Chance encounter with a fellow creator
As I browsed through the cushions in the local Pillow Talk store, a woman around her early forties stood close by, hands deep in tightly packed colourful creative patterned cushions, in search of a bargain. She commented “if only I had a million dollars”.
People who know me will immediately think, well that has opened up a conversation, which it did.
I empathised with her situation as I had been there once. I commented with a warm smile “you don’t need a million dollars. With a little bit of lateral thinking and elbow grease you can achieve outcomes that look fabulous as well as give you a sense of fulfilment”.
I admitted to her that even after all these years and on a good wage, I still find it difficult to pay $80 for one cushion and it would need to be pretty special.
She promptly produced her iPhone and showed me her own home creations. Wonderful pieces created from items purchased from op shops or found on nature strips in her local area.
Her photos looked like the before and after effect from a home reno TV show. I was impressed with not only her outcomes but her passion and use of chalk paint. I didn’t know you could buy it in colours other than black!
A sense of satisfaction
Our conversation took me back to my post-divorce days as a young single mother supporting two children and although today my life is well distanced from those times, the memories of the daily battle to survive always linger in the background.
I told her how my adult children were self-sufficient and had achieved great outcomes on a minimal budget, including their sense of achievement. She also should be proud of her own achievements.
Which is the reason for this article. My encounter in Pillow Talk made me consider what I am presently doing.
Autumn (not Spring) Cleaning
Autumn has begun and most of most us talk about spring cleaning but I also like to Autumn clean i.e. prepare for more days inside to attend to my crafts and wait out the winter months. I write, knit, crochet, sew or make my jewellery and my environment is important to me to be able to focus and feel at peace through the winter hibernation.
I live in a townhouse, and my downstairs lounge room is where I regularly work on my hobbies. The room has always felt too dark with brown furniture. I needed to feel light and fresh so I began to change the feel and look of the room. I had two objectives, lighten the colours and create more space.
“Ree the Renovator”
For my maintenance project my daughter “Ree the Renovator” as I call her, has been my main motivator. She and her tradie husband (isn’t that a bonus he builds everything she asks for) have converted their home into a modern spacious valuable asset, on one wage, with lots of lateral thinking, endless hours of physical labour and ad hoc help from their two young boys.
Most of the following tips and advice comes from my daughter:
1. Paint rather than replace – following items painted in Dulux Antique White satin paint;
a. brown cubed storage system I painted doors including pull out baskets I have kept frame in brown and need to think further on this
b. brown timber framed mirrors – fresh look and blends in with storage system
c. small brown side table – total new look
d. small wooden picture frames, TV remote control holder
2. Replaced timber TV unit and coffee table with a smaller white TV wall unit
a. unit includes an OH storage area and a tall narrow side glass cupboard. Installed free standing shelves in the gap between the side wall and unit (my niece’s idea)
b. purchased a smaller matching coffee table. Sold previous TVunit on Gumtree
3. CD storage
a. I use my iPhone/iTunes for music but have a CD collection I wish to keep. My personally signed CD’s are in the glass cupboard
b. the remainder are stored as suggested by Ree the Renovator. I purchased a Bunnings plastic under-bed storage box. It is perfect for the height of CD’s they stand upright in box, hold at least 150 CD’s and boxes are stackable
4. Surround speaker system
a. as much as I love surround sound, I have 6 speakers in a small room and I replaced them with a new SoundBar that comes with a Woofer. The bar is about a metre long narrow slab and sits across the feet of the TV. I will sell speaker system on Gumtree
5. Magazines & Books
a. decide what to sell or keep
b. I have at least a 100 jewellery making magazines and rarely use for reference . I have advertised on Gumtree with no luck but intend to try the Australian www.etsy.com suited more for craft like products
c. my Psychology mags and books are used for research and fit well into one of the cubed cupboards
6. Storage for additional items
a. spend a few hours each time going through different collections
b. determine what to give away to friends, Vinnies, sell or throw out
c. many stores offer different options – Ikea, Howards, Target, Kmart have inexpensive containers that look attractive in a room
7. Label machine
a. both mother and daughter have a Brother labeller, best purchase we have had in years
8. Modify behaviour
a. I am a collector who has needed to reconsider my behaviour otherwise one day my children will never forgive me
b. to clear out is a mental cleanse
9. Biggest expense was my light coloured leather lounge suite
These are just a few of Ree’s ideas that I have put into practice. She could set up her only blog but as she said ‘mum I’m not into Facebook nor blogging’ so mother can spread the word.
To end this story, two strangers shared ideas, had a good laugh and parted company better for the conversation. I feel confident that one party still wants to buy the four cushions she could not afford and still wants her million dollars.