Easter

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The celebration that was Easter has been and gone since my last post.  The lead-up here was pretty low-key.  In fact, it was Wednesday before I really even gave much thought to the family lunch on Sunday.

Our menu ended up as follows:

Hummus with rice crackers and vegetable crudites

Cold Chicken Curry
Brown rice tossed with french dressing
Tossed green salad
Baby spinach, roast pumpkin and feta salad

Mango sorbet

Whilst we are far from self-sufficient I do like to include some of our own produce and this time I was able to make use of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocadoes, pumpkin, mangoes and eggs.

The Cold Chicken Curry is a family favourite and usually makes an appearance at most family get-togethers.  Unfortunately, I did not take a photo but I will add the recipe to the recipe files later in the week.

We had a quiet and peaceful weekend spent with various family members visiting and staying overnight.  It was relaxing and enjoyable and I hope your Easter break was, too.

Yesterday we managed to spend some time in the vegetable garden and I will show you the results of our efforts later in the week.

B.T. – Before Tissues

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Once upon a time ladies carried a lace handkerchief and gentleman had a fancy one tucked in their breast pocket.  Over time handkerchiefs evolved into a simple cotton square which everyone carried.  When I was a child you did not leave home without a clean hanky tucked in the pocket of your dress or trousers.  Handkerchiefs were as much a part of your wardrobe as your underwear and were usually stored in the top drawer along with the rest of your underwear.

When tissues became the norm there was no longer a need to store them.  It was a simple matter of having a box in a convenient location.  Quite often, it could be several locations – a box in the bedroom as well as the bathroom and living room as well as the car.

There is a renewed awareness of the environmental cost of disposable items and this is seeing more people return to using reuseable products and this includes the use of handkerchiefs.  This has led to the inevitable question of, “How and where do you store you handkerchiefs?”

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I keep my handkerchiefs in the small drawer on the left-hand side of my dressing table.

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Here they are stacked in 2 small piles.  I have about 15 handkerchiefs.

Although I do not use it, I have a fabric handkerchief bag which belonged to my grandmother and is close to 100 years old.  This is essentially an envelope and was used to ensure that the handkerchiefs stayed together and were easy to locate.

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The bag is made from fine cotton fabric and measures approximately 22cm x 22cm.  It features white on white embroidery and the photo below shows a close-up.

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The final view shows the bag with the flap opened.

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I find it interesting that there are people who have grown up in a world of tissues (and other disposable products) who have no previous experience of how to store the reuseable version.

Perhaps there is a whole new market for handkerchief bags awaiting an enterprising individual.

Do you use handkerchiefs?  How do you store them?

Bulk Storage

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I am very fortunate to have plenty of storage in our home – wardrobes in each bedroom, walk-in corner pantry, several large drawers in the kitchen as well as underbench cupboards plus a tall cupboard in the laundry.

As if that was not enough, I seized the opportunity to have another cupboard near the foot of the internal staircase.  This space had housed the hot water system but became vacant when we installed a solar hot water service not long after we bought the house.  Fast forward a few years and we were having renovations done to the bathroom and kitchen so I asked the cabinetmaker to create a built-in storage cupboard in the empty alcove opposite the foot of the stairs.

Today I was reminded of just how useful this space has proved to be over the years.  I took everything out and cleaned it thoroughly before sorting and re-arranging the contents.  The majority of the space houses the buckets which I use to store the bulk quantities of dry goods.  They are certainly not all full but it is great to have the opportunity to store the excess.

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When it was built the shelves were intentionally spaced to allow 2 buckets to be stacked on top of each other.  The lowest shelf is high enough to allow the camping refrigerator to be stored on the floor.

A couple of simple doors keep this all of out sight.

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It does not take a lot of space to create some really useful storage.

A New Life

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In the 6 years that I have been writing this blog there have been numerous posts about mending and repairing clothes to extend their life.

Tonight I want to show you a couple of projects I completed on the weekend.

This was a long-sleeved shirt which was worn at the cuffs.  The traditional repair of this problem is ‘turn’ the cuffs, that is, to remove the cuff and replace it with the worn outside to the inside, thus doubling the life of the shirt.  Unfortunately, this had worn right on the edge and was visible from both the right and wrong sides.  So, I decided on a different course of action as it is a much-loved shirt.

Using an existing short-sleeved shirt as pattern, I re-fashioned it to a short-sleeved shirt.

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The excess that was cut off did not go completely to waste, either.  I removed the buttons and added them to my stash because, to quote my late father, “you never know when it might come in handy”.  I think that growing up in the Great Depression drove much of his thinking in that respect.  I do not hoard stuff but I do recognise that some things are likely to have a potential future use.  It is all a matter of balance.  I also managed to cut 6 x 5″ squares for future patchwork projects.

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My next project is a perfect example of when those salvaged bits do actually come in handy.  A elastic in a pair of GMan’s shorts had stretched to the point where even the associated drawstring was not sufficient to comfortably keep them up.

I unpicked the stitching and removed the elastic and salvaged the drawstring.  I just needed some suitable elastic and I would be able to reconstruct the shorts.  I found some that I had kept from some underpants that had worn out!  Of course, the fabric from the underpants had ended up in the rag bag.

Here are the shorts with the elastic removed and the drawstring and ‘new’ elastic ready to be re-assembled.

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So, thanks to my stash of salvaged elastic the shorts have been repaired and are as good as new at zero cost.

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(Dis)organised

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I have said before that this blog real.  What you see is what you get.

These are the views that greeted me this morning.

The ironing board is under this pile.

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This is my sewing/ironing/spare bed room.  There was more on the bed and even clothes in the basket to be folded.

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And more on the sofa in the living room.

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This was all washed early in the week but a busy week at work has meant that I didn’t complete the task by finishing the folding and ironing.

The total time taken to complete this was about 2 hours, however, this was interspersed by breakfast, a phone call and going to Maleny to pick up movie tickets for tonight.

The end result is here.  Shirts, trousers and dresses hanging up.

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Everything else folded.  This is a mixture of items that were ironed and those that were simply folded.

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And the bed and sofa are clear once more.

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The next project was to shorten and hem 2 new pairs of trousers for GMan.  I have done one pair but the others will have to wait until tomorrow as they are black and dark navy. The afternoon light is fading and I need bright daylight to be able to handsew dark fabrics.

 

 

Glass is Good

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I have tried, as much as possible, to reduce our use of single-use plastic.  I know that there is always more that I can do so it is a work in progress, or as some would like to say, a journey.

As with any journey, it is also easier if you are connected with like-minded travellers so I am a member of a couple of different Facebook groups whose members have similar goals.  Some people are keen to remove all plastic, however, I am not about to throw away all of the plastic containers I have (to landfill) so that I can replace them with glass.  On the other hand, I am happy to look for glass when I need some more.

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After much research, I recently purchased 2 dozen Ball preserving jars.  You can read all about them in this post.  I have used some when I made jam recently but am also looking at other ways of using them.

I am aware that some people regularly freeze food in glass but that is not something that I have really done much so I decided that some research was in order as I know several people have had problems with glass jars breaking in the freezer.  This is not a saving of resources or money so I want to avoid that happening.  It turns out that for a glass jar to be suitable for freezer use it must have straight sides – that is no shoulder where it slopes in to the neck of the jar.  The preserving jars which I chose meet this criteria and are also deemed as suitable for freezer use on the panel on the box.

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Naturally, you also need to use commonsense and not put hot jars into the freezer and leave suitable headspace for the food to expand when frozen.  I also choose to chill them first in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer as well as keeping the lids loose until they were completely frozen.  This strategy seems to have been successful.

Here are some jars of frozen mango puree and refried beans which I was about to transfer to the small freezer downstairs.  I tend to keep this freezer for storage and items which I use on a day-to-day basis in the freezer section of the refrigerator in the kitchen.

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The other purpose for which glass can be used is when taking your own containers to be filled at the shop.  This afternoon I took one of the smaller jars to the deli counter at the supermarket and bought olives.  There was no problem with the staff weighing the container prior to filling to to assess the tare weight and the price sticker was attached to the bottom of the jar.

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Plastic containers certainly have their place and I will continue to use them rather than discard simply for the sake of discarding them, however, it is an interesting exercise to test the boundaries as to how and where glass jars can be used.

 

And the Cleaning

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When I cook I invariably make a mess.  In fact, we have a standing joke that I cook and GMan cleans up.  I must admit he is very good at doing the dishes and I think he spent the majority this weekend washing dishes.

I finished off yesterday’s efforts this morning by portioning up the refried beans for the freezer as well as cutting and pureeing lots of mangoes to go in the freezer.  Mango preparation is a messy, sticky business.

In between all of this GMan is experimenting with making sourdough bread and he cooked the first two loaves this evening.  I think that is a work in progress which will not be discussed any further until we have some more successful attempts.

After we had dinner it was time to tackle the last of the dishes and eliminate any mango residue from the benches and splashbacks.

The kitchen is now sparkling and my final step was to mop the floor.  Everything is ready to go for a new week.

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Lots of clean and clear surfaces.

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I remember reading about minimalism that clear surfaces simply afford possibilities.  I love the truth of this statement.  From an uncluttered sofa which invites you to sit and relax to a clear kitchen which is just brimming with the opportunity to prepare meals this logic can be applied to virtually every surface in your home.  It can be a powerful tool in creating a mindset that embraces a simple, uncluttered home and life.