Tag Archives: living simply

Tuesday’s Simply Living

Quilting Raining Cats and Dogs 4/26/2016

Quilting Raining Cats and Dogs
4/26/2016

Happy Tuesday!  I started quilting Raining Cats and Dogs.  And in the process, I found PUCKERS in my batting.  Puckers!  😦  I found 2 very bad spots.  The first pucker I found was in the middle lower part and it was REAL bad.  I couldn’t leave it in.  I figured I could still quilt the top half and then unbaste the lower half and smooth the pucker.  But then I found a small pucker at the very top of the quilt.  I was so frustrated last night and then CP3 got injured and my Clippers lost.  It was a bad night. 😦  So very sad.  I’d already quilted the top border and other parts but I hadn’t yet quilted all 4 borders so I picked out the basting for the top row of the quilt and then smoothed out the pucker and pinned.  I’ll machine quilt all the straight lines with my walking foot.  Then I”ll undo the 2nd row, smooth out the pucker that starts in the middle lower part of the 2nd row, pin and quilt.  I believe I didn’t smooth out the batting very good when I loaded everything onto the frame to baste this.  I guess I was rushing to get it done.  In the meantime, here’s the status of my garden:

img_0152

Strawberries are doing well.  I thought I took a better picture but I didn’t.  I was able to harvest 1 little sweet strawberry from above.  I shared it with the hubby.

img_0153

I’ll probably be able to harvest another one today.  🙂  It wasn’t very hot yesterday but I’m finding I have to water every day.

img_0156We planted onions last week.

milk thistle

milk thistle

The Milk Thistle is growing well.  They look pretty weird.  Can you see the middle leaves.  They are kind of pokey and rough looking.

img_0155The basil is not doing well.  I guess the 2 days in the 90’s a week or so ago really killed off the little seedlings except the one growing above.  I’m going to plant more seedlings when I get a chance.

img_0157

Our tomatoes are looking good.  It gets dry fast so I have to keep watching and watering it every day to make sure its getting enough water.  I can’t wait to have my own garden grown tomatoes again.  I forgot to take pictures of the potatoes but it’s overrun.  I need to split them up.   I hope to get to that sometime in the next week.

In the meantime, I’ll be quilting and unbasting. 🙂

Linking with   and Scraptastic Tuesday and Fresh Poppy Design

 

~Melanie

 

Tuesday’s Simply Living

Good morning!  Happy Tuesday!

The temperature has been in the 90’s the last few days and our little basil plants are not doing well.  Our strawberry plants are droopy too.  I had been watering every 3-4 days but now I’ll have to increase that to every 2 days.  I think I’ll move the basil plants to a more shaded area until they get more strength to them.  Potatoes and tomatoes are doing well.

Yesterday I got happy mail from Massdrop…

Superior Thread King Tut 4/19/2016

Superior Thread
King Tut
4/19/2016

I’ve been into thread lately.  I like having a variety of colors and choices to have to play with.  I also like having different weights to use for decorative stitching.

A Rainbow Garden Block 4 in progress 4/19/2016

A Rainbow Garden
Block 4 in progress
4/19/2016

Since I’m watching as many games as I could catch during the NBA Playoffs, I’ve had a lot of hand work time.  I knitted (YES!) and I got further along on my wool project.

And since it’s hot here again, the hubby shaved the boy’s hair… and it reminded me that he has two hair swirls on his head.  Weird right?

My son's bald head 4/19/2016

My son’s bald head
4/19/2016

And since today seems to be a bit scattered in the overall scheme of things, have you ever made Vanilla Extract?  It’s so easy.  Vanilla beans, mason jar (or any bottle) and vodka (or rum).

5/30/2015 - Absolut Vodka and 7 vanilla beans that came with the kit

5/30/2015 – Absolut Vodka and 7 vanilla beans that came with the kit

Anyway, you throw the vanilla beans into the bottle and cover them with vodka (or rum) and then let it sit for 6 weeks or so.  You shake the jar a bit every day the first week or so and then periodically after that.  After a few weeks, you strain the mixture to remove the beans and it’s ready to use.  I made some last summer and I’m still using what I made.  I know it’s easy to buy vanilla extract but I recently came across Chaste Berry Tincture as a natural way to balance hormones and reduce fibroids.  (Obviously, this is not FDA approved or anything)  I originally bought the tincture already made but with shipping and taxes, 1 oz of the tincture cost me $17!  Way too much money to spend when I can buy dried Chaste Berries for $5 and then make my own tincture.  Basically it’s made the same way vanilla extract is made.  I fill a jar about a third full of the dried chaste berries, cover it with vodka and let it sit for 6 weeks.  Shake it every day the first week and then periodically after that.

Chaste Berry Tincture

Chaste Berry Tincture

This will be ready mid-May.

I hope you guys get to play with fabric!  I’ll continue to baste Raining Cats and Dogs.  I hope to get that off the frame ASAP.  The current plan is to machine quilt on my domestic along Stitch In The Ditch between each block and then hand quilt within the blocks.  But that may change when I actually get it off and start.

Raining Cats and Dogs on the frame to be basted 4/18/2016

Raining Cats and Dogs
on the frame
to be basted
4/18/2016

 

 

Linking with   and Scraptastic Tuesday and Fresh Poppy Design

 

~Melanie

 

Living Simply Edition #17 – Living Room #1

dragonfly-clip-art-812888

 

 

Just a quick update on the status of living room #1.  I spent some time over the weekend going through the room and figuring out what can go and what can stay.  I know it doesn’t look like much because this is the living room that I spend my quilty time in.  But I wanted to go through all those books and get rid of the little stuff that I could get rid of.

img_9717

The left bookshelf is mine and the kids.  I already pulled out the business books and took those over to the office to share with the staff.  The right bookshelf houses the books I retrieved from my parent’s library and the hubby’s stuff.  I spent my time on the left bookshelf since I’m not ready to get rid of those books on the right and what isn’t mine is the hubby’s.  Anyway, inside the cabinet at the bottom of the shelf was filled with a bunch of books too.  The bottom of the middle curio is also filled with books.  I got rid of the books on the top shelf and went through the remaining books.  I divided them into 4 categories:

  1. books I loved and will not/could not get rid of
  2. books my kids loved and I could not get rid of
  3. books I read and I’m not sure I loved so want to reread them to see if I could get rid of them
  4. books I haven’t yet read (usually the kids books that they recommended I read) and need to read.

I removed the books that I decided should go to a different home.  So now, the shelves you see are still full of books but the bottom cabinet on the left bookshelf is only half filled and the cabinet at the bottom of the curio is completely empty.  You can’t tell yet but we’ll be able to tell by the significant decrease of boxes of books. 🙂

I also went through the sewing box that is at the top of the curio.  I got it on sale somewhere and I liked how it looked so I bought it.  It’s been mostly empty but I opened it because I had the uneasy feeling that the hubby was hiding stuff in there.  I was right.  I threw away everything inside.  Nothing important, just an old tea set that the girl played with when she was 6 or 7.  I was keeping it because it reminded me of her at that age and the tea set was porcelain and so cute.  I will always have those memories.

 

img_9718

I went through the basket, moved the two irons back to my crafty room.  I can’t decide which iron I like best and the hubby just pulls whichever one he finds when he wants to iron.  I threw stuff in the basket that needed to be thrown away and moved other things into the boy’s room that should not have been in the basket in the first place.  I stuck the remaining Christmas gifts that have not yet been delivered (the recipients are hard to pin down to give these to them) in the basket.

img_9719

The boy’s backpack went to his room and then I went through this curio.  I got rid of the lion stuffed animal peeking at the top of the curio.  I found it in one of the boxes I was unpacking and I’m not sure how it ended up there.  I believe, at that time, I couldn’t get rid of it.  Now I could.  There wan’t much left inside the curio to get rid of.  It contains my grandma’s old china set that my mom gifted to me.  Below at the bottom is all our old piano books and music sheets.  I kept them all for now but maybe next week I’ll go through them.  I believe there are a lot that are incomplete as the pages have gone missing.

img_9720

The water bottles got moved into a cooler outside.  The piano was cleared of all that stuff lying on top of it.  I went through the bowl that the hubby empties his pockets into and threw away all the receipts I found there.  I don’t know why he keeps the receipts.  I also went through our mug shelves.  I got rid of some stuff but not much.  This is one of our collections and I’m not ready to start downsizing these.  I am not going to be buying mugs anymore.  I used to buy a mug or two every place we visited but we’re traveling more than we used to and our friends are so generous they have started to get us mugs too.  So, I have no place to put them anymore.

img_9721

I forgot to go through the coat rack.  I must do that this coming weekend!

While it doesn’t seem like I did much, I’m feeling better about getting rid of stuff.  There are some things I was able to put in the get rid of bin that was harder for me to get rid of before.  I’m glad that I’m allowing myself not to get rid of everything but to go through each section multiple times.  This way, it’s okay to save the question of keeping or getting rid of for a later time.  By the way, I say get rid of but if the item can still be used again, the hubby donates it somewhere.

I’ve read and listened to people suggestions of getting rid of as much as possible fast.  That helps you see progress right away and motivates you to keep getting rid of stuff.  I like this idea but I also get stressed about getting rid of something that I may potentially want later.  For example, I found a little elephant miniature piece whose trunk broke off.  I was sad.  I remembered buying the piece and it looks cute.  I don’t want to get rid of it.  But it’s broken.  But a little bit of superglue and it looks brand new.  But we don’t have super glue right now so we’ll need to get some.  Well, I told the hubby that he has a week to do it.  If it isn’t fixed in a week, I’m throwing it away!  It feels nice to be able to let go of feeling like I have to make a decision now.  So, I just got rid of the things that I felt was easy to get rid of.  And like I said, something that seemed hard to get rid of a few months ago was very easy to get rid of now (the lion stuffed animal).

Have a great day everyone!

~Melanie

Living Simply Edition #16

dragonfly-clip-art-812888

 

I haven’t done one of these in a long time.  Life was busy and it seemed any time I was able to come up and breathe, I spent it playing with fabric and other things.  I want to get this on the schedule again but I’m not sure where to start.  So, as with everything I do when I’m stuck, I figure out a project plan.

  • Living Room #1 (where my quilt frame is)
  • Living Room #2
  • Dining Room
  • Spare Closet (in front of the hubby’s lair) and has become the home of things that I don’t know what to do with
  • Laundry Room
  • Bathroom #2
  • Bar area
  • Kitchen
  • Pantry
  • Linen Closet
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom #1
  • Garage

So my goal is to focus on 1 area each month.  That will mean we’ll get through each area in 13 months.  It’s a constant thing.  I specifically didn’t include the hubby’s lair (because that’s his and he would not appreciate me going in there to declutter).  I also didn’t include the girl’s room or the boy’s room.  They are old enough to go through their stuff.  Of course, if they want my help I’m sure they will ask me for it.

For March, I’ll be working on Living Room #1.

Here is what it looks like before I start working on it:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Have a great day everyone!

~Melanie

Happy New Year! ?

So I posted my blog post earlier today with the intention to work on Tell It To The Stars!  I’m really done with this quilt and I just needed to get it finished.  The piecing was great!  But the quilting was far from it.  I had trouble with the machine. I had trouble with the frame.  I had trouble all the way around.  I should change the name of the quilt to Trouble!  Anyway, I haven’t been quilting on it because I just about hated looking at it.  But because it sits in my living room I had to look at it every day.  Every time I looked at it I would just cringe.  So this morning I told myself to forget about it, just get ‘er done and then I can at least send my machine off to get it professionally cleaned and serviced.  And within minutes of me posting my post, the hubby decided he wanted to clear out the garage.  I discovered that the best way to get a hubby to clear out the garage is for him to get a new car!  I’ve been wanting to clear the garage for months to continue my decluttering frenzy. The hubby wasn’t in the mood to do anything in the garage until today!

If you remember from previous posts – here’s what my garage looked like before:

Garage 10/28/2015

Garage
10/28/2015

Garage 10/28/2015

Garage
10/28/2015

IMG_8477IMG_8481

Here’s what it looks like now:

Garage 1/1/2016

Garage
1/1/2016

Garage 1/1/2016

Garage
1/1/2016

Garage 1/1/2016

Garage
1/1/2016

Garage 1/1/2016

Garage
1/1/2016

The hubby swears that we didn’t get rid of anything and all we did was move things around.  Especially reducing empty boxes from the move.  I think we got rid of some stuff and found some things.  We brought stuff into the house that we hadn’t before just because we didn’t know they were out there.  I found my bread maker and a roasting pan.  We brought in a lamp that we didn’t know where to put before now.  But the best thing is that all my scrapbooking supplies and all my craft boxes that I found were moved to my office.  So, this morning when I did task 2 of the 2015 countdown, I took my sewing closet apart to pull out all the UFOs.  Then I put them all back nice and neat.  It was organized and clean.  Now my office has all the craft boxes from the garage in it.

I forgot to take a picture of my sewing space before I added all the craft boxes so you’ll have to just imagine the clean floor.  Here it is now:

Sewing Room 1/1/2016

Sewing Room
1/1/2016

Sewing Room 1/1/2016

Sewing Room
1/1/2016

It’s a mess.  I basically blocked off my sewing machine and in order for me to get to it, I’ll need to tackle some of those bags and bins. But, I’m excited that now I can go through all of that stuff and remove the things that I will not use anymore and find homes for the things I will use.  The hubby even mentioned that I really need to get back to scrapbooking since the last complete album we have is from 2005.  😀

After we cleared out the garage, I couldn’t reach my sewing machine so I ended up quilting Tell It To The Stars like I originally set out to do in the first place. 🙂

~Happy decluttering, happy quilting!  Happy New Years!

~Melanie

Living Simply Edition #15

dragonfly-clip-art-812888

 

I haven’t done a living simply edition for awhile.  The Thanksgiving holiday crept in and now the Christmas holidays are creeping in and we’re just busy.  I am continuing to clear out my purse each evening and about once a week I go through the bottom right desk drawer that tends to accumulate bills, paper that need to be gone through and probably filed. By going through my purse and cleaning up the top of my desk each evening I get rid of a lot of paper right off the bat.  But usually there are a handful of items that I have to do something with and simply don’t have the time to do at that moment or maybe I just don’t know what to do with it.  They are either a bill that will need to get paid, or something that I need to enter into my accounting system, or something that I need to file away.  So, it’s these regular habits that I’m developing that help clear out the mess that usually bothers my daily life and my mind.  Over the last few weeks, even though I haven posted anything, I’ve slowly gone through all the boxes in my closet that I considered my “paper” boxes.  And they’re no longer in the closet.  They were either put in a file or shredded.  The only boxes that are left in the closet (other than my fabric bins) are the stuff I’ve been keeping to put in my scrapbooks.  They’re memorable stuff and I’m not ready to go through those yet.  I have 2 boxes that encompass parts of 2012 – 2015.  I need to sort through them into a system where I can put things away and when I start scrapbooking again, I can easily have everything somewhat organized.  They are all mixed up.  The worse thing is that I’ve got more boxes in the garage and I don’t know how to organize it yet.  I’m kind of at a standstill.  I’ve been trying to work around it.

The next thing I’m going to tackle is my linen closet.  Can you believe I probably have 50 towels stuffed there?  I also have a bunch of pillowcases with no matching beddings and my beddings are all mixed up.  I’d love to have all the coordinated beddings and pillowcases together and somehow tell which ones are queens, fulls, and twins.  Although, it’s pretty easy to tell which ones are twins.  I have a second linen closet in the laundry room so I need to combine the two sets of stuff and get rid of the things that I haven’t used in a long time.  That’s next on my list of things to declutter.  🙂

btw, I haven’t forgotten that I still need to declutter my books.  Right now, the bookshelf is blocked by my quilt frame so I do not have easy access to clear through those shelves.  I’ll do those at some point one day.  I’m just not ready to do it now. 🙂

Have a great day everyone!

~Melanie

 

 

 

~Melanie

 

Living Simply Edition #14

dragonfly-clip-art-812888

 

 

 

I’ve missed two gratitude posts and my WIP Wednesday post.  This week is one hectic week.  Every night there has been and will be a scheduled thing and it’s throwing me off.  Tuesday evening, we went to a Meg Myers’ concert.  I didn’t know of Meg Myers until our friends asked if we would like to go with them.  While I didn’t enjoy standing around all night, or the group that came on before Meg Myers, I enjoyed the night completely.  The first band had great energy and I enjoyed it.  Meg Myers rocked it and I went on youtube so the girl could know how she sounds.  I don’t know what her kind of music is called.  We topped off the night with dinner at Roscoes Chicken and Waffles.  I hadn’t been to Roscoes in 15+ years and suddenly, this year, I’ve been there 3 times!  But it hit the spot.  By the time we got home, I didn’t have energy to do a gratitude post.  And since I haven’t done anything towards my quilty project this week, I didn’t have much to say on a WIP Wednesday post.  It didn’t help that I woke up late.

Yesterday, we attended Parent’s mass at the girls school in the morning and she had a short day.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well at all.  I was fighting the cold but it caught up to me and by Wednesday afternoon I laid in bed until dinner time, then dragged warm clothes on myself and took the girl to the premiere showing of Hunger Games 2.  It was exciting.  We loved it.  It was not a disappointment at all!  The whole Hunger Games series did not disappoint in terms of it getting the essence of the books.  I’m often (mostly) disappointed with any movie that is based on a book.  But the movie Hunger Games was on point.

Tonight, we’ve got the Clipper vs. Warrior game at Staples Center.  The hubby sold our tickets so we’ll be watching in the comfort of our own home.  Tomorrow, the girl got us tickets to watch the play at her school.  Then on Saturday I’ve got a sew in with the SFV Modern Quild Guild.  And on Sunday I’ve got another Clipper game that I’ll be taking a client to.  It’s just one busy week.

This post is supposed to be about Living Simply yet we’re so busy this week that it is really hard to live simply.  However, I’m reaping the benefits of all the decluttering and habits that I worked on prior to this week.  My office is clean.  My bedroom is clean.  It’s really nice to come home from whatever thing we’ve been at and go through the motions of putting stuff away.  In the mornings, I make sure the countertops in the bathroom are clear, I fix the bed and I make sure all my stuff is put away before heading to work (whether that is work at home or actually go to my office).  All of that doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.  When I’m done with work, I clear my desk and if I’m at the office – head home, clear my desk at home, empty my purse, and go through any outstanding items that need to be gone through.  All of that doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.  Every couple of days or so, I spend more time as I pay bills or take care of some things.  What I’m most impressed with is that even though I’m busy, I’m still doing all of that, and it has kept me sane.  It’s wonderful.  I am also not being too hard on myself.  As with anything, we try hard to do so many things and when life gets busy like this, sometimes its too hard.  So the stuff I can’t do – like getting to my gratitude posts or WIP Wednesday – I cut myself some slack and I move on.  There are a bit more stuff – like not eating right (hello waffles at midnight!) and not going to yoga, etc.  We will be heading into December and into the holidays so life is going to get even crazier as holiday events and to do items start piling up.  How can I incorporate living simply into the holidays?  I always have so much to do during the holidays that it is often difficult to enjoy them.  What can I do differently this year so that I can enjoy them?  I don’t know the answer to this now but I will ponder this question and maybe have some thoughts on this soon. 🙂

Have a great day everyone!

~Melanie

 

 

 

~Melanie

 

Living Simply Edition #13

dragonfly-clip-art-812888

It is a slow process to reduce the stuff in my life.  For me, I have to take one hour, one box, or one little corner of my house and really go through it.  I may do this once a day, or once a week.  I can’t do it at once because there are too many things I need to do in my life.  Whether it’s something for the kids, for the hubby or for myself.  I have to work the declutter in a bit at a time.  I’m sure it is more rewarding to just do it all at once.  But I can only declutter so much and after a bit of time, all of a sudden it becomes harder for me to get rid of stuff.  I can tell when I start to put things aside and think, I can use that.  Or, remember when we…?  Or, I could still… Once those thoughts start getting into my head, I need to stop and do something else.  But even that little bit I’ve done feels good.  My closet is still nice and clear of stuff.

It’s especially true as I go through the garage.  I find stuff in the garage and while I throw a lot of it away (my goal is one bag a week) some stuff goes into the house.  The point is that they should be going with like stuff.  Usually I find craft stuff and I put it in my office.  Or I find more extension cords and put them with the other electronic stuff.  I’m putting things in their spaces but those spaces will get full and then I’ll have to go clear them out again.  I feel like I’m rambling and things are never ending but here’s my process and hopefully it makes sense.

At this moment, things inside the house pretty much have a home.  It’s not clear of everything because I haven’t gone through everything (like the restrooms or the kitchen).  But things aren’t going crazy.  It’s not where I want to be but they’re manageable.

Then I go through the garage because it’s the garage that drives me crazy.  I grab a box and I go through it, most of the items are trash.  So I throw them away.  I’ll see a screwdriver and I’ll put them with the tools.  Then I’ll see a gardening tool, and I’ll put it with the gardening stuff.  Then I have an empty plastic bin.  I’ll take it into the house, wash it, and then bring it into my office with all my other plastic bins.  And suddenly, I have way too many plastic bins.  What am I going to do with all these plastic bins?  For now, they are in my office closet because I can’t bear to throw away a good plastic bin.  At some point, I will need to organize my office closet.  I’m not there yet but I will need to tackle that space at some point too.

~Melanie