Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Dress

This is Amelia's second dress, Simplicity 2668. This was the first time I had used bias binding, and I think I would rather do a full bodice lining for the top as it was quicker! The gathering for the skirt came out pretty well though.

The material is very thin and will be a nice cool dress to wear. Though note to self - do not let her wear drk underwear underneath it!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


We all went for a bike ride/walk this morning. Both the kids needed a little more air in their tires so we went to the petrol station past McDonalds to do that. Afterwards I got the kids a cone each ($1). Dave and I didn't have anything - aren't we good?

Now I wouldn't want to accuse supermarkets of profiteering out of the recent floods in QLD but.... I went in there to get some apples (Amelia starts school tomorrow) and they were $7.99 a kg. Last Wednesday I bought apples from a fruit and veg guy for $4 a kg. Can you imagine the buying power of a supermarket vs an independent guy? The supermarkets also usually have deals where they buy directly from the growers cutting out having to buy from a third party e.g Brisbane markets. I will add that the strawberries were $3.99 a punnet and looked off.
It is the same with meat. Growers have to pay the big supermarkets ti certify their cattle so they can sell it to them! How many bites of the cherry do they want! Outrageous!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Little Bit of This and That

I did some spending today. Some of it was bargains that I will actually use too! I found Wes a pair of sport shorts for $10 (rather than the nearly exact same ones at Premier for $29), 2 packtet of Christmas wrap for 25c each, So I have about 30m of that now. I bought some ham for lunch, a punnet of strawberries of the strawberry lady for $2, I got a bottle of shampoo and conditioner for $2 per bottle (which was on my grocery list for this week) and a bottle of rinse aid for $2 which the Finish brand goes for about $7-$8. I also noticed Crazy Clarks has deodarant for $2, even Lynx roll on!

I spent $1 on this tablecloth and 6 cloth placemats from a garage sale. I am planning to use both in sewing projects throughout the year. Can't tell you too much!

I finally cut out Amelia's second dress that I will , hopefully start to put together tommorrow.

Potatoes. The Desirees did really well but the Atlantic.. not so much. I started harvesting them as a couple of the Atlantics I pulled for dinner looked like they were going soft, so I took it for a sign. Got stacks of mulch for the rest of the garden now!

Dave cooking tea. We had meat with coleslaw, pineapple, cucumber, beetroot and new baby potatoes. Was delish.

Here is Wesley's desk sitting waiting for all that glorious homework that will be coming his way this year. How lucky is Wes? (He will say not that lucky at all! LOL!)
The other thing I spent money on was morning tea. That was $22 but since Dave and the Kids had been deprived of their usual treats I thought it money well spent to stop mutiny. Tomorrow is the Day we will be cutting back the Austar. We are going to that basic package with paying an extra five dollars for the SciFi channel per month as both Wes and Dave watch that. Amelia is already mourning Ceebeebies.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Can you Believe it?

Guess what? I haven't spent any money today. Not even for a loaf of bread. AND neither Dave or I have bought a coffee since Saturday and that is really good for us, Dave thinks the coffee shop will show a decided slump in profits! We have 6 days until payday, I wonder if we will have any leftover???

I am already mulling over my gift list! The hardest person to make for is my Dad and he is up next since I already have give Mae's present to Fiona for her. I just dont know what to do for him. Maybe a Scarf for winter gardenng? And a gift card for Mitre 10? Hmmm. Don't know. I think I will have to be doing more searching.

Finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver today. I love this book. In fact I always look for it in the second hand shop - one day I will get lucky! It's all about a familys committment to eating locally for a year. A lot they grew themselves. It is really interesting, funny and thoughtfully written.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day

Happy Australia Day! You got to love a public holiday in the middle of the week! As Dave and I both work for government we both get the day off. We had planned with Mum and Dad for a BBQ (how Australian!) at their place. It was soooo hot today it is lucky we didnt barbecue on the cement! I made a pavlova (Very Australian!) case to take. They were $7 at Coles and I had all the ingrediants in the cupboard and I have to say mine was delicious, everyone asked for seconds. I also made a damper (Strewth Cobber!) to go with lunch. Mum made a yummy pasta salad and had homegrown tomato and cucumber on the table.

This is Mum and Dad in their kitchen. They bought a new pantry this week and we brought it out on the trailer today. The house is looking like their home now and they are settling in well.

Here is the dining room, we had all just finished cuppas and Dad and I were nutting out what seeds we are thinking about and looking at the seed catalogue for what variaties were interesting us.

Dad's chook shed. It's really starting to take shape and doesnt look like that there is much to go on it. I took Dad out a couple of empty egg cartons just to let him know my intentions!

Mum and Dads backyard. This is taken looking down from the chook Hilton.

Front of the house. There are two pine trees on either side of the front steps and they haven't got long to live. Poor things are as ugly as sin too.

Someone was tired on the way home , had a little kip for 15 minutes or so. Sunglasses on of course.

On the way home.

With just a week or so of not much rain our green is starting to brown off already.

Monday, January 24, 2011


In the hopes that honesty is the best policy I will recount today's spending.

I got the kids uniforms out of layby which I had budgeted for, and bitched about that was $143 ~ Ouch! and I spent $2 on a card for a birthday. Could I have made one? I don't think so. I did actually think of it but couldnt think of anything I had to make one up. I will need to put crafty stuff for that kind of thing in a drawer when I find it.

However I did NOT buy coffee. Not one before work or one at lunch. This saved me $3.70 for one or $7.40 for two and I am happy to report Dave didn't either even though he thought about it. I also didn't buy bread, its rising as I type. I did think of just going for a browse in Target at lunch as they are having up to 60% off at the moment but I restrained myself! On happier news still we only have two payments left on Wes's teeth. If I ever wanted to print my own money you've only got to become an orthodontist.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back to Baking

Firstly an update on my "Mindfulness" for 2011. I think I am going ok. I did our groceries for a fortnight and it cost $150.00 - with meat. I didnt buy anything I didnt need, no specials for a raining day, no back to school stuff that I can buy cheaper elsewhere or any one off speciality items, you know that ones where you buy it for a recipe that only needs one teaspoon and then it sits at the back of your cupboard until it expires and you throw out the $5 worth of unused stuff? That stuff.

I have been reading and thinking a lot about 'stuff' lately. How much of it I buy that I don't need. Or I buy because I think I should. For example, its back to school time and that means uiniforms and shoes.

Both of the kids cannot get away with last years uniforms, unless Amelia is happy with everyone seeing her undies and Wes embraces testicle separation. Shoes are our big ticket item. Last year Wes went through 3 pairs of joggers and 2 school shoes, Amelia went through two of each. Thankfully instead of just buying new school shoes I got them to try on the ones I had bought at the beginning of term 3 and they still fit! Bonus!

The joggers were another story. Wesley's had worn out and Amelia's had gotten too small. I told Wes that I was not going to be buying $100 shoes. I wasn't putting him in Dunlop Volleys but I had taken notice of the shoes his friends wear and the majority wear generic brands. With that in mind we firstly went to Target to see what they had, they were having a massive sale on shoes. Amelia was easy, as long as they have some pink on them she don't care, so hers came to the princely sum of $6.90 and Dave found a new pair of work shoes down to $9.80. Wes wasn't that keen to start with but then we found a pair of Spalding joggers (that looked just the same as a pair of New Balance we had seen previously) reduced from $40 to $11 and we had a winner, though we were going to have to buy a pair of inner soles for them as the ones that come with the joggers were a bit thin. Went to the chemist and got two pairs of innersoles for $5.50. I put the second pair in his black school shoes. So all up for the school shoes I paid $23.40!

Then in a frenzy I came home and cleaned out Wesley's room. It took 2 hours. Every shelf, cupboard and drawer got the treatment and we ended up with 3 bags of rubbish and 1 bag to Vinnie. We found so many pens, pencils and notebooks I doubt we will have to buy any anytime soon and his room looks pretty good.

Mindfullness came into this dinner. Nearly all the vegies are home grown, though not necessarily our home. We are trying tofu for the first time. I am hopeful. It makes economic sense to replace just one meal a week with tofu. It's roughly $3 for 600g for tofu so at least half the cost of the cheaper meats. It is probably better for you too as we humans eat too much meat! I know we rarely eat a dinner without it.

And referencing the title of this post I have made a committment to go bake to baking. I have been slipping back into old habits. I have no excuse. However Dave and I are going to get back into baking bread and baking our crackers, biscuits etc rather than buying. The above is Banana bread.

This is me blanching zucchini. I read on a website you can blanch it so I am going for it. It is such a shame to have to give so much away when I could be storing it for later on. Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to share the zucchini love but it is good to keep some for yourself too!

Chocolate and Sultana Muffins
Now back to stuff. I think when it comes to budgeting I suck. I really try and I usually do a good job but my downfall is stuff. Or you could unkindly say shit. So I have been trying to focus on not bringing anymore stuff home from the shops. This doesn't include necessary items but just that extra stuff that jumps into your hand. For example, you go into the supermarket for ONE thing and that one thing ends up costing $20 because of all the other one things you have picked up. Turns into a very expensive loaf of bread. So this week we are focussing on the extras. I have my fingers crossed!

Monday, January 17, 2011


I got this box of tomatoes for $6 at the markets on Sunday. They are meant to be for Dave's tomato chutney. I am thinking for about $15 (this is taking into account all the other ingrediants that I had to pay for as well). Dave's chutney is about $3.25 a jar and I usually have to buy one every fortnight so that is $84.50 a year so a saving of about $70. Well worth the effort, plus I do love making it!

This is about 4 litres of tomato chutney done in two batches. I still have about half the box of tomatoes left!

Here is the finished jars. The ones at the back are 700ml jars and the front ones are 500ml (at least as I squeezed in a bit more).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Peach Jam

Finally got the peach jam done yesterday. Tastes nice too. I do need to get some more labels before I put them in the cupboard so I know whats what.

In other news, Mum and Dad's removalist truck is stuck in Toowoomba, or was as of yesterday afternoon, due to the horrific flooding in SE Queensland. I am hoping that the truck will arrive sometime today as the waters have receeded somewhat and if they are travelling through Goondiwindi-Moree way those areas are not affected by the current floods.

Ashford is STILL waiting for the Severn River to peak. It is major flooding as it is expected to peak at 8m and 6m is considered major flooding. Thankfully Mum and Dads house is at the other side of town to the river. As we left yesterday the SES were evacuating the caravan park. They are expecting the peak to occur at about 9am.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Success - Dress!

This is the Simplicity 2675 pattern. It came out pretty well. I would say the instructions could have been more basic as it was meant to be the easiest patterns. The zip came out better than I had hoped.
The back looks okay,

And it twirls!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Super Saturday

More zucchini pickles! I turned my back on them for a couple of days and a pile grew!

Three scrunchies done that I promised the girl ages ago to go with the last lot of skirts I made.

Five coin purses that will be put with the girls presents throughout the year.

This is Mae's birthday present. I think it looks pretty good and you may recognise the material (again!)

Here it is opened with borrowed things in it. I just have to get the A5 book and pencils to put in it.

Friday, January 7, 2011


When we were at Mum and Dad's place yesterday, they gave me a heap of peaches. Specifically though Dad wanted me to have a go at preserving them. I have done beetroot before but never fruit. I consulted my trusty book and decided on a medium syrup. I made up three bottles of them and they have sealed. The rest will make up a batch of peach jam tomorrow.

This is the peaches before going into the vacola.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


We have had a lovely lazy-ish day. We had morning tea down town and had a wander through the shops, looking at all the things we couldn't afford! Ha! Got Wesley's cement glue for his model Tomcat. And here it is! Didn't he do a good job!

Just have to buy the paints for the body now. He is pretty happy with the way it turned out, especially for his first model.

And here are two more coin purses I made today or as Amelia calls them penny purses.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Coin Purse

I had a 20 cm zipper and scraps, so I went looking for a coin purse tutorial and I found one over at Noodlehead's blog, is there anything she can't do? I don't think so.

Miss Amelia has been carrying around her Christmas money in a little tuille bag as she thinks she is too old for her Dora wallet now (being nearly 6). So her lack of a purse coupled with my need to do some sewing resulted in this coin purse.
This zip was originally bought when I did Aunty Wilma's gathered clutch (also from the same website), I wasn't sure what fabric I was going to use at the time. And you may recognise the outer fabric from one of the skirts I made Amelia.

Its lined with some material I bought from Salvation Army for 50c I think or possibly the Legacy shop. It was quick and fun to make so I am going to do a few and add them to the girls birthday presents throughout the year. I have heaps of scraps so I will just need to buy the zips.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ollie the Octopus

Here is Ollie the Octopus that I finished about 20 mins ago. She (Amelia and I think the Ollie is short for Olive) is from Handmade magazine. The eyes and legs were really easy and fun. The toughest bit was putting the back onto the front. I had to hand stitch a bigger opening then indicated cause the legs kept getting in the way. I am happy with her anyway.

And here is the cupboard we have moved into the family/dining room with the Sconce we got from Mum and Dad above it. Dave and I have been pretty busy today reorganising and cleaning out the garage - the first time we have done it since we moved here 10 months ago! Off to load up the trailer for a trip to the tip.