Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kitchn Cure: Week One Progress Report

No, I haven't forgotten about the Cure over at the The Kitchn. Thing is, I'm still in Week One: Clean the Freezer, Fridge and Pantry and they posted Week Three on Friday.

The Pantry in the basement is done, thank goodness.

The freezer compartment on the fridge is also done and I've nearly finished the fridge, too. I've just the top shelf and the door to do.

But, I have the feeling that "pantry" also means washing out the inside of any cupboards which hold food and purging and organizing them. Whether it does or not, mine are certainly in need of it.

Here's the worst offender: the baking shelf. I have had this on my to do list since September. It's the second shelf from the top.


and after:

I put all the half empty sprinkler containers into a tin I purchased at a garage sale a long time ago. I also emptied out three open bags of chocolate chips into a glass jar and I found a basket for the extracts and food colouring bottles. But the best thing I did was put a lazy Susan in the corner (underneath the baking powder in the fuzzy picture) --and that cleared up 90% of the clutter right there.

So, I have a few more shelves to go and, yes, the freezer in the basement is in dire need of a defrosting. So we could be in Week One for a while.

AT Fall Cure: Days 7 & 8. The Halloween Edition

Day 7: Buy Flowers and sit for 10 minutes

The flowers we bought a few days ago are doing really well!

I didn't sit. I really don't have time. I have to prepare for school next week--last week I timed it and discovered it take 3 1/2 hours--when I have stuff prepared--and I'm not prepared this week. Additionally, I have th Big Shop this Tuesday: so I have to do my pantry inventory and big shop for the month. Last month I timed how long that took: four hours. So, the only place I'm sitting is behind the eight ball.

Day 8: Establish a Landing Strip

I was looking through some old pictures from past cures and I found this one from of my Front Hallway.

front landing strip1

It looks like this today:

Fresher, I think, and cheerier, menacing spider notwithstanding. More in keeping with the colourful fresh vibe I want to live in.

The back door is also a busy place: at Aby's suggestion, I hung up a pocket organizer. It's supposed to go inside a closet, I think, and hold socks and shoes and what not, but it is perfect in this narrow space for dog leashes and toys, gardening implements and gloves, sunglasses and things. I just painted the strip: obviously, that blue clashes with the pocket organizer and I need to re-do it. It's a quick job, really, but not one I expect to get to for a long time, yet.

Because I already have landing strips, I washed the walls and vacuumed the floors. Good to get it done. That's all I'll say about that.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

AT Fall Cure Days 5&6

Day 5: Buy or replace Eco-Cleaner.

All our detergents are phosphate free. I stear clear of anti-bacterial soap and everything except the toilet bowl cleaner is "environmentally friendly."

I recently started using micro-fibre cloths for window and mirror cleaning --they're wonderful!

Day 6: Floor and Surface Clean One Room

I had intended to do my bedroom. And, in fact, I may still do it tomorrow as it needs a thorough dusting and vacuum.

But, I went down to the basement to declutter and wash my pantry shelves--and wound up doing a surface clean of the entire laundry room --including folding laundry and taking it to the places it belongs. (I even put away some of it!)

Remember how it looked a few days ago?

I've been plugging steadily away at it.

And here is it as of tonight:

(sigh. A basement is still a basement.) I like Leena's suggestion of going with painting that back wall white, as indeed, the contents of the room are visually chaotic enough. I was also reminded tonight of an idea I once had to paint the rafters white too--since, if you look closely, it seems someone already started.

Unfortunately, my camera is acting up dreadfully. I don't have all my before shots--nor all my afters, neither. I do have a little from today though, just to give you a taste.

This is taken from standing at the washer and dryer--looking back at the stairs.
We keep recyclables here as well as items for the bottle depot.

We have a nice donation of old towels for the animal shelter all bagged up and ready to go!

And here is the pantry. It's is directly in front of me when I fold the laundry. It's quite soothing, all spiffed up!

(We've had that cubby unit since I was 14--at that time it held record albums. It is shaped like a ziggeraut with the cubes painted to accentuate that. I love it. I merely added some inexpensive "closet organizers" to the mix and now it looks vaguely like a well stocked tansu.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

AT Fall Cure: Days 3 & 4

Day 3: Find 6-10 Inspirational Photos for your Home.

Yes, sir!

I love this part of the cure. Though, I must say it is a wee bit disappointing to have the "style tray" concept reduced to a mere collection of pictures. The style tray was intended to capture more than just stylized photos of interiors--but everything and anything inspiring for your home: things you could touch and stroke: stones, pieces of wood, luxurious fabrics, textures like cork, or glass and colour--from paint chips or fall leaves

That said, I've always used pictures. I have an enormous folder where I collect images whenever I'm browsing the web. Once again, if anyone can help me out with credit, I'd welcome it.

Here's what appeals to me today:

I love this: but I'm absolutely and completely intimidated by it.

This is Lynn Von Kersting. Cote de Texas (where I found this image) calls her the "Queen of Clutter"-- and yet this is incredibly sophisticated and balanced. It feels like if there was just one more thing--the room might explode. Check out the link above, if you're interested. She does amazing work and it isn't easy to find, apparently.

This image is somewhat similiar, really. I hadn't realised it until I saw them next to each other. This is a pared down version, obviously, but I love the mix of fabrics.

How do I go from the above to the below? I'm not sure, except I love the yellow and turquoise together. I used this as inspiration for my kitchen painting project which I realize I haven't revealed yet. The table runner I want to use for the photo is in the laundry.

(image from the House of Turquoise)

I'm not sure where I found the image below: but it contains my absolute favourite colour: orange. Mixed with green, the colour combination is one of my favourites. I fell in love with it a few years ago and only recently decided to embrace it.

I read once that one of the things which can unify a home is to repeat the same colour--one colour--but whatever shades and tints you like--in every room. Once upon a time that colour was green. I'm slowly turning over that colour role to orange.

And this image is just pure romanticism.

PS: this collection acuurately captures my schizophrenia when it comes to interiors, I think. In truth, my style can be summed up thusly: Ikea meets Value village meets the second hand bookstore.

Day 4: Remove One Item and Set Up the Outbox.

My outbox is permanently set up: and I removed two, count 'em, two things from my home last week (not counting the clothing donation.) Still, my "outbox" --otherwise known as my "donation station"-- is falling over itself. So I can certainly gather a few things together for dropping off.

All cleared out: (well, mostly.)

I want to change this set up--as convenient as it is, I need a place for our clothing baskets (or, I think I do.) I like the way they're arranged here:

(from BH&G)

I am flirting with the idea of setting up something similar where I currently have the donation station. It sure would be handy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

AT Fall Cure: Days 1 & 2


I know the website is on Day 9, today, but I only found out about the Fall Cure a few days ago. The format has been changed: from eight week to four. I don't know if I will enjoy this home cure as much as I have done others in the past. I'm combining it with the kitchn cure, too. I don't know why I think I have to keep myself so busy with these sorts of projects. But I do enjoy them. (And I'd just do something else, anyway. This way, I get to share.)

Day 1: Floor and Surface Clean One Room.

Not terribly exciting, this one, agreed, but essential. I decided to do my dining room office.

Because I am also taking Time Management at Simplify 101, I decided to see just how long everything really took.

Dusting, with a feather duster: 5 minutes
Picking everything up off the floor, putting it away, sweeping the floor and clearing the surfaces: (table and desk): 15 minutes
Mopping the floor: 6 minutes

I didn't time actually washing down the table, or cleaning the computer screen. I didn't time taking a scraper to the tougher bits on the floor (I think someone ground in red licorice. At least I think that's what it is.)

Ta Da!

All in all, I am pleased to know that in about 1/2 hour I can clean the room so that it is quite presentable. The shelves above the desk need a serious de-clutter and clean, though.

Day 2: Buy Fresh Flowers

I cheated and had hubby pick some up for me on his way home yesterday. I asked for "nothing dyed" and this is what they had. I put out one stem in a vase at my desk.

It makes me smile.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bit by Bit

Update on the fridge:
The freezer compartment, the drawers and one shelf done. Two shelves and the door to go.

At this rate, the kitchn cure may take a few months!

But I got the drawers (and the spilled sour milk underneath) all cleaned up yesterday. (Yay!)

Even after softening it with a wet paper towel placed on top for 1/2 hour, I still had to take a painter's scraping tool to that sour milk. Man, milk can be one tough cookie.

Today, I did the shelf above which meant bagging up some chicken broth I'd made the day before yesterday.

Isn't that the most appetizing thing you've seen all day? (not).

The first thing I do when I bag broth, though, is prepare the bags. I use ziplocs because I love the "write-on" strip.

Then, I skim off the fat. (This is chicken broth. I believe it's so dark because I made it in the same roasting pan I'd used to cook my chicken.

One of the tricky bits to this is filling the baggies. I'm lucky and have a pint mug in my cupboard. I stand the baggie up in it easily and fold down the "top".

I use a measuring cup to fill it.

It isn't really all that difficult to chase the air out of the bag before I press it closed.

The next tricky bit is getting it into my 8x8 pan to put in the freezer. Essentially I stack the bags on the counter with every other one wrapped in waxed paper. I'm ashamed to admit that it took me a while to figure out that this was the best way to keep the the bags from sticking to each other when they're frozen.

Ta da!
Next time a recipe calls for Chicken Broth, I can bring out my own!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Uninvited Guest

I hope he doesn't stay too long.

I need some plants here with winter interest, I think.

(I just realised this morning that with Daylight savings time, now, the way it is? We have to live through November mornings twice a year. It's cruel and unusual punishment, that's what it is. This was taken at 8:20am.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Kitchen Cure

(The obligatory before shot)

Apparently, it has already begun over at the kitchn section of Apartment Therapy. I found out last night when I was checking my spam filter at 2am.

So, in a fit of craziness, I've decided to take part--on week 2 of a four week project!

Oh well, better late than never.

Today I plunged straight in with a clean out of the freezer compartment on my refrigerator. It really needed it: things were falling and sliding out of there.

No wonder:

(This could explain why we were having difficulties keeping the door closed, of all the stupid things.

So, it all came out.

I wanted a container for the bags of frozen veggies I keep up here, so I measured the fridge and then tried out a couple I already owned. No dice. Turns out the shelves on the door impinge upon the space inside the fridge. So, I purchased the smallest container I thought I could get away with. It works. Really well, actually. And I got it at the dollar store!! So happy I decided to stop in there on my errand run today!

And so, here we are:

Obviously, some stuff didn't get to go back in.
Four chicken carcasses wiating to be made into broth didn't make the cut.
And neither did this:

Yep. It's bags of old, stale bread.

The birds have it is time to say, bye, bye, Birdie.

(Hey, that reminds me of a song....)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When you turn thirteen...

You may learn that perfectionism is over rated:

Especially when your ten year old sister made the cake!

It doesn't matter though, cause it is the wish that counts.

and family.

Happy Birthday, dude.

Warning: There is now a teenager in the house!

Boom Da Da Boom

I cannot believe it!

One final big PUSH today--and the project to box up and itemize all my daughter's things is done! I am so relieved. My bedroom no longer looks like this:

but like this, after my 1/2 hour session today.

The basement went well, too. I spent 45 minutes down there just putting things away.

I spent a lot of time clearing this bench. It's a handy spot to set the boxes from the shelves when I need to go through them. So handy, I often don't put them back. So, it was cluttered. Now, it is not.

My focus now is to get stuff out of my house. I started tonight with these bags of clothes.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspiration: the Laundry room

You had a peek at my laundry room yesterday.

Just in case you've forgotten, here is the area under consideration: (I took all the clothes down from the clothesline and put them on the folding table.)

What's working:
Everything---and nothing.

1) the donation station is in exactly the right place: it's just a little full!
2) the system for washing the laundry works: clothes are sorted into the hampers, then loaded into the machines.
3) Folding works well. I work from left to right creating stacks on the table as I go. Then, I put the stacks into the basket on the right and ask my husband to bring it up for me.

What isn't working:

I do not like spending time in this space.
Would you?

I've been wanting to paint this back brown wall for a long time. I don't know what to paint it. Nothing really comes to mind but primer--and a coat of soft, pure white.

Boring, I know.

I've been collecting inspiration images, practically all year--but unfortunately, there's no good way to keep track of their source. If anyone knows, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

In no particular order, then:

The light! Oh the light!
My laundry room is the dungeon.
I love how the light green gives this room a spa-like vibe.

Tiny, but so cheery! Again, it is bright! But it is also colourful, which I love. The blue, green and orange is an immediate pick me up. Could I be happy folding here?

I have hampers like these: plastic ones, held together with string and duct tape. (I kid you not.) This impractically small, sleek little number is divine. I also love the metal shelving above it. I would love something similiar for my pillows and blankets.

aaah. Isn't this calming? Doesn't this feel efficient: like things are getting done? I like the idea of putting the clothesline above the washer and dryer. I love the clear plastic tubs holding everything as well.

Hmm. It does feel a bit sterile, though: like a hospital.
But of course, it isn't real life.
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