Tuesday, 1 August 2017

In and out

The living without challenge:  The challenge did have it's up and downs the last month, but I have managed to not spend unnecessary.

The past month I've been quiet, mostly driving around doing errands. 
The chickens are doing well and I am now letting them free range.  Although one of them has droopy tail and sitting, so it looks like she may be trying to get an egg out. I'll have to keep an eye on her.

I changed my allotment garden, which I think I'll just call the Victory garden for now. I had a path up the middle and all the plants squished in at the side. I spent the day filling in the path, levelling out the ground and planting everything in nice rows. This was before I watered everything and a few plants look a bit wilted. There's cabbage, beets, calendula's, tomatoes...tommy toe variety, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, and some lettuce mix variety right at the back. I think planting it in rows looks more like a wartime victory garden. I also plan to plant flowers in between.

Back in the house... I've  been trying my hand at doing some different crochet projects, this is a new born baby sweater. I just have to get the sleeves finished. And I'm auditioning buttons here.  Not bad for a first effort trying to crochet a clothing item.

Although the weather has been unusually warm for winter, we did have a few days of cold. Cold enough for baked apples with hot custard after a dinner of silver side in white sauce and steamed vege. Old fashioned comfort food, nothing fancy.

I hope everyone has been having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Cottage days

Day 62- Day 67: Living without. 
Although I have been buying necessary things for the chickens, I haven't broke the challenge by buying books and such. So I'm going okay so far. This far into the living without challenge has taught me it is impossible not to spend money. But it is possible to not spend on frivolous things.

Here, where I live, the days of Autumn have finished and we are moving into Winter. There have been some early frost on the ground and the temps at night have dropped. It’s not too cold but I suspect it may get colder eventually. I haven’t had a chance to get up to my ‘lottie to work on the ground but I hope to get there to plant out some winter crops like beans.

I've also received some snail mail from Texas to brighten up those chilly Winter days. Thank you, Michelle H.

One of the main things I did this week was to construct a bigger chicken run for Hilda and Lillian. I didn't want to pay out another $180 for a run to add on to the coop they already had. So I did a little thinking and then took a trip to my brother's place. He gave me an old plastic table...and the plan grew. I took a trip to bunnings and brought some chicken wire, which matched the wire in the chicken coop.

Then with some wire cutting, and help from my Aunt who lives across the road, we managed to get a cute little chicken run up for the girls. To make the run work I cut out a wire panel from the coop they already had so it could be placed into and just under the table. The entire finished coop isn't only cute but also pretty sturdy against predators.

They even have some fancy bling on their chicken cottage now. I plan to put some pot plants up on the table to weight it down and make it look pretty. I think the girls are happy with their deluxe chicken run. All up, the wire and ties cost me $25. Everything else came from my Aunt's shed.

In other news, I've also started to write in a journal again. I think it is important for me to write down things and get them out of my head. It's also good to record my days as well. Hopefully, one day, I can also record my egg collection, my garden harvest, and eventually what produce I can for my own one-day-home pantry.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Days past

Day 40 - Day 62: Living without. 
I spent $246 this month. The largest expense being for a chicken coop for my chickens and a garden plot at the local community gardens (An allotment)

There were smaller expenses too for the chickens, including their feed and bedding.

We've had rain on and off this month, making the weather turn cold and more Winter like. I don't think we are going to get much of a cold Winter unless it turns. 
Most of the month began off hard with the flu hanging around and I had to have a couple of trips to the dentist. Let's just say that was rough.

During this time I had my first Etsy sale at Hilda and Lillian. Etsy took a long time to process the order and I couldn't send the order until they did. Still, it is my first sale.

One of my major buys this month was for a small garden plot at the Toowoomba Community Organic Gardens. I've attended a couple of meetings and find the group very helpful.

I've even dug up the plot and planted a few things out. At the moment I'm focusing on just turning the soil and getting it ready for planting.

The baby chickens I got in may are now big girls and I brought a coop for them. The coop is smaller than what I thought it would be, but it will do them for now.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Little enjoyments

Day 30 - Day 40 : Living without.

The days have been particularly warm of late although the nights have been dropping down in temps. It's still been good weather overall and not at all like Autumn weather.

I'm still doing the Living without challenge and had at least two days where I had to stock up on a couple of craft items for the shop - some card blanks and more glue. Which was around $5 worth.

I also made up a frankencoop to put the chickies in out doors during the day.  The chicken wire and fencing came from the aunt who lives across the road. I already had the shade cloth. It works for now until I can buy a proper coop.

I've also been doing a bit of hand embroidery for the Etsy shop Hilda and Lillian I hope to have these up in the shop soon. I also have some new cards as well, of course all made from scrap and made with love. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Rainy days

 Day 25 - Day 30 : Living without

I've spent $13.90 this week.  I posted an overseas letter. Brought some baby singlets on special to go in the shop at some point and paid Etsy for the shop listings.  This is the most I've spent since starting the Living without challenge.  I probably didn't need the baby singlets but I want to try something different with the shop and they were on special. 

I've updated my Etsy shop: Hilda and Lillian with practical but pretty items to use in the home and to send to friends.  All of the items use up scraps I have and items from my craft stash. As always  everything is handmade with love.

We've had some rain and it is supposed to be heavy until the weekend. Which means it is a good day to stay in doors and work on sewing projects. 

Also I'm now officially a proud chicky momma. A friend of my niece was giving away baby chickens (girls) to good homes and of course I said yes.  I'm not sure how I will go with them, it will all be a learning curve. This is there temporary home until I can get some proper bedding for them. 

Now what to name them? Hilda and Lillian? Lavender and Rosemary? We will see. Feel free to share any chicken baby raising tips with me if you have them.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Home Tasks

Day 18 - Day 25 living without 

A no spend week.

It's been a long week. So much so I had to take a mini blogging break and will likely continue the trend of updating weekly. 

I had to go sit in for extra long waiting at doctor offices while everyone had their check ups. Mum was sick this week and dad has a few hits with the pace maker, so I had to be over there a lot to help out. 

I've also started up causal work (very causal) house cleaning for a few people who can't keep up on top of their home cleaning and need someone who can do domestic duties for them. 

I've only had a bit of time to do simple crafting. These cards will end up in the shop along with the bananas too.  The cards use up scrap paper for backing and cut out May Gibbs illustrations from an old diary I had. May Gibbs is an Australian illustrator/ artist  famous for her Gumnut babies.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Grey days

Day 18 Living without

This was a day for the house to top up on necessary pantry/fridge/laundry items. So we had to do a small shopping order. The shopping trip also included petrol for the car.  I'm still living without  spending on my favourite habits... thrift stores, books, crafts supplies, clothes, jewellery, chocolates, soft drinks (sodas), take away and such. There's always going to be the necessary house shop and car costs I can't avoid.

Today was very grey and over cast. The temperatures dropped as well, which meant it was a good day to stay in doors.  Cold, dreary days are good for hot scones and a cuppa of tea.

It was a day for doing some hand embroidery too, I like these happy little bananas. I'm making these to go on a tea towel. I've also been playing around with my paper scraps. I made up some letter sets, with hand painted stationary and the folders use up a lot of left over scraps. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Home beauties

Day 18 living with out

This is a no spend day.

'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.'
                                                                                                                   - William Morris.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Scented Flowers

Day 17 living without

This is a no spend day.

Round scented crochet sachet

The instructions are American crochet stitches. A chart for British/Australia conversion can be found here

Base (Front):

With colour A ch 4, join with sl st to form a ring.

RND1: Ch 3 ( first dc), work 15 dc in long, join with sl st in top of be. ch 3 ( 16 dc).

RND 2: (Ch 3, dc) in joining st, work 2 dc in each dc around, join with sl st in top of beg ch3 ( 32 dc).

RND 3: (Ch 3, dc) join st, dc in next dc ( dc in next dc, dc in next dc) around, join with sl st in top of beg ch 3, (48 dc).

RND 4:
(Ch 3, dc) in joining st, dc in next 2 dc, ( dc in next dc, dc in each of next 2 dc) around, join sl st to top of beg ch 3, fasten off ( 64 dc).


With colour B, ch 4 sl st to form a ring.

RND 1: (Popcorn st in ring, ch3) sp, ch1 ( Sc, Hdc, 3dc, Hdc, sc) in each ch 3 sp around, join on back of work with sl st around top of popcorn st 1 rnd below (rnd1) at base of last sc made.

RND 3:
Working on back of wrk behind petals * Ch 6, sl st, around top of popcorn st 2nd rnd below rnd 1 , * repeat from * to * around ending ch 6, sl st in first chain of beg. ch 6. fasten off.


RND 4: With right side of flower facing join in colour C in any ch 6 sp, ch 1 ( sc, hdc, dc tr, picot, tr dc, hdc, sc) in each ch 6 around join with sl st to beg. sc. Fasten off leaving a long sewing thread.

Sew the flower to the base by using the long thread of colour c. Simply stick around (slip stitch) to fasten the flower to the base.

Picot: 3 ch insert hook at bottom of last st, sl st.

Popcorn stitch: Ch 3, 2 dc, put hook in bottom of dc draw up with sl st.

To make the sachet:
You can crochet two bases and join them together. For mine I used two pieces of fabric. flower facing right side up, place fabric down on top, add another piece. Make sure the correct side is showing so when turned out the fabric is right side. I used muslin so didn’t need to worry which side was up. Sew around leaving a gap. Turn out right sides. Pull apart the two fabric layers and fill with potpourri, close the gap by slip stitching the gap closed with neat invisible stitching.

A pretty rope cord can be stitch around the sachet if wanted.

If you add a couple more rounds to the base and leave out the potpourri you could make this up into a pretty powder puff. 

I hope everyone si having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Clewley park

Day 16 living without

This is a no spend day.

It took me time to understand my water lilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.

-Claude Monet. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Stove top

Day 15 living without

This is a no spend day.

Winter stove potpourri

2 long cinnamon sticks broken

2 tablespoons of allspice whole
2 tablespoons of cloves
1/2 tablespoon of nutmeg

1 tablespoon of dried cranberries
1 dried orange slice
1 dried apple slice
1 star anise

Directions to use:

Place contents in 2 cups of water and bring to simmer on low heat. See adding water. It lasts for three days.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Day out

Day 14 living without.
 Spent: $1.40 for one way bus ticket.

The weather was pretty warm today, although it did look like it was building up to rain in the latter part of the day but nothing came of it. 
I had to go get my yearly health check so I had a bit of a day out. On the way home I came through one of our local parks. It's quite a change from being there at spring time. The council were in there digging up things and all the spring flowers were long gone. The trees though were putting on a nice display.

Lots of colours in the leaves now.  On the way to the bus I passed a lot of the older houses in town. Well, I was admiring them. No one likes the older places much, too hot, too damp, too much up keep. I rather that than the newer places. My niece moved into a new place in an estate just being built tiny yards, rooms very boring and like all the rest in the estate and you can reach out the side windows and touch your neighbours house. 

Give me the old Queenslanders any day.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 1 May 2017


Day 13 living without.
This is a no spend day.

We've made these biscuits before, so had the ingredients in the pantry. The first time they turned out really hard, but these ones were a lot better. The oven could go up a bit more and they could be cooked a little longer as these seem soft. and maybe a little less peel could be used too. Over all this recipe was pretty good. Makes about 12.


1/2 cup sultanas
2 cups cornflakes
100 g chopped glace cherries
2 tablespoons mixed peel
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
250g good -quality dark chocolate

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 170 Degree C. Line 2 large baking trays with non stick baking paper.

Step 2 Combine the sultanas, cornflakes, almonds, place cherries, mixed peel and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on baking trays, leaving enough room between each for biscuits to spread. Bake for 10 minutes until light golden brown, then set aside on wire rack to cool.

Step 3  Melt the chocolate in a bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly then spread over the underside of the florentines. Use a fork to make wiggly lines in the chocolate, then place, chocolate-side up, on a wire rack until set.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

handmade potholder

Day 12 living without

This is a no spend day.

I made these potholders a while back. They are hand painted but the bunny mother's dress is appliqué fabric and made to look painted. The painted part finished up very nice but I really should have used much thicker material for the batting inside, I used flannel and that's way too thin. Lesson learnt.

All of the fabric came from thrift stores and didn't cost much.

How To Make A Potholder

You will need a top piece. A batting. A backing. And a strip of fabric for the hanger.

The backing fabric faces right side to the right side of the top piece of fabric.

The batting goes over the backing fabric.

To make the hanging tab, fold a strip of fabric one side to the middle...

Then the other side to meet... You can pin it to hold it in place.

Then fold over the strip and sew.

Place the hanging tab in the corner of the potholder ( left hand side) And facing in towards the front piece of fabric. Make sure you pay attention to how you have this hanging tab placed or you'll have it on the wrong side. I speak from experience. You can pin all the layers and have a pin to hold the hanging tab.

Sew all around the potholder, making sure to capture the hanging tab. Leave a little opening on the sides. Trim away the corners to reduce bulk.  Turn right side out making sure to poke out the corners nicely. 

You can slip stitch the opening closed. Or when you top stitch around the front of the potholder make sure you capture the opening with your sewing to close the gap. 

And that is how I make my pot holders. Just don't use flannel for your batting and you should be good to use a pretty potholder to rest hot items on to protect your benches or to grab a hot pot lid or handle.  Of course always be careful.

These potholders are about six and half inches square.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Simple quotes

Day 11 living without
This is a no spend day

'I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.'
- Emma Goldman.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

In and out

The living without challenge:   The challenge did have it's up and downs the last month, but I have managed to not spend unnecessary. ...