Making Greener Cleaners

I’d like to thank The Accidental Hippy for inviting me to post today.  Life can get pretty crazy and I love the concept of slowing down, casting off unnecessary ‘stuff’ and living a life mindful of our impact on others as well as the planet.  There have been some inspiring posts right here on this

Recipe – Chocolate Bread

Today’s recipe title is care of Miss Squid.  We call it Chocolate Spread, she calls it Chocolate Bread – which makes sense to a 3 year old. A friend shared a recipe she was planning to make with a parent’s group I’m in.  It certainly got my ears perking with “Home Made Nutella Type Spread”.

Home Made Chocolate SpreadHome Made Chocolate Spread

Making a Sheet (or Book) Bag – Part 1

I finally managed to secure some day care so that I could get back to (part time) work, which is a huge relief for me as the budget was starting to get a bit scary. Unfortunately it was not my preferred option of home based Family Day Care, but in a long day care centre.

Sheet / Book BagsSheet / Book Bags

Paralysed by the Image of Perfection

I was going to title this post “Paralysed by Perfection” but I have learned over time that perfection in itself is often either a brief moment in time or a fantasy (for me).

I am finding though on my blogging journey that I want it all.  I want timely content, I want true and factual content, pretty pictures, interesting projects.  The problem is that I often have time in 10 minute pockets which is not enough time to report on a project, it is not enough time to process pictures, or get a good “flow” when writing. So as an extremely practised procrastinator I have done nothing.

I found myself not tidying things around the house because I wanted to document them for the blog, or not trying a new recipe for the same reason.  The reality is there will be plenty of time to revisit all of these things, and I should still be moving on looking for the next opportunity to document something for you.

This is why there have been no posts of late (well that and a very painful lesson about saving your work at appropriate intervals which saw half a post get lost in an attempt to publish it).  Mostly though the stars have not been aligning to be able to do a full post at once so I have been hiding behind “I want to do it ‘right'” or “Now that it has been so long, I need something spectacular to get me back under way”.   I still want to do it right, but I have realised that realistically, I just have to do *something* first to get through this rough spot where I work out how everything fits together.

So today I write about my philosophical learnings that for me, sometimes just doing something even if it is not quite what you want it to be, is as important as doing something as well as you can.  Realistically, today this is the best that I can do and that is okay, especially if it can be a small step to break the procrastination cycle and get out of this rut.

On a practical and specific note, I apologise to those on the mailing list that I have not sent out the meal planner document for a while, I am working on a perpetual planner and hope I can introduce a few more printables too.

 

 

 

The Golden Ticket – Could I Be a Charlie Bucket?

Hello Blogger Events are giving away the chance to attend the first  “Say Hello Workshop” – a 7 hour event to learn more about blogging.

As a newly re-energised/re-directioned blogger the event caught my attention, however, at the time I was not working and money was tight and I was having a hard time justifying the cost against what is essentially a hobby.  This site is still a hobby, but surely at the start of the adventure is when it is best to ask for help and guidance, not when you have already learned your bad habits?

I was re-thinking my shelving of going to this workshop largely because Steve (my husband) walked out the door Yesterday for 12 hours or so to go to Soundwave Festival whilst I stayed at home with the girls, Miss Squid (3) crying on and off for her Daddy (some of these incidences may have been related to how “mean” I was being at the time).

I went to the website to re-check the time commitment and if I’d missed the cut off date and was pleasantly surprised to find the details for a “golden ticket” promotion – the opportunity to win a chance to go to the workshop.

Deciding that you cannot win unless you try, here I am, writing my first post in a week and a bit! (So thanks ladies for the inspiration and poke to get me back to writing.)

I would happily pretend I’m a celebrity, but I’m afraid I’m not.  I can only regale you with stories for the celebrities I have met though – in one of my past work life incarnations I worked in a theatre.  I also was lucky enough to study at WAAPA.  When I was in first year Production and Design Hugh Jackman was in third year Musical Theatre.  Alex Papps started in the Theatre stream when I was in second year.  Marcus Graham was a graduate who often came back to see shows (and has a really unusual laugh).

When I worked in a theatre as an all round technician I met the likes of Tony Barber, Lorrae Desmond (who is the sweetest most lovely lady who is a true professional), Kamahl, Julie Anthony and more.

One time I worked on a load out of the Big Day Out and helped dismantle the stage rig Powderfinger used whilst The Beastie Boys played on the stage next door.

So Danielle and Melissa, I’d love to add you to my list of celebrities I’ve met, along with the other participants of the workshop.  I would love the opportunity to get out of the house for some non-work non-child related time where I can learn some invaluable skills to help grow my skills to pursue my current “art”.  I’d be happy to talk a little more of the people I have met and create some new stories whilst I’m there.

Please ladies, let me be Charlie Bucket to your Willy Wonka – I’ll only name drop when asked!

Making a Sheet (or Book) Bag – Part 1

Making a Sheet (or Book) Bag – Part 1

I finally managed to secure some day care so that I could get back to (part time) work, which is a huge relief for me as the budget was starting to get a bit scary. Unfortunately it was not my preferred option of home based Family Day Care, but in a long day care centre. At this stage though, we take what we can get! Family Day Care provided me an emotional buffer but long day care offers more flexibility.  I also think Miss Squid will LOVE her Kindy room with a more formalised focus on learning.

Anyway, this new adventure for us all meant some adjustments all round, and not the least of which was the requirement list.  Most of it was not unexpected, but then “cot sheet in drawstring bag” loomed on both girls’ lists. The first reaction was “Where do I buy one?” followed closely by “Oops! #NothingNew”.  Then I started thinking about what we had at home.  I started the process thinking about converting some pillow cases, until I realised they still work as pillow cases, so probably not the best option.  I then remembered some swathes for cotton fabric I bought years ago to line a very ugly bedroom.  It has been used as tablecloths, dividers, covers and all sorts in the intervening years, but I still have large sheets of it in the back of the linen cupboard. The white was a bit boring though so I thought about using some fabric I had in the drawer to make monograms on the front.

I started to collect my supplies  and tools together.

Supplies to make a drawstring bag

Tools:

  • paper scissors
  • fabric scissors
  • pinking shears
  • tape measure
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • computer and printer

Consumables:

  • base fabric
  • monogram fabric
  • paper monogram templates
  • iron on adhesive
  • thread
  • ribbon

I was lucky (or a pack rat, you decide), I had everything in my collection at home and did not need to go shopping at all.

Create the Monogram Template

I opened up Open Office Writer (use any word processing programme you have available, I like Open Office because it is free to use) and typed in an upper-case letter for each of my girls (C and E stand for Squid and Bernie, really they do).  I decided to look for a bold sans serif font to make things easier to do.  I ended up using Franklin Gothic Heavy which gave nice big bold shapes and as it turned out, was symmetrical so that letters could be flipped top to bottom if needed.  I scaled them up to a size I liked (about 700 point size I think) and printed them out. I used a draft print setting because I did not want the paper to be too soggy when printed from my ink jet printer.

Cut Out The Adhesive

I cut them out with my paper scissors (cutting paper with fabric scissors will blunt them) and laid them on my iron on adhesive.   This step requires a bit of concentration especially if using a non-symmetrical letter like R or F.  The adhesive has a rough side and a smooth paper side.  You want to lay your letter right way up on the rough side.  I was lucky in that C and E can both be turned upside down and be legible so had a bit more scope for accidents before I worked out how important it was to concentrate at this stage.  I prefer speed over precision (bad habit of mine), so I just held mine in place and cut around them.  If you prefer precision, you might want to pin the pieces together before cutting.

I was also trying not waste too much of the iron on adhesive so despite the face that they did not quite fit side by side, I decided to cut them out this way and fill in the “holes” with scraps.  Don’t feel obliged to do that unless you have the same cheapness I do.

Using Off Cuts To Make The Adhesive Go Further

I used some of the "key hole" piece to fill in the holes

Iron on the Adhesive

I will quickly apologise for my low brow ironing “board” in the pictures – it is an old tea towel laid on our sideboard, a spot close to a power point that is easily access controlled so that little “helpers” do not discover the hard way to not like the iron. They should learn the old fashioned way, whilst ironing uniforms!

Ironing on the Adhesive

It is important to get your letter orientation and placement right before reaching for your iron.

Make sure the bumpy sticky side is face down on the back of the fabric  (and not the side you are trying to iron – I have made that mistake before!)  so your letter is back to front when looking at it.  With the “E” I lined it up with the pattern of the fabric and put it in a corner with a small amount of fabric all the way around the edge.  With the “C” and the fabric I was using I put the letter over the main picture of the pattern so that the print “made sense” visually after it was cut.  This was a little less economical with the fabric, but made sense to do so that Strawberry Shortcake could be seen.

Iron the adhesive on following the directions supplied with it (mine said to heat the iron to the silk setting).

 

 

………….And at this point, I am going to break the post into two because it is starting to get mammoth and daunting (for me and no doubt you too).

I will post the other half of the project soon!
I have registered this post in:

The Organised Housewife

 

I’m Still Here!

This week I satarted back at (paid) work. The girls are getting used to long day care and I’m getting to know my new boss who started whilst I was on leave. It has been a bit intense to say the least.

The upheaval has had its effect on all of our sleeping patterns and getting everyone up and out the door on time has been a challenge. Unfortunately my blog time and energy has suffered. Hopefully I can find my feet very soon.

I can report that my #NothingNew pledge has suffered a bit of a blow, but I guess that is the nature of challenges. I ended up buying a work shirt, pants and swimmers; and today I could not stand my old ill fitting bras anymore and bought some new ones. The bras I can almost justify as needed given the really bad state of my old non-maternity bras and the oversized nature of the maternity bras (which unfortunately are not needed for their function any more). I was certainly very mindful of all the purchases which is part of the overall point of the challenge.

Thank you for hanging in with me!

10-15 Minute Project – Bathroom Cabinet

10-15 Minute Project – Bathroom Cabinet

I think most people trying to find freedom from clutter and mess have stumbled across or referred to FlyLady at some stage (and if you hadn’t before, you have now). There is a lot of positive advice from FlyLady but it didn’t work for me because it is not really open for customisation as so much of what she says is has become a catchphrase “shine your sink”  “dressed to your shoes”.  I appreciate the sentiments, but we are often shoeless in our house and I just can’t muster up enough care for how shiny my sink is.  I did try.  Steve looked at me oddly as I was trying to polish the sink.  When you are struggling to get your dishes done, a shiny sink hardly seemed a priority (we got a dishwasher and the sink is still rarely sparkling).  I even tried redefining so that “shine my sink” in my head now says “put away the toaster”.  I still did not fly. Anyway, this is not meant to be a review of the method.

One thing that does work for me, and was reinforced with the Home Routines app is the 15 minute clean – don’t start jobs that can’t be completed in 15 minutes.  This does not mean don’t do big jobs, it means break them down into chunks. Some days even 15 lineal minutes to concentrate on a task is a big ask, so I take it as it comes.  10-15 minutes is what I hope for.

I think this one still took 3 x 5 minute chunks!

Before:

Dirty cabinet shelf

Fifteen minutes later:

That's better! All clean.

For those playing along at home, those yellow tubs are re-purposed Play-Doh tubs.  They were too good to throw away but the dough had been left out and gone crusty and/or mixed together into one brown colour that can be stored in fewer pots.

I took everything out, cleaned up the shelf, decided what old things to throw out, moved some others to a more appropriate storage spot, put away some new Christmas present make up brushes and put aside some expired medications to be returned to a chemist/pharmacy/drugstore for proper destruction (medications should never be thrown away with general household rubbish so that they are not inappropriately accessed by children/animals and also to make sure harmful chemicals are not leached into the ground as landfill).

This is a fifteen minute project that makes me smile every time I open the medicine cabinet – so much nicer to look at!

Can you find fifteen minutes to do a much put off task?

Edit:

I have registered this project with

The Organised Housewife

        			

Welcome To My Internal Dialogue

Welcome To My Internal Dialogue

As I predicted when I set my goals for this year “Nothing New” has been a challenge, and not one I am particularly happy with my progress on.

Early in the new year I was out shopping, as one does, and was accosted with a mountain of marked down Christmas decorations, and I mean seriously marked down (50 cents for a box of decorations that had been $10 the week before).  I picked up a few and then headed on in store and discovered the wall or stationery supplies that broadcast the “Back to School” sales.  My knees almost shook.  I am a stationeryophile.  I could happily window shop for a couple of hours at a stationers.

<Wouldn’t you know it  – the mountain of “stuff” beside my bed couldn’t possibly wait any longer for it to be dealt with – it has only been there and growing for 6 months or more, and I’ve started researching a different post – and that is only the procrastination over writing about this one!>

Anyway, it was when I looked at all the “stuff” I wanted, the penny suddenly dropped.

No new stuff.

Two months.

I looked at what I had stacked up on top of the pram and started trying to justify it “The discounts of buying at this time of year outweigh the nothing new rule”, “It is so pretty”, “I’ll want it later, when I am allowed to buy it”, “It is not for me”.

I put the Christmas decorations back.  If we want new decorations next year, we can make them instead of Chinese made plastic.

The Christmas cards went back.  I’d prefer to send out home made cards, and I have a mountain of craft stuff getting ignored at home anyway.

The pencils went back.  I already have enough, and spares, no matter how pretty they are.

Some stuff was kept as rewards for the potty training Miss Squid – a part of me thinks I should have put it back too, but it is harder to make sacrifices on behalf of children rather than ourselves.  I have already had a bit longer to process this now and will try harder to not let my children to become excuses for my lack of control.  They will too benefit from understanding that the flotsam of life is not what is important, if I can show them that.  They are by no means suffering.  They both have wardrobes and toy boxes filled to overflowing.

On a different trip I was again tempted by some very pretty, hugely discounted notebooks.  I failed on that day and I brought home several “for gifts”.  One has made its way to the right of my laptop as I write, my notebook to write ideas when inspiration strikes.  I did not need it. I have a few stashes of books and note pads that you pick up in sample bags, at conferences, at work, over time.  They are not pretty, but they are practical and they certainly serve their purpose.  I could have used them but they aren’t nearly as inspiring.

I succumbed.

It will be used as my inspiration book when I need to work out what to write, or if I just need to get something out of my head.  It will serve as a reminder of my lack of commitment. It will also be oh-so-pretty in my bag.  I will use pencils and pens I have at home.  I won’t buy any more, no matter how lovely their matching sets full of perfect points of promise.

I am starting to be better at making the decisions, but some days I am so very aware of how large a part of our culture consumerism is.  I didn’t think I was too bad, I thought I was reasonably well aware of advertising and how they manipulate you but a conscious drive not to buy any new non-essential things has really highlighted to me how insidious it is.

Since I started writing this post *cough* days ago, things are sitting more comfortably with me.

I was window shopping yesterday whilst waiting to meet a friend and found myself thinking “I should be looking at an op (thrift) shop to see if I can find things there”. I was also aware of the ethics of shopping.  My budget mind was delighted to see work tops and pants at $15 a piece in one shop.  At another, similar pieces were $25 – $40 a piece.

Then my head got thinking:

  • I couldn’t make them for $15 a piece
  • but they have economy of scale,
  • they are made in Bangladesh, by people who probably live below the poverty line
  • does that matter when I am trying to keep my family fed and clothed and housed?
  • I don’t want to be below the poverty line either – different scale, granted, but a real fear for me
  • I don’t have to think about this if I buy second hand

Ah ha!  This was a good place to get to – a good reason to buy second hand.  Then I looked at Ebay.  That was depressing.  There is so much new stuff on there or people want to recoup their costs, and set their reserves at $5+ (plus postage) – and suddenly we are back to my head thinking “But for $15 I can buy something new!”.  Welcome to my head.

In think I will reacquaint myself with my local op shops and see what I can see.  Then, if I can not find anything that I want, I will consider going shopping.  Ultimately I should be given a uniform for work, but I have worked there for a while now and haven’t seen one yet.  For now, I just need a couple of options that fit well (yay for losing weight, but boo for losing weight too) and look reasonable.  I will look at sourcing from other places too, but I think this is my first real challenge that I am conscious of for #NothingNew

A mixed bag in the end.  Onwards, upwards.  #NothingNew

 

Do you buy things you don’t need, just because you like them?