Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cleaning house

I got a summer job (and they've asked me to stay on as a permanent employee) as a housekeeper. So now I clean for a living. Not that I'm OCD and am always cleaning and straitening things anyway...

It goes in spurts, actually. My room will be a total mess for a while and then I'll finally clean it, which usually involves getting rid of a large number of possessions. Then it usually gets messy again pretty quickly (although it helps that I now have no car and almost no money, so I don't go out and buy a whole lot of stuff these days).

But now I clean for a living - specifically, I clean units after someone leaves, or before someone comes in. So I not only clean the actual dirt, but I also see the units without personal possessions, only the dishes/decorations/furniture/etc that we provide for the guests. There's no linen closet with 20 sets of twin sheets stuffed into it, no closets with 50 board games, and no huge bookshelves that still need an overflow box for books that don't fit. The beds are made, and we leave 1 extra set of sheets per bed, 2 sets of towels per person, a specific number of soaps, etc, and everything has a specific place. So every day I'm in furnished, decorated, livable units, but without all the excess unnecessary stuff everywhere.

As a result, I'm now getting a little bit obsessive (more than I already was) about not just putting things up, but actually having a place for everything. In other words, having few enough possessions that they can all be put away and belong somewhere. If you have a lot of things you don't use, there won't be space for it all, and you can never find the things you want to use, and there are things you would use, but you forget you have it because you can't see it under all the other things.

So in the past few days, we've gone through the cooking utensil jars by the stove, 2 utensil drawers, the cup cabinet, the video/dvd shelf, the game room, and the book shelf (including the overflow box).

In the kitchen we found (just from what I can remember):

  • 4 ice cream scoops (we kept 2)
  • 3 manual can openers (kept 1)
  • 4 cord shorteners (kept none)
  • around 10 each of big cooking spoons, small cooking spoons, rubber spatulas, and turners (kept a few)
  • about 6 whisks, several of them the exact same sizes (kept a few)
  • 8 sippy cups (for just 2 sippy-cup-using grandkids) (kept 4)
  • a set of 3 of something, we're not sure what they are (kept, I was going to see if I could look up what they were)
  • 2 EZ 3-way openers we don't know how to use (kept none)
  • 4 pizza cutters (kept 2)
There was a lot more stuff, but it was more normal things (or things it's more normal to have duplicates of) like measuring spoons.

While the kitchen drawers/jars were full and hard to open, we had to get rid of a bunch of DVDs because the movie shelf was actually over capacity. For a long time, we've had movies stacked in front of movies, and a few on the floor in front of the shelf. So now we are at exactly 100% of the shelf's capacity, as opposed to 150%. One in, one out! I know that's a hard rule to follow, and it's very stressful for some people to "out" items, but the alternative is to "in" without "outing" and be stressed by the overflow of stuff in the house.

Here's a picture of a Goodwill run we had:

1 bag is some old baby clothes my sister had had in the attic, 1 is some of her old school books, and the rest of the bags are books from the shelf/overflow box in the living room.

What do you have in your house that you really don't need?

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I'm almost finished making my first quilt.

I started one once, and got about 6 blocks all the way finished (plus a few others mostly finished). Mostly I quit because it got repetitive and boring, and I paused for a really long time and never came back to it. Which is actually a good thing, because when I looked at them before throwing them out the other day, I couldn't believe how bad my completed blocks were. 4 of them looked awful (although 2 of them were actually pretty passable for a new-ish sewer with no patience and no rotary cutter). Also, I'd had the fabric (and patience) to make a twin size quilt with that design, but I have since switched to a queen size bed. So it was just as well. Quitting is sometimes totally okay.

So I started all over. Since I've been redoing my room (pictures will come, really!), I was looking for a blanket/quilt/comforter that would match my room better and be warmer than what I have now (a thin flannel duvet cover which neither matches my room nor has a duvet in it). Unfortunately, everything I could find either a) didn't come in a color that matched b) had the cheap backing that can get a little melty in the dryer c) was super expensive d) a and b but not c e) and and c but not b f) not enough information given.

Okay, just kidding about f. Just reminiscing about multiple choice math word problems from high school.

Anyway, I did find one I really liked, and was considering maybe committing the $70 for it once I got my next paycheck. But then I wondered if I could find an easy-enough quilt pattern I liked and in my folly thought I might actually save money. So I looked through my quilt board on Pinterest and decided to make this quilt from Make It Handmade, also posted on Moda Bake Shop.

So instead of spending $70 on a comforter I liked, there's over $100 invested in this quilt ($20 of it I already had in my stash, and $35 of it my mom bought for me, so I personally spent about $50 specifically for this quilt).

All stitching is done, it's turned right-side-out (it's bindingless), and it's pin basted. All I have to do now is the actual quilting. I'm going to do it with embroidery floss or perl cotton.

So, we'll see how it turns out.

Update Finished quilt found here and here

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Bedroom cake

I have my room all painted now.

Before (after removing deocrations).Doodling. (PINK FLOD is an inside joke.)
Mostly painted.Finished.

The walls are kind of teal-ish (Valspar "Starry Sky"), but they're more green than I expected based on the sample. The trim is Valspar "Vanilla Bean".

I think it looks like a birthday cake. Not that I've ever seen a green birthday cake, but the color of the trim looks like icing, and is also (roughly) the same color as my birthday cake flavoured candy melts.

I took the closet door off and replaced it with a curtain. That should make it easier to reach things in there, and will give me more space to put furniture (like a chair) on that side of the room. I also had blinds before, but I took them down and put up a length of fabric as a temporary curtain before this picture was taken. I may get new blinds, if I can find affordable ones that look like bamboo.

We finished all the painting yesterday, and today we waxed the floor. Right now I'm experimenting with curtains. I won't be using white (too different from "vanilla bean" to match, but too similar to be an on-purpose different colour), but I have them up to decide whether I like the more see-through ones or the more solid ones. So far, I like the see-through ones better for the windows, but they're just so frilly. They're not something I would have picked out. For the closet, I like what's there (except for being white). The translucence gives it a nice touch. Any more solid and it would be more boring; any more see-through, and you can see all the junk inside.

Right now I'm off to do a second coat of floor wax and then, when the floor dries, an Eiffel Tower on the wall.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


I'm painting my room. What do you think?

Just kidding. Sort of. I'm going to use that lighter teal colour to cover the walls, and then I may or may not paint a design over it in white or off-white. So far the Eiffel Tower is the only one that I would actually want on my wall. Believe it or not, I don't actually want PINK FLOD on my wall. (Not a typo. It's an inside joke. We saw graffiti once that said PINK FLOD, with no Y.)

So here are some of the designs I played around with.

And here's my first try at an Eiffel Tower. This is why you don't paint famous landmarks from memory.