Friday, August 30, 2013

Dyed yarn


My new collection is available now, feel free to leave me a comment if you're interested in purchasing!


Yarn flower perhaps? :D


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Apple cinnamon porridge


Soak the oats overnight in water. I always soak extra so I have leftovers, so soak as many as you want according to the number of people you're cooking for. When ready to cook, add enough milk so that your oats look like this, almost covered. You can go mad like my husband does and add, like a litre of milk, but this means you'll be stirring a long time. I prefer the shortcut method!
Cook over a low heat, stirring to prevent sticking.


In a separate saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and throw in 1 chopped apple (any type really). Stir, then put on the lid over a low heat. Keep checking and stirring intermittently. When the apple has softened, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a tablespoon of brown sugar (optional). The apple doesn't have to be stewed, just softened - it takes under 10 minutes.


When the porridge is cooked, spoon into a bowl and drizzle with honey (once again - optional). Top with the apple and a little cold milk.


Enjoy!




Monday, August 26, 2013

My new loom


My new Ashford 60cm weaver's loom, ah, it was worth the wait! After getting over my initial fear of setting up for warping (which wasn't all that hard after all!) I've started on a stash busting scarf. Basically, I'm using up all my bits and pieces of yarn in order to practice.


Here is the first section. I've used a purple 8ply wool for the warp.


And for the weft I'm using up all sorts of bits and pieces from my stash, mostly that have been left over from other projects. I'm finding that handspun is perfect with its gradual colour changes. 

I have my loom set up next to my sewing table at a large sunny window and am really enjoying the weaving process. After the warping, the actual weaving is calm, straight forward and repetitive. I don't find the repetition boring, as there is constant progress and it is a quiet and thoughtful activity. I particularly love watching the colours merge.

I can't wait to finish the scarf and start on my next project, I have lots of ideas and also some requests (apparently the girls need a pretty rug for their cubby house).





Thursday, August 22, 2013

3 ways to save money today - volume 5

1. Menstrual products
Perhaps not a topic that many want to discuss publicly, yet something that many (dare I say most?) women waste money on every single month. A couple of years ago I switched from tampons (cringe!) and commercial pads to menstrual cups and cloth pads. Wow, what a difference! The cloth pads I make myself and they are easy to wash, comfortable, customisable according to your flow needs and last a really long time. They don't go into landfill either.
If you've never tried or even heard of a menstrual cup (like me a couple of years ago) I recommend you start researching! At $40 - $70 each they might seem expensive but with proper care 1 cup can last years. If the idea of using one seems strange to you, might I suggest it is far less strange and much more hygienic and practical than a soggy old tampon. Sorry, I know that's gross, but that's exactly my point! Some brands of cup are DivaCup, The Keeper, Lunette and there is even an Australian made one called Juju.


2. Loyalty rewards
If you tend to frequent the same places for shopping, check out their loyalty reward programs. I do our grocery shopping predominantly at Coles, so I use the Flybuys program. Basically, I get points just for shopping at Coles and the points I convert into gift cards. It's really worth doing and costs nothing.


3. Eliminate use of dryer
It's a bit of extra work and organisation to live without a dryer, but unless you live in a very cold and wet climate, you can live without a dryer. And save lots of money in electricity :)

*Disclaimer - These posts are based on my own personal opinions. I do not receive any payment for these opinions and it is not my intention to promote any particular product.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cute yarns and cute kids.


I posted this collage to my Facebook page yesterday and was amazed that the yarns all sold within a few hours, that's a first for me! Can't wait to order and dye more now. Knitters sure are an enthusiastic bunch, and the positivity and passion is catching.


As for my new kitchen space, it seems to have been repurposed, I should have known!

Hope you're having a great day, God bless!

Monday, August 19, 2013

If it's not useful or beautiful....

...get rid of it!

When we bought our first home 8 years ago it came with a dishwasher. No house I ever lived in up until this point had a functional dishwasher, so it was quite a novelty when we moved in. But it never really worked that well. I'd find myself re-washing many of the dishes and ended up only using it very occasionally. And in my present frugal state of mind I think a dishwasher uses far too much water.

Besides, our kitchen is small and space is a premium, so even though some people may think we have taken leave of our senses (hey, it's not the first time, I'm sure it won't be the last!) the dishwasher had to go!

Before

After

What a lot of space a dishwasher takes up! I made a little curtain with some bright and happy fabric and I now have a storage space for bins, the dustpan and whatever else I end up storing there.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Easy coconut rice pudding in the slow cooker

In my current enthusiasm for frugal living I've been making an extra effort to use up ingredients, either leftover in the fridge or pantry. Today's perusal of the fridge found a cup of coconut milk leftover from a previous meal, then a brief hunt in the pantry gave me a choice of 3 opened packets of arborio rice (why oh why?!!)

And so, this easy recipe was born!

Not the best photo, sorry about that.

5 handfuls of arborio rice
1/3 cup sugar (optional for sweetness)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
250ml cup coconut milk
700ml milk
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Sultanas (optional)

Place all ingredients except sultanas in the slow cooker, stir and turn on low. Check every half hour or so and give it a stir. If it seems to have absorbed a lot of liquid, stir in a little more milk at a time. I didn't need to do this, but it's possible your slow cooker is different to mine. Leave it cook, testing the rice for doneness (I think mine took about 2 hours). When it seems nearly done, add the sultanas.
Serve warm to hot with ice-cream.

So easy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to frugality

It's over a year since we paid off our mortgage and although we declared nothing would change for us financially I have felt recently that my former frugality has slipped in some areas. So, off to the library I went (costs nothing!) and borrowed some of my favourite frugal books to re-read. "Down to Earth" by Rhonda Hetzel is just a fantastically encouraging read and I've also found "Saving Mum" by Amy Pleydon and Tiana Johannis to be very helpful.

I'm making getting back to frugal living one of my top priorities and really thinking about what I do and how I do it. As a wife and mother always trying to improve my ways, I relish the challenge. So here are  the things I have done this week to reclaim a little frugality:



* Made laundry gel. I've used the recipe from "Saving Mum", and it seems to work well. The gloopiness makes it a little difficult to get out of the bottle so I may have to tweak it. It is extremely cheap to make and uses easily obtainable ingredients.

* Made cleaning spray. Recipe from the same book and once again, very easy to make and works well, even in the shower.

* Shorter showers. I admit my morning showers have become a bit of a luxury but water prices keep going up so our usage needs to go down. I'm trying to cut about 1 minute off each shower for a start and not stay in for any longer than necessary.

* No water down the drain. I've started running water from the kitchen hot tap into a big jug while waiting for it to warm up. I've been amazed to find that sometimes 2 litres of water has run before it warms up! By running the water into the jug I can then repurpose it somewhere else and it isn't wasted.

* Library overdue fees. Oh boy, I've become slack with this one. With 4 children each borrowing their own items ( and a Mum who is a bit of a library junkie too!) it's hard to keep track and before I know it, I'm racking up fines for something that should be free. I'm paying extra attention to this now by keeping all library items in one place and checking my account on the internet to make sure I either renew or return books before they become overdue.

* Bread, revisited. I'm doing my best to keep up our bread requirements, another area that had fallen to the wayside a little. I need to bake 2 loaves every second to third day, so it requires planning but I feel it is well worth the effort for both health and savings.

So that's my week of getting back to frugality and I pray that I have the time and energy to continue to build on what I've started. I'll keep sharing my thoughts so that perhaps we can all get inspired together and help each other to live frugally.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Making yoghurt with from a culture with an Easiyo

Some time ago I wrote this post about making your own yoghurt using store bought natural yoghurt. I do things a little differently these days by using a freeze dried yoghurt culture and an Easiyo maker. Here is what I do:


Measure out a litre of milk into the Easiyo inner container (the one on the left).


Heat the milk on the stove to 90 degrees (C), then let it cool to 45 degrees (C).


This is what the freeze dried culture looks like. A little lasts a long time as you use about 1/10th of a teaspoon per litre of milk. You can buy it from Cheeslinks. So, the next step is to whisk the culture into the warm milk.


Fill the Easiyo white container with hot water to the level recommended (you get full instructions with the maker when you buy it). Pop on the lid and let it sit for at least 8 hours, but for a nice firm set leave it longer, overnight is good. Take the yoghurt out and keeping it in the Easiyo container let it chill in the fridge.

*Variations: 
- I have successfully varied plain natural yoghurt by adding a tablespoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Add them in at the same time as the culture.

- Add a little vanilla extract with some honey or sugar for a sweeter vanilla flavour.

-After the yoghurt is set, add fruit of your choice.

-If you like a thick yoghurt, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk powder as the milk is heating.

- I also wrote this post on making your own yoghurt cheese or spread.



Friday, August 9, 2013

The winner of the giveaway is.....

Random integer tells me number 2 is the winner - Sue Elvis! Here is Sue's comment:

"Oh this hard! I like all your items. You are very talented. If I have to mention just one, it would be the "dusky heath" 8ply merino. The soft dusky colours are more 'my' colours than brighter ones, suiting my red haired complexion. Saying this, I haven't knitted myself anything in a long time. There always seems to be a daughter who needs a new cardigan more than me!

Congratulations on your nearly 800th blog post. I'm pleased to see your FB page is so popular too. I love visiting to look at your latest work.

I'll share your post on FB. I hope you get lots of visitors to your blog. Thank you for having a give-away!"


Thank you so much to all who entered and congratulations Sue!

It's been really fun to have another giveaway, perhaps I won't leave it so long before I do another this time.

God bless you all :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

3 ways to save money today - volume 4

1. Become a library member.
It costs nothing but can save you thousands! Instead of buying magazines I borrow them. If I'm interested in a book I often "try it out" from the library to know whether it's worth buying. Some are real gems but most I'm glad I didn't shell out cash for. Oh, and don't let your items get overdue and undo all your good savings by having to pay late fees.

                                                                                            Image credit

2. Find free activities for the kids.
There are so many free places to take your kids, the list is endless. Once again, our library has many activities that are free. Check your local council for events. Ask people for recommendations. Search online. And if you decide on a day trip, pack food and water so you don't have to pay a fortune for unhealthy food.



3. Pay your mortgage fortnightly. You may have heard this before, but it really does save you more in the long run. When we had a mortgage I found it satisfying to know our debt was going down fortnightly rather than monthly too, plus it's not so much to pay all in one hit so you're not as likely to miss it.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway, which ends Friday!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sewing


Well, my sewing machine still has not returned from servicing (3 weeks and counting!) but last week the sewing centre kindly lent me their resident dinosaur, which despite all it's protesting, actually does a fine job.

The skirt I'm wearing (you didn't think I sewed that coat did you, nu uh!) is from Lisa at Crafty Mamas. It's the Hoody Skirt. I used dark grey Stella and found it a little drab, so jazzed it up with some Stenzo binding on the hem, much better. I can honestly say this is the most comfortable skirt I've worn (I'm a big skirt wearer!) and I'll be making a lot more of them. There are 3 different lengths to choose from.


Now, onto the boy who has patiently been waiting for me to sew him some more tops. I used my trusty Jalie Men's t-shirt pattern which can do no wrong in my eyes, even if I do have to adjust the fit for my guys. Black stella for the body and black and white striped Gitta for the sleeves. 
He is very happy with it and I'm so glad to have a 13 year old son who still asks me to make clothes for him!

Don't forget the giveaway if you haven't entered yet you have until Friday to do so. If you're having trouble leaving a message from a mobile device or any other reason please let me know, either through Facebook or email so I can still enter you in :)



Friday, August 2, 2013

Giveaway!


It's so long since I had a giveaway! I'm coming up to my 800th (!) blog post and have over 200 likes on my Facebook artist page, so I felt a little celebration is in order. All items have been hand crafted by me. Here is what the winner will receive:


50grams of hand dyed "fuschia and raspberry" 8ply merino.


100grams of hand dyed "dusky heath" 8ply merino.



This 10 inch waldorf style softie doll (remember the one I made for the tutorial?)


A set of 4 stitch markers for knitting.


A 28x30cm piece of hand painted wool felt.

Open to all earthly residents.

How to enter:

1. Leave a comment here telling me which item you like the most and why.

2. You need to be a follower of this blog to enter. New followers are welcome.

3. You need to "like" my Facebook page in order to enter. If you don't have a Facebook account please tell me in your comment and your entry is still valid.

I will draw one winner on Friday the 9th August.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hand painted wool felt collection


I put together a small collection of my latest hand painted wool felt just for fun! They look pretty cheery huh? These are available on my Facebook page at the moment and will soon be in my Etsy shop unless sold first.

Hope you're having a great day, I've been working on some ideas for my up and coming giveaway, stay posted!