This and that

So long time no post, I know.

Here’s all the scattered thoughts in a post!

  • I get one day off a month.  Last month, I did my annual ‘scale and clean’ at the dentist.  But this month, I got my first ever filling 🙁  And I’m still sore now, about 6hrs later, but no longer numb.
"Practical" heels
“Practical” heels
  • I made a ‘buy nothing new‘ pact with my mother post our US trip, for a year.  I did buy a $5 dress in Thailand, but chalked that up to the BF buying it 😉  Mum then bought a pink coat online.  Today I bought shoes from Camper, reduced from $270 to $189, for a style that’s unheard of for going on sale (it’s a staple, which is changing)

 

  • I’m reading and watching a lot of non fiction at the moment.  The documentaries seem to all gravitate around sex workers, I’m not sure why.  But I’m seeing all sides – from the law enforcement and people trafficking, to those that chose the life, to the youth involved.  As to reading, I’m reading about the Fast Diet.  With the dentist, I figured today was a good day to try it.  You eat 500 calories for two days in a week, and normal the rest of the time.  It’s ok, but not exactly easy on a day off, but we’ll see.
Pretty right? via
Pretty right?
via
  • My mother’s having a milestone birthday in August, and is planning to make it as awesome as mine was.  Our inspiration picture came from BetterAfter.  So for that, I have scowered many a store for black and white striped card.  Zazzle will make them online for 20 guests for $90 which is a little re-dic.  In the end, the local Kmart had something in the theme colours I can work with.  As for the table cloth?  Thanks Ikea Sofia fabric.  And the 8km walk I attached to the outing.  Yep, if I have a ‘plan’ of where I am walking to, and I really want to go there, then I can walk and walk.  Got me a blister tho!

 

  • Money.  I set part of my mortgage as variable, and part as fixed. The idea was to set the variable part to an amount I might be able to pay off during the ‘term’ of the fixed part, which was 3 years.  18 months in, I hit that target (on Wednesday).  I’m mighty impressed with myself!  So next up is some $$ to the shares, like I try to do annually, and then maybe the ‘trip of a lifetime’ plan – at least my idea if 6 weeks in Europe next summer, with a week in each of the following: Russia, Croatia, Iceland, France, Romania, Bosnia.

 

  • I’ve been on a mending frenzy.  Gosh I love mending.  I added gold buttons to a navy blazer, replacing the rubbering black ones that got stuck on the desk when I was typing.  I also sewed a different clasp on press stud pants to stop the awkward ‘pop open’.  Darned some socks.  Seriously though, there’s nothing I like more.  I reckon I should letterbox the neighbours, just for my own entertainment in front of the TV!

There we have it – a scattered collection of life from LivetoList.  How’s things with you?

Pining on pinterest

The BF astutely said last night ‘the time she used to spend blogging is now spent on Pinterest’. I was BIG into pininterest (that’s how I used to say it) before I moved out on my own, and then I slowed down in the intervening 2+ years.  But I’ve been sucked back into the vortex lately!

For my readers, who are diligent readers, you might like this Buzzfeed summary of reading spaces (found through Pinterest).  I like the ones with nature incorporated, like this one:

View of nature (source above)
View of nature (source above)

I spend a lot of time on the ‘Home Decor’ category, though recently got inspired by capsule wardrobes for European holidays (seems that’s where all pinners are headed), and then into work outfits/wardrobes. Then there’s all the ‘Craft and DIY’ activities.  I’ve also got a great collection of innovative wrapping gift ideas – not that I do poorly with my limited stash of supplies now.  I try to avoid food and recipes – there’s WAY too much super yummy, but ultimately unhealthy, sweets out there!

And I can’t go past a numbered list – ways to declutter, ways to get more space, organise your home, save more money, ultimate hacks etc.  Whilst I can pour hours into browsing and pinning, I’ve discovered a few truths

  • I have enough space to store everything, therefore
  • I don’t need any more furniture
  • I don’t even need double duty/multipurpose furniture or devices
  • My home’s not at all cluttered – I don’t need 10 ways to clear the kitchen bench, I just need to wash up and put it away!
  • I have a relatively limited palette for clothing, both pinning, but also in my wardrobe, and they correlate
  • To save money, I need to really one
    • buy less ‘junk’ food – take away coffees, sugary snacks or cheese and garlic naans

In summary, there is little I’m wanting or seeking.  I am more mindlessly browsing for one more ‘ah ha’ moment.  They do happen.

Here’s a few I’ve ‘done’ or enacted lately (but I’ll give you the pins!):

Did this for the BF's collection.  My earphones live at work.
Did this for the BF’s collection. My earphones live at work. (via)
Op shop book was $4, and worked a treat (though ours stands upright) Source
Op shop book was $4, and worked a treat (though ours stands upright)
(Source)

Yet to attempt

Now I need to find two tops in the thrift shop to DIY this
Now I need to find two tops in the thrift shop to DIY this (via)
Yet to do - but ingenious!  Saves nails in the mouth
Yet to do – but ingenious! Saves nails in the mouth (via)

Aren’t we always searching for something?  I’m just a little less sure the answer is on pinterest!

Do you enjoy pinning?  Do you even use pinterest – if so, why, but also if not, why?

The spare room/guest room/study

I realised that I’ve not shared photos of the second bedroom in our home. I had a friend come to stay recently, so I got it extra tidy and spick and span, and took the opportunity for some photos.

And when I’m on holidays, what better way to get a quick post ready for you? We’re in Cairns for a few days, I’ll be sure to report back on my return!

View from the door
View from the door

Apologies for the photo quality. I must buy myself a camera, but I just can’t work out what I would buy if I did. So the iphone continues…

The other side of the bedroom is the more used study component
The other side of the bedroom is the more used study component
The study with the lamp on.  I love lamps.  It's my touch to the BF's desk.
The study with the lamp on. I love lamps. It’s my touch to the BF’s desk.
My guest's daughter had missed the past birthday and Christmas gifts from me, so she was spoilt! They were all activities.
My guest’s daughter had missed the past birthday and Christmas gifts from me, so she was spoilt! They were all activities.
The apartment came with these shelves, so most mail sits on the bottom shelf, waiting for the filing time into the binders above.
The apartment came with these shelves, so most mail sits on the bottom shelf, waiting for the filing time into the binders above.

My future garden

I’ve been completing longer walks to different areas in the past few months, and I’ve been very actively compiling a list of plants and trees I’d like in my future home.  Seems my green thumb from the herb garden is expanding (rapidly!).  Oh and an update on said herb garden – something’s demolished the mint, the thyme and most of the parsley.  It’s just started on the sage, and something has taken up residence on the chives.  I’m so sad.  There’s some sort of small flying insect – like a mini mosquito.  The BF says we should spray, but I’m loathed to spray something I might then eat.  Big FAIL on this vegie patch 🙁 I’m pretty torn on how these might all work in a garden, but I love the following ‘statement’ trees:

Japanese Maple (I think)
Japanese Maple (I think)
  • Magnolia Grandiflora: lucious glossy leaves with a velvety brown underside, complete with large cup like flowers that smell of a light lemon pudding
  • Japanese maple: the most daintly shaped leaves in some amazing tones, from lime green to burnt orange to red
  • Frangapani: whilst the ultimate in ‘bogan chic’ (you can get decals for you rear windscreen eyeroll), their scent screams summer, and given my mother missed out as having them as her wedding flower, I always feel a strong affinity to them.  I’m not sure if I prefer the traditional white with yellow centres, or the pink toned flowers…
Statement Frangipani (SO many at the front of terraces in Sydney)
Statement Frangipani (SO many at the front of terraces in Sydney)

Beyond the trees, I love the following

  • Pruned hedges: Buxus are great, and work so well as a formal min fence, particularly in all the period terraces around Sydney
  • Gardenia: I smell gardenias and it takes me back to boarding school – it’s the smell of Christmas dinners, playing on the last night of term, preparing for exams, and for the end of year.  Even though I had one of these in my childhood garden, it still screams ‘school’ to me, and I still love it!
  • Succulents: sadly I don’t know the name of the pictured succulent

PS I did try a triptych of these three plants with www.picmonkey.com, but after crashing the computer twice, sadly it’s a no go.  I don’t have the patience for those shenanigans

Buxus hedge - so formal!  Great for making corsages too.
Buxus hedge – so formal! Great for making corsages too.
Oh the smell of summer (sorry the flower is overexposed, but just admire the glossy leaves)
Oh the smell of summer (sorry the flower is overexposed, but just admire the glossy leaves)
Name please?
Name please?

I would LOVE a passionfruit vine – I love the flowers.  But I’ll make that another post when I collect a few more photos 😉  And some more flowery plants too.

How about you?  What’s in your ‘dream’ garden?  My focus in this post is ornamental plants, rather than fruiting and flowering trees or vines (Lois, this post is for you :).

My minimum standards around the house

What's not to love about a pulled up bed?
What’s not to love about a pulled up bed?

I’ll admit, this list is a little more than minimal standards, but they are the things that are often left to languish, rather than being done, even though most are quick and easy.

  1. Pulling up the bed: I just need a flat clear space, I don’t need it neatly tucked in, just tidy
  2. Washing up done: I hate dirty stuff lingering, and I don’t like plastics in the dishwasher.  It seems there’s always a small stack to get hand washed.  I’m better about putting away dry clean stuff though.
  3. Hanging up the bathmat: I hate manky, damp smelling towels, so I like to get the bath mat hung over the bath to get it a little more ventilation.
  4. Shutting the toilet lid: this wasn’t a habit, until I tested the ‘do it 21 times’ theory in school.  Now, if I see it up, I can’t help but put it down.  Just too scared something will fall in there that shouldn’t – like my jewelry!
  5. Filling up the water bottles: we still refill plastic water bottles.  One day I’ll replace them with all metal or glass. Since I drafted this, I’ve done away with the plastic!  Nonetheless, they linger all around the house rather than chilling in the fridge.  Or they are chilling in the fridge with less than a glassful in them.  SIGH!
  6. Dirty clothes in the clothes baskets: Not on floors, or ottomans (me) or sofas (him) or the floor of the laundry.  Sadly, still making this one a habit! In the loft, I enjoyed throwing things over the ledge, down the stairs, to join the washing baskets!
A bathroom ledge above the toliet
A bathroom ledge above the toilet (I should get you a new photo – I have new jewelry!)

Beyond those listed, I’m ok with scattered shoes at the doorway.  And usually I can handle papers stacked on the kitchen table, or bench, at least for a little while.  But the list above, they really need to become daily habits.

What are your minimum standards?  Are there little tasks you always overlook, even though they are a bugbear?

House tour – living, dining, kitchen & balcony

Right before heading to Vietnam, I cleaned the house from top to toe.  And then I felt ready to photograph it for everyone.  I do clean it other times, like for our housewarming, but I forgot to get photos!  All the photos were taken on my phone, so the quality isn’t ideal, but that’s life 🙂

Welcome to a visual feast:

living dining
The living and dining area from the doorway from the hall
living 3
Sofa close up
left side
The left hand side of the living/dining (the view from the sink!)
view from kitchen
The view from the kitchen, over the living and dining room, to the balcony
kitchen sink
The kitchen sink and the open shelves in the dining area
kitchen bench 2
The counter behind the sink
kitchen shelves
The open shelves – how I enjoy open shelves!
kitchen from dining
The kitchen from the living/dining area
kitchen bench
Along the kitchen bench from the sink – the laptop’s charging. It’s also where it sits when I cook
kitchen
Kitchen from the hallway
Hermes framed scarf
The famed piece of art/scarf
Entertainment centre
Entertainment and more chairs
balcony 2
Balcony to the right hand side – with my bokashi bins for compost. The extra microwave is in the box, as the place came with one. I’m not sure how it came to live on the balcony, but it doesn’t get wet so….
balcony 1
Balcong to the left – with my new lemon tree, a bin from the BF’s, and the drying rack

I’ll catch up on all your comments once I’m back to Vietnam – yep, I’ll read and reply to every single one of them!

House tour – master bedroom

Here’s a photo rich post I’ve been meaning to share since we moved in!  Welcome to our master bedroom:

Looking from his side of the bed
Looking from his side of the bed
Looking from the fan's point of view
Looking from the fan’s point of view
Looking from my side of the bed
Looking from my side of the bed
Bedroom from the doorway
Bedroom from the doorway
Looking straight in the doorway - yes it's big enough for the BF's sofa!
Looking straight in the doorway – yes it’s big enough for the BF’s sofa!

Just wait til I share the photos of the master suites we’re staying in! We’ll be back Monday afternoon, and I’ll read all your comments then.

Book storage

After reading about how Extra Organised stores her books, I thought I’d take a chance to review my books and where they are stored around our new house.  (By the way readers, help me remember to use OUR not MY… I need to share, and using sharing pronouns! I have to get out of the bad habits pronto!)

After three years of living with my parents, in a room LINED with books, I got a bit over seeing books around me.  Living in the loft, I hid most of my books behind closed doors.  I didn’t own a book shelf, and had only the skinniest shelf for displaying books, as shown below:

Well, the new house came with a great little built in book shelf, which I’ve used for what few books I own, and many other ornamental items, such as three birdcages.  Here’s a photo whip around of what my books are stored.

Top shelf is my 'files' binders and the bottom shelf is the unfiled!
Top shelf is my ‘files’ binders and the bottom shelf is the unfiled!
My collection of holocaust books and some french texts
My collection of holocaust books and some french texts
My high school photo album with two books that wouldn't fit where I hoped they would!
My high school photo album with two books that wouldn’t fit where I hoped they would!
Stacked and packed
Stacked and packed
Reference books and my stationary drawers
Reference books and my stationary drawers
Yes, to the right, are my childhood stamp collections!  There's also my three travel journals in the middle!
Yes, to the right, are my childhood stamp collections! There’s also my three travel journals in the middle!

How do you like your books? Lying down or like a library? Do you face them out like they do in book stores, and increasingly, libraries?

Entryway reveal

Well, I’ve finally got my stuff together, and I’m ready to show off a full snippet of my new place (code name Cohab’ Central).

Here we go!

View from the front door - the mirror's yet to be hung
View from the front door – the mirror’s yet to be hung
Entry way and the buffet
Entry way and the buffet
The BF's change receptacle - he stored it on the floor, before I came along!
The BF’s change receptacle – he stored it on the floor, before I came along!
The box for the BF's effects
The box for the BF’s effects
Outbound bags for shopping and returns to people
Outbound bags for shopping and returns to people
The hall comes with a closet, so one half is for the linens
The hall comes with a closet, so one half is for the linens
Show rack INSIDE the linen closet - such a win!
Show rack INSIDE the linen closet – such a win!
More shoes, and the donations/freecycle box
More shoes, and the donations/freecycle box
Ikea Grundtl S hooks fitted over the existing railing.  I knew I'd be too lazy to use coat hangers.
Ikea Grundtl S hooks fitted over the existing railing. I knew I’d be too lazy to use coat hangers.
The gym supplements, hats, there's a heater in the box...
The gym supplements, hats, there’s a heater in the box…

So there begins the tour of the new house.  To compare it to my last place?

Now, all in one, before, in two locations
Now, all in one, before, in two locations
When I could drill vs making to with what I've got
When I could drill vs making to with what I’ve got

There you have it!

House Inventory

Inspired again, by An Exacting Life, I decided I should do a house inventory.  Over a few months, I’ve share a number of posts, and this is the post that links them all together in one place.

What also prompted me to do this fiddly task was the fact that  when my contents insurance came due, I asked about what the insured value was.  It seems they annually increase the amount insured.  A smart idea for most people.  But I wondered when I first got the policy if it wasn’t a little overstated on the contents value – so I was wary when it increased again for the next year.

I worried ‘what if they know something I don’t know’.  I thought I could sit down with a nice spreadsheet, and work room by room to work out what I have, what I paid for it, and what it might cost to replace. The bulk of my ‘stuff’ was purchased in the last 18 months, since I moved.  In 90% of those cases, I have the receipt filed.

Some was bought prior to 2012, such as my bed, the mattress and other ‘bedroom’ stuff.  I was lucky to be ‘gifted’ some appliances,  and I took all sorts of things from Mum and Dad’s house (with permission of course).  Where things were purchased in the past, or ‘stolen’ – I’ve worked out the replacement costs. From privacy’s sake, I’ve not shared the cost of items in my posts, but there’s lots of lovely photos.

I did not include my stationary as it was of negligible value.  In the event my place burnt down, the replacement of these items would be on an as needed basis.  Also, a lot of the stuff was from when i was a student, and I ‘worked’ from home.  Now that I work in an office, my access to stationary is sufficient at work that I need a much smaller collection at home.

Lastly, this post is of my stuff – there’s more now that we’re two households, and I’m planning a cheeky poem to outline the duplication (in the form of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’).

What do you think I might have missed?  I certainly haven’t counted all my screws, but they are pictured in my ‘buffet drawers’ post.