Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Throwing away books.

I was keeping some design books because a) I forgot I had them cos they were in a box in a cupboard, b) they were given to me, and throwing away gifts is rude, c) I'm a graphic designer, I feel like I should respect books about my profession and get some credibility from them somehow. Not that I even thought that at the front of my mind, but that's pretty much what made me blind to getting rid of them, even though I NEVER use them.

But I really wanted to make shelf-room for my sheet music, and 4 big design annuals were taking up a lot of space. I had the stunning realisation that I didn't really want them. Also I didn't need them. Then, I wondered if I should return them to the giver. Uh oh. So I emailed her, and she said no, I could chuck them. So I went home and put them in the recycling bin.

Things I've done with other books recently: taken a novel to read on holiday and left it in WA; given a cookbook a second chance, and then throwing it in the bin a year later, uncooked from. Donated chick-lit to the opshop. Found a sewing book that was mums, and returned it.

The thing I've realised is that hoarding involves very little thought, it's just a compulsion. But culling and decluttering involves really looking, evaluating, and making a decision. It's empowering. I think that's why I'm so obsessed at the moment. But I've almost run out.

Less than flattering

It's really tempting to only post the most flattering pictures of yourself online. Sometimes I see photos I'm tagged in and I think, "Ugh! I don't like it! I don't want it popping up on people's feeds." However, I've made a conscious decision that if I ever react like that, then I will allow the photo to be tagged because I think it's really important for me to comfortable with less than flattering pics of me being online.

For example, I don't like the pic in this post. It's petty things, such as my parted fringe, my strange colouring due to the filters and I think my face shape looks weird.

In spite of that, I'm still allowing pics like that to be posted because it's about accepting that I'm not perfect and I don't need to present a perfect image of me every time. Perfection is not my goal or ideal, and reminding myself of that is important. It's also a way of fighting against the "people will only like me if I'm pretty enough" stream of thought that pervades throughout society. This kind of thinking is broadly adopted by advertisers and marketers, "Buy this product and you will have amazing skin and a zillion friends!" or "This is what a beautiful/happy/successful person looks like and if you follow this diet/exercise routine/guru/attain an unrealistic body shape, your dreams will come true!" FALSE.

A lot of it too, is about self-acceptance and being okay with who you are. And learning that people who truly love you will love you regardless of how bad any camera angle may be. And learning to care less about stuff you really should care less about.

Also, I want to present a somewhat realistic image of me - my real friends know what I look like. I don't want to be too different or too unreal online.

Having said that, I still pick more flattering pics as profile pics :P That's one thing that won't change.

Monday, July 29, 2013


I would use adorkable to describe an adorable dork. I would put Hamish Blake in this category.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jipped of my full-cream

I reached the end of my full-cream milk this morning. As I opened the carton to flatten it for recycling, I realised all the cream had clung to the sides of the carton. I was deprived of the full-cream! In future, when I reach the end of my carton of full-cream milk, I will scrape out the cream and have a super-creamy porridge.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Decluttering is empowering, but getting rid of possessions can be poignant. I'm still taking photos of things before I get rid of them. Here are the ways to get rid of things in order of most ideal to least ideal.

1. If possible, find another home. But don't become the person who relieves their clutter-guilt by giving things to people when they aren't wanted. That's just pushing your problem onto someone else. A well-placed rehoming is a very satisfying thing, like when your origami instruction book goes to the one kid in the city who loves origami right now. (Woohoo!!) I think the best way is: a) think of someone who might actually like it and then b) ask them if they would like it. Don't just leave it in their car or give it to them at church.

2. Place it in the clothing bin of the charity you support the most. Then they can get money while a total stranger rehomes your stuff.

3. Put it in the bin. This can be the easiest thing to do, if it's rubbish, obviously. Just walk outside and lift the lid. But the hardest thing to do if it's sentimental rubbish. Which it nearly always is, for me.

If you do a little declutter every so often it's pretty easy to sort things out and dispose of them thoughtfully. If you leave it for years until you have to move house, then it becomes a whirlwind of traumatic/cathartic binning or a garage sale. That might be great for some, but I'm not a band-aid ripper.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Storage "solutions".

Once you are storing things like this, there is almost no point owning those things. 1) OHAS, 2) Lazyness.

From all over Pinterest.

It LOOKS like genius. But carrying big tubs up a ladder and sliding them onto runners on the ceiling? I would never be bothered accessing them. It could only be really light stuff like pool noodles anyway.

Storage failure leads to a) not putting things away cos it's too annoying, or b) never getting them out because they are stored so deeply and you don't need them anyway, which is why you stored them in the first place, and then you forget you have them.

Here's an example: umbrellas. Failure is leaving it on the table because it's handy. Success is hanging it on a hook on the back of the front door because it's handy. That's a solution.

Another example: art and craft supplies. Failure is keeping it in shoe boxes all over the house on bookshelves and in the top of wardrobes. Sewing patterns here, paper stamps there. That's my current system. Success is getting it all out, gathering it all up, getting rid of stuff, and having it in one place where I can actually find it and use it—my art/utility cupboard, because I am now evicting the laundry powder and books.

I have twice as much art stuff as I need. Watch me cull! Thankfully I my flatmate works with kids so she can use a bit of stuff like that. She was actually really excited about an origami book I found cos she knows a kid obsessed with origami. That's the joy of getting rid of stuff: it goes from clutter, to pleasure-giving usefulness.

I have so many chalk pastels and I'm hopeless with pastels. So utterly hopeless. I can do pretty presentable work with oils, watercolours, pencils, charcoal. But all I do with coloured chalk is make a smudgy mess. I think it might be the paper. Anyway, it just goes to show that even an arty person can't just automatically make art with art supplies. Happily I've already found someone to take a box of pastels :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Some observations on gossip

  • Even if you've never struggled with gossip, once you become part of a culture that is embedded with gossip, it can be hard not to get sucked in.
  • Gossip can be used to build relationships (not saying that it's right, but just saying that's an effect).
  • Gossip can be a way of showing-off, "Look at me! I have this secret knowledge that no-one else knows" or "I heard this first, before anyone else!" or "I'm special/powerful because I know this"
  • Never say anything about anyone that you wouldn't say to his or her face, or be willing to have published with your name.
  • Verify information before sharing. None of this, "I heard..." business.
  • God is able to forgive and reform a gossiper
Any other thoughts?

Context for tastebuds.

I bought some white chocolate chips cookies, but they weren't that nice, so I took them to work, but for some reason they taste really nice at work.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cute trends.

Owls, for example. Past cute trends you may have forgotten are: white geese with blue bows; applique scotty dogs, either black or tartan; two cherubs resting on their elbows and gazing up. I don't want to kill the owl-love, but I take it with a grain of salt myself.

The cycle goes
1. cute trend.
2. twee and embarrassing.
3. forgotten.
4. retro/ironic cute trend.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


This is my obsession at the moment: getting rid of things that are sitting in boxes and not being used, and taking up more space than they need. Recently I sorted through a couple of boxes of designy stuff, and put my art books on the book shelf so that I can see them, and threw out a lot of printed material I designed. Old newspapers and brochures and stuff. That day I reduced about 2 cardboard boxes and a green bag down to 1 box.

Then I moved on to my box of CDs. I want to keep my legal copies, but I don't need the breaky plastic cases. Innefficient. I bought these plastic sleeves from officeworks last week. They fit a CD and a sleeve, or 2 CDs, in each one. $20 for 100 sleeves.

I've been so excited about this! I reduced a boxful of space down to a reasonably small pile of sleeves! And then fortuitously I got a nice CD box from Kikki K for $3!

Empty cases and besleeved CDs. I kept CD cases designed by friends,
or that were otherwise special, or already thin and cardboardy.

While I was on a roll, I opened my glory box--which is my romantically named wooden chest. It's got all my best homeschooled handiwork (quilts and things) that I can't find a place to use at the moment. Not much to throw out here but I got rid of another cardboard box and some odds and ends. Next project is the art/utility cupboard, which contains many boxes.

The trouble with cardboard boxes is that when you move house, you put everything in boxes, but then you don't need everything straight away, so it's just seemingly efficient to leave stuff in boxes under the bed or in cupboards. It's not proper storage where things are sorted and easy to access, it's just sort of in cardboard deep freeze.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Gallery walls.

I'm starting a tag for "frugal decorating". Ideas to make the best of your rental and make do with what you already have.

Karen, when she worked at MM, had this amazing decorated office wall. She just stuck all her posters and postcards up in a random but evenly spaced way. The overall effect was very cool. She gave me a couple of posters. Since I'm a hoarder of pretty things and concert tickets and sentimental cards I found her poster gallery idea very useful. Why keep a box of these sentimental papery things and never look at them, when they can be stuck up all in one big gallery and admired all the time? Especially when my bedroom has a built in robe with pale green glass instead of mirrors? Perfect surface for blu-tak!

Now any postcard, photo, ticket, or sketch, can be added easily to this area, and as well as reminding me of holidays and friends and family and things, it's a rather beautiful feature. The secret is, a big thing made of small things doesn't look messy, just detailed. Well, it needs a bit of a tidy, but other than that.

I've applied the same theory to hanging framed pictures. I takes a lot of work with 3M sticky hooks, getting them in the right place. But the result is, I can hang a lot of small, low-value pictures in one area and the overall effect is very pleasing. Small pictures look silly when they float randomly on large walls, so they look a lot better when they are all herded together.

This is my first ever cross stitch.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Feeling the love

I don't know if it's just me or a personality thing, but I often forget how loved and appreciated I am by other people. I have really felt the love this week from other people and it's been a reminder that there are so many ways to be affirmed and loved as a single person.

Examples of recent love shown to me:
- a friend unexpectedly brought back a NARS Dragon Girl lip pencil from the States that I've been eyeing for a while;
- a friend, who lives in Hong Kong, bought me this recipe book, that is only available in Hong Kong, to bring back via her mum. She knew how much it would mean to me to cook simple Cantonese food; and
- a friend brought back some Japanese products for me.

Examples of love in the past week:
- a sister in my Connect Group said some positive things about my character which I found very affirming, uplifting and made me feel appreciated and special. I was very touched;
- I'm going on a holiday with Bec. I've appreciated her being very patient and understanding with me and doing research while I've been a bit of space cadet of lately (most because it's been the busy season at work); and
- just today, I received a surprise bag of goodies from a friend in the States! Full of things I love, like the YSL Glossy Stain (in no 7 Corail Aquatique, a colour that's absolutely perfect for work and what I was about to buy in a different brand), a teal pen and nail polishes! And it came with a beautiful card and a lovely message :)

I'm writing this here, so that if I ever feel down in the dumps or thinks that nobody loves me, I'll remember all the love shown to me :) It's reminded me how important it is to show love and appreciation to those in your life.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Long skirts.

Love the long skirt. I'm tall, so it makes me feel tall in an elegant way, not a galumphing way.  Suitable for many seasons, if you layer properly. Actually works super well in the rain because the skirt can get wet, but it isn't touching you so your legs or leggings stay dry underneath.

I flicked through an illustrated book I own called When wanderers cease to Roam and on this page the author observed that the Muslim women in Niger "moved like mermaids" in their long wrap dresses, and so she started wearing long dresses too and observes that modesty is more relaxing because you don't have to hold your stomach in.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I've been converted to wearing leggings in the outside world very recently, by a colleague. I've always thought of leggings as home clothes and shouldn't be worn as pants in the outside world. But they are so comfortable and they're a touch classier than trackies. Go leggings!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Joy in serving

Our church has two services in the evenings and the same music team serves at both. A sister started providing dinner for the musos during the evening and put together a roster. I've provided dinner twice and it's never been anything fancy. Just simple pasta dishes. They have been so grateful and  receptive that they've made it a real joy to serve them. It's so much easier to serve when those being served are so positive, enthusiastic and thankful. I must remember to be the same when I'm on the receiving end of someone's service.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The best kind of band to love

The best kind of band to love is one that is popular enough to tour smaller venues in your home country, but big enough overseas to do all the stadiums and arenas. It's much easier to get up close without having to fight the thousands of other fans. Bonus too, if the band has longevity because you'll get to see them a few times (hopefully!). I've loved Manic Street Preachers since '96 or '97. They make me feel old, but they still put on a fantastic live show.

This is the lead singer and me. He's got the best voice in rock'n'roll. Melodic yet sreamedelic. I reckon he'd be really good at singing power ballads. I imagined him auditioning for The Voice, what he would sing, and whether the judges would turn around for him.

Last night reminded me of my dream job when I was a teenager: to be one of those photographers below, working for the touring company or media and taking photos of bands.

Monday, July 1, 2013

When a total stranger asks for your number.

My friend was in Bunnings on the weekend and was surprised to find herself being chatted up by another shopper, and in the flustering of the moment gave him her number. Then the rest of her Bunnings trip was made awkward because she forgot what he looked like and was worried she'd meet him again in another aisle. He texted while she was at church, and this is her reply, which I share with her permission because it's exactly what you might want to be able to respond one day, with whatever valid excuse you like, if you get asked out by a random.

Very ladylike, I think.

Dry nails.

So I love nail polish a little bit too much, and now my fingernails are not the healthiest they've ever been. The top layer keeps peeling off. I try and grow them out, then trim the peeling part off, but that just starts it splitting again. But I read last week that you should cut your nails after you've had a shower or done something wet because they'll be soft, and they wont fracture. It worked! I only have one peeling nail now. Almost ready to start polishing again.