A Parcel

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We are not planning a ‘no spend’ year but instead, a year of mindful spending. Spending on things that we need or that will add value in some way to our lives.

The New Year was barely 12 hours old when I made my first purchase. It was a follow-up to some research I had done a few months ago and I ordered some silicone chair protectors from Chair Tips Australia.

The parcel arrived 4 days later.

The packaging was plastic but not too much. The outer bag became a rubbish bag for our small amount of kitchen waste and the 2 ziplock bags will be washed and reused once the contents are all used.

The dining room chairs and stools in the kitchen have timber legs and we really needed something to prevent the chair legs scratching the finish on the floors. I had tried using felt pads on these chairs, however, the constant movement ends up dragging the pads off. Both self-adhesive pads as well as glueing them on with specialised glue were not terribly successful.

This is what they had ended up looking like.

So, the first step was to remove the old pads, clean and lightly sand the bottom of the chair legs.

It was then time to position the new protective covers.

The chairs do not slide easily but that is more than offset by the fact that these will not fall off, will be easy to wipe clean and are barely visible.

I am happy with having spent money on this project.

A New Measuring Device

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We used to have a rain gauge but we removed the last one when the verandah railings were replaced. Like most rigid plastic items which are exposed to the weather, it had become brittle with time and a couple of pieces were cracked/broken so we decided that we needed to replace it.

This did not happen immediately and time went by. Fast forward about 4 years and a couple of things have changed. The local Council have done some remedial work to the verge adjacent to our driveway where the water used to pool. This had been our unofficial rain gauge for some time but now that the water seems to run off properly the ‘rain gauge’ is no longer much use.

GMan received some money for his recent birthday along with a suggestion that he put it towards buying a new rain gauge. This was just the impetus we needed.

After considerable research he made a decision about which one to buy. One of the considerations that needed to take into account is that we can receive in excess of 250mm rainfall in 24 hours so the rain gauge needs to have substantial capacity. However, he discovered a digital rain gauge which does not need to be manually emptied but the amount of water passing through it is measured using the sensor.

The gauge with sensor is mounted on the pergola (top right-hand corner).

The information is recorded on the screen which sits conveniently on the kitchen bench.

As an added bonus, it also records indoor and outdoor temperature as well as the indoor humidity.

He is very pleased with the new rain gauge and all we need to do now is to wait for it to rain. The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a high chance of La Nina (significant rain event) occurring in 2020 so we will wait in anticipation. At least we are ready.

Restored

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The joy and satisfaction of a restored piece of furniture cannot be underestimated – especially when you have undertaken the job yourselves.

This post from November last year tells the story of our most recent furniture acquisition.  It was in very good condition but GMan sanded and recoated the entire piece, however, the real difference was the replacement of the drawer handles.

I have been using the dressing table for about 3 weeks while we were waiting to collect the new mirror.  I chose to have bevelled edges to replicate the original.

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Today we fitted the mirror in the frame and attached it to the dressing table.

Before and after photos.

I am really pleased with the final result.

Almost Finished

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We are on a mission to try to finish several projects around the place.  Hot on the heels of the completed cold frame, we finished replacing the handles on our latest restoration project.

It is now over 6 years since I wrote about the silky oak dressing table/drawers that we restored.  You can read about it here.  This piece has now been relocated to the guest room.

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The latest restored piece is slightly larger and now has pride of place in my bedroom.  It is also silky oak and a very similar style to the other one.  The mirror for this one is larger and rectangular rather than oval.

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The final step is the new mirror which we hope to pick up this week.

I do not think we are likely to be restoring any other large pieces of furniture in the foreseeable future but there are plenty of other jobs.  We are now working on finishing the top of the pergola/walkway.  This has become rather necessary as the mandevilla creeper has now almost reached the top of the wire on the sides of the pergola.

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This was just after we had planted them in September 2018.

 

A New Neckline

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I bought this top a few years ago and have only worn it a handful of times.  In fact, I did not even wear it last winter.  When I rearranged my wardrobe recently I decided to make sure that every piece earned its place.

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I put the top on briefly the other day and realised why I don’t choose to wear it.  I do not like the feel of high, fitted necklines and this was simply not comfortable.

I had nothing to lose so I set about modifying the neckline.  I cut just below the ribbed band.  The pins mark the quarter points of the new neckline.

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New ribbing pinned in place.

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The finished article with a new, more comfortable neckline.  It will look better once the seam is pressed.  I am looking forward to getting plenty of wear out of the top in the coming months.

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Approximately 15minutes of my time was all that was needed to turn this into a garment that I will be happy to wear.

Mending a Mop

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I have a squeezy mop with a foam head which I have owned for a number of years.  I use it relatively infrequently as sometimes I find that getting down on my hands and knees and washing the floor is the best option.  Nevertheless, the foam head really needed replacing but of course the matching size did not appear to be available.  This would have entailed buying an entire new mop which I find objectionable – both for the unnecessary cost and waste.

So, I bought a jumbo sponge for the princely sum of $1.90 and set about replacing the sponge.  The first step was to remove the plastic backing pieces from the existing head.  These are used to attach it to the mop.  I scraped most of the glue off it.

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The new sponge was quite thick so I sliced it in half to have enough for 2 replacement sponge heads.  Then I used the old sponge as template to trim the sponge to the correct size.

This is the glue which I chose to use to attach the plastic backing plates to the new sponge.  I have not used it before but it was easy to handle and worked well.

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I marked the position of the the backing plate, applied the glue and gently clamped it for a couple of hours.

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After 24 hours I checked the position for the second backing plate and repeated the procedure.

Once the glue was thoroughly set I replaced it on the mop and put it to use.

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The new mop head is working successfully.

Gluten Free Veggie Rolls

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Regular sausage rolls are quite obviously not vegetarian.  Nor are they gluten free.  So, here is an alternative.

GLUTEN FREE SHORTCRUST PASTRY

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 cups gluten free self-raising flour
90g butter
1/3 cup cold water

Method

Place flour in a bowl.  Finely shred the butter and rub into the flour until crumbly.  Add cold water and stir in with a knife blade to make a firm dough.  Knead on a lightly floured surface and roll out as thinly as possible.  Use as desired for quiche, savoury pie, sausage rolls etc.

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VEG FILLING

1 cup red lentils (soaked for 3-4 hours)
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
300g sweet potato
2 tablespoons hummus
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried powdered tomato
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper

GLAZE

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Cook the sweet potato and mash roughly.  Saute the onion and garlic.  Drain the lentils and combine all of the ingredients thoroughly.

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Whisk the egg and milk together for the glaze.

Roll out the pastry on a flexible surface which will assist in rolling the pastry.  A baking sheet works well.  Spread mixture on pastry.  Create a roll and use a little of the glaze to seal the join of the pastry.  Cut into suitable sizes.  Glaze with egg mixture and bake for approximately 20 minutes at 190C.

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NOTES

I use this mix of gluten free flour and add 2 teaspoons baking powder for each cup of flour used.

The filling ingredients can be varied depending on personal tastes and what you have on hand.  For example the hummus was in the fridge and needed to be used up.  The main thing is that you are looking for a mixture which will stick together and is adequately seasoned to your liking.

These can be part of a main meal as well as a substantial snack.

I served them with quinoa tabouli and some homemade tomato sauce for dinner.

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The remainder have been packed up for the freezer.

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Pretty and Practical

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There are many ways you can add a touch of prettiness to your home without sacrificing practicality and still keep it relatively clutter-free.

These images are not from my own home but an Air BnB home where we stayed recently.

Jugs were the order of the day.

Facewashers on the vanity.

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Toilet brush holder.

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Holding the airfreshener on the windowsill.

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There was another in the kitchen beside the sink with the dishwahing liquid bottle in it.

The interesting thing is that they did not disguise the practical items but certainly added a little ‘something’ to the decor

The host also made curtains professionally and this was evident in the window treatments in the house.  There was an Austrian blind over the large window above the bathtub and it was adorned with a magnificent tassel on either side.

Here is a close-up.

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While I am not likely to implement any of these ideas into my own home, it is lovely to see other interiors.

 

 

 

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?