A Particular Passion


During the holiday break I have had time to read and post in various groups and forums.  I participate to varying degrees in several groups.  I find that many of them have quite a narrow focus, sometimes to the exclusion of all else.

Some of the topics covered include:

Frugal Living
Zero Waste
Buying Nothing New
Simple Living
Plastic Free Living

I dabble in all of these to some degree apart from veganism although we have reduced our intake of red meat to quite a modest level.


At times it seems that I am not sufficiently passionate about any single topic, however, I feel that they are all inter-related and one aspect can support another.

Hence, this blog contains posts which cover and wide range of topics and I hope you will find something of interest to you.


Please let me know if there are particular topics which you would prefer to see more of or less.

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A Frugal Mindset – 7

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Well, here we are at the end of the series of points about frugality.  I feel as though they saved the best for last as this final point underpins everything for me.

7. Frugal people are content with “enough.” A lot of the concepts and mindsets that I’ve mentioned above can be summed up with the idea of “enough.” Enough is the opposite concept of “more.” More is a constant search for acquiring, and even when you meet one goal instead of being content with it, you just continue climbing, seeking more. Enough is stopping at the top of the mountain and just enjoying the view.

Question to ask yourself: Am I trying to keep up with the Joneses, or seeking more only for more’s sake? Or really, is this good right where I am? Do I have enough?

There is more to life than stuff.  Do you have enough?

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A Frugal Mindset – 5

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This post has been half written for a few days as life has a tendency to get in the way.

Here is the next instalment.

5. Frugal people use items until they break, and then fix them. Marketers are always coming out with the biggest and the best thing, and urging you to upgrade now. But frugal people don’t worry about that. Instead, they’ll continue to use the perfectly good, whatever (you fill in the blank) until they just can’t get it to work anymore. No need to buy something new when what they have works perfectly well!

Question to ask yourself: Do I really need a new ________ (fill in the blank)? Or does what I have already do what I really need it to already?

This just commonsense as far as I am concerned.  Whilst it may be tempting to buy something in the latest colour/style or bigger and better there really is no need.

We are all seduced from time to time by shiny new things but if you can limit your purchases of things that will replace ones you already have you will be well on the way to making some substantial savings.

Try thinking of the oldest item you have in regular use and share it in the comments.

Mine would be the mixing bowl that belonged to my grandmother followed by the woollen blankets on the single beds – they are almost as old as me.  The blankets on the guest bed were a wedding gift as were much of the crockery, glassware and kitchen paraphenalia that I use regularly.

A Frugal Mindset – 3


Well, I actually had 2 rest days but here I am, back again with number 3.

3. Frugal people know small expenses add up to big ones. I think we’ve all thrown something extra into the shopping cart because it was only a buck, or grabbed up the clearance item because it was just such a great deal despite having no idea how we’d use it. While getting a great deal for items you need is worth it, frugal people also realize something else — those small expenses add up to real money, so they can distinguish between impulse purchases and those that are necessary. There’s a reason frugal people are known as penny pinchers, they grasp the concept of a little bit adds up to a lot.

Question to ask yourself: Do I want to buy this because it’s a great deal, or because it’s just a small amount of money, or because I really need it and have a plan for how I’ll use it? 

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I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on this one.  I can honestly say that I very rarely buy anything that is not on my list or a planned spend.

I do not chase sale items for groceries or other household goods.  I shop intentionally and generally pay full-price for items but I believe it is still wiser than buying random stuff simply because it is on sale.  This works for me. I never have food that I do not know what to do with it because I only buy what we eat and what I need for the meals I have planned.  There are no clothes in my cupboard that have never been worn or piles of unused household goods.

What about you?

Busy Being Frugal

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Pardon my absence but I have been busy doing the everyday things at home as well as my paid employment.

Tonight I want to share a link that one of my Facebook friends posted a couple of days ago.

7 Mindsets of Frugal People

I am usually very sceptical of this type of post on Facebook but I was pleasantly surprised when I clicked on this one.  In my opinion these 7 messages make good sense and mirror much of what we do every day.

I hope you will take the time to click on the link, have a read and leave a comment.

I plan to write a blog post on each of the 7 points and how it aligns (or otherwise) with what we do here at ‘The Castle’.

I look forward to your comments and discussing in more detail in the coming week.


My First Attempt


It is never too late to learn something new so today I have started some patchwork.  I am hoping to make a quilt.  It is not entirely true that I have never done patchwork before but it has been generally on a small scale and my own ‘design’.

Following some basic tips that I gleaned from Frugal Queen and this Youtube video, I set about making my first disappearing 9 patch square.

I did not buy any fabric because I believe that patchwork should be the ultimate in making do with what you have, not an excuse to rush out and buy all of the latest mix’n’match patchwork fabrics.  I am using leftovers and offcuts from many of my own sewing projects as well as some that my mother gave me recently.  Some of the pieces in the bundle are over 40 years old.

Here are some of the first squares I cut out.  I was starting to arrange them for the block.

Squares cut out

I chose to use mostly blue in my first project as that is the colour that I have most in the available fabric.  It is also the colour of our bedroom so the quilt will look perfect on our bed if it reaches completion.

The first nine squares sewn together.

First squares sewn

The disappearing 9 patch depends on then cutting the block into 4 squares, rearranging them and then sewing them together.  This is the result.

Disappearing 9 patch
So far today I have made 4 of these blocks and I am really happy with how they are turning out.

4 blocks made
I think I am hooked but there are other things I need to do today as well.  I will be back tomorrow with more adventures.  In the meantime, let me know if you quilt or sew.  Is it for fun or frugality?


Wool Wash


I use relatively simple, non-toxic cleaners for everything, whether it be dishes, clothes, our bodies or general cleaning.  Here is a recipe I found on the internet for washing woollens.  I have adapted it slightly but you can also read the original here.

Rather than using soap flakes, I grated Sunlight soap.

I used my food processor with the grater attachment.

Here are the utensils I used.

The ingredients


Wool Wash Mixture

2 cups grated soap
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup methylated spirits
10ml eucalyptus oil
1 cup water, extra

Grate the soap into a large bowl and add boiling water.  Blend thoroughly.

Add methylated spirits and eucalyptus oil and blend a bit more.

Add 1 cup of cool water and mix again.

Allow to cool a little before pouring the mixture into a suitable wide-necked container.  I used an old Napisan container.  It does need a wide neck as the mixture is quite firm when it sets so you need an old spoon to scoop it out.

To use the mixture I put about a tablespoon of mixture in a bucket with some hot water and mix until it is dissolved then add add more water until it is tepid and use this for washing woolen knitwear and other handwashing.


Make sure you have some items ready to wash before you make up the mixture.

Rinse all of the utensils used in a bucket of warm water and the residue will be sufficient to make a solution of wool wash for your waiting clothes.

Be Thankful

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There are many things for which we should be grateful and I would like to share a couple of things that I have read this week.

Firstly, a blog that I read every day from Frugal Queen.  Froogs could teach many of us a thing or two about living a truly frugal (and fulfilling) life but this post really says it all.

In complete contrast is this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Imagine the outrage if people in Australia received a pay cut of 10%.  How many of us would just get on with it and tighten the belt a bit more?

Australia really is the lucky country and it is about time we realised just how lucky we are.


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I have been inspired by reading the series of blog posts this week by Frugal Queen.  They are refresher posts on frugality and Froogs could certainly teach us all a thing or two.  If you do not read this blog it is worth popping in to see what be achieved on very little funds with a bit of creativity.

I have a single bed which was one of the ones my father made over 50 years ago.  However, with Miss O and Belle both needing beds to sleep in when they are here I needed to think laterally.  The single bed is in the room which I use for my sewing room and since I was not prepared to give up the whole room Belle suggested a trundle bed.

I looked on Gumtree on Friday evening and found one advertised not too far from where we live.  We went and collected it yesterday.  $55 for a white tubular steel single bed and trundle in new perfect condition.  We then bought 2 new foam mattresses for $50 each (on special).

Here are the 2 beds made up and ready for use.

2011-07-10 01The top sheet on the trundle is about 20 years old, the last of 2 sets that I had when my girls were young and the blankets on the beds are at least 50 years old.  They were mine when I was was a child and continue to be well-used.

2011-07-10 02Once the trundle bed is rolled away there is plenty of space in the room.  The doona and cover belonged to Missy when she was young.  I made the cover about 15 years ago and it is still as good as the day it was new.

The previous single bed is going to get a new life as a day-bed on the verandah.  I am thinking of making a slip cover for the mattress and also re-fashioning the frame slightly by adding a head and foot board to it.  That will be in another post.

Then there is frugal food.  On Friday I brought home 3 Granny Smith apples from the fruit basket at work as they would only get left there over the weekend and then discarded on  Monday when the new fruit is delivered.

I peeled and sliced them ready to stew.

2011-07-10 03I retrieved some rosella pulp from the freezer.  This was left from when I strained the cordial that I made.

2011-07-10 04Once the apple was stewed I mixed the fruit together and added a crumble topping.

2011-07-10 05So that was dessert.

2011-07-10 06Be sure to check out the blogs I have listed on the sidebar.  There is a wealth of interesting information.  I keep adding more blogs as I stumble upon them.