watching, so if the weather is good I shall take a picnic and some sewing and settle on a bench in a pretty spot.  The great thing about sewing while sitting in a garden is that people often can't resist coming over to see what you are doing and having a chat.  Enhanced people watching or what!

I'm not a member of the National Trust but I am a member of the National Trust for Scotland and my membership card gets me admittance to English and Welsh National Trust properties too.  Scottish membership for me is £31.60 and to join the National Trust as well would be a further £60 so I won't be doing that.

Not joining the National Trust means I won't get a handbook but there's lots of information on the web anyway so I'm doing my research as to what is open when.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Seventeen on a Saturday

 I haven't done a leaving-the-premises photograph since 5th June so as I am feeling ruthless today here goes.

The front row is just the five mini craft kits I found last week.  However there are three books, one LED light bulb, one teapot, one cafetiere, one Belgian press and five storage cans.  

What is worrying you me is that the very worst area of the house is the garage and I haven't even started on that yet!  I think it is even worse than the Room of Doom.

I think the garage could be a project for 2016.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

The Struggle Goes on!

As someone commented last week, I am now down to the nitty-gritty!  I've got the house basically into order - well, I'm not likely to fall over something and break my neck.  That comment is not made lightly by the way: a few months ago I fell over and had to crawl to the 'phone to summon help.

However, having achieved that basic standard of safety I want to get back to looking at the messy places to which I've blinded myself.  And the first of those has to be the trolley.  See what I mean?  

Although I have photographed it in the hallway it normally lives in the sitting room next to my chair and it's the place where remote controls, newspapers, coke cans, stationery and everything else compete with sewing stuff, the Kindle, computer-bits-and-pieces and card making paraphernalia.

So today I tackled it.  And here is the result.  

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Unexplored territory

Way back at the beginning of January I was inspired to try and find less cluttered places in my home.  My search for these wonderful oases has taken me through drawers, cupboards and indeed whole rooms as I have slunk along the seemingly endless trail of my wastefulness and lack of self discipline.

Today took this quest to somewhere completely new, somewhere I had not previously found it necessary to explore.  In the cupboard above my bed there were just two boxes. They were doing no harm to anyone, they just sat inoffensive and out of the way.  There was no need to disturb them.

No need, that is, until I decided I needed that space to store the spare bedding.  So down the boxes came.  

Then, being a brave woman I tipped out the contents of one box.

Oh, what a graveyard of unfinished projects, unrealised dreams was there!  The trousers I started at night school around twenty years ago were mixed with a cotton crochet project of the same era.  Small pieces of fabric and a multitude of threads, craft kits and haberdashery created a picture of one period of my life.

Part of my brain said, "Come on FC, you haven't even looked in this box for six years, just ditch the lot" but the stubborn side of my nature wouldn't allow that.

And so I went through the whole lot and the result was a large black bag for the bin and this little array of survivors.  There's interfacing, lace, ribbon and a couple of patterns.  There's a copy of Woman's Weekly (price 34p) dating back to May 1989 and five craft kits.

The kits will go to Sally Ann, the patterns, lace, interfacing and ribbon will go to my stash and the Woman's Weekly has a one night reprieve so I can read it before it goes out.  As I look at this sorry array I have decided that the threads can go out!

And the pay off?  The cupboard they were in houses two pillows and two duvets very neatly.

Saturday 6 June 2015

The Upside of Decluttering

I can't be the only one. .   There must be others out there who do it . . .  Please tell me I'm not alone!

Why this angst?  What's my problem?

Just this.  I read wonderful recipes on other people' blogs, get the ingredients, and that's as far as it goes.  

Last year  Tracing Rainbows had a recipe including orzo, a form of pasta which I'd never heard of so I just had to include a pack on my shopping list.  Since last August it has been grinning at me from the cupboard, mocking me that I had wasted money on it.  But revenge is sweet and last night a bottom-of-the-fridge hunt yielded mushrooms, cooked chicken and onions.  I found some broad beans in the freezer and combined the lot with some home-made chicken stock.

The result was incredibly scrummy.

And I feel a little more virtuous because I've wiped the grin off that packet of orzo 

Friday 5 June 2015

Am I an addict?

Addicted to decluttering I mean.  There seems to have been quite a lot of stuff which has left the premises this year and yet more is to leave today.

Today's haul includes 3 pairs of trousers, 2 hoodies, 1 jacket, 1 skirt, 3 bracelets, 2 picture frames,  1 pair jogging bottoms, 6 books, 1 concertina file, 1 set microwave covers,  and 2 necklaces,  This means that since the beginning of the year I have now sent 98 items to the Sally Ann.

This total does not include the audiobooks I have given to the residential home or the craft stuff which has gone to Brownies or indeed anything which I have given to friends.

I doubt if I am addicted to decluttering.  But maybe I am slightly less addicted to hoarding

Monday 1 June 2015

Oh yum!

I've decided to try and eat some of my stores this month to minimise the grocery bill.  This is no hardship as I tend to squirrel favourites in the freezer.  

I thought I had two bags of fish pie mix in the freezer.  I was wrong.  I had three bags - that's half as much yumminess again!  A ferret around in the store cupboard found various packet sauces - parsley, butter, something-or-other-from-Ikea so with a carton of UHT milk and a large bag of spuds I was on my way to one of my favourite dishes, fish pie.

Somehow in my mind dishes like fish pies are winter delights.  They are warming, comfort food for a cold day.  Summer is for salads, fresh fruit and the like.  Experience however tells me that after a while salad looks like rabbit food and I will long for something different.  But cooking is no fun in the summer.  The kitchen gets hot, flies want to share in the fun, and all I want to do is flop.  This means that having things like fish pie in the freezer is A Good Idea.

I made seven fish pies, each enough for one person.  So my Good Idea for today is to reduce that number to six.  Oh yum!