Friday, June 2, 2017

Budgeting and DIY...being busy does not have to = ugly life...

 
Hello Friends. Yes I have been quiet. Things have been a tad busier than I usually like at Chateau Mimi, what with family commitments and new ovens and sewing for the school and such.
 
I'm still tying up loose ends, but wanted to assure you that even in the midst of all that silliness, my life has remained chock-a-block full of loveliness of many kinds.
 
So often, we use the excuses of 'I'm too busy', 'I'm too tired', 'I'm too broke' or 'I can't be bothered', to justify neglecting the things that make our hearts sing and our souls, content.

Can I tell you though, that on my busiest, sometimes most stressful days, the ones where the Musician Husband has grown weary of the house being coated in a light smattering of glitter, sequins and feathers, and The Diva is asking if we can have something fresh (as in not a pre-cooked at home frozen dinner) tonight, and the Granddaughters want my attention, and the family wants to visit, and the dog needs a bath, and the bed linen needs changing, but I have to have these costumes done and dusted by tomorrow, so it ALL has to wait....
 
On those days, the things that help me rise with a smile and a spring in my step, are the things that I have made an effort to prepare for ME. The things that MY eyes fall upon that make the day special. The little touches that mean that I haven't forgotten to nurture myself, in the midst of catering to everyone elses needs. The things that don't necessarily cost much in the way of money or energy or time, but that make my life more joyful.

So on a Sunday afternoon, I found the French coathangers on the left of my photo top of this post (thankyou Pinterest), and decided that I'd wrap some wire ones in strips of vintage sheeting for a similar effect. I was actually going to stiffen the fabric, and paint the completed coathangers gold, but decided they looked so pretty, that I'd leave them as is. Look at these things for inspiration, not imitation, I say.
 
 
My husband, dear man that he is, brought roses home more than once, and rather than display one bunch in one spot, I chose to spread them all over the house in bud vases. There's nothing more likely to make me smile, than a rose in a bud vase. I'm easily pleased.
 
 
Breakfast doesn't always have to be in a bowl. A favourite yoghurt parfait, topped with Fruits de Jour in a large coffee mug, makes breakfast portable, and a wander in the garden is almost obligatory, cup and spoon in hand. Those moments of solitude, or companionship should the Husband decide to join me, make for a serene start to the day.
 
 
Passing on heirloom recipes to The Diva has been a priority this year as she comes to the end of her schooling. How could I send my Darling Girl out into the world without having shown her how to make real Vanilla custard, or my mouthwatering Pate`...

 
Or the secret to the gluten free Golden Syrup Tart she loves so much.

 
And my perennially famous Lasagna, layered with home made gluten free Crepes instead of pasta, so two lessons in one there, really.
 
 
An afternoon of packaging school dance costumes, gave me an excuse to make my favourite little Citrus Cakes, decorating them with slivers of home grown Cumquats. They were devoured, and are reminisced about often by the Mums involved. Such a simple thing, and a gluten free butter cake mix to boot. But baked in heart shaped tins, with lime zest in the batter and the icing, and topped with little segments of freshly picked Cumquat, suddenly memorable.

 
And when the family complains about having 'leftovers' for dinner, what's a Mum to do but turn them (the leftovers that is, not the family!),  into glorious little rustic pies. It is pie weather here in the Southern Hemisphere after all.

 
Of course one can only sew so many sequins, and construct what seems to be an endless row of Pillbox hats and tulle and sequin headpieces, before the urge to stitch something that requires little more than a straight line, calls to you. Well, it starts as a straight line, and then I'm thinking...
 
"These Busroll teatowels would look so much neater with mitred corners"
 
....and a whole new obsession begins.

 
I mastered them in the end, but honestly, I still don't understand how. It's sorcery I tell you....hahahahaha!

 
Some of these I kept for my 'new' kitchen, and some are being gifted to friends (like Emily...I haven't forgotten you, Em!).

 
So I for one, am grateful to put March, April and May behind me, and embrace June.
 
June means the fireplace is going with a cheery fire most days. June means our Wedding Anniversary (19th this year!), June means a Winter Beach Holiday....yes the weather is a constant contradiction in the Tropics! June heralds a return to a somewhat ordinary routine, and I love it.
 
June will also mean a return to my other passion...sharing my tips for a lovely life with you, all of my beautiful blogging and online friends.
 
And for THAT, I am truly grateful. You all keep me accountable, and hungry for new ideas. You are the ones that have me mastering mitred corners, and stocking my Christmas gift shelves with pretty DIY gifts. You inspire me to dream, create and inspire.
 
Thankyou.
 
How has life been for you? Tell me everything....
 
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20 comments:

  1. You're right! It's the little things. Doesn't take a big budget. But I do admire your resourcefulness! Especially with cooking. Stay cozy!

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    1. Thankyou Jacqueline! Yes, it has little to do with a big budget, and more to do with creativity. So right! Mimi xxx

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  2. I love domestic energy and ideas!

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    1. Me too Bernideen! Who needs the cut and thrust of the corporate world? Mimi xxx

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  3. Oh my word, Mrs. Mimi. I absolutely, positively, love it all! YOU are in the inspiring one. Thank you for being honest and lovely. I just returned this past Saturday from a cruise to Bermuda. I haven't been grocery shopping yet (coming up on Monday if I find the time to make a menu). I've got so many projects (gardening, cleaning out the garage, organizing closets) that it is been hard to get my routine back in order. So I sit here eating chicken noodle soup from a can and know it's going to be ok. Seasons come and go. You're the best!

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    1. Melinda, you are the sweetest thing! How was your cruise? It sounds divine...I've always wanted to visit Bermuda. All that sun, sand and fun! Good for you, Sweetness. You make me laugh...chicken noodle soup from a can...indeed. Sometimes easy is good! I find a return to routines, a comfort in themselves. I hope you will too, my lovely. Love, Mimi xxx

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  4. Everything looks wonderful! While you're making little pies, I'm planning on what kinds of wraps I can make as we're into the high 80's now and it's gonna continue to get warmer. Salads, sandwiches, & grilled foods will be on the menu. Tonight will be tomato-basil wraps with an onion cream cheese spread, turkey, spinach leaves, & sliced tomatoes. With hummus and pita chips and watermelon for dessert.

    I love the hangers. I have a pattern to make some hanger covers that I keep forgetting about. It's like a little drop-over dress! It seems very simple, but I always seem to forget about it when I start looking for new sewing projects.

    I also love the bright red of the towels. Your corners looked quite good!! My current challenge is making tiny hems for some hankies. I growl at the sewing machine a lot!!

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    1. Debby, you had me at Tomato Basil Wraps...yum!! I know the hanger covers you mean. They are cute too. What I love about this version, is that it stops things from slipping off the hanger. And those mitred corners. Oh. My. Goodness. They nearly did my head in, and like I say, I still don't know why it works, but it does...magic...lol! Yep, handkerchief hems would be similar. I'd actually like a sewing machine that growls for me. It would save me a lot of trouble...ROFL! Love, Mimi xxx

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  5. Mimi with all the costume making and Diva delicious antics, it is no wonder that you haven't had time to do as you might normally. I agree it is the small things that make our homes our havens. Now you have a reason that your home is not looking it's usual self, I don't. I just stopped last week. I don't know why I just did. I felt like quite ungrateful on so many levels. I got myself into such a mood and I was not a nice person. Off to the beach I did go to run away from home and the mess. I walked with my little dog on the warm sand and paddled in the chilly water. I picked up shells and put the pretty ones in my pocket. I came home and it would appear the sea breeze took the horrid me away and I came home my nice self. I had a sleep over at my folks on the Sunshine Coast. Mum and I went to Northlakes Ikea and both of us were a little overwhelmed. We didn't need anything so maybe if we were looking for something it would make a difference. I really cant see myself going back anytime soon. Mum and I also played ladies and went to a lovely tea house, The Silva Spoon, at Cotton Tree. I have come home with one of their delicious tea blends. A few stores down is an amazing shoe store. The shoes are incredibly expensive but the sales are so good. I picked up a pair of black leather, deliciously gorgeous heels, at half price. Fitted my budget and my purchase requirements. Happy days.
    I'm home again so today my wee home is getting some love and will hopefully emerge shiny and happy after a few weeks of drabness.
    Glad you're back. Have a good week.

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    1. Dear Jane. I too, sometimes, just, Stop. I don't know why either. I have learned though, to go with the flow, treat myself gently for a few days, and it passes. That's where the frozen or pre-prepped meals really come into their own, and in terms of day-to-day housework, I try to get by with the bare minimum. Yes, it means a catchup, but the down time is sometimes a necessity. Did you ever read the Katy books as a youngster? I often find myself being reminded of Katy after her accident and how she was jollied out of it so cleverly. I particularly remember how much better she felt when she was dressed in a pretty nightgown, all fresh, and how that affected her mindset. I've never forgotten that, and maybe it's one of the reasons I am so fastidious about my personal presentation, no matter how I feel. I love Cotton Tree. We lived quite close to there when my older sons were in primary school. I actually managed the Jenny Craig centre there when it first opened! It's always been a pretty spot. I hope home and hearth are enjoying being sparkly again. Love, Mimi xxx

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  6. Mimi, so happy to have a new post to read from you! I've missed your inspiring and creative energy! You've been busy busy! I am drooling over the gluten free cupcakes and all the other delicious foods you created!

    Life is good here in the western USA, summer is on it's way and flowers are blooming everywhere. So lovely.

    I am currently trying to upgrade my home-cooking skills, as I seem to have fallen in a cooking rut. So, just a few days ago I made a garlic-y stir fry with shrimp, zucchini, and sugar snap peas served over buttered rice noodles with a side of flavorful brown fried rice lightly sprinkled with red pepper flakes. Yum! Love, Teresa

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    1. Dear Teresa, you are so sweet. I never imagine that anyone actually misses me, so thankyou! I love Summer, all the colour and the beach...sigh. Cooler weather means fireplaces and comfort food though, so it's not all bad here. I think I'm coming for dinner next time you cook shrimp though! Yum! Mimi xxx

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  7. Missed you mimi! Please provide the lasagne recipe, the custard recipe,.and pie recipe.! Just love how you make it all so lovely ! Sonia

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    1. Nawww...thankyou Sonia. What a lovely thing to say. I will provide the recipes. They're not hard, but it's a lot of typing...lol! Stay tuned. Love, Mimi xxx

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  8. Thank you Mimi! As a mother to four with a husband who travels weeks at a time, I love to read your reminders and encouragements...I often live vicariously through them in very busy times.
    xoxo,
    Marybeth

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    1. Dear Marybeth, managing a family solo, for whatever reason, can be challenging. I am pleased that my humble scribblings support you in that. It's a thankless task sometimes, but can I tell you that my sons, now edging towards their late 30s, now come to me regularly, hug me, and tell me that they finally realise how hard it must have been, and how many sacrifices I made for them when I was on my own. Bless them. Keep at it Marybeth. There will be so many rewards. Much love, Mimi xxx

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  9. I agree with you wholeheartedly. You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself:) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm! xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

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    1. Thankyou Kathleen. It's always a joy to visit you. Mimi xxx

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  10. Interesting lasagna! I would love to try that! Thank you for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

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    1. Sherry, it's a meat and three veg lasagne, and it's utterly delicious! Mimi xxx

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx