A Special Buy

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I don’t know whether anyone has noticed but my blog commitment for 2023 is to publish a post every 2nd day which I have successfully done so far. I am also aiming to publish them at 2pm local time, however, I am a couple of hours late today as I had nothing prepared and scheduled and we have been on a shopping expedition.

There was the usual groceries plus fruit and vegetables but we also purchased a coffee machine. This was not an impulse buy as GMan has been discussing the pros and cons since at least a couple of years before he retired which was 4 years ago.

After experiencing the results first-hand recently and then consulting with my brother who is a bit of an expert in the matters of coffee machines, he finally made a decision. So, today was the day.

I am not a coffee drinker but can appreciate the importance of good coffee to those who drink it. GMan is definitely one of those people. He feels that he may have used up credits of several Christmas and birthday gifts and I wouldn’t disagree.

We do not buy gifts for each other, however, we do agree that it is nice to be able to choose to invest in some special treats such as the coffee machine which we expect will last us for many years.

Four Failures

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Things come in threes according to the old adage but I think I can top that.

Since we began to seriously consider listing our property for sale, it seemed like everything decided to fall apart. During the second half of 2022 we replaced the solar hot water system, the pump for our water tanks, the inverter for our solar panels and the back stairs.

Ongoing maintenance is something that needs to be accounted for in terms of time, energy and most significantly, money. These four items cost us in excess of $13,000. Being a homeowner is not a cheap adventure and thankfully we had the funds to cover these unexpected expenses.

Whilst it will not necessarily be a large amount, there will always be unexpected expenses that crop up from time to time. How you manage this will depend largely on your own circumstances but it is definitely not something that can be ignored.

You may also choose what is an absolute necessity and what can be delayed. For us, the pump for the water tanks was essential as no pump = no water. The back stairs could have been a lower priority as we do have stairs at the other end of the house. The hot water and the inverter could have been delayed because we have a hybrid solar system and could have resorted to the grid connection. However, this would have come at a substantial cost, particularly when utility prices are rising exponentially.

Most of the work does not warrant a photo but here are the new back stairs – freshly painted by GMan.

A Mixed Bag

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The weather has been quite ghastly for the past couple of days so any kind of outdoor tasks were out of the question.

So, I settled myself into my workroom and decided to sew.

I made a top for myself from a remnant of fabric that had been given to me. The very simple pattern was taken from a top I had bought at an op shop a couple of years ago.

This was not the first time I had used the pattern. I made a blouse from a salvaged tablecloth a few weeks ago. It had some stains and was destined for landfill from our local charity shop. A quick soak solved most of the stain problem. I combined the pattern with a sleeve from a commercial pattern.

Back to today. I took the first tentative steps in making another quilt. This one is mostly muted green tonings. Four blocks done – about 45 to go. I will need a lot more fabric before that happens.

Finally, I made another Boomerang bag. As is often the case, I was feeling a bit ho-hum about the fabric colour combination but it turned out really well.

I have numerous other sewing projects underway but it is nice to be able to finish some and share them with you.

I am hopeful that the weather will improve in the next day or so and I will be able to spend some time outdoors.

Wardrobe Refresh

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It is now over 2 years since I finished full-time work. I worked in a corporate office but not in a customer-facing role so my wardrobe could mostly be described as business casual.

My collection of clothing has gradually evolved to meet my changed lifestyle. Almost all of my purchases have been secondhand.

I generally have kept all of my clothes available in my wardrobe for the entire year but had begun to wonder whether this was really the best option.

Today I removed everything from my wardrobe, tried it on and decided on a course of action. Most of the summer wear went back in the wardrobe. I ended up with 3 other piles.

One pile was things to be donated. There were 4 items – a skirt and top that I made about 6 years ago and I have simply lost interest in them, a pair of trousers that were not quite right and a dress that had been given to me but I decided did not really meet my needs.

The second pile was my winter jackets, coats and trousers which are now in a plastic box on the top shelf.

The third pile was 5 dresses and 2 jackets which are simply too tight. I have put them away in a separate box. I will review these in a few months and decide on their fate.

There is a shirt, dress and pair of trousers missing from this photo as they are in the wash. This is my summer wardrobe along with a couple of pairs of shorts and a few tops which are folded up the drawers.

I think I have enough. Time will tell.

Pandemic Picnic

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Today we had a picnic. The occasion was meeting up with several of my Year 8 cohort from high school. 2021 marks 50 years since we began high school. 10 of us shared fun, laughter and crazy memories.

This event started me thinking that picnics seem to have become our default method of socialising. Even though our area has been mostly spared from Covid 19 cases, more and more of us appear to be enjoying the great outdoors for social occasions.

One of my cousins contacted me yesterday and suggested a get together with several of my extended family – a possible picnic! Most definitely count me in.

A picnic naturally means food. Do you have any favourite picnic fare? Picnics come in as many guises as participants. It is not all stereotypical rattan picnic hampers with red and white checked cloths.

Your set-up can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. In fact, one of the guests today brought a wedge of cheese, a baguette, knife and wooden chopping board in a backpack. This was happily shared with others in the group.

I would love to hear your thoughts on picnics and other socialising. Has the pandemic changed your outlook?

Patchwork Tutorial

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Tonight I want to show you a step-by-step guide to making a block of ‘Disappearing 9 Patch’ patchwork.

This quilt top is made up of 42 of these blocks.

As the name implies, the first step is to collect 9 different squares of fabric. I choose to use 5 inch x 5 inch squares but you can select whatever size square you wish.

Nine squares laid out in the preferred arrangement.

Sew the squares together to create 3 rows. Press the seams as you go.

Sew the rows together. Make sure that the seams line up.

You will now have a block of nine squares sewn together.

Fold the block in half, press and then cut.

Repeat the process to create four equal quarters.

Rearrange the quarters to create a pleasing visual balance.

Sew the pieces together. Remember to ensure that the seams line up in the centre of the block. Press.

Make as many blocks as you need for your project.

I generally use a plain coloured block for the centre block.

This is the first of 12 blocks needed to make a throw for the foot of the guest bed. It may be a slow process as I do not have a great deal of fabrics of suitable colours.

At The Beach

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A couple of days ago we went out for lunch with our daughter who was visiting for a week.

We very bravely decided to take our young dog who is almost 8 months old. The express purpose was to take her to the beach for the first time.

I kept her on the lead and she was a bit unsure of what to make of the waves but generally had a good time.

I am sure there will be plenty more beach adventures next summer.

A New Sink

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In this post from a month ago I mentioned that we had made a start on constructing a frame for an old kitchen sink in order to make an outdoor sink.

This was what we had done then. Simply cut some timber to length and positioned it to gauge how it would fit.

Things progressed well and this is the result.

This is not quite the final resting place and we have yet to arrange some rudimentary plumbing – hose from the nearby tank as well as a drain hose connected to the outlet. The drain hose will probably just run out onto the nearest patch of lawn.

I am pleased with the result of our most recent upcycling project which will be positioned adjacent to our vegetable garden. It will be useful for cleaning up after gardening as well as washing freshly picked produce. I can also visualise the draining boards being used as a potting bench.