Friday Flashback

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I found this post that I wrote exactly 3 years ago.

Just because I am away from the house does not mean that the organising has to be put on hold.

There are all sorts of small things you can do while you are out and about, particularly while commuting.

Digital files are one of modern life’s organising challenges and they turn up in all sorts of places.  Whether it is lists on your computer, contacts for your mobile phone, songs on your iPod or books on an ereader you need to keep them in some sort of order so that you can locate them when you want them.

I do not have a huge number of books on my Kindle yet but I have decided to develop a ‘filing system’ for them before it becomes too overwhelming.

This is before I started.  I had 4 pages of books that I have downloaded so far.

2012-05-22 01Once I completed the index, it is now much easier to find a particular book, especially as my Kindle library expands.  I may add more categories as time goes on but these are definitely enough to get started.  The categories I have chosen are all condensed onto one page and the books are sorted into the relevant collection/folder.

2012-05-22 02What digital files have you organised?

This is quite funny in a way because since then I have acquired a new Kindle and I have not organised the books on it.  This needs to go back on the list of things to do.  It is a reminder that we need to be constantly vigilant about keeping things decluttered and organised.  It is easy to let stuff slip by the wayside.

Friday Flashback

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Tonight I want to share this post from 2011.  It is rather timely as I have noticed that one of the consistently highest categories of our spending is ‘house and garden’.  There is always something that needs doing.

This morning I went to Maleny.  I had several things to do and they all cost money.  I began to think about this and realised that we would have none of these expenses if we lived in the city.  Mind you there would be other costs, and wild horses would not drag me back to suburbia.

I picked up our 4 new point of lay pullets, otherwise known as the new chickens.  Here they are.

2011-12-12 01Then I paid for the repairs to the ride-on mower.

2011-12-12 02The Duke had managed to break a link in the steering when he last used it.  We have sloping land which is scattered with volcanic rocks (boulders, actually) which are mostly submerged and other obstacles such as large tree roots.  We need this mower as there is a lot of grass to keep mowed.  Here is part of the backyard.

2011-12-12 03I took Psycho Dog to the vet as I had found another 2 paralysis ticks on him this morning.  He had one a couple of months ago which made him quite sick but luckily this time he is not too bad.  It will still cost me quite a bit for the antidote.

I have bought a new tick collar (due for one) today, also.

My final purchase for the day will be online.  I am going to buy a set of dog clippers so that I can keep his coat really short as that is the only feasible way to be able to find the ticks. The cost of the set of clippers is less than one dose of tick antidote so a cost-effective purchase.  Previously, a friend would clip him about every 4-5 months but because of the extreme tick season this year he needs clipping about every 3 weeks.  She is no longer doing it so I have decided to do the clipping myself.  He is a border collie with a thick, double-coat which makes it almost impossible to locate the ticks.  We live in a tick-prone area but the ticks are particularly bad this year.  Perhaps it is because of the wet summer we had last year?

This is what Psycho Dog looks like when he is clipped.  I think he is quite handsome.

2011-12-12 04

Flashback Friday

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I found this post today to send the link to someone who was interested.  I really think it deserves to be one of the top posts of all time on my blog.

What do you spread on your sandwiches?  Butter, margarine, something else or nothing at all?

I used to buy margarine without giving it a great deal of thought, however, about 18 years ago I changed to spreadable butter that I make myself.  My reasons are several:

  • Eliminate non-recyclable waste (margarine containers)
  • Health benefits (margarine is simply a chemical cocktail)
  • Easier to spread than pure butter
  • Know exactly what the ingredients are

2012-07-15 01This is the recipe.


500g butter
250ml oil
150ml water
3 tablespoons skim milk powder

2012-07-15 02Allow the butter to soften but not melt.  Beat butter using a mixer or food processor.  Combine the other ingredients in a jug and stir well to dissolve the milk powder.  Gradually add the mixture to the butter while continuing to beat.  Beat for another 1 – 2 minutes until white and creamy.  Spoon into containers and refrigerate.  This made almost 1500ml so it is really quite economical.  Actual costings would depend on the type of oil that you use.

2012-07-15 03I generally keep one container in the refrigerator and freeze the rest because we do not use a lot of butter and it will go mouldy/rancid if stored for long periods in the refrigerator.  I use Pyrex glass containers as they can be put in the freezer and I am constantly trying to minimise the amount of plastic that I use for storing food.

2012-07-15 04This mixture can be used instead of butter in cooking and baking.  The only exception I make is pastry as I prefer to use ‘real’ butter for that.

The type of oil you use is entirely up to you.  I choose to use locally grown and produced organic olive oil which I buy in bulk at the Co-op in Maleny.  Olive oil does have a distinctive flavour so you may prefer something more bland such as rice-bran oil.  I do not consider canola oil as an option as most of the commercial crop is genetically-modified and I prefer not to use foods that contain GM products.

This is not a totally zero-waste exercise but it is certainly better than all of the margarine containers that you would otherwise use.  I take my glass bottle to be refilled with oil.  The butter wrapper is used to grease baking trays or line cake tins and then goes into the compost.  I buy skim milk powder from Aldi in a 1 kg non-recyclable bag, however, I have recently discovered that I can buy this in bulk from Simply Good so will be doing that in the future.

Flashback Friday

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This is what I need to do this weekend.  Some things never change………..

Today I had a deep clean in our bedroom.  I took the mattress and base off the bed so that I could vacuum properly underneath it.  I turned the mattress when I replaced it.

2013-04-18 01I cleaned the windowsills, cornices and skirting boards.

The valance on the base was washed.

2013-04-18 02The valance was replaced and the bed remade with fresh linen.  I have swapped the light coloured doona cover that we use during the summer months for this one.

2013-04-18It changes the look of the room.  Although it is the same fabric, the darker colour  feels right for the cooler weather.  I have not yet put the feather doona on the bed – we have a cotton blanket and lightweight polyfill doona at the moment.

The weather is still quite warm at the moment but we will make gradual changes as needed.

What seasonal changes do you make?

Flashback Friday


Here is one I whipped up earlier.  Four years ago, in fact.  This post with a video of how to fold plastic bags is one of my favourites.  Please let me know what you think.  Do you use this method?  Will you give it a try?  I find one of these takes up next to no space in my handbag and it is useful to have one on hand.

In the first days of this blog I posted a link on ‘How to Fold a Plastic Bag’ Here it is again for anyone who missed it.  This really captured my interest. I have two bags hanging inside my laundry cupboard where I store reused bags which I use constantly but I had another lot in the cupboard in the spare room which needed a better way of storing them.

2011-03-25 01I decided to try my new-found skill on this lot.

2011-03-25 02All folded on the bench – now for how to store them.

2011-03-25 03The only thing left to do is to put the box back in the cupboard.

Flashback Friday

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As with all new projects, ‘Flashback Friday’ is being fine-tuned.  As well as linking back to the original post I am going to copy and paste it into a new post.  So, here goes…..this is from August 2012 just before Izz turned 3.

I have been making a gift for Izz for her birthday.  She has a doll’s bed which has been passed down to her but no bedding.

I bought 2 u-shaped pillowcases recently from the op shop.  Here is one that I have unpicked ready to use.  Note the roll of fabric which is the dismantled and pressed frill.

2012-08-06 01The Duke bought a piece of foam cut to size for the mattress and I have covered that using some of the pillowcase fabric.

2012-08-06 02The next step was to make a patchwork quilt.  I worked out the size and number of pieces I would need.  The plain pink is more of the pillowcase, plain mauve from a piece in my stash of fabric, Dora pattern is a few leftover scraps from the doona cover and curtains that I made for Miss O last year and the pink patterned fabric is from a blouse I picked up at the op shop.  The frill is the one I unpicked from the pillowcase.  The hemmed edge remained intact so I simply regathered it and reapplied to the quilt edge.

2012-08-06 03I bought a large piece of cotton/bamboo batting for a bed quilt I am working on for Izz’s bed so I used a small piece for this quilt.  (I think this is a rather spoiled doll!)  The backing is more leftovers from some op shop fabric.  I quilted it by simply machine stitching along the seam lines which is nothing fancy but seems effective.

2012-08-06 04The finishing touch was to make a matching pillow.  A couple more fabric scraps and some salvaged filling from an old cushion and I had a complete set of bedding for the doll.  Here is the mattress with the pillow.

2012-08-06 05The total cost of things I bought specifically for this project was $6.60.  This is a gift which I know will be loved regardless of the cost.  I am looking forward to seeing Izz’s face when she opens the gift.

Now I need to work on the the bed quilt I am making as well since her birthday is in 2 weeks and I want to be able to give her the present before we go on holidays.

2015-04-03 01In the interests of presenting a complete picture here are a couple of photos I took when she received her parcel.

2015-04-03 02

Tracking 2015 – March

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It is a few days into April and you could be forgiven for thinking that I had forgotten this series.  But no, I am just running a little late.

BudgetingHere are the monthly totals so far:

January – $2,628.73
February – $1,783.49
March – $4,320.56

Well March really blew the averages!  What did we spend our money on?

The blowout in our March spending has highlighted the precise reason why I wanted to track our spending for a whole year.  I knew that our variable spending was very patchy.

One example is the category “Pets/Vet/Registration”.  Our combined total for January and February for this category was $43 yet in March it was $673.  The dog had his annual check-up and annual heartworm medication, we bought 2 large bags of dog food, chicken feed and a fancy chicken feeder which will hopefully save us money in the long run by not allowing other wildlife to access the feed.

2011-12-12 04Food was also higher due due some bulk buying of nuts and dried fruit.

We both bought clothes this month – 2 dresses, a bag and shoes for me and Gman bought 2 new business shirts.

2015-03-21 01One of the cars was serviced and we continue to spend on things to do with house maintenance and developing the garden.

The spending was carefully considered but I certainly would not want to be spending like that every month.

The regular Friday Flashback post will be up this evening.

Flashback Friday

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Here is a post from 3 years ago when I first tried my hand at making Tabasco sauce.  It was a great success and the quantity lasted for a couple of years.

Unfortunately, the chilli bush did not survive the changes to the vegie garden area so we bought another one in the middle of last year.

Today I am making more sauce and using just half of the quantity stated in the original recipe.  This has to be one of the simplest preserving recipes around.  I am looking forward to having a bottle on hand so that I can add a couple of drops to various dishes that I make.

2015-03-27 01

Flashback Friday


Here is a post from February 2012 about accessories.  In particular, the earrings that I own.  It is interesting to note that my current collection is identical to that which I had 3 years ago – nothing has changed.

I have enough, probably more than enough, earrings and I wear most of them regularly and some just occasionally.  I do not feel the need to have any more and I am happy with what I have.

Tell me about collections that you have which have not changed over time?

I can’t imagine having so many earrings that I would need storage like this.

2015-03-20 01