Sunday, 30 April 2017

Simple quotes

Day 11 living without
This is a no spend day

'I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.'
- Emma Goldman.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Keeping Records

Day 10 living without
The weather was nice today, not as cold has it has been the last few days which was a change. I spent today packing away old letters and journals. I have a couple of journals I think I would like to finish...I usually just add in the date and year and go again from where the old journal finished. It's interesting reading old letters and journals. I wrote in one journal in 2015 to get my learners...I think I can tick that goal off well and truly now that I have my opens.

This is a no spend day

The Art Of Record Keeping

Record keeping of the home has a long history. The art of keeping records have recorded in writings the happenings of many in their daily lives; births, deaths, marriages, all the highs and lows of making a house a home. Journals of the past have included many home events along with items which were purchased and sold. Pages contained well loved collections such as notes, writings, comments, hints and recipes to become mementos of the work effort of past generations.

The art of record keeping is a lost art these days, very few understand it is a helpful tool for all households. Too many are simply saving information on their electronic devices. While these methods are instant way to save information they can be easily lost and can’t be retrieved. Writing, and printing off copies in the long run is a much more suitable method for record keeping.

I find having one working day note book to scribble down information from the internet and later neatly rewrote into a good book helps recording information tidy. It is always worth including the name of the source and checking the validity of the information against other sources. 

Another useful record keeping items is the daily journal, day to day activities and photos can be added in the pages so other family members can read the life of a past generation gone.

Another method of record keeping is letter writing. Keeping letters about the daily lives of a distant friend is also a good way to record what others were doing and how different they are living. 

Printed out pages are also useful these pages can be stored in protective plastic binder sleeves. Make sure these sleeves are acid free. A binder can store a lot of information and the pages can be separated into useful sections devoted to particular things, recipes, and daily life. To do lists can also be added as it is a record of home life for this generation. 

Record keeping is an important item for any home and it does not require anything fancy or expensive. All it requires is the simple act of doing.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Home treasures

Day 9 Living without.

Another cool day, although it did manage to warm up. I had to do a drive to the shops and do a shop as they were selling Arnnotts family biscuit (cookies) packs for 20% off. Both plain and cream ones were at that price. We never did find the cream ones so they must’ve sold fast. While we like to bake, some times it is more frugal to buy when the prices are drastically cut and it makes a good deal.

With the shopping done, I was glad to get back home. I like being at home. There is always something to do at home especially so when you do most things the old fashioned way. When you have to be in your home full time and can’t go out of the home because you need to take of family, or you can’t find a job, or you find it hard to be out in public, then it makes sense to be as productive as you can be in your home. 

I find noticing small details often makes staying at home more enjoyable. We are so condition in believing we must have the biggest and best of things, we often ignore simple little things in life that could be a special moment if we had just slowed down long enough to take notice. 

That’s why I’ve begun to slow down. Slowing down enough to bake biscuits (cookies), put on an apron (or roll up your sleeves like Rosie Riveter), garden, and hand sew, or paint, is a connection to old family traditions. Not everyone I live with is on board with becoming this way, but that is alright. I can take notice of what I'm doing and make changes to bring my life back to reflect a time which seems to be more connected to important things. 

For me, I enjoy being at home and being as vintage as I can, with a touch of modern; but just a touch. It’s truly concerning how reliant I’ve become on technology I never had as a kid…even as a teenager and young adult. 

Phone booths were still a thing, and we had cassettes to listen to music, computers were for business not for the home, the home phone let you contact local friends and family, and writing letters kept you in touch with overseas friends. 
It’s good to have technology but not when it takes away enjoying simple moments like doing things the old way. For me, vintage does feel better.

"With pomp, power, and glory, the world beckons vainly. In chase of such vanities why should I roam? While peace and contentment bless my little thatched cottage, and warm my hearth with the treasures of home."
- Beatrix Potter.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Thrift crafting

Day 8 Living without

A chilly blast of air brought in much colder weather today, looks like it is time to pull out some of the warmer clothes and get ready for drinking hot chocolate. 

To day is a no spend day.

It's no secret I'm a thrift crafter. I have the most fun making items when I don’t have to go out and buy a thing except maybe for bigger items like say if I’m making quilt and then I buy for the batting and the backing. I like to recycle materials that someone else may count as worthless, I like to make an object of lasting beauty out of scraps. With that said here are some of my tips for making the most out of less money for crafts.

 How To Have More Crafts For Less Money

* First, find a store that sells craft items at a greatly discounted price. Usually you can find scrapbooking paper in the cheaper stores, and fabric remnants are sold in pieces of less than a yard and this can be an economical way to increases your fabric selection and your paper stash.

* When it comes to paper you can print digital scrapbooking paper found on the web. The main thing is to consider is if printing will cost more than to buy a sheet of scrapbooking paper, you’re really not saving any money if in the long run the printing becomes expensive. 

* The same can be said for fabric, many stores sell 1/4 yard pieces of fabric but when buying these quarters make sure that the price you are paying is less per yard than you could buy it off the bolt.

* All craft stores generally have sales and it is worth the time to investigate end of season sales.  It may mean many of the items are seasonal like scrapbooking supplies could be winter sales such as Christmas and fabric sales might mean only lighter fabrics are sold. It is still worth while buying to stock up for when you do need those sale items.

* Consider alternate sources for your craft supplies. You can find some wonderful finds at garage sales and thrift stores. Most of all, don’t forget to shop in your own stash, fall in love again with your own craft stash.

* Also, don’t feel guilty about cutting up old clothes, or books (if it isn’t a first edition) for craft supplies. Rescuing old items will stir up some nostalgic feelings for those thrifty quilters and crafters of yesteryear.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Scrappy days

Day 7 living without

With the rain about today it was a good day to stay in doors and work with fabric. I did hand embroidery, finishing up a tea towel. This chicky has had a few changes and now I think the finished item looks very nice using up a scrap piece of fabric I brought a while back in a sale. The purple flowers on the fabric go well with the embroidery. The tea towel is a basic cheap one from our cheap stores. I already have a stash of these so I'm using up what I have.

I also got into the bag of old clothes I have and cut them down. Some I cut down so I can make rag rugs at a later date.

This is a no spend day.

How to prepare fabric to make crochet rag rugs:

The first step is to get your fabric and tear them into strips about 1/2 inch is good. Make sure you cut off all the seams and then cut a nick into the fabric then pull to tear into strips.

To join your strips in a no sew method, fold the top of the strip over and cut a little slit into the fabric. Do this both ends of your strip of fabric.

Your next step is to join the strips of fabric. Where you made the slit into the fabric poke one strip ( strip a) through a second strip of fabric (strip b)  then take the end of strip a back into the slit of strip a, this will forma  loop.

Pull strip a through until a knot forms between strip a and strip b and continue to add fabric strips this way. You will end up with a long length of various fabric joined together.

Then roll the fabric length up into a ball and use this ball of fabric as you would a ball of yarn.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Day 6: Living without.

Another nice day, but the temperature is expected to drop. 

I spent the day working on some hand painted letter sets and making up junk journals. For the junk journals they are good to write in, paint in and such, when you don't want to buy a notebook. I’m trying to organise my paper stash and use some of it up.

I’ve also been cleaning out some of the garden pots as a few of the plants need pulling out and cutting back now that it is coming into winter.

This is a no spend day.

Home tip:

Dried bay leaves in kitchen drawers and pantry will discourage insects. Renew the leaves when they lose their aroma.

Frugal recipe:

Cream of soup mix:

2 cups powdered milk
2/3 cups corn starch
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme

To use- mix 1/2 cup mix with 1 1/2 cup water ( Or milk for creamier version)in small saucepan - bring to boil. Stir in choice of: Potato dried or cooked, celery, or mushroom cheddar cheese- 1 cup.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Ordinary beauty

Day 5 of living without

A nice day today, cool but not too cold for this time of year. Though the nights are coolish.

We had to do a grocery top up and I needed to buy some craft glue as I ran out. Usually I buy enough, I generally need around two or three glue sticks and one bottle of glue which I have. The sticks will last me for while. 

Craft supply: Spent $4.00

Natural beauty product:

A very light and gentle moisturiser suitable for all skin types

40 ml (1 1/2  fl oz) rosewater (from the chemist)
30 ml (1 fl oz) glycerine
10 ml (1/2 fl oz) apricot kernel oil

Combine the ingredients in an amber-coloured glass bottle and a very tight-fitting lid, and shake well. Use as you would with regular moisturiser.  
As with all products always test a small patch of skin for reactions and keep away from eyes.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Little pleasures

Day 4 of living without

This is a no spend day

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Sweet things

Day 3 of living without

It was a dreary day today, so a good day to be indoors.  There was some baking to be done, simple classic cupcakes. A recipe online supplied the ingredients list although this one seemed a little heavy and not very sweet. The icing made it sweet. 

The icing was made by sifting icing sugar and cocoa powder together into a medium bowl. Butter and milk was added. Then it was all mixed until the ingredients were combined. Then the icing was spread over the cupcakes.  For the topping we used crushed nuts on one batch of cupcakes and coconut on the other batch.

This is a no spend day.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Home Comforts

Day 2 of living without

The weather is starting to become more and more chilly. Which means it's that time of year for sniffles and snuffles. So we all turned up at our local medical centre for our flu shots, we received a free cap and water bottle. 

Meanwhile I've finally managed to sort out my bedroom, clear away the clutter and organise things I want to keep to see if I can find some way of making something useful out of them. There are some old clothes I'm going to cut up and make up into rag rugs for the ugly fabric.  I'll cut the nice fabric up into charm squares for other projects. 

(Origanum vulgar)

A simple and frugal home remedy when you’re suffering from cold or flu is to steep oregano in a pot of water and inhale the vapours, which are antibacterial, antiviral and decongesting. This immunity-enchancing herb also settles digestion and prevents bloating. Of course always see your doctor first.

Dinner today was a cheap meal of pasta in a bowl using items from the pantry.  Carbonara sauce is cheap to buy and easier to make as well.

Carbonara sauce:

Step 1: Heat a large frypan over high heat. Add oil, butter, onion, bacon, and mushrooms. Cook stir for 5 minutes until bacon is crips and mushroom is tender.
Step 2: Add pure cream. Bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir the sauce through cooked pasta and add grated cheese over top. Season with salt and pepper.

 “I have done quite a lot of canning of what is left of the fruit and vegetables, and for the winter I think I shall make a quilt to keep from getting lonesome, for some of the women around here are real interested in quilting again.”

- Minnesota woman writing to her friend in 1931.

(From American Quilts: Cloth and comfort. Roderick Kiracofe.)

This is a no spend day.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

all together

The baby being held was 13 pounds when born.

It is day one of the year without challenge and I had a no spend day. A family member on Facebook posted this photograph of my Mum's family - these are her father and her brothers and sisters. My mum is sitting in the front in the middle. Yes we are aboriginal descent in our family and it shows most in mum's mother, the eldest sister who is taking the photograph, my mum, and the boy in the middle at the back standing next to his father. His father, my grandfather, raised nine children. He worked all his life in a small town and was at one point the gent who collected rubbish and cleaned out the old thunder boxes. They weren't rich and lived with what they had, there was a lot of hand me downs. You can see in the back the old house they had and the verandahs covered with hessian bags. The boys used to sleep out there!

The Aunt who I am living with and helping out, is in the front on the right of my mum. And the Aunt who lives across the road wasn't born yet. They used to tell her when she looked at this picture and asked where she was, they said: "You were hiding under the house." *smile*

Dinner today was a choppy salad.  This is a good way to chop up your tomatoes and cucumbers and onions to use them up. We added it with a patty burger from the freezer. Along with a bit of bread and butter. Nothing fancy. Think I should've buttered that bread better.

I'm also going through my stash and cleaning. Also doing an embroidery tea towel using a design I drew up.

Today is a no spend day.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Living without - Year Challenge

A Year Without…

The main part of this year long challenge is all about going a year without the usual over spending and splurges on unnecessary items. It’s about feeding myself from the grocery shopping brought fortnightly and using up what is in the pantry and freezer. It is about using up and making do with the stockpile of crafting essentials I have instead of nipping down to the shops to buy something new. 

Part of this challenge to stop buying completely any books, little thrift store items, clothing (including shoes) and live from the items I do have. When it comes to shoes and clothes I have enough in my wardrobes and drawers to last at least one year and hopefully enough so nothing needs replacing.

I have enough books in my stash so there will be NO other books purchased for the year challenge.

The challenge will also encompass using up craft items. I plan to work towards a Hope Chest of sorts, a little old fashioned idea, but it will give me inspiration of making useful and pretty items for my own home. Of course this will include a gift cupboard as well.

I will be keeping my Etsy shop going to hopefully generate funds to put into savings. Each listing is .20 cents and I have enough in my bank card to put up a new listing as needed.  I’ll add one new listing a week.

I have snail mail to send out, the cost of a small letter is usually around $2.75 and I’ve enough in my savings tin to send out letters once a month. I haven’t joined any new craft swaps but if I do the ones I will join in will be in Australia only and the cost can be taken out of the savings tin to send.

There will be no take aways, soft drinks or *gasps* chocolate. Although I live with two others and generally other family members pitch in to buy a take away meal which is when I will allow myself a take away.

I have the cost of a car now and will alot a budget for petrol which will be a necessary spend.

House expenses such as electricity, phone and internet won't be added to this challenge as I will only be going with the money I receive in my hand and budget from that. House expenses are three ways for the people living in the house and we all pitch in with that as needed so I count it as invisible money I don't have. This will be the same for groceries, but I will keep a offline list to see how we are spending as I am not very keen on writing about home expenses for all and sundry to read. Clear as mud? Okay.

This hopefully explains the year long challenge of going without. I’m still working things out but having the main idea written down will help figure the process out for me. So this begins the challenge.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Autumn mix

We've had some nice weather of late, a little on the chilly side with breezy winds but it is nice weather to enjoy.  

I've been pulling apart dried flowers I've been drying to make potpourri mixes and these will be added to sachets eventually. The thing about drying flowers using the air dry method is that means your flowers won't rot if you place them fresh into a mixture - it's best to dry them and then make up the potpourri mix you want to try. Still, air drying flowers this way means they do fade in colour and look a  little dusty so you can add a handful of rosebuds, dried chamomile flowers, and Nasturtiums to improve the colour and text of the mixture. Pick the flowers in summer and dry them in the oven, dehydrator, or in sand mixed with laundry borax. This will mean the colours won't fade and the petals will appear fresher. 

For this potpourri I used a mix of zinnias, marigolds, nasturtiums, curry plant leaves, roses, geranumum flowers and leaves, dried orange slices, dried apple slices, rosemary, mint and lemon balm, parsley leaves, whatever the summer garden spared to make up this Autumn mix. I also added a couple drops of rose oil. I'll display this pretty in mix in an open bowl or jar to let it sent the room.

Later on I'll put this mix in a blender to chop it down finely and then add it to sachets so I don't waste anything.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Chicky chics

It's no secret I like to do the crayon tinting technique. A couple of dollars will buy a small packet of Crayola crayons and before you know it there's hours of fun to be had. Usually with crayon tinting technique most people embroider the design once finished.  I'm trying a new idea where you don't have to embroider the design. The finished item still works out to look very pretty.


1: Transfer your design onto your chosen item. For this sample I used some plastic bag holders. To transfer the design I always trace the image onto tracing paper. Then turn the design over to the back and retrace with a hot iron embroidery transfer pencil. When you turn your design over this will mean the design transfers onto your item the right way. 

2: To do crayon tinting I gave a lesson: here. The technique is very simple, just colour in the design with the crayons. If you want a deep colour, colour in, then iron off the wax build up of crayon and colour in again. The design above is coloured in once only. 

3: Then with a thick laundry marker pen trace around the finished coloured image. The laundry marker pen won't wash out.

4: Set the design with an iron, making sure to place paper over the design to pick up the wax crayon and not ruin your iron. This is completely washable, although the design may fade over time. If you want the colour to stay as is a bush over with a medium used to mix with paint to paint on fabric will make sure the design doesn't fade.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.