Technology Marches On

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I planned to write this post several days ago but life managed to get in the way.

Anyway, here I am back again.

We are usually fairly prompt in organising our tax details to send to our tax agent but this year was a different story.  We headed overseas in the middle of July and did not return until the end of August.  There were plenty of other things that seemed to demand our attention so the tax was put aside.  Last weekend we finally collected up everything we needed to send.  There were several digital files which we saved and attached to the email.

However, a couple of things almost defeated us.  These was an email which we needed and we could not figure out a way to save an email as a file so decided to print it and then scan it and save the scan.  Sounds easy?  I thought so but that did not turn out to be the case.

We have recently upgraded our desktop computer and have a Microsoft tablet/laptop.  Both of these are running on Windows 10 and we discovered (after much trial and error) that our printer is not compatible with Windows 10.  Aargh!!


The printer sits on top of the desk and is very rarely used.  We could have waited until the next day and printed the email at work but decided to resort to another rather circuitous route.  GMan retrieved our old laptop from the cupboard where it had been gathering dust and connected the printer to it.  Thankfully, that laptop was still running Windows 7.  So, we printed the email, scanned and saved it on the old laptop, copied it to a USB drive and thus transferred it to a folder on the desktop computer and we were back on track.  It was a somewhat convoluted process but worked adequately for our needs.

At some stage we need to decide what to do about getting a new printer/scanner.  It is something we want to have but are not desperate to have it immediately when we know that we have a workaround solution.

If anyone knows of a way to save an email as a file (preferably a pdf) I would love to know about it.


Finally Finished


I finished making a top for myself which has been a long, drawn-out process.  I bought the material about 3 years ago because it caught my eye.


Am I happy with it?  Not entirely.

Will I wear it?  Definitely.

What is there not to like?  It is a bit on the short side but still wearable.  The style is too boxy so I would not make it again.  I would prefer something with more shaping through the body of the garment.  However, the fabric I used is a knit but does not have a lot of stretch so probably would not work in a more fitted style.

I am happy with the final finish on the v-neck which was my own creation.  I did have 3 attempts before I was satisfied.

I have been making clothes for the best part of 50 years but I still struggle with sewing knit fabrics, in particular, getting a professional-looking finish on necklines and hemlines.  I have never owned an overlocker and continue to vacillate about the value of them.  Would it make a real difference to sewing knit fabrics?

Since the spotted fabric did not have a lot of stretch, I managed a hem that looked acceptable.  I then turned my attention to a plain navy top which I bought in Canada.  It ticked almost all of the boxes – navy, v-neck, fitted style – the only thing wrong is that it was too long on me.  It was quite a bargain so I decided to buy it despite the length as I felt that I would be able to shorten it.

I did the alteration but due to the fact that the fabric has some elastane in it and consequently more stretch, the finish is less than perfect.  Once it was pressed it is OK and I will wear it but I still feel a degree of disappointment in the result.


I really want to be able to make my own v-neck and scooped neck fitted knit tops in a range of sleeve lengths from sleeveless  and short sleeved to 3/4 sleeve and long sleeved versions that are the correct length in the body for me.  This would allow me to choose colours and designs that I like and not be limited to the range which some fashion buyer has deemed will be available this year.

Would an overlocker help, do you think?  All comments gratefully accepted.

Meanwhile, I will go back to sewing garments from several pieces of woven fabric which are awaiting my attention.

A Quick Return

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Today I picked the first zucchinis of the season.  For an outlay of $2.50 for a punnet of 4 healthy seedlings on 12th September I have harvested 4 zucchini with a total weight of 1.2kg.


This is only the start as there are plenty more small zucchini and flowers yet to mature.


In just less than 6 weeks – 40 days to be precise – the transformation was complete.  The leaves are drooping in the heat of the day.  You can also see the last of the lettuce and bok choy which were planted at the same time and we had been harvesting for about 3 weeks.


I have not grown a great deal over the past couple of years as I just seem to have been too busy but I am determined to make more of an effort and successes like these definitely inspire me to keep going.





My Favourite Salad

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Does anyone else take notes on the ingredients and structure of dishes which you enjoy when dining out?

During our recent trip to the USA and Canada we ate at ‘Antique Taco’ in Wicker Park, Chicago.  We discovered it because it was rated as one of the 10 best tacos in the USA by Fodor’s Travel.  After reading the email containing this information, it was an absolute must-do when we were in Chicago and we were not disappointed.

The kale salad was amazing and I have managed to create something similar at home.


This is what was left in the bowl after dinner tonight and using some for lunch tomorrow.

There are no specific quantities for the ingredients.

Curly kale (thick vein removed and finely chopped)
Finely chopped red onion
Diced capsicum
Dried cranberries (chopped)
Spiced peanuts (I buy raw peanuts and toss them in a bit of oil, chilli powder, cumin and sea salt)

Lime juice
Red wine vinegar
Pomegranate molasses
Olive oil
Herb salt
Black pepper

Use the dressing sparingly.  Tos salad well to ensure that all surfaces are coated.

Unlike most salads, I think this improves after standing for 6 – 12 hours.

If you decide to try this, please let me know what you think.


A New Chair


Last week in this post I mentioned that I had moved the chair from the office desk.  I addition to the arms banging the desk I did not mention that the finish of the upholstery was all cracking a flaking.  The wear on the front edge of the seat was so bad that I had previously made an elasticised fabric cover for the seat and I noticed that the back was showing the same tendencies.

It was definitely time for the chair to go.  I was not hopeful of finding a new home for it but placed an ad on the local Facebook Buy, Swap, Sell page give it away.  Happily, it was just what someone wanted so it has gone.

The dining chair was not a suitable long-term replacement so yesterday we looked for a replacement at Officeworks.


We were a bit like Goldilocks trying out all of the various options which ranged from very lightweight and uncomfortable to positively luxurious and everything in between.  In the end this is what we chose.  It is sturdy, comfortable and relatively compact.

It fits neatly under the desk and I am very happy with our new chair.


One Year On

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It is almost exactly a year since I wrote this post about decluttering emails in October last year.

I was astounded to see the number of emails which I mentioned was well in excess of 4,000 in all folders at the time.

I had regularly kept it to around 500 or less since then until it blew out of control a bit while we were on holidays and I have not been super diligent since our return.


Last night I made a start on clearing out the emails and made some more progress with the task this morning.  After being at about 1,900 emails we are now back to a more manageable 470 or so.

Despite the number of emails, I am pleased that I have generally been better at regularly cleaning and culling my inbox and have renewed enthusiasm to keep it this way in the future.

During the process of tidying up the emails, I have also taken the opportunity to action some emails that I had been hanging onto as I needed to ‘do something’ before deleting them.  Sometimes this was as simple as adding some details to my ‘Contacts’.


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This blog post is copied from a post I wrote in another forum.  I am interested in your thoughts.

Is stockpiling a saving or ‘dead money’?

I do not stockpile to save money as such but I do have enough basic foods and essentials such as toothpaste and toilet paper to see us through a minimum of 4 weeks and in most instances, much longer. I am very confident that I could feed us for 3 months. There might be some odd meals but we would be fed.

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Why? It is generally acknowledged that supermarkets carry 3 days worth of stock and rely on ‘just in time’ deliveries. As we endure more severe and frequent weather events it is prudent to consider being independently responsible for your wellbeing during and immediately after these events. You will never find me queuing for fuel, buying bread or filling gas bottles as a cyclone approaches. It is already done as part of our day to day routine.

It can be something as simple as being unwell or busy at work and you can feed yourselves from what you have on hand. Some years ago I was snowed under at work and barely had time to do the basics so each week I would grab some fruit and veg and everything else came from the freezer or pantry. I did this for 7 consecutive weeks!

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By having enough on hand you will be less likely to pop into the shop and grab unnecessary items while you are there = savings.

Remember the mantra – “eat what you store and store what you eat”. In other words, do not store ‘special stuff’ for your stockpile. Do not keep 100 tins of baked beans if your family do not eat baked beans.

Whatever stock you have should be rotated. I keep 2 large tins of tuna in my pantry. When I use one I buy another. I always place the new can on the bottom of the pile.

Consider using a permanent marker to write the purchase date and month on bottles and cans eg: 10.16 for October 2016. This means that you can see at a glance what needs to be used first.

Keep track of what you have by doing a regular stocktake.

Make sure you have suitable storage containers and conditions. Food which deteriorates is a waste of money.

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My recommendation is to try to store enough food to feed your family for 2 weeks beyond your normal shopping cycle. Start small and add an extra can or packet as you can afford.

Stockpiling may save you a little money but in the long run, I think the time and sanity savings are far greater as well as the peace of mind of not being totally dependent on the vagaries of the supply chain.