Welcome to the Fluff! Here I blog my goals, especially my reading and studies, and my ongoing downscaling and using up of material stuff and working towards a more minimalist lifestyle.

Monday, 9 December 2019

December stuff

I didn't get a lot done in November, just a couple if small tasks completed and some work on craft projects. Anyway, December is going reasonably well so far, and here's the list to date:

Home and Garden
* Complete the house sale prep:
- Cleaning cupboard  started and used up another product in the process. :)
- Documents
- Find some way of dealing with pillows etc  Waiting for a lazy, rude individual to contact me about these. She was coming one day and I'm waiting in for her, but she said sorry, she'd been 'tired', so hadn't come. My heart bleeds for you, ill-mannered object!
- Charity shop and tip trip  arranged for 11 Dec
- 'Fur' coat
- Carers' things  Done! Well, they won't answer, so 'their' things are going elsewhere. Why are people so rude? They say they want something and they'll get back to you, then ignore you from that point on. Why not just say, "No thanks"? Ack! Mum would've given them what for!!!
- Empty all the 'finished' plant pots  in progress 
- Weed strawberry patch and put bark chips down  Done!
- Repaint in house number  Done!
- Arrange for carpet re-fitting  Done! Carpet is re-stretched and stapled down safely. 
- Bathroom sealants  Sir's job really
- Removal of stairlift  Michael booked for tomorrow
- Clearing out of garage etc, including washing and tidying all plant pots (although this can wait until after sale goes live as they're not likely to want photos of the inside of the garage!)
- Kitchen units to re-stick and check hinges  Dodgy hinge seems fixed
* Get the house on the market 

Crafts 
* Finish hardanger with bling bellpull  Almost done 
* Finish Katy's jumper  pieces knit (need to sort out a sleeve anomaly - totally mystified thus far.)
* Buy Donna's yarn and measure her up, start knitting
* Progress china plate cross stitch 

Study and Reading 
* Finish the last least 2 old journals one done, last one has 5 articles......
* Finish 'Meeting China - Intermediate'   done to partway through ch 4, working small sections most days
* Restart 'Auftakt 2'
* Finish Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery'  getting there...
* Select and begin one more book, probably another HMS one

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Friday, 1 November 2019

Big list for November!

So, here we go with November stuff.  The main priority has to be getting the house market ready and formally up for sale. 20 of the 32 tasks on this month's list are related to house sale prep. That work will start on Monday 4th! There's a lot I can do and a few things that need others' help.

Home and Garden (20 tasks)
* Complete the initial clear-out of mum's things:
- Book shelf and cupboard
- Ceramics etc from living room and conservatory
- Desk stuff
- Tray stuff
- Documents
- Find some way of dealing with pillows etc
- Charity shop stuff
- 'Fur' coat
- Carers' things (text S and I)
* Empty all the 'finished' plant pots
* Weed strawberry patch and put bark chips down
* Make a start on tidying up the grass verge edges and/or last parts of upper back garden, if strength allows and/or arrange a gardener to finish all the clearing work
* Arrange for new carpet fitting
* Arrange final jobs to be done:
- Bathroom sealants
- Removal of stairlift
- Clearing out of garage etc, including washing and tidying all plant pots
- Kitchen units to re-stick and check hinges
- Bedroom pelmet rail 
- Bay window roof mending 
* Get the house on the market 

Onto more personal and fun stuff:

Crafts (7)
* Finish purple super chunky cardy  
* Finish hardanger with bling bellpull 
* Finish 'Frosty Trees' cross stitch winter scene
* Measure up for Katy's jumper and, if shoulder allows, begin knitting 
* Buy Donna's yarn (when back in stock), and measure her up.
* Progress china plate cross stitch 
* Begin 'Spring into Summer' hardanger heart piece

Study and Reading (5)
* Study up at least 2 more old journals (penultimate pair)
* Finish 'Meeting China - Intermediate' 
* Restart 'Auftakt 2'
* Finish Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery' 
* Select and begin one more book, probably another HMS one.

I need to get a few more books read and out as we'll be moving in February or maybe March. The less stuff and fewer PHDs (projects half done), the better. 5th or 6th move (depending on how you count it) in just over 10 years!

At the mo I'm away from home and so I can only crack on with personal tasks, but that sounds fun. :)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Thursday, 31 October 2019

October results

Completed only 4 of the 19 tasks and worked on 5 or 6 more, but am OK with that.

Home and Garden
* Complete the initial clear-out of mum's things:
- Book shelf and cupboard
- Ceramics etc from living room and conservatory
- Desk stuff
- Tray stuff
- Documents
- Energy drinks  Gone!
* Empty all the 'finished' plant pots
* Weed strawberry patch and put bark chips down
* Make a start on tidying up the grass verge edges and/or last parts of upper back garden, if strength allows

Was ill really all month (that's 4 nasty colds in a row - bleuch!), so did precious little of this stuff and don't care either. It'll keep a couple of weeks. 

Crafts
* Finish Rachel Wang's jumper  Done!
* Start purple super chunky jumper/cardy  in progress, back and sleeves done
* Finish meadow embroidery  in progress, but halted for now whilst I just relax with some counted work instead 
* Prepare layout for cross stitch winter scenes and begin stitching  decided to do them differently. Instead of doing all 3 on one piece of fabric, I decided to do one separate and, possibly, the other 2 together. Have done about 40% of the first.
* Kit up and trace poppy thread painting  reds selected, but project on the back burner

Totally changed my embroidery projects!  I started a cross stitched plate design, featuring a bluetit birdie and flowers, the winter 'frosty trees' design as mentioned above and a hardanger with bling bellpull. 

Study and Reading
* Study up 2 old journals  Done!
* 'Meeting China - Intermediate' to chapter 10   ch 1 complete 
* Restart 'Auftakt 2'
* Finish Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery'  over half way through
* Finish 'The Half Hour Painter'  Done!

I'll work on the list for November tomorrow.  Too sleepy now. :)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Colds and goals in early autumn.

AKA September results and regrouping for October!

I had colds or some other viral nightmares throughout most of September and am even now still quite washed out and weary. So, not much got done except:

I finally got my shoes listed on eBay. Typically, like so many delayed and delayed and delayed tasks, it took less than 5 minutes!  I also got my necessary reading up to date and got almost half way through the book on timed painting. Actually, that's the only real take away from that book - that timed exercises are good practice. Also that even professional artists need regular practice and exercises. That was encouraging!! Other than that, it's mostly why and how he did each high speed painting or sketch. Maybe not so interesting to a non-artist. 

I also got most of the parts of the chunky jumper I'm knitting completed. Just need to do the shapings on the front, then the neckline and all the construction and finishings.  A bit of progress was also made on on the meadow scene embroidery, but I confess to not really enjoying this one. :(

So, with few changes from September, here's the list for October:

Home and Garden
* Complete the initial clear-out of mum's things:
- Book shelf and cupboard
- Ceramics etc from living room and conservatory
- 'Valuables' to VCC (clean up first)
- Desk stuff
- Tray stuff
- Documents
- Energy drinks
* Empty all the 'finished' plant pots
* Weed strawberry patch and put bark chips down
* Make a start on tidying up the grass verge edges and/or last parts of upper back garden, if strength allows

Crafts
* Finish Rachel Wang's jumper
* Start purple super chunky jumper
* Finish meadow embroidery
* Prepare layout for cross stitch winter scenes and begin stitching
* Kit up and trace poppy thread painting

Study and Reading
* Study up 2 old journals
* 'Meeting China - Intermediate' to chapter 10
* Restart 'Auftakt 2'
* Finish Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery'
* Finish 'The Half Hour Painter'

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Friday, 6 September 2019

September plans

It's time I got back into working towards my goals for the year and today is always the best time to make a start, so here we go:

Home and Garden
* Complete the intermediate clear-out of mum's things  almost done now, just a few crocks, books, documents and stuff from the desk to go through
* List my black shoes, silverware etc on eBay
* Empty all the 'finished' plant pots
* Make a start on tidying up the grass verge edges, if strength allows

Crafts
* Finish Rachel Wang's jumper  
* Finish meadow embroidery  
* Start Red Admiral embroidery
* Prepare layout for cross stitch winter scenes (3 small, coordinating kits to go on one piece of fabric).

Study and Reading
* Get up to date with journal reading  
* Study up 3 old journals  
* 'Meeting China Intermediate' to chapter 10  
* Finish Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery'
* Catch up missed months of 'The Embroiderer's Year'
* Start 'The Half Hour Painter'

I also hope to lose another 3-4lbs. I lost about 3lbs last month after going right up to 10st 1 (141lbs/64kg). Mum always had so many sweets, chocolates, biscuits and cakes around the house that it was hard avoiding them. Most of the time I failed and/or didn't really try. Needed comfort food a lot too. Of course, she's gone now - sleeping peacefully and safely in the grave, waiting for the call back to life on a cleansed and paradisiac earth, where she can garden to her heart's content. In the meantime, I can shift some of the goodie weight and feel more comfy. :) 

I miss her and often find myself thinking, 'Must ask/tell mum about that', but we're coping well enough.  The house will go on the market soon, so we'll have to move again, but I'll concern myself with that when the sale is going through ok. 

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Friday, 7 June 2019

For the rest of June....

.... I will tackle the following:

Home and Garden
* Make good progress on the veggie bed area. If possible, use the yard soil/compost to help raise the beds
* Pot peppers, chillies and aubergines to their final homes (several new pots needed)
* List the shoes on eBay
* Get rid of the charity bags to shops

Crafts
* Make a nice card for Sir for our 20th
* Finish Paradise Island background  filling in main section
* Finish dk jumper pieces  working on last piece
* Take PI to be framed
* Get help for circular parts of the dk jumper (on 22nd - go to Baa Ram Ewe crafternoon)
* Start a baby knit for Noemie (and Bingley Show)
* Start counted work cushion cover
* Start Red Admiral embroidery

Study and Reading
* Get up to date with journal reading  0.6/3
* Study up 3 journals
* 'Practical Chinese Reader 3' to chapter 7
* Finish Auftakt 2 to about p100 (from p26)
* Finish Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery'

But today I'm still bushwhacked and am going to chill...

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Goals: May into June.

The last few days have been chaos, so only now have I had time to do a quick round up on May's work. I didn't finish a lot in terms of projects, but a few things got used up and I did do the most time sensitive thing in its entirety, so it was ok. I'm too tired to care at the mo anyway!!

Here we go:

Home and Garden
* Finish clearing the yard (detritus pile etc)  The roots etc are mostly cleared from the pile.  It just needs sieving and then putting on the new veggie beds, when ready.  I've also been slowly using the soil and compost mix from this pile in my big pots for the tomatoes and cucumbers.
* Make a good start on the veggie bed area  Slowly clearing it, bit by bit.  Lots of weeds on the surface, but far more roots and twigs underneath. Really haven't had much time for this. 
* List the shoes on eBay  This should be a quick job, so why it still isn't done is a mystery! 
* Get rid of the charity bags to shops. Not much excuse for the neglect of this either. Will get to both of these soon.

Crafts
* Make Emily's bridal handbag  Done! The wedding came off today and I was pleased to see the bag in use - even though the beading filament snapped and the strap went kaputt.
* Finish Paradise Island background  working on it
* Finish dk jumper pieces  finished 3rd of 4 pieces, 4th progressing well
* Take PI to be framed. Obviously not ready for this yet.
* Get help for circular parts of the dk jumper. Ditto. Should be able to finish both this month in good time for the Bingley Show.

Study and Reading
* Finish 'Beijing's Courtyards'  Done!
* Start 'Practical Chinese Reader 3'. Made a tiny start, but only a fraction of the first chapter
* Finish Auftakt 2 to about p100 (from p26). I don't believe I studied a word of German this last month. 
* Read Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery'  25/120p

* Body Shop All-in-One face base  Gone
* Boots Creamy Almond body butter  Gone
* Body Shop mini Shea body butter  Gone
* Boots Mint shower gel  Gone
* Baby shampoo  Gone
* Nizoral shampoo  Gone
* One lippy, but work on all 4 intensive use-ups  All in use and I'm very close to finishing 2 lip balms and one gloss isn't too far off.

I think I'll post the lust for the rest of June tomorrow. Too tired to think sensibly now and am going to bed.

Zzzzzzzzzz  :)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Friday, 3 May 2019

May Goals and tasks

20 goals and tasks for May are:

Home and Garden
* Finish clearing the yard (detritus pile etc)
* Make a good start on the veggie bed area
* List the shoes on eBay
* Get rid of the charity bags to shops

Crafts
* Make Emily's bridal handbag
* Finish Paradise Island background
* Finish dk jumper pieces
* Take PI to be framed
* Get help for circular parts of the dk jumper

Study and Reading
* Finish 'Beijing's Courtyards' (10 chapters)
* Start 'Practical Chinese Reader 3'
* Finish Auftakt 2 to about p100 (from p26)
* Read Helen M Stevens' 'World of Embroidery'

Finish up
* Body Shop All-in-One face base
* Boots Creamy Almond body butter
* Body Shop mini Shea body butter
* Boots Mint shower gel
* Baby shampoo
* Nizoral shampoo
* One lippy, but work on all 4 intensive use-ups

Nothing major, quite tame really.  I've removed the regular stuff and re-added in the month's use up goals. The scariest one is the bridal day handbag, but it'll be ok. I've done scary projects often enough before and they've come out just fine. :)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Thursday, 2 May 2019

April wrap up

Here's how April went:

* April was a No Personal Spend month.   Yup! I did have a few goodies on our short break and spent 19p on some Aldi chocolate, but that's it. Oh, unless you count that I ordered some regular stuff from Superdrug on 30th so as not to lose my BeautyCard points. I don't count that though.

* Go to bed early   Ok most of the time, but I had a bad insomnia bout, which threw things somewhat. 
* Be as active as I can - walk, gardening etc.  Yes, I did my best

* Finish clearing the detritus pile  Didn't get to this
* Work on creating new veg beds, aim for completion.  Or this
* Complete and sow the salad bed.  Yup!
* Site and set up the compost bin  Done! Sir did it. :)
* List the shoes on eBay  Still need to do this, although I did sell a few other things. 

* Progress my DK jumper, at least finish 3 pieces, aim for 4 or even completion.  1st sleeve done, so 2 pieces complete. Started the 2nd sleeve on 1 May. :)
* Start some other embroidery project(s)  No, but I do know what it will be....
* Sew mum's bed cape  This isn't going to happen until autumn, I think. 
* Progress 'Paradise Island'  Done! In fact, I finished the chart. I'm still going to do more though, as the sky needs filling in.

* Finish 'Colloquial Chinese 2'  Done! And passed on to friends.
* Begin 'Bejing's Courtyards' Reader  Yup! Got halfway through.
* Begin 'Practical Chinese Reader 3'  Not yet ready for this one
* 'Auftakt 2' to Theme 3, Section 3  Done to Theme 3, section 2
* Study 8 more articles  10/8  Done!
* Finish reading 'Veganic Gardening'  Done!
* Progress 'Double Your Learning Power'  in progress, but didn't do much. I guess I'm really not interested in this and will consider it finished and pass it on. 

Vocab Project:
* Finish 'German in Three Months'  Done!
* Chinese Magazines   Done!
Obviously, keep up with new texts as much as possible  Chinese on track, can't remember about German. I think it might be.
* Take out all 'German in 3 Months' cards and 2 packs of Chinese cards to learn and do so!  In progress a little bit, i.e. did it twice!

So, 12 essentially completed, 4 still in progress and the rest un-started. That's fine as the last third of the month was a total washout thanks to 10 days of insomnia!

This month's list later on.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

March goal round up and starting in on April

Without further ado, we have:

Completed:   10/20
In progress:  8/10

* Only eat chocolate and other fatty treats at weekends  Good except the last week
* Go to bed early  Done!
* Be as active as I can - walk, gardening etc.  Done!
* Finish clearing the detritus pile  Some progress made. We bought a riddle (garden sieve) which will help a lot in sorting out the topsoil/compost from the roots and stones. Yay!
* Finish the shrub pruning  Done!
* Help with further clearing ready for grass seeding and fruit tree, bush and cane planting  Done!  Well, the work is done, although Sir did most of it. That section is his job. 
* Site and set up the compost bin  Not yet
* Sow veg and salad seeds  Done! Some are even growing! Many more to come....

* List the shoes and Body Shop 'can't uses' on eBay  Hair stuff listed, bid on. Also 14 other lots listed (7 sold altogether). 
* Finish Boots 'Almond' shower gel  Done!
* Finish Boots 'Almond' mini body butter  Done!
* Finish Lush 'Superbalm' Done!

* Progress my DK jumper  Done!
* Start some other embroidery project(s)  fabric washed and pressed, redesign in progress 
* Start mum's bed 'cape'  fabrics washed and pressed
* Progress 'Paradise Island'  Done!

* Finish 'German in Three Months'  Book itself complete, plus vocab to 11.8
* Finish 'Colloquial Chinese 2'  0.5/7.5 vocab to date
* Begin 'Practical Chinese Reader 3'
* Study 10 more articles  4/10

So, that wasn't bad at all, given that I forgot all about goals and targets for a week (menopause memory....), and was ill for the last week.

Next up is:

* April is a No Personal Spend month. That includes chocolate and treats, as well as the obvious books, mags, smellies, make-up, craft supplies etc. Only permitted exceptions are a couple of tubs of Dream Cream in case of disturbance to the supply chain, and a new shower hat as mine in mouldy. Ack! I've been shopping too much of late, unnecessary stuff is accumulating and money needed elsewhere. So, 30 days cold turkey.
* Go to bed early
* Be as active as I can - walk, gardening etc.
* Finish clearing the detritus pile
* Work on creating new veg beds, aim for completion.
* Complete and sow the salad bed.
* Site and set up the compost bin
* List the shoes on eBay

* Progress my DK jumper at least finish 3 pieces, aim for 4 or even completion.
* Start some other embroidery project(s)  counted thread cushion I'm longing to start (but am not allowing until Paradise Island is complete) and/or butterfly hoop.
* Sew mum's bed 'cape'
* Progress 'Paradise Island'  Aim for completion now that it's coming on well. Just unsure about that sky section....

* Finish 'Colloquial Chinese 2' 7 chapters to go
* Begin 'Bejing's Courtyards' Reader  15 chapters of the 20 scheduled
* Begin 'Practical Chinese Reader 3'   should get through first 3 chapters
* 'Auftakt 2' to Theme 3, Section 3
* Study 8 more articles
* Finish reading 'Veganic Gardening' 13 chapters to go
* Progress 'Double Your Learning Power'

Vocab Project:
* 'German in Three Months' 2.2 chapters' worth. I put this here so I can get the darned book out of the study section at last!
* Chinese Magazines   11 of them, varying amounts
Obviously, keep up with new texts as much as possible, and
* Take out all 'German in 3 Months' cards and 2 packs of Chinese cards to learn and do so!

I think that's more than enough. Now, time to get some reading done. :)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2019