29 January 2021

Weekend Reading

This is Mary Rose, a standard David Austin rose. It flowers like crazy during summer as long as I keep the water up.

Each day gets busier here and we're almost back into full working mode. My online Zoom workshops start tomorrow and I'm excited about meeting all the ladies face-to-face and being able to talk about how we live. I'm also negotiating simple life workshops for the Kuringai, Willoughby and North Sydney Councils so stay tuned for news about those in the near future. 

22 January 2021

Weekend Reading

It's been a kind of quiet busyness here this week. I'm trying to get some sewing finished before I start the simple living workshops, and they start next weekend. Thanks to everyone who has signed up. I think we're going to have a great time and I can't wait to actually see all of you in person. 

I'm thinking of having another workshop, closer to Easter, on writing. I'm not specifying the type of writing, it will be a general discussion, over two workshops of three hours in total, where I share how I started, how I maintain motivation, how I became a published writer, the commitment and hard work all serious writers need, and a little bit on contracts. I get quite a few emails from budding writers who usually ask me about getting to the next level. They want to make a living out of writing but they get to a point, get bogged down and don't know what to do next.  I think a workshop using our shared experience might kick-start a few writers and maybe clarify for others what they need to work on.  It will be online, on Zoom. Let me know your thoughts.

Soft vegetables like green onions last much longer if you prepare them as soon as you pick them or bring them home from the shop.  They just need a good wash then cut them to suit the size of the container you'll store them in; they should be stored in the fridge.  They'll easily last a couple of weeks like this. When you want to use them, just take them out and cut to size for your particular recipe.  Lettuce and celery can be processed the same way, they will last much longer and be nice and crisp.

15 January 2021

Weekend Reading

Things are slowly returning to normal and I have to say I'm really pleased about that.  I don't really enjoy the Christmas/New Year holidays anymore. The last cricket test starts today and by the time it's over next week, I hope to be well and truly back into my 2021 housework routines.

Jamie and I baked these choc chip biscuits just before Christmas and I sent him home with the leftover biscuit dough to cook more when his biscuits ran out.  Luckily he had that dough because they had no snacks to leave out for Santa. They quickly baked more biscuits and I have no doubt Santa would have loved the smell of fresh biscuits when he arrived at Jamie's home on Christmas Eve.


12 January 2021

Radical knitting - dishcloths

When I made my lifestyle change many years ago, there was a period of about 12 months when I thought about what work needed to be done at home, what ingredients and products had to be bought for our home and what I could make myself. When I had all that information I worked out a plan and a new life was born. That plan in it’s polished form, is what became the Down to Earth blog and book. 

I went from spending a lot on convenience products to being more frugal and mindful about what I could stop buying and make at home. I wanted to start with the items/cleaners/food I used everyday, so I stopped buying Chux and started making cotton dishcloths. That one action saved money, was a sustainable practice and it increased my skill set, in this case the traditional skill of knitting. So within the first 12 months of changing my fast-paced, money-driven life to a much simpler one, I picked up my needles and started knitting cotton dishcloths. I say dishcloths but they can also be baby cloths or washcloths.


I use 8 ply organic knitting cotton on size 5 needles but I’ve also used two strands of 5 ply cotton on the same needles and it worked well. I always keep the small half or quarter balls left over from other projects so I have the opportunity to use all my knitting cotton for a useful item. Don’t use polyester or wool because they tend to retain smell and cotton is more absorbent and easier to look after. 

These cloths will last for years, even with constant washing. I wash mine every one or two days in the washing machine with homemade laundry liquid and dry them on the washing line. Sometimes you might catch one of your cloths on a knife and it will unravel if you don’t mend it quickly. So try to catch your two yarn ends and knot them or do a quick darned repair. 

You don’t have to be too precious with dishcloths, so this is a good project for beginners. They don’t have to fit, they’re just a square and I knit mine while I watch cricket on TV. I make mistakes sometimes but it’s a dishcloth so I don’t fret about it, I fix my mistake and carry on. 

Here are some links I found to help all the beginners.

To all our beginners, have patience and remember that when you learn how to knit, and this is the first step, you'll be able to make clothing for your family, that will last for many years.  If you get stuck, put a comment in here or IG and one of us knitters will come along and help you start again.    Happy knitting everyone.  🧶

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