Saturday, 11 January 2014

January cure update....

...Kitchen purge
Pheeew! I thought I was lagging behind in the cure...I had just vaguely done the outbox thing...plan to make my own artwork and gently pondered what changes I could make!!(not sitting still for 10 minutes and "meditate" as instructed!!) So thank goodness I made it my mission to get THE KITCHEN (Vague description of the task, I know!!) ticked off my To Do list for task #5!!
My kitchen is my "ground control centre"....where I do everything! From cooking and cleaning to crafting and making! No wonder it gets in a mess! My shelf area in the corner could be really beautiful, but as it serves as a dumping ground for all my "in-progress" projects, it has become crowded with craft that was a big task: Clearing and reorganising this whole area left me swomped in various piles of stuff to be reorganised....
...But with a lot of effort, I think I've managed to get this area under control again!! (Admission: all my craft supplies are now crammed in to the cupboard under the stairs, and that has been added to my project list to be reorganised....that's allowed, right??)
Because I'm in the UK, I don't get the new Cure task until late in the afternoon, when I was already knee deep in pots and pans in my kitchen (with a bit of PJ Harvey blaring out)and I was soo happy when I saw that Cure task #7 for the weekend was to sort out the kitchen!! This meant that I am now back on track with the Cure!! 
  I do find: Once you start these's hard to stop! My kitchen got soo messy in the process today, it was unthinkable not to clean and tidy it all!!
I found it quite an cathartic experience...Purging my un-wantables (Some things I didn't even know I didn't want until I started running out of floor space for piles of stuff I didn't know where to put!!)
Good riddance useless stuff!!
My cupboards where actually "not too bad" ...I thought, as I had had a rummage through them for un-perishable food items that I gave to the local food bank just before going away to Norway for Christmas! (If you are in the UK, doing the Cure, or having or planning a kitchen purge, Your local food bank will very much appreciate any donations all through the year: Find the one nearest to you here !) But after going through all my cupboards, cleaning and reorganising them, I actually had 2 1/2 bin bags full of  rubbish!!
I wont bore you with loads of pictures of my messy "before" cupboards...Lets just say that once I got rid of food stuff out of date, cracked and chipped glasses and mugs, un matching table ware and, tupper ware without any lids and a lot of things I've been hoarding over the last year (like empty soup tins???) I was left with more than enough cupboard space (unthinkable!!) to create a designated cupboard for Little Miss Moo's Crafty bits and colouring in books!!
...Just goes to show: We accumulate so much more stuff than we actually need!! I also ended up with quite a lot of stuff in my "outbox"...most of which I am already planning on taking down the charity shop (Princess Diana mugs anyone??)
It was a lot of hard work...I'm not gonna lie, but it has definitely been worth it!!
I even managed a trip to the local garden centre to pick up these gorgeous green plants (don't ask me what they are...I threw away the labels!!) for my kitchen window....AND picked up the ingredients to make a risotto for me and Mr last night!! Task complete!!
Not only am I now enjoying a morning coffee in my freshly cleaned and tidy kitchen, but I am so pleased I have finally caught up with my assignments in the january cure....(well, apart from still having to get around to making my coming next week)
And just as well I got it all done before the weekend, as we are heading into London today for Christmas celebration number 3/my birthday with the in-laws!
I am still working on my post about our renovation plans for the house, but I promise you it's coming soon!!
How are you doing with the Cure??
Got any useful tips for a hoarder like me??
I'd love it if you would share your progress with me by leaving a comment below!!
 One last thought: I love my Clean and tidy kitchen, but I cant help wondering: How long will it last??   

Thursday, 9 January 2014

DIY Calendar and Blackboard Organiser.... help reset your mind!

 New year...fresh start! I LOVE the thought of starting a new year with a clean sheet...
....and what better symbolises this than a brand new Calendar?
All those empty squares, ready to be filled in with life as we walk through time!!

So today I want to share my DIY calendar and Blackboard organiser...

Seems like only yesterday we were still in 2013, in holiday mode and only really worrying about what to wear for New years eve(?) ...Then BANG, back to reality: Mr started back at work, Little Miss Moo was back at school, I started purging the house with the January cure, had my birthday AND finally found some time for this years first DIY....HECTIC!
How appropriate then, that my first make should be this Calendar, so that I can plan ahead and keep a bit more organised for weeks like this....because, no doubt, this is not the last time this year when things are going to feel a bit out of control....

I could've of course gone out and simply bought a calendar, but this way, I got what I really wanted...and for next to nothing!!

To make one like mine, you will need:

 a piece of wood and some wooden listing for the chalkboard (I was lucky I had some offcuts in the shed) Chalkboard paint (We had recently purchased some for Little Miss Moo's coming soon....Or you can make your own in ANY colour like I did here). Hardware: Spring paper-clip (I got mine from WHS), 3 small stud screws, 2 Eye hooks and a pipe bracket ....and some Rub'n'buff to make all the hardware match.
You will also need some strong contact adhesive (like No More Nails) , a drill and drill bits and something to string it all up with (I used pleated textile yarn, but any rope will do)

For the actual Calendar, you can download and print off a variety of styles for free from here.

You'll also need some clear sticky back paper (WHS), Some Scissors, a scalpel, a glue stick ,some A4 Card and of course some lovely patterned paper....This could be anything you'd like, from your childs drawings to some leftover wrapping paper...


I've been saving these lovely "print and pattern" portfolios from homemaker magazine for a project like this...
 There are some gorgeous prints from Stephanie Thannhauser from ric-rac (the bird and the boot print being my favourites), Alice Rebecca Potter (the red print being perfect for December) ,Rebecca Hoyes , the senior designer for habitat (Febuary's purple graphic print) and Luzelle van der westhuizen from Mengsel (Whose gorgeous Cat print adorns My January)

If you are a whizz with Photoshop, unlike me, you can probably do this first step on your computer.
But I am going to show you how I did it the "old fashioned way" with scissors and glue:


I downloaded and printed out my chosen calendar design...I went for quite a simple one with squares to write in for each day. I then trimmed off the blank edges around each calendar month.

When I had chosen my prints for each month, I glued a border of these onto some white card for each month ( I only glued a border of the printed paper because I'm a cheapskate frugal, and wanted to save some of my lovely printed paper for a future project...YOU can of course, just cover the entire card with your printed paper)
I then glued the printout of each month onto the card.

You can of course use some spray adhesive to ensure the papers are thoroughly glued which case you can probably skip the next step... 
But I wanted my calendar to work a bit like a whiteboard, so that I can wipe off any unwanted scribbles as I go...
So I decided to stick with the glue stick (pun intended) and cover my calendar sheets with sticky back plastic:


Tip: As you can see in the picture above the roll of sticky back plastic is quite a lot wider than my calendar sheets....Use some scissors and cut the sticky back plastic to size ON THE ROLL to reduce waste and make this job easier. Roll up the off-cut and tape in place...

This job is easier if done on a cutting mat like mine, where you can use the grid as a guide.
Stick down the top of the Sticky back plastic on your surface, then place your calendar underneath the roll, taking care that they are aligned with each other. Pull the SBP taught over the calendar and as you peel off the backing, smooth  the SBP down. Take your don't want any creases!!

Use some scissors....or better yet, a scalpel (If you have a cutting mat) to trim off any excess.
Repeat with all 12 months...

Now you have made your calendar bit, its time to make the Chalk Clipboard...


Paint your piece of wood with chalk paint

 Attach some wooden listing to the bottom of your chalk board. I used "No-more-nails", but any strong adhesive, even a few tack-nails will do the job!
Paint this as well.


I used some Antique gold Rub'n'buff to make my Paper clip, pipe bracket and screws match.
Worked out the layout of where everything should go, then attached using my drill.


Using a template, I used my rub'n'buff to mark out the word NOTES.

I attached a couple of eye-hooks at the top of the Chalkboard , and treaded through 3 strings of textile yarn, that I pleated before knotting off at the ends...


My very own, unique Calendar/Chalkboard home Organiser..

with a little shelf to put my chalk on, and a space for my pen...(I still need to get a whiteboard pen)

Feeling more and more ready for a fantastic year!

Hanging in my hallway where it is easily accessible for updates and notes!

Notice my comment on the board about the January Cure??
I am lagging a bit behind, but am hoping to have task #5 done today!!

The last few tasks since my last post have been more about resetting your mind:
Task #3 was to spend 10 minutes observing and visualizing your space, trying to imagine it at it's best and working out what changes you would have to make to realise this.
Task #4 was Creating an "Outbox" ...a space designated for the clutter around your home, where they must sit for at least a week , or until you decide their fate: bin, charity shop, e-bay or back in the house!
The idea is that by leaving things in the outbox, you gradually release your financial or personal attachment to them...
I am already feeling ready to let go of some of my "nic-nacs" (as my mother-in-law calls ALL my things)...

I have also signed up for #100happydays.
An easy but life changing challenge: Take a picture of something that makes you feel happy every day for the next 100 days, and upload these with the hashtag #100happydays to instagram, twitter or facebook....the idea being that by raising your own awareness of what makes you happy will lift your mood and improve your life.
If you want to do this sign up here !

Lets try to make 2014 the best year ever, and fill all those empty squares on the calendar with joyfull moments!!