Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Day

Hey hey! It's a new day here on my blog. I don't usually post in the morning (or write in the morning), but I'm a big believer in moving with the flow. So here I am.

Some days I am full of energy, and others I wake drained. Today is in the middle. But before I get into that, let me catch you up on the weekend.

As you know from my recent posts, I'm "re-claiming" my home from the clutter I've allowed to collect in the drawers, shelves, and cupboards. I like things tidy. But I have really let the hidden spots go during the last few years. I was working on inner order (within myself), and now I'm ready to tackle some external order of a deeper nature than what's immediately visible.

See, we've taken some trips over the last 10 years, and have had the chance to stay in some lovely places. I felt so at peace and calm and refreshed by some of these settings. I stopped to examine my heart and my emotions then, and to discover what elements promoted that sense for me.

I realized that the lack of clutter was a big part of that peace. When I opened the lower cupboard in the bathroom of one of the vacation homes we visited, and found only what I needed there, (and could actually see the shelving in the cupboard instead of having it piled up with various bottles and boxes,) I liked what that felt like. I am something of a pack-rat. I have difficulty throwing silly things away, like packaging ("I might be able to use that for something. . . ."), ALL receipts (my Mom always kept them for tax purposes), and expired things.

However, keeping the stuff has become more cumbersome than letting it go. I'm pleased to say that I am now in a place that I'm ready to let that stuff go, and I've been working on it a little at a time. www. has been a positive inspiration there.

So that's a bit of background for my daily efforts at re-claiming order in my home.

Saturday I decided to tackle our tea cupboard. Actually, it's just a shelf in the cupboard of our butler's pantry. It's a nice-sized shelf that will hold a full-size coffee maker, tea pots, boxes and bags of tea, coffee grounds, filters, recipe boxes, you get the idea. A big space. I pulled out all the boxes of tea, and went through everything. Turns out, no one really likes fruit tea, so I discarded that. Old coffee that never got used also hit the trash. Boxes for tea bags that only had 2 sachets in them were emptied (and the tea put into another container with loose sachets of tea). Coffee was collected into one basket, and things were moving forward when I remembered, I had a cushion to re-upholster for a friend, and it had to be done Saturday! Yikes!

I set right to it, and pulled out all the staples on the underside. Whoever last upholstered that seat got really carried away with the double piping trim on the front. They used about two solid inches of staples along the sides, and hidden staples between the piping. It only took about an hour to get the staples out. Always makes my hands sore and sometimes scraped up. Some staples are more stubborn than others. And these were so thin, they often broke off. These had to be hammered down because there was not enough of the leftover stem to get hold of with the needle nose pliers.

I put the new fabric on, and it turned out quite nicely once it was well stapled round the bottom. I had a bit of trouble with the double piping, working the electric stapler into the right position, trying to hold the piping apart (it rolled together as it should when finished), and carefully squeezing the trigger while pressing hard to make sure the staple went DEEP inbetween the piping. I missed a couple of times and had to pull the staple back out. Still, it turned out fine, and I was glad to have it done in a timely manner despite forgetting for a bit!

Here's my sneaky Sunday pic:
We went to church Sunday, a second visit to this one, and it still seems a fantastic fit! We are just pinching ourselves! As happened last week, we were invited to share lunch out with new friends (and old ones we'd invited to join as well). Suffice it to say, we are eager for the week to go by so we can go again.

Yesterday was a holiday (on a Monday), and I decided to spend my creative, de-cluttering time working on our Christmas decorations that are still quite pretty, but are now ready to be put to rest for another year. Here are a few pics of the process.

Above, you can see what's left of the tree after I clipped off every limb so it would not be so heavy to remove. It's a sad but satisfied stem of a tree that knows it brought much joy this season.

And there you have most of the ornaments once I got them sorted while removing them from the tree. I think they're pretty all gathered and lined up! So back to today! It's a new day! I'm still unsure of where my focus will be. I know I need to do my exercise, and I have a couple of errands to run (bank, library, health store), so I'll need wheels for that. I'm sure it will all work out. I'd best get to it! Have a great day!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Today, I got up with Mr. Handsome, knowing I needed to be ready to go to town when he headed in for work. Both he and our second-born work in our beautiful downtown on the bricks 3 miles from home. What a blessing.

You may or may not know that we have 4 drivers living at home and we have 2 working vehicles. 3 of those drivers have jobs and school. I'm the extra with neither. This puts me in the delightful position of being available to help everyone get where they need to be when they need to be there. So last night, 3 of my girls spent the night about an hour away. Kath, (second-born with a down-town job) had to be at work this morning, so she was home by midnight last night. We sat up to chat for another hour, btw.

The original plan was for me to ride to town w/Mr. Handsome so I could pick up the car Kath drove to work earlier so I would be able to meet the other 3 girls halfway on their return home. I followed that plan, and enjoyed spending some time chatting with Kath and her boss for awhile before taking the car. I bought some groceries and just reveled in having my own wheels. Then I got a text telling me that the girls had secured a ride home from the sleepover. Cool. Now what?

I decided to continue my plan of the year to take back my cluttered spaces in the house. I think it will take a year to complete the task (can it really be completed?). I cleaned out the 'fridge. I organized things, putting the condiments together, the salsas together, the oriental sauces, the Greek Yogurt and sour cream, . . . . you get the idea. I got a little OCD and turned all the labels forward. I wiped the sticky spots off the shelves. I felt so accomplished!

I moved on to the cupboard below our butler's pantry. It's a glorified hallway where there are cupboards, a counter, a small bar sink, and our coffee station for the house. It's where we keep our tea, cookbooks, vitamins, cereal, chips/crackers, "battery" drawer, and zip-locks and parchment paper. I focused on only one space, the cupboard below the sink. Do you know, we had no less than 8 sunblock, suntan, and skincare bottles there? I found tye-dye powders, trash bags, multiple vitamin bottles, thermoses, water filters, Kleenex tissues, cleaning supplies, and thermos mugs down there. No wonder it was such a mess! Now the freshly cleaned shelf liner can actually be SEEN! That's a beautiful thing.

It was 2:45 when I set out for my power walk. I really am determined to keep up with walking 4.2 miles in an hour or less three times a week. I don't enjoy it really. It doesn't energize me, it kinda drains me, but I KNOW it's good for me, so I take solace in that knowledge. I got a call from my Sweetie before I reached the halfway mark that he was off his lunch shift and headed out to run some errands. I knew I didn't have a hot meal prepared for him, but I could make a killer sandwich when he got home. I did. I made a turkey pastrami, oven-roasted turkey, romaine, avocado, red onion, Tasty-Lee tomato, provolone, on rye with mayo and spicy mustard amazing-wich. So yummy!

I can't say how proud I am of the fact that I arranged to get together with friends for drinks and snacks at Sweetgrass Dairy downtown tonight. We met with two couples we've known for over 20 years at 6pm in a noisy happinen' place. We shared laughs and stories and fun for nearly two hours. I happened to be set between the guys, and since the environment was so loud, I missed out on most of the ladies' conversation, and, instead, got in on the guys'. I actually enjoyed it. Men know how to shed the deep and important relational stuff and just enjoy life. Call it shallow if you like, I'd rather think of it as freeing. I kept reading the lips of my girlfriends as they talked, and I knew they were speaking of family and relationships and gatherings and such, while the guys talked about beer and memorable trips and work experiences and jokes. I have to say, I really enjoyed the lighter side of life for a change (even though I really wanted to hear about my friends and their kids and parents).

So what did I do creatively today? I "followed my heart," to coin a phrase. I had the house to myself, and I still worked to clean it up. It was what I wanted to do. I am on a mission. A mission to re-claim my home and my life. I've been stolen from through unfortunate experiences and circumstances, and I'm not going to play the victim any longer. I finally have the energy to do more than survive. I'm taking back the lost and stolen ground. I'm moving forward.

And that's something to celebrate. Here's to moving forward!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Creativity Today 2.0

Today I realized my bill-paying-records notebook only went up through this current month, and, of course, I am receiving bills for next month already. This notebook is one I made. It's a three-ring binder that I customized. I made colorful cardstock pockets for the mail (bills), and printed pages for inbetween for each month. Each month page has 31 day number lines, and a "Month" with a line for filling in said month at the top of the page. For each due date, I fill in the amount and who it goes to. When I pay that (on-line mostly) I write in the confirmation number right on that line. That way I have my own record of paying the bill.

I decided to make the process more fun by adding tabs to the side of the pages, and stamping the month on the tab. I'll have to take pics to share.

So I filled out those tabs and stamps and glued them onto the month pages between the colorful pocket pages. Seriously. I need pics.

In other news, I've decided that this year I am ready to shed unwanted stuff that is filling up my cupboards, closets, and drawers. I am giving myself a year, and I am NOT including the attic in this process. The house is plenty challenging all by itself. I've started by emptying my makeup drawer into a bag to set aside for at least a week. I didn't sort through all the junk in the drawer, I just moved it. For someone like me, this is empowering. I had stuff like old credit cards, clothes pins, movie ticket stubs, and lotions and makeup in that drawer. Ridiculous. Now it's all in a bag, set aside, and I get to enjoy a tidy drawer with only the stuff I am regularly using in it. Once I get a week or two away from the crammed up drawer experience, I'll go through the bag.

I think it will be evident what to do with most of the stuff.

I'm excited to see what this year will bring.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Regular Creativity

It's been like, FOREVER since I've posted on this blog. I was thinking about it as I was pumping through my powerwalk this evening and lamenting the neglect of my current blog over at wordpress. I thought to myself, perhaps I could write regularly about creativity on my fancyscrapper.blogspot blog.

So, today I was only creative in the kitchen. Still, it counts as creativity in my book. I wanted to make Chicken Pot Pie the Pioneer Woman way (which is from scratch). If you've ever had experience in the restaurant world, you know servers can work odd and demanding hours. Charlie worked lunch until closing, and then he opened dinner. That translates into coming home around 3 and going back at 3:45. Food must be ready at quite specific times.

I put the chicken in the oven at the time I left to buy groceries for the remaining ingredients. I called Em and Sam as I headed home to tell them I'd need their help to pull it all together. They were awesome! I wish I had pics of them working hard to put away the groceries, and then help assemble the meal. Samantha made the pie crust in our Ninja (a glorified blender/food-processor), Emily gathered all the other ingredients, and I chopped like a fiend! Em got into it, and cooked the filling while I finished out the measuring of the spices and cream and got out the crockery to bake it in.

As it was, Mr. Handsome had to wait 20 minutes for his lunch, but he enjoyed it immensely.

Once that was done, there were a great deal of dishes to deal with. Rebekah worked with me to get them all washed. Not having a dishwasher has its draw-backs. We make do.

My power walk was waiting on me. I'd showered and dressed for it. I don't like bathing twice in a day--seems redundant--but some days, there's just no way around it. I'm determined to give my aging body every chance at health, and exercise is a part of that. Also, I'd spent part of the earlier day checking some fabric against a chair that was ripped at my favorite doctor's office. He's taken care of our family for years, and now he has an upholstery need that I can help HIM with! Beautiful! I'm so happy to be able to return some of the care and love he's given us. He said today that he'll bring the chair to my house Friday so I can repair it over the weekend. It took some time in an already time-crunched day, but relationships are worth that to me.

So I took my power walk (and beat my best time? Crazy!), and then helped my youngest purchase a tablet on Amazon before basking in an amazing hot tub with a book. It melted me. My Sweet firstborn read through her paper for school to me before submitting it. She's so good with words, I had only one suggestion to make on the paper. My Mr. Handsome came home, and I fixed us both salads for dinner.

Since he's home so late, it's quite time for bed now. So my creativity for today was making lunch, and making it in time. Go me!