Progress in The Patch

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Our vegetable garden area  has been a work in progress for several years and continues to be so.  However, I feel as though we have taken a giant leap forward today.

We had a load of soil delivered yesterday.

2015-03-28 01This was the view of the area yesterday.

2015-03-28 02The three beds in the foreground have been established for some time and the top one currently has lettuce and bok choy and the bottom one has beans and bok choy while the middle one is empty after having cleared out the remnants of tomato and cucumber plants.  This bed needs topping up with additional soil.  In the background towards the chicken coop is a clump of sweet potato growing in a small cut-down rainwater tank.  Of course, it has overflowed and is growing across the ground towards the fence.

The lower two beds in the background have a small amount of leaf litter and mulch but are yet to be used.  At the top of the second row is the sixth raised bed partially built.  We still need to finish cutting the iron to size and attach the sides.

We started early today and moved the soil to fill the completed beds.  This is all that was left this afternoon when we had finished.

2015-03-28 03Then it was time to add the sides to the final bed.  Remember the sweet potato I pointed out in the earlier photo?  We dug it all up and harvested a bucketful of decent sized sweet potatoes.  There were lots of small ones but we have sacrificed them for the long-term plan.  I planted several pieces of vine that had significant root growth as well as numerous potatoes that were shooting.  These all went into the bottom bed.  The remainder of the soil from where the sweet potatoes were growing went into the base of the last bed.  We then salvaged several wheelbarrow loads of leaf mulch from behind the rainwater tank and finally added the garden soil.

2015-03-28 04Here are the 6 raised beds filled with soil and I have planted some cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale seedlings that we bought last weekend.  There is still plenty of space so I am planning to plant some seeds as well.

The other thing I did today was to trim and tidy up the basil which has gone completely rampant.  I even found some new plants so I potted some and planted others in the garden bed.  I have tied the clumps of basil up to the fence to stop them spreading all over the ground.  The basil are in the foreground of the photo below.

2015-03-28 05Tomorrow, I am hoping to dig another garden bed along the fenceline as it heads towards the front of our property.  The plan is to plant flowers in that bed.  I have bought sweet pea seeds and intend to grow them using the fence as a trellis. but more about that another day.

Flashback Friday

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Here is a post from 3 years ago when I first tried my hand at making Tabasco sauce.  It was a great success and the quantity lasted for a couple of years.

Unfortunately, the chilli bush did not survive the changes to the vegie garden area so we bought another one in the middle of last year.

Today I am making more sauce and using just half of the quantity stated in the original recipe.  This has to be one of the simplest preserving recipes around.  I am looking forward to having a bottle on hand so that I can add a couple of drops to various dishes that I make.

2015-03-27 01

Little Things & Wordless Wednesday (on Thursday)

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Tonight I just want to share a couple of things with you.

You may remember this post from last month where I talked about making a ‘whiteboard’ to put inside the laundry cupboard.2015-03026 01I finally got around to cutting up the manilla folder and laminating the 2 sheets.  The second sheet will become a shopping/to do list in the pantry.  I have 2 whiteboards pens to go with them so now all I need to do is to attach them.

The other thing I wanted to show you is how to get labels off jars/bottles  I am sure you have noticed that the type and quality of the labels varies enormously.  Some can be peeled off with no residue, others can be soaked of in warm soapy water while others require differing amounts of effort to remove the residue.

I forgot to post a ‘before’ photo of this bottle so you will have to believe me.

2015-03026 02The plastic-coated label peeled off quite easily but left a full coating of residue.  I used my home-made cream cleanser and the steel scourer.

2015-03026 03I have seen tips about using eucalyptus oil for these jobs as it tends to dissolve the residue.  However, it is not terribly effective at removing the softened adhesive.  The bicarb and dishwashing liquid in the recipe and a steel scourer made short work of any last bits.

On to the second part of the blog –  Wordless Wednesday.  You may have noticed the lack of blog post last night.  By Wednesday evenings I am usually struggling to find some worthwhile content as there is nothing ‘blogworthy’ going on at work.  In order to maintain regular posts each day, I have decided to instigate ‘Wordless Wednesday’ which seemed to be quite popular on several blogs a couple of years ago.  Each week I will post a photo with no or minimal information.  Take the time to enjoy the photo and as always, I welcome your comments.

Marie vs Me

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Over the past 6 six weeks I have become increasingly aware of the name, Marie Kondo.  For those of you who feel like you have been living under a rock, she is a Japanese decluttering and tidying guru.

One of the things that seems to have captured people’s imagination is her method of folding and storing t-shirts and underwear.  When I first read about this, I dismissed it because I figured I did not have enough t-shirts to warrant having a special method of folding them.  Origami, anyone?  Anyway, my clothes fit quite nicely into the available space.

All of the hype got the better of me tonight so I resorted to Google.  There are many links but here is a Youtube video on folding underwear.

As far as I can see there is nothing particularly startling about that.  I do know that I would go insane if I had to unhook my bra every time I went to get dressed!

Here is my version.  Unfortunately, no video, just a couple of still shots.

2015-03-24 01This is one of the small drawers from my dressing table.  I have put it on the floor for this view.

Back left – 6 bras
Front left – 6 pairs of knickers
Back right – 6 pairs of stockings
Centre right – 3 pairs thick socks
Front right – 11 pairs of ankle/lightweight socks

I have more socks than I need but I see no reason to throw any out.  I will keep them until they are worn out and not replace with as many.  There are already about 6 pairs that have gone in the past couple of years.

2015-03-24 02This is a closer view with the drawer back in position.

Dressing tableMy underwear drawer is the top left-hand drawer.  The other top drawer holds my pyjamas, scarves, bathers and sarong.  The lower two drawers are full width and contain shorts, travel pants, tops (short and long sleeved), cardigans and my home and exercise clothes.

Nothing is over-stuffed and I am happy with the way everything is folded and fits in.

I will probably have a bit more of a look at what Marie Kondo has to offer but I don’t think I will be changing how I fold and store my clothes anytime soon.

Are you a Marie Kondo afficionado?  Should I set up my own decluttering business?  :)

Bargain Buys

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Following on from my post on Saturday, I have bought this bag.

2015-03-21 03When I went to buy it, the sales assistant pointed out that if I bought 2 items they would both be 25% off.  I did not need another bag but then she added that it included any merchandise including wallets, hats and scarves.  I was not necessarily looking for anything else but I decided to take a look.  I found this gorgeous red scarf for $20 so added that to my purchases.  I can’t wait for some cooler weather.

2015-03-23 02Thanks to discounts and a $50 gift card I ended up getting the bag and scarf for $114.

I also ordered this dress from Rivette & Blair in Melbourne.

2015-03-21 02Instead of ordering online which is a relatively new innovation for this brand, I rang the store to check that the dress was an identical style to the 2 I already have.  I placed my order over the phone and was advised that there was 20% off the price and I also ended up ordering another in the same style which was on special for $59 which is less than half price.  The description is red and blue floral  so it will be a bit of a surprise packet!

That is certainly enough buying for me at the moment.

What about you?  Have you bought anything lately or scored a bargain?

Sew My Stash Sunday – 10

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Another week has flown by and the sewing had not been touched.  Before I could start sewing I had to do the ironing and there was quite a bit as I did not do it last weekend and had just ironed a few things during the week to keep us going.  I got it all done early this morning and then we headed out for a few hours with our overseas guest.  This afternoon has been wet so it was a good excuse to sew rather than being out in the garden.

I could have finished the hand sewing on the green skirt or finished making the denim one but I decided that I needed a change of scenery.  The first thing I did was cut out a white shirt for my daughter from the pattern I had drafted a couple of weeks ago.

Then I moved on to drafting another pattern.  I have given quite a bit of thought to what style I would use for this piece of fabric.

2015-03-08 02I drafted the top from this ensemble but with a few modifications.

2015-03-22 01The neckline will be a ‘v’ rather than square.  The lower edge of the sleeves and body will have a few rows of shirring elastic rather than being gathered into a band.

I decided to make a prototype before cutting into my new fabric that I bought especially to make this top.  In the spirit of using up my stash, I found a pretty piece of lightweight fabric which was given to me a year or so ago.  Despite much thought I had never been able to come up with an idea of how to use it and there is just over 4 metres of fabric.  So at least some of it is now the prototype.

To get an idea of how it might look I decided to simply baste the pieces together in the first instance.

2015-03-22 02This is not a particularly flattering photograph but it gives an idea of the style.

Things I discovered:

I can easily get it over my head
The neckline is perfect
I will cut the sleeve a bit longer next time
I am going to recut the front body as there is too much fullness in the front
When I cut the pattern in the good fabric I will straighten the side seams and take out the little bit of shaping at the waistline

Even though this is just a test run, I really like the fabric and I am sure it will earn a place in my wardrobe.

Project 333 – Wardrobe Additions

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Adding to my wardrobe may seem to be contrary to the essence of Project 333 but it is not about denial but having a small collection of clothes that you love and wear.  The more I work with what I have the more clarity I have about the direction I want to take.

Last week I bought a new pair of shoes but they do not really count as they as for walking (exercise).

2015-03-21 01I did consider actually selecting 33 items to participate in Project 333  this autumn (fall) as I am in the southern hemisphere.  However, I am constantly drawn to the idea of a modest selection of clothes which can be worn year-round (with modifications) as we live in a warm temperate climate.  I work in an air-conditioned office during the week and live on a small, semi-rural acreage.

I tend to wear separates – skirts/trousers and shirts to the office and a few years ago I only owned one dress.  I have since realised that it was not really my choice – I love dresses – but dresses that I found suitable and flattering were difficult to find.  I now have 5 dresses plus a dress suitable for wedding/special occasions.  Additionally, I have fabric to make another dress and am seriously contemplating buying this one.

2015-03-21 02It is identical to these two dresses I already have in my wardrobe.

2013-02-11 02 2013-02-11 03Along with a plain black and two black/white dresses these could form the basis of a year-round office wardrobe.  I have a red jacket that can be worn with the two existing dresses and I would make or buy a navy jacket which could go with the new dress as well as the pink/red one.

My other proposed purchase is this bag.

2015-03-21 03I found it on Friday and plan to go back and buy it on Monday.  I have been looking for a bigger bag for some months as I want to be able to put my laptop in it and still have space for a few personal items – purse, sunglasses, phone, car keys.  My plan is to make this the one bag that I take to work so that I am not carrying a laptop case as well as a handbag.  My small black handbag will still be used on all other occasions.

By judiciously choosing the additions to my wardrobe and removing those items that do not make the grade, I am gradually creating a collection of clothes that I love and which work together in a variety of ways.

Unlike the earrings, my clothes are definitely a work in progress and that will continue to be the case.  What was perfect 3 years ago is now worn out, looking a bit jaded, no longer a perfect fit or just not a favourite.  I can see my wardrobe evolving to match my changing style.