A New Year

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The year may be new but many things stay the same.  I went back to work on 2nd January so time is tight but I am determined to make time for regular blog posts.  Unfortunately, I have been a bit preoccupied these past few days.  This has been due to the financial collapse of Bestjet and its impact.  You can read about it all here.

Anyway, we have dealt with that to the best of our ability at the moment and life goes on.  I am doing all of the things that I did in 2018 and continue to do in 2019.  Washing and ironing as well as preparing meals and trying to spend more time on sewing and gardening.

The garden is quite remarkable as we continue to harvest food with very little care or effort on our part.

Here is my haul from this afternoon.

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The lettuce, beans and tomatoes are all from self-sown plants.  We had lettuce and tomatoes in the salad with bean tacos for dinner tonight.  Since I found the beans, I think I will have beef and bean stir-fry tomorrow.

One of my goals for this year is to eat or drink some home-grown produce every day, preferably at every meal.  I am doing pretty well so far.

Tomorrow I will show you what I have been sewing.

The Time It Takes

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Well, it has been a while since I wrote a proper blog post.  I have been busy in the real world as things seem to speed up towards the end of the year.  At least some of it was of our own making as we chose to go to Adelaide for 3 nights about a week ago.

I managed to have the housework pretty well up do date before we left last Saturday but I have not had any free time since arriving home on Tuesday evening to an almost empty refrigerator and the prospect of long days at work for the remaining 3 days of the working week.

It would have been easy to say that I had no time but it really was a matter of making time.  Have you ever considered how little time it actually takes to do some of your regular household tasks?  It only takes me about 6 minutes to hang out a load of washing and about 2 – 3 minutes to get a load of washing off the line.

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So, during the past 5 days I have managed to unpack a suitcase, do a couple of loads of washing, including hanging, bringing it in and folding, plan and prepare meals as well as getting myself to work each day.

Things I do to create time where there does not appear to be any include preparing at least part of the evening meal for the following night while dinner is cooking, putting a load of washing on before I go to work, wiping over the mirror and vanity when I get out of the shower.

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Housework does does not need to be an enormous undertaking.  By doing a little bit often you can keep things humming along with very little time.  Other jobs that take a couple of minutes are unloading the dishwasher, wiping down the sink, cleaning a single shelf in the refrigerator, dusting a polishing a table and so on.  Every small task that you can slip into your routine is one that does not build into an overwhelming project.

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Did you notice the one thing I have not mentioned?  Ironing!  I need at least an hour of clear time to get stuck into a pile of ironing and make it worthwhile.

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How do you arrange your housework into the time available?

Four Fabulous Days

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I have had the most glorious 4 days at home.  Friday was a well-earned day off followed by a long weekend.  Most weekends I am left with the feeling of wanting a couple more days to try to catch my tail.  I would not say I have done everything but I do have a degree of satisfaction that I have made some progress beyond the basics of washing and meal preparation.  The best part is that I have worked steadily but not frantically for some of the time as well as simply doing nothing at other times.

Here is a snapshot of what I achieved:

Washing and ironing – the first 3 days were brilliantly sunny with a breeze so all of the washing was done and dried which left me with a pile of ironing.  I tackled this with enthusiasm since I was armed with a new iron as well as the ironing board cover that I made on Friday.

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Shopping – most weekends I buy enough fruit and vegetables for the week as well as a few things from Aldi and Saturday was no exception.  However, I also drove a bit further to go to Morayfield so that I could stock up at Simply Good, where I buy all of the flours, dried fruit, seeds, nuts and legumes that I use.  I do this every 4months or so.  Spotlight is nearby so I took the opportunity to have a look and found the fabric to recover the mattress for the day bed.

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Decluttering/recycling – as we change and re-arrange furniture there is often some to move along to someone else who can use it.  This weekend I listed 4 outdoor chairs and a large pine chest of drawers on our local Buy, Swap, Sell Facebook page and they have now gone to new homes.  I also tidied and sorted the shelves in the wardrobe in the sewing/spare room and put a few things in a bag to go to the op shop.

Gardening – when I was at the market buying fruit and vegetables, I noticed a neighbouring stall selling seedlings.  I bought and planted out basil, beetroot and capsicum seedlings.  GMan mulched the shrub we cut down a few weeks ago and planted out several native trees and shrubs.

Outdoors – we have taken a few more steps towards finishing our outdoor living area on the verandah.  The newly painted table is back in position as is the day bed, albeit without the mattress yet.  I spent a good portion of today cleaning up the large concreted area under the house.  This is a lovely cool area in summer and I am trying to make it more useable.  I sorted and stacked various building materials so that they are in a logical order and easily accessible.

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What a shame that I have to go to work tomorrow – there is so much more that I could do here at home.

I will some more details of some of the things I have mentioned tonight in upcoming posts this week.

Time to Plan

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Even though we have been home for 3 weeks since our holiday the legacy lives on.

We returned fresh and invigorated with lots of ideas and plans.

I don’t know about contempt from the phrase, “Familiarity breeds contempt” but I do know that being away from your normal environment allows you to consider things with fresh eyes.  We had time to really ponder and discuss all sorts of possibilities including what we want to do in the garden, future holiday plans and retirement activities as well as some of the smaller things we hope to achieve around the house before the end of the year.

There seemed to be so many times in conversation that GMan would comment, “We need to do/get/make……….” that I would simply respond with, “Add it to the list”.  Although we did not have a physical list, we certainly remembered plenty of things and have actioned several since we have been home.

  • 3 new chickens bought
  • Clear at least one vegetable garden and plant seedlings
  • Empty compost from compost tumbler
  • Ordered and installed a new modem for the computer
  • Taken the computer to be repaired/replaced
  • Painted the outdoor table (a work in progress)
  • Repaired the washing basket
  • Taken a bag of bits and pieces to the op shop

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I know there have been others but this gives you an idea.

Then there are others which are earmarked to be done this week.

  • Gather tax info to send to tax agent
  • Buy a new DVD player – DONE today
  • Buy a new batter charger – DONE today
  • Remove dead shrub from front garden – DONE today
  • Advertise some furniture which is no longer required
  • Follow up on a rejected refund claim
  • Contact electricity provider re solar refund

By planning very specific small projects/goals it is very satisfying to work through the list.

I wrote this post last night and today we managed to cross 3 more items off the list.  I am sure there will be more to add by tomorrow.

 

 

 

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.

 

Luxury of a Long Weekend

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Thank you for your kind words after my last post and patience while I collect my thoughts.

This morning I woke and lay in bed contemplating the unusual situation of 3 days at home (it is a long weekend here in Queensland) and no commitments.  That is right – nothing, nobody, nowhere.  We had no plans.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love catching up with family and friends, entertaining and going places but it is such a novelty not to have anything planned.

The weather is cool and humid with showers of rain threatening.

GMan and I began by taking the outdoor table downstairs to clean it in preparation for painting.  Next, we have cleaned all of the concreted area under the house – swept, vacuumed and cleaned with the high-pressure water spray.

After using the outdoor vacuum cleaner GMan discovered that the filter bag was falling to bits.

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I decided that I could make a new one which appears to have been a success.

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Here it is attached to the lid of the vacuum cleaner.

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There are lots of other things we can work on and there will be more about those in upcoming posts.

I hope you are having a safe and relaxing weekend wherever you are.

Crafting for a Reason

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When I read today’s post at Down to Earth I realised that much of it rang true for me.  None more so than this section where Rhonda writes:

“Many of the older readers here would know that I don’t consider craft to be a hobby. For me it’s part of my housework. I sew, mend and knit so we have good quality and long wearing scarves, cardigans, jumpers, hats, dishcloths, tablecloths and napkins. I see that as part of my homemaker’s work, not a hobby. Back in my great grandmothers’ day, making clothing and woollens for the family was part of almost every women’s home tasks. Somehow those tasks where either moved to become separate hobbies or were not done at all. They still hold an important place here, I still do all of them, still enjoy them, and they’re a part of my work.”

Any craft that I do is almost exclusively for practical purposes.  I remember being invited to join a patchwork group some years ago.  I probably could have been a bit more tactful but my response was along the lines of, “Why would you cut up perfectly good fabric so that you can sew it back together again?”  I also reminded my friend that I had had quite enough sewing to fill my days making clothes for all the members of my family.

I am appalled by the amount of time and money that is spent on useless and impractical craft materials such as patchwork fabric.  Patchwork evolved as a way of making use of every last bit of fabric, often being unpicked and re-made into other items.

Here are a couple of examples of making the most of scraps of material.

I made this bag last week using the facing from the hem of a dress.  You can read more about it here.  Scroll down towards the end of the post.

Here is a photo of Belle (in 1993) wearing a patchwork jacket I made using up scraps of sweatshirt fabric.  I sewed the scraps together to make a large piece of fabric and then cut the pattern pieces out as if it was a normal piece of fabric.

Do you do any practical crafts?