Quick DIY for the Home

So, my new house has quite a bit of space, and I have many plans on how to fill that space. Of course, most things must now go on the back burner until I find a new full time job (different story for a different time), but in the meantime there are a few little things I’ve done to make the house feel more like my own home.

I get antsy without a project. I’m midway through a dress at the moment, but after the first fitting it was too big, and then some life stuff happened, and getting out of bed has been really hard lately, and so all motivation to finish it went out the window. But I digress. Because of all this, I haven’t done anything creative for a couple of weeks now, and yesterday my creative urge came back with a vengeance.

I have this old, tired corkboard/whiteboard in my bedroom that I’ve literally had for years. And yesterday I decided it was time for an upgrade, to a fresh new message board. So, I got myself a new corkboard and a frame, and set about my quick afternoon project. It’s really quite simple, and no sewing required. First, I removed the original aluminium frame from the board. I cut it to size, to make sure it would fit within the frame. I then cut a piece of fabric the same size, plus a little extra on each side to wrap around the board. Once in place, I used a hot glue gun to secure the fabric, set it inside the frame, replaced the backboard and screwed it all in place. The end result is a suave new board to hang on my wall!

The other simple DIY from a few weeks back, was a quick sewing project. Basically, I have a tendency to hoard fabric scraps. Mostly because I convince myself I’ll find a use for even the smallest bit of discarded fabric. Often times, that’s not the case, and my collection of scraps was getting out of hand. So, I decided to make a door snake. I measured the width of the bottom of the door, and then I cut a rectangle length of fabric to match (adding a little extra for seam allowance). Using just a simple straight stitch, I folded the fabric in half, right sides together, and ran a single line of stitching along the raw edge at the bottom, and along the long side, leaving one side open. I turned it inside out, and stuffed it with pieces of scrap fabric until the snake was full. Then I turned the edges on the open side in to hide to raw edge, and sewed the opening closed. Simple, quick, and a good use of discarded fabric! Winning all round!

Anyway. My next project will be a curtain for the toilet window (there’s construction going on behind my house, and the last thing I need is a tradie walking past when I need to pee!), and after that…well, like I said, I have a lot of space to fill!

House Dreams 

Recently I’ve become obsessed with the notion of owning a home. I’ve started walking again lately, in a twofold attempt to both return to a semi fit state of being, and to hopefully ease the back pain that is now into the third week. On these walks I’ve been paying attention to the houses I pass, and some of them are so tidy and quaint and cute and lovely that I can’t help but fantasise about one day owning one. 

It is at times like this that Pinterest is in equal measures an excellent tool for inspiration, and a blazing reminder of everything I do not (yet) have. I have been scouring the site for the last hour, pinning everything that catches my eye…and where my “home” board is concerned, that’s a lot of pins. I do not need a giant house, and rather have been more drawn to smaller, more unique structures than larger and more modern designs. I am a fan of Tudor cottages, of stone structures with a red doors (Rolling Stones, anyone?), of quaint little places with wide verandas shaded by large trees. Basically, anything small, unique and potentially fairytale-like, and I’m all over it like glitter on a gay pride parade.

My desire to own a house has come in large part from the realisation that, at nearly 25, I am not only back living at home, but without any real savings. At the moment what savings I do have is going towards a trip to the U.S next year, but after that? Put it this way, I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the rest of my life paying someone else’s mortgage. I want a house of my own because I want to be able to hang art on the walls without fear of losing a bond. I want to be able to own a dog without repercussion from a landlord. I want to be able to set up a sewing room with all the bits and bobs to make it easy and accessible and a complete creative space. 

I have decided that now is the time to start being a proper adult…about certain things, in any case. So I guess, amidst all the repayments I’m making, the tax deductions, the fees I’m paying, the money I’m trying to save and the general cost of living, I’m going to try and set some money aside for the “future house fund”. And since its gonna take me a million years to do it on my wage, I guess I have a lot of time to scour Pinterest and perfect the idea of what I want. Red door and giant veranda, here I come!

Cramped Creativity

I’m feeling a little cramped at the moment. This is partly due to having no space at dad’s (once again, not his fault) and partly due to the fact that I wish I could just take a month off from everything, sit down and create.

I’m really enjoying my new job, and I can’t adequately express how much I love being at home. In the last month I have been infinitely better and happier than I ever really was in the whole nine months I spent in the city. My life, as a whole, has greatly improved. So please don’t think I’m just here to complain!

As I’ve said (countless times) before, I am a creative person, and making stuff or writing stuff or practicing stuff is what keeps me grounded and mostly even tempered and…y’know, sane. And it’s been a fair while since I’ve really done any. Whilst it’s true that I am in the middle of making a dress, it’s a little different than casual calm creating because a) the friend I’m making it for is in the city, whereas I am at home and b) there is a certain element of stress and pressure that comes with making a dress for someone to wear to her wedding. Don’t get me wrong; my friend has been lovely and accommodating and patient…so very patient with me. Rather it’s a kind of self imposed pressure to not fuck it up because let’s face it; that would suck.

When the dress is done, I have another skirt to finish for my friend Lou. It’s mostly complete but I stuffed up the zip insertion and so now have to buy a new one and fix it properly. Then I have a pair of pants to make for my friend’s six year old son, and then I’ve been asked if I can repair a favourite leather handbag of a woman I work with. It’s great that I’m getting all these requests but it does make it hard to find the time to complete them when I’m working full time and still travelling to the city every weekend. I mean, I haven’t even had time to do my own washing in the last two weeks, much less find time to sew!

And do you remember my 200 words a day writing goal? Well, that’s fallen completely by the wayside. My laptop died and I never had the time and so when I got home, I bought a new tablet to replace my poor dead Atticus. Of course I then got home to discover that it’s not compatible with iTunes so I have to find another way to store and play my music. And, despite being a Microsoft tablet, is doesn’t have Microsoft Office installed…! Which means no writing program for me! At least until I buy the program…at nearly $300 a pop. *sigh*

Now, it’s unlikely that I’ll find that month to take off, especially since I’ve just signed a full time contract for the next six months. But I’m considering another trip to Tassie next year so maybe I’ll get another creative holiday in there then. Until that time though, I shall just have to squeeze in creating time where I can and then perhaps stop taking on commissions one after another!

Oh! Fun little fact which is slightly off topic but which excites me greatly; I’m getting the internet set up at home! Which means I can write blogs on my laptop instead of my phone, and most importantly, try and utilise YouTube to potentially learn how to play my many instruments! It’s a brave new world, y’all! 

Adjusting to Home 

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I’ve been home for exactly three weeks. The city already seems like a horrible, yet distant memory to me now. Life back home is…easier. Calmer. Infinitely better. Everything is closer, more accessible, more familiar and has the gentle aura of comfort that turns everything a fuzzy shade of contentment. Life is good.

In the last three weeks, I have

  • Started a new job
  • Joined a gym
  • Gotten a new tattoo
  • Had dinner in front of an open fire
  • Finally purchased a replacement for my old and mostly dead laptop
  • Almost finished the first half of a wedding dress commission (that I’ve been trying to work on since the start of the year!)
  • Gotten reacquainted with the ghost that lives in dad’s house (I’ve missed my ghost)

Things are definitely looking up. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few…minor downsides to the move. Firstly is that I moved back in with my dad. My dad is not the problem, he’s one of my favourite people in the universe. The problem is the lack of space. I’m back in my old bedroom and without any cupboards or drawers, all my clothes presently live in piles on the floor, and in suitcases under the bed. Which is decidedly inconvenient and not ideal. And boy am I missing the days when I had an actual sewing room. Half of my sewing stuff is still in the house in the city, and the few things I do have here are squeezed into one tiny corner of dad’s dining room. Makes for quite the cramped creative environment. And then there is the fact that the return to my home town means the increased likelihood of running into a particular couple of people that were part of the reason I left in the first place. But, it’s all a small price to pay I guess, for a more positive mental state and regular days off!

Currently I am lying on the floor in front of the heater in my dad’s lounge room. It is one of my favourite places. I am warm and cozy, and texting my best friend, dinner is in the oven and everything is right in my little world right now.

Returning Home

Last year, all I wanted to do was get out of my home town. I was feeling stifled and stuck and needed a change. I decided to move to the city, thinking it was going to make things better. I was wrong. It has been probably the worst eight months of my life, and I could sit here for hours and tell you why, but who wants to read that?

I miss home. I miss it so much that I drive back at every opportunity, usually just for the day. I will happily get in my car and drive for two hours, just to spend some time away from the city that has turned me into a tense little ball of constant rage and discontent. The anger in me has begun to scare me. It is endless, and getting worse. Everything makes me angry, from the big things to the trivial. And I can’t stand being this way. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can.

I miss the comfort of my dad’s cooking, and my favourite spot on the floor in front of his heater. I miss not having to drive for 45 minutes just to get somewhere. I miss being comfortable and familiar enough with a place to get out and go for a walk. I miss being close to my friends and family. All of the things that I couldn’t wait to get away from last year are now all the things that I long for. I guess home will always be home, no matter how much you may want to run away from it sometimes.

Living in the city hasn’t really worked out so well for me. So I have decided, that for my health (mental and physical), and for my sanity, I am going to move back home. For the last couple of weeks I have been looking for work – no luck yet, but keep your fingers crossed – and once I find a job, I will make my happy (if not triumphant) return. The lease on this place is up in August, so if I have no luck between now and then, it’s doesn’t matter so much anyway. Moving back home is inevitable at this point.

I Hate It Here

I’m not usually a ‘blog every day’ kind of girl. I don’t think I’m that interesting for a start, but also I really don’t often have something to talk about every day. But lately I’ve been blogging a lot more frequently. This has to do with two things; I rarely have anything to do at work in the mornings and so I need something to fill my time, and I need to keep my mind occupied so I don’t focus too much on the negative things that are swirling around me at the moment. I am trying very, very hard to keep on top of it all, and to stay positive and try and not let the bad stuff bring me down, but it’s not easy. Plus, I made a promise to myself to write 200 words per day, and even if it may not be for my current writing project, it has to be for something. And thus, lots of blog posts.

So, I was going to actually write about this yesterday, but my thoughts about Bourke St seemed more appropriate at the time. I started thinking about this post as I was driving to work yesterday. It wasn’t a particularly warm day, despite the fact that we’re coming up on the hottest month of the year, and the sky to the north of my house (in the direction of the city) was dark and moody, with the tease of a storm in the air. As I drove towards those imposing clouds, the contrast of the sun at my back seeming to turn them a darker shade of gloom, all I could think was that I wanted to chase them. And there was a part of me that would have done so, if it weren’t for my sense of responsibility urging me towards my place of employment instead of in the direction of the storm I so desperately long for. (which ultimately died away before it got much more interesting than light showers anyway). All I wanted, all I want is to drive away from this city and never come back.

It’s been just shy of five months since I moved. Hardly a long term commitment to city living. But already, I’m itching to leave. In the words of my eternal hero, Spider Jerusalem; I hate it here.

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It’s a lot of things that contribute to this all consuming hatred for my current way of living. I miss living on my own, I miss not having to commute for an hour to get to work, I miss having a job that didn’t make me miserable. And it seems ever since moving to this shop, things have been going wrong and getting progressively worse, to the point where I doubt every single day, my ability to do my job. There is a possible opportunity for advancement within my job in the coming months. An opportunity that has the potential to get me set up for a good long while. But the more I think about it, the more I realise that I’m not sure I want it. Yes, it would be a good opportunity for me, and yes I could say that I had achieved something big at the age of 24. But the crushing anxiety and doubt may just be too much for me to handle. And I know that doesn’t exactly sound like it fits in with my whole positive vibe, but the flipside is that my mental and emotional health is going to be at rock bottom if I continue like this, and I firmly believe that my health and happiness is more important than any amount of money.

Though I still don’t think leaving my home town was the wrong move, I think the place I moved was the wrong place. I come from a big country town/city, and it seems all the things I grew to hate about it in the year or so before I moved, are now the things that I once again long for. Go figure. The problem is, to return to that town would be inevitably taking a step back, and that’s not the direction I want to go. I want to keep moving forward. And so last night, I did a thing. After day long consideration, I applied for a job in another state. It would be a huge move so soon after my first big move, but I figure what the hell? I’m not going to stress about it, I’m just going to wait and see what happens. If I hear back, then I can take it as a sign that it was a good decision. If I don’t hear back, it just means that it wasn’t the right opportunity, or the right time. I haven’t had much luck making my own decisions recently, so I’m going to leave it in the hands of fate. As my best friend often tells me; the universe provides.

Whatever happens now, all I know is that this isn’t what I want, and it isn’t where I am meant to be. And I’m tired of being unhappy with the live I lead. I want to experience things, and I want adventure, and I want to live. No more of this stagnant, boring existence. I told myself things were going to change, and this time I’m not going to let myself be held back, by myself, or anyone/anything else. This is my time.

Order in Chaos

I thrive on order and organisation. Both in my work life, and at my home, I like things to be tidy, and everything to be in its place. I have come to learn that living with someone else makes this difficult to achieve, and even more difficult to maintain. I lived on my own for over a year, and I loved it. I had a routine, I was able to do things my own way, and I could freely walk around naked without any fear of someone else seeing me. Though I do think I accidentally flashed the neighbour when I was getting changed one morning. But I digress.

I have always found tidying to be cathartic. I have a bizarre love of watching mess turn into order, and there is something calming about the end result. A neatly made bed, a tidy bench, and organised cupboard; all of these things bring me a kind of simple, and yet enormously rewarding satisfaction. Living with another person has taken some adjustment for me, because my housemate and I are very different people. I have to remember that my space isn’t just my space anymore; it is an area that we both share and occupy. So with no sewing room to speak of, my bedroom has become my space. It is the one part of the house that is just for me.

When I first moved into the new place, I spent two days sorting through my belongings, setting up the bedroom and finding homes for all the stuff I have managed to accumulate over the years. Over the last two months, on the rare days I get off, I am either too busy to clean or driving two hours back home for some reason or other. (I think I’ve been in my hometown more since I moved than I was when I lived there!). So today, after doing a few things, I returned home and finally got around to tidying up my space.

For the first time in my entire life, I have no cupboards. My housemate has the only room with wardrobes, so I had to settle for buying a cheap hanging rack from K-Mart. It’s awful. It is a flimsy, wonky rack made of cheap metal and plastic, and it depresses me every time I look at it. It makes my bedroom seem cluttered and small, it is untidy and frankly, it’s just plain ugly. So today I went to Ikea and picked out the perfect little cupboard with doors and shelves and a hanging rack, and would have purchased it on the spot if it had have fit in my little car. As it is, it did not fit and so for the time being, I am stuck with the ugly rack. However as soon as I can organise delivery, you can bet your butt I’ll be buying it.

Behold, the hideousness.

However I did not leave empty handed. (Ikea, where have you been all my life?) I purchased some curtains for my window, which up until now has been covered by an unused sheet. This was unappealing on two levels. First of all, it looks cheap and nasty. There’s nothing more tacky than a window with an improper cover. And secondly, it meant I had no natural light. I am one of those people who likes to open her curtains and let the natural light in. Especially considering I spend most of my time working in a shop that is situated below street level, and so weather has lost all meaning for me. The addition of proper curtains in my bedroom just makes the whole place feel more open and bright, and therefore a much happier environment for this little neat freak to be in. Now add all of this to a freshly made bed and new throw rug, and suddenly the untidy mess that was my bedroom has been transformed into a pleasant environment that I am happy to do more in than just sleep.

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Even just looking at this is calming.

At a time in my life when everything seems to be complicated and troublesome and in large part, downright depressing, it is the small joys that make getting up more bearable. And for me, having a tidy space makes an enormous difference to my state of mind. Maybe now home will start to feel more like…well, home.

Big City Living

So, I’ve been living in the city for a week. Ok, it’s been five days, but close enough. Things are a lot different here. There are so many people, and so much traffic and so much noise. I think this city living thing is going to take a bit of getting used to.

When I lived in my home town, I was living in a house two streets over from the shopping plaza that I worked at. It was a fifteen minute walk, or a five minute drive and that was it. I was able to leisurely meander through my morning and leave for work shortly before I was due to start. In the city, things are different. I started back at work again on Thursday, after a week long transitional period. I am set to be running my own shop in a week or so, but in the meantime they have me working in another shop temporarily.

I haven’t managed to work out the train system yet, so for the last two days, I have driven to work. In peak hour traffic, along a freeway and then through the city, the drive takes me anywhere between 40-50 minutes. I’m surprisingly pretty calm about the whole thing. As someone who has a tendency to feel anxious in unfamiliar situations, I’ve handled the multiple lanes and congestion rather well. And aside from one small navigational mishap on the first day – courtesy of my stupid phone –  I’ve managed to get at least a little familiar with the route over the last couple of days. Though I’m hoping that yesterday will be the last time I have to drive.

With my old boss, pay day was Monday. I’m hoping desperately that this week I will get my annual leave paid out, because after paying $19 for parking for the last two days, I officially have no money left. Wait, that’s a lie. I have a grand total of 37 cents in my saving account, but other than that, I am flat broke. This in itself is the most stressful thing about moving to the city. The people and the noise and the dingy little shop I’m temporarily working in are all things I can deal with. The money thing though, that’s a different story. You never really tend to pay attention to the money you spend until your funds are tight and you’re not sure when your next pay will be. I’ve been stretching the remaining funds on my ‘for emergencies’ credit card to the absolute limit this week to try and make it last long enough, but now that it’s maxed out, the little seed of anxiety in my brain has grown into a full blown tree, soon to become a forest of nerves and stress.

As for the actual move, well that went smoothly enough. It was the organising and tidying and setting up that took me nearly three days. I originally just threw everything into the bedroom that I have been given, so when I arrived on Monday, I began the long and tedious process of arranging everything into something liveable. I moved things and shuffled items around, unpacked, put away, dropped a side table on my foot (curse words ensued) and slowly but surely made my way through the haphazard mess. The books and dvds were arranged, the bedroom set up, clothes washed. I finally began to feel like the unit that my friend and I are renting was actually my home. As much as an unfamiliar place in a new city can feel like home after just a couple of days, anyway.

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The final thing now, is finding somewhere I can create. With no sewing room in the unit, I had to compromise, and set the table up in the kitchen. Unfortunately, due to an apparent lack of power points in the house, the only way I can do any sewing at the table is to run a power board through an extension lead from the power point in the laundry…and hope than neither my housemate or myself will trip over and get ourselves killed. It’s not ideal. But as I’ve said before, if I don’t create, I get a little antsy. It’s better for everyone involved if I am able to spend some time lost in my own crafty little world. Though given the fact that I will apparently be working six days a week, every week, until the end of time, I don’t know that I will have even a spare second. Time will tell. Regardless, I am here, and I am reasonably settled, and I am committed. So, Big City, let’s see what you’ve got.

Home

Those of you that follow my blog will have read a post I put up a few weeks ago, about change. Well, the big change I mentioned in that post is official. At the end of this month, I will be moving to the city. I have a confirmed job, a confirmed house and a moving date. I am finally taking the giant and overdue step of leaving my stifling and stunting home town, to move on to bigger and better(?) things.

I have lived in my current house for a touch over a year, and it has never really felt like home. I mean sure, it’s where my stuff is. It’s where I sleep, where I sew, where I shower. And my ghost came with me…either that or I got a new one, so at least the knocks on the walls and the randomly opening doors was comfortingly familiar. But that aside, something about the house never felt right. It’s like I never really got properly settled.

Before I move out of home last year, I had lived in that house for twenty years. It’s where I grew up, I can tell you every creak in the floor, every crack in the paint, every quirk. My dad still lives in that house, and to me, it will always be home. Every night I eat dinner at his house and flop in front of the heater feels more natural to me than when I (rarely) cook in my own house and settle in on the couch with a movie.

Moving away is going to be interesting. I’m moving in with a friend, to a place almost entirely unfamiliar to me. I am going to have to man up, and start cooking for myself instead of relying on my dad. (shut up, I hate cooking and he can only cook for an army, it’s a win win). I am going to have to get accustomed to living with another person again…and hope that she doesn’t get sick of tripping over my sewing stuff! And I’m hoping that this house will feel a little more like home than the house I’m about to leave.

I am comfortable living on my own. I enjoy having my own space and not having to put clothes on. I like being able to use my vibrator and not worry that someone will hear me. I like doing my own thing and being accountable only to me. It’s unlikely I’ll ever move back home for those reasons. But nevertheless, it is and it will always be home.