Stealing from Charity!

No, I didn’t actually steal anything, but I almost feel like I have.  Note the word almost.   I got such amazing bargains that it almost felt like stealing.

I have been working on a beast of a piece of furniture for my dining room and needed a much needed break from it.  So, I did what I usually do on a sunny day when I am not working for money, I hit the charity shops!  It is a form of entertainment for me and I never know if something will jump out at me and ask me to take it home.

Just so you know, I actually don’t really need anything.  I do have an idea to expand a piece of furniture and took some measurements before I went out, just in case I saw something I could use.  I also thought it might be nice to find some interesting artwork.  I am always on the lookout for a lovely painting.  I don’t think you can own too much art.  Charity shops are great places to score some nice paintings or frames.  Sometimes I find nice things that I didn’t even know I wanted!  Anyway, I had two intentions when I went out:  I was looking for a bookcase of sorts and I was looking for artwork.

It didn’t take long before I scored big time on the artwork.  Here is what I got today:


1) I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spied this painting by Nigel Greaves for £20!  The picture frame is worth more than £20!  And the painting is definitely worth more than that.  I should know because I own one of Nigel’s paintings.  I felt sick with excitement and felt like a naughty schoolgirl when I handed over my money.  How this painting came to be in a charity shop I will never know.  Usually, something of this worth gets given away when someone passes away and the relatives don’t like it or don’t know its value.  Although other people’s abstracts are really not my thing unless your name is Kandinsky, I do like this painting and have the perfect spot for it.  I still would have purchased it even if I didn’t like it.  I would just stick it on E-bay otherwise.

2)  This is a postcard of the All Saints Convalescent Hospital in Eastbourne and was sent to someone in London postmarked 1916.  I need to find a frame for it.  I like collecting historical items like this.  This little gem cost £1.50!  I am amazed that it found its way back to Eastbourne!  The building still stands, but it has been turned into very expensive apartments.

3)  I found this chess set for £2.00!  This chess set is nothing special, but it is just the right size and I want to learn how to play again.  I need to find a little box for the pieces.  This was one of those things that I didn’t even know I wanted!

4)  This painting was half price, for £2.00!  It’s a pretty watercolour of ‘Christmas Roses’ by Brian Neylan.  From what I could find on the internet, Brian Neylan was a resident of Eastbourne.  He passed away in 2001.  That was all that I could find out about this man.  This painting was done in 1999.  There is something really lovely and simple about this painting and I was surprised to see it going for a song.  Brian may be gone, but now he won’t be forgotten.

So, I now have a few more pieces to add to my collection.  You never know what you are going to learn about that little gem you take home with you.

What interesting things have you discovered in a charity shop?

Clearing the clutter, again!

I have been a big fan of space clearing for many years.  Karen Kingston is the queen of space clearing.  I might not do things exactly the way she does things, but I give it a good go.  Even though I have downsized to a two-bedroom house, I still find myself decluttering on a regular basis.  Getting rid of unwanted or unused items makes room for things you might actually need, provided you have the space.

Sometimes, you don’t want to replace items.  You just want to get rid of stuff to create space and flow or to just get better organised.  While getting down the Christmas decorations from the loft, I realised that I could have better storage boxes (i.e. smaller) to lug up and down the loft ladder without killing myself.  I made a mental note to re-organise everything and buy some new storage boxes (see through) when it came time to put everything away.   While emptying the boxes, I also did a decoration purge, and I still didn’t use them all!

Today was the day that I was going to put all of the decorations away, so I hauled down all of the boxes I had been using to store them away.  They were all cardboard and all different sizes.  It was a bit awkward taking down the boxes as I really couldn’t get a good grip on them.  I am glad no-one saw me do it!  Before putting everything away, I realised that I had things in clear storage boxes that needed to be looked at first.  It was interesting going through items I had put away for the kids.  It can be very dangerous opening up a box with items from the past, especially if you are trying to get rid of stuff.  Your heart wants to keep things while your mind is telling you that it is essentially clutter as it is no longer being used by anyone.  I really did enjoy looking at all of the cards my children had given me over the years and won’t be throwing them out.  However, I did get rid of a lot of other stuff and ideas came to me on how to utilize these sentimental items in the future.

I had to draw a line about the box with photos. I swear that I will go through them and make a collage or put them in albums.  Some I will frame, I swear, truly.  I found things I had forgotten I had put away and other things that I couldn’t believe I put away.  I found documents and photos that can be shredded and re-cycled.  After going through all this stuff in my loft, I ended up with two empty boxes that I can use to store the Christmas decorations!  I call that a result!

It took me all day to go through everything.  It probably would have taken less time if I had help, but then I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself so much by indulging in a bit of nostalgia.  (I also did laundry, made a panettone pudding, and did some cleaning!)  Tomorrow I will be going to B&Q or Homebase to buy some storage boxes for my decorations and then I can start looking for other things to clear out!  I think I saw some shoes and clothes I no longer need…:)

January seems to be a good month to have a good clear out with it being the start of a new year.  Out with the old and all that.  You never know what wonderful thing will come into your life when you make some space for it.  Here is to another New Year and a new beginning!

Burning the Past and Painting the Future

This is what I did Saturday.   Before I did that, I grabbed everything except my handbag with my wallet and house keys and went off to the workshop with my friend following behind me.  Doh!  We stopped for petrol.  It was when I went to get my handbag to pay for the petrol that I realised I left my bag at home.  Crap!  Fortunately, my friend owed me money for the workshop, and she paid for my petrol.  The sat nav made me crazy and I took a few wrong turns, but we all got there with plenty of time to spare.  The workshop was wonderful, but exhausting for me.   I came home, knocked on my neighbour’s door and got the spare key.  No problem.  I didn’t worry about anything all day as I knew within myself that all was going to be ok.  Besides, I had backup.  My neighbour came to the workshop too and she gave me the key to her flat as she was staying with another friend that came to the workshop.  Don’t you love how things work out like that?

One of the things we had to do in the workshop was to draw a picture of our future as we wanted it.  Easy peasy, but more of that later.  The whole experience exhausted me.  My head was bursting full of ideas for new paintings.  It felt as if my head was going to explode.  I had insights into my life and actions that I didn’t know about before.   I am at a very interesting point in my life where I have so many choices that I almost feel immobilized.  I say almost.  It is as if I can see into the future, but I choose to remain in the present and see what happens.

So that was Saturday, Sunday was another day and I decided to do ‘nothing’ all day.  That involved doing laundry, watering the plants, planting a new climber, sunbathing (for the first time in months!), and reading a book!  I also went out to tea at my local and listened to music and caught up with some salsa friends and met new people.  I also re-painted my future. (really, more about that later!)  How is that for a lazy summer’s day!?

I also decided to burn my past!  Literally!  I have had a couple of heavy boxes of paper that have represented divorces, mortgages and other stuff that represented my life for the last ten+ years.  Shredding was a nightmare.  I thought, ‘I have a chiminea, why don’t I burn the stuff that has been hanging around in my hallway for the last year!?  So that is what I did, and am still doing!  Lookie see!

Crap to burn!
Burning the Past

I couldn’t burn it all in one go, and am doing the rest this morning.  The ashes were still hot.   I am burning so much anger and resentment from the past.   It is very therapeutic.   I know that when I have burned every single scrap of paper, I will be even more free than I was before – and I will also have fertiliser for the garden!

Now to painting my future, at last!  Here is the picture!

My Future

It isn’t supposed to be fine art, merely a representation of what I want in my future, and is in the centre of my inspiration wall in my office.  The other things on my wall all link into this picture or are there to inspire me.  Anyone can do this.  I had a flyer from an exhibition I went to on a board in my old house.  It was there for 10 yrs. and was of a painting I saw.  At the time, it was too expensive for me, but I knew one day I would have one of this artist’s paintings.  Now I own five, including the original painting I saw that was on my inspiration board!  Maybe inspiration is the wrong word to use.  I might start calling it my manifestation wall.  I really do think that if you can visualise what you want in your life, it will come, eventually.  Putting up a picture merely brings it into the present to make sure you don’t forget about what you want and to help you take steps to reach your goal.

By looking at my picture, you may think ‘hey, she already has a house by the sea!’  Well, I live less than a 10 minute walk away from the seafront.  I would love to look out of my window and look at the sea everyday without getting out of my house!  I am one step away from that.  Although we have lovely summers here in Eastbourne, I still live in the UK and the winter can be a bit grim.  I would like to live with sunshine year round.  I could do with more cash.  A job would be nice.  Notice that is the first thing in my picture.    I am ready to go back to work and earn some money.  The tree represents many things:  Roots, security, communication, knowledge or information…I am sure I will think of some other things, but I felt I needed to paint a tree.  Lastly, a loving relationship.  I painted two naked people looking out to sea with a sunset and butterfly.  They are naked because they are open and free.    The butterfly signifies a new beginning and I just needed to put it in there.  So my future is looking very good in that picture.  My present is also very good and I am very grateful for what I have now.  I don’t feel I am lacking anything, I would just like to tweak things and have a bit more of what I have already in a different environment.  This picture inspires me and shows me what is going to come to me, eventually.

So, what do you see in your future?