24 December 2017

Jamie's Christmas tree

Jamie wanted to add his own Christmas tree to the decorations this morning, so now, this is what greets our visitors right at the front door.  Beautiful, simple, perfect.

We wish you all 
a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

15 December 2017

Weekend reading

I've come to the end of my blog year and I'll be taking the next couple of weeks off, away from the blog. I keep thinking that the next year will be a quiet one and that we're slowing down but that hasn't been the case. Life keeps happening and each year of my "retirement" has been busy, challenging and rewarding in various ways. I'm very lucky and grateful.
Merry Christmas from Gracie to all the pooches out there.

It's been a good year, both here at the blog and in my home. At the moment we have a full house again. Kerry, Sunny and Jamie are living here till their new house is built and Shane slept here overnight as he's flying out to work this morning. I drive him to the train station and he catches a train to the airport.

13 December 2017

Cleaning up and preparing for Christmas

Our days have been full all this week. We did our grocery shopping yesterday and drove to Beerwah for the first time since the storm. Oh my, it's much worse than I expected it to be. The trees and rubbish have been moved off the road but is still waiting to be picked up. The railway line to Brisbane is still closed and maintenance crews are going along picking up what they can and cleaning the tracks.  I think it will be another couple of weeks before it's all done. Back here at home, Hanno cut up the storm damaged trees and branches and someone from Airtasker will haul it all away to the council tip this morning.  Now I've seen the rest of the neighbourhood, I think we got off lightly. There are areas just down the road near the Steve Irwin zoo that look like a tornado has ripped through and parts of the local forest will take years to recover.

But I have good news too. We're getting some new chickens next month! A few of our girls have booked themselves into the retirement village and some days the egg supply is beginning to look pretty grim. We have nine girls now and three or four of them have stopped laying so I think a small flock of six new girls will get things on the move again. We often have non-laying hens here because we let them live out their lives just swanning around looking beautiful. I'm always excited when there is the promise of new chickens. They are a big part of our backyard, they give us the best eggs, provide entertainment and laughs and they're great insect hunters.

 Drying oregano in the oven.
You'll probably remember I've been having problems sleeping.  Well, more good news! Although I can't say I'm having a normal night's sleep I'm sleeping well and feeling better when I get up.  I had a checkup at my doctors recently (all is well) and she told me about Melatonin. It's a natural hormone which we all produce in our bodies and it seems I've not got as much as I should have.
This is the Melatonin I'm taking. It doesn't state a strength. It's called Melantonin 6x.

So my doctor told me to buy Melatonin from the chemist and see if it worked for me.  It does.  I chew four tablets before I go to bed and usually feel tired about 30 minutes later. I still wake up once during the night but my sleeps are deep sleeps, I'm dreaming again and I feel it's doing me good. I'm so pleased my doctor told me about this gentle therapy. I don't take any prescribed medication and Melatonin does clash with some drugs.  If you want to try this, please check with your doctor first.

As I said earlier, Hanno and I did our shopping yesterday and bought our Christmas ham and a few Christmas treats as well as our normal weekly shop.  It was a big effort going to Woolworths and Aldi but we got exactly what we wanted.  The job of putting it away saw us overflowing out of our fridge and into Sunny's. Luckily, she only had a tray of mangoes in her fridge in the shed. All we have to do now is return to the shop late next week to pick up milk, cream, fruit and vegetables and we'll be set. I'm looking forward to watching the Boxing Day cricket match - it's a tradition here to spend the entire day watching the cricket to recover from Christmas day and the build up to it. I love knowing we have cold ham and drinks, good bread, salad and leftover pavlova in the fridge, and that everyone can help themselves.  There a few of us here (I'm not naming names) who sit watching the cricket while we knit or sew. I hope you've all got your projects ready. It's just the best way to spend Boxing Day.  Sales, what sales!

And finally my friends, I've had two enquiries about blog courses next year.  I do them online - a mixture of my notes sent out to participants, setting up your blog in your own time using the notes, then two face-to-face conversations with everyone in the course, on Skype.  All the blogs are shared around the group so you get feed back from a few people. The cost is US$100. Along with the usual topics such as layout, keywords, blog titles and style, we discuss how to set up a blog and how to build it up in the following years. I think there are three keys to a successful blog and they are good content, a clear and simple layout and a spirit of generosity, tolerance, inclusion and kindness. The Skype sessions we did on the last course were much better than I expected them to be and everyone seemed to get a lot out of them.  Not only could we talk to each other in real time, questions were asked and experiences shared.  I'm happy to do two separate courses if there is enough interest: basic blogging and blogging to gain a following or a book contract. I'm thinking we might have a course in mid-February if there is interest.   Let me know.


11 December 2017

Microburst storm hit us but we're all fine

It was a quiet normal day on Saturday and then all hell broke loose in the evening. Hail started tapping on the bedroom windows, then there were strong winds and torrential rain. In about 15 minutes, our evening went into overdrive.  Hanno checked the big shed where Kerry and Sunny have all their possessions stored. That shed has flooded before but we were lucky this time and everything remained dry. Lightening was constant in the sky with 130,000 lightening strikes recorded and the rain and hail bucketed down. It was quite a storm, which I noticed they called a microburst on the news.

 Above and below: just outside the front door.

This morning when we woke, Sunny and Kerry were off to work around 6am and when Hanno and I went outside, it looked like a war zone. Trees were down in the front and back yards and there were shredded leaves covering the lawn. Our garden umbrella snapped off just under the canopy and Hanno said an old tree near the creek was ripped out of the ground by the roots and dumped across the creek.

 Breakfast was easy, everyone had the same thing - eggs, baked beans and fried bread.

The power was off from about 7pm Saturday night till 2pm Sunday and I was starting to get nervous about our freezers. Sunny has her full freezer here too but happily, they all survived. The internet went down on Sunday morning and when the phones ran out of power, it was silent and we started telling Jamie about the old days, before TV, computer and internet.  😉 It was such a fine opportunity  I couldn't pass it by.

It will take a while to clean up all the mess. Hanno doesn't have a chain saw anymore but we'll get there taking it one step at a time. We're hoping the council has a special kerb collection because I know there are hundreds of people in our town and the next one who have a lot of storm rubbish to get rid of. I'll be adjusting the emergency numbers in my phone too. I used Hanno's phone yesterday and liked the way he has his emergency numbers organised in his contact list. It's always a good idea to think about these things after they happen and see if there are improvements to be made. I'll be doing that today.

I hope all my readers here are safe and sound - those close to me here and in much colder climates. I noticed in the news that snow is falling in the UK, Ireland, Europe and North America. Take care, my friends, and stay safe.


8 December 2017

Weekend reading

School holidays start today in my state of Queensland. The kids have a long summer break and go back to school late January. Jamie is very excited about the holidays and we've organised a project to work on together. We'll be creating a video. He loves You Tube and has a couple of shows there he's allowed to watch so it's inspired him to try his hand at video making.  The video will just be shared within the family but it should give him a taste of how complicated it can be. At the moment he thinks it will be really easy and most of us know that it is those things that look easy that are usually the toughest to master. My job as grandma on this project will be to guide him through it so he comes out the other end with an understanding of the process and the enthusiasm to develop his skills further.

The hot weather started here yesterday with 33C at noon. We've had a very mild summer so far. How are you going in your town? I hope you've got your Christmas gifts and plans organised because it's almost that time when we can all sit back and relax.

I hope you have a great weekend.  I'll see you again on Monday. xx

Twisties and TV Hits: artist pays homage to the Australian milk bar
John Clarke's Tinkering
Meet some of Australia's beautiful birds
20 best Christmas recipes: part 1
To cure affluenza, we have to be satisfied with the stuff we already own
10 creative ways to wrap gifts 
9 embroidery sampler patterns
Six steps to creating an organised linen cupboard

4 December 2017


Every so often I receive an email from a reader asking for ideas about something they're struggling with.  Here we have one such query which I present below and hopefully, between all of us, we can give Amy a range of possible solutions.

I hope you don't mind me asking a question...
I wrote to you around 3-4 years ago about wanting to quit my job and stay home and you addressed it in a November blog post. Well, it's taken me awhile...but I've done it...I finally quit my job. I'm burnt out (from my job) and have no direction right now. How in the world did you find your "way" around your home and get into a routine after working for so long? I've only been home for 2 weeks and need to adjust to it all...but how?
What is my first step?
Where do I start?
How do I plan?
I wake up each day with good intentions...but find myself aimlessly wondering around.
Can you offer any suggestions?

I'm sorry to hear you're burnt out. I remember that feeling and it's not nice. I hope you're spending time doing nothing but the basics so that when you're rested and ready you can take the next step in your new life with optimism and confidence. What you need is a plan.

Sit down with a coffee, paper and pencil and work out what changes you need and want.  Remember, this is about a new life for you and your family so the only ones you have to please are yourselves.  The priorities are to keep a clean and tidy house, feed everyone, work to a budget so you live the life you choose without running up debt, maintain the house and garden and possibly to make a few things you currently buy. I'm thinking mainly of laundry liquid, cleaners, dishcloths, napkins, aprons, bread, cakes, preserves etc. But keep in mind that you make the items that will make a difference in your home.  We're all different.

I would start by dividing your day into three sections: 
  • Morning, which will be from when you get up till around 9am - remember, all this is adjustable.
  • Daytime, 9am - 4pm. This is the bulk of your time when you'll do your shopping, ironing, cleaning, sewing and whatever you choose to do for your own pleasure. That might be reading, gardening, talking to friends and neighbours, sewing etc but it includes what YOU love doing.
  • Evening, 4pm - bedtime. Evening meal, cleaning up, thinking about tomorrow's meals.

In the morning and evening you'll usually do the same thing most days. In the morning it will be cooking, breakfast, getting other family members off to work or school, laundry, cleaning up, making the bed, feeding animals, watering plants, general tidy up.  In the evening it will be preparing the evening meal, washing up, packing the dishwasher, thinking about tomorrows lunches and possibly preparing them, or deciding on what you'll cook the next day so you can defrost what you need.  The more you can get done at night the less you'll have to do the following day but you don't have to push yourself because you'll be at home and you can do extras during the day.

The rest fits into the main part of your day.  It might help you to list all the large tasks you have to do in your home that aren't covered in your morning and evening routines. Tasks such as cleaning bathrooms, doing the washing and ironing, food shopping, vacuuming and mopping floors, dusting, cleaning the fridge and oven, washing windows etc. If you can make a list of these tasks and assign them to a certain day, that will help you cover your housework by doing your morning routine, your daily routine, which will include one of those larger tasks, and your evening routine. The main thing I urge you to do is to take it slow. You have many tomorrows ahead of you and as long as you're making yourself happy by the changes you're making, you'll be on the right track.

When you have these life essentials sorted out, or at least on their way, you can fine tune the other things that need it and add what you enjoy doing.  I found when I started my new life that when I started changing things, one thing lead to another and I just followed along.  If might not be that way for you so just see what happens and do what you think is right.

Other things you can look into include:
  • make a list of your priorities, values and how you would like your life to change. When you have that in place, it will show you what you need to do, change and learn to make the life you want; 
  • create a budget; 
  • work out a shopping strategy, including reasearching where you'll get the best value for money;
  • look at the rooms in your home and working out if you're making the best use of the space, 
  • menu plan; 
  • start a stockpile cupboard; 
  • make up a rag bag; 
  • if you don't know how, teach yourself to sew, mend, knit and garden;
  • work out how you can remove cleaning chemicals from your home.

Life will be slower now. What you're about to do is to make a new life and to redefine what a normal day is for you. It's different for everyone so start by getting the essentials of food and shelter sorted out and then concentrate on the rest. Once you settle on a way to organise your days that suits you, you'll probably find that housework is less of a burden and more about making your home a place that supports and comforts you and your family.  There is no need to fret about moving all this along fast. It will take it's own time and it will change as the years pass by. Homelife is never static, there's always something to do as well as time to sit quietly and appreciate what you have.

Don't be pressured into having a rubber stamp of a life. One of the benefits of living this way is that you no longer have to live to a rigid timetable or one where recreational shopping has any importance.  Good luck!  I'm sure our readers will have more suggestions for you. Now, my friends, it's over to you.


1 December 2017

Weekend reading - UPDATED

I've been thinking of going through The Simple Home book with you next year.  The book sets out, month by month, various ways of dealing with home organisation, housework and family food from January through to December.  Rose wanted to do this on her blog and we talked about it a lot. Then she got sick, the focus and energy went elsewhere, and when she died I just couldn't face it. I know she'd want me to finish what she was determined to start so I thought a few of you who have the book, and those who don't, would like to waltz through it with me. I still have to think about how to do it but before I start doing that I want to know if anyone is interested. Let me know in the comments. Thank you.

I'll see you again next week. I hope you enjoy your weekend. ❤️

Thank you all for being so enthusiastic about working through the new year with The Simple Home. I think it will be fun and we can all share our ideas.  I'll start making notes on how it will slot into the blog. I'm thinking we might do a different aspect of each chapter on all the Mondays of each month. That will enable us to cover more territory. There'll be more news on this when I formulate a plan.

And just a note about one of my sponsors, Odgers and McClelland. I've just received my monthly newsletter and it lists the top ten items in the shop.  I'm pleased to say I have the teapot, set of spoons,  the enamelware and the Opinel knife and use them all constantly. If you have a hard to buy for person on your Christmas list, grab one of those Opinel knives. They are so handy, they fold up to go into a pocket or purse and will last for a long time. I use mine in the garden and I also have one tucked away in the car's glovebox. If you've never looked at the online shop, do it now and see real products that will really help you create a lovely home.  While you're there you can signup for the free newsletter. BTW, I always smile when I see those pudding bowls. :- ) 

Something between compulsion and comfort: the quiet therapy of counting
Bush fruit Christmas cake, milk jellies and other Australian Christmas food
Recipe for Switchel
My father's tools
Mynas v miners: they might be swooping menaces but they're not all bad
How to sew basics
Make your own reusable hand warmers
A cute little Christmas colour-in
How to draw and sketch cats
14 surprising things you can clean in the washing machine


29 November 2017

Acceptance - of myself and others

Most of the time I potter away here doing things that make life easier for us.  Hanno does the same, although he usually works outside. My daily tasks include cleaning, organising, mending and looking after the vegetable garden. I gather herbs for cooking, I peel vegetables and fruit, I make stock and sauces and place a home-cooked meal on the table every day at 12 midday.  I don't watch the clock to do that, it just happens that way.

Every day I make our bed and instead of thinking about getting through it fast and what I'll do next, I think about the bed and how to make it comfortable. We all spend a lot of time in bed and it helps us relax and sleep so we have the energy to do the work we need to do each day.  All those thoughts help me to not just pull up the doona/quilt, they make me slow down, fluff up pillows, adjust crooked sheets, make sure the side tables are dust-free and that when I walk away, job done, I've done the best I can do and we have a clean and comfortable bed waiting for us every night. I wonder if there are other mindful bed makers out there.

Apple and cinnamon butter cake.
I set a task for myself two weeks ago to change my work room. I want to move all my ironing gear in there so it's out of the bedroom and in a space where I work already. I moved the ironing to the bedroom two years ago as a temporary measure and it's stayed there, reminding me of work when I'm trying to relax. If I just ploughed through it I would have had it moved in one day, but as I'm sure you know housework is rarely a linear activity, it is often interrupted, so the move is only partly done.  Back in the day I would have been disappointed in myself for being so slow but now I accept it. I'm in a season of slowness, I'm not the fast and efficient workhorse I used to be and I'm fine with that. Self-acceptance, it's a fine thing and something we have to learn, and sometimes relearn. None of us will stay in our prime, if you live long enough you'll lose some of your strength, you won't work at the same pace all your life. All of us who live that long need to adjust our thinking to know that is okay, and that a slower rhythm is part of life and part of the balance most of us accept as we age.

And now acceptance of another kind.  I'm very pleased that recently we Australians voted to accept same-sex marriage as part of our legal and social lives. I don't know why we had to vote to allow fellow citizens the right to marry the person they love. I don't know why it took us so long to do it but I do know that if I have the right to marry the person I love, everyone else should have that same right.  So thank you my fellow Australians for knowing that love is love and saying yes to it. ❤️

27 November 2017

Homemade dog food

I've had quite a few readers ask about Gracie's food. What we feed our animals is important to me because I want them to have a good life and be in good health all through their lives. I've never fed our dogs supermarket food. If you look at the labels you'll see that it's full of rubbish and it's expensive. I prefer to give homemade food.  I know what's in it, it smells good and it's value for money.  We had Airedale Terriers before Gracie and I made them a meat-based stew with rice. The dogs grew well on that food and my vet said they were the healthiest Airedales he'd seen.  There are a number of recipes for dog food here and here is my recipe for what I used to cook for Rosie and Alice.

From baby Gracie to today's Gracie, I've always done my best to feed her healthy food.

Gracie is a Scottish Terrier and she's half the size of Alice and Rosie so it made me think again about how we'd feed her. When she was a puppy, she had ½ cup Black Hawk biscuits for breakfast followed by a small amount of beef mince or chicken for lunch and dinner. When she was 12 months old, we cut her back to two small meals a day. Now she's 18 months old, the vet advised me to take her off the biscuits and have one meal. She has it around 2pm every day.  That gives her time to run around in the afternoon to aid digestion but not be hungry overnight.

This is our beautiful girl, Alice.

I thought a lot about that one meal. I have one chance to give Gracie something she'll enjoy eating, and help keep her healthy. It needed to be within our budget, easy to prepare, and give us value for money.  This is what I came up with:

Day 1. Chicken and vegetables in chicken jelly stock
Day 2. 125 grams raw beef mince
Day 3. 1 raw chicken drumstick - dogs should never have cooked bones
Day 4. 1 tin of sardines OR tuna in springwater

After day 4, we start with day 1 again.

This is how I prepare the chicken and vegetables in chicken jelly stock. Add 5 chicken drumsticks to a pot and just cover the chicken with water. Don't add salt, pepper or any other additive.  During the cooking process, the chicken, bones and connective tissue start breaking down, collagen is released, and when it's cold, jelly forms. I think it gives Gracie the feeling that she's eating a bigger meal. 

Cook the chicken gently for about 45 minutes, then add the vegetables and cook for another 15 minutes. I generally use about a cup of sweet potato and carrots, cut into chunks, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Never give your dog onion or leeks. Allow this to cool, remove all the bones, then divide up into 5 even portions. I use zip lock bags and freeze them flat so they don't take up too much space in the freezer.  Of course you could cook up batches of 25 drumsticks so you only have to cook it once a month. When its defrosted, don't let it go to room temperature. Feed the dog when the liquid is still jelly. It will go back to a water consistency if you leave it sit for too long but even if you do, the nutrition is still the same.

Feeding this 4 day menu rotation gives Gracie variety and different textures as well as bones to crunch for healthy gums and teeth. I think she's enjoying her food and it takes almost no time at all.  For those in Australia, I buy the 3 star beef mince from Aldi and the chicken drumsticks from Woolworths - in the deli section, not the meat section. Last week the RSPCA-approved ones were on special for $3 a kilo, generally I pay about $5 a kilo for them.  Using the drumsticks, I don't have to cut up any chicken, the portions are easy and clean to deal with and they have the nutritional value I'm looking for. BTW, Gracie weighs 10kg and these amounts suit her size. Make sure you work out how much food your dog needs per day so you give the correct amount.

Food is such a personal thing. I don't expect everyone to change how they feed their dogs but I hope if you're looking for new ideas, this might might work for you and your dog.


24 November 2017

Weekend reading

We went out to vote in our state election last Monday and took Gracie with us.  Many of the people there supporting the politicians patted Grace and offered to hold her while we went in to vote. Dogs can certainly draw a crowd. After voting, we picked up a few odds and ends, then bought fish and chips and headed for the beach.  Sun, surf and an almost empty beach, bliss! It was a great way to spend a few hours away from home.  I think Gracie enjoyed meeting all her new fans too.

Things are still busy here.  We have all three grandkids here tomorrow and who knows what on Sunday. There's always something happening. I hope you have fun and enjoy what you do over the weekend.  I'll see you again next week.  xx

Old Time Farm Day - fixed
Make your own dishwasher powder
Inspiration for your nest: Vintage Sheets
Easy DIY phone charger holder for beginner sewers

23 November 2017

Leftovers - corned beef hash

Using leftovers to create another meal has been part of my food management for as long as I can remember. One of our favourite meals is corned beef hash and I made it this week with the leftovers of a meal of corned beef, fried cabbage, mashed potatoes and mustard and parsley sauce.

I needed to add more vegetables because there are five of us eating here nowadays and the leftovers just wouldn't stretch that far.  So I peeled more potatoes, one and a half sweet potatoes, a large onion and some cabbage. It's easier to develop that nice brown crispy coating on the hash if the potatoes and sweet potatoes you use are cold so cook then well before you cook the meal so they have time to cool down. The leftovers were a large cup of mashed potatoes, half a cup of cooked cabbage, half a cup of mustard and parsley sauce and about 300 grams of cooked corned beef. 

In a  large frying pan, I cooked the uncooked vegetables first, when they were softened I added the cooked vegetables and the diced corned beef. These cooked slowly on a low heat to develop brown crispy bits. This took about 30 minutes and during that time I turned the mix a few times.  Some of us had a fried egg with our hash, some didn't but everyone enjoyed it.

So, another easy meal without adding too much strain to the food budget.  This is my favourite leftovers meal.  What's yours?

20 November 2017

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Here at our place Mondays are the same as Thursdays, Thursdays the same as Sundays; each day we get up and usually know what we have to do. If you don't live this way, you'd probably think it's a bit slow and possibly dull. But when I tell someone what I'm doing on any given day they're usually surprised and I think they wonder why I bother.

 Hanno and Jamie sorting out the phonecards Kerry used to collect when he was young.
 Sunny's birthday lunch on Saturday.

Above and below: a recent lunch - stuffed capsicums/peppers and corn.

When we were in Tasmania last year, Hanno bought a pair of cashmere and merino gloves from the wool shop at Salamanca. They're so soft and light and very warm. Hanno has had a problem keeping his right hand warm since he had an accident a couple of years ago and gloves help a lot during winter.
During a recent clean-up, I found the gloves and noticed they both had a few moth holes. I didn't have wool that matched exactly, but I had grey wool, so I set out to darn the gloves so they could be used in years to come. Darning is simply a matter of providing a surface to work on under the hole - I used a darning mushroom - and then with a darning needle, threading the needle through the threads that are still there and slowly rebuilding stitches over the hole.  If you want to learn this valuable skill, there are many videos online but I like this one because it clearly shows the process.
You can see the repaired hole above right in the middle of the glove but you can't see the other five holes I repaired. Finishing off the repair with a damp cotton cloth and a hottish iron, helps the repair blend in a bit more because it flattens the stitches.  Now I'm storing the gloves in a plastic bag and hopefully, every time they're brought out to be used in winter, they'll be ready to wear again. And again.

Most people now throw out clothing that might be saved with a small repair. And yes, I used to be one of those people, but now I'm more prudent and I understand the reason for spending a little bit of time to keep using what we have for as long as we can.  For me, it has very little to do with economics. It's more about doing as much as I can and investing my time and effort into activities which enrich to our lives here without adding to the increasing burden being shouldered by our planet.

If you visit us on any given day, we'll be repairing things around the house, cleaning, cooking, baking, growing food and generally taking care of ourselves and what we own. We could go to the shop and replace what is broken or torn but there is an exquisite art to life and I don't think consumerism is part of it. I think the art in all our lives is developed by exercising our creativity, developing our techniques and using the talents we have to sustain ourselves, even when the force of modern life tries to break through to disturb the serenity and simplicity of each day. It is an incredibly satisfying way to spend the life hours we have but a great shame that not nearly enough of us are doing it. 

17 November 2017

Weekend reading

Yesterday, Clare commented on how difficult it is to keep her utensil drawer clean and tidy.  I think it's a problem for many of us. I know my drawer is always untidy and here is a photo of it.  I've tried several ways to make it a bit more organised but it never lasts so now I just frequently take everything out, clean the drawer, then put it all back in. It takes five minutes. When I do this, I take the chance to cull anything that shouldn't be there. And even though it looks untidy, it is clean and it works for me. 

Clare, I think it's good to remember that the work we do in our homes will often look like what everyone else does, but sometimes it's nothing like it, and that is okay.  When you find a solution that works for you, it doesn't matter if you're the only person who does it like that, you stick to the solutions that work. I hope you get your home set to support the way you have chosen to live. Once you've done all that work setting up, it's much easier to carry out daily chores and be content doing it.  Good luck!

It's still a busy time here at Hetzel House. We have Sunny's birthday lunch tomorrow and many days of contented activity after that. We're all getting along well together, Gracie hasn't caught Ec yet and Sunny and I are still going through cupboard, tile and floor samples and colours. No doubt Sunny will ask Sarndra's opinion tomorrow when she's here. I'm sure we'll come up with a simple and lovely home that they'll be very happy in.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for visiting me here during the week. xx

Young Americans turn to old-fashioned living
Modest dressing, as a virtue
How to make a cup of tea - The Victorian Way
Off grid living in a tiny cabin
Lacto-fermented hot sauce
School lunch in Japan
To cure affluenza, we have to be satisfied with the stuff we already own
New great ape discovered
An ode to the Aussie milk bar
A trip to Lehman Brothers store

16 November 2017

Organising kitchen cabinets and drawers

One of the things we did during the blog break was to continue on our quest to make things accessible and easy in our home. I'd been thinking about how I could rearrange my pots, pans and baking trays to have them at hand and easy to get at. They've been sitting in a corner blind cupboard next to the dishwasher for many years and many of them were shoved to the back well out of my reach. I didn't use those pots and trays and was surprised by a few of them when they saw the light of day again.

Like many of the readers here, I do a lot of cooking and baking and my equipment must be easy to reach in the storage space I have available.  The need for that will be greater in coming years. I don't want to give up baking just because I can't reach my trays and baking tins.

We always try to use what we have here and happened to have a set of metal drawers that I bought years ago at Howards.  I've been using it to store various types of clothing and colours waiting to be washed. Hanno fit it into the cupboard space and with minor tweaking, it fit - giving me four good sized drawers to fill with my pots and pans.

But I still had bakeware and frying pans to deal with. I cleaned out the lower large drawer under the stove and placed all the frying pans in there.  They're easy to get at as they're just under the stove. Perfect!  

Then the toughest group, the bakeware. They're all different sizes - bread pans, biscuit trays, cake pans of all shapes and sizes, pizza trays, wire racks, muffin trays, quiche and tart tins. I had these in a lower cupboard but few of them were the same shape or size so they were very difficult to store. Often when I needed something, the whole lot toppled over and I felt like throwing them out. So, simple solution, I went to Howards and bought two heavy metal racks like this, and they're working brilliantly on the top and bottom shelves. Now I can see everything I have in there and it's only my bread and loaf tins that are stacked on top of each other.

This system is so easy. I can see myself working with it well into the future.  All it cost was time and effort in cleaning out the drawers and cupboards, and about $30 for the racks. I'm very pleased that I made the effort to do it because already it's made the world of difference. Do you have spaces like this in your home that need reorganising? They usually take a couple of hours work but it's time well spent if you dive into it.

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