Japan has many favorite words and phrases. Motainai is one of them.

If I were to translate it -it means something like “waste not want not” but …a little different. You can use the word in a variety of ways. I use the word quite frequently because it kind of fits my frugal personality. Actually, it really fits my frugal personality.

When we moved into this house it was full of furniture, dishes, futons and everything in between. My husband’s- brother’s- wife’s (how’s that for a mouthful) parents owned this home (now deceased) so we were able to pick and choose what we wanted-the rest was dumped! You have no idea what a blessing it was to us as we left most of our earthly possessions behind in Saipan.

I think I kept more than what we actually needed. There was this old wardrobe that I kept because I thought it might come in handy someday. It sat around bothering me for a while …and then…I needed a sewing space.

Living in such a small house it was hard for me to decide where I was going to set up my sewing corner. I moved it around here and there-the clutter bothered me. Clutter in a small space makes me feel tired.

Then I had an idea-!

The wardrobe is actually 2 pieces. The section where you hang clothes rests on top of 2 drawers and comes off. So-I took off the top section and removed the hanging bar. It was then basically just a big wooden box.


I bought a piece of wood from the do-it-yourself shop and used “L” brackets to install a shelf.


I purchased the organizers from Daiso and –viola–a sewing space! The drawers sit on the opposite wall and hold my material. I made a patchwork curtain for the whole thing and it hides everything inside. I just started putting it together. After I get the other organizers in I’m sure it will be perfect.

Small space living can be a challenge.



Patchwork Curtains and random scenery

There are times when I feel completely exasperated with things. Like right now. It’s silly stuff, nothing big really.

I’m sure the ladies (maybe a few guys) will be able to relate.

I really want to fix up our home a bit but there are so many issues….to move or not to move is the first and foremost issue. At the moment the move is on hold as Okasan has made a miraculous recovery and it seems no one need panic right now. Anyhow-we really would rather not move now…and then move again in the future.

The second issue is finances. We really don’t want to pour a lot of money into a place that we know is temporary.

But…….it’s driving me nuts not to be able to do much. I mean, it’s a great little old Japanese house. It needs repair in some areas that we must take care of or else we won’t be able to use a room or two. The wood used for the flooring was really thin plywood and it’s spongy in areas. If we don’t fix that soon we will fall right through the floor into the crawl-space under the house.

I made some very simple plans for a small organized sewing / craft area. There was furniture in the home and I kept a big wardrobe that I’m going to put shelves in to make it more functional. I’m really big on using what I have.

The wardrobe will be the central piece and plywood work counters will be made around it-or on the side, depending.

I’ve also stumbled upon several websites with tutorials and ideas on using fabric to spruce things up. I’ve fallen in love with patchwork curtains! I looked at them and I thought….hummm….what a cute way to brighten up rooms. I have some plans to make a few for open cabinet cover-ups and table skirts.

Pinterest is my friend. Have you done any cheap redecorating? Any ideas?

The pictures in the slideshow below are random “out of the car window” shots I took today on the way to the doctor’s office. They are raw-unedited and sorta blurry….but the scenery is beautiful!

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