Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happenings around here



I've been spending the earlier parts of this week emptying our pantry and cleaning it all down to move it and the fridge out so we could have our kitchen floor sanded and polished. We were a bit sick of the old "terracotta tile" vinyl that was sitting on top of these raw boards, with a big seam line down the middle that we'd trip over, or get slippers caught on.
We're pretty happy with the improvement, now we have a few bits of paint patching to do, including painting the concrete hearth you can see. I wanted to tile it, but it will sit too high and might be a tripping hazard as it's not big enough for a whole foot to stand on. I'll be happy to have our kitchen up and running in a few days, when we can move the fridge and pantry back in. Our kitchen renovation is a step closer to being finished (almost 2 years after it was begun!)
A new blind for Evie & Liv's room- a holland blind made from Ink & Spindle's birch forest print in a large scale. I wanted to replace the cheap pvc venetians with something eco friendly (Ink & Spindle is a carbon neutral business), that would block out the light properly. The venetians blocked the view, but that was about it. Liv stayed in her bed all night after this blind went in, but we had to stay with my parents last night because of the floorboards.
It is very hard to photograph blinds, as you have to shut them a bit to see them. They are a dark dusty pink, a bit lighter than the photos.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Basil pesto

What else can you do on a hot day at home with children? Make pesto. So we did. We harvested all the basil we could (not much, barely the 1 1/2 cups required from Thai basil and common? basil), toasted up pinenuts, grated up parmesan cheese, foraged 2 garlic cloves from the garden, and drizzled in some Australian olive oil. This is all that it made, but I will freeze it in the ice cube tray. Smells awesome! Every time I buy pesto, I only use some of it before the rest of the jar goes off, quite a waste. It's hard to find Australian made pesto too, I've found it a green grocer's shops, but it's expensive if you're not going to use the whole jar. This way, I'll only use what we need. Next year, we'll grow more basil!

Recipe here

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Etsy sale time

My time at In.cube8r has come to a close, so I'm having a sale from now until Australia Day (26th January). Use coupon code AUS25 to get 25% off your order, not including postage.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

candle making

Here's a nice little school holiday activity that doesn't leave bits of cardboard, glue, glitter etc around the house.
Roll the sheet of beeswax around the wick, and roll until you have no more beeswax. simple!
I only use beeswax candles, as paraffin irritates my airways. No wonder, since it's a petrochemical. Other waxes don't seem to cut it either. Beeswax also gives off negative ions when burned, which are good for us.
Also a good activity for when your little sister is asleep :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy birthday to me

Special birthday cake from Le Petit Gateau- can't wait for dessert!
Flowers from my little family
Have you met Miss Jones Babushka candle holder, from Design Doctor.
Seems a little frivolous, but I realised at Christmas that I didn't have candle holders- a plate is fine for a tealight, but when little ones are around, I prefer something a little more closed in. Now I need a candlestick holder for a little school holiday activity coming up...
green glazed ring handmade by Shabana Jacobson
Wall decals by Mimi Lou from Design Doctor, brightening up a newly bare wall
I'm 31 today! Here's a few of the prezzies I received (some bought by me with some birthday money) I also received a 2 year membership to the Digger's club, which will be very handy when we get rid of the front lawn to make way for more raised fruit/veggie patches.

I've also started listing on Etsy, some of the "leftovers" from the market on Sunday.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mmmm, aniseed soap

I made this batch of aniseed soap last week, after some family members said that aniseed was their favourite soap, on Christmas day. I haven't made any for ages, I'd sort of forgotten about it, maybe since I'd run out of aniseed oil. Well here it is with it's sweet licorice scent, coloured with ground cloves. Smells gooood at my place!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Making for the Moriac Market

I've been busy making about 8 pairs of quick change trousers, which are reversible, and one dress, as I was a little low on size 5 dresses. I'll be bringing these with me to the Moriac makers and growers market on Sunday, from 9am-2pm.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Fireworks viewed from our front porch
Happy 2012! Just a day late this time, we've been head first in decluttering/ rearranging/ cleaning/ sorting/ painting/ freshening up. Renewal for the new year. I've sorted out the girls wardrobes (out with the too small/too old, in with hand me downs/items put away for later), which leads me to my first goal of 2012:

No new clothes for the family- I must source second hand if needed.
Exemptions: school uniform pieces I haven't yet bought (though I did pick up 2 school dresses and a hat from op shops, all in great condition last year), socks/underwear (my socks are falling apart, but I did darn one pair!). I usually buy the girls a new white long sleeve t-shirt per year- I don't sew stretch fabrics. I find you need a white top that goes with everything, but they generally don't last more than a year, as they get so grubby, and I won't use bleach or whiteners, only sunlight. I don't think I'll be able to find these second hand.
I also want to give myself 3 get out of jail free cards. I really like to support local/Australian designers and makers, so if they have made something that fits my strict criteria, I may make a purchase.
I tend to be one that squirrels away a few things for the next year for the girls (it makes sense to buy things when they're on sale to put away for next year), especially pyjamas, as I either buy organic, or from Eternal Creation, both ethically sourced. So that will make it easier, as well as Evie starting school, so she will be in uniform a lot of the time. I will be able to make some new items she needs, she hasn't any winter pants as yet. Liv gets the hand me downs from Evie.

So what do the red boots above have to do with it? I found these in my local op shop just before Evie finished kinder for the year. They are a little too big right now, but should fit nicely in winter. They are leather, from Fred Bare, and practically new. We haven't had much from Fred Bare- mostly second hand as their ethics are probably questionable- made in China, with no fairtrade certifications. They are expensive, but seemingly good quality. But $6 for nearly new red embossed leather boots- pretty good! Finding them in the op shop confirmed in my mind that I can do this challenge, you just need to spend your time in op shops instead of other shops. I found a mini metalicus dress for Liv in the op shop a few weeks prior, every good find is like a bit of encouragement. There is so much excess in the first world, this challenge shouldn't be too hard.

My second goal is to cut back on sugar in my diet. I don't think I could completely cut it out, everything in moderation etc. So far I've been eating a hard boiled egg everyday as a snack to ward off the hungry belly. And grapes- great on a hot day!

My third goal is to grow more of our food. I want to put a few more fruit trees in, and grow a bit more over winter, including broad beans for the first time.