27 January 2020

Make your own household linens

Making your own household linens is a BIG step towards a simpler life. You'll use numerous simple living skills such as sewing, recycling, budgeting, home maintenance and organisation when you actively work towards fabric recycling and creating your own cloths, bags, napery and soft furnishings. I gave up looking for what I wanted in the shops many years ago and over the years I've made cheese and yoghurt straining cloths, tablecloths, tea towels, hair towels, tea cosies, table runners, aprons, napkins, shopping bags, pillowcases, cushion covers, lamp skirts, bread bags, mats, plate covers, cool cotton sheets and warm woollen blankets for Gracie's bed. Increasingly what I want is not sold in any shop and I get a wonderful sense of reassurance and satisfaction when I make what I need. About 90 percent of the time I use recycled materials. 

This is a simple activity that takes only time, a change of mindset and a bit of effort but it will make a huge difference to your day-to-day life. And if you do this and can stand back from the commercial world, where everything has a monetary value instead of an environmental one, you, my friend, will put yourself in a powerful and sustainable position.

I'm about halfway through this project - a new linen bread bag using linen I first wore as a skirt many years ago.

25 January 2020

Caring for Australian wildlife affected by fires

In the past week, I've had a couple of emails from international readers wanting to know about the native animals caught up in the unprecedented bush fires. We’ve had some rain over a large area but unfortunately, fires are still burning in some areas. We were all devastated to learn that three American men who came to Australia to help fight the fires, were killed when the plane they were fighting fires in crashed on Thursday. We send our sincere sympathy to their family and friends and thank them for the help they gave us. Rest in Peace.

This is a baby wombat rescued by Charles last year.  Sadly the mother was run over by a car.


22 January 2020

Housework, it's never-ending

I've got a good job. I rise when I want to, work and rest when I feel like it and every day I look after us and our home. Hanno does the same thing but generally, his work is outside; we also share a lot of tasks. Although I do the same thing every day, each day is different. I try to make as much as I can from scratch - that includes our meals, bread, biscuits, cakes and drinks as well as cleaning products such as soap, laundry liquid, cleaners for the kitchen, toilets, bathrooms, furniture, glass and floors. 

I start every day by making the bed. This is an extremely important symbolic gesture that reminds me to look after myself. Slow, simple tasks play a big part in my life.


18 January 2020

A letter of thanks from Charles

A few weeks ago, when Tricia told me that she was going to sew bat wraps and joey pouches for Charles to use in his wildlife rescue work, I suggested I call in our wonderful sewing bee girls to add a few more to the collection.  I didn't think that we'd end up receiving over 200 wraps and pouches but that's what arrived.  I know I can always count on you. Thank you, ladies, you've been so generous. ♥️

Charles with some of the parcels he received.


17 January 2020

High fibre white loaf recipe

I've been working on a new loaf - a high fibre white. I usually make either white or rye loaves and I do that because Hanno loves rye bread and our main toast loaf is white. When I plan to make something regularly, I want to be able to easily buy the ingredients in bulk. I can get good white bread flour at the local supermarket and good rye flour at an organic supermarket that I have to drive to get to.

Recently I've been adding extra fibre to the loaves, using mainly milled rolled oats, but in this loaf, I also added rice bran. The oats add moistness and the rice bran gives a slightly nutty flavour. Both the fibre additions make for a slightly heavier loaf which is absolutely delicious as sandwiches on the day it is baked and makes really good toast.  Of course, if I have ends left over I either add them to a bag of frozen bread I turn into bread crumbs when I need them, or, when they're soaked in milk, they make up a high protein extra meal for the chooks. That will help you cut down on your feed bill as it provides a nutritious boost for your hens.

13 January 2020

Looking forward, looking back

We don't go away on holidays anymore but always make sure that the time between Christmas and mid-January is like a holiday.  We both do what we want to do and make sure it's different to the regular things we do during the year. I forget about routines, my meal plans loosen up and I sleep when I'm tired. My main aim is to rest and recuperate, watch Test cricket, tend the garden, read and think and as I pack away another year, I prepare for the year ahead.

Peaches were prepared in front of the TV with the cricket on.


8 January 2020

If you want to live a simpler life - identify your needs

"Why are those pots upside-down on sticks?" - that's the question I'm asked more than any other. The second most asked question is this: "How can I start to live a simple life?"  Well, that's easy - stop shopping for things you don't need.  Of course, you could also take it one step at a time and start budgeting, menu planning, cooking from scratch, batch cooking, and making your own soap and household cleaners. You could mend your clothes, plant a vegetable garden and keep chickens. You need to keep up to date with your world, I do that via crikey.comThe Guardian and by maintaining a thoughtful connection with my online tribe; and you could lobby your local MP to find out their view of climate change and what they're doing about it. But if you want to start living more sustainably in a way that will help you save money, pay off debt, cut down on paid work or retire early, don't go shopping for "stuff". You don't have to prepare in any way, you don't have to research it, you don't need any special information or skill. You just stop. And you can do that right now. Today.

7 January 2020

We need sewers who can sew straight

One of my nephews, Charles, is a volunteer wildlife rescuer and he spends a lot of his spare time in the Blue Mountains bush rescuing native animals. We all know our precious native wildlife has been decimated in the ongoing bush fires and injured and scared animals are now coming into local properties and homes looking for water and food. In the coming days, these are the animals Charles will be helping.  When the NSW RFS give the all-clear for people to return to the burnt bushland, Charles will set off looking for injured animals.  These animals will be carefully handled and taken to either a vet for diagnosis and treatment or a wildlife carer for longer term care. To do this work, Charles supplies his own equipment but there is a chance that he won't have enough wraps and pouches to transport the animals he finds.

I suggested to him that we - you, me and the rest of the gang here - could help him by quickly making a selection of what he needs.  I wonder if you'll join in with this.  The main need is for bat wraps and he needs 60 of them, he also needs some hanging joey pouches. Bat wraps and pouches are vital to help calm animals during transportation. Both these items are essential to Charles' work.

We're happy to accept whatever you can send - one, two, six or 20. They will help in a significant number of rescues. So who is up for this?  The patterns are simple straight sewing and the links are below for you to click on and look at.  Please be guided by the suggested fabrics - most are cotton, cotton flannelette, calico or wool. No buttons or Velcro are used. All the finished wraps and pouches need to be sent to Charles in the Blue Mountains, please contact me by email: rhondahetzel@gmail.com and I'll give you his postal address.

I wonder if there is a vet who reads my blog. I'd like to introduce you to Charles so he can speak to someone about rehydrating animals and general burns first aid. At the moment, he needs some burns cream, syringes and Vet Wraps.  If you can email me, I'll give you Charles' phone number so you can talk to him directly. Thank you.

I'll be making this part of our Instagram Sewing Bee so when you finish your sewing, please send me a photo of what you made, along with your IG name, so we can link to you from the Bee.

Thank you all. I know we'll get this started quickly so we can help Charles in his important work.

6 January 2020

The fires in Australia and what you can do to help

As the final hours of 2019 rolled along, I sat with increasing sadness watching our country burn. Each new day revealed red landscape and sky and then news reports started trickling in of farmers, homeowners and volunteer firefighters who died protecting properties, and millions of helpless animals dying trying to escape the ferocious, unpredictable fires.  These are our unique and beautiful Australian animals - the kangaroos, koalas, wombats, echidnas, possums and bats as well as snakes, lizards, birds and insects. If you have the chance to donate to the recovery programs, please do so. Our communities and wildlife need all the help they can get. Some may never recover, the ones that might need financial assistance to start again.

You can donate to Red Cross, Salvation Army, Victoria's Country Fire Authority, NSW's Rural Fire Service,  or have a look on Instagram where there are quite a few people who have set up Go Fund Me pages to help rebuild their lost homes and farms. Also on Go Fund Me are Will Connolly (egg boy) and the wonderful Magda Szubanski who are fundraising for long term mental health care to support men, women and children traumatised by the fires. These funds will be administered by registered charities such as Beyond Blue when the short term care ends.

I have two more links for you specifically for wildlife rescue and support, courtesy of my nephew, David.  WIRES Emergency Fund for Wildlife and Wildlife Victoria.

I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart if you can help us rebuild our burnt country. ♥️

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