Christmas, New Years and the garden

 

This morning was glorious. I was up before the sun and although it’s cool and overcast this morning (a pleasant change from scorching sun in cloudless skies) it was lovely to firstly watch the light oozing into the day and then a little later, be outside gardening. Continue reading

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Being a thrifty sewer

Sewing girl frame

No, not a sewer (soo-wah) which is connected to the toilet but one who sews (soh-wah). 😉 I guess that’s why they use the word tailor or seamstress instead. 😉 Continue reading

A 4th birthday and the making of a jacket

My baby boy turns 4 today. Or, another way to look at it is, I became a mother 4 years ago today. At 2:03am on August 8th 2008 I first met a pair of crystal blue eyes attached to what was then my red headed baby boy. We’ve so far, managed to keep his birthday in line with our lifestyle choices too. His gifts have either been made from sustainable materials or have been second hand or upcycled (or all of the above).

Martin is from the UK originally and his family are still over there so rather than pay exorbitant postage fees and rack up carbon miles, Omi transfers some money for us to buy the children a gift. We decided to give him some tools from us which will help him in assisting us when we move to Ballan. He is now set up with a child sized metal wheelbarrow, rake, hoe and shovel and he already has some gardening gloves and will get other hand tools too when I find them. He also just opened a lovely gift from his Nanna – a set of dominos and a card arrived in the mail with some chives, sunflowers and radishes in there too. PERFECT for him to grow and the radishes will provide some nearly instant results too. Reckon I might see if we can grow 5 to an orange juice container. 🙂

Boring jacket

Other than that I made him a jacket. Well, upcycled his existing denim jacket is probably more precise. It was a great denim jacket that someone had clearly outgrown which I picked up for a few dollars some time back. It was however, bland and in need of some personalisation. So, since Jasper loves diggers and construction vehicles and such I added some decorations. And thanks to my friend Emma from Made Emwho made the buttons for Jasper’s birthday too. They absolutely make it all work.

And the back

Anyway, we’ve done some gardening today too – planted Rocket, Pyrethrum (a natural insecticide plant) and some Chamomile. Not sure how the Rocket will go as the seeds are well past their best before date but hey, waste not want not and if nothing sprouts I can use the soil for Jasper’s radishes. 🙂 Off to cook the requested pizza for dinner – could be interesting as I only have ham, salami, onion and cheese.

A little bit more about me

I am a home body. Or in less polite terms, a hermit. I am most comfortable in my home environment and in my own company and with my children. I do go out and I do have friends I see on almost a weekly basis (a regular catch up with 3 other ladies that clears the cobwebs from the brain with conversation, brutal honesty, laughter, good food and too much coffee) but generally speaking I stay home. Having 3 children under 4 gives me a great reason to stay home too. It really is a lot of work to prepare for an outing and even more work to go on one and if my head isn’t in a great place, going out with 3 kids is a bad idea.Being a home body though has many positives (in my eyes at least). I like to bake and potter around in the kitchen. I bake bread every 2 or so days. I have a Thermomix which makes it a lot easier but even before I purchased my Thermy I was making my own bread. It tastes so much better for starters, and I like knowing exactly what goes in my bread. We use organic flour and organic spelt and I usually grind up some spelt grain into fresh flour (Thermy does anyway) as flour loses most of its goodness in a short time after being ground. The extra bonus of making your own bread? My house smells like a bakery every other day and there really are few other smells that are so wonderful.

I also bake my own cookies, cakes and snacks for the kids. I like to know that we aren’t eating too many preservatives and that there really is nothing nasty in what I’ve made. We try to restrict our kids intake of artificial colours, preservatives and flavours and keep our processed sugars to a minimum too as DS1 doesn’t react kindly to too much sugar. We actually don’t even have sugar in the house. We use organic rapadura which is sugar cane juice that hasn’t been bleached or processed or spun into crystalline structure. It’s therefore still full of the molasses which is normally removed and hence still contains all the mineral salts and other goodness. It IS still a sweetener though so we do still restrict the children’s intake but it isn’t addictive like sugar thankfully as it tastes all caramelly good too!

I also love to preserve, although things are quiet on that front at the moment as all my equipment is packed (we’re planning a tree-change move this year) So far I have bottled peaches, apple, pasta sauce, tomatoes and nectarines using the Fowlers Vacola water bath bottling technique and equipment (I have a stove top unit) and I make jams and sauces too. I’ve currently got lemon marmalade, mango chutney, tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce and possibly some strawberry jam left over too. I’ve also recently bought a canner with my dear friend Corrie-Lyn and we are planning to can and preserve everything in sight! I can’t wait. Knowing that we can grow it, pick it, prepare it, preserve it and then eat it and that it is free of pesticides, chemicals and BPA (home canning is done in glass jars) and that it doesn’t support a big multinational company or send m profits overseas (or anywhere for that matter) is really exciting. AND it is cheaper than buying even the home brand products once you have your basic equipment. There is only a little expenditure each year for seals.

Another hobby that has become so much more for me now is sewing. Apart from being relaxing, therapeutic (jamming needles into something HAS to be therapeutic right) and a lot of fun, I get the end product of clothes that actually fit me or my children, colour coordinated furnishings without the giant price tag and cheap and original gifts for friends. I’m currently knee deep in rice and brightly coloured fabric and having a ball. Allegra loves to help by “doing pins” whilst Jasper and Orik are generally occupied with Bob the Builder whilst we sew. I think Allegra is going to either become a mini 50’s housewife wannabe like her Mummy or rebel completely. I’m not sure what to wish for. As long as my kids stays an eco warrior I can deal with whichever way she chooses
Anyway, there’s a little bit about me.