Sew My Stash Sunday – 16

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Today I got right back to the essence of what this series is all about – using up the stash of fabric that is sitting in my sewing room.  It does not have to be for what it was originally purchased nor for me or my family.

Several years ago I was visiting Melbourne and I friend offered me several metres of dark blue poly cotton fabric.  I accepted as I felt sure that I would be able to put it to good use at some stage.

Two years ago I wrote this post about making a fabric suit bag.  Some of the fabric was used for that but there was still plenty left over.

I decided a while ago that I would make up some simple shorts and donate them.  Today I cut out 9 pairs of size 4 shorts from the fabric.

2015-05-24 01They are a simple pull-on style with an elasticated waist.

Tomorrow I need to go into Maleny so while I am there I will call into one of the shops which has a sign about donations for Nepal earthquake victims and see if they would like to take the shorts.

I would like to make some other simple clothes for children who may otherwise have very little so will be looking closely at my fabric to see what else I can make.

Seasonal Jobs

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Summer is gone and today was a sign of things to come.  Although many of you would scoff at our version of winter it is a clear contrast to our hot, wet summers.

Winter is heralded by cool clear days, cooler nights and a biting westerly wind which can make the apparent temperature seem much less.

Autumn foliageThe leaves have turned and are falling so it was time to gather some firewood as our wood-burner is the only form of heating we have in this house.

We retrieved the dry logs from the woodshed.  These were leftovers from last season.

002This box is right beside the door that leads upstairs.

003And some more under the house.

We are now ready for when we decide to light the fire.

FireplaceGMan has chopped another pile that was by the bottom gate and these are now stacked in the shed to dry out.

Friday Flashback

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I found this post that I wrote exactly 3 years ago.

Just because I am away from the house does not mean that the organising has to be put on hold.

There are all sorts of small things you can do while you are out and about, particularly while commuting.

Digital files are one of modern life’s organising challenges and they turn up in all sorts of places.  Whether it is lists on your computer, contacts for your mobile phone, songs on your iPod or books on an ereader you need to keep them in some sort of order so that you can locate them when you want them.

I do not have a huge number of books on my Kindle yet but I have decided to develop a ‘filing system’ for them before it becomes too overwhelming.

This is before I started.  I had 4 pages of books that I have downloaded so far.

2012-05-22 01Once I completed the index, it is now much easier to find a particular book, especially as my Kindle library expands.  I may add more categories as time goes on but these are definitely enough to get started.  The categories I have chosen are all condensed onto one page and the books are sorted into the relevant collection/folder.

2012-05-22 02What digital files have you organised?

This is quite funny in a way because since then I have acquired a new Kindle and I have not organised the books on it.  This needs to go back on the list of things to do.  It is a reminder that we need to be constantly vigilant about keeping things decluttered and organised.  It is easy to let stuff slip by the wayside.

Eating In – Baked Potatoes

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Baked potatoes are one of my favourite meals.  They are probably best wrapped in alfoil and cooked in the coals of an open fire but that is generally not practical so we compromise with what we have.  It is uneconomical to turn on a conventional oven to bake 2 potatoes and for many years I cooked them in the microwave.  While they are not strictly baked it made it reasonably quick and easy meal for a family.

In the last couple of years I read about cooking baked potatoes in the slow cooker.  According to the article, you simply wash and dry and potatoes, rub them with a little bit of oil and put them in the slowcooker on High for 4 hours.  It just seemed too easy but I decided to give it a go as I had nothing to lose – except maybe 2 potatoes.  When I took them out they were cooked to perfection and were even crispy-skinned on the bottom – just like the ones you can buy from the baked potato carts in the street!

Since then I have tweaked the recipe slightly and add a spicy coating.  Black pepper, herb salt, cumin and chilli (just a pinch of each) into a bowl and a teaspoon of flaxseed meal.  I use this because it is gluten-free and it has some nutritional value.  You could just use plain flour (either wheat or gluten-free) if you prefer.

005Rub the potatoes lightly with oil then roll in the spice mixture and place in the slow cooker.  No other oil or liquid is needed. 006I find that 4 hours is perfect for medium-sized potatoes but if you have larger ones you may want to extend the cooking time by another 30 minutes.

I serve these filled with refried beans and topped with a dollop of plain yoghurt and grated cheese.  Coleslaw is a favourite addition and usually some fried mushrooms.  Alternatively, you could fill with a bolognaise mixture or even tuna for variety.  Some salad on the side makes a complete meal.

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Eating In – Pizzas

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I made a batch of gluten-free pizza bases on the weekend and tonight we are having pizza for dinner.

Here are the partly cooked bases thawed and ready to add the topping.  I find that pre-cooking these for about 8 minutes makes them much easier to handle when assembling the pizzas.

001The dough recipe I use comes from this recipe book.

006If you are looking for good gluten-free recipes I would recommend that you look for it in your local library or you can buy it here.  The updated version has a different cover.

Otherwise just make or buy your favourite bases.

I assembled all of the toppings.

002The ice-cube tray contains frozen basil and you can read about how I prepared it in this previous post.

Once the basil had thawed, I mixed it with a small amount of tomato and spread the mixture on the bases.

003Then the rest of the toppings………

004Pumpkin slices roasted with balsamic vinegar, shredded baby spinach, diced salami, sliced olives, strips of red capsicum and topped off with some grated cheese.  I use low fat cheddar with a bit of strong cheese like partmesan to give a bit of added flavour.

005This is the pizza maker which we use and it takes about 5-6 minutes to cook the pizza to perfection.

008One quarter had disappeared before I had time to grab my camera!

The toppings are never exactly the same.  It just depends on what we have.  This is the first time I have used the basil mixture for the base.  I usually just use a tomato mixture and a sprinkle of mixed herbs.  I have also been known to use mango chutney spread on the base.  The only thing limiting you is your imagination.

Project 333 – What Went Back

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As promised, I will share a bit more of my wardrobe clean-up.

This is an overview of the bedroom on Saturday morning before I started.

2015-05-19 01It is not looking the best as I have made it to the end of the full-time working week and now it is time to sort things out.

I mentioned in my earlier post that I removed everything from the wardrobe.  I made the bed and hung up the jackets from the end of the bed before I started so that I had a clear working space.

Although one of the basic ideas behind Project 333 is to actually remove all but 33 items of clothing from your closet I had never actually done that.  I believed that most of my clothes were worn year-round due to our relatively temperate climate.  That is still the case and I have not limited myself to a precise number but as we are approaching our coolest months of the year I removed my summer clothes.

2015-05-18 01Here is the small pile of dresses, sleeveless tops and shorts which I will not wear again until the weather is hot.  This is in addition to those items which I have specifically set aside for our trip to Singapore.

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I took the time to critically examine each garment and try on a few different combinations to discover what worked together and how I felt about it.  A few pieces have been taken by the local recycle boutique on consignment and a couple more gone to the op shop.

This is what I was left with.  I will wear these clothes for the next 3 months with 1 or 2 possible purchases.

2015-05-18 02There are 2 pairs of trousers, a pair of jeans, 2 shirts and a jacket not shown as I was wearing them/they were in the wash.  The pile of summer clothes is bagged and on the top shelf along with a couple of bags and 2 sunhats.

It is now easy for me to see what is ‘missing’ so that I can make considered choices when I go shopping.

One of the things that is obvious from my selection of clothes is that I love prints – florals, stripes, spots, checks – I have them all.  I can now see that this is what has held me back from pursuing a ‘capsule wardrobe’ as many like to describe it.  So many blogs and discussions seem to revolve around plain colours, neutrals and mix’n’match themes.  In general terms, they also lean to what I regard as ‘wishy-washy’ colours – cream, sand, khaki, pale denim which do not inspire me.  I love (and look best in) black and white as neutrals with strong, clear colour accents – red, emerald green, purple and fuschia and my clothes mostly reflect that.

I feel like my wardrobe works for me.