23 Jun 2016

The trials and tribulations of undies

Trial "test(something, especially a new product) to assess its suitability or performance"
Tribulation "a cause of great trouble or suffering"

Undies are both a gift and a curse although lately I've had cause to curse them more often than usual. In fact I've gotten so fed up that I finally decided to clear out my undie drawer today. Something I should have done ages ago that would have saved me a lot of hassles.

I don't know about anyone else but when I find a brand of underwear that I like I stick to it. The particular brand I've been wearing I've been buying and using for around the last twelve years. In various sizes cos you know pregnancy and weight stuff happens. Lately though they've been needing to be replaced again and as usual I went to my favorite brand and bought a week's worth to replace all my others. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that they'd changed the sewing pattern or style or something. They weren't comfortable at all. They rode up in the wrong places, usually at the wrong time and slipped down in other places usually also at the wrong time. 

In frustration I continued wearing my old ones while trying to find something similar from a different brand. Now this is where it started to get annoying, although now when I look back on it, it makes me laugh. One pair of my old undies started to lose it's elasticity and slip down inside my jeans. I don't know if you've ever had your undies fall down inside your jeans but it's uncomfortable and difficult to fix without drawing attention to yourself. The first time it happened I was out in public in a store looking for new undies, funnily enough. Needless to say I didn't hang around there long and so didn't purchase any replacements that day. 

That should have been an easy fix right? Get home take them off and throw them out right? Wrong. I thought maybe I could reuse them as a rag so I dumped them in the wash basket for a wash. I had good intentions you know, saving the planet sort of intentions. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" 

I forgot about them. 
They went through the wash and back into my drawer.

The next time I encountered them I was in the city doing some shopping and looking for.... you know.... new undies. The trip started out fine but ended with me walking around with my hands in my pockets holding my undies up. Not a good look. On the plus side though I did find some new undies I liked that day and so had already bought some before I left the store. I binned the offending pair when I got home and put on another pair that I discovered were stuffed too. Looks like there was more than one pair that had expired. You would think that after all the hassle I would have binned the rest and moved on but I didn't, to my shame, I just moved them to the back of the drawer just in case I needed them. 

Today is a new day though and feeling like having a little decluttering session, I started with that drawer. Bye bye old useless undies, hello nice spacious drawer full of new favorites. 
I guess what I've learned from this is:
  •  Not to wait until things are completely worn out before looking for replacements.  
  • Minimalism and frugality can be taken too far.
  • Brands can change their products without warning. 
  • Your morning dressing time is much shorter when you don't have to search through things you don't wear to find the things you do and
  • People look at you funny when you fiddle with your underwear in public.

Week 46 of 365 Challenge Boxes Week

In boxes week I started out kicking myself for having used some of my carved wooden boxes and the wooden box shaped like a turtle, in previous week's themes but once I started looking around I realized how often I am surrounded by boxes of varying kinds. It turned out to be a productive week in more ways than one.

The first pic was taken sneakily at the supermarket. Sneakily because they don't like you taking pictures in their store. Naughty me. The supermarket I go to is a sort of food warehouse where pallets of food are stacked above the shelves with the regular food boxes on shelves below. The butchery, bakery, deli and produce areas are just like a normal supermarket.

Picture number two is of my husbands computing, workworking and modelrailway books that we removed from the bookshelf we sold. The woodwork and railway books are moving to cupboards in the workshop where he can easily access them while he's working but they won't get too dusty. It'll save him a few trips up and down the stairs with his bad knee. We're just finishing lining the workshop walls before the books can move to their new home. 
The computer books are moving nearer his computer.

Picture number 3 is of some plastic storage boxes I was checking out for using in the garage. Somewhere to keep the pool, pump and hoses safe and together before next season.

Picture 4 is of my daughter's spiral art set. It is all kept in a round cardboard box with a gear shape on the top.

Picture number 5 is of some dungeon and dragon figures I found when clearing the shelves in the spare room the other week. I'd like to get rid of them all but my daughter is keen to keep them. I guess because they are new and interesting to her. 

Picture number 6 is of some storage boxes I was looking at the other day. I love the varying shades of blue and green in the different boxes. It's a color scheme I'm keen on. A sort of beachy/natural look. The boxes themselves look great but I have no idea what I would keep in them. I'm trying to get rid of clutter not introduce color-coordinated organized hoarding. 

Picture 7 is of my mum's carved wooden box. I bought it for her birthday from the Trade Aid shop a few years back and I'd forgotten she had it until she suggested it as a subject for this week's theme.

So all in all boxes week occurred at just the right time to catch me having a clear out and looking at storage ideas.

Next week is Rust week. I'm sure there's a lot of rusty things around here somewhere.

Have a great week!

15 Jun 2016

Week 45 of 365 Challenge Shells Week

As you can see above I was spoiled for choice with the seashells. There seems to be quite a wide variety around New Zealand beaches, though not all the beaches have the same shells. It depends on which coast you're on as to which types of shells are more common. 

I have some very tiny but beautifully patterned shells that were unfortunately too small for me to photograph clearly. I took all of these with my cell phone as I could focus much closer than with my camera. If there's one thing that this 365 challenge has shown me, it's that I should really invest in a macro lens for my camera. I would get loads of use out of it for not only macro use but also portraits.
I wish we could have gone to the beach this week and taken some pics there but work and weather stopped that idea before it could take hold. Bummer!

Next week is Boxes week. I have no idea what I'm doing with that one lol.

Have a great week! :)

Week 44 of 365 Challenge Fantasy Week

Fantasy week was a pretty easy theme for me. I used to collect dragons a long time ago and although I sold most of them my daughter has kept a few that she liked. The hardest part was picking which ones to use and which to leave out.

The Big Ears figure in the middle is my husbands. He's had it for at least as long as I've known him, (30 years, eek I'm getting old!) I have no idea where he got it, it's just always been around. He must have liked Noddy as a child maybe.

Next week is Shells week. My kids and I love picking up shells at the beach so I have lots to choose from.

Have a great week! :)

9 Jun 2016

Finding Peace in the Mayhem Part 2

"The easiest way to organize your stuff is to get rid of most of it" ~ The Minimalists

Way back in October last year I posted about trying to keep my art and craft supplies under control without being "an organized hoarder". It's taken me eight months of steadily going through things, assessing and reassessing them, to finally feel like I have it all at a level I am comfortable with. 

In fact we sold the bookcase in the picture above along with another large pine bookcase and a pine sideboard this week and I love the extra space we have without them. 

The picture below is of the same wall minus the white bookcase. I've started a family photo wall there to display some of the pics that would otherwise rarely see the light of day. I still have some other photos to add but I haven't picked up frames for them yet. The small three drawer storage unit doubles as a charging station for our mobiles as well as storing place-mats, tablecloths, etc for the dining table. It's small but efficient.

The cookbooks that used to live on the white bookcase now live in a new space I created in the kitchen when I donated a few kitchen appliances and things we no longer used.

I went through all the box files and shredded a lot of the unnecessary paperwork and just kept the essentials. This took longer than I expected but I can now store the two box files that are left in a cupboard in a different room.They're still easily accessible but now live out of sight.

The photography magazines are no longer a problem. I put some into the collage box for cutting up (my daughter and her friends love the animal pictures in them) and I no longer purchase photography magazines unless there's a really, really, interesting article in them that I can't find online. I discovered that I could find a lot of really great information online and some of the magazines share their articles online too.

I still accept the home and garden magazines that mum gives me and I sometimes buy one if I see something I like. I've created a series of mood boards for our house in a hard-covered exercise book. I cut tabs down the side and made separate areas for the different rooms that I'm going to be working on. I then glue in any pictures, paint samples or articles that appeal to me for those rooms. See images below.

This has made it so much easier for me to pin down a style that I like and I don't have to wade through stacks of magazines trying to find an idea I liked a few weeks ago. The rest of the magazines go into the collage box.

As for the art supplies that were all on the shelves. I've really pared back on them. I only kept the paints, pens and pencils etc that I used regularly and I gave my daughter the felt tip pens and some gel pens that I didn't use much if at all. My daughter and her friends color in their adult coloring books with them.

Most of my art supplies now fit in a secret compartment I had my hubby build into my desk. (see pic below) Clockwise from the top we have my back up external drive for my photos, my phone charger cord, 3 pencil cases all inside 1 yellow one. I use these when I'm going away somewhere and want to take art supplies with me. I can build 3 different kits for travel. The yellow pencil case holds my small watercolor kit, brushes, watercolor pencils and a pencil for sketching. The tartan case (not visible) holds my sketching stuff and normal colored pencils. The blue case (not visible) holds my gel pens and whatever else appeals to me for working in my journals. Under the pencil cases is some bluetack, then comes my watercolor paints, below that is a small tin with business cards in it, below that is my gel pens, next to that are some markers and pens I sketch with, then a cluttered box of miscellaneous office supplies, some envelopes and supermarket sellers cards on top, then above we have my mini camera flash and a box of mints, above that is a box of memory cards, my headphones, a charger cable for my Sony Walkman and some usb drives, then we're back to the hard drive. In the centre are 3 lettering stencils that my daughter uses for school projects and a couple of bookmarks, also my compass set. 

When my desk top is down you wouldn't even know that compartment was there. (see pic below) On my desk top lives the phone, a pencil cup and pad for messages etc. My camera lives here mostly and in the right hand corner I have my colored pencils, paintbrushes and watercolor pencils. I also usually keep my work diary here but I had it in my bag when this pic was taken. My tablet doesn't usually live here but it was charging at the time of the photo. I also have a small statue of Guanyin near my pencils. (not sure if you can see it in the photo) Also not shown in these photos are my acrylic paints, art paper and journals storage. They're still a work in progress and I'll show you that some other time. 

I have also pared down all my art books. I cheated a little in this though. I gave them all to my mother-in-law. She has a large studio and a large collection of art books that she regularly lends out to friends and family. I figured if they lived there they would be used and appreciated more than if they lived on my shelf gathering dust in between occasional uses. I also make frequent use of our local library which saves me having to purchase art books.

So as you can see I've really had a good clean out of my art supplies, books, magazines, and old bills and have a much cleaner and clearer space to work in. I could probably still pare down the stuff in the miscellaneous office supply box but it's not bothering me and I do use what's in there.

8 Jun 2016

My Favorite Blogs

I subscribe to quite a number of different blogs using Feedly which I've discussed in a previous post about my favorite apps. These below are my favorites. The ones that always have something in a post that interests me.

My Favorite Photography Blogs

    Eric Kim

Eric is a street photographer and he always has something useful and interesting to share. He does workshops and shares ebooks on street photography. He has recently been named as one of the top 20 most influential street photographers for 2016 in Streethunters reader poll.

My Favorite Minimalism Blogs

Leo is very well known in the minimalism blogging world and for good reason. 

Joshua and Ryan write excellent posts. They also do podcasts and have a documentary film touring the USA and Canada at the moment.

Joshua's blog is the first minimalism blog I ever came across and the one that set me on my current path. His blog changed my life.

I love reading about how other people are changing their lives in Francine's blog.

Courtney's posts are always interesting and thought provoking.

Hip Diggs

I only came across Dan's blog recently but it's become one of my firm favorites. I always find his posts thought provoking and I quite often use ideas he has sparked in my mind, in some of my private art journal work.

Black Sheep Minimalist

A blog I found just recently that really speaks to me.

My Favorite Art Blogs

Simplifying my blog

Less is more ~ Robert Browning

I've decided to try and streamline the look of my blog by removing the 'about me' and 'favorite blogs' tabs and creating a blog post with that information instead. This information will be easily accessible through small links at the side of my blog page. 
I feel this will make my blog easier to navigate for you and allow me to add and remove favorite bloggers easier while being able to write a little bit about why I like this particular blog or blogger, which I'm currently unable to do. Simplifying the look is a good reason too.

This may take me a little while so I apologize in advance for any disruption this may cause.

About me

My daughter, myself and a Dalek friend.
 (Yes I do have a shaved head and yes I am a girl)

Hi, I'm a 40 something year old wife, and mother to two lovely children aged 18 and 12.

I love to draw, paint, explore nature, write poetry and I absolutely love photography. I paint in acrylics and watercolor and love to mix painted images with my photographic ones. It's great to be able to share my love of art with my kids.

My path to simple living started when I had a health issue back in 2011 and I decided that I'd had enough of stressing over clutter. My family aren't completely on board with this so I have to remember to be mindful to ask first before I get rid of anything that is theirs. 
Around the same time I was starting decluttering I also started simplifying my diet and I stopped eating red meat. 
Some friends and I used to meet fortnightly and discuss spiritual ideas and different themes. During one of these discussions I started learning about Buddhism and I've been forging my own path in this direction ever since.

My blog is a melting pot of my creative hobbies and interests mixed in with family life, love of nature, Buddhism, and simple living.

When I first started this blog I thought I would focus on just the art and photography side of my life but as time went on and I made changes in my life, I came to realize that art was not a separate thing. Creativity is as much a part of my everyday life as washing the dishes or cooking dinner. The same also applies with Buddhism. Being mindful while I go about my everyday activities allows me to become more grateful for everything I have which in turn fits into living a simple life. A life filled with only the people and things that bring me joy and happiness. Everything in my life is inter-connected and a part of my everyday experience of life and the world around me.

I still feel that I have a long way to go but when I look back I can see that I've come a long way too. I'm enjoying the journey and hope that I can share something that will resonate with you too.

All images used in my blogs are my own creations unless credited otherwise.

Below is a link to my Instagram account where I'm currently working on a 365 photo challenge Olympusmad 

I also have three Zazzle stores. The links can be found at the bottom of my blog.

Week 43 of 365 Challenge Tools Week

This week was tools week and rather than visit the garage toolbox for inspiration I decided to think a little bit about the other kinds of tools we use in our day to day and creative lives.

So, in my art toolbox this week was my paintbrushes and colored pencils. I consider these both to be vital tools in my art supply collection. Both for journaling and for use on stand alone pieces.
In my photography toolbox were my camera and my laptop computer. These tools are used most days, usually as a team. Although I can lose time with just the computer if I'm not careful.

I have to say that my mobile phone has become a much used personal tool both as a phone and sometimes as a camera when I don't have my Olympus with me.

That leaves my calculator which I prefer to use over the calculator app on my mobile when I'm paying bills and things. The mobile going to sleep half way through things irritates me.

Lucky last is my fire extinguisher. So far I haven't needed to use this tool but I like knowing that it's handy in case the need arises.

Next week is Fantasy week. So think aliens, dragons, fairies etc. Should be fun :)

Have a great week!