Collective Action

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Much of what I write about here falls under the broad categories of cooking, gardening and sewing and of course, the all-encompassing category of self-reliance.

The little things that I do every day contribute to my overall philosophy which is summed up in the byline of the blog – ‘A Simple, Sustainable Life’.

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It is important that we should never underestimate the value of the little things that we can all do each and every day.  However, sometimes we need to look beyond our own backyards and get involved on a larger scale.

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8 days ago on 30th November several major Australian cities and regional centres saw significant numbers of school students, young people and adult supporters marching for their future – a future generated by renewable energy, not coal.  I marched in support of these intelligent and articulate youngsters.

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I am somewhere towards the rear of this photo which was taken today.  There were many, more more out of view of the camera.

Thousands of people marched again today and will continue to do so until our state and Federal governments take serious action on climate change.  The most pressing issue is to have the proposed Carmichael mine by Adani in the Gallilee Basin stopped.

There will be more events in the coming weeks.

All of the research shows that a clear majority of Australians support this action so please consider being involved.  Stand up and be counted and let the politicians hear our collective voice.

Meanwhile, I have made another batch of strawberry jam.  That is 8kg of strawberries made into jam.

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Upcycled Dress

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Last week my younger granddaughter was wearing a dress that was just about too short for her so I offered to alter it by adding a frill to the bottom of the dress.

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I foolishly thought that it would a relatively simple matter to buy a small piece of plain green poly cotton fabric to match.  I went to Spotlight and none of the dozens of plain green fabrics were even close to the colour I needed.  So, I ended up choosing a piece of Christmas fabric to do something a bit different.

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I set to work with this piece which cost me $5.  I added a deep contrasting frill and then used the remainder to make some bias binding to trim the existing frill at the top.  I also changed the shoulder straps.

Here is the result.

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The Christmas fabric means that the dress will have limited opportunities to be worn, however, it is still better than the original which really too short.

Izzy is excited at the prospect of a ‘new’ dress to wear for her Christmas concert on Friday.  It will probably also be worn a few more times in the next couple of weeks.

Pantry Staples & Re-arranging

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Yesterday we made a trek of about 80km round trip to Simply Good to stock up on dry goods for the pantry.

The use of bulk bins means that I can buy items without any packaging.  I have used paper bags for a number of years that I reuse over and over again but have recently begun taking my storage jars and having the tare weight recorded before filling them directly.  This makes unpacking a breeze when I get home.

I decided that is was time to tidy the pantry and wipe the shelves before replacing all of the jars.  Here is the end result.

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One of the things that had contributed to some of the space seeming cluttered was the abundance of varieties of loose leaf tea.  I do not drink tea or coffee but GMan does, and of course we like to have it available for guests.

I have read of several people who choose to have a tea/coffee ‘station’ with all of the requirements set up together, however, I had never really considered this as a possibility until yesterday.

This open shelf and cupboard are above the oven and and immediately adjacent to the corner pantry.

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I relocated my small collection of cookbooks to the top cupboard and have made the open shelf the tea/coffee ‘station’.

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The bowl in front of the teapot contains the mesh balls which we use for single serves of tea as we do not buy teabags.  The cork mat next to the bowl is for the other plunger which was being washed when I took this photo.

This does not include the jug which lives in the appliance cupboard or the freshly ground coffee which is refrigerated.

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I am very happy with the result of this re-arranging as it frees up some space in the pantry and keeps the necessities for hot drinks together without cluttering up my bench space.

Warts and All

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I am sure we have all been guilty of only showing the good/perfect/happy stuff online.  In fact, I do not believe we should feel guilty because none of us share everything about ourselves  – either online or in real life.

However, I do try to keep things as real as possible in what I discuss here on the blog and today is no exception.

I have microwave oven which sits in a purpose-built cavity below the bench in my kitchen.

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For a number of years I have had a piece of non-slip mat under the microwave which which works reasonably well.  I remove and clean this mat but over time it has become stained with mould and even soaking it in bleach and scrubbing does not restore it.  This is not a long-term solution as I try not to use bleach.

After some particularly wet weather a couple of weeks ago it was looking awful and I decided that I had to change my strategy.  I decided to make a towelling mat from an old bathmat.

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I cut the bathmat in half.  The next step was to find some fabric suitable to bind the edges.

Bias strips cut and ready to join.

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A roll of home-made bias binding – just like a bought one!  All you need is a ruler and iron.

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The finished product.  No cost and not a lot of time.

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Back to the microwave and the cavity.  Once I removed the microwave it really does look disgusting.  Time to get rid of the mat.

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I cleaned the space and once it was properly dry I added the new towelling mat.

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After cleaning the microwave inside and out, I replaced it in the alcove.

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I have enough bias binding to bind the other half of the bathmat so I will be able to alternate them and wash each week.

Storage Solution – Evolution

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When you read about storage solutions it often involves parting with money at a large department store in a shopping mall.  However, this does not have to be the case.  A healthy dose of ingenuity and lateral thinking will often provide the answer.

I have a mobile hanging rack which I often use for hanging freshly-ironed clothes or to finish off drying clothes.  3 years ago I wrote a blog post about how I used and stored the rack.Here is a previous photo of it.

This proved not to be an ideal solution as it could be tricky to store and remove the various pieces.  However, I persevered and made the best of it.

However, a few weeks ago I managed to rip the bag when extracting the pieces.

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This led me to reconsider my storage method and I realised that I had removed a couple of item which had previously been stored on the floor of the wardrobe and I had some spare space.

A quick dig around in the workshop downstairs yielded results.

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This container was a heavy-duty drum with  tap which we once used for water storage.  GMan had removed the tap and cut the top off sometime ago and it was being used for storing some bits and pieces which I re-homed to another container.  I cleaned this one and it now fits neatly on the floor of the wardrobe and the components of the hanging rack are much more accessible.

Awesome Araldite

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I think many people are probably like me and imagine that the wonder adhesive, Araldite, has been around forever.  In fact, this is not the case.  It was introduced to the mass market in the late 1940s and can be used to fix almost anything.

With an introduction like that, I expect that you can guess what these 2 items have in common.

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Yes, they have both been mended using Araldite.

The first photo is my clothes airer which I have had for about 7 years but it is somewhat older than that as it had previously belonged to my mother.  It is a deceptively simple design but I constantly needed to be careful as the poly pipe could easily come apart at the 4 corners near the top if you pulled the airer to move it.  The design is such that it can be disassembled if required but we decided that since that had not been necessary in the past 7 years that we would permanently secure the joints with Araldite. It seems to have worked perfectly and now I can move the airer easily without worrying that it will all collapse.

The second photo is my jewellery box which was a wedding gift from GMan so it has significant sentimental value.  The lid is hinged and some years ago the glue on one side of the hinge came loose so it always just sat in place.  A bit like the airer, it was not a major problem – just a niggling annoyance.  GMan had to clean and remove the old glue before fixing the hinge back on using the Araldite.  He was not convinced but it appears to be successful and I can now open the lid of the box as it was originally designed.

These are simple repair jobs that can be undertaken by anyone.

What have you repaired lately?

 

Something for Nothing

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Remember those pavers we salvaged not so long ago?  You can read about it here.  Apart from saving them from landfill, we had a couple of projects in mind.  Once the builders realised that we were serious about salvaging and re-using as much of the materials as we could, they even collected the spent crusher dust (about a cubic metre) and left it in a neat pile beside the driveway.

Last weekend GMan used some of the crusher dust as a bedding for the paving under the new walkway.  He then cleaned and relaid the pavers.

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The edges are yet to be finished but we are really pleased with how it has turned out so far.

The fresh mulch was the other piece of work GMan did.  He dug up the last small area of turf between the end of the native verge planting and the walkway and mulched it.

There are still plenty of pavers and crusher dust left and we have other plans for those so watch this space.

Meanwhile, I was not being entirely idle.  I finished transplanting the beans which had come up self-sown in the bed where I grew them earlier in the year.

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Here is the corn I planted 3 weeks ago.  I think all but one of the seeds have germinated.

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Two of the other garden beds have been sown with seeds – one with cucumber and the other with rockmelon and a sprinkling of lettuce.  No photos as there is nothing to show yet.