Thursday, 24 February 2011

Cath Kidston Applique

I've not done any sewing for ages, so decided to give something easy a try. Something that doesn't require neatness, haha! I got some mega cute Cath Kidston fabric squares from eBay and some Bondaweb and copied the elephant design from one of Eldest's dresses. Et voila! I just have to see what it washes like now.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Our Little Boy's Nursery

It is finally completed, only 4 months after his birth! ... Meh! He has only just started sleeping in there, he didn't need it til now! ;o)

We are really, really pleased with how it looks and love spending time in there now. I really enjoy sitting in the nursing chair with the low light lamp on and rocking him to sleep. It's so soothing!

So here are some before photos so you can see what it used to look like...

These photos are from when we first moved in. Yes, the radiator was indeed silver. In the first photo you can catch a glimpse of the wonderfully painted pine cladding that was covering every ceiling on the first floor. We were really dreading what that could be hiding, but thankfully it was nothing more than woodchip, so we just reboarded and plastered over. You can see how much the previous owners loved their orange pine too. 

Then when we were pregnant with our first baby we did the nursery for the first time. Forgive the bad photo, it was before I got into photography, and this crazy angle was the best I could do to fit as much in the picture as possible. 

unfortunately, our first baby didn't make it home and passed away shortly after birth, so the room remained untouched for months. Then it became a storage room for everything that had no official place. I don't have any photos of that though. 

Now for the "afters" :o)

The cot and white unit are from IKEA and the nursing chair was a baby shower gift from my girlfriends. We bought the bedding, wallpaper border, and curtains from Mamas and Papas, but from the outlet store so it was 75% off. SCORE! 

And here is the occupant himself...

Thank you for reading! :o)

Sarah. x

If you liked this post you might be interested in these ones too:

Nursery Storage Makeover
Wasted Space to Memo Place
Toy Organisation and Playroom Love
Hidden Mini Office in An IKEA Besta Unit
Master Bedroom Makeover

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Bedside Table / Nightstand Sort Out

This was the view when I opened my bedside cabinet door before I sorted it out last week. The bedside cabinet is part of a massive organising project that I am still on with, but since it's been a while since my last post I thought I'd best give you something. :o)

Okay, the top shelf had all kinds of crap up there - q-tips, contact lenses, face wipes, sleep mask, clips, blah blah blah. The middle shelf had an IKEA Skubb box full of waxing strips, spare deodorant, and other personal care items. The blue container to the left of that is the tub of receipts I mentioned earlier and some receipts aren't even in it, they're just stuffed in front. The bottom shelf has a box with our wedding stuff in - certificate, ring boxes, etc. Yes, we got married 4 years ago... There's also a Topshop shoebox with sentimental stuff in and some tarot cards. The black cosmetic case on the left was empty.

Are you ready for the transformation?

Ta daaa!

This cabinet is now my dedicated "personal care station". I used to have all of my hair, makeup, lady products spread out all over the bedroom in different places, but now it's all in one place for the most part.

Top shelf - Make up used less often. My daily make up is kept in my daily box (explained below).
Middle shelf - I used two IKEA Skubb drawer dividers. On the left is my waxing strips, spare deodorant, perfume, oil, etc. Things I don't use too often. On the right is what I internally refer to as my daily box. In a morning I just grab it and it contains everything I need to get ready on an average day. I'll post more detail about this later because it's really helped shave time off my getting ready routine!
Bottom shelf - Just other lesser-used items like leg tanning cream, spare face wipes, body lotion, glasses case, costume jewellry, etc.

Admittedly, if I had enough hours in the day a lot of these "lesser-used items" should be in my daily box, but I'm a mum of a 4-month-old and a 2-year-old. I barely have time to even dry my hair with a hairdryer these days, nevermind primp. :o)

Friday, 11 February 2011

Daily Lists & Negative Conversations

This week I started to make lists of the things I planned to do the following day - what's for tea, appointments, plans for walks and activities with the kids, housework, etc. It works!! I have never made better time and felt more mentally tidy than I have this week. I have no idea why I didn't do this sooner because it's something I used to do every single day at my workplace when I was working full time. It should come naturally to me to bring over these time management and organisation techniques, but for some reason, they don't mentally transfer to my new job as a homemaker. It's irritating!

Well, last night I forgot to make my list as I have been doing, but then I woke up to Laura's latest 52 weeks of organising post which tells us to,
"Make a commitment to spend at least 10-15 minutes every evening preparing for the next day and maintaining your home.  Put misplaced items back into their places, make your list of tasks needed to be done, what’s on the menu, what activities need to be arranged?  Set yourself up for success in this way and watch how powerful and in control you will feel…well most of the time anyway :)"
What perfect timing! I really needed this reminder and kick up the backside and somehow by someone else telling me that's what I should be doing it affirmed to me that I was on the right track and the idea that I had to do it in the first place was a good one that should be continued. 

This week is about negative conversations and I must admit that unfortunately, I fall prey to these almost daily. I try very hard to become the efficient domestic goddess I know I am capable of being, but when I fall behind due to crippling procrastination I always end up bashing myself. "Why bother, you'll not end up sticking to it?" "No one else takes it seriously so you're fighting a losing battle all on your own!" "It's the same crap, different day. What's the point?"

Sound familiar? I just want to prove to myself that I can be organised and follow it through, and so far this blog does seem to be helping me to do that. I feel accountable to my precious 5 followers and the people who have left wonderful comments so far. I owe it to my anonymous daily visitors who would give an almighty eye-roll and a tut if I were to suddenly quit. It might be just a slight blip of a disappointment to them, but it would be a mighty shame to me. I want to do this.

Negative conversations can sod off! I am accountable, dependable and will follow through. I pledge to blog my journey throughout this shake-up of domestic systems, and will lead you through my home in all it's cluttered disarray, leaving efficiently organised storage and neatly lined rows of beautiful containers as we go.

So how silly will I feel now if I fail?

I won't! Because I'll not fail you bloglanders!

Okay, now, my list is nothing fancy. I gather together the various source materials I need to reference. Those are the previous day's list, my motivated mum's list of household chores, diary and notebook. The list is just written on scrap paper. I'll put on the day in case I forget which day it actually is. Wouldn't be the first time! I usually put what we're having for tea at the top of the page under the date and everything else underneath.

Simple but effective!

Once this becomes a habit in about a month I might switch to putting it into a notebook instead, but for the time being I stick the list into the front of the big unit so I can't miss it.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Nursery Storage Makeover

Huzzah!! The nursery cupboard/closet/wardrobe storage has finally been made over. Behind those doors lies a far more organised and space-efficient, erm, space. The only thing left to do is touch up the bits where the hinges for the old doors were.

Remember what it looked like before?

The louvre doors had been taken off by this point, but they were an awful shade of orange-brown the same as the trim seen here. Couldn't wait to get my tin 'o' white out!

So what was wrong with this space? Where do I start?!
1. It was dirty looking.
2. Not enough shelving.
3. Existing shelves stuck out too far and interfered with anything hanging on the rail.
4. The rail was dirty.
5. Wood parts were cakky orange-brown stained.
6. Doors were the same cakky orange.

So, the first thing we did was take out all of the shelving and reposition making better use of the space. We also added an extra shelf. All the shelves were cut down to a shallower depth, using the containers I am using as drawers as a guide. This left much more space in front for hanging clothes, which now hang on a shiny new chrome rail.

I painted the walls and ceiling with white emulsion and the wood parts with white eggshell. My husband made an excellent job of the doors I think and they look much cleaner and modern than the old louvre doors did. If I can find a photo of the old doors I'll post one later.

Once I'd battled through this pile of all his clothing and other wardrobe fillers...

I was ready to put things back in a more orderly fashion.

Ahhhh... Much better!

I also have a little (lot) more storage in the form of my trusty IKEA Expedit 2x2 unit. 

The boxes inside are "Skubb" and hold so much stuff it's unreal. We use them in the kid's toy storage Expedits downstairs too. 

Top left we have sleepsuits, rompers, and vests. 

Top right is his socks, shoes, dribble bibs, hats and swim things.

Now, because the Skubb boxes are so deep I've used the Skubb drawer dividers inside here to help layer up. Here's what I mean. Take one out and you can see his sleeping bags stored underneath.

The bottom right is trousers.

And the bottom left is another Skubb drawer divider holding his tops with knitwear and fitted sheets underneath.

Let's take another look at my his fab new cupboard...

Before & After

 I'm so proud! :o) Now I just need to put the rest of his hanging items up and we're done. Here's what's in there,

Top left - plastic box containing cloth nappy equipment not currently in use (spare inserts, too girly/big, etc.)
Top right - a plastic container with clothes that are too big right now.
Middle shelves - Green containers on sale for £1.49 each at Dunelm Mill. Clockwise from top left they house: nothing / empty (yey!), spare hangers, stock of baby wipes, spare nursery wallpaper borders.
Bottom shelf - 2 massive Skubb (recurring theme here?) containers with all the clothes that he no longer fits into, which I intend to go through and put on eBay. Sob!
Front - two out of three baskets I've had for ages. Nappies on the left, baby towels on the right.

If you liked this post you might be interested in these ones too:

Our Little Boy's Nursery
Wasted Space to Memo Place
Toy Organisation and Playroom Love
Hidden Mini Office in An IKEA Besta Unit
Master Bedroom Makeover

Monday, 7 February 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Well, today is Menu Plan Monday. Don't know whether I will always be able to do this each week, but for this week at least we have a plan.

Monday - Spaghetti Bolognaise. We also freeze some in little pots for Eldest's lunches and nursery meals etc.
Tuesday - Sausage Casserole.
Wednesday - Chicken Thai Red Curry and Rice.
Thursday - Chilli Con Carne and Rice.
Friday - Sausage Pasta.
Saturday - Chicken, Steamed Veg and Potatoes.
Sunday - Dinner at my sister in-laws.

We're working on using up the things left in our freezer and cupboards this week and next until payday.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Two Small Jobs to Check Off

2. Sorting out an essentials pouch for my handbag / nappy bag.
3. Getting together a kiddies essentials pack for keeping in the car.

Now I just need to work on a place to store all the things I need to keep close at hand while I'm about the house. I know what kinds of things I need to keep there, but now where I am going to put them. This will require a little thought.

Here's what I did today.

This is the bag of stuff we will keep in the car for the kids. The logic behind this is that we're trying to shave time off our leaving the house routine. It's annoying that we have to think about what we have to take each time. Completely going through our one nappy bag to check we have all items takes too long. Partly because we often have to do it last minute. I am hoping that knowing we have this bag in the car will enable us to get out of the house faster at least for little trips.

In it, I have packed a couple of bottles of water, jumpers, spare clothes, nappies and wipes.

The other small job I tackled today was the cobbling together of my handbag bits and bobs. When I leave the house I either take my main nappy bag or if I am lucky enough to get to leave on my own for a while I will take a handbag. It's irritating having to completely empty all the pockets to switch between bags each time I swap over.

This problem has been fixed by getting all these bits into one easily portable cosmetics bag.

Ignore how tatty it is. I will keep an eye out for a nicer one on my travels. Here's what's in it. My apologies to any male readers - there are tampons and sanitary towels in here...

OMG! Blogger will not display that last photo the right way around no matter what I do! GRR!

Anyhoo, in this little handy bag, I keep an important key, comb, pen, paracetamol, aspirin, Rennies, tampons, contact lenses, sanitary towels, vaseline, hair bobble and grips, sweeteners, breast pads, plasters, clear nail varnish, tissues, mirror compact.

Most handy when out and about!

Here's what the other half has been doing today:

Those are the cupboard doors for the nursery wardrobe. We also went shopping for hinges and handles. Hopefully, the doors will be put up by tomorrow. If not I can at least get his clothes put away because the shelving is in place and just needs to fully dry overnight. WOOP! We're sooo close to bottoming this massive job and I am excited!! :o)

Can you help?

Are you thinking that you have a great way of doing some of these things I am sorting out? If you are please, please tell me! Do you have a blog post of your own that might help me? If you do I would love to see it! Just leave me a comment with a link to the relevant blog post or a description of your helpful ideas and I will repost and link to any that I use in my blog. I am really new to this and relying heavily on inspiration from blog land!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Sorting Out Paperwork

No one wants to do this job. Even when you quite fancy having a bit of a sort out the last place you want to go is "The Pile." It's an awful place. A real can 'o' worms job. All it does is remind you of how badly you procrastinate and which jobs you have been meaning to do, but have added to "The Pile" in order to do them later and then promptly forget. Letting "The Pile" build-up is an act of avoidance and repression, so it is inevitable that approaching this task will set a person on edge.

Well, last night after the kids were in bed I went through my usual routine of tidying up and did my ironing. I then got the office ready for use to paint the nursery cupboard doors today. After that, I considered sorting out the cupboard under the stairs but realised it would be too noisy and have the potential to wake the kids. Gasp!

I looked on here at my list of little jobs from the last post but offed them on the basis that several of the "ingredients" were in the kid's rooms or aforementioned cupboard under the stairs.

So, with reluctance, I got out "The Pile" and made a start.

First of all, I go through each item and assign it to a smaller pile in my immediate area. It's always easiest to do this on the floor. 

1. Cards I am going to recycle by using their embellishments for new cards.
2. Unused greetings cards to be stored for future use.
3. Documents to file.
4. Items requiring action asap.
5. Event invitations and dates to add to my diary.
6. Things that need shredding.
7. Paper for the recycling box.
8. Receipts to file.
9. Items for kid's memory boxes.
10. Things I want to scrapbook.
11. For putting into my purse.

Now, the trick is that you need to make sure you deal with all of these mini piles right away. So...

1. The cards I will be using I took into my craft room and placed on the desk ready for when I have a moment to butcher them. Okay, so this isn't really dealing with it entirely, but I consider this crafting time and something that I need to do during my "me" time and not while I'm supposed to be "working".

2. My unused greetings cards slotted into the pocket of my birthday card organiser. It's a little book with a pocket for each month and a calendar page where I can note down each important date. Very handy!

3. These documents to file were put into my filing tray in the office. Admittedly, this is another 'pile' I will be dealing with at some point.

4. Items requiring action generally go back into the wooden box that houses "The Pile" and I am rather ashamed to say that often they are still there the next time I tackle the job. I do need to come up with a better system for these things. It's not like work where I have a desk to keep these papers on so that they constantly jog my memory. I'll think of something!

5. Easy one. I just went through the invites and added their dates to my diary if they weren't already there. If it's one I needed to keep I staple it to the relevant diary page.

6. Things that need shredding to go into the shedder container for now. I plug it in periodically and shred when I can bear to. As a former office junior in my youth, this job still makes me groan. Maybe it's one to get my other half to do instead?

7. Paper that needs recycling just goes straight outside into the recycling bin. End of.

8. I have a very rubbish filing system for receipts that is in bad need of the organising touch. It's basically just a round box that all receipts get stuffed into and for some reason, I keep it in my bedside cabinet. Don't ask why because I've no idea. It should be in the office if I were employing any kind of logic to its location.

9. There are certain things I like to keep hold of to put into the memory boxes I have for the kids. Their hospital bands, special birthday cards, photos, etc. These are separate from those things I scrap about.

10. And that leads me neatly onto the pile of things I would like to scrapbook about. This pile is simply put into a box in the craft room/office and when I have a moment to scrap I root through said box for inspiration.

11. There are some things in the pile that need to go into my purse - vouchers, coupons, stamps etc. Another easy job.

Now I realise that some of these things weren't dealt with completely and maybe this is something I need to address. Perhaps this is my failing? Is this part of the reason for my disorganised home? A protracted avoidance of following through? Hmmm... "Clutter Agitation...?"

Obviously, the mini piles within your main pile of paperwork might be slightly different from mine. However, you will probably find, as I did, that the largest piles were those things to recycle and shred. Funny huh? Now if we could just learn to throw out that junk mail or shred that card statement as soon as it was finished with then we wouldn't have such a daunting task to complete. By "we" I mean "I" of course.

Who's betting I have to come back to this particular job a few more times before the year is out? :o)

While I was looking at home organising stuff on t'internet I happened upon what looks to be an awesome blog, This chick went through her own home overhaul process and is now writing about all manner of mega useful home organisation and decluttering tips.

All this year she's doing 52 Weeks Of Organising and inviting readers to share their organising tales too. I think I might just link up and join in!

One reason I want to get organised...? There are so many! Mainly, it's to prove to myself that I can be organised at home. It's the difference between the person that I want to be and the person that I'm annoyed I am right now. If I don't strive to be this new, streamlining version of myself it would be all too easy to allow chaos to take over and I hate the chaos.

Last week I was busy with our son's room - restructuring and painting his cupboard. I also ordered my shiny new three-section laundry hamper and fell in love. I am amazingly happy with my new laundry system and can't believe I had to do it the awkward way all this time! The cupboard is yet to be finished, but I am very happy with how it is progressing so far. We have been painting the shelves and doors today, so hopefully, by the end of the weekend, I will be able to cobble it all together.

It's actually pretty amazing how much psychoanalysis I am doing of my personality as a result of this project. Just by writing down what I am doing and blogging about it I am discovering the traits that have meant a messy disorganised home for me so far. Traits such as my flitting and my lack of following through. When I think about it these are traits which colour my whole life, so it's been really interesting finding out about them and seeing how they affect even small, everyday things. I guess my real a-ha moment will be when I learn how to work with these flaws to help run a tidier home.
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