on the first day of December

Santa hasn’t visited for quite a few years now. Not sure whether that is because I’ve ‘grown up’ or I’ve been naughty, but I’m still a kid at heart when it comes to having an advent calendar to anticipate the 25th December.

This year, Christmas New Year close down at work is 12 noon 24th December. So my special calendar is also to count the days until the holidays.

I often buy a cardboard advent calendar with perforated doors to open to chocolates with a Christmas motif. Last year, because of the heat, the chocolates did not release from the plastic mould in which they were held. So this year, I decided to make my own advent calendar.

I remembered that I had a collection of envelopes from birthdays and previous Christmas cards, so decided to place these in the shape of a Christmas tree on the wall. The envelopes contain my/our favourite chocolates, that is, milk chocolate Baci, white chocolate Baci, and Guylian chocolate sea shells. The tinsel star is from our box of tree decorations.

advent calendar 2014

In hindsight, I perhaps should have chosen some flatter chocolates, but the flat envelopes will help to indicate that a particular day has been reached.

I don’t know whether we are going to have similar temperatures to last year, but at least I will be able to lick the chocolate off the foil wrapper this year.

The advent calendar has also assisted me to declutter my writing compendium of 24 used envelopes. But now I don’t know whether to continue to collect, or whether I will be able to reuse my reused envelopes.


week of decluttering

Day 7 of decluttering moved a queen bed sized pure wool underblanket.

The underblanket is heavy and took up quite a bit of space, but now it is in the back of the car. It will be either taken to the Dogs Refuge or put in one of the charity bins that accept items other than clothing.

We got a new underblanket when we changed mattresses as it kept the shape of the previous mattress. It was dry cleaned and put away, and I can’t remember how it got to the blue room. But I’m sure we don’t need a spare underblanket.wool uderblanket

counting corks

Day 6 of 365 less things was spent in the blue room counting corks.

The DIY Wine Cork Bath Mat inspired me to see what I had saved in the Veuve Clicquot ice bucket.

cork collection I lost count, but I have over 200 champagne corks, and a handful each of synthetic and cork wine corks, as well as some cork stoppers that I think must have come from port bottles.

If I use the 200 champagne corks I may be able to make a door mat sized mat to go near the back door. I’ll have to play with the idea some more, but I think if I alternated the champagne corks top to bottom, there will be a bit of an edge to stick. Now just have to think what to glue them onto, if anything. counting corks to make into door mat

The ‘ice bucket’ has gone in the recycling bin. It was made of fluted cardboard, and a bit of a novelty when you purchased the champagne many New Years ago.

The corks are now in a cloth bag in the green room. Decluttered from the blue room because they don’t belong there, and into the green room where other UFOs are kept.


Day 5 of 365 less things may be a bit of cheat really, as I have more than I discarded or re-purposed.

I won a door prize at the local sustainability fair, which enabled me to spend up to $75 at the EcoShop at Environment House. I spent a little over, by exchanging my voucher for a small bar of handmade soap, environmental toothbrushes, Mokosh Face Cleansing Powder, and a six-pack of ecosilk bags.

decluttered_recycling_bagsThe ecosilk bags were to replace the store bought bags which I binned or re–purposed. The store bought bags are made of some sort of synthetic material which either becomes soft or brittle when washed a few times. Because of this, the stitching tears around the bottom of the bag, handles, and the little loop that goes over the peg at the store to retain the bag.

I kept two old recycled bags to use in the garden, although one may have to be binned as the holes in the bottom have torn even further with just a few rose prunings.

The ecosilk bags are heaps better than the shop bought recycled bags. Apart from being bright and attractive, they appear to hook over the stand for the shop assistants more easily.

Day 3: What’s on your mind?

Today’s Zero to Hero assignment is to write the post that was on my mind when I decided to start a blog.

That’s a bit too long ago.

I can’t remember any particular piece that I wanted to write, but the general feeling was that I wanted to write regularly, let my Mam know what I was up to while she was travelling, and create a space to record the various offline and online projects that I was participating in at the time.

However, I do know why I want to re-vitalise the dilettante blog and I hope that participating in Zero to Hero 30-Day Blog Challenge will assist me with that.

I am on leave from my university coursework and will not be doing any units until Semester 2 starting at the end of July. During the next six months, I want to write more regularly so I don’t get out of the habit of researching and writing.

More recently I have been reading 365 Less Things and Becoming Minimalist, and have decided that 2014 is going to be a more concerted effort to declutter. My goal is to declutter one item or spend 15 minutes a day decluttering, whichever comes first.

Dilettante will hopefully be filled with 365 posts about decluttering, as a primary focus – well, I’ll try. There so many items, topics, and things to take delight in.

containers and lids

On day 4 of 365 less things I was determined to clear out the empty food storage container cupboard of any broken and or unpaired lids and containers.decluttered_containers

There was not as much plastic container clutter to discard as I thought. A few take-away containers without lids or containers, some lids that I thought to keep in case any of the others broke, and some ‘saved’ empty water bottle containers. However, these have now been put in the rubbish bin or recycling bin. It is still a mystery to me why lids which are obviously the same plastic material as the container do not have the recycling symbol on them, so I cannot put them in the recycling bin.

I still haven’t found the lid to the burger press and freezer keeper set. But this is still useful by using one of the burger containers as a lid. It may still turn up, as I haven’t turned out all the cupboards, to match up the containers and lids.

Having emptied the cupboard, I sorted containers that have a specific purpose and the pyrex containers into the original cupboard, and put the plastic containers onto a shelf in another cupboard. This shelf had been bare for a while, I think because I collected up all the attachments to the food processor we were no longer using and put them in a less accessible cupboard. Although I don’t use all the attachments for kitchen gadgets, I tend to keep them with the appliance. But I’m always questioning whether to discard the ones I don’t use, or simply store them elsewhere like I have done.

How I have arranged the two empty food storage container cupboards may not work, as I have some containers  in-use in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. But will adapt as we go, knowing that the containers are complete with lids.

letting go

Shelby cat on the doona having stripped the bedToday is day 3 of 365 less things. But it is not so much about decluttering as letting go.

On Monday 24 June 2013 we euthanased Shelby, our tabby cat of nearly 19 years.

We took Shelby cat to the vet on the previous Saturday, who said we would need a miracle. I don’t believe in miracles, but the fact was we were not ready to say goodbye. The vet had a very busy surgery, and I wasn’t prepared to let him give Shelby the green dream and for us to say goodbye within several minutes. So we took her home, and nursed her over the weekend. I have had her ‘ashes’ on my desk since then, albeit packaged in a nice velvet bag, together with a certificate authenticating they were her ashes only, nice poem or reflection, candle, all enclosed in a brown paper bag covered in black paw prints – until today.

Today we scattered Shelby’s ashes under the Olive McKenzie rose. I watered them in because there was a bit of a breeze blowing.

So it’s done. And the candle has gone with the other candles because you can never have too many candles, paperwork where I put paper until it is ‘sorted’, and the rest to recycling.

Now we are cat less. But it is agreed that this is the status quo – the first time in my life so far.

Although we haven’t had a walking meowing cat since June 2013, I recognise that I had modified my behaviour to accommodate our feline pets. For example, we use one room in the house as a store room and when I go in there I close the door behind me in case ‘one of the cat gets in’. I no longer need to do this, as there are no cats to get in, but it does feel very strange leaving doors open. But I remember when we had any one of our three cats, that because they weren’t allowed in the green room (because the walls are painted green), the cats used to shoot in the room and go under furniture or at the back of book shelves. They would not come out when we called them, and had to literally pull them out from behind the books in the book shelves, or from under furniture.

Anyway, Shelby is no longer on my desk, but scattered under the Olive McKenzie as the roses remind me of her tabby fur.