Fit to Wear

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There are many ways of approaching the goal of producing less waste but for me, one of the most obvious things is to consume less and make do with what you have.

Mending, repairing and refashioning will significantly extend the life of items, save them from landfill for longer and of course, reduce the need to purchase a replacement.

Here is a practical example that I did this morning in less than an hour.

This is GMan’s sweatshirt which he wears on the weekend when gardening, mowing and painting as you can see.  The cuffs and lower band are all frayed and badly stretched but the body of the garment is still relatively sound.

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When I said that I could replace the cuffs, he commented how much he liked the fit of it – although I don’t think ‘fit’ is actually the right word.  So, The first thing I did was to make a pattern for future reference.

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I use lightweight interfacing for this purpose and have a roll of it.  I find the patterns cut on interfacing are durable and unlikely to tear.

There are only 2 pieces required – one for the front and back (with different necklines marked) and one for the sleeves.

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Next, I had a dig in my stash of ribbing to find a suitable piece.  I found some bottle green which was exactly enough for the lower band and sleeve cuffs – no wastage at all.

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I then found a piece of black for the neckband and set to work.  I will not try to explain how the ribbing is attached as there are plenty of good instructions which can be found using Google.

The final result.

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GMan is happy and I am sure this will see plenty more wear in the garden.

 

Another Parcel

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About 10 days ago I placed an online order with OzFarmers for some glass jars.  They arrived by courier a few days later.

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Time to open it up.  I was impressed that the box had clearly been reused and was excited to find that the packing was not bubbled plastic or styrofoam beads, but good old newspaper.

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The newspaper was shredded quite uniquely but it is a little difficult to see in this photo.

These are 2 Weck glass jars with glass lids.  I am quite glad that they were wrapped in bubble wrap to ensure that they arrived safely.  We ordered these as GMan needed one for making a sourdough starter.  He has been making bread in the breadmaker for many years using bread mix and yeast but has decided to branch out and try sourdough.

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Since we were only able to buy these online, it made sense to purchase an additional one so that we would have a spare.  I have used reused glass jars for preserving jam, chutney and sauce but recently made the decision to invest in proper canning jars with a two-piece lid.

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I bought 12 of each of two sizes – Half pint and Pint jars – for those of us who deal in metric the actual capacity is 250ml and 500ml respectively.

Here is a closer look at the newspaper packaging.  There are about 6 layers of newspaper which have clearly been put through some sort of mechanical shredder to make a series of incomplete cuts and then it is spread to make a grille pattern.  The newspaper is now in the compost bin and the cardboard box is flattened and will be used as a weed suppressant when we next spread some mulch in the garden.

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Sadly, the entire trays were shrink-wrapped in plastic but rather than just ripping it off, I split the corners at one end until I was able to slide the whole wrapper off in one piece.

This is what it looked like.

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I sealed the untouched end with an elastic band and this will now be a future rubbish bag for my kitchen bin.

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No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to completely eliminate single-use plastic but it is possible to be conscious of your consumption and to think outside the box when it comes to disposing of it.

I am comfortable with accepting what is a relatively low level of plastic packaging to enable me to acquire products which should last a lifetime.  By using the jars we bought to prepare more of our own food we will reduce reliance on other food packaging.

A Frugal Mindset – 6

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I am coming to the end of this short series and today’s gem is all about DIY.

While GMan and I do quite a few things ourselves, I think it is important to understand your limitations.  There is no saving in attempting to do something yourself and ending up creating more of a mess that will incur a greater cost to have it fixed up.

We happily and effectively do our own gardening, sewing, cooking, landscaping, chopping firewood, cleaning solar panels, painting, tiling and some furniture restoration.  Things that we do not attempt are cutting our hair, computer repairs, car maintenance or anything electrical.

6. Frugal people embrace the idea of “do it yourself.” If something needs doing frugal people first consider whether they can do it themselves. No need to pay someone for convenience if you could do it yourself with just a bit of sweat equity. And those that are more content in their frugality actually enjoy that process. They like learning new things, and feeling self-sufficient without having to rely on someone else to do it for them.

Question to ask yourself: Why am I paying for that service or product? Could I get good enough results myself by learning something new, or spending a bit more time on the task?

What do you do yourself?  Or not?

A Frugal Mindset – 1

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As promised yesterday, I plan to address the points from the link I posted one by one.

The first point is:

1. Frugal people plan ahead. Planning ahead may not, at first, seem like it has anything to do with money, but it really does. Frugal people plan ahead in many ways. They do things like plan out their meals for the week to save money at the grocery store, or more long term planning like knowing that they’ll need a new roof on the house in several years, and to begin saving for this expense now.

Frugal people live by the mantra that failure to plan is planning to fail. They’ve learned that taking steps now for anticipated future events helps make those future events easier to deal with. And typically those plans make it both easier in both time spent, and in money saved.

Question to ask yourself: What can I do today to make tomorrow and the future easier to deal with?

If you really want use this strategy to its fullest potential don’t just make those plans in your mind. Write them down!

I regard planning as one of my strengths and there is no doubt in my mind that it saves money.  It also saves time and my sanity which are equally important to me.

I plan our meals, plan to combine errands in a single trip, plan what I will wear to work, plan what to pack for a holiday, plan future projects at home – there is no end to what we plan.

An example of long-term planning was when we began looking for our current home.  This was over 10 years ago and I was still in my forties but one of the things that we considered was that it would have to have at least one point of ground-level access or be able to be relatively easily adapted to meet this requirement.  Although we have numerous stairs to reach the verandah we know that this can be altered if required – we have a plan.

We are also changing and adapting our large garden to reduce the level of maintenance which will be required as we age.  Putting in the effort now will reap rewards in years to come.

As a result of ensuring that we have sufficient rainwater storage as well as the installation of solar panels means that we are pretty well self-sufficient for water and electricity which minimises the ongoing costs of running our home.

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As GMan regularly quotes from Baldrick in Blackadder, “I have a cunning plan”.  The difference between Baldrick’s plans and ours is that ours are realistic and generally achievable.  Even if things do not go quite according to plan you have a framework with which to start again.

 

Busy Being Frugal

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Pardon my absence but I have been busy doing the everyday things at home as well as my paid employment.

Tonight I want to share a link that one of my Facebook friends posted a couple of days ago.

7 Mindsets of Frugal People

I am usually very sceptical of this type of post on Facebook but I was pleasantly surprised when I clicked on this one.  In my opinion these 7 messages make good sense and mirror much of what we do every day.

I hope you will take the time to click on the link, have a read and leave a comment.

I plan to write a blog post on each of the 7 points and how it aligns (or otherwise) with what we do here at ‘The Castle’.

I look forward to your comments and discussing in more detail in the coming week.

 

Taking Responsibility

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I stumbled upon this article online today.  It is about a study showing the correlation between age, gender, race and political ideology to belief in the reality of climate change and the impact caused by humans.  The content did not surprise me greatly, however, I was bitterly disappointed by the following couple of paragraphs towards the end of the article.

“But accepting climate change did not necessarily make you greener, at least in your home life, the study also found.

While those who accept human’s role in climate changes were more likely to take more public action, such as signing petitions or joining demonstrations, that was not necessarily replicated in private action, such as cutting energy use at home and using public transport over the car.”

I find this very sad indeed and downright depressing.  It is yet another example of the overwhelming apathy which so many people display.  Everybody wants ‘something to be done’ but expect that it is the responsibility of someone else, usually the government, the mythical ‘they’ or in the case of climate change, the global community or, at the very least, another country.

Australia may be a small player in the global sandpit in terms of population but we create far more than our share of mess when it comes to environmental vandalism.  Yet, our governments consistently drag the chain when it comes to making real changes that will tackle climate change and benefit the planet.  Sadly, government policy by all parties seems to be limited to the interval between the present time and the next election.  This is not limited to addressing climate change but policy in general.

In the absence of clear government action, the driver of change must come from each and every one of us.  Remember the saying, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.  We can and should all play our part in changing everyday habits.  Addressing the problem of climate change is not just about legislation, coal mines and power stations.  It is about each one of us doing our bit.

Can’t afford solar panels?  Live too far from public transport?  Organic food is too expensive?  This does not mean that you cannot make a significant contribution by reducing your carbon footprint.  In fact, many of the actions you can take to save money will also save the planet.

Buy second-hand – clothes, furniture, tools, toys
Do not waste anything – use up leftover food, finish the last shampoo in the bottle
Consider re-usable alternatives – cloth serviettes instead of paper, lidded containers instead of plastic wrap, refillable drink bottles instead of bottled water

These are just a few examples.

What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint?

Prepared

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The wild weather we experienced 3 weeks ago is back, although not quite so dramatic.  Parts of the Sunshine Coast and hinterland, where I live, have received well in excess of 200mm since the rain began on Thursday.  The majority of it fell overnight on Sunday and all day yesterday.

2013-02-19 01The rain has eased for the moment and the forecast is that we have seen the worst of it so any flooding should only be minor to moderate.  The lake in our backyard is nowhere near as extensive as it was last month or on many other occasions.

2013-02-19 02Gale force winds are being forecast for the next 2 to 3 days and of all the extreme weather conditions, it is wind that actually poses the greatest risk to us and therefore the need to be prepared.  While there is a small chance of structural damage, either directly or from falling trees, loss of power is our major potential problem.

2013-02-19 03Electricity is integral to almost everything we do in the 21st century so we have done all that we can to make sure that we can function for up to 3 days without it.  Before I left for work today I made put containers of water in the portable fridge/freezer (set to ‘freeze’) so that we will have plenty of ice available to keep foodstuffs cool if we lose power for more than 24 hours.  We also have 20 litres of drinking water immediately available.  The cooktop is gas and we have solar hot water (if the sun happens to be shining!)

2013-02-19 04A less obvious piece of planning was my choice of clothes to wear to work.  I had previously decided to wear a skirt, blouse, stockings and heels but instead opted for lightweight jeans, fitted ¾ sleeve top and lace-up shoes and socks.  If we arrive home this evening (after dark) and there is no power I do not need to be stumbling around in my fancy work clothes.

I hope my preparation is not required, however, since it is only 3 weeks since we lost power for more than 3 days the inconvenience is very fresh in my memory.  I wonder if others have taken heed as a result of the previous storm or if they have quickly slipped back to the complacent attitude of expecting that there will always be power whenever they flick a switch?