Thursday, May 29, 2008

Petrol prices

Ok, I'm really not getting this.

Why is everyone jumping up and down demanding the government must do something about the petrol prices? Both sides of parliament are carrying on about what they're doing to either bring the prices down or keep them stable.

What I'm not getting is why the government has to do something about it? Why aren't we questioning ourselves, and our own petrol consumption to see what we can do individually to reduce our own use?  I mean to say,  oil is a finite resource, there is only so much of it out there, it's going to get rarer and petrol is only going to keep on getting more expensive. So why aren't we as a culture thinking more about how to reduce our own consumption?

I know there are plenty of people out there who have reduced their consumption; we as a household are certainly one of them. And yes, I know that rising petrol prices are a serious issue for transport companies and the like; and I do feel for them. But my main concern is your average Australian, who really hasn't done a great deal to reduce their own consumption. Our society is still very much reliant on cars and petrol as a necessity, most families I know think it's a necessity to have two cars (we do have two cars but have garaged one and rarely use it because of the cost of petrol). I actually had a woman asked how I  possibly coped at home with a child if I didn't have access to a car, what would I do if there was an accident ~ umm, call an ambulance.  This wholesale reliance on cars as the only possible mode of transport is quite disconcerting; there are still so many people that drive such short distances it's ridiculous.  We view so much here in Australia as a right; the right to cheap petrol. How many people actually stop to consider the carbon cost of their petrol consumption? 

I actually think it's time we started thinking of cars as a luxury and look at what other options there are for travel; walk, ride a bike, catch public transport, carpool, convert to biodiesel or gas, downsize to a more fuel efficient car, or simply do without some of the luxury trips. It does take more time to take other options than to drive, but it is so much more worth it; and to be honest, the slowing down is probably just what a lot of families need.  You can turn a one kilometre trip to the supermarket or library into a bonding and discovery  trip by loading the kids in the pram and walking. When we go on our walks we discover all sorts of wonderful things, and we stop all the time to pick up eucalyptus flower and curly leaves and to talk to the ducks; to really just indulge in our surroundings. It's a beautiful feeling and so much more relaxing. 

But you know what? I'm just not seeing any of this being raised in the media discussion.  At some stage we all have to shoulder the burdens and responsibilities of living on a planet whose resources are already over-stretched.

So take a challenge; and go car free for a week!

oh dear!!!

I was making dinner last night when I heard a clunk I turned around to find Lily busy in the fridge. On closer inspection, this is what she was up to ... eating the watermelon straight from the fridge!!

She does love watermelon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

leftovers 101: Mashed potato

I honestly think this recipe must be the best use of a leftover vegie EVER!!! Gawd, is this cake every yummy!! It's Boston bun and the recipe is from my mum. She used to make it for us as little ones. We probably had so much left over mash as my sister Megan used to pretend she was allergic to mashed potato; she even wrote it on a camp form once under allergies! 

I don't get the chance to make it very often, even if I deliberately make extra mashed potato as my husband is a mashed potato fiend, like all his five brothers. He'll eat mash until it comes out his ears. 

So I was quite excited (and that's probably a little sad really) when I found a tub of leftover mash in the fridge this morning from last night's dinner.  Lily and I made this cake today and she helped with the icing and the coconut on top ~ hence it's a little messy ~ but still really really yummy!!!

It's a really nice moist cake, not a particularly high one, yummy served either warm or cold; and for added deliciousness you can slice it and spread with a little margarine. 
And at Megsie's request, here's the recipe (quick and easy):


1/2 cup mashed potato
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cup self raising flour
1 pinch salt
1 cup mixed fruit

Cream the potato and sugar (this isn't really creamed, but the sugar sort of melts into the potato)
Add the other ingredients and mix together.
Pour into a greased tin, I just used a round cake tin. 
Bake in a moderate(180 C) over for 20 minutes.
Cool and then ice.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crafting away!!

I love the way Lily crafts. 
I love her individual approach. 
I love the way she uses her craft stuff how she wants to which is not generally how they're "supposed" to be used. 
Thankfully having an art teacher for a sister has taught me to resist showing her the way things "should be" used and directing her craft time or feeling the need to do it myself or make sure there's a finished product.
 It's so much more creative this way and I'm constantly amazed at what she does and the process she takes; there's a lot you can learn from a little one's mind when they haven't been trained to produce in  a certain manner.

Anyway, Lily's crafting time usually begins spontaneously with her announcing, "I'm going to make something." She'll then announce all the things she will need and heads off to her craft box. I'm not sure if she actually always knows what she's planning on producing, sometimes she seems to have a definite idea, other times it seems to just evolve.

For this activity, she decided she needed plasticine (as opposed to playdough), glitter (there's always glitter involved LOL we've found that glitter in shakers is really cool to play with, if you can't find the shakers you can just put it in an old herb jar), fairy stamps, glue and stickers. Most things involve stickers.

She started off by making this little shape with a multitude of different coloured plasticine, to which she added glue, glitter and of course stamped it with the fairy stamps.

Next she pressed some star shaped stickers along it.
I love the look of concentration here!!!
And the final product is, a caterpillar... apparently!! He now takes pride of place on my shelf in the sewing room. :D

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

the last leaf

Winter is definitely nearing, only ten days until the official end of Autumn. We had a very windy weekend which hastened the leaf shedding process of our fruit trees, the nectarine tree was bare today apart from this last leaf. The little Ballerina apple tree you can see next to it, is only just beginning to turn. Andy's pet Golden Orb spider has vanished and the leaves are dying back on the zucchini plants.  

I love the native that flower at this time of the year. Our sheoaks have a gorgeous golden glow as they're in full flower. Every day on our walk Lily has to stop to collect the eucalypt flowers that have fallen from the trees lining our streets.  

Today we had to go hunting for bigger gum nuts to make ducks out of, just like Jay off Playschool. 

And with winter coming, here's a little black cord pinnie ready to hit the shop. It's been sitting on my pile for a good couple of weeks awaiting the right buttons and buttonholes... finally got it finished today!!  I'll put it up for preview tonight (hopefully) and send it live tomorrow night around 8pm.. all going well!

Monday, May 19, 2008

this is my ... recycling

Yeah, back on board with this meme too!! 

Had to think about this one for awhile before posting ... recycling, what is my version of recycling. Hmm, we recycle all the obvious household items and our food scraps go into the worm farm. Like many sewers in this meme, I too thrift fabric and use recycled fabrics; some of the first pieces I sold were partly made from recycled Japanese kimonos. Much of our furniture is reclaimed and done up by Andy, or second hand or built with timber from his parents block, with trees replanted. And like most mums our craft box is filled with bits and pieces reclaimed from all manners of household items.

One thing we don't do that is now quite popular is recycle our grey water, when we first came into stage 4 water restrictions here I tried to but actually found there really wasn't any where in our garden I could, or wanted to use grey water.  When we planted out our garden  back in 2001 we planted an all native garden, with a focus on indigenous plants. It doesn't need to be watered and hasn't been for over five years. Our lawn is in the same situation, we've never watered it, it survives. And I wouldn't pour grey water on an area where kids play anyway. Our lawn does get some water from a subterraneous watering system that comes from the downpipes of the studio.  The only thing left was the vegies and fruit trees (both totally organic), again I'm very hesitant to water them with grey water; they do get the first off the shower water though, and our fruit trees just have to be tough, although they do occasionally get a dousing with Lily's bath water LOL

So, I've decided to go off on a slightly different tangent, just a little, and say that my idea of recycling is to work on reducing my impact initially so that I don't have to rely on recycling as much. Recycling household waste still uses a huge amount of resources, so things like being conscious of the packaging your goods are in, saying no to plastic bags ~ supermarket ones as well as those from chain/fashion/other stores (disappointingly despite the move to green bags nearly one billion more plastic bags were used in 2007 than in 2006), reducing the amount you consume, focussing your consumption on more ethical options; basically aiming to reduce your carbon and environmental footprint. 

Ok, to explain the pics.  The first one is of Lily quite some time ago in  a cloth nappy; a bamboo terry nappy from Cherubs Kiss to be precise.  Using cloth nappies can drastically reduce your environmental footprint, particularly those made from such environmentally friendly fabrics such as hemp and bamboo. 

One of my big dislikes are so-called disposable products, but I particularly dislike disposable products like so called "eco-disposables".  I consider these to be green-guilt-cleansers; false ones though that are so terribly misleading in there advertising it's wrong. Yes, they are biodegradable, but here's the thing; they don't biodegrade in landfill any faster than other  single-use nappies; which in case you're wondering, is estimated to take about 500 years. The only way they do biodegrade is in a composting system, and unfortunately your average household compost system is seriously incapable of coping with such a load. Even worse is that some "eco-disposables" actually use more resources in their production than other single-use nappies.  We won't even go into the ridiculous amount of oil that is used in the production of such nappies or how many Olympic swimming pools full of nappies your child contributes to landfill after their time in nappies using single-use nappies.

Cloth is easy, environmentally friendly, a much cheaper alternative and far cuter.  

Secondly, fish and sustainable seafood and fishing.   The ocean is the lungs of the earth, and seafood form an integral part of its operation. And quite frankly, we're stuffing it. If we don't change our fishing habits now by 2040 things are going to be very very bad indeed. Unfortunately, as humans while we're happy to bang on about and get extremely concerned about endangered and threatened species on land, the same can't be said of sealife. Many people consciously eat free-range, organic and local but how many people consider the environmental effects of eating seafood?  

Next time you pick up a tin of tuna in the supermarket I would love you to think not just about whether you're choosing dolphin friendly tuna (isn't even the choice made here between two different species an interesting one ~ because heck, it's certainly not tuna friendly is it!!!) but also about the state of the fish species itself; some subspecies of tuna are considered threatened or endangered, including those that the Australian tuna industry is based on.  Consider also that the harvesting of tuna has a similar environmental footprint to farming beef.  

Think also about your choice of sea food and whether it is sustainable. Don't kid yourself that just because the fish is farmed, it's a more sustainable option; it's not. There are only I think about three fisheries in Australia that are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as sustainable.  Here's a good link to packaged products that you can buy in the supermarket that are a good environmental seafood choice.

Anyway, if you'd like to know more about sustainable seafood visit here and purchase a shopping guide and help support the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

a couple more...

previewing now, live 8pm ish tonight.

probably the last pair you'll see for a few weeks too. 

Now, onto some customs and some black denim for this week ;)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

some more fleece longies

no B girls, I'm still looking for the pics but some fleece longies that are up previewing in the store. I've already previewed the tulips but the other three are all new applique designs, I want to keep doing new designs as much as possible so that every pair is unique but it is hard to keep coming up with images I must admit. Boyish ones are particularly hard as I naturally seem to lean towards the cute girly stuff. So if anyone has any ideas for appliques shoot away... please!!!

I've got a couple more to finish off, hopefully tomorrow and pop up them, including the fish ones from the last applique post. they're a wee little size 00... aww!!! I keep wondering whether I should do some 000 size for all the little newborns, but not sure.  There's also a butterfly in the works, then back to some black denim, cord and hemp me thinks ;)
Lily's been helping me put the photos on the computer tonight, she's very fascinated by the idea of a shop on the computer and asks lots of questions about how it works, trying to get her head around it. Tonight she asked me to please not sell any of the toys she plays with in the shop LOL I think the photo with her ragdoll in it had her a bit worried.  She also saw one of Megsie's pixies in the shop and I think she was a little concerned Megsie was selling Tully's dolls. 
Anyway, fleece longies up previewing will go live around 9 pmish tonight AEST.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thrifting Thursday

My local oppies have been pretty dry of late, with not much goodness to be found there. Doing the rounds has netted very little excitement recently but our last visit we did manage to find a couple of gorgeous little Golden Books and a game of My First Scrabble, which bears basically no resemblance whatsoever to the grown up version of scrabble; apart from the words involved ~ I guess that's marketing.

Anyway, we came home withe The Colour Kittens and a beautiful Joan Walsh Angland; from which you can see some of the illustrations above.

I remember as children we used to draw people with heads the shape of Bs; I wonder now if this lady's work is where we got our inspiration from.  I may even get inspired and share some of those pics tomorrow for Archive Friday; another meme that seems to have appeared in my hiatus.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

on a roll

two posts in one day.. wow!!!

Just a quick little pic to preview a pair of little size 1 cord bootlegs I'll add to the store later tonight. I love the fabric on the pockets of these, it is recycled from kimonos imported direct from Japan; very pretty!!

And just because it's funny, this hilarious pic I found of Lily while uploading the photos from the camera.

getting back into the swing of things... i hope

It probably seems like I've disappeared off  the face of this blog, which I guess I have sort of.  the above picture might help to explain my absence.. not necessarily the appointments and ultrasound itself, just really the first trimester of pregnancy with all the fun bits that come with it... vomiting, nausea and tiredness. Growing a baby sure is hard work!!

But anyway now we're through that first trimester and the yucky bits are easing, I feel like I'm getting control over all those things that have gone a little haywire the last couple of months, perhaps except my washing basket, not sure why that is always so crazy!!

Have been getting a bit of sewing done, just can't seem to do the late night gigs I used to.  Been having lots of fun with some appliques for fleece longies; two of the five below are destined for the shop, one is a custom and the other two are gifts :D  I have four more appliques just about finished. 

Lily and I had a lovely Saturday shopping expedition last weekend while Andy went crayfish diving. We hit the fabric stores as well as hunted out some new tshirts for her, one for me and some new jeans for Andy.  First up some lovely fleeces, Lily choose two of the colours (the pinks) as she desperately wants me to make her some seastar fleece longies, interesting considering that she will only wear dresses LOL
Some purple windcheater fabric for some trackie pants for Lily (more pants strangely enough), this gorgeous patterned velvet and some lovely grey interlock fabric for some pants for me. I had planned to make some funky little flares for Lily out of the velvet but as she so nicely pointed out she'd prefer a dress from it, so a dress it will be!