Thursday, January 31, 2013

day 3 declutter

/ raw sprinkles on rawified /

yes, i realise i missed a day there, but i was unfortunately working pretty much all day yesterday and thus had no time to declutter.

but it was on today - the pantry. this is a fairly easy one for me because my pantry isn't that big. good luck if yours is!!

/ pickle bottle stopper via swissmiss - oops, no longer available /

i didn't take any photos because i promise, it is very un-exciting.  i have gotten very adventurous in my cooking over the past couple years, which means i have acquired a lot of fairly unusual ingredients from vegan egg substitute to pomegranate molasses. not to mention the multiple packages of danish licorice! but i came to the conclusion that i just had too much in too many different packages and containers, so organisation was sorely needed.
/ tattly kitchen utensils temporary tattoos /

my suggestion? stacking containers! find a set of containers that you really like and get rid of all those half-used packages and odd-sized boxes and bags. next suggestion - if you haven't used it in a year - compost it! it isn't likely you are going to find a reason to use whatever that ingredient is and it probably isn't healthy to keep it around that long. my worms got a good deal of bread crumbs and various other little bits and pieces.

pantry declutter total: worms fed, empty space on 3 shelves and lots of ingredients now easily found and identified

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

day 2 declutter

/ retro print card by manvsgeorge /

today is the day of digital declutter.

i spend a lot of time on my computer. i have a whole segment of my life there - communication, networking, photos, ideas, inspirations, work, writing, and everything in between. this space can get pretty full pretty quickly. i only have 4 gigs of space left on my hard drive, there are about 20 files scattered on my desk top and my email inbox is now 2 pages long. needless to say, it's time to sort it out.

/ resistor earrings by clonehardware /

i kicked off my digital declutter agenda with cleaning up my blog. i need a bit of white space in my life, so i hope you enjoy the light cleanliness of it all. i also deleted a few buttons and updated some side bars. nothing major, just it giving a breath of fresh air.

next was email. i set up a few extra folders for filing things away, which got rid of about 10 emails. on to mail awaiting replies - a few short sentences and 5 more were out of the way. 2 more that required some action - done. and about 15 more that i was saving up to have a look at some links within them. these made some nice reading as i sat down with breakfast and my coffee this morning. a few more were just hanging around for no good reason and after trashing those - voila! only 2 emails left. see, the great thing about most email systems is that you don't have to get rid of anything, just file away and archive and use your search button if you ever need to find it again (which you probably won't, but it's nice knowing it's there). i'm starting to feel the peace of less clutter already!

on to photos... these take up a LOT of space on my hard drive, so i have been systematically uploading them to my online picasa album, transferring them to my massive external hard drive and then deleting them from my laptop. this means that if i ever need to look up a picture of, say, the 8th grade dance, all i have to do is hop online or plug my external drive in. i can't imagine a situation where i would need such a picture with more urgency than those two options can provide...
/ yep, that's the 8th grade dance /

and as for the desktop.. well, much of that was cleared up with a little filing and transferring to the external drive as well. let's face it, i probably won't be needing my wedding video with much urgency either.

i could have extended my declutter efforts even further: 

itunes - i could delete that music i downloaded from who knows where that i never listen to and probably never will. i am probably never going to select an aerosmith song to play, so why do i have an entire album on there?

pics not on my iphoto - i have a collection of pics of craft ideas. surely i can find a place to store these online instead of them taking up space on my hard drive?

my documents folder - i probably don't need copies of receipts for things that i bought years ago and may not even still own..

ultimately, though, i wanted to keep it simple and attack the areas that needed the most help. i would suggest you do the same and just pick the top 3 areas that you use the most.
/ ipad case by world designs /

all in all, this whole process only took about 3 hours in the background, that is, i would set something up to copy and walk away to do other things in the meantime like washing, dishes and deciding what to declutter tomorrow. digital declutter total: only 2 emails left in my inbox, desktop with only 2 folders, 6+ gigs of space now free on my laptop.

Monday, January 28, 2013

day 1 declutter

/ blurry pic of my stash /
clothes.

ok, i admit, i cheated a little. i already had one bag of clothes weeded out, but the rest i did today. i made sure to go through all my clothes stashes - in the two different closets and even the bag of stuff under the bed. i made sure to not just take out things that i haven't been wearing, but also any items that are headed for a new spot in my house. one shirt is in need of repair and hasn't quite made it to the sewing pile yet, so into the bag of repairs it goes. a couple shirts made it to the bottom of the pile due to their low rotation, but are too sentimental to let go of (i know, i know, that sounds a whole lot like collecting!), so they are going to be donated to my t-shirt quilt. the two bags are full of various clothes for the next switch & bitch - by far the best way to share the unwanted clothes you might have that are still in great shape.
/ some of my s&b scores /
switch and bitch has been the source of so many great items in my wardrobe, everything from funky statement pieces to much needed basics.

today's declutter total: 2 bags to go out, 1 stack of clothes 'refiled' in a more appropriate spot

7 days of declutter

/ bicycle wall via gearinches /
i'm sure a lot of people made resolutions for 2013 that they've already broken - go to the gym, eat healthier food, finish that project that has been half-finished for the past 6 months (or more!)... i've never been one for resolutions. not because i am necessarily a 'seize the moment' type of person, in fact i border on procrastinator more than impulsive decision-maker, but if i feel the time is right for something, then i will get it done. i know this drives my husband crazy, but that's just too bad, he's stuck with me and i have the ring to prove it :)

/ plate collage via bungalow at home /
i sort of 'fell' into running about a month before the new year so i didn't need to resolve to exercise more - box already ticked. as for healthy food... well, let's just say that's what the running is for. and half-finished projects? yeah, i have a few of those. luckily i never resolved to finish them. until now!

/ tree branch bookshelf by wanted design via coolhunting /
as part of a delayed spring clean, a few of those unfinished projects might finally see their end; a few corners might have one less box; a few bottoms of drawers might be easier to see; a few more hangers might have only 2 items of clothing on them instead of 4...

/ kitchen bull by toro legno /
you see, i come from a long line of... collectors. to call them packrats is a bit harsh because i know how tempting it is to keep a hold of things that 'might just come in handy one day' and are 'just too pretty to part with'. but call them what you will, i live in far too small an apartment to collect much of anything, so out the things must go!

/ leather horse desk accessory on aha life /
7 days - 7 projects of decluttering. i'm not talking massive effort here because, frankly, i just don't have have the time and neither do most people, so if you want to know what my handy hints (that i will pretty much make up over the next 7 days) are, stay tuned. i will start tonight with --- drum roll please --- clothes!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

happy australia day


/ tasmanian devil basking in the sun /
today is australia day, so no better day to update everyone with our recent australian travels! back in november, reuben and i met up with my parents and aunt cheryl in hobart for a 10 day australian vacation at the end of their cruise. 

/ feeding an emu at bonorong /
we arrived on wednesday (21st) in the evening, grabbed our rental car and proceeded to meet up with my family for dinner and a wander around the port area. my family stayed on their cruise boat that night, we stayed at the very conveniently located and reasonably priced quest waterfront. definitely stay near the port if you ever head to hobart, you get a great feeling for the city in that area.

/ galah at bonorong /
on thursday (22nd), we all headed out to bonorong wildlife sanctuary just outside of hobart so we could catch a glimpse of the wildlife. because the cruise boat was in town, the sanctuary had keepers at all of the enclosures with the animals and set free buckets of food out for visitors to feed the emus and kangaroos.

/ roo with joey at bonorong /
i was in love with this place - so many adorable tasmanian devils, wombats and koalas! the devils are part of the tasmanian devil breeding programme, which is responsible for creating a captive population that is free of the devil facial tumor disease. bonorong is unique as a sanctuary in that they also do a good deal of wildlife rehabilitation for sick and injured animals.

/ friendly young wombat /
after visiting bonorong, we decided to stop through richmond, a cute little historic town with several artsy shops. we also stopped for lunch, where i got one of the regional signature pies - cauliflower and cheese. yum! i had a side of cascade brewery ginger beer, too, of course.

/ feeding (and petting!) a kangaroo /
we dropped the fam off at the boat so they could sail out for sydney and then stopped by the pub around the corner from our hotel room for a drink of local beer, customs house hotel. because eating and drinking is what we do on holiday, our next stop was peppermint bay after a long, winding drive down the coast through battery point, sandy bay, taroona, margate and across from bruny island. at the fairly posh, waterside location, we grabbed a seat at the (empty) bar and ordered some warm olives and a glass of barossa valley shiraz. i had heard that australian shiraz was delish and boy was i right. in fact, it was this glass that started reuben's new obsession with shiraz that has been going strong for months.

/ short stop at oyster cove /
after our visit to peppermint bay, we made our way back to our place in sullivan's cove, where we booked ourselves a table at prossers on the beach in sandy bay, just a short drive away. let me summarise - amazing! we watched the sun set over the water with a bottle of reisling and bruny island oysters with apple cider vinegar dressing to share. i had sashimi tuna and soba noodles to start and reuben had scallops with mushrooms. for mains - more seafood! i had a bouillabaisse with fish, prawns and mussels, while reuben had capellini with softshell crabs and prawns. i had some food envy because i looooooooove pasta, but we both enjoyed our mains nevertheless. and for dessert, a cheese board with a port for me and - you guessed it - a shiraz for reuben. we went home fat and happy :)

/ at mt nelson /
the next morning we grabbed breakfast at a cafe around the corner from the hotel and proceeded to drive (rather accidentally) to mt. nelson, a very pretty lookout over the water and the city. there was a good looking cafe at the top, which we would have tried, but we were still full from breakfast. i know, that's not like us at all!

/ view from mt. wellington /
after mt nelson, i finally managed to navigate us to mt. wellington - an extremely high lookout over hobart, a good 5 degrees colder at the top i believe!

/ local wildlife /
the drive was so worth the amazing views, even if it was full of tourists. on our way back down, we stopped by a native nursery, but we figured the best place to go for native plants would be the royal tasmanian botanical gardens.

/ us posing at the top of mt. wellington /
luckily our flight back to sydney wasn't until 5pm so we had some time to wander around the gardens, including the small, but unusual subantarctic plant house.

/ reuben catching some rays in the gardens /
they even had an erica garden! before we flew out, we had a wander around the salamanca area and we grabbed another one of tasmania's signature pies - curried scallop. more yum! you may, at this point, be getting an indication of what inspired me to start running...

/ in my namesake garden /
check out all our tasmania photos here on my picasa album. next stop - sydney....

Monday, January 21, 2013

get better work stories

/ weta sculpture by mark hill 2006 /
'get better work stories' is the marketing slogan that the nz police use for recruiting. while imagine that working for the police force would give you a lot to talk about, you could pass on the potentially extremely dangerous career choice and just start working with animals instead! ok, ok, there are a lot of animals that can kill you, but if you work in a reputable institution, you should never be put in a position where you can get severely injured, barring some freak accident, of course.

as most of you know, i have been working with animals ever since high school in various different capacities - volunteer at vet clinics, intern at wildlife sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres and most recently as a live exhibitions keeper at a museum. my time at wrr in texas gave me some of my most entertaining experiences, including a great pig escape, getting skunked in the eye and receiving a lasting impression (read: scar) from an opossum.

/ weta on wood by matthew brauchi /
well today i gained another one to add to the volumes of animal-related tales, and this one involves a baby weta. for those of you that don't know, a weta is much like a cricket and at te manawa, we have a large enclosure with about 13 baby/juvenile cave weta that hatched a few months ago (read about our babies on beta weta geta or in our latest article in the manawatu standard). i take a particular interest in the weta, so i do spend a bit of time with my head poked into their enclosure trying to take pictures of them, feeding them or giving their enclosure a good clean. in those times, i have had weta antennae sweep across my face and several weta jump at or around me, all of which are experiences that most people would get pretty upset over, but luckily i've managed to keep my cool. today i nearly lost it.

/ weta sculpture made from car parts by chris meder /
when i entered the back of the weta cave today, i noticed something jumping around - oh no - a baby weta had escaped the enclosure. i quickly tried to capture him in the plastic container i was holding, but instead of jumping away from me, he jumped straight onto my leg (luckily i was wearing leggings so it didn't startle me too much) and i looked away for a second to grab the container, but when i looked back he was gone. i presumed he had jumped down between the floorboards and so got down on my hands and knees to look between the cracks.... when i felt something crawling up my back... under my dress! a dress may seem like unusual attire for an animal keeper, but we keepers at te manawa don't have a dirty, physical job like most being that we mostly take care of fish. but today, it suddenly seemed like the worst choice of attire ever. i lifted up my skirt and could just glimpse the weta feet that were crawling higher up and under my waistband. knowing i couldn't grab him since i actually couldn't twist around enough to do it and knew he would just jump off if i tried, i quickly opened the weta cave door and jumped in... and by jumped in, i mean i precariously perched with one foot on the door frame and one on the window frame about a metre apart! as i jumped in, i immediately tried to oust the persistent little weta, just hoping that at a half an hour before closing no one would be on the other side of the glass trying to spot the weta... well, no luck. just after i started pulling my skirt every which way (mostly up), three teenage boys came running past and started knocking at the glass. i was absolutely cracking up at this point and tried to quickly jump out of the cave and shut the door, hoping that the weta dropped out while i was still in the cave.

you'll be happy to know, that upon further inspection in the privacy of the back of the cave, i couldn't find any weta hiding in my dress so i think i successfully returned the poor escapee back to his home. mission accomplished??

Sunday, January 6, 2013

stories for barnacles

/ amazing series of illustrations by bejamin dewey /
for anyone unlucky enough to be a barnacle, i have many a travel story to share over the next few days - tasmania, syndey, uluru, northland, coromandel peninsula.... stay tuned :)