In My Studio Odds and Ends

Getting organised

I treasure things, little quirky things, small things that I find on my walks, special gifts from people who know what makes me smile. Then there are the things that might be useful one day. A third group of Things In My Life are things that I never really know what to do with.

So I end up with a playroom studio that looks like this….


and this….


and this….


until I feel weighed down by all those things.

The time has come to make a start. Not just tidying, but sorting and throwing/composting/recycling. A real clean up. I am not good at this, as you can see by the things I accumulate around me.

Asking myself three questions was an excellent sorting process.

Does it bring me joy? I have rephrased that, as ‘joy’ is a big expectation to put on an object, to Does it make me smile? Unexpected things got to stay when I asked this, like the origami birds and the jar of sea treasures gifted to me by Jan and the babushka doll from my trip to Russia in the 80s.

If the answer was ‘No’ my next question was Is it useful? The pin cushion was in, with the bonus that it makes me smile! The old maybe-I-will-use-these manilla folders  were out.

Which lead to the next question Can I get another one if I need it? This was the key question for all my natural treasures. Can I get another gum nut/feather/leaf? Yes. Amazing as they are, do I need a whole box full of feathers? No. Off to the compost. My nests went back and forth from one pile to another, but I decided that I couldn’t get others, so they have stayed. And they make me smile.

As I went I found another question waiting to be answered  — Does it weigh me down? These are the things that I find difficult to part with, but don’t really want to keep. For example, a gift made for me by a child I taught. I appreciate the thought, time and care she put into it, but I never used it. At the same time I felt that moving it on was disrespectful. Whenever I saw it there, cluttering up the desk, the negative emotion froze me. I was unable to deal with it.

Now I know I have well and truely given that gift enough of my “oh my, she created this just for me” emotional energy. (She would have moved on from the creation many years ago!) So, it’s off to the op-shop and hopefully someone else will love it and use it.

Now I have a clean tidy mantelpiece and a mood board ready for the next inspiration, an uncluttered computer desk, where I can get to the printer, and a reasonably tidy work table. Still lots to do, but beware the woman on a mission!

Treasures to keep….





It’s the fortnight my letter comes to you, straight to your inbox. In this week’s letter I show you some of my latest work, a series of trees, not unlike the oil pastel ones I did last year. These ones have sewing ~ now there’s a surprise! And I explain how my reading on creativity has helped me understand how these came about.

Like to sign up? And receive a free feather drawing? Just click here.

In My Kitchen

In my kitchen

Well, the big news from my kitchen is that I have bought a mixer. That may seem rather ho-hum for most of you. However, I have never owned one before, content (sort of 😉 ) to mix and whip using forks and whisk. I received some birthday money from a very generous friend and decided to lash out. Couldn’t resist a blue one!

My new mixture
My new mixture

I made a cake, which everyone complimented, and a Breton Tart for dessert at my sister’s. No photos, I am afraid. 😦 You will have to take my word for it that they were quite tasty. And yes, I do intend to make a cake for the friend who gave me the money.

At the moment my favourite part of the machine is the big mixing bowl, with a handle! For some reason it makes me feel quite professional to pour the mixture into the pan using the bowl. Ahh, the simple things….

One of the reasons I haven’t had a mixer before was the space it would take up. So I have reorganised my pantry. The bottom shelf had become one of those areas that was filled with things that I never used, and really, I had stopped noticing. So now I have a space for my mixer AND the baking trays. They had lived in the oven, which meant that every time I used the oven I had to take them out and put them on the floor.

Have you had that experience, of realising, after many years, that there are better places to put things? That there is junk taking up the space that you could use more effectively?

Next step is to sort out the shelves where the packages and packets are kept.

I am so impressed with my bottom shelf organisation!

My Christmas present to my Mum was to take her to see “As you like it”, a production of the Shakespeare play performed in the Botanic Gardens. We had a picnic before the performance. I included:

The lentil salad is really easy to make — lentils (I use tinned), feta cheese, cooked sweet potato and mint leaves. The dressing is mint sauce. The recipe originally came from a cook book to promote healthy bones, so great to help fight osteoporosis.

It was such a pleasant evening, despite the chill breeze blowing from the west.

Lastly, some oven roasted tomatoes. I had a good crop of Roma tomatoes this year. They weren’t very big, but quite tasty. I slow roasted some in a very low oven, covering them with oil, thyme and oregano.


In my Kitchen is hosted by the delightful Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. If you pop over to her post you can see the month blog roll of bloggers who take part. You can visit kitchens from all over the world. And you have to read her post about her birthday celebrations. That is one amazing way to have a birthday!!