Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Treats

A couple of Pinterest ideas made in nom-nom form.

Monday, December 12, 2016

And so to bed!

Whew! That's another section done! This time in my bedroom.

On Sunday I split the bedroom into seven section, with the idea of doing one section a day for a week. This would result in a very tidy, clean bedroom Two sections have been completed. This makes me very happy.

During the 52 week challenge I sorted through a lot of clothes and did some serious decluttering in the bedroom. This hasn't stopped a load of stuff accumulating though. As I was moving things around I realised that four of the boxes were things belonging to my daughter. I think they are items she no longer wants, but I'd rather she gave them another look over when she is home for Christmas. I would hate to be getting rid of treasured items.

One of the boxes is full of things to be donated to a charity shop. We shall attend to this on Saturday. The rest is crafting materials seeking a home. For the moment, that home will be in my study. After Christmas, I will need to get into the study and declutter in there too.

What do I use, what do I need?

Whilst thinking, planning and designing the new house, I have been stopping and pondering what I actually need, and what I use. My conclusion is 'a whole heap less stuff than I have!'

I'm going to list all of the the household items I have used. This will help with the planning and design. It makes sense to ensure there's a sensible place for everything that is used regularly. It also means that at the end of a period I can get rid of things that are not used.

Here's the things I have used today, assembled in a useful sort of manner.

bedroom: bed, bed linens, duvet, pillows, bath towel, hand towel
electronics: Kindle, laptop, phone, phone charger
kitchen: cooker, frying pan, wooden spoon, veggie chopping knife, chopping board, fridge, plate, mug, kettle, larder, sink, draining board, utensils storage, cutlery storage, recycling boxes, towel

Back on the Wagon

A while back I started a challenge to declutter my house in 52 weeks. My thinking was that even if it only 'stuck' for a few weeks then it leave me in a better state. It stuck for a couple of months, and things (most especially in the kitchen) improved.

By and large, the areas decluttered have remained decluttered and organised. However, the pantry (ambient food storage cupboard) didn't get done. Yesterday evening, I made a start on it. There's 6 shelves, and two of them have been decluttered.

I called The Beloved and The Offspring to come have a look at my wonderful decluttering ability, and in the space of 8 minute another two shelves were done! Those were the two high ones, the ones I can't reach. I've no idea what I'm going to put in that space. Hmm... here's a random thought! Do I need to put anything in that space?!


It appears the answer is "Yes!". In decluttering the lower two shelves I moved things around a bit. There's now a shelf for gluten-containing foods, eg pasta and breakfast cereals. There's also a shelf for non-gluten starches, eg gf breakfast cereal, rice, lentils, pasta, and rice noodles. Thankfully, all of the shelves are only half the normal depth of kitchen cupboards. I can store things on the front of the second highest shelf, as long as the items are at the front. The top shelf (which I can't reach unless I stand on something) now has paper napkins, paper plates, and plastic cutlery. If it's not used within 3 months it's going out.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Cake

The cake is made to a recipe my Mam has been cooking for 55 years, a very tasty, rich, dark, moist fruit cake. It's dense and juicy, with the cake part being a matrix to hold all of the fruit in place. The cake was marzipan-ed, then iced using fondant.  The holly and ivy were made from a mix of flower paste and fondant. The leaves were glued in place using royal icing, and the berries were also made from royal icing. 'Noel' was created by pressing in an embosser whilst the white fondant was still very soft. Later when the fondant had dried, Noel was painted using powdered food dye/pigment mixed with alcohol. (The alcohol evaporates very quickly, leaving behind the pigment.) A little Scani-inspired ribbon finished it off.

This cake will donated to a local charity that works with elderly people, providing friendship, lunch clubs, social activities, etc.

Christmas Cake recipe

175g butter
175g sugar
225g plain flour (I used Dove Farm's gluten-free flour)
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 medium eggs
700g mixed fruit
1 Tsp ground almonds
1 Tsp rich dark treacle

Oven temps: 180C and 150C

Cream the butter and sugar. Sieve the flour, baking powder and spice together. Beat the eggs. Add the flour and eggs to the butter and cream, a little at a time, alternating. Add the almonds and treacle. The bake in a lined tin. Bake at 180C for 1 hour, then at 150C for 2 hours.

This quantity makes a 20cm round cake, about 10cm high.