Tuesday, 10 July 2018

I Never Claimed To Be Picasso

I never claimed to be good at art, but what I do have is intermittent enthusiasm. I like doing things that don't cost a mint in materials and that could possibly be an example for my students to do on their own. Thus I have made a little pact with myself to focus mainly on ideas I can translate to small people. I like thinking of ideas for recycled/repurposed materials and doodling and zentangling is cool too.

Right now I am thinking about painted stones and altered trading card style items. I have also done a little messy painty thing for Danny for his birthday card...don't bother with cards usually, but this is made of stuff I already have.

I'm having fun...and that's what counts...as well as spending little to no money! Even better,

Wednesday, 4 July 2018


I'm in the process of getting my art mojo back. I used to create....a lot. Usually out of paint, or recycled bits and bobs. I can see possibility in many things, colours, textures and old cardboard boxes. I packed a lot of my art stuff away when I moved a while back and whilst I often think about being creative, I tend to stick to reading.

But, I feel like my creative juices are beginning to flow again. I feel like lots of ideas are coming through my brain and I am raring to go. One thing I am going to have a play with, is creating Frankentoys...using lots of sad, old and crappy toys from the tip to make a mish-mash of weirdness. I don't like spending much money on anything, so I like to stick to found/recycled/given/tip items...

I will post anything I make or create. My work is NOT sophisticated, even slightly.  But, if I enjoy it, I don't even care.

The only issue is what do I do with it once it is made, it's definitely a minimalist's dilemma.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Three Bags And Counting

 Following on from my post yesterday, I trotted off to see if there was anything I could release. At this stage, I have filled three plastic supermarket bags. It's hardly the multiple black bin bags of yesteryear, but then again, my wardrobe is not the mammoth clothing superstore of BHS proportions either. At present I have been rotating four pairs of jean/jegging type pants and they have tipped over the cusp. So, it was time to release them. The jeans I do still have don't fit me, so I will be in dresses for work until I fit back into them. What I won't be doing is buying 'interim' pants! I don't really like wearing dresses for work as they're not really practical, so I am hoping this will keep me continually focused so I can invite the new smaller/older jeans back into my life.

I've also spotted some kitchenware that can go too. We don't, or haven't bought any hygiene products for about a year now, other than toothpaste. I buy in bulk, so we are using this down, in order to have less to shift. We are not hoarders of anything, but it is still fun to use things up and create space. I gave away an ornament on Friday and I am still sure I can find other things.

In other news, H and I went walking and I found some lovely oak leaves and mushrooms that I thought were worth photographing. I love the mystical quality of nature, especially oak and mushroom. There's something so ancient about them and it takes me back to a feeling of pagan/forest stories. There's nothing ancient about our suburb, but nature quietly makes a presence felt and connects us, no matter where we might be.

Ok, time to go do a bit of a tidy (should take about five minutes then). It's a lovely day and I have a Swedish horror book to devour.

See you!

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Decluttering The Decluttered

Our house is a very minimalist sort of place. When we finally move to our new house, it won't take much. One trip in a hired, small truck. And that's because of our beds and fridge. But I am on the lookout for prior 'still-to-get-rid-of' items. I don't want to take anything that has no purpose or reason to be in our lives. Why lug it around if it's surplus to requirements?

In contrast, we have made a pledge to not buy anything new before we move. I noticed that the moment we knew a move was imminent, I was slowly, in the back of my mind, wondering, if there were anything new we would need at the new place.

I know we will need a few new things when we move, but as yet, I don't know exactly what. The garden is much larger, the vegetable garden well established and much outdoor living type things that may need to be addressed. But as yet, neither of us know exactly what is required.

So we're buying nothing, until a real need appears.

So in the interim, i'll be rehousing a few things and adding nothing to the current items in our house.

The easier it is to move things, the less stress there'll be.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Tightwad And Proud

I feel the need to be even tighter with my money at the moment. I haven't been spending or being wasteful with my money, but feel I need to batten down the hatches even more.

Not sure why, not sure how...but I am thinking of ways to be even more frugal.

Being frugal isn't really something I think of terribly much anymore, since I do really only spend money on the things that are necessary. I don't worry about running out of money a day or two before payday, because the money that I save and spend each fortnight doesn't deviate much. I know what goes out, what comes in and what should be there for food, petrol and so on.

I did recently buy some new clothes. Just practical things like a rain coat for myself and our son, a hoody and some work shirts, nothing unuseable, and nothing OTT in price. This felt almost delicious. It has been so long since I have had any new clothes and my attachment to fashion is less than zero. I thought for a few days before I bought the new items, and really honed it down to what we needed. I then found the money in an account that I put $25 a fortnight in and that paid for the items. I wish I had been this sensible twenty years ago, but not to worry, it's fun to be in better control now.

Have you been frugal yourself? Or are you so frugal you don't need to think about it anymore...it just is the way it is?

Sunday, 24 June 2018

"But you've Got To Have Some Fun Franny!"

H and I do a lot of walking. We live in a nice peaceful suburb, which has plenty of safe walking paths, with quite a bit of nature (for a suburb). I aim for at least 11 000 steps a day, though mostly more. I use my ipod as a step counter, it seems pretty accurate and it does all kinds of things like graph your steps from the day you begun using the app. It tells you when you've walked as far as Europe, different countries, rivers etc, when you're most active and so on and so on. I like statistics...well ones that mean something to me, anyway.

Basically, if I can walk, read, have a coffee, mess about a bit in the garden and learn something interesting, I am set. Don't need anything more than that.

So the other day, we were talking retirement in a group situation. A friend of mine was making a comment about how well I can save, how making so-called sacrifices now, was paying off for me in the long run. I replied with my usual "Oh you know, it doesn't cost much to entertain me, walking, coffee, reading...that's me, happy!". Another person in the group answered, incredulous...

" Yes, but you have to have some fun Franny!"

And that I guess is the crux of this post, she's still scrabbling about working in her mid-sixties, and i'll be retired significantly more quickly. When there's a late 4 or early 5 at the beginning of my age.

I'm not belittling this person, she does exactly what is right for her. But what is right for her, is not right for me. And the presumption that what I do, doesn't constitute fun, is where the difference is. My fun costs pennies, hers costs thousands...(big posh car, overseas holidays...) and that's fine. But one does not "win" over the other, one simply allows different choices at different times. And one of the choices also allows me to walk my neighbourhood, take cool pictures and then post them, doctored, on our blog!


Saturday, 23 June 2018

Early One Morning Just As The Sun Was Rising...

Danny and I decided to get up quite early this morning and take a drive. Life has been getting in the way of our dates and time together lately, what with work, house viewings and all associated house moving business, we needed some 'us' time.

We initially thought we might go to a local pub, on the river, for a coffee and brunch. But I decided a brunch costing $25 pp for one item (I checked their website) was not where I wanted to spend my hard earned buck.

So we drove further down the river, close to where we are moving to and ate there, half the cost, twice as much food...I couldn't finish my portion.

It was a fabulous winter's day. H and I went for an 8 kilometre walk when we got home and I was in my t-shirt. It really doesn't take much to live a happy fulfilled life. No piece of clothing, no fast car, no foreign holiday could ever please me as much as my simple pleasures do.

And for that, I am grateful.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Really Special Things...Pay Attention!

Ok, I don't know what this picture has to do with anything, but it makes me laugh. This is our fur boy, peering suspiciously at the camera, then enhanced with some fangs and devilishness. It makes me laugh anyway, despite being blurred!

Today is the shortest day of the year (in the Antipodes anyway!) and it brings me to one of my obsessions, the weather and the seasons. I love keeping a watch on what is happening out there, in real life. This morning I missed the sunrise as it was raining and instead I dodged the raindrops as I walked to my office. I didn't mind this. It often occurs to me, and not in a maudlin way, that every season I see is one less in my life, but one more than I have previously seen. I wish to make sure I pay more attention and focus towards natural earthly changes, to make the most of the beauty around me. Seasons make me happy, they make me grateful and they certainly inspire me with their colours and changes. They're the real tellers of time.

I often reflect that all the things I say I like, I really spend a lot of time ignoring. I say I love to see rain droplets on plants, or sun rays through the clouds, but then if you were to ask me when was the last time I spent time looking at these things, I might reply that "I can't remember..."

Time to focus on what's really special to me...I hope you focus on what's special to you.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Gratitude Never Hurt Anyone

I am often quick to anger. I am quick to whinge and carry on. I have been rather grumpy and introspective lately and this doesn't impress me much. I am very lucky to have someone who is tolerant and so understanding, and sometimes I don't truly believe I deserve such empathy. But one thing I am, is grateful. I have been such a whiner recently, that I am making every attempt to seek gratitude in as much as I possibly can, to also look out for the positive things that make life fabulous.

Here they are, in no particular order...
a) When my kid allows me to kiss him.
b) Having a good night's sleep.
c) The first coffee of the day.
d) A sunrise seen as I do my first couple of kilometres each day.
e) Frost on rigid grass stalks.
f) Roast chicken and veggies, with gravy.
g) Seeing my parents.
h) Rain through the window and beating on the roof.
i) An inspired blog post.
j) Students having a breakthrough or using fabulous vocabulary.
k) Free time to read without interuptions.
l) When cuttings take and create a whole new plant.
m) Seeing plaits in my student's hair and the creativity of their parents with the styles.
n) Children's art work.
o) A good BBC drama, like Broadchurch.
p) Curry
q) Snuggling on the sofa whilst trying to finish a crossword.
r) Hitting my daily walking total early on in the day.

Now, I am sure there's lots more to be grateful for...but straight away, having outlined a few....I feel perkier already.

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, 18 June 2018

Waking Up In Winter

We are a suburban family at the moment, and it's a nice suburb we live in. We have rare cause to go into town, maybe once or twice a month, although our son H goes to school, in town, daily. We have been discussing how, since we rarely go into town, even living in a suburb seems kind of busy to us now. It's funny how perspectives change.

When I was younger, I always lamented how the town I lived in, was a little quiet, compared to the city I was brought up in.

Then I moved to the suburbs, and felt that the quiet town I had lived in as a twenty something seemed too busy, compared with the 'burbs.

Now I am about to move the country, and the suburb I lived in seems too hectic, too full of people and with too many folks who don't hang out their washing, on a line, because they think it messes up the prettiness of their yards.

Now all we want is to be left alone. To be away from people, and cars, and smoke, and shopping malls....life gets smaller, but at the same time grows oh so much bigger.

Do you love where you live?

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Time Teaches Me But I'm Not A Willing Student

When we first received the acceptance on the house we wanted to buy, I gave myself a talking to. I said that I would not allow impatience to creep in, and that I'd let things take a natural course.

I'm not very good at this.

My inner impatience wants to move immediately.

It's a mild winter's day as I write, it's quite bright, with occasional droplets of rain. The wind is blowing the few plants we do have in the back courtyard and I am impatient. I am thinking of the one acre we have to look forward to, with the chickens and multiple vegetable gardens, FIVE compost heaps, polytunnel and fruit  cages already doing their magic. They've been lovingly created by the current owners and I have made a commitment that we will continue with this amazing bounty.

And I'm impatient.

But, I'm also very happy. Very lucky to think that, so long as our house sells, this place, by the water, close to a perfect beach, will be our family's home.

Just have to let it come...in the world's own magical time.