Wednesday, April 30, 2014

De-Clutter Project: Week 18

I'll be honest with you here...there has not been a lot accomplished this week. I think I really needed a break after the tremendous amount of work it took to clean up after the flood in my house. I was burned out.

The good news is that I seem to have my creative mojo back! I've felt unmotivated and uninspired for so long but it finally seems to have come back. Just in time to gear up for the vending season. *smile*

Over the weekend, I pushed myself tirelessly to make two pieces for the Bead Soup Blog Party scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd. There were several moments of utter frustration when things were not working out as I wanted. After all that, I found out today that the reveal has been postponed for one week. I may actually have time to design a third piece with some of the left over components.

I also made some paper beads and created a necklace with co-ordinating glass beads on Sunday. The paper beads are made from magazine pages and advertising flyers that would otherwise go into the recycling bin. I really like how this necklace turned out. The paper bead project continues.

Paper crafts in general have interested me for some time. I finally took the plunge and made my first hand-made greeting card. I'm fairly pleased with the results. For a first attempt, it's not bad. It's a learning process, I know, and I did make a few mistakes that will be corrected next time. For starters, I think that I was a little over generous with the craft glue and it oozed out onto the face of the card.

I will have to get back to the de-cluttering project in the coming week. There are still bags and boxes of stuff that need to be sorted, then put away or disposed of. A lot of stuff was damaged and will be taken to the dump. There is quite a bit that will be heading out the door to Goodwill too.

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 17

Week 17: Evening Moments
When the day begins to quietly slip away
and the calm of evening floods over the land,
we slowly let the world's challenges
slide away, at least for awhile.

What better way to spend a gorgeous Spring evening than to go for a stroll at The Mill Pond as the sun is setting.

To see the Evening Moments of the other participants, check out the links below...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bead Soup Progress

The date of the Bead Soup Blog Hop reveal is fast approaching and I'm not ready. To be honest, with all the personal crisis in my life over the last few weeks, I have not had the energy to even think about it. There has been NO progress.

Now that things have settled down a bit, I have to buckle down and spend some serious time this weekend coming up with a design for the lovely components sent to me by my partner, Janet, of JayBee Jewelry Designs.

I saved a tutorial a couple of months ago for an interesting pendant that I might try. I will likely spend some time this evening looking at my back issues of Jewelry Stringing magazine, my favourite resource for inspiration when I need a nudge to get started. I'm sure that Lori Anderson's book, "Bead Soup: 32 Projects Show What Happens When 26 Beaders Swap Their Stash", will be utilized too.

The clock is ticking. I have no time to waste now. The laundry might have to wait and the yard work as well. The cats will still demand their feedings at the regularly scheduled times but, other than that, nothing else will get done before I finish my bead soup creations.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

De-Clutter Project: Week 17

I'm an occasional follower of the FlyLady, an online resource for anyone trying to de-clutter their home and their life. Her topic this week really hit a nerve with me, 'Is Your Bedroom a Junk Yard?'.

Yes, it is. I hate to have to admit that but it's true.

"Are you still trying to sleep in the midst of a junk yard? You know exactly what I am talking about! Your bedroom! Over time it has become the graveyard for things that have no home. It is time for you to purge these things from your bedroom. I want your bedroom to be a haven for you each evening when you put your head on your pillow."

I began the process by cleaning off the top of my dresser. It was piled so high with stuff that you could not see the lovely quilted runner my mother made for me. There were receipts, coins, craft supplies, pay stubs, buttons, tools, jewelry and an assortment of other miscellaneous items on it. None of those things belonged there.

It looks a lot better now, much improved. I can actually see and admire the Fenton glassware, my great-grandmother's jewelry box and the vintage milk glass lamp I bought at an antique store.

Purging the drawers will be the next task. I know there is a ton of stuff in those that shouldn't be!

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 16

Week 16: A Moment Best Captured in Black & White
Sometimes, when there is no distraction of colour,
the image is no longer just a photo
but a clean, deeper, honest look at life.

This week I captured a sad moment in time but perhaps best captured in black and white due to the circumstances. On April 14th a devastating fire ripped through the church I attended when I lived in Aurora, Ontario many years ago. Fire crews worked around the clock trying to save the heritage building to no avail.

Fighting the flames - CTV news photo
My boys went to Sunday school here, we attended services in this building and spent many hours within these walls for a variety of other activities. My mother and I enrolled in several quilting classes that took place here. I worked for the nursery school in the north wing for awhile.

A plaque erected in front of the church says...

"In 1818, Methodists began worshipping here in a log meeting house on land acquired from William Tyler. In 1855, this building was replaced by a more substantial frame structure. It was damaged by fire and replaced in 1878 by the present church, designed by Henry Langley and built of bricks made in the valley two blocks west of this site. In 1893, the church's spires were destroyed by a cyclone. Additions have included a west wing in 1909, narthex in 1957, and north wing in 1987. In 1925, the Aurora Methodist Church became the Aurora United Church."

For the 190th anniversary of the church, this poster was on one of the large bulletin boards inside. People were encouraged to write down their memories and add them to the board. There was so many that they began to over-flow onto the picture itself.

The architect, Henry Langley, designed the church in the Gothic Revival style. It lost one of its original spires in a great storm in 1893 and both spires were removed in 1943, having been struck by lightning several times. The sanctuary was renovated in 2009.

The church , as it stood, before the fire - photo by Bhapy Sun

After the fire was extinguished and the smoke cleared - CTV news photo
I drove north to Aurora this morning to see the damage done by the fire but was not prepared for the effect that seeing the church would have on me. I stood by the security fence and cried.

View from the front
All that is left standing is the front facade and the newest addition on the north side. It's a devastating loss to the town and to the congregants.

View from the south side
The demolition crews are already on site to bring the rest of it down and haul away the debris. It makes me teary eyed just thinking about it again. I hope they can salvage the stained glass windows in the front to incorporate in the new building to come.

View from the north-east
View from the south-west
Another view from the south-west
You can, if you are so inclined, donate to the fund to re-build the church building but as the declaration on the church webpage says, "Moving forward we need to keep in mind that WE, the members of Aurora United Church, ARE the Church - wherever we gather. We are the hearts and hands on the journey."

To see the moments best captured in black and white of the other participants, check out the links below...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

De-Clutter Project: Week 16

There is still so much clean up to do after the flood. I don't know where to begin. I never want to have to go through this painful, clean up and sorting process again. The pile of trash bags gets bigger every day.

I promise and swear that I will not indiscriminately accumulate useless stuff anymore! Anything new that comes into this house will have a specified purpose. No more buying things without careful thought and consideration.

Will this item help me do something that I need to do? Will it make my life easier and more enjoyable? Or will owning it become a burden very quickly? Will it get stuck in a corner, never used or loved?

Let's be realistic...I don't need a dozen bath-size towels, when we always end up using the same two. Having a couple of spares on hand makes sense but is it really necessary to have ten extra towels, taking up space and never getting used? I don't think so.

I'm looking at everything with the same critical eye these days. I've been brutally reminded this past week or two just how costly all this extra baggage is, not only financially, but personally too. It is draining the energy right out of me. It's emotionally exhausting and stressful.

I hope that by sharing the difficult lessons I've learned, I will save some of you from a similar fate. I wouldn't wish this upon anyone.

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 15

Week 15: A Moment of Focus
Allow yourself to focus on one moment,
one subject. A crisp, clear
moment of focus.

Being present each moment is the only way
to enjoy life to the fullest.

I, not events, have the power to make me happy
or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet.
I have just one day, today,
and I'm going to be happy in it.
 ~~Groucho Marx~~

To see the Moments of Focus for the other participants, check out the links below...

De-Clutter Project: Week 15

I'm REALLY late posting this week, but better late than never. The worst of the household crisis is behind me. The basement is finally dried out after the flood and now comes the task of putting it all back together. It has been an exhausting week.

One good thing to come out of it though. It has forced me to step up my pace and get right into the de-cluttering project. We've done one junk run to the dump so far and have enough stuff outside in bags for another couple this weekend.

This experience has been humbling, and put my shame right in front of my face where I can see it. I could not believe all the things that I've been keeping, storing, ignoring and forgetting.

So, many things will NOT be going back into the drawers and boxes. I've been brutal with the discarding of things this week. The good usable stuff has gone to the Goodwill store or Value Village and there will be more as the clean up progresses.

The big dolls are all packed away in the cedar chest for now, until the day that I have the time to enjoy them again. Some items you just have to hold onto and my dolls are one of them. *smile*

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 14

Week 14: Morning Moments
That quiet routine that starts your day.
What are your morning moments?

My mornings are fairly predictable. We really are creatures of habit, aren't we? The alarm clock goes off at 6 a.m. and the rest of the family are still sleeping. After the obligatory trip to the bathroom, with the cats howling to be fed the whole time, I make my way to the kitchen. 

I insist on filling the kettle with water and plugging it in BEFORE pulling out the cat bowls and food. There is typically a lot of complaining from the felines when I don't put their needs first. *smile* 

By the time the cats are nibbling away on their breakfast, my water is boiled and ready to pour into the teapot. I look forward to that quiet cuppa tea. I usually sit in front of my computer and check my e-mails while I savour each sip. I love my tea!

Then, when the last drop is drained from the cup, it's time to get the day started in earnest. There are always so many things we must do in our day, but those first quiet morning moments can bolster us for what is ahead.

To see the Morning Moments of the other participants, check out the links below...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

De-Clutter Project - Week 14

This photo represents the chaos in my life
This week has been full of family crisis and other personal calamity. I'm a day late with this post and I apologize for that. I cannot get into all the details but suffice it to say, it's been very stressful and upsetting.

I should have taken a photo of all the stuff that went out to the road on garbage/recycling day this week. We even put a few things in front of the neighbours' house because we'd gone over our garbage bag limit. Thank goodness you can put out as much recycling as you want. We had a lot of it!

Seriously, why have I kept the BOXES for every appliance, big or small, that I've purchased in the last ten years? I was amazed at the number of them that I had stored in cupboards and under beds. A lot of the boxes, and the associated manuals, were for items that I no longer even own. Absolutely crazy!!

I shredded a lot of old papers too. There is something very satisfying about shredding paper when you are having a bad day/week. *smile* Two big bags of shredded paper when out to the road too.

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?