Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Decluttering 2014

We actually had snow fall yesterday morning. It did quit and eventually the sun shone. It is cooler out but not bad; around the freezing mark.

We have spent a lot of time decluttering in 2014. Both upstairs and downstairs. Have we got it all done? No, we haven’t. But I want to get it done for several reasons that will unfold over the next year.

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I will have to say that the upstairs of our home is 95% decluttered. That last 5% is going to be the death of us but we know we have to do it. I have spent 3.5 years getting to this point and it was hard work to start with. The  upstairs I did alone as the Spousal Unit was busy renovating. I literally made every decision on what to keep and what to remove. What I was unsure of or the Spousal Unit questioned went downstairs. It was added to the piles of stuff down there.

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The downstairs was our priority in 2014 though we had done some decluttering in 2012-2013. We grunted and groaned, sorted and tossed, gave away, and put away many items. In the process a huge load went to a young couple for their new home, many loads went to thrift shops, and a few loads to the dump. I would say we are 75% decluttered down there. We will continue to work on the basement in 2015. There is still a lot to be removed that we literally don’t need or won’t use.

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Sewing room 2009 the day after we moved in.

I am not typical when it comes to decluttering or purging. I bring it in fast and I can get most of it out fast. I do start the process slow as I form a plan in my head and give myself permission to let it go. Then I dig in and get the job done. I make piles for keep and donate and toss what needs to be tossed immediately. When in the groove, I can stay at it for hours. My road block is emotional attachment of which I have to work through mentally and emotionally.

But, like others, I had to learn how to declutter/purge and it started years ago. I have read a lot on decluttering and here are some of the websites I have read and followed.

1. Fly Lady is where I started. Way back when we lived up north and were moving and I was working full time. Those 15 minutes a day were great and I moved from room to room cleaning up the clutter. I then broke the house into zones and followed her instructions from the launch pad when we moved into a modular home. 

In the midst of using Fly Lady, I watched a lot of Peter Walsh’s Clean Sweep shows. He was an inspiration when I was feeling discouraged or defeated. I was able to move forward with Fly Lady but what I didn’t realize was I was putting a lot into storage to move to more total square footage (aka this present house).

2. Home Storage Solutions 101 came into existence after we moved into this house and I had to deal with a hurried up move and huge renovation. Shall we say that we unloaded the moving van, I set up what the Spousal Unit needed for 11 months of living alone and headed back north to work. I did that in less than a week. Literally, the house was full except for the room that was to become the sewing room. When I came home to visit, I prepped the next room that was to be renovated. That meant moving boxes and tubs into the newly renovated sewing room. And doing it quickly as I was always short on time. 

At first, I followed what Home Solutions 101 said for the room we were renovating upstairs. As we took the room apart, I purged, decluttered, and put only what we wanted back in. I used the 52 week challenge (found at the bottom of the page) and put into an order that suited us. It worked for us. Today, it is modified as I am getting things more under control.  

I found and read several other sites on home organization. Some were overwhelming, others a repeat of the above. Here are two sites I just found and am deciding if they are keepers or tossers.

10 Decluttering Principles to Help Anyone Clear the Clutter

I have not read any more but this page as I went immediately to the guest’s own blog.

365 Less Things

So far a good read. I will give myself a month to make a decision of keeping or tossing. What I like about this blog is the writer doesn’t take you down the road to minimalism. It is where you want to go. For us, it is minimalism and I know this isn’t for everyone.

2015

Our goal is finish the renovations and decluttering of the place. In some cases, such as the sewing room, I have literally called it purging. Where there is too much, we want less and have it under control. That will include organizing a lot of items both inside and outside of this house.

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We also want to do some fix ups and repaint some of the walls. I will do a deep scrub again this spring and put a new finish on the laminate floors. Outside the fences need painting and some areas of the yard need finishing up. A new fence needs to replace an old one. We are preparing for the future.

Until tomorrow………………….

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top Five Explores that Missed the List

Yesterday it was cloudy and cool, except for a short period of time when we saw some sunshine. These are the days that everything around us looks dull and uninteresting.

I decided to clean our bedroom and put a new finish on the laminate flooring. It turned out great so will be doing all the laminate floors in the house. It gave me a lot of time to think about the items I made and was disappointed with the end result.

The top five misses of the year of exploring were certainly learning lessons. I do enjoy learning from the “I missed the mark” projects.

1. The Printed Blouse was a learning curve in measuring, using a new pattern system and some plain old bad math on my part. Too big in the body and way to long in the sleeves is how I sum up this miss.

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I did like the fabric and the pattern on it. Wanted it to wear with blue jeans. Did not happen. But I got a taste of pattern making and it whetted my appetite to learn more.

2. The Grey Dress with 3 large godets. I thought I was emotionally attached to the skirt pattern until I started to sew the dress. Not the case. First, getting all the godets lined up evenly across the back was a job unto itself. Second, the colour of the godets are somewhat darker and, though they add a element of mystery to the dress, I wasn’t thrilled. And lastly, much to my disappointment, someone called it the Nun Dress.

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I ended up feeling ho-hum over this dress.

3. The Green Western Shirt was by far the biggest miss. The fabric was horrid – it showed every pull and it also had flaws in the fabric. I always felt the fabric made the shirt look cheap. I didn’t buy the fabric and would never have bought this piece.

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4. The Child’s Western Shirt turned out too blah as there is no definition between the yoke and the body pieces. The lovely piping faded away into the background. I was using up what I had on hand hence the colour issue.

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5. The Marabella Leather Vest started out as a win and ended up being a miss. The lace on the vest was beautiful but the fringe ended up putting it into the miss category. I was not very happy with it and should have taken the bottom seam out, tucked in the fringe and sewn it back together. A big no-no with leather though as you punch holes in the vest and weaken it every time you rip out and restitch.

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I don’t hate these five items I made. Each was made and decorated with the usual care that is put into sewing clothing. But, they had an element of disappointment for me which happens to every sewer. The owners of each piece (except the first one) love them.

Today is the start of Christmas hampers. We will work in the mornings for the next 4 days. This afternoon I am at adult tutoring, the last one until January. It is hard to believe that Christmas will be here next week.

Until tomorrow……………………………

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top 5 Explores That Made The List

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Yesterday was a day of sunshine and clouds – what I got to see of it. I sat most of the day in the hospital or walking around to keep the muscles stretched. The Spousal Unit’s scope went well and he doesn’t need another one for 5 years.

As the year winds down, I love to read what others have said about their year of sewing and of life. I have basically finished sewing for the year as I am purging the sewing room in preparation to clean and paint it. My Year of Exploring was a great one. I learned quite a bit.

1. Sure Fit Designs was the first of several things I explored. I hauled out the shirt kit and made myself three shirts and got a great fit on shirt #3.

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2. A Red Vest was the second item on the exploring list. The combination of the pattern and fabric drew me to sew this for myself. The fabric is a faux leather which can be reversed to a faux suede. The lining is a high end fabric and in an animal print. The only thing I will do another time is make the collar half the depth as shown in the pattern.

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3. Drawing a pattern on fabric was the third idea I explored. I watched The Great British Sewing Bee and wanted to learn this. I had a lot of fun and ended up making 5 dresses, the first which was too small for the oldest girl and too big for the youngest. The girls who received these dresses have worn them a lot.

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4. Faux Suede Dress for a rodeo queen was a huge explore. I had to take this dress down several sizes for the girl to wear. It was a design created almost three years ago and was one I was happy to finish.

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The dress turned out much better than expected making the hours of hand sewing the lace and cutting hides for fringe worth while.

5. The Teal Dress with the emotional attachment also made the list. I had made the pattern before but I changed the neckline. The fabric was lovely but I had sewn with it before. It was the overlay that I was emotionally attached to. Expensive and gorgeous and elegant. The combination ended up having a beautiful vintage look to it. Not what I had expected.

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In the end, I enjoyed my year of exploring. I am happy to be done with rodeo queen sewing and am pleased it ended on a high note with a lovely client. It is nice to be able to enter and exit the sewing room with no looming deadlines. And, I look forward to sewing in a clean and freshly painted room next year. One that is being heavily purged and should be easy to keep clean.

Until tomorrow…………………………….

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Halloween on Nov. 1?

It was a lovely sunny day yesterday and we sat outside in the sunshine for a while. When the sun disappeared, it cooled off quickly. This morning, our temperature is near freezing and we can see frost in areas.

Yesterday morning was full of paper work. It seemed to flow all over the table and onto the chairs. In the end, 50% was turfed into the garbage can, 40% was filed neatly, and 10% still needs to be dealt with over the next 3 weeks. It felt good to have that job done by lunch.

After lunch, I went down to see our local quilt shop for the first time. Though not huge, the owner has a nice selection of fabrics. I wanted to get some Halloween fabric to make our grandson a lap quilt and a small table topper. I didn’t know if I would find any but I snatched up the last two fat quarter bundles and a few other fat quarters that went well with them.

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This group of 12 fabrics will be used to make a Turning 20 quilt. I found the instructions for a smaller sized block at Have You Met Us. I plan on making it a lap quilt size.

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This is the fat quarter bundle and I will be making Candy Corn Table Topper. I still have one more quilt to make out of Halloween fabric and will do so a bit later on. It is going to be another fun quilt but larger than a lap quilt.

The shop also carries knitting yarn and all are 100% wool and there is a beautiful selection of colours. It is motivating me to use up all of my yarn so I can try out some of this yarn.

After that refreshing break, I dry and wet mopped the dining room floor, started supper, and the Spousal Unit and I went for a short drive. After supper, I knit 3 rows as Elliott decided to sit on me and cuddle. I would say I have almost half of the second ball knit. A couple of more weeks of knitting and I will be able to start the third ball. It will be nice to start the last of the baby yarn projects before the end of the year.

Today, I have to clean up the living room and do a bit of outside work. If there is time, I want to start cutting out the Turning Twenty quilt. It is not suppose to take too long; three pieces from each fat quarter. For the table topper, I need to cut two 2.5” strips of each fabric. That shouldn’t take long to do.

Until tomorrow…………………………….

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thought Paths

It was a cool damp day and everyone seemed to stay in and keep warm. I was out and about and had to wear a light jacket to keep warm and dry.

As it was a busy day doing other things, I only got to pet the dress I am finishing up. Actually, I have it prepped to take in the second side. It is ready to finish up later today.

As it was a day where I was outside the house, I had several opportunities to think and think I did. What I want to do, how I can do it with little stress, and how I can keep to my plan of purchasing only what I need to finish up a project. That keeps my mind active and leads me down some interesting thought paths. I do enjoy it doing this.

As a result of this thinking, I headed down the knitting thought path. At the moment I am knitting a baby shawl and still have 150 grams of yarn to knit on this project. And next project to finish up the baby yarn (60 grams) will be another Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman to fit a newborn baby. That will empty a tub of yarn that consisted of cotton and baby weight acrylic yarn.

After these projects are completed, I want to knit a scarf in a knitting worsted weight yarn. Yes, bigger yarn and bigger needles. I saw this pattern yesterday and love it.

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The pattern is free at Lion Brand Yarns. Great instructions for another version can be found at Yarn Monkey Chronicles. My thoughts are to knit it in a tweed yarn that is in the next tub to knit. But, I might even buy a ball of yarn so I have three balls in a teal and purple variegated yarn for this pattern. Decisions that need to be made.

Late afternoon, I got an empty tub and put it into the storage room. I started to take out the rodeo queen fabrics from the storage room closet. I sorted them into piles of like fabrics and have the tub almost full. I still have another tub to sort through and pack. The tub of patterns are out and I have a few patterns to put in to it and a couple to take out of it. Then it will be ready to go.

At knitting last night, I had the honour of ripping out the top part of the slipper I am crocheting and start it over again. I had a mistake that couldn’t be ignored. It is now ready to start the first row of crocodile stitch. A couple of weeks and it will be finished.

Today, I have to head into the city for a short trip. Once home, I want to finish up as much as possible of the dress. Goal is to have it done on Friday.

Until tomorrow……………………….

Monday, August 25, 2014

Departure Day

D-Day has arrived and we are sad to see our family leave for home. It has been an amazing 9 days filled with visiting, day trips, geocaching, and water fights. It will certainly be quiet around here as we slide back into our quiet routine.

Yesterday morning, the Dude and his parents went out to do 2 geocaches while we did a few things around the house and yard. We then headed out to buy corn and do our last geocache together.

In the afternoon, the Dude and his parents went out to visit friends and we sank in our chairs to rest. We had 2 hours of unwinding before dinner was started.

Our evening ended with ice cream at the DQ.

In all we had a great day and an amazing time with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.

Today I will start cleaning up the house and look in my sewing room. I do have a simple quilt to make and may start on that.

Until tomorrow…………………………….

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Day In the Mountains

Yesterday was another warm day but it didn’t affect us as we were higher up in the mountains looking at views and geocaching. What was to be a short trip took a good 7 hours to complete.

We headed out to the first two caches and found them after some hunting. We ended up walking a distance up the road to the find the first one. The second one, the views were breath taking.

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We drove upwards and south from there to a lake called McLean’s Lake. This is part of the land that the ranch we managed for 13 years roamed. Water from the lake was monitored by the ranch to water fields next to the ranch and a certain amount had to be let go by into the creek below the ranch.

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A walk down the ramp takes you to the valve that regulates the amount of water that flows out of the lake.

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We continued on our way around the lake heading north and had lunch just after we left the ranch’s grazing land. A bull and cows were nearby. It was quiet and restful eating on dirt piles.

From there we headed out to another road and headed south around the base of Cornwall mountain. Next stop was at the ore sheds at Hat Creek Coal Mine. We hunted and hunted in the wrong spot as we didn’t stop where there was a road to the left. We walked a good mile up from where we parked to find the road and headed out to find the cache. It was there that we found a trackable which will move with the Dude when they head home tomorrow.

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We stopped at another geocache along the way meeting others out doing the same. The rock was covered with orange growth. No pictures as we had not cell service and I left the phone in the car.

The next geocache was off the road we were on and at a provincial site. A piece of flat land and an outhouse. No cell signal and jumpy GPS signals made this a hard find. But it was found by Son who kept going back to the spot.

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There were several geocoins in it.

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We drove down to the highway for our last cache but didn’t find it. We headed home for dinner and the Dude went swimming at the pool with his parents.

Today is the family’s last day here and it is suppose to be a quiet day. We know we are having a corn feast. What else transpires remains to be seen.

Until tomorrow…………………………

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Day of Learning

Yesterday was warmer than expected and today will be quite warm also. We are now experiencing temperatures in the high 80F but it can still get into the 90F range. Mornings are cooler and I am getting the urge to run again.

Our day trip was wonderful. The series of land slides was around the lake and a couple were scary. As we couldn’t stop, I took some pictures on the go.

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Our trip was two fold; to geocache and to explore. It was super fun doing both.

Our first stop, after lunch was at the museum to see the huge slabs of jade.

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The base of this slab really caught my eye.

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A variety of rocks including jade. We walked across the road to a jade shop and the Dude got to choose a rock from the kid’s bin. We left from there to go to where the salmon are migrating. It is a great run this year.

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The dark in the water is the fish. Once they enter into the clear blue water, the Aboriginal people cannot net them. The brown water flowing is the Fraser River and this clear river is the Seton River.

Up on the rocks someone has painted this design.

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And all around on the rocks are tents where the fish are cleaned and hung to dry.

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We did geocache just beyond this area and as we found the cache, friends came along and shared the excitement of the find with us. We all signed the book.

We did drive down to the old bridge to do a second cache but the pictures didn’t turn out of the bridge. You would have thought it was a foggy day they were so bad. We also did one cache on the way home.

We had a quiet evening as we were all tired. Today we will do an afternoon trip. This morning is laundry as we seem to have mountains of it.

Until tomorrow……………………………..

 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Geocaching Again

It cooled off last night and we have the house opened up to the cool morning air. We are at 12.5C, which is cool for us.

Yesterday was a home day and the Dude went out on several geocaching hunts during the day. He did one with his parents, one with his parents and the Spousal Unit, and one with me.

Our geocache was an easy one to find. We drove up to it, parked and it was 10 feet from us. The Dude exchanged a whistle for a whistle.

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We then went to see Daughter and have fun with the dogs and the cat. The cat was leery of us but the dogs were happy for the attention. After a bit of running outside, there was some lounging.

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We had a young couple with 2 children come for dinner last night. There was a flurry of activity during the day smoking chicken wings, cooking jalapeno poppers, and a spaghetti sauce that was delicious.

Today we are heading out to the community to the west of us. The slides are cleared and we are planning to go over, have lunch, geocache, and go to the winery. Tonight is pizza and movie night at home. We are so enjoying our visit with our family.

I did look in my sewing room yesterday for about 1 minute.

Until the next time………………………..

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Change of Plans

Our plans yesterday were thwarted!! The road to the community was closed due to mudslides. The alternate route would take over 2 hours each way and that wasn’t happening.

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They claim there was 35 km of slides caused due to the storm we had on Wednesday night. The road is open to one lane with a pilot car today.

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We headed off to the city instead and did some geocaching along the way. The Dude found the first one after we searched and hunted for it. Kicked a rock and there it was.

The second one, we found the trail and let the Spousal Unit and the Dude find it in the sagebrush.

In the city, we had lunch, did a bit of touring, got some groceries and headed home. We stopped at the rest stop and geocached up on top of the rocks. The view was beautiful.

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This picture doesn’t do it any justice. Once again we had to hunt and found the trail to the geocache.

Our second stop was a hard one and we had to log it as not found. We hunted and hunted and on the way home figured out the clue.

It is in this area and we will go back to find it.

Today we are at home as we have friends coming in for dinner. It is a cooking and cleaning day.

Until the next time……………………

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Busy Day

It was a great day yesterday. We headed out in the morning to see some of the country and to geocache.

We stopped in the first community and did three caches and had something to drink.

The Dude was excited to find an ammo can as we had talked about them.

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The next community we visited, we had lunch and found four geocaching sites.

Our last community we did one geocaching site as the mining equipment was quite exciting.

We stopped at the mine view point on our way home.

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This mine is so large, that astronauts use it as an earth location point when in space.

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The equipment is mega huge.

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There are lots of wild horses in the area and can be seen at times.

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And someone had fun playing.

And I was the one with low blood sugar this time. But I ate and was fine.

After supper we headed out and did a 2 part geocache and after some reading, hunting, and thinking we found it. We also put swag into the geocaches we had done the day before.

Today we are heading out for a shorter trip to another community. We will stop at the winery to see their new building and do some geocaching. The family gets to choose the cache locations today.

Until the next time…………………………..

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Geo-Caching

It is warm, windy, and cloudy. There is even smoke though the wind is keeping it at bay; just see it in the distance. And the icing on the cake – a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect. The second one in 5 days.

Yesterday was a quiet day for family as they are tired from traveling. Know that feeling quite well. I got dinner ready to put the meat in the smoker after lunch and did laundry.

After the pork chops were put into the smoker, the Dude and I took off to geo-cache. We had three caches in mind to find. The first one took us forever to locate. The instructions say to face the front of the building………I though the front of the building is where the viewing window is. Wrong! We found the cache though and got our sticker and a pin.

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The second cache I had temporarily planned, we scrapped and moved onto the new second cache. Found it in less than 3 minutes. The third site was a major pain.

The book told us it was in the park near a very specifically marked bench. The app on my phone kept saying it was nearly a half a kilometer away. We walked the whole length of the park and back again and headed to the cache the phone kept pointing to. I did the hunt as the Dude hated the location – the cemetery. I found it. It is a private person’s cache.

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We headed home as it was time to check the smoker. Dinner was smelling delicious. We then headed out to find the last geo-cache of the day. We found it!! And so did the app on the phone.

The evening was spent with three little boys and two big ones having a water fight. They went full bore for an hour. No pictures. If you stepped outside of the safe zone, you would have been soaked in a minute. Water balloons, 2 water pistols, 5 pumper water guns, and a hose with a spray nozzle was in full action.

Today we are doing a day trip to see some of the area. We will stop along the way to geo-cache, have lunch in one community, and look at the mine on our way home (if it doesn’t pour rain).

Until the next time…………………………