Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Linkup .....

March has been a month of re-evaluation for me.  Losing a very close friend has been difficult for everyone concerned.  It's a reminder to make every day matter, enjoy life and prepare the space that you live in with love and creativity. I'm joining in slow living essentials to share a bit of my space.

Nourish: I currently use organic and what I thought were chemical free skin products, it turns out that most of them still use Phenoxyethanol and Ceteareth-20, both of which we would be better off without!  I am going to try making my own nourishing skin care product using this recipe from WellnessMama.  I've bought the organic beeswax chips on line...will give you an update on how I go .
Organic Bees Wax chips...smell amazing...these have not been purified so still smell like honey.

Prepare: I am keeping my eye on the baby capsicums that I am growing.  Am going to have a go at making  Preserved baby bell with feta.  Just need all the little capsicums to ripen. I think these will be a great gift idea.  More next month on this project. Fingers crossed.

Can see  few have gone a gorgeous ripe red.....still waiting on the others....
Reduce:  I run a small business from home and am constantly getting stacks of mail which leads to a very untidy amount of waste paper.  I use only recycled paper products in the office, but what to do with all this excess paper.  Am keeping anything reusable that is not printed on the back to make up scratch pads for scribbling notes in the office. 

Not all of this will find it's way to the worm farm...most would have to go in recycle bin
Made whole sheets and envelopes not printed on both sides into scratch pads....
Green:   How Dirty is Dirty:  "Over the entire lifecycle of clothes, the biggest environmental impact is from the 'use' phase: washing, drying and ironing". (Green Lifestyle Magazine) This article raised my awareness to the fact that when my man and I wore something we put it in the wash....not any more...nothing into the wash until it actually needs to be washed...jeans are fabulous for multiple wears before washing !!...Reducing your weekly washing loads is great for the environment....I don't own a clothes dryer but if you do, try to avoid using it.

Grow:  It's autumn and time for the pumpkins !!  I love pumpkin and a pot of pumpkin soup on a cold day warms the body and soul. Have started to harvest and their are still about 10 more on the vines....leaving these outside under shelter to dry out for about a week.

The pumpkin Harvest....Qld Blue and butternuts.
Create:  As always working on too many projects at the same time...I am doing a block of the month quilt....have had it for a while but March is the target to finish this first block, will then try to stay on track as there are 9 blocks in total...hand stitching takes a long time...

Still a few hours worth of hand stitching before this panel is completed....each panel measures 50cm x 50cm

Discover:  There is always so much to  see and do and find out about.  We had a weekend down at our holiday spot and I love the beautiful native plants that are growing wildly there...  I also discovered that Life is short  and we should all take the time to enjoy beautiful surroundings.
Cute native plants in amongst all of the  beachside scrub.....along with the wombats and native birds.
Enhance:  I love to look for beautiful ways to make life more sister-in-law who passed away 12 years ago always made the most amazing sponge cakes for family birthdays and I sadly thought the recipe was lost, but my brother tells me he found it....can't wait to get that recipe....would love to try this:
Found this amazing cake decoration on pinterest.....sliced almonds with raspberry & blueberry centres..
Would also love to have a go at knitting this gorgeous download from Yarnspirations.

This cable knitted cushion in boucle....I have some boucle wool I pulled down from a half knitted
jumper.....long story...wool bought from US on line...$45 postage for one more ball...didn't happen.
Enjoy:  I do try and enjoy simple things everyday.  A walk along the beach with my two fluffy girls....they love to run and chase birds and paddle at the water's edge....trying to take their photo is always difficult...after several failed attempts, the magic word was smacko...they looked at the camera with big smiles on their faces....shame about my man's hairy legs in the photo !!

After a long walk on the beach......happy snap....enjoy !!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Small Steps to Sustainability.......

 I  get so tired of hearing people discount everything I do to try and reduce my impact on the environment and the wellbeing of the planet. I'm told that one person can't make a difference, I'm told that there is no proof that the food I am buying is organic....that I am wasting my time and my money...I'm told we will all pay more for everything if there is a carbon tax....the list goes on.  Yes we will pay more for stuff if there is a carbon tax...and so we should if it makes us consciously reduce what we do.... I have no guarantee that the fruit and vegies I buy are organic but the imperfections on pesticide free fruit and vegies is a dead food is not as pretty as the chemically treated variety...Do I believe one person can make a difference....possibly not...I know that everything I do can be easily undone by someone else....but if everyone did at least a few simple things...then yes it would make a great difference....we need to reduce our consumption ...the planet cannot continue to sustain our existence if we don't.

Rinsed out zip lock bags ready to re-use....

Is it a bit weird to rinse out zip lock bags to re-use them....I hate buying anything made of plastic but I use them in the freezer.  If I can use them again and again it reduces the need for more plastic.  It's not hard to do and I think every little bit helps.  Everyone can do things to live more sustainably .
  1. Eat Less Meat , have meat free meals as often as possible
  2. Refuse plastic bags, reusable shopping bags are cheap , no excuses
  3. Recycling , have a separate bin for recyclables
  4. Composting, have a scrap bucket in the kitchen for scraps for the compost
  5. Don't use takeaway cups, plastic cutlery or paper napkins
  6. Avoid over- packaged foods
  7. Use hankies not tissues, cloth napkins not paper
  8. Don't buy bottled water in plastic bottles, carry water from home in eco bottles
  9. Don't replace mobiles, I-pods, I-pads and gadgets just to update
  10. Use recycled toilet paper, printing paper, paper towels (if you have to use them)
These suggestions are nothing new and they are not hard.  You just have to want to make a difference.  Your grandchildren will thank you someday.

Fresh organic apple, orange, carrot and ginger juice.....this afternoon's pick me up

I'll continue to buy my organic fruit and vegies.  I don't buy chemicals to clean the house, I use eco products but I may decide to make my own in the future.  I use organic face and hair products where possible.  I'll continue to reuse, recycle and reduce at every opportunity and try to encourage others to do the same.  I don't want my grandson's generation left to deal with the mess we have made.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Friday's Feast.....

It's been a long hard top it off my computer died and I had to get a new one and have all of my old data and software reloaded.....I can hear you all groaning and feeling my pain as this process is never straight forward....things go missing...programs don't load...everything looks different because I now run on Windows old computer was in desperate need of an update but the process is quite daunting.....thankfully the guy loaded a remote access to my computer and he can fix it up from his place in Brighton....amazing.....I've been to my writing group today and now I have no excuses not to get back to work on "the book".......if I ever finish may wind up in the Guinness Book of Records as the slowest book to ever be written....this project of mine has been going on for quite a few years and I only have a few chapters done.....Have re-evaluated my procrastination....I don't want to have so many unfinished things on the go at one time...need to finish up several of my projects....the book, the mosaic, the quilt, the paintings I have on the go and my knitting...thankfully the vegie garden keeps producing even though it has been somewhat neglected this week.....
The beautiful colours of the vegies picked today from the garden

A quick trip around the garden this morning produced this lovely little selection of goodies.....I sound like a broken record but it is so satisfying to be able to grow food when you have no experience at all.....just the internet and a couple of organic gardening books......I never thought is would be as simple as this....but then that's what people did in the past....if they didn't grow it they went without....and they did it without the internet....just on the process being passed down the generations.....why did most people stop doing that....what else have we lost that hasn't been passed down to this generation.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Life is a Patchwork..........

Tuesday we farewelled our beautiful friend.....the funeral was a celebration of her life attended by around a thousand people...amazing...her handmade quilts and artwork were displayed........My family and I shed loads of tears, but also shared laughter......home movies and photo montage........her courageous children spoke of their love for their mother and her husband spoke lovingly of the life he shared with her.....they made us laugh and broke our music, cello and violin.....a close friend sang a very beautiful song for her...her wicker coffin, which I had never seen before, was so Heather.....she would have loved everything that her family prepared so carefully for her.....She had packed so much into her 46 years...She was vivacious with  a beautiful smile and infectious laugh....she loved life and adored her family, and I was so lucky to have her as my friend.....She left us way too soon and the patchwork of my life is missing a piece....time will heal the pain, but the memories will last in peace my friend.

The beautiful handout from the service....a patchwork of some of  her creations....she was inspiring...

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 linkup......

I am joining in for the first time to Christine at slow living essentials with the monthly 9 for February.  It's been a busy time: -

Nourish :- I always try to eat organic food where possible.....fruit and vegies from the Kallista organic store.  I prefer my fruit to have blemishes and marks on them...if the insects and birds are happy to eat them...then so am I. 
Organic apples.....complete with blemishes and imperfections....just like me really...

Prepare :- The garden is producing a really good amount of produce considering the weather we have been experiencing...that heat has not been too good for the always zucchinis have flourished...they are excellent growers in all conditions....instead of giving away the surplus I have blanched and frozen them ..ready to go.
The blanched and bagged up zucchinis ready for the freezer......
Reduce :- Am avidly trying to reduce spending...I totally admire all of the frugal webpages...I don't seem to be going all that well...things continually pop up...broken tap, had to buy new tap and pay the plumber...Daisy got sick...after hours trip to the vet on Saturday night....Yikes !!...the list is trying to reduce the cost of my grocery bill each's not easy.

Green : - I read an article last month on "taking the hard line on soft plastic" in Green Lifestyle magazine.  Flexible or scunchable plastic waste is considered difficult to recycle and if placed in the normal recycle bin will still go to the rubbish tip..... A recycling initiative by non-for-profit organisation RED  Group have introduced plastic waste collection points at Coles supermarkets and the plastic is recylced into benches and donated to schools....I have been collecting my soft plastics....this is one months worth.  If you'd like to join in and help go to .

Flexible plastic for's amazing how much amasses in just 4 weeks.
Grow :- I have grown lots this month....I love the summer planting season....tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, lettuce, herbs, strawberries, pumpkin, zucchini, silverbeet, beans, potatoes, beetroot and corn...I get great satisfaction from the garden...and love picking fresh food whenever I can.

The buttenut pumpkin vines have spread themselves out amongst the other vegies.....

I am happy with the growth in the garden considering the difficult weather we have been experiencing.

Some of the tomatoes...not as good a season as last year but plenty of tomatoes to go around.

I have 12 of these lovely Qld blue on the vines.....also have 20 or so butternut pumpkins coming soon
Create :- I had a go at making my own candles this month....using recycled candle jars that I have saved up over time....the process was messy but easy...although I think there is a trick to making candles that burn well...mine seem to have burnt a hole down the centre of the jars and not used up the sides...will need to investigate that one.
Tricky part getting the wicks to stay in the right place.. added rose geranium essential oil...

A couple of the finished products....hopefully a bit of research will resolve the burning issue..
Discover :- My birthday was in February and I turned 55....I discovered that there are worse things than getting older.

Enhance :- The book for February with my bookclub is 'My fathers daughter" by Sheila Fitzpatrick....really struggling with this one.Sheila's father Brian was a journalist and radical historian and the book covers her relationship with her father..haven't got very far into the book so will have to get a move on before the next meeting..

Enjoy :- A group of friends have organised monthly dinners at each others homes where we can try recipes that we have not cooked before....I love the concept and will need to get organised for our turn which is in May.....The lovely Janine & Michael prepared a delicious meal with Chicken and asian salad...we had a great afternoon.

Janine & Michael's yummy chicken dinner..
I'll sneak this one in which was actually on 1st March....but he is so cute.  He wanted a blue and green birthday party...his favourite colours...Enjoy special times with your family as they are so precious and the memories will last a lifetime.... 

Our very own baby batman celebrating his 3rd birthday....big cake cooked by his adoring mummy...

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

My weekend had the worst of times.   Our dear friend H lost her battle with cancer.  Her courage and determination was an inspiration to all who knew her.  A truly beautiful person who fought so hard to stay.  To know her was to love her....and I thank her wonderful husband for allowing us to see her in hospital to say broke our hearts but she looked very peaceful...sending our love to all her family and many many friends....  Life will not be the same without you in it. I will think of you often and always with memories of the wonderful times we shared. Farewell my beautiful friend.

Our beautiful friend H in happier times...she was undergoing chemotherapy at the time but
still came to celebrate my daughters 30th birthday....she was so courageous

Our gorgeous Gbaby on his new bike....Happy Birthday precious boy.
The weekend was also my Gbaby's 3rd birthday...very hard to keep a smile on our face...our friend was losing her battle with cancer.  It reaffirmed for me that the circle of life continues.  Deep sadness and heartache can be momentarily replaced with joy as you watch your beautiful grandson ride his new bike.  It is comforting in it's own way that the human spirit can process your grief and still allow you to do find joy. Life is precious...enjoy every moment.