Dee-cluttering never ends. There will always be a need to keep up the challenge to keep clutter at bay. This blog started out to document my/our experience of dee-cluttering. We now reap the benefits of all our hard work.
I like telling a story and I do like the details, hence we have Dee-tales. I would love to have you join me on my adventures as I document the details of the experience this life.
I just scored some more fixer-upers; more free stuff but with the work to accompany them.
A set of six Silky Oak dining chairs were offered on Freecycle. I requested them and was fortunate to be chosen from many who requested the chairs.
Lovely old straight back chairs. A couple need to be re-glued. All will need sanding, staining and varnishing. I will also recover the seats which are quite worn and tired looking.
When I was on my way to collect the chairs I spotted a timber table on the road side.
Score - it is solid pine.
It is an odd one with a 'floor' instead of a shelf like many other coffee tables. This is exactly what I need. I have plans to put some kinds of box/basket in the gap as a place to store our winter lap rugs.
The top will require quite a lot of sanding to restore it. Notice the mould on the bottom right? It has suffered from the weather and the varnish is quite broken down. Oh well I do like a challenge.
It is currently hard waste collection in our area. We have the opportunity to put up to 3 cubic metres of items no longer wanted out on the footpath to be collected by the council. The items may include any furniture, white goods, beds, mattress, timber, cardboard, metal. No plant material, oil products or general rubbish is to be put out for collection. The items are collected by the council and taken to land fill.
We have two weeks notice for each area before collection. During this time lots of folks can be seen driving slowly around the streets with a trailer and/or small truck. People collect items that other folks have put out and take them away before the council makes its collection. By the time the council collects, the only items out for collection are truly items only suited to landfill. Other items are taken and recycled by those who collect them.
I have observed this process each year. This year I decided to participate. On several occasions I went driving with my trailer and stopped to collect items. At other times I have been going through my usual day's activities and stopped when I saw an item which I thought may be of use.
When JC and I were stopped at one home to collect some items from the footpath the owner arrived home. As she came into her driveway she stopped to chat to us. I had no idea what she was going to say and braced myself. She smiled and thanked us for collecting some of the items and said she hoped they went to good use. I told her the cubby we were collecting was going to a family with four young kids who could really use it. She said she was glad it could get some more use and that her kids had outgrown it. It had some damage on it but was still quite usable. I was pleased and more than a little relieved
Here are some of the items I have picked up.
plastic child's kitchen/baby bath, tall blue ceramic pot (it now hold my umbrellas just outside the back door), orange barrier, small timber stool corrugated iron, plastic cubby house.
These two outdoor chairs were in perfect condition and my daughter was delighted to take them to her home.
I was delighted to claim this vintage kitchen cabinet. I love it and have wanted one like this for a long while but they are so popular here that even in poor condition they sell for a lot of money. I couldn't quite believe it when one in very good condition with all original latches and glass was put on the footpath for collection.
I was even more surprised to find two tins of cat food - my cats were very happy and made short work of this little treat.
I have plans for this sweet little dresser but it is a bit of a way down the list.
This little coffee table will clean up nicely.
I found quite a few frames all in very good condition. Shown here are four of them. I forgot to photograph about three more, but you know, frames all start to look alike...
This chair will be an easy restore, I will have fun thinking about what colour to paint it.
I don't have plans for this bed at this stage but will keep an open mind.
A sweet child's wardrobe is on my list for a future make over.
I have about 5 different ideas for how I would like to use these drawers and will have to settle on perhaps just one or two ideas.
There are eight of these screens. They were from a light weight pergola. The roof was ruined but the sides are in good condition. I plan to make two sets of folding screens - eventually.
The rusty bakers stand will clean up and become a plant stand for JC, my eldest and the stool will eventually get the makeover treatment too.
Here we have an old suitcase, an iron bucket (no holes), a jerry can (no damage) and yet another stool which need a small repair to the seat.
Last but not least, I found this old chair. It too is on the list for a makeover.
I think I have my work cut out for me. It is going to take quite a while to work my way through this lot. At the slow pace that I have been moving I may be still working through this lot by the time the next hard collection comes around.
Oh and let's not talk about clutter, no we are not talking about clutter. Clutter, what clutter? ;)
I keep promising myself that I am going to get in and finish off some of my UFO's. I open the boxes and pull out all the contents, laying them out on my bed and try to work out what to do with them.
It is a sad confession, there are now multiple boxes of projects that I just haven't completed.
Many of the projects have all the hard work done and just need the final touches. The final touches is where I am getting stuck. It would be simple to just frame the pieces BUT...
The problem them becomes that my taste has changed and I don't know what to do with many of these things. I put many hours into getting the items to their current stage and haven't been able to bring myself to cull them either.
Just to add another dimension, I also would like to make most of my gifts for this year as I am not working outside home at the moment.
I need a different way of looking at these items. That brings me to where you come in... I need some help looking and thinking differently about these projects. will you please be part of my solution?
Will you suggest any ideas that may help me as a stroke of brilliance or as a way of reinvigorating my creative processes? I would love as many ideas as possible for either one, or all of the items I am about to show you. Go wild.
wool felt fabric measures 24cm wide x 21cm high. Design 11cm wide x 12cm high. The cat hair is a bonus and I promise to remove it one day (my cats love finding precious stuff to lay on and if I am silly enough to leave precious things on my bed then it is fair game in a kitty mind.)
I originally stitched this to frame, but am wondering about other options.
A pair of 40cm square crazy patch pieces originally intended as cushion fronts.
I still love the pink and burgundy shades but they no longer work with my decor. what could I do to either make them into gifts or finish them in a way that would delight either myself or another recipient?
Four pieces of 45cm square hand dyed cotton fabric in blue, pink, green and all three tones.
This was originally going to be a chenille cushion front and as you can see I got as far as dying the fabrics for it. Is there any point stitching up the cushion? Is the chenille phase long gone? What else could I do with it?
More of my dying efforts. This piece is 44cm square and I was going to make yet another cushion. How many cushions can one person use? Again the colours don't work for me any more. Would it make a nice gift or would the recipient just gag? argh this is hard!
This scary mess of colour was an attempt to use up fabrics in favoured colours/prints, again it no longer my taste. There are eight of these all carefully cut, backed, lined with wool batting and basted ready to quilt into place mats. I could still use some place mats but it is the same old story with the dated colours.
I stitched this Crinoline Lady as part of a course I was teaching at the students request. I like it, but again not really my style.
The design measures 24cm wide x 27cm high. The fabric is about 15cm bigger all around.
When I had finished I thought about making a tote bag out of it but wasn't sure if the design was too big for a tote bag. Ideas?
Painted barrow of knot flowers, design area is 12cm wide x 8.5cm high. There is plenty of fabric all around it. I could picture it on the front of a bag, or pocket or book cover. I am not sure why, but it is calico fabric which does limit the applications a bit.
fimo buttons with simple embroidery. the outside would fit a 5" x 7" frame or 13cm x 17.5cm.
Fimo buttons with simple embroidery - dimensions 6cm wide x 11.5cm high.
White linen with two versions of the same vase of flowers. They were early attempts at painting and I am not thrilled with the painted aspects and the ribbon embroidery is fairly primitive too. I think I actually abandoned this one as none of the flowers have centres.
Dimensions: 13cm wide x 14cm high
White linen. Picture dimensions: 14cm square.
There are plenty more UFO's but these are the ones where I am currently stuck.
Hit me with the ideas. Feel free to be ruthless. I will be forever grateful for your input and collective wisdom.
Linking up to some parties full of created and talented folks:
I went hunting for vintage images and found a sweet poster of an old treadle sewing machine with a little girl and a cat.
I knew it was perfect as a birthday gift for a special person so I ordered it. After it arrived from America the hunt began to find a suitable vintage frame for it. I finally found one, not as ornate as I was hoping for, but this poster proved to be difficult to find a suitable frame as it is not even remotely a standard size.
The frame cleaned up nicely and I decided not to paint it as I loved its aged timber which matched the timber in the poster. Of course this was carefully planned a happy co-incidence as I took the measurements and not the actual poster in my hunting shopping forays.
In the hunting process I also found a poster frame at Ikea with a modern black (plastic) surround, a perspex cover and light cardboard backing (ikea cheap). Then I had a hard choice. Would my friend prefer the old timber frame or the modern clean lines of the black frame? I agonised over this choice for a while (too long actually). I eventually settled on the vintage timber frame and stopped second guessing myself. My friend has timber floors throughout her home, plenty of natural timber furniture and shelving, vintage weaving looms and accessories, loves vintage sewing machines (owns two), refuses to wear synthetic fibres AT ALL, will only knit or crochet real fibres (no acrylic allowed) and likes unique, personalised items. I think I made a good choice.
Next I selected a matt (there were about a dozen shades of white) and had it cut to size. I then assembled it all myself. I made use of the ikea perspex and cardboard backing as they were a similar size and light weight.
.... that's 49 in dog years. Our boy is well and truly middle aged.
We celebrated his birthday quite appropriately.
The first present was for us...
...he got a bath.
I love how this pic shows his middle-aged greying muzzle.
The next present was for him...
... a very meaty ham bone, but the catch was he had to wear the birthday hat; surprisingly he didn't seem to mind it and wore it longer than we expected. He is a power chewer, the bone was totally gone in less than 20minutes, meat, gristle and bone.
He got heaps of attention all day and loved his ride in the car, playing frisbee and being allowed inside.
even when sitting still his tail is wagging and a blur in the photo
No birthday would be complete without a cake to mark the occasion, even if the dog didn't get any.
What do we love about our middle aged dog?
He has slowed down from the wildly exuberant days of his youth
He still likes to play and run around...for a short while ... followed by a nap
He is slightly less mischievous (sometimes)
He loves to be with us
He is devoted and loyal
He has a great nature
He has soft, velvety ears that flop when he runs
He loves to play fetch
He is (mostly) obedient
He doesn't dig or jump the fence
He loves a ride in the car
He has a big woof which scares away the door-to-door sales people
He guards our house and our neighbour's houses
His bark is worse than his bite (he doesn't bite but don't tell the baddies)
He knows more people in our street than we do
All the kids in the street stop at the fence to pat him and rub his head
The postie is terrified of him, He loves the postie though and runs along the fence barking loudly and giving himself away by wagging his tail.
I am so excited to have my kitchen at a point where it feels usable. Even hubster the resistant is liking it. Double Yeay!
TaDa. It's not finished (seems to be what I say most posts) BUT it is done enough to reveal and to enjoy.
Below is the view of the kitchen as one walks in from the lounge room. As kitchens go it is a large one. It is also the dining space and has three doorways. Like many of these old houses one has to walk through it to get to other parts of the house so we lose significant usable space to walk ways.
Directly to the right in this picture is the kitchen office I posted yesterday. You can just see the white edge of the bench. Directly to the left is another doorway which leads to the bathroom, EK's room and the back door. the white seen in the lower left of the pic is our recycling bin next to the doorway.
With the large table removed it has opened up the space and allowed me to create a more practical work triangle. Previously the fridge and freezer (which can be seen one the right wall near the stove) were where the new kitchen office now stands. The sink is directly to the left of Ra (whose back is to the camera) making the work triangle not only large but impractical and clumsy as the entire kitchen was filled with an oversized table and chairs.
If you will allow me to indulge I will give a guided tour of the kitchen.
Introducing my new Teak island bench. I wanted a bench / work surface as well as storage and I hunted for ages to find it. I got this beauty for just $66 second hand. Hubster then added the braked wheels purchased from Ikea for $12.99/ pair and cut the white one-piece bench top to protect the timber surface.
Inside is perfect for our baking and large pantry items. The drawers are still empty until I decide what I would like to store in them. I am leaning towards the spices in one drawer.
The fridge and freezer are on the wall with a comfortable space and distance to the stove.
I am in LOVE with the dining table. I got it on eBay for $40!!! Before you have a heart attack I will tell you the sweet story. It was sold without chairs and I have noticed that tables sold without chairs get little interest (even when they are gorgeous and Silky Oak). The table is 163cm (5'5") long which isn't a standard table length. Most tables are either 150cm (5') or 180cm (6'). It is also short in the legs. I think this is why no one else bid on it and I got a BARGAIN. :)
You may notice our temporary height solution is blocks of wood under the legs. Later I will get wheels which will add the needed height and make moving it around easy.
Having the table positioned here works well for us since there are only four of us most of the time. when guests come we will swing the table around. Since there is a doorway right next to the table we need to keep the passage clear most of the time.
The sweet grain of the table top. The table needs a light sand and re-varnish but that can wait for a while... I gotta get through some other items on the list first. Of course there is always the possibility that it will remain this way for the next five years before we get to it...
The chairs belong to the old dining setting and will go with it (when I finally sell it) I have purchased new chairs but guess what? ... they need to be sanded, painted and recovered before we use them. I keep buying fixer-up furniture. Of course the reason for that is that it is cheaper that way. If I were to buy the quality I want new I would end up paying a lot of money for it. this way I get the good quality product at a price I can live with... and a fixing-it-up catch.
This is the view of the kitchen taken standing at the stove looking back towards the lounge and the doorway where I took the first pic.
Moving across to the other door way near the dining table and looking towards the sink we can see the kitchen cabinets. The microwave lives on the bench. I had to take a picture today as the bench is clean and clear and it sure doesn't look like that a lot of the time. Frequently there are dishes waiting to be washed (no dishwasher unless one counts the 16 year old).
On the other side of the microwave is the tea and coffee station. We don't ever put away the kettle or toaster as they are used daily. As you can see we make good use of a tea pot and coffee plunger too. We have taken to making up a pot of tea and a pot of coffee most mornings and working our way through the. The coffee then gets remade multiple times throughout the day.
And there we have it.
I have plans for several projects still to add to the kitchen as well as decorative items. For now I am trying to get the essential things done and focus on the finer details and decorating later. I have a bad habit of putting off fun and just focusing on the necessary. I am making a promise to myself (with you as my witness) that I WILL get to the FUN and pretty projects and not just stop at the necessary ones.
So what do you think of my kitchen? Of course it is a rented house which means that I am not able to make 'permanent structural changes'.
On Mothers Day We had four strong young men come in and remove our LARGE kitchen table.
Instead of our large eat in kitchen being filled with a table and chairs I then had a large empty space which I could begin to work out how to make it function to better meet our needs. I have been working on this project for over two months and it is now at a stage where it is mostly done and workable.
The first stage was to create an 'office'. Ever since we moved here we have had what wold normally be the home office spread across at least three rooms; filing cabinet in kitchen, stationery in three separate rooms (where bits fitted), bills and filing and records also scattered. I have found this frustrating (to say the least) and not at all efficient. I don't like not being able to pay a bill on time because I couldn't find it and therefore forgot about it until the late notice arrived. I rarely got to properly deal with an item as it was too difficult to get everything needed in the one place at the one time, only to have to put it away again. A simple task like shredding documents just didn't get done which created flow on problems.
I needed to find a workable solution and FAST.
My process was to note what worked for us in the past, what needed modifying and work out what was needed to make it flow better now. I made good use of internet searching and pinned ideas as I saw things that inspired.
Then I set about hunting down suitable storage options which didn't look too office-like as it is in the end of our kitchen. I am not sure that I succeeded in this aspect. I would have loved one of those big American style Armoire units where I could close the doors on all the office stuff, but they are few and very expensive here.
Here we have it as it currently stands.
A Pine two door base from a kitchen hutch for storage.
My first lesson learned by choosing a unit normally used for kitchen storage for an office task is that it would have been better if the internal shelf was adjustable as it is too low for an A4 size folder to lay on its side landscape (let alone portrait) and an extra couple of centimetres in depth would have been VERY useful. oh well. At least it doesn't look all office grey and melamine.
Above it sits the hutch unit from an office set. I had to settle for an office piece here because other than making it myself, the only furniture that would do the task was office furniture. It is an Ikea piece but must have long been discontinued as I have never seen this particular unit. It does have adjustable shelves to accommodate our printer/scanner/copier. The top shelf also has adjustable braces for folders etc, that part needs more work.
I plan to create a charging station to go on the bottom next to the clear drawers. Yet another project added to my list...
Oh and the birthday calendar now has a home too, hopefully now that I can see it I won't miss so many birthdays. (oops)
One the left is a set of file holders which have our most accessed folders ready at hand. Yes that is a lot of filing and I promise myself not to let it get too much further before I attend to it again.
The right side features a handy magnetic whiteboard.
This is my favourite feature. It is barely even noticeable BUT it makes a BIG difference to the paper challenge. The shredder sits discretely between the hutch and the file cabinet and is permanently on and ready to shred. YEAY! It is sad that I am reduced to getting excited by the simplest of things.
The last feature of my kitchen office is the top of the file cabinet. Ra made the tool box at school but had no use for it. I got her to add dividers (only card stock at this stage) to use it for pens, notebooks, etc. It does double duty in preventing items falling off the back of the file cabinet as this was a constant issue previously. Another project is to decorate the tin that holds the rulers and cover the pin board (as well as mount it properly instead of propped as it currently is.
I am sure that as time goes on I will modify and refine this office. For now, I am making good use of it and delighting in having all relevant items at my finger tips.
Hopefully in the near future I will be able to show you what else I have done to improve the kitchen space.