Archive for January, 2012

HBP update week 3

The focus of the third week was moving the chest of drawers (hereafter referred to as the chod) from my den where it is not working (I tend to put stuff in front of it and thus hinder the openability of the drawers) to the lounge, an eccentric move, but it should be more useful in its new location.

The inevitable 'before' picture. The chod in question is to the back right and has a picture leaning against it, nicely illustrating my failure to fully utilise it.


I have been excited about this ever since Tim agreed to it, as it is good advice to tailor storage to your needs. I tend to favour open storage, being able to see and access stuff easily. Also if I can get it out easily I can put it away easily… that’s the theory anyway πŸ™‚

Note the goal board hanging on the wardrobe door – almost full now!

Before it could move, it had to be emptied and the top cleared, the path cleared and the space for it to go into cleared. That’s a lot of moving stuff around, but it will be worth it. It WILL be worth it!

The chod will go where the big silver ball is. Pebble the cat investigates.

I bought that gym ball because I heard you can exercise just by sitting on it to watch telly. I tend to forget and just relax on the comfy sofa… It should maybe be deflated and passed on, but the lure of the concept of easy exercise is strong…

The day of the chod move dawned and I awoke with eager anticipation!

The chod begins to walk!

Imagine if furniture really could walk… moving stuff around might be easier. Or maybe the chod might object to being moved? Maybe it’s best buddies with my wardrobe and really quite miffed at the idea…

Anyway, it can’t, so Tim and Dad did a sterling job moving it down and placing it

The chod in its new home.

It seems quite happy here, although I need to consider how the rest of the furniture will move around it. Obviously I gave this some thought, but sometimes things look different when they are real. Better to be sure now than forge ahead with old plans which may or may not be the best ones.

I have begun to put stuff into it, but everything is so all over the place and half of it will go upstairs onto the new storage solution for where the chod was, so I am trying to get that in place asap so I can fill the both concurrently.

The back sticks up a lot and is not pretty, but I have this poster which matches our curtains, as well as some postcards round the edges. It should look fine. Or I could drape fabric. Either way, I’m not concerned.

This poster of the Bayeux tapestry will match our curtains.

So the next step involves this space:

This space is full of potential!

Well, technically at the moment it has a pile of stuff in bags in it, but hopefully tomorrow it will have my new storage beginning to be filled with the stuff I want there, the way I want it! πŸ˜€ Pebble of course is intrigued by new spaces and all the change.

Today we went to Ikea and bought the storage, a Gorm like the one in the CUS, but with the 50cm deep shelves rather than the 35cm ones. The only problem is that I shall have to decide before it is put together what distance I want all the shelves. I have pretty much decided, but will double check how I feel about it tomorrow. It’s important to get it right, but it’s also important to get it done…

Also this evening, I painted the front posts because they will be on show, unlike the one hidden in the CUS. I used Dulux colourmix Pamplona Purple 1 in a thin coat so the wood grain shows through. No pix yet, you’ll have to wait πŸ™‚

I’ve been a bit tired after all that excitement, which is why this post is late. I did make it to church on Sunday, which was great as we had 2 baptisms, a young woman who started coming to our church last year and a young man I hadn’t met before.

Anyway, I’m tired again now, it’s nearly bedtime, so I’ll leave it there for today. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


January 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM 5 comments

Am I actually a cat?

Just before Christmas we bought a FeliwayΒ diffuser for the cat. It diffuses a calming cat hormone round the room, so the cat gets less stressed, apparently. The vets recommend it and I have heard it works, so I thought we should give it a try, since Pebble gets upset if she’s left alone and Christmas does require a certain amount of visiting.

I’m not sure whether it helped her or not, since I have no way knowing whether she would have chucked up due to stress without it or not, but she seemed OK.

Pebby is cute πŸ™‚

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed I have had a stress condition for about a year now. Obviously, preparing for Christmas can be stressful, so when my stress dipped somewhat after the festivities it was merely noted with relief. The New Year is a positive time for me, fresh beginnings, a new Grand Plan, which has been going excellently for 2 weeks now, so it seems quite reasonable for my anxiety levels to be low.

I felt a bit anxious yesterday though, and today felt quite problematically anxious. Also not all that strange, I had a difficult bit of admin to do, which I had been putting off and couldn’t any longer. Being adminphobic, that and some bickering with the husband seemed a reasonable explanation.

Then I noticed the Feliway had run out.

It’s supposed to last a month, so I’m guessing it only just ran out. I should have kept an eye on it of course, but didn’t. And then I suddenly thought:

What if all that is not a coincidence and the logical explanation is not the real one?

What if the Feliway was working on me??

What if I’m actually a cat?!?


January 17, 2012 at 8:13 PM 5 comments

HBP Week 2 update

The focus this week was on the entrance to my room of many functions (in trying to designate it in a meaningful way I realised it is hard to name as I use this room for many things, for the last year none of which involve its previous primary purpose of Study, thus that name is no longer suitable at the moment).

This is why this area was in urgent need of attention:


Because of the bookcase behind the door, it only opens about 45 degrees, and there is storage next to it as well, so it is annoying to use. I would often catch myself or my clothing on the door handle and it irritated Tim bringing me coffee. So it had to go.

The door that is!

Well, I can’t do without my bookcase, where would all my books go? I’ve only got 4 more tall wide, a tall narrow and 2 short wide ones… And they’re all full!

Plus I never shut the door anyway, for the cat.

So stage one was to clear a bit of room on the table to stack books:

As well as showing the nice clear bit of table, this gives you some idea of the scale of the problem...

Then the books were removed from the bookcase. As were the shelf and a half of files which went down into the CUS. And some miscellaneous stuff which tends to build up like barnacles on the front part of shelves. I dislike that tendency, yet it seems as hard to control as the barnacles, and is usually dealt with by a similar method of hull scraping every other year or so… I’d pull the books to the front edge, but that would shift the centre of balance too far forward and risk destabilising the balance. I’d hate for one to fall on me, those books are heavy!

I’ve never been one to fix them to the wall. For a start, what about moving them about? Mainly because I’ve mostly lived in rented and have to move and don’t want to make holes in walls. Also skirting boards. What is the deal with them? Do they serve any useful purpose any more? Or are they only there to annoy me and make my room space smaller because my furniture cannot be pushed right against the walls? Please comment if you have an opinion or factoid about skirting boards.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the books were removed, the bookcase moved aside, the door removed and stowed and the bookcase replaced, all by my lovely useful husband πŸ™‚

Nice empty shelves, waiting to be filled πŸ™‚ And No Door! πŸ˜€

I decided it would be a good idea to take advantage of this opportunity for a spot of book rearranging and sorting. So rather than simply putting this lot:

Part of the book stack.

all back onto the shelves, I put some books from the landing shelves on. And some from this pile and the rest of the piles around the room, but then some of those went on the space on the landing shelves… etc etc. And I haven’t quite finished and there is the downstairs case to consider…

Anyway, there is some work still to do, but this is how it looks now!

Shelves filling up nicely πŸ™‚

And this is how a freshly cleared shelf from the landing now looks with some of those books on it:

What a nice shelf of books πŸ™‚

And perhaps even more excitingly, the entrance now looks like this!

I can get out easily

And go back in easily!


Just have to see now how difficult it will be to remove the big chest of drawers which is the next big goal… I measured and it should fit through, but not with a lot to spare, so watch this space!

This week we managed two walks as we had nice weather. I guess 3 a week is a goal to be built towards. And moving books definitely counts as exercise!!

In other news, we had some pretty frost, Pebble cat is very cuddly and I want to start art journalling. I am still very addicted to Pinterest and keep finding fun ideas I can’t do yet because my space is not yet ready. I need to clear that table! I think I like blogging once a week, it is so much easier than every day.

So, still mostly on track with my goals and we’re two weeks into the year! I’m cautiously optimistic πŸ™‚ My goals have been realistic and I am not phased by not managing the 3 walks a week. I am actually ahead on the HBP! This bookcase and door thing was originally next week’s goal!! Hope I can continue at this good rate. I built plenty of give into my goals for it because I know that some weeks I just can’t manage anything much at all. This week began like that.

It’s easy to forget such setbacks when looking back like this, but I was ill on Monday and still had very low energy on Tuesday. I did make church last Sunday and it was good. I hope to go this evening too. Not sure if the resting set me back or if I just misjudged that one day is enough. Actually probably the latter. I have to cut myself some slack. But it’s all good stuff, learning and progressing πŸ™‚

How was your week? And I meant it about the skirting boards – do you like them, loathe them, see the point of them or not?

January 15, 2012 at 3:51 PM Leave a comment

HBP week 1 update

I have done very well on week 1, my goal board has now 8 goals ticked off. I awarded myself 2 tidying stars on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 4 on Thursday and a whole galaxy on Friday! And yesterday. I have only managed one walk of the hoped for 3, but I surely burnt at least as many calories as if I had walked that and more, so it’s just the soul replenishing part of that goal I missed out on, not the exercise.

The main project for this week has been to optimise the storage in the cupboard under the stairs (hereafter referred to as CUS). Here is a shocking before picture:

This is a large CUS, with a load of mess just shoved in any old how. Totally inefficient and unacceptable!

So I decided we need a shelf unit to hold plastic boxes. I selected the Ikea GormΒ with two extra shelves. I measured carefully and guessed it should work, even if we had to trim a bit off the top left hand corner, it’s made of soft pine and easy for Tim to cut. We bought it and brought it home, and I took some bits and went to check my measuring, after clearing half the stuff out of the CUS.

Is the CUS half empty or half full?

I was hopeful that it would fit exactly, possibly without even a trim! But the uprights are wide so it can be used to join more units together; to fit without cutting would have meant two boxes would not fit side to side. So it would indeed have to be cut.

After cutting just the right amount from the corners, we began the assembly. Tim had to do most of the hard work 😦 I used to enjoy DIY projects and once could have whipped this up single handed, but alas no longer. Also I realised that I had erred in my assumption that a unit of 4 shelves had equal gaps between those shelves. Therefore I should have bought one more extra shelf and there was no wiggle room on box height clearance. I was perturbed, nay irritated, but at least they do still fit. Just. But as a bonus, they will hold 2 more boxes than I expected πŸ™‚


He did a good job, and it was soon built. Putting it in place however, was quite an operation. For a start, a lot more had to be removed to get it in. It was a pretty exact fit, but there was no room in the CUS to turn it round into position, so another little bit had to be cut off the top right back post. Then it was in, ahhh, big sigh of relief πŸ™‚ a perfect fit.

A perfect fit! And you can't even see the back post is shorter...

Now I just need to fill the shelves πŸ˜€

The shelves begin to fill. Note how the two boxes fit perfectly with not a mm to spare. They also only just fit height wise, so no overfilled boxes.

The primary goal for next week is to get those shelves filled with all the extraneous stuff from the lounge and other rooms, then the door can be shut on it all and I can focus on the next step, making the home beautiful πŸ™‚

In other news, I just had a really nice bowl of mashed banana for my lunch. Two small manky bananas which would otherwise have been thrown out (that’s just the right time to mash them as they are soft and easy), cut out any bruises, mashed up with a little milk and sugar, some cinnamon and chocolate sprinkles – delicious!

And I even managed to blog again, so I’m managing once a week so far. Plus I finished a warm crocheted hat for myself, I made one for my Dad and one for Tim as Christmas presents, but they were so warm and comfy that I wanted one too πŸ™‚ Here’s a pic of Tim in his:

Tim in his Christmas hat on our Boxing Day walk πŸ™‚

January 8, 2012 at 3:54 PM 3 comments

Fresh New Year :)

I am happy to begin a fresh year. Last year was not an easy one. My hope for this year is that it will be one of growth.

I like to set goals, rather than make resolutions as such, but this time we choose to reset the calendar seems a good one to reset goals. My goals have changed so much from last year. This time last year I was all about finishing my PhD upgrade, working maniacally on my thesis. I thought I was getting there, until the ‘blah virus’ which I now know to have been a stress burnout hit me.

What felt at the time like a brief pause, a small setback, has turned into a whole year off. And it looks set to continue for a while at least. So my primary goal this year is to find a way out of it.

2011 will be known as the year of crochet, rather than the year of burnout, stress, anxiety and meltdown.Β I have enjoyed learning this new skill, which I am confident will be with me now as long as my hands can loop yarn round a hook. It has proved an excellent antidote to my anxiety for the most part. I have travelled from total noob to rookie designer and have made loads of stuff.

My Tudor arm warmer design. And logo.

In 2012 I plan to continue nurturing my creativity in crochet, writing and other crafts. I want to begin a Holy Art Journal (for want of a better term) in which I can meditate creatively on Bible verses. And my Grand Plan (*insert sound of trumpet fanfare here*) is the Home Beautification Project.

As my loyal readers and anyone who knows me personally will know, I struggle with tidiness and organisation. One thing I learned about this year which helped me is Myers-Briggs types, which helped me understand that those negative traits tend to go hand in glove with my type of creativity. I’m INTP if that means anything to you. I keep meaning to write a post about it and hopefully will one day soon, so I shall say no more on that right now.

Anyway, the point is that I am great at starting fun creative projects and poor at maintaining tasks. So if I can turn a dull, tedious, tiring and unpleasant task, tidying up, into a fun, creative project then it might just work! Hence the renaming of tidying up to home beautifying πŸ™‚

This came about at least in part due to my recent Pinterest addiction. There are so many great ideas there, so easy to collect together in one attractive place. Some are craft projects, some are pretty pictures. It can also be a great way to plan a holiday or a project. My board ‘For the Home’ contains not just random stuff I like, but also ideas for how to make things look nicer or be more efficient, hopefully both.

But I can’t even start some of my ideas until I have cleared a bit of space…

I have completed one easy project today though! Eventually I want to make a much prettier one, but better to make a start and improve than try for perfection and thus never start. So here is my first contribution to the HBP – a goals board:

Goals board for January 2012.

I chose a cheery orange frame and simply removed the clear plastic front, reversed the bit of paper saying it’s a Nyttja frame from Ikea, put it back together and wrote the title and my first goal. As the goal was to make the board, I gave myself a big tick and a smiley face and hung it on my study/studio door on a wreath hanger I picked up in the post-Christmas sell off of decorations for 50p.

The 5 in the bottom left hand corner is where I shall give myself a star for every five minutes I spend tidying up or cleaning. Baby steps. πŸ™‚

I shall add to the list and it will grow and develop as the project does. Hopefully my next one will be prettier and by the end of the year this board will be an artistic, motivational, organisational masterpiece! From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow…

Hey, at least I did something. Which is not bad given that I had a few glasses of wine last night and didn’t get to bed until 2AM πŸ™‚ I feel better than I deserve, thanks to drinking lots of water. I recommend water. It’s good stuff πŸ˜€

Do you have goals or resolutions? Or a hangover? πŸ˜‰ Or a Pinterest addiction? Or a random comment, an animal noise, a silly joke (clean only please, this is a PG blog)? Happy New Year anyway!

January 1, 2012 at 5:28 PM 6 comments

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