Castle on the Move

2 Comments

I can now reveal part of the reason for some of my extended absences from the blog. We are on the move. Our home of the past 17 years is listed for sale and we are ready to relocate.

Years of gradually decluttering and living simply are now paying off as it has been a relatively easy matter to have the house ready for prospective buyers to inspect.

Long-term readers of the blog will be familiar with glimpses of various sections of the interior of our home. The images below are some of the professional ones used in the listing of the property.

We are hoping the property sells reasonably quickly. Our plans include an interstate relocation so stay tuned for more exciting news.

Meanwhile, the regular posts will continue as we juggle the balance between keeping the house in ‘show home’ condition and continue our day-to-day lives.

A Simple Solution

Leave a comment

Yesterday I was tidying up the top of the shelves in my sewing room. I found a box covered with contact that contained knitting needles. I am not a great knitter but I have reasonable selection of needles. The collection is considerably less than in the past as I rationalised what I had a year or so ago.

I decided that the box was excessive and not the best way to store the needles I had kept. So, I dived into my stash of fabric and found a scrap of corduroy and a suitable salvaged zip. Here is the result of about 30 minutes work.

All packed up and easy to store on the shelves.

Remembering

6 Comments

My posts have been a bit few and far between over the last couple of months as I am fully occupied with offline activities. I had fully intended getting things back on track with the blog in the past week but my world was turned upside-down when I received the news that a friend had passed away last Monday after a short illness.

I first ‘met’ Mimi online about 15 years ago and then in real life about five years ago. A truly wonderful woman who could simply light up the conversation with her presence. Mimi’s loves and interests were many and varied but it was was our shared love of frugal yet fancy cookery that drew us together,

Here are links to two recipes which began in her kitchen and have been firm favourites in our household for several years.

Refried beans

Balsamic syrup (I apologise for the lack of photos in this post.)

And finally, a link to her blog if you would like to discover a bit more for yourself. There is a wealth of grace, knowledge, love and inspiration here.

Rest in peace, dear one.

A Creative Challenge

5 Comments

This morning I received an SOS from one of my sewing friends. Help with a sewing project, I thought? Well, what eventuated was an unusual request. My friend had sustained an unexpected knee injury which necessitated urgent surgery yesterday. It was a day procedure and she was discharged in a knee brace and with crutches to be used for at least 6 weeks. This all seemed pretty straightforward so far but there was a catch. Previous breast surgery some years ago has left my friend with very sensitive scar tissue which is painful from any pressure when using the crutches. Some sort of padding was required. So a brainstorming session ensued.

As a result I repurposed an old singlet top by attaching padded protective flaps.

I cut pieces of wadding from an old polyester quilt.

The pieces of wadding pinned to the inside of the singlet to gauge the accuracy of my plan.

Then I chose a small piece of very lightweight smooth satin from my stash for the side facing the skin. I used a piece of very thin cotton sheeting for the other side of the pocket for the padded inserts.

The pocket is made and wadding inserted.

The padded inserts were then sewn onto the inside of the lower armholes of the singlet and bound with some satin binding.

It is not the prettiest project I have done but it was immensely satisfying to be able to create a solution for my friend in need.

Preserves in the Pantry

Leave a comment

Apologies for my absence but more about that in another blog post.

I generally make all of our own jam and today GMan and I were discussing what we had on hand.

The inevitable consequence of our discussion was that he pulled out all of my unlabelled jars from their storage spot in the back corner of the pantry.

There was tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, lime marmalade, jaboticaba jam and Davidson plum jam as well as a gifted jar of marmalade. It was a timely review as I noted that there was no spare bottles of Worcestershire sauce. Time to make some more. The recipe is here if you are interested.

I decided that there could be an easier way to store and access these homemade goodies. I remembered an wooden serving tray that was not being used so I placed all of the jars on the tray. This will make it much easier to get them in and out of the pantry.

Love My Laundry

Leave a comment

The title of this post may sound ridiculous but I am truly very happy with my laundry and the functionality of it.

Here is a photo I took the other day.

The hanging rail is perfect for hanging shirts both before and after ironing. I also use it to hang wet washing during rainy weather when I use the dehumidifier in this room to dry the washing.

The bench is used for folding clothes as well as sorting washing to go in the machine. It is also where we polish our shoes.

The metal multi-peg hanger is handy for drying rewashed plastic bags, cleaning cloths and other small items.

The grey corrugated hose is an extension which we can add to the outlet hose of the washing machine to direct grey water onto the garden. We live in a high rainfall area so this is not often required, however, we do have periods of dry weather. Rainwater tanks are our only source of water so we do watch our consumption.

As well the cupboards below the bench there is a tall cupboard on the left-hand side of the photo. These contain the dehumidifier, vacuum cleaner, brooms, cleaning supplies and laundry hampers. All are within easy reach.

Soup for Supper

2 Comments

Today I have made leek and potato soup. It is winter here in Australia and although we live in a relatively mild climate there is something appealing about a pot of homemade soup on a damp, grey day.

There are plenty of recipes on the internet for leek and potato soup but this is my version.

LEEK & POTATO SOUP

Ingredients

1 medium/large leek
3 medium/large potatoes
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder
1 teaspoon dried celery leaves
1 teaspoon rosemary salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1.5 litres water

Method

Wash and thinly slice the leek. Heat oil in a large pot and saute the leek. Stir constantly to avoid it browning. When the leek is soft, add 1 litre of water and the stock powder and other seasonings. Simmer gently.

Meanwhile, peel and dice the potato. Microwave until tender. Reserve about 1/3 of the potato cubes and add the rest to the soup and continue simmering for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. I use a handheld blender for this. Roughly mash the remaining potato and stir into the soup. Add more water to create desired consistency. Check and adjust seasoning as required.

NOTES:

Be extremely careful when blending hot soup.

You may choose more, less or different seasoning to what I have used.

I make the rosemary salt by stripping the leaves from the stems, dehydrating them and then grinding to a powder which I mix 50/50 with a good quality salt.

Soup simmering.

The end result.

From the Stash

Leave a comment

Sometimes I get so involved in projects, I actually overlook posting about what I am doing. So, this is a bit of a catch up on my recent sewing endeavours.

The first was a valance to cover the ensemble base of our bed. We originally had a bedspread which covered both the mattress and base but that has not been the case for a number of years. I did buy an elasticised cover for the base several years ago, however, it was only moderately successful in my opinion. After lengthy consideration I finally decided to try making my own version. I used a piece of light-coloured upholstery fabric from my stash to cover the ensemble base and then joined some strong black cotton fabric for the fitted side panels.

This is a glimpse of the side of the bed once it is made. The black fabric-covered base is barely noticeable so I regard my mission as a success.

The next project was completed in less than a week once I set my mind to it. I have a patchwork knee rug which I made a few years ago for my mother. We have had some particularly cold evenings and GMan was rather envious as I snuggled under it while watching television. I set to work to make another one.

The first step was to select the fabric. As I sort through fabric I regularly identify small pieces which are suitable for patchwork. I cut them into 5 inch squares and sort by colour. So it was a simple process to grab the number I needed from the bag of blue fabrics.

In progress.

The squares were all salvaged scraps. The wadding was from an old polyester doona which I disassembled and reused. The plain edging was an old pillowcase and the backing came from a worn-out doona cover.

The final step was to add the binding. I cut and made my own bias binding from yet another piece of salvaged fabric.

Both of these items have been created entirely from fabric which was destined for landfill. We have so many resources already in circulation and it makes sense to utilise what we have.

One Coat

Leave a comment

You could be forgiven for thinking that this post is about a coat to keep me warm. After all, it is the middle of a significant cold spell in our southern hemisphere winter.

However, it is actually about what I have been doing for the past day and a half – painting the front of the house around the garage doors. I have completed one coat so far and will hopefully get the second coat of paint on this section tomorrow.

It is a significant improvement on the previous salmon colour.

There is still more to do around the corner on the back wall.

Honouring the Handiwork

Leave a comment

I am regularly given pieces of fabric, garments and bed linen to use for upcycling into Boomerang bags and other projects. In recent months I have acquired a large quantity of these items from a local thrift shop. These are pieces that are deemed to be unsuitable for sale for a variety of reasons. The process of diverting them to our group assists in saving these pieces from going to landfill.

We have discovered that simply washing some articles makes them usable again. Thrift shops are not laundry services so it is important that anything you choose to donate is clean.

Some stained and torn articles yield sections of good fabric which we are able to use.

However, there is one group of items we receive that can be a challenge. These are the partly completed craft projects. I have received pieces of embroidery, patchwork pieces and even fabric painting at times. I feel an emotional responsibility to utilise these pieces if at all possible. They represent effort and skill from an unknown maker and deserve to be honoured.

Here are a couple of examples I have recently completed.

A piece of calico with fabric painted flowers has become the front of this bag. It is complemented by plain blue handles and back of the bag.

A contrasting inside pocket completes the bag.

Several small strips of patchwork provided me with another challenge. I joined them in an acceptable pattern before making the rest of the bag in a matching navy fabric from a doona cover. The contrasting handles are a similar fabric to the patchwork and were lurking in my stash from another donation.

I am so glad that I have been able to give these pieces of handiwork an outcome which is so much better than landfill.