Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Melee

Well I'm still not entirely sure why I braved the big shopping centre this morning (probably because I had to as I can't think of any other reason!) being the last Saturday before Christmas almost everyone in a 20km radius also felt the need to go there............I'm not sure if it's because I am getting older and crankier or just society is changing, but people are so rude this time of year. Honestly I'm not sure if it's the heat or just that Christmas seems to bring out the worst in people instead of the best?

Whilst I was out DS got to help put up and decorate our Christmas tree, so he is in raptures over that and keeps wrapping everything in sight up in pieces of paper and reams or sticky tape to put under it (I don't think he'll have much Lego left by Christmas Day as it'll all be wrapped up under the tree - we don't tend to put the presents under the tree until after he goes to bed on Christmas Eve as it's just too tempting for a 3yo to have enticing gifts left out and not be able to open them).

Stamping wise I have two things to share with you, one was done recently as a swap and I wanted to try something new as I had seen this tutorial online by Jan Tink and I wanted to see how challenging it was. Turns out it was pretty simple! I used one of the stamp sets from the new summer catalogue Hello Again, but I didn't have the circle sissors (yet!) so I didn't get the double circle effect on the front which I think would have made it look better, but never mind I can always re-make it later!  You can see inside the card - the Retro Remix wheel is so nice - I did see it coloured individually with markers and then wheeled on a blog recently and the overall effect was stunning, although no doubt time consuming - I've added it to my to try list!

Last night I was also playing around with some left over bits from my I Wish Simply Scrappin' kit, after making my I Wish album and came up with this 6"x6" of my DS first Christmas - did I mention he loves opening presents!!!

Can you tell I am still getting used to scrapbooking and am working my way up to doing 12"x12" layouts....but more on that another post. Am I the only one with a to do/try list that is a million miles long or is it just a sign of being creative, I have never yet been able to truly understand people who say they are bored *grin*

Yesterday also saw me making more fruit leather in our food dehydrator, basically it's just a case of blending up cooked apple, passionfruit from our garden (those are the black bits), a drained tin of peaches ($2 on sale for 850g Australian grown fruit) and then spreading it over the sheets and drying it down.

With the PV panels the electricity cost of this is negligible and the entire ingredients and power etc costs approximately $10 per kg of dried fruit - a bit cheaper and healthier than the store bought $4 for 90g and most of it is wheat/maze bulking agents and only has 25-30% real fruit - mine is 99% real fruit and 1% sugar. I've also used strawberries from the garden, bananas and basically whatever left over fruit or fruit that is cheap that is around, although I do find having about 40% apple gievs it a nice smooth texture. The sheets are taken off the dryer, rolled into logs and wrapped in plastic film (if anyone can think of an alternative to plastic for this please let me know!) and stored in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks - although rarely does it make 3 weeks in our house......

Thursday, December 17, 2009

SU creations, sale & stamp club

I've been fairly busy of late with my Stampin' Up! and have run 3 classes now from home, plus demo'd at a couple of parties & so far the feedback has been good (either that or I have really polite friends!!!). A popular one has been the scrapbook album made with the I Wish Simply Scrappin kit which makes a lovely record for Christmas or as  a gift for loved ones.

The original design has been done by a very talented Canadian lady, Andrea Walford, and would look equally stunning with any of the Simply Scrappin kits depending upon the occassion e.g. a baby album or a wedding etc. What is also awesome is that it can be done as a complete class by mail and as there is no stamping required it just requires some time and patience which will definitely be rewarded! I am thinking of using a few other of her designs as I am still new to teaching scrapbooking and I really felt this showcased the product far better than I would have thought of doing!

The 4x2 Christmas class was popular making 2 cards, 2 decorated envelopes, 2 3D items and this month instead of 2 tags we made one tag and one bag topper for reindeer poop (read chocolate coated fruit & nut in a medium  size SU cellophane bag). In January this class will have a Summer theme to it and the stamp a stack (6 cards) is a masculine theme, for details go to my class timetable here.

I have also been making up some lipbalm holders as gifts for day care carers which make a nice change for the girls from chocolates! The original design was made by Renee Ondraka and I modified it to fit the Australian "standard" size lipbalm tubes

This week has also heralded the first ever SU stamp clearance sale - yes they are clearing out all of the old non-die cut rubber stock, so for a limited time you can get up to 50% off some stamp sets and also listed in the sale are some lovely accessory items as well, you can see the full list here (ohh my goodness I think I have finally learnt to hyperlink!) and if you would like anything, then please just leave me a request in the comments section and I will answer (and not publish your comment to protect your privacy).

I am in the process of putting together a stamp club for SU for 2010 which is a $30 per month commitment for 10 months, a free class each month and one of the 10 months you get to hostess and get all of the benefits from that - if you are interested I can email you the full benefits, again just leave me a request in the comments section and I will answer (and not publish your comment to protect your privacy).

Okay it's now late and I've raved on enough about SU for the minute - but I am having fun stamping again after such a long break having DS and as I always say stamps & paper etc is still cheaper than therapy!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Not Christmas crackers or bon bons, but plain old savoury crackers. With the nice warm weather we have been having we are eating more finger foods of late and the easiest, yummiest and cheapest dip I know how to make is by adding half a packet of french onion soup mix to a 500g tub of sour cream, stir and let sit to thicken for at least an hour before serving up. Anyway I went to buy some crackers the other day at the supermarket for the dip and my goodness what a challenge that is these days when I am trying to purchase almost all Australian made foods (excepting some spices and the like) most I found were made in China or Italy, or Australian owned but manufactured overseas or manufactured in Australia with imported products - honestly how hard can it be to get plain old crackers! After almost 15 minutes examining the labels of packets and narrowing my selection down to two brands, one got discounted as it contained a food colouring 150c (caramel) which my DS reacts to and he has enough energy at the best of times before giving him something which will send him absolutely hyperactive for a +10 hour stint. I've been doing this with different food items for quite a while - trying to purchase local produce or at the very least Australian grown & manufactured products, it started a couple of years ago when I first started reading about food miles and then the 100 mile diet, but also about the issues associated with disruptions to the food supply chain by political or climate change factors in cities and countries where they rely heavily upon imported food sources means we really should be taking an example from somewhere like Havana not bulldozing our own producing regions to build yet more houses and importing product from overseas. Imported product which might not necessarily be treated with the same standard of chemicals and fertilisers as we have in our own country. One example earlier this year that really annoyed me was that Australia now imports 22% of the apples consumed here - which is nuts when so many of our orchards are being bulldozed and family farms are being lost to bankruptcy as they can't get buyers for the produce. This coupled with the fact that the imported apples possible contain over 18 known pests and/or diseases that are currently not in our country further jepardises the shrinking local markets that we currently have. Don't get me wrong I understand that trade is good for the economy and brings in jobs and much needed income and skills as well as helping us develop culturally, but at what cost to our own children's futures - their jobs, health, environmental damage. Maybe limiting the importation of staple food items is an option? Or educating consumers about the sources of the produce they are eating - I am loving the tickets on food that were introduced a year or so ago in major supermarkets in the fresh produce/deli sections as now you can see where things come from and interestingly how one supermarket chain suddenly started promoting that they were selling Australian garlic not irradiated imported stuff or the Australian grown baby sweetcorn rather than the stuff imported from overseas as not exactly fresh! I guess time will tell...................

Creatively here are a couple fo things to share. The first is a very lovely and simple candy cane treat made by the very talented Charmaine (my SU upline) - how simple but lovely is that? Well I thought it was pretty darn nice, especially as she made one for me as a gift *grin* I made the stocking box, which was adapted from a template from a canadian SU demonstrator, Andrea Walford,  that made a flat stocking gift card holder and I CASEd (copy and share with everyone) the idea from Charmaine who made it into a box - albeit a much nicer one than mine, but I still liked mine too! If you'd like to see more of Charmaine's works then check out her blog (one day I'll learn how to embed a link into a word instead of cutting and pasting hyperlinks!!!!)

On a soapy front, I think I have finished most of the Christmas orders now (?) and even got to have fun making some large cupcakes that were all pink and sparkly for a friend (very girly!!) unfortunately my photography is a lot like my computer skills, more functional than flashy and the glitter doesn't really show up well in the photo as being really sparkly - it was a silver rainbow glitter (bodysafe) that I used and it looks 100 times better in real life than in the photo below! Okay back to the kitchen for me - I'm making yummy little meringues for the playgroup party tomorrow, last week I made marshmallow candy canes for the toddler group party and they went down pretty quick too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Eye Candy

Rather than have you popping all over the place - it would probably be better if I just put the images below for you to see (not sure what I was thinking at midnight last night!). Here's some of the reindeer supplies I made for the market the left here is the reindeer food & below is the snowman soup (a friend suggested popping this into a mug as a complete gift rather than just a stockingsutffer, cool idea!), reindeer poop & Rudolph spares. I only had red & green glitter for the reindeer food, but silver would have been nice or gold as well - anything to make it sparkle really!

Where does the time go?

Wow okay I know I've had a lot on my plate, but seriously where does the time go these days, it's only 3 weeks until Christmas and I have been busy teaching Christmas card classes, but haven't made any myself yet to send to family and friends - might be my e-newsletter again this year! Which people commented that they enjoyed reading and it had lots of photos etc in it and of course didn't consume paper or fuel miles to deliver it to everyone, but it is still nice to receive "snail" mail sometimes so we'll see how I go over the next week or so time wise!

The bubble blog candy went to Julie who guessed closest to the actual weight of 179g that 5 of the guest soaps came in at - since it's been a long time since I posted and I'm feeling bad about the delay, so you can swap the guest soaps for a festive squirter duck on a pond (see above) or a body scrub tub as a prize instead. I ended up making over 260 of the Breast Cancer fundraising soaps, about 200 more than I ever envisaged and have expressions of interest for over 350 already for the same time next year! Fortunately for my sanity I've moved onto puzzle soaps, the squirter ducks on a pond (above), soapsicles, soap cupcakes and sugar body scrubs (currently for the later I've made peppermint = great for foot scrubs, chcoolate and pearberry, both of which are divine to use) so am getting some variety - for pictures of all go to my MadeIt store. I had my very first market stall this weekend at a belly dancing end of term exhibition and it was a lot of fun, a nice learning experience which will no doubt help in the new year for me doing more markets. The reindeer poop and Rudolph's spares went down well with the children, but then again who doesn't love chocolate?? For the poems & photos of these and snowman soup & reindeer food they are listed on my Stampin' Up! website under the projects/ideas section. The reindeer food we also did at my son's toddler group and the children loved it and he can't wait for Christmas Eve to feed the reindeers!

Our garden is starting to be quite productive, we're pickign raspberries, green beans, cherry tomatoes, carrots, strawberries and a few other things as well. The sand remedy (aka bentonite clay) which we bought from a local supplier Vital Organics (who did free delivery to your door and have brilliant customer service) when combined with the compost seems to be helping with water retention in the soil, even with the hot days we've been having of late. Although no doubt the few extra buckets of grey water from the laundry and our son's bath don't go astray, it's one of those little bit of effort activities for bigger results in the garden and a small reduction in our global footprint. We were of course also very fortunate recently to receive 5 large bags of sheep poo from a friend who lives on a farm, sadly not everyone gets as excited about sheep poo as we do, but it's wonderful fertiliser for the garden and unlike the chemical versions a lot less impactive on our waterways and is of course recycling a waste product!

We recently discovered our local landfill facility has a recycle shop that is open on weekends and is a treasure trove of really cool items at super chepa prices. We went to get paving bricks to do more garden paths (and a few extra for DS to play with), but we also found amidst other items a terrific stainless steel sink that DH has installed outside near the garden tap for washing the leaf and root vegetables prior to bringing them into the house and the water from that is also easily recycled back onto the garden. They are all small things that in the grand scheme don't seem to have much effect, but multiplied over thousands and possibly millions of households globally they have a massive impact!

Anyway it's late, so I am calling it a night, hopefully it won't be as long between posts this time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sharing the Bubbles!

I think I must be on skip-a-day this year as time seems to be going so fast. We got an amazing taste of summer to come on Saturday with 36'C. I have just finished bottling another batch of beetroot from the garden - not the normal boring single colour that you get from a tin, but multi-coloured ones that taste very yummy......wonder why only certain varieties got grown globally, was it due to yield, taste, disease resistance, drought tolerance or just people preferred certain colours or shapes - that's how come we ended up with predominantly orange carrots grown commercially in Western countries, the orange carrot cultivar became the symbol for the House of Orange in The Netherlands and the struggle for the Dutch Independence.

Apart from my normal pursuits I have been busy this last month or so making guest soaps for fundraising with the money being donated to the National Breast Cancer Association, I didn't quite realise when I started how popular they would be and as it is a wonderful cause, it is definitely a case of more the merrier. Which brings me to my GIVEAWAY I have 5 of these guest soaps to give away, I'll even pay the postage within Australia, what you have to do it guess the weight of all five of them to one decimal point, the closest person wins! There is a detailed description of them on a listing in my MadeIt shop (click the icon on the top right of the blog) to get you in the ball park weight. Good luck and I will be announcing the winner on the 1st of November (or as close to that date as my blogging time allows!).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Power into Spring!

Originally I was going to title this blog & My MadeIt store front GOSSIP aka Goal Of Suburban Sustainability In Perth, but then I thought that was too corny even for me & more importantly the whole sustainability issue is far bigger than just in my backyard, so hence it got shortened to GOSS – well that and anyone who knows Australians knows they love to abbreviate things!

I’ve had some great days of late, I got to catch up and spend a couple of hours with a high school friend I haven’t seen in 15 odd years which was just lovely. The nice thing was we could just sit and chat and without having to do the whole background thing and the whole who lost touch with who and why, like most we’re all busy and we just could accept that things happen, but now we also have plans to stay in touch via email and try to catch up with our little ones occasionally at the zoo or a park or similar and I am really looking forward to that. Being spring my DS and I have got to spend some wonderful sunny days at the park with friends for picnics or play dates, or the local pool for a swim/splash, going for a trike ride, baking and icing cupcakes or watching the cygnets & ducklings at the lake and having a good time with the ones we care about not spending hundreds of dollars on high tech entertainment or the latest gadgets or drive through fast food it’s about the people not the products for us!! This weekend just gone we had a BBQ lunch to celebrate DH birthday with some of his friends, nothing massive or fancy, just good company & some nice food – although I got a very sad face when I said I hadn’t made trifle for desert!

The downside at the moment is since our state voted against daylight saving at the end of last summer DH & I are getting really sleep deprived, as our cherub is waking up early (~5.30am) and still refusing to go to bed until normal time, so he’s getting a bit grotty and fractious due to sleep deprivation (as are we) – however hopefully we’ll sort something out soon as otherwise I am not looking forward to full summer mornings, when the sun will be up at 4am eeekkkkkk!!! This afternoon we made a large space scene on black cardstock (the size of one of his window panes) with a rocket ship and stars so hopefully that will help reduce the amount of light coming into his room in the early mornings - next week we might do the other pane with an underwater scene, but I only thought of that after I was back from shopping today so didn’t have the large sheets of cardstock needed (although considering his room is the opposite side of the house from the morning sun, we have vertical blinds, block out curtains and pelmets above the windows I’m not sure what we’ll do to reduce the daylight coming into his room if this doesn’t help!). I loved the daylight in the evenings where we could go out and spend time enjoying the garden after dinner or at the river for a picnic etc without it being dark so early, ohh well I’m sure there are a myriad of more import things for me to worry about than this.

I had a surprise Thursday morning when I opened our community newspaper and was flicking through it and came across a photograph of my husband & I, from the sustainability awards dinner the previous week. It was ironic to me as there was our photo and all the rest published from the event were politicians - we were there not for the votes, but because we genuinely want to improve our environment and help save the planet in the act local, think global scheme of things. I also got a wonderful phone call earlier in the week to say that I had won a door prize from attending the Carbon Neutral Expo last week – how awesome is that! I am really excited about it as it is a box of organic vegetables from this company they also won a sustainability award last year in the small business section and I’m looking forward to checking out how much their business has grown and what they are up to now. We didn’t sign up with them for two reasons, firstly they don’t deliver to our area and secondly we grow so many of our own vegetables it would be a waste of produce unless I bought another freezer or started feeding a more people on a regular basis!

My Pledge to Go Vege was a success, I ended up doing 8 days not 7 as I had some left over tofu and it was easier to just use it up than waste it! DH joined me on two evening meals so that was also nice. Two of our other friends also completed the week successfully so yay for us. What I initially thought would be just too hard turned out to be surprisingly easy and I am glad that I completed the challenge, my only regret is that more people didn’t sign up as only ~25% of the allocated money to help the Great Barrier Reef was donated as not enough people signed up, ohh well there is always next year and hopefully more people get involved.

I’m definitely weird as I look forward to getting our bi-monthly electricity bills since mid 2006 when we had a massive 50 photovoltaic thin film panels installed on our roof. Initially the challenge was to get a zero electricity bill which we did (sadly only once so far, but better than never). So we have been trying to modify our behavior the last few months as we’ve already done the whole change the light globes, replaced our ancient washing machine with a front loader, insulated the house, added curtains & pelmets to our window coverings etc. Fortunately our council were offering free energy audits to 65 households and we applied and received one (saving ourselves ~$250) and in about 2 hours we learnt a lot – thankfully some of it we have been putting into practice and our most recent power bill is ~700 units lower than the same time period as last year, which is over 10 units per day we are saving just through changing a few behaviours that haven’t really affected the way we do things – awesome news for our finances and the planet! Now to keep it up and also start targeting our water usage as it’s been another dry winter…….

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sustainability Awards & Fish

Well I wrote a post earlier in the week about our garden, but cyberspace ate it *sigh* I am so technically gifted, I will re-do it later though as some of the information might help others. Anyway last night DH and I were the very fortunate invitees to the second annual Sustainability Awards for our local council (last year we won one of the inaugural awards so I think they were being really nice and invited us back this year as well & I am so happy that they did). After organizing a babysitter for our cherub (thanks Mandy you are an absolute super star) we got to get dressed up and go out for a fantastic evening.

The variety of nominees in all the categories made for interesting and lively conversation, the entertainment was such good fun and as well as bring original, they lived up to their name of being very Junkadelic! Of course during the evening we were inspired to strive for four more projects that although we have discussed in the past never really got concreted into anything substantial – so watch this space over the next year or so to see how we go with them! We have decided we really want to get chooks (yay – but I have to check council building guidelines etc first and we'll have to figure out what will happen with them if we get to go away on holiday, but surely it can't be that hard after all we used to keep literally hundreds of them on our family farm when I was younger); planning for some vertical strawberry containers made from PVC pipe under the patio, we have discussed before, but our ideas never seemed to gel, however during morning tea this morning we seem to have come up with something that will not only work, but is hopefully affordable as well (our strawberry plants are extremely prolific and last year we gave away over 80 plants for free and this year I was mean and sold them for $2 a plant and donated the money to the Australian Marine Conservation Society except for the dozen donated to my son's day care as they are putting in a vegetable garden area); after talking to a wonderful couple who won one of this year's individual household awards I have been inspired (thanks Amy) and after discussing it with DH this morning at length we are planning to open our home next year for the Sustainable House open day and I completed the expression of interest for that this morning so I am sure some preparation/organization will be required for that and finally we got to add a major expense project to our list of "wants" even though we have some great & productive vegetable beds, for us this type of system is about the fish production primarily. Globally fishing is completely unsustainable and the number of species that are critically endangered is growing on a virtual weekly basis, this is of course hampered by our lack of knowledge about our ocean environments as to put it in context we know more about deep space than our oceans and space exploration only began in the 1960s!!! We also know that in order to be more sustainable we need to reduce our red meat consumption, but I have issues with replacing that with chicken or fish due to overfishing and the horrendous conditions most meat chickens are kept in (we currently patronize the Mt Barker free range products) so the concept of producing our own fish in our own backyard is very desirable, unfortunately we'll have to wait a little while as we need to save up (or win lotto tonight), but it is good to have goals to aim for as otherwise we'd just be floating along rudderless……..

There is a fantastic movie out at the moment called End Of The Line and DH is going to the premiere in our state tonight. It has been tagged "the inconvenient truth about our oceans" all of the projections are that within our lifetime i.e. approx. 2045-50 that the human species will have overfished the oceans to the point of collapse and no return and of course I really want to see the movie, but we modified our seafood consumption a few years ago through the help of the Australian Marine Conservation Society , where if you are at all confused about what is a sustainable fish species and what is under threat, they have a free download which can easily be printed and kept in your wallet whilst shopping etc. If you don't get to see the movie - you can watch some great trailers on the website.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spring has Sprung!

Well spring is definitely here, not sure if the weather knows this yet, but our garden certainly does. The raspberry canes are starting to bud and shoot out new leaves, the strawberries are flowering and DH & DS have planted a multitude of seeds which all seem to be thriving. Our gardens both vegetable and native are only about 3 years old, before we moved here there were 3 sick looking little banksia trees and a lot of scrubby grass in the back yard and nothing else, now we have a frog pond & native surrounds, a large native garden area with the most massive and prolifically flowering kanagroo paws and gravillias that attract so many birds to the garden, a small cirtus area and a few other fruit trees where ever there is some spare space and of course our vegetable beds which seem to be constantly producing something. We do still have some lawn left for kicking the football around on and also a large strawberry patch - without which I wouldn't be able to make yummy strawberry jam that lasts us almost through the year, although we are now sadly down to our last jar, but fortunately I made a batch of blackberry earlier this month so we'll have to switch to that until our plants do more than produce lots of flowers. Of late the garden has also been producing a massive crop of snails, which our 3yo loves to collect for us in a bucket, which is infinitely better than having to put bait down, for some reason we've never had any luck with beer traps for snails?

Gardening on sand is problematic at the best of times, it has almost zero nutrients and is totally hydrophobic so our main aim initially was to add a lot of organic material quickly and thanks to a friend who has horses and another who has sheep we got a lot of manure in, added some pea straw and now our compost bins also add back to the garden, but joy of joys I finally discovered where to get bentonite clay from at a reasonable cost. Bentonite clay (aka sand remedy) is a lot cheaper than applying wet a soil agents to the gardens annually, this is a one off application and that's it so it works out really cost effective and best of all they deliver free to metro areas and were so polite and helpful I almost started to believe customer service was alive and well again so if you are looking for this or a wonderful seaweed product try contacting this site so here's hoping this season will be a really good one for our garden's productivity and allow us to use even less water!

We are also very strong believers in growing heirloom plants (i.e. ones that you can save seed from for next season and not modern hybrids which are sterile) this also means our produce tastes a lot better and generates a lot more conversation as it is far more colourful - take yesterday for example as I bottled two large jars of beetroot from the garden, no boring beets for us - we had white, orange and the traditional dark red beets in our jars and the same goes for carrots, ours are white, red and orange. We don't just grow for uniformity of size, colour, texture in the minimum amount of time that will transport well and last weeks on the supermarket shelf - we grow for taste, biodiversity and enjoyment. As a couple of added bonuses they seem to be fairly robust against disease which allows us to be organic without losing too much to pests and also through gardening our 3yo loves eating vegetables (raw or cooked), digging, planting and understands where food comes from. We get most of our heirloom seeds/plants from which is local and has excellent customer service or which is interstate.

I was reading an article recently that said over 15% of people had started gardening since the global economic recession hit and it is a trend that I truely hope continues, even if it is only a few herbs in a container or a potted citrus, it's good for the urban environment (if it's organically done), looks much more interesting than boring lawn, it's good for your health and the produce tastes so much better than anything you will buy. Happy gardening!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pledge to Try Vege

So to be a bit healthier and reduce meat consumption we switched to eating a vegetarian meal once at week a while ago and then I saw this on a website I must confess my initial reaction is what on earth would I cook for a week of vegetarian meals, but then I thought if I put all the vegetarian options I cook on a once-a-week basis together I pretty much had most of the week covered & it is for a great cause (other than the planet & our health that is - Sanitarium are donating money to the Great Barrier Reef for everyone that pledges to go vegetarian for a week). Anyway after a week of debating and procrastinating I did pledge my support on the website (as did another couple of friends - thanks guys!) and I have my menu plan for the week pretty much sorted so feel better about that too.

For anyone that has never heard of menu planning - it's not just for OCD type personalities or SAHM who need a life. Menu planning is basically a fantastic way to save time, money & stress and remove the daily challenge of what too make for dinner that the family will all eat! If you do a Google it'll come up with a myriad of sites to help the process, but I found a great guide from Simple Savings (link to site on the right hand side of my blog) that under their free downloads has a template to write your menu and tips on going about it. It takes me about 5-10 minutes of planning a week (including checking refridgerator/freezer/pantry/supermarket catalogue for weekly specials) and then writing it on a sheet. Too easy - on that note I'd better go make dinner!

Friday, September 11, 2009

When to let it go?

I have a love-hate relationship with my clothes dryer, I love it as it was free (thanks Rob!) and I love the convenience of it when my cherub's absolutely favourite blanket or soft toy gets grotty and needs to be washed and dried NOW, which in winter can be a challenge. However I hate it as they are a convenience I can probably live without, I really hate the amount of energy it takes to run them and I only use it for about an hour a year so is it really worth the appliance taking up space on my laundry wall when it could be freecycled to someone who might use it a lot more. What to do - hmmmm this winter I've used it for one x 5 minute dry & one x 10 minute dry as even with extended wet & cold days generally I have managed to get most of the laundry dry okay, even with a toddler in toilet training who can go through lots of changes a day with that or from being covered in paint, getting wet etc we're still getting by okay without using it - so why can't I make the break and finally get rid of it???

I went craft idea surfing yesterday and found this terrific tutorial on re-using and upcycling plastic grocery bags and went wow, I really want to try this and then after a 5 minute search of the house realised there were no plastic grocery bags in the house, I have been that diligent with using my cloth and eco bags for groceries (even meat - yes it's fine for that too & if there is a bit of blood or something that leaked, take out he hard plastic base of the bag and wash it!) and of course I have my net bags for fruit & vegetables so no thin film bags in the house either. Ohh well I'm sure I could just admire the art these people create with the upcycled plastic bags instead of deliberately getting plastic bags to create some myself which would defeat the purpose of my eco bags.........I know I could ask friends and they would give me some, but do I really need plastic in the house as I was happy without it until I read that blog tutorial!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Where did my week go?

Okay so I had good intentions (honestly I do most of the time!) of posting a few more things to this blog, but my ever present gift with computers is preventing me for some unknown reason for being able to post a blog on my computer, so I have to steal DH laptop to do so. Although like many people I know I seem to be busier these days but getting less done - are we expecting too much of ourselves or is it that we are not able to find peace and contentment with our lives and think that with constant activity we will make it better? I know I always seem to have an avalanche of stuff to do and have decided that somethings can wait & when it comes to my art, I will always have far more ideas than time to execute them!
Our cherub always seems to have full days, but this week so did I. I finished preparing all the kits for my first class (Christmas cards) at Crafty Cards on Garling ( which was held this morning and was an interesting learning experience in itself when almost all of the participants had never seen an ink pad or paper punch before, but they seemed to have fun and managed to get the projects completed okay and now I have another fortnight before my next one! I must confess that even though it is a little weird doing Christmas cards in August/September it was nice to have some adult conversation & it felt vaguely productive thinking of Christmas already - hmm now if I just manage to make multiples of the cards and get them mailed out in time!
The other exciting news was that our gorgeous cherub has his photograph in the latest Super Food Ideas magazine (Oct issue) on page 10 for the aquarium birthday cake I made for his 3rd birthday and DH helped to decorate, so that was very exciting to open up the mail today and not only find bills, but something really nice.
Okay off to do something productive!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Last Day of Winter

I guess this is a weird day to start a blog, but now is usually the best time to get things done rather than planning on a specific start date for later & I've had friends nagging at me for years to write a blog! So why GOSS well it's sort of my new thing - well actually it's an old thing that is actually finally starting to take a shape and focus, more than just the vague mish-mash that it has been until now - it basically stands for "goal of suburban sustainability" but I have thought of a few other meanings for the acronym as this blog is about my endeavours into sustainability which encompasses recycling, lifestyle, cooking, gardening and my art so a very broad spectrum of musings really!

Anyway what a glorious day for the last day of winter, beautiful sunny skies and a productive day in terms of running errands & doing some soap making - well sort of! I decided to make some liquorice allsort soaps for Fathers Day and of course not being the most patient individual I managed to pour the first four layers of colour really well before glancing at the clock and thinking that I must finish this up NOW before I pick my cherub up and of course poured the last layer too hot and it melted the layer underneath so I ended up with a top yellow layer with black swirls through it *sigh* ohh well back to the drawing board. I've since looked at it and think I might be able to salvage it another day - melt and pour soap really can be a very forgiving medium sometimes. In the mean time I'm trying to patiently make some more as of course it really needs to be in the mail tomorrow if it's going to arrive in time! Fortunately my family and friends are used to me mailing everything late so I'll no doubt be forgiven. If I figure out how these blog things work I will try to post a photo of the finished products.