Friday, 14 January 2011

How to Find Time for the Good Stuff

I'm so glad to see you today, it's lovely that you stopped by!

I've been busy in my sketchbook this week, the ideas are starting to come back - and what a relief it is to feel the flow again!  I must thank each of you who shared your own theories on how to restore a weary/missing mojo - I think I will be trying a few of those out myself next time I have a quiet spell.

So, this week I've been squeezing in a few drawings of seabirds, harbour window ledges, boats, pebbles and the like but I keep coming back to a garden with washing billowing about in a spring breeze.  I wonder if you can make out the sketch above?  I'm thinking of drifts of snowdrops, blossom laden trees - that kind of thing; an optimistic, bright little picture.

And I cannot wait to get this onto canvas...but here I discover another problem:  Time.

Which is why I'm reading this book.

The author of this book is Tsh Oxenreider, and she is an ordinary Mum with an ordinary family yet she has a canny ability to make life in general much more simple so that there is more time to enjoy the fun stuff.  Brilliant plan!
She also writes a great blog called Simple Mom which is worth a visit.

To say that my life and home are cluttered at the moment is an understatement.
So I have started to tackle almost four years worth of accumulated Stuff.  I cleared out a few drawers and bagged up some old clothes for the charity shop - we also have lots of baby toys that we are putting on one side for a car boot sale in the Spring.  I'm feeling much lighter, releasing old stuff is a Good Feeling!

I am also becoming more concious of how I choose to spend my time.  I watch tv and surf the net, and then complain I haven't time to paint! What??! Yes, it would appear I haven't been making the best choices when I think about it.  Not that there's anything wrong with either of those activities, it's just that both of them can swallow up lots of time without you even realising it.

But hey ho, I can make some changes, and a big one Im looking at right now is this:

I have to change my (somewhat expensive) habit of buying 3-4 glossy mags each month.  I am planning on donating my current piles to the local doctors and dentists waiting rooms.
I save them because there is usually an article or picture in there that I want to keep...but as the months float by I forget all about the article, or even which magazine it's in and then I don't have the time to look for it and these small magazine mountains sprout up around my house.

So my solution is to stop buying so many, maybe just one now and again as a treat - and I promise to cut out the article I want to save when Ive read it, and stick it in my Inspiration Book for safe keeping.

And just before you start thinking, oh listen to Mrs Virtuous here with her tidy house and her nice diet plan...oh please - let me tell you that the other night I demolished half a packet of Oreo cookies topped with generous dollops of dulce de leche...that's right, and my lounge looks like a branch of Toys R Us has exploded all over it.  That's how it goes, I'm only human after all and am fabulous at being messy and falling off the healthy eating wagon :D

But it's good to tidy up and climb back on right? :D

I hope you all have the brightest of weekends - will you share your decluttering secrets here? I'm on a roll at the mo and would love to hear your tips and suggestions please!

Sending love
'til next time...

Julia x


  1. I go in fits and starts with de cluttering. I find I am really good at moving things from one place to another and not really chucking stuff away! I used to buy loads of mags, but now dont buy any (when I realised how much I was spending!) but then my lovely neighbour passes me her gorgeous ones (she justifies the cost by having to bus to Leeds everyday!). I also love the freebie mags like the John Lewis ones. I sell my heighbours mags for 10p at our WI for funds. They might go well on your car boot - bundled up. xxxx

  2. Oh I love that sketch, so full of hope and days outside in the fresh air, can't wait until we can get outside all the time again.
    I have no organising tips, I have a huge de-clutter ahead of me, not really sure where to start. Buying less is my best plan at the moment.
    Enjoy your weekend, x

  3. I love the garden sketch idea, and really look forward to seeing it as it develops. Lovely spring idea. Makes you look forward to the days when you can have your own line of billowing washing... well, it does me anyway, but there, a creature of simple habits, a cheap date!
    I declutter in fits and starts too, when the mood strikes. As for the magazines, I get four a month, but... Coast was on a really, really special offer last year, where you got two years for the price of one. CL and Country Homes and Interiors are on direct debit, so it's cheaper and spreads the cost so you don't notice it. MAKING is a new mag I got a trial subscription for, saving 50%. I may well keep this up though at the end of the year when the subscription ends as I am enjoying it.
    As I don't spend money on cosmetics, hairdressers, clothes, social life, smoking or anything else like that, these are my treats, and I deserve them. We all deserve treats you know.

  4. Ooooh your sketch looks enticing Julia! Glad you are getting your mojo back!

    I have to say, being without the internet for a week forced me to tackle my house. It was good to get stuck in after a long absence. It made me realise, like you, how much time I spend sat in front of a computer...and a tv also! I too made the decision at the start of the New Year to overhaul how I spend my time. Mr H and I have decided to do some sports challenges on the wii a couple of evenings a week once the bears go to bed in an attempt not to just laze around but try and get fit. It's more fun when you play with someone else! I am trying to be healthy, although it's REALLY hard to stick to it when the days are dark and depressing. Comfort food cries out. I decided to sort out my yarn stash today and there is yarn everywhere! Wow, didn't know I had so much, so a sort and put away is definitely in order! It's nice to start to get organised in your head...hopefully it then just flows out into the real world too!

    Have a super weekend!

    Much love

    Vanessa xxxxxxxx

  5. Great time of year for a de-clutter. I have a tiny laundry room and six in the family so an idea for each person to have their own box for cleaned clothes instead of a scary clothes mountain has been great! I fold clothes really well into the boxes and now do about 1/4 ironing I used to - yay!! And the kids are learning that when the boxes arrive in their rooms they have to be empied, clothes put away and box back to the laundry. Is this the most house-wifey-nerdy comment I have ever left??!

  6. Belinda that is an awesome idea!! I can see me using a similar one with my wee one now she's old enough to 'help' !

    Thanks to all of you for your good ideas - keep them coming!

    J x

  7. Hello Julia! Thank your for your your visit and your sweet comment!
    I think all we should need now and then some cleaning and reorganizing our time! Your thoughts are very good and I'm sure you get more time for painting etc! Thank your for sharing good tips!
    xxx Teje

  8. I don't buy many magazines - my mother-in-law always gets me a Coast or CL subscription for my birthday. I tear out all the bits I like and keep it in a clippings/inspiration box file, then keep the rest of the magazine for use in my collages! Waste not want not!

  9. There's something about January that makes me like a throwing-away whirlwind. I just want to chuck everything out and start again!!

    Not the good stuff, but the huge amount of tat that the children accumulate, and the piles of paper that I'll never look at!


  10. I'm afraid I'm exactly the same with magazines but it's so hard to let them go!
    I'm spring cleaning at the moment and I have shifted quite a few clothes to the charity shop.
    Love the sound of your new painting, washing outside on a line, snowdrops and blossom, roll on spring!!
    Vivienne x

  11. Declutter-yes. But I think I have to start with my head. And then maybe the rest will follow. ?. Ax

  12. That washing on the line is mine!! however the wind started to whip up this is back indoors airing off!
    Fabulous to find someone else with an Inspiration book..full of things that are pleasing to the owner!or to share with like minds!I have just cut the fabric out of 5Anna French fabric sample books,,and my brain is awash with ideas for the fabrics..but I will be sharing the goodies with my local embrioderers guild chums..ohh creativity abounds!
    have a good weekend..Jeannette.x

  13. Sounds like you're getting in the groove with all your sorting and planning! I'm cheering myself up by using the brightest colours in my paintings at the moment. I've yet to start the new year eating plan though....only half a packet of Oreos? I feel like a fat pig! ;) xx

  14. Goodness me! I wish I knew the secret to decluttering. Nice to know my living room isn't the only one with a ToysRus explosion! We are going to hire a very large skip. That's my only anser. I can't do sentimental as I haord too much so have to just chuck it. I am so disorganised it's untrue. So the only way to deal with it is to chuck it or give it away. Your new sketch looks lovely. x

  15. LOL I haven't got any decluttering secrets but if you find be sure to let me know.

  16. Hi Julia,

    The inspiration book is a great idea for the magazines.
    I started one, but did find that I was a bit wary of cutting up my fav mags.

    We can encourage each other with the healthy eating thing.

    Ive been trying to eat 'real food' and remove all refined and processed stuff (especially sugar) from the diet.

    I just feel so awful when I eat like that, I get brain fog, then I cant think straight OR CREATE....


  17. you are so inspiring!

    i have just started to sketch again after not doing so for many years, it's amazing how out of practise one gets. i think i shall have to blow the dust off of my copy of 'the artist's way and attempt re-motivate myself properly. i am sketching like a five year old - but i don't think that really matters, does it? i'm not very proficient, but i think it's the enjoyment that counts.
    could i possibly join you? could we have a Julia Crossland sketch-along?

    warmest wishes for a wonderful weekend xxx


  18. De-cluttering, not so good at that although I recently had a slight tidy up in my craft/study/music room. Still way too much stuff in there but at least it is tidier. I am trying very hard (with not much sucess), to put things away where they belong or least try and find a place for things so they aren't out on view. It's hard because I live with a family of dumpers, so the piles build very quickly. :)
    Good luck with it all...and oreos really are quite delicious.
    Anne xx

  19. Bless you! This did make me smile - your honesty is refreshing!

    I am having a good life laundry sesson at the moment, which is keeping me a tad busy...

    The magazines will be apprecaited - good thinking.


  20. Hi Julia... what a relief I'm not the only clutter bug out there! I keep telling my husband I'm only messy & forgetful because I'm creative, it's just the way my brain's wired! I've always been messy but to be honest I hate it! It really gets me down & I end up going round in circles... the clutter gets me down & I'm too fed up to declutter. I've had a few huge declutters recently which are a start but there's still some way to go! Not leaving things at my backside would also be a good place to start!
    I also really relate to not using your time wisely. I've got 3 boys (1,4 & 13) so between running after them, working part time, starting off my own business from home & trying to stay on top of the mess I really should spend less time watching TV & on the net (although I can use the excuse that I'm working online!) I'll get there eventually.
    I love the look of Tsh's book, it's my birthday tomorrow so may have to request it as a belated pressie! I've read A LOT of declutter books but my favourite has to be Peter Walsh's 'It's All Too Much', really straightforward but supportive at the same time. I guess my best decluttering tip is just to remember that it's just stuff! Holding onto everything doesn't enrich your life (I need to keep reminding myself of this!)
    Anyhoo, enough of my epic ramblings, I'd better get back to the sewing & painting I've been putting off (aaah, procrastination again!)
    Take care, love Roslyn x

  21. Hi Julia,

    I've enjoyed reading the comments and tips about decluttering.
    I definetly need to get in the right headspace to do this as well.
    Have you heard of Flylady?
    She suggests setting a timer and decluttering for 15 minutes everyday. You have a bag/box for things to keep, one for stuff to bin and one for stuff to donate to others.
    I definetly need to have a go at this I think. It's worked for me in the past so hopefully 2011 will be the year it works again!

    And I LOVE the idea of your inspiration journal - I think I should try one of these and hopefully that would help sort out all the little bits of papers and cards etc I keep in random piles around my house!

    Looking forward to hearing more tips.


  22. have returned to read more of these helpful (much needed) de-cluttering tips :o)
    Happy Birthday to Roslyn xxx

  23. I too am in the mood for a huge clearout. But will it get done? Ah, that is the question! The decluttering book sounds intersting and I will definitely be having a look at it later. I feel as thought I need a sjip to just gthrow the stuff in, not looking at it, not sorting through it, just throwing it to get out of teh house, but I know in reality I cannot do that as I'm an avid environmentalist and can't bear the thought of it all going to landfil. I also realised earlier this week that I spend far too much time surfing blogland and far too less time doing the housework. Something's gotta give! Debs. xx

  24. I am with you on de-cluttering, I am having a right tidy out at the moment and it feels good :-) Re magazines, our local library now lends out new ones so maybe you can pop in yours to see if they do the same and still get to sit and nose through them but not buy - the kids love the visit there too :-)

  25. Sorry, no de-cluttering secrets. But I recognise those mountains of old, expensive magazines :-) And I also complain that I haven't got time while I sit in front of the tv each night :-) Good luck on the projects!

  26. dear Julia

    i have taken a leaf out of your book and written a post on one of my favourite artists annA Amelia. i don't know if you are familiar with her lovely works, so i thought i'd let you know incase not, as you may want to visit her her beautiful gallery and blog.

    hope the weather is being nice to you today. it's a little wild here.

    warmest hugs


  27. Good morning, Julia! So very glad I found your blog today (can't remember the thread that lead me here...)

    I've enjoyed reading through a few of your recent posts...trying to organize our home and lives, too! Such a job, isn't it?! And thankfully, as you say, one we can work on--completely mess up--then try again!

    I'll be following along...

    Hope your Sunday is lovely and peaceful.


  28. My big tip for de-cluttering? - move house!! We lived at our old place for 16 years - moved about 15 months ago - got rid of tons of stuff during the move, then more as we sorted out the new house! re mags - I get 3 mags a month through Tesco clubcard deals - and then pass them on to my 3 daughters, so they get well read!

  29. Oh Julia I've been down the same tidy path as you! I used to have magazine mountains and stuff saved for inspiration, then a few years ago when I had completly run out of space, I tidied up, oh what a relief, pictures, recipes and ideas are clipped and filed in my own inspiration book. Then I switch the radio on and play! It does also help that the Toys R Us senario has departed my home although if you look very closely you can still find lego tucked away LOL! So I wish you luck with your decluttering! ♥Sue♥


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