Packing Priorities

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We now have a contract for the sale of our home. While the contract is still conditional for a couple more weeks, it is time to really start moving forward with preparations for our move.

I have been sourcing previously used packing boxes and today I packed up 9 boxes of books from the bookshelves in our office/library area.

With a little over 7 weeks until moving day most of my focus is going to be on preparing for the big day and blog posts will mostly reflect that over the coming weeks. I will cover various aspects of how we handle the preparation.

It is 17 years since our last move. We have spent much longer in our current home than anywhere we had lived previously. However, we have decluttered and simplified during that time and it will be interesting to see how that impacts the moving process.

When we came here both of our daughters had left the family home but only relatively recently so we still had quite a lot of possessions that related to them but that is no longer the case.

More information on our future plans will unfold over the next few weeks.

A Cover-Up

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In my last post I mentioned sorting photos on my computer. The added bonus is locating photos which I had taken with plans to use them in blog posts which were not written. These are still relevant and will appear intermittently.

Today I want to share a sewing project from April last year.

Although we both use laptops for our computing requirements, we do still have a large monitor on our desk. As its use is occasional at best I decided to make a dust cover for it.

In order to make a discreet cover for black screen on a black desk I naturally chose black fabric. A remnant of strong black cotton in my stash was perfect. I found a piece of soft white wadding from the backing of an old bed valance which had seen been better days and been unpicked for use in future projects. I used the wadding to line one side of the cover. This provides additional protection for the screen.

I mitred the corners using the same method as the bottom of the Boomerang bags that I make.

It is a simple and useful item made entirely from from salvaged materials.

The covered monitor is barely noticeable when sitting on the desk and not in use.

Last Post (for 2022)

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I feel as though this blog has limped to the end of the year. Only 44 posts with a mere 12 in the second half of the year. The reasons are multiple and complex.

After 11 years of writing this blog it sometimes seems that there is nothing new to write about. Do I want or need to cover the same topics over and over again? Despite some misgivings I have decided that there is plenty I have to share with readers old and new. If you have any ideas, suggestions or requests please let me know and I will try to cover them.

I did not think that things could be much more challenging than 2021 when I faced my mother’s terminal illness and subsequent death. However, 2022 was equally difficult in many respects. I lost 2 friends, both of whom were younger than me, to cancer, this year. Others are dealing with health challenges, too.

While Covid has severely limited our ability and desire to travel overseas in the past few years, we have once again managed several trips within Australia. I have not documented most of the short trips on my travel blog in most instances for the simple reason of security. As well as our holiday to North Queensland we made several short trips interstate to visit family and friends.

The end of a year is always a good time to review what has gone before, albeit, without dwelling too much on the past. It also presents us with a clean slate and an opportunity for fresh beginnings. That is certainly likely to be the case here as we hope to complete the sale of our house and subsequent relocation in the early part of 2023. There will be plenty of adventures ahead for us.

Thank you for sticking with me in 2022 and I will be back in a bright and shiny 2023.

Happy New Year!!

Safely Salvaged

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I seem to have been gripped by a level of inertia which has been difficult to shake. I suppose you could call it writer’s block. I have plenty of material for blog posts but have simply not had the will or focus to actually write and publish them. Part of the problem has been the heavy focus on our upcoming federal government elections on Saturday. The other has been the weather. The rain was relentless for several days and even when it was not raining the humidity was 100%. Today was a little better but a return of the heavy rain is forecast for the next 3 days with a high likelihood of greater than 100mm (4 inches) over the weekend.

Anyway, enough of excuses and back to the title.

Today I want to address textile waste – garments, household linens and unused fabric.

As with anything, the best actions we can take to minimise waste are:

  1. Buy only what we actually need.
  2. Buy secondhand where possible.
  3. Take care of what we have to increase its longevity.
  4. Repair or upcycle if applicable.
  5. Ensure it is disposed of or recycled responsibly at the end of its useful life.

Most of us at some time have donated to or shopped at op shops but do you have any idea of what happens with the donations before they make it into the shop for sale?

Donations are received, sorted, priced and made available for sale. Many op shops are overwhelmed by donations and sadly, a portion of what is donated ends up as landfill. Donated items may be unsuitable, dangerous, damaged, soiled or otherwise unacceptable.

I routinely receive donated textiles which are otherwise destined for landfill and our local Boomerang Bags group are often able to use some of the fabric for making reusable bags.

However, sometimes I am surprised by some of what I receive. Remember, op shops do not provide a laundry service so it is make sure that your donations are in a state which is saleable. It is even a good idea to fold garments so that the volunteers can easily identify them as clean and cared-for clothing.

Today I soaked and laundered these three dresses which were in the last bundle saved from landfill. I can only only surmise that at least 2 of them had been deemed unacceptable due to the fact that they had not been laundered prior to donation.

They are all natural fibres (cotton and linen) and in good condition.

I have now sold 2 of them and the funds received have been donated to our local Waste Action group.

We should all do everything we can to ensure that we minimise what ends up in landfill.

Baking Day

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It is over 2 weeks since my last post and I am not really sure why. It is partly because I have been occupied with personal aspects of my life which are not blog material but also I have been somewhat overwhelmed by national and global events which are out of my control.

Anyway, I am back and wanted to share a little of my day from yesterday.

As you may be aware, GMan has been the baker of bread in our house for probably close to 30 years. The breadmaker is an appliance that was a fad for some people and ended up relegated to a storage space to gather dust or the next garage sale. That was not the case here and it has been used consistently here for many years. Our current model is the second one we have owned.

Our bread needs have changed as our daughters left home and the demand for sandwiches diminished. Also, I eat a predominantly gluten-free diet, therefore, regular bread is off the menu.

In the early days GMan used various premixes, however as time has progressed so have his skills. He now makes bread in the breadmaker from scratch. This is mostly restricted to the occasional loaf of fruit loaf which he enjoys.

His main focus now is sourdough which he has researched, studied and perfected in the last 5 years. You can read about one of the earliest results here. Continuing research and a more mature starter have contributed to his current success of which he is justifiably proud.

I am still waiting for him to try a gluten-free starter. Maybe this year……..

Like most people, we are mindful of our power usage, and therefore, the oven is generally used for multiple items when it is turned on. Yesterday was a good example. I also made a loaf of gluten-free banana bread and a batch of gluten-free cheese scones. These are enjoyed by both of us. The scones are the perfect accompaniment to home-made vegetable soup and the recipe is here. I will add the recipe for the banana bread later as yesterday was the first time I had made it.

The last thing I put in the oven was a tray of eggplant slices. These were from our garden and I brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt before gently roasting them until soft. They were for the pizza I made for dinner last night. I do not use the oven when making pizza as I have a benchtop pizza maker.

A day in the kitchen was not only about baking but also other food prep (pineapples, bananas and tomatoes) but I will save those stories for another post.

Happy Anniversary

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I received a notification yesterday from WordPress that advised me that I have been writing this blog for 11 years. Although I sometimes wonder what to write about I intend to keep going for the foreseeable future. Thank you for reading along.

Meanwhile, the day went on with regular jobs. I did 4 loads of washing, ironed and folded everything, stripped and remade the bed, swept all of the floors and made another batch of spreadable butter. When I cooked the rice for dinner I did extra and have 2 more batches in the freezer.

Tomorrow is another day…………………..

Recovering

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As I mentioned in my last post, GMan and I have been unwell. Yes, we did have Covid and despite being a relatively mild dose, it was not much fun.

It is only in the past couple of days that I have managed to do much other than potter around in the sewing room and throw together an evening meal.

This morning I cleaned the window above our bed and the associated insect screen. It is quite a treat to see it looking so clean. I am embarrassed to say that I could have just about written my name in the dirt on the screen.

One thing I have realised since being sick is that I am really going to have to rethink how I tackle tasks around the house. The days of cleaning half the windows in the house in a single day are probably behind me. A much better idea is going to be to do a little bit more often. I might even clean another window tomorrow.

I hope I am back on track to have a new post for you every day or so.

That Was 2021

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In preparation for writing this post I did some reading. Not just any reading but reading 10 years worth of my New Year blog posts. The last posts in December and first ones in January each year.

The overwhelming theme is that despite some challenging times, I, along with many others, approach a new year with a degree of optimism. The turning from 2021 to 2022 is no different.

2021 for me was undoubtedly defined by the illness and subsequent death of my mother in the first half of the year. This was played out against a background of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

However, there was much for which I am grateful. A loving and supportive family, good health, a safe and secure environment, valued friends and a meaningful life.

I wish you a safe, fulfilling and peaceful 2022.

Day In, Day Out

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Some days I wonder what I could possibly write that would be of interest to my readers. It may be because I have been fully occupied with social activities, didn’t feel like writing or simply that there was nothing that I felt was noteworthy.

Our lives are not a constant stream of highlights. Much of is is quite humdrum, repetitive and very ordinary.

So, today I want to share some of my everyday tasks.

Each day I make the bed, wipe down the sink and mirror in the bathroom and sweep the kitchen.

Preparing meals is also a daily task. I do not wash or shop on a specific day but I assess and attend to them on an ‘as needs’ basis. Vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and ironing also fall into this category.

I am very fortunate that GMan also contributes every day as he is in charge of the dishes – loading and unloading the dishwasher as well as any that need handwashing.