Friday, October 29, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by soulemama

Have a fabulous weekend!

Empty inbox on my last day at work - AWESEOME!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I love Brisbane!

After our weekend jaunt to Melbourne a few weekends ago I have a renewed LOVE for my hometown of Brisbane.

Melbourne Prahram Markets - rainy, windy and wet!

Park near Queen Vic Markets in Melb - yep he's wearing a poncho!

Quirky Melbourne laneways

No it isn't, is it? Yes SUN on our last day!

I love:
  • the almost constant sunshine
  • the occasional summer thunderstorm (we just had one as I started writing this post)
  • not having to wear thermals in Spring, or winter for that matter (like we did in Melbourne!)
  • being able to grow most of my vegies ALL year round
  • being able to wear summer dresses and sandels to work
  • not having to carry an umbrella wherever I go
  • enjoying the rain when it does come, not cursing it because it never goes away
  • being able to plan picnic's, day trips and outings with most of them not being interrupted by rain/wind/terrible weather
  • getting a tan!
  • being able to use public transport without getting drenched
  • enjoying the cool waters of the beach
What do you enjoy about where you live?

P.S. I thought Melbourne was beautiful, the weather was just a bit of a bummer

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Feeling slightly uneasy, only slightly

My employment contract comes to an end this Friday. After that I become unemployed and I have nothing lined up afterwards. I am both excited and nervous.

Nervous because this is the first time since leaving school that I have been unemployed and excited because I get a holiday! I could have tried harder and had a job lined up by now, but I'm really looking forward to having some time off that I haven't really applied for that many jobs or put too much pressure on myself to do so.

Don't worry I won't be living in the streets or bin diving any time soon, if you remember by budget post you know I have been determindly saving for a good few months and have built up quite a bit of savings. So I don't need to work for a while, but it's still a little weird.

But to keep my mind active these are the things I'd like to do on my little break:

  • Learn to sew - I've had my sewing machine for a while now and no time to really get stuck into learning all that scary terminology. I'd like to make a lot of my christmas presents this year so hopefully I can pick up sewing pretty easily.
  • Keep working in my garden - We have managed to weed all of the garden beds now and I have a huge supply of chicken manure that my mum so kindly bagged up and brought over for me, so I am keen, keen, keen to get some more plants into the garden and make it ever more productive that it has already been. So far we are self sufficient in lettuce and tomatoes, and I'm looking to add a lot more to that list (which will hopefully help to reduce the grocery bill which will be nice with my zilch income!)
  • Spring clean the house - we've been in our new house for a few months now and there are still a few things that haven't been unpacked. I will go room by room (because I need to feel ordered or I get overwhelmed!) and completely sort and clean everything in each room. Hopefully we can freecycle a lot and declutter that house!
  • Amp up the excercise and lose some kg's - I have struggled with my weight since I was a kid and it the past few years I have been trying to kick that in the butt! Over the past year I was doing very well and lost about 10kg's, then I went to Paris and after coming back got lazy. So I have put a few of those back on and now it is time for me to lose the final 13kg to get me to my long time coming ultimate goal! I'm eat ok byt currently my exercise is next to zero, so not having a job will leave me with absolutely no excuses.
Ah it's good to write those down. They have been swimming in my head for weeks now and I'm feeling better by having a plan of attack so I don't get bored. I will certainly also fit in plenty of picnic's with my boy, day trips, resting, reading, blogging, visiting family too just so it feels like a real holiday!

Stay tuned for updates!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Learning to sew

I very kindly received a working sewing machine for free through Freecycle! How lucky was I? Very I know. But I have not been able to give into my sewing urges because of the Festival taking up all of my time...until now!

My baby - a Brother from 1986!

And it is now that I have found sewing patterns and terminology to be complete mumbo jumbo to me!

I'm ususally quite a capable person and can pick up things quickly, but those patterns still seem baffling.

I have started off very small to build my confidence and to produce from very quick results.

This was my first project. (Please excuse the orange lawn mower and glass of bubble in my hand - this was the Festival wrap party - thank goodness this photo was taken early in the night!).

I bought this Indian-sari-looking dress from an Op Shop for $12. I cut about 60cm off the length (yes it was that long!) and rehemmed the dress into this sexy little number! It's not a fabulous hemming job but boy wasn't I proud as punch to be wearing my (part)creation out and about!

My next project was just the other night when I really wanted to sew something and I had become very disheartened by some patterns that were jibberish to me. Even the 'easy' ones from Burda Style which I thought would have been my best bet.

I ended up creating this scarf for my upcoming trip to Melbourne. Funny story with this material too. Remember my post on Council collections? Well I drove past a manky old rain sodden mattress numerous times and just loved the fabric. So I sent the boy out to cut the fabric off the matress. I have since washed and ironed the fabric and it has come up just like new. When I was looking for an easy-peasy project to satisfy my sewing desire I thought this fabric would match with my red jacket just perfectly and look quite quirky down in the Melbourne fashion scene.

So if you have any go-to resources that helped you learn to sew please, plese, please leave them in the comments so I can start producing something a little more advanced.




Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More flood pictures

Yesterday I was talking about my (lack of) preparedness.

These are some reasons why

This stream is usually 1-2 metres wide

Path to nowhere!

Luckily no houses in my area were inundated with flood water and there were no injuries that have been reportorted. But this was only after 4 days of rain. What if there was 2 weeks of rain!

I think it's good to run the "what if's?" through your mind to help you mentally and physically prepare yourself for the situation should it arise.

On a lighter note, we had sun this morning! Interspersed with rain showers, but still SUN, for the first time in over a week. It's funny how it can affect your mood without realising.

I'm off to Melbourne this weekend, which is renowned for it's crazy weather unlike sunny Brisbane. Hopefully the sun is out down there for us.

Hope you're having a lovely week!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Beginning to prepare

My beau and I have been hearing about Peak Oil a lot more recently and it's giving us the jeebies!

There's now no denying this is happening.

Lyndon's dad is a geophysicist who worked for a multinational oil exploration company. He's telling us to seek alternative power sources.

We are using our common sense. Oil is clearly a finite natural resource. There has not been a major oil basin found since the 70's. I think we are very close to the top of Hubberts Curve. Then what are we going to do?

Eek scary stuff I know. I'm not going to go into all of the details of Peak Oil. If you don't know about, research it if you'd like, if not that's fine it's up to the individual to decide what they want to know about.

But now that I have researched it extensively, I am absolutely 100% convinced that one day we will run out of oil. We're oil babies. Born into an era where everything is based on the supply of cheap oil. We don't know any other life. So when we run out we will be forced into finding alternative ways to transport ourselves, our food, create electricity, etc.

This is one of the main reasons we are working on becoming self-sufficient. We are a long way off but I feel better knowing we are doing something.

While discussing Peak Oil on the weekend, we came to the conclusion that emergency preparedness was an area we were severely lacking in. And not only for the initial effects of the peak oil crisis, but also for weather emergencies or any other reason that we would be trapped in our house without the luxury of going to the shops to get supplies or have to leave the house quickly and live in the car for a while.

Funny that we were talking about it on the weekend. This is the local stream that seperates our house from the city this morning after almost a week of constany heavy rain

Usually this is a metre wide stream. This raging torrent is only a few metres below the road that I use to get home and it's still raining! Don't worry I'm leaving work shortly to get home before it goes over.

So what if I couldn't get home? Or what if I was home and cut off from all shops? Or worse still what if there was a major catastrophy that meant all services were down, roads were cut and if was unsafe to go outside?

I know that sounds really drastic, but I would rather be prepared than not prepared.

Have you discussed an emergency plan?

When we started discussing things like "where I will go if I can't get home after a disaster and can't contact my partner?", "what should we take with us if we have to run out the door, get in the car and just drive?" I started feeling very under-prepared! We hadn't ever discussed anything like that. The Government agencies tell you to have an emergency plan in place, why hadn't we listened?! Because you don't think something like that will happen to you. The news reports with all of those terrible natural disasters, wars, conflict, social upheaval happen overseas, not here.

But I think it is a very responsible thing to think about. I've started looking at stockpiling, what should be in  emergency packs that you keep near the door, in the car, or even at work, and I'm starting to get together lists of items I should start collecting.

We are only beginning to really think about being properly prepared for an emergency so I'm feeling a little uneasy should anything happen in the meantime.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on if you have an emergency plan and the details. What's on your list of essentials? Do you keep a pack near the door or in the car 'just in case'? I'm such a newbie at this and would love to hear any info you may have learnt through your research.

Be safe

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Need your advice

We have these little ant mounds all over our neighbourhood and, more annoyingly, all through our yard.

Do you know how we can get deter them?

Finally time in the garden

I am loving having my weekends back after the month of working EVERY DAY!

The weather has been fabulous as well which makes it extra fun. We have a lot to work to do in the garden and also in increasing our knowledge but we're not stressing ourselves out just taking it slow and enjoying the process.

We are already seeing results! We are at the point where we don't need to buy lettuce anymore and that is ideally where I would like to be with the vegies we currently buy. The more we can grow ourselves, the less pesticides we are ingesting, the cheaper our grocery bill will be and the more nutritious our food will be YIPPEE!

We have been able to harvest broccoli, lettuce, tomato's so far
Check out the growth of the broccoli and potato's in this garden bed in such a short amount of time!
From this in August......
To this at 40 days later!
So satisfying. And the lettuce....

We have had a big job ahead of us. When we moved in to this place only a few short months ago the gardens were empty. Since the glorious beginning-of-spring rains and with me working like crazy the past month, this was the site that confronted me everytimeI stepped outside. It was quite depressing and made me wish I was not on my way to work but rather digging around in my patch.

A thick blanket of weeds engulfing all 6 of the garden beds! Well I am very proud to say we now only have 1/2 a bed left to weed. We have been laying weed mat down over the weeded beds for now because we just don't have the number of plants and mulch to fill all the beds just yet. 

But some plants that I have planted in the refreshed garden beds are.....

Raspberries YUMBO!
Strawberries (can you tell I'm a berry fan?!)
Luffa - excited about seeing the results of this one!

Plus, more tomato plants, the cumquat seedlings (that I grew from seed from the fruit of my very first batch of jam -NOSTALGIA right there!), passionfruit, and 2 peanut plants. I'm very excied about the peanut plants, sounds very intriguing to be growing my own nuts!

I also have a pumpkin vine that has popped up from underneath the compost bin and another few vines in the back gardens that I'm willing to let loose over the back lawn.

It's very exciting to see these plants come to life under my assistance and to actually produce food for us to eat.

We are one step closer to being self sufficient. But we are making sure we enjoy the ride not just eageraly waiting for our future goal to be upon us. I think that is important.

Happy simple living!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Council Collection

Do you have these in your neighbourhood? Where you put out large items that you don't want anymore and want to through out? The council sends a letter to let you know when their next collection is and a few days before the whole neighbourhood has their 'junk' out on the kerb?

Well I was driving home from the Brisbane Organic Growers Fair on Sunday and I kept driving past piles and piles of stuff' on the kerb that people were just throwing out. Perfectly good stuff, but stuff they obviously didn't want. Hadn't these people heard of Freecycle?

Well who could pass up such a good opportunity as this?! As soon as I told Lyndon we were in the car driving around the neighbourhood, slowing past every pile of 'stuff' to see if there were any goodies! We scrounged at a frantic pace and before we knew it we had collected and brought home 4 car-loads of those goodies! (I only have a tiny Holden Barina so it may sound more than it actually is!)

Now I don't know what you're view on this might be, but I don't have that big a problem with it. My biggest worry is "oh god what do those peple think of me?" talking about the people on their verandahs watching us rifle through their junk.

So what did we end up with:
  • 4 perfect camping chairs (we only need two but will give the other 2 to my sister and her husband for Xmas)
  • 3 bikes that Lyndon has been able to get working (he's a bike collector, these bring his total to 10)
  • a push mower in perfect condition
  • a full length mirror that I will put in my sewing room
  • 2 worn 1950's style chairs (to go with our 50's style house when we fix 'em up giving me some sewing practise!)
  • a rug that we will use under the house
  • some beautiful retro material off an old mattress (I will find material anywhere to practise my sewing on!)
  • stereo system for under the house
  • a working breadmaker (my find of the day!)
  • and lots of other stuff I can't even remember now
It's funny, when we were on our scavenge we discovered there is a whole community of people that do the same thing, there's even professionals!

I know it may seem a little scabby to be digging through someone else's junk but just think about it. Every item we collected is now 1 less thing going to landfill and it is 1 less thing that I am going to spend money on saving me money.

I'm pretty happy with that.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The best lunch!

I had the best lunch I've had in a long time today!


1. The festival is over and I have my weekend's back and this is the first one where I have just sat and relaxed!
2. I used bread that I had baked myself (this was one of my pledges to learn before the end of the year, see my post about it here)
3. I used lettuce, tomato and basil that I had grown myself in my new garden beds without any pesticides
4. I used butter. Real butter. See my next post about using real foods
5. It tasted damn good!

Unfortunately it tasted so good I didn't have a chance to get a photo so you'll just have to believe me.

Now I'm wondering did it taste better just because I knew I put the effort in to grew those ingrediants myself or because homegrown produce has a better flavour? I think a combination of both.

What has been a dish you've cooked that has tasted great from homegrown ingrediants?

PS. it's good to be back! I've had a hiatus for a while dealing with work but now I am back and determined as ever to continue on my path to living simply
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