A few days ago, I turned a $1 opshopped flannelette pillowcase (all cotton) into four kitchen cloths. I was inspired by our electrician Daniel, who mentioned that he’d been making them out of his daughters’ old pyjamas. It was a fun project using 100% rescued materials, including vintage sewing machine thread and embroidery floss from an old craft kit.

I subsequently learnt that this style of cleaning cloth is common in Japan, where it’s known as “zokin”. Google turned up this interesting article about them, and I loved this quote…”the Japanese used to say that we should keep using the fabric until the fabric dissolves in the water.”

Serendipitously, that evening, my friend Carol gave me her old flannelette sheets. I used them to make her and Kevin a set of zokin, and embroidered them with some of the phrases that bring instant laughter after nearly 40 years of friendship.

Each one has a story, but this one – “test of friendship” – is a particular favourite. When we were 21, Kevin and I were at university together. He lived in Stanmore, I lived in Strathfield, both stations on the same train line. After lectures, we’d sit chatting on the platform and an express train (stopping at Redfern – Ashfield – Strathfield) would arrive.

“No no no, wait for the all stations train with me!”, Kevin would say. I’d object that it would take me an extra 45 minutes to get home, and he’d ALWAYS say.. “test of friendship!” So I’d wait, get on the train, and after four stops, Kevin would get off…and I’d ride another seven stops to Strathfield. This happened almost every day. It’s a memory that never fails to make me laugh.

And it was totally worth it, because I’ve been able to tell this story at countless dinner parties for 35 years. I was smiling a great deal when I embroidered it on his dishcloth. When I presented it to him, he grinned and said “we were always in deep conversation, and I don’t think you ever complained!” Even at 21, I knew we would be lifelong friends, and that his company was a gift.

If you’d like to have a go at making these dishcloths, they’re a very easy and forgiving project. Cut up any old, absorbent fabric into 25cm/10″ squares and sew them together. I machine stitched around three edges with the right sides of the fabric together, then turned them out and stitched the opening closed. Old embroidery thread can be used to hand sew running or decorative stitches to hold the two sides together. I picked this bundle up for $3 at The Sewing Basket in Balmain.

Then…use them constantly until the fabric dissolves in the water. I toss them into the washing machine with my tea towels and they launder perfectly. It’s an end of life use for these precious materials, and one which simultaneously reduces the need for disposable cleaning cloths or paper towels! 🌿💚♻️

Hello lovely friends, hope you’re all well. I haven’t been overly adventurous with food lately, but stumbled across this recipe recently that was just too good not to share!

It’s an intriguing method for making curry puff dough from Nyonya Cooking. Traditionally, this pastry is tricky to make – two types of dough are made and then laminated together to achieve the necessary flakiness. By contrast, this is the easiest pastry I’ve ever tried and it’s made in a completely different way – HOT oil is added to the flour, followed by COLD water. The link above has more information, including a video on how the dough is made. The oil appears to cook the flour a little first, making the pastry pliable and easy to manage.

It’s super simple (and as an added bonus, vegan) – 120g hot oil (we used canola) is poured on to 220g plain flour with 5g of salt added, then 70g of cold water is stirred in. It’s all made in a bowl with a spoon – no rubbing in of fats or kneading required. We made two batches, and on our second attempt, we increased the flour to 250g, reduced the salt to 4g, and added a touch more water.

I used my standard filling (see here) and baked the egg-washed puffs on a lined oven tray for 30 minutes at 180C with fan. The end result was absolutely brilliant – the pastry was easy to roll out and fill, and the puffs baked to tender, flaky perfection.

Definitely a keeper, and it will be a great foil for future vegan pastries as well! x


As we exit lockdown here in Sydney, I wanted to drop you a short note to let you know where we’re at. A couple of readers have been kind enough to make contact to check on us, and I didn’t want to leave you hanging!

In short though, we’re doing very well! Retirement has proven to be an absolute joy and I’ve been spending less and less time online as it evolves. During lockdown, we’ve focused on our family, friends and neighbours, renewing old bonds and building new ones, trying to take care of those around us. It’s been an incredibly rewarding time, despite having been stuck at home for nearly four months.

My focus has changed a great deal since starting this blog in 2009. Back then, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial was all about bread and baking, interspersed with the occasional story of our family life. I made a concerted effort to keep things light – aiming to provide a space where folks could come to enjoy an easy, gentle read. These days, my focus is on sustainability (as you’ve probably noticed over the past couple of years), waste reduction, and, as time passes, increasingly on issues of social justice. None of which make for light reading. In addition, WordPress have changed their posting interface, and I’m finding it cumbersome to navigate.

So that’s where I’m at right now. As my friend Lisa is fond of saying, we’re living our best lives! I didn’t want you to interpret the radio silence as a bad thing – I simply haven’t had much to blog about or the energy to put the words together. Thank you for your concern though! I’m hopeful that I’ll still put up the occasional post, but I’ve never been one to force content when it hasn’t wanted to come out naturally. In the meantime, I hope you’re all traveling well during this strange and bizarre period in history. Our best wishes to you all! ♥

Last week we broke our ceramic wok.

To be honest, I’m not sure how it lasted as long as it did. But I was desperate to keep the glass lid as it’s the perfect size for my dough bowl…but it’s a tricky item to store. My initial plan – to store it upside down above head level, balanced on a stack of mixing bowls – did not meet with approval. So my oh-so-clever husband created a dedicated spot to store it by adding two spare knobs to the old warming oven we use as shelves.

I was reflecting (ha!) this morning on what a blessed life I’ve had. It’s been pretty tumultuous too, with our fair share of sickness and loss and sadness, but it’s always been underpinned and supported by this amazing relationship which started when we were just 18 years old. And I never take it for granted – possibly because I’m a sentimental fool – but every little word or gesture, every kiss on the head, every small act – feels like a gift. Last night he saw the glass lid precariously jammed (upside down) on the top shelf, shook his head and smiled, then solved the problem. He didn’t berate me for being daft or insist we get rid of it. This is how it’s been for 38 years.

A couple of days ago, my daughter-in-law told me about how she was upset because she’d spilled something all over their new tablecloth. She said Big Boy saw her distress, shook his head and smiled, then scooped up the cloth and said “don’t worry, it’s gone now”. And I told her it was because he’d trained at the foot of the master, and that she was going to have the best life ever. 💕 


As it’s been pointed out to me many times before, I am ridiculously sentimental.

A Sentimental Fool, in every sense of the word.

I was reflecting on that this morning as I mended my kitchen apron. I’ve made more than thirty of these upcycled jeans aprons to date (there’s a tutorial here), but THIS is the only one I use. Why? Because it’s made from Small Man’s very old jeans, which he finally grew out of. By then I’d mended them half a dozen times and the denim was disintegrating. But I made it into an apron anyway (see above, Sentimental Fool), and used it constantly until the straps wore out.

So today I patched holes, added a new strap, and replaced the waist ties. Oh and the patches and strap? Made from Big Boy’s old jeans, of course. My denim harvesting skills have stepped up a notch recently since getting to know fellow denim lover Eliu from Colorado. Check out his fabulous video on how to disassemble a pair of jeans (link here), or support him by purchasing his e-zine like I did..

I followed his instructions and harvested these muted top-stitching threads from my stash of old jeans. Aren’t they gorgeous?

I turned the coin pocket from one pair into a small pincushion…

…and twisted strips of another into a bangle (you know how much I love my denim jewellery)…

Going back to the apron – the waistband from Big Boy’s jeans was perfect as a neckband and the red waist ties were made from polyester webbing I found at Reverse Garbage years ago – the cotton straps finally gave up the ghost after repeated washing. So now my apron is made from BOTH my sons’ old jeans. Guess I’ll just have to keep repairing it! ♥

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