15 percent off at Ecoyarns

21 November 2019
Ecoyarns is offering Down to Earth readers 15 percent off all purchases starting today. I have been using Ecoyarns exclusively for my knitting for many years now and I've always received high quality yarns and excellent service.  


I'm currently knitting my yearly dishcloth stash with this Allhemp3  and some baby washcloths with this organic cotton.  I like to use the best yarn I can find because knitting takes a lot of time and I want what I give as gifts and what I use in my home to be valued. I get that when I knit with these yarns. An added bonus is that knitting with these yarns is a true pleasure.  But there is so much more than organic cottons and hemp at Ecoyarns.  Take a look around the site, message Salihan if you need advice, and see what you think of the selection of yarns, fibre, tools and notions.  The 15 percent off offer ends 31 December.

Click on the links above or the ad in the side bar to go to the online store, have a look around, choose your items and use the code word "Rhonda" at the checkout.  Happy knitting everyone! 

Reviews for induction stove, clothes dryer and dishwasher

19 November 2019
Today, I've written about our Bosch induction stove top, Bosch heat pump clothes dryer and Miele dishwasher. Water and energy efficiency is the most important thing to me when I buy a new appliance. I searched through our old water and electricity accounts yesterday and discovered that there has been no increase in our water or electricity consumption since we bought these appliances. For years we've used between 150 and 200 litres of water per day and between 140 and 200 kWh of electricity. Both those figures are under the average usage for a two person household in Australia.

Bosch PIJ611BB1E 60cm induction cooktop

Earlier this year we replaced our gas cooktop with a Bosch PIJ611BB1E, 60cm, induction, three burner cooktop. We paid $999 for ours but I notice they're currently listed on the Bosch Australian site $1699 and on Appliances Online for $1265. It always pays to look around for the best price.  I'm very happy with the stove.  We chose the three burner because we're past the stage of needing more burners to cook meals. So far I haven't regretted that choice.

Sewing bee - recycling fabric

9 November 2019
Hello sewers. I've started a sewing bee involving recycling old fabric. You can recycle unused old fabric from your stash, an old dress, sheets, towels, coats or whatever you have enough of to make something you'll use.  I'm making pillow cases from an old white cotton bed skirt.  Would you like to join in? There are no fees and no pressure; we'll all have a bit of fun and learn more about sewing and recycling. I'm hoping new sewers join in as well as our intermediates and experienced sewers. Everyone is welcome.  You can join either here or on Instagram - #downtoearthsewingbee.

This is the old bed skirt I'm using to make pillow cases.  What will you use?

The item should be finished by Thursday 21 November (or close to it) and when you finish, I'd like you to take a photo and send it to me so I can add it to my Instagram sewing bee gallery.  I'm always interested in what other people sew so I'm looking forward to seeing what you create.  Start now, let me know what you're sewing and when you finish send a photo of your finished project to downtoearthsewingbee@gmail.com so it can be added to the photo gallery.

Tea with Clare Bowditch and friends

7 November 2019
It's been a crazy week with many visitors, reading, gardening, rest and a lot of busyness snaking through my days. The highlight of the week came yesterday when Clare Bowditch visited with her husband Marty and publicist Isabelle. Clare is on tour promoting her first book Your Own Kind of Girl and on their way to Maleny they dropped in for afternoon tea. It was wonderful seeing her again. I met Clare when she interviewed me in 2016 on tour with The Simple Home. She's a wonderful and interesting woman who makes everyone around her feel loved, although it's clear when reading her book, she had a complex and difficult past. If you're looking for a good book with a clear message about life and how it changes, this is the one for you. I'm still reading mine and I don't want it to end.

The last of the garlic and spuds

30 October 2019
It will be cloudy here today with a minimal chance of rain so I'll be out in the garden planting up geranium Rozanne, a Lillipop Soda Pop gaura and a rosea, the final plants in our newish cottage garden. Before that though I want to write about the last legs of our vegetable garden - a thriving collection of common and not-so-common vegetables and fruits we started growing here in 1998.

What's growing in the backyard?

25 October 2019

I've been working in my garden for a few weeks transitioning from a vegetable to a cottage garden and trying to get everything ready for spring.  Spring is the season that sets our gardens up for the year and if you get good rain in spring, as we did, it's even better. But I have no illusions of a lush floral display throughout summer, I just hope I can help most of it through the prolonged heat that I know is coming.  Our average annual rainfall is about 1800mm and that is one of the reasons we chose to live in this area. However, so far this year we've had 755.4mm, 286mm less than the previous year. This was the first year two of our tanks ran out of water, and the big 10,000 litre tank had only about 2000 litres left. I wouldn't grow vegetables without the safety net of tanks. They're expensive to put in, but like solar panels, they earn their place in most environmentally sound houses.  We saved for our tanks, one went in soon after we arrived here, and the big one was established about ten years ago; again, when we had the cash to pay for it.  When you set yourself up with tanks, you can water liberally most of the time and know that you're producing food with no hidden costs.

How my books came about - part 2

18 October 2019
This is a continuation of this story 

We set off on our first book tour just before Down to Earth was to be published on 22 February, 2012. We had no idea what to expect or if anyone would come along to meet us. There was no need to worry though because at every stop along the way so many lovely people travelled in, often bringing gifts of jams, relish, soap, dish cloths, bread, cake, kombucha and magazines to read on the journey, as well as their good wishes.

What generosity! Just some of the many gifts we received on the road.

Being interviewed by Richard Stubbs in Melbourne. I also had the good fortune to meet Jon Faine and Clare Bowditch on their radio programs too.
Feeding the chooks. I think this was Channel 7.