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Peak Stuff

I’ve had an epiphany, and it’s making me uncomfortable.

At 53, I’ve reached “peak stuff“.

And my backup plan for downsizing – donating it to charities – has hit a hurdle. They don’t want most of my “stuff”.

It all started with our holiday viewing of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. The show was simultaneously inspiring and terrifying in equal parts. In one episode, the family who were decluttering sent 150 giant bags of trash to landfill. That’s just the stuff they weren’t able to donate – there was a mountain of bags going to charity as well.

Anyway, Pete and I were inspired to sort through our old clothing. We culled ruthlessly, ending up with six bags of good quality (albeit very dated) items to donate. And then we hit stage two, which was trying to find a place that would take them. The CEO of the Salvation Army might well berate folks for not donating, but he’s obviously never been knocked back when trying to donate to their North Parramatta store like my friend was last week.

Other friends fronted up to Vinnies in Leichhardt with lightly worn, undamaged clothing that their children had grown out of, only to be told that they weren’t accepting donations at that time. The charities are fussy because they have to be – they’re spending millions of dollars each year managing waste. We might feel good believing that our donated items are going to a worthy cause, but there’s a strong chance that much of it will be deemed unsaleable and sent to landfill. According to this article, more than 30 per cent of charity donations end up there.

I was already aware of this problem as a result of the rescued socks. I finally found a refugee support group who are incredibly grateful to have them, but none of the big name charities would touch them, even after I’d sanitised them to within an inch of their lives. Even those working with the homeless didn’t want them. The Exodus Foundation reluctantly took some last year and said they’d call me back if they wanted any more (they never did). Vinnies’ night patrol were happy to take the beanies we made, but they received a regular supply of new socks, so weren’t able to take any from us. It was a real eye-opener about how affluent and privileged a society we’re fortunate enough to live in.

Which leads me back to my epiphany. I have two difficult tasks ahead of me now.

Firstly, I have to be accountable for my stuff. I’ve never really done that before, but our waste reduction efforts this past year have focused my attention on this point. What happens to the things I own when they’re no longer needed? Throwing an item into landfill has to be an absolute last resort and only done after every effort has been made to extend its life.

An example – the base of our car phone holder broke recently, but the cradle was still fine, so we attached it to a shelf in the kitchen. Nothing lasts forever, but this will at least save part of it from the bin for a few more years…

More importantly though, is that I have to start buying things with a different mindset.

Whatever comes into the house needs to have an exit plan.

Will it have a long life? Can it be repaired? Donated? Repurposed? Recycled? Will it biodegrade, or live in landfill for eternity? What about the packaging it comes in? Asking these questions inevitably lead to…do I really need it? Do I really want it?

I have to work much harder at this. It’s far easier to type than to put into practice, because like most extroverts, I like new things. I am, however, trying my best to improve. Last year I assuaged my guilt by shopping mostly at op shops and places like Reverse Garbage, telling myself that I was already further down the landfill ladder by buying items that had already been used and/or discarded. But what the Kondo show made me realise was that even this stuff needs an exit plan. And I have to consider that before I think about bringing something new into the house.

Secondly, I have to figure out what to do with the things I already have. There is a room full of fabric and craft supplies that needs rationalising, and I want to do it in a careful, considered way. On the show, folks worked through their houses in a whirlwind fashion – the premise being that you start tidying and don’t stop until you’re finished – but I don’t want to simply throw out items without giving them a great deal of thought first.

I have a responsibility to do more than simply hold an item in my hands to see if it “sparks joy”. I have yards of boring green polarfleece (leftover from school jumpers) that I can turn into beanies for the homeless over the next few years rather than discarding for the sake of clear floor space. And having to buy something to replace a perfectly good item that I threw/gave away previously drives me bonkers.

I have to make a greater effort to repair and extend the life of items. In her book (I haven’t read it, but I’m quoting from this article), Kondo writes that “when a button falls off, it’s a sign that the particular shirt or blouse has … reached the end of its life.” I find that incredibly disturbing. Our goal is to repair for as long as possible – made easier if we choose well in the first place. Although I must admit that my sock repairs are starting to drive my poor mother to despair…

So those are my new goals for 2019. Tidying up in a careful, considered way. Minimising new purchases as much as possible. Buying only when necessary, with a view to longevity, and with an exit plan. It won’t be easy, but I’m going to try. ♥

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I was messing about with my denim stash yesterday and ended up making this little bag from the leg of an old pair of jeans. It was the perfect size for our neighbourhood bread deliveries.

It worked so well and was so quick to make that I started experimenting with other fabrics. Three hours and ten bags later, and I’m happy to share the instructions!

Start with two rectangles of fabric – approximately 15″ x 11″ (38cm x 28cm). Also, cut a strap 2½” (6½cm) wide by whatever length you prefer.  My handles all ended up different lengths, determined by whatever scrap I was using…

Place the rectangles right sides together. Cut 2″ (5cm) squares out of the bottom corners…

Sew the bottom and side seams, then overlock around the top. I overlocked all the seams just because it’s easier, but you could straight stitch and finish them if you prefer…

Now open up the fabric in the corners and match the side and bottom seams…

Stitch to form a boxed base…

Turn the top edge over and hem. At the same time, hem the long sides of the strap. At this point, down tools and go and iron everything as it will be harder to do so later…

Centre the strap over the side seams and attach it in place with two rows of stitching. That’s it, all done! Easy, right?

These bags are proving to be very useful! They’re the perfect size for one of my loaves…

…and for BYOing two bottles of wine to dinner…

I’ve made them in quilting scrap, denim, tea towels – just about any sturdy non-stretch fabric will work…

If you’re a bit more experienced and want to try making the bag from old jeans, you’ll need to make sure the leg circumference is wide enough (most skinny jeans won’t work). Make sure you have a sturdy sewing machine and walk the needle over the thick seams or risk breaking it (I learnt that the hard way).

Here’s how I cut the bag out of a jean’s leg…

I love how they turn out, but mitering the corners is a bit trickier. You could, of course, just leave that step out…

I love quick and easy sewing projects like this! The dimensions can be easily adapted as needed, so in theory the basic pattern could be used for everything from lolly bags to shopping totes (although the straps might need changing for the latter to provide more support).

I’ll be making them as bread and wine carriers, but I suspect we’ll find a multitude of different things to do with them.  I hope you’ll give them a go! ♥

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Hello lovelies, how are you all? Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

We’re just back from a glorious two weeks in Singapore to attend a family wedding. The first thing I did when I arrived home on Christmas Eve was to make a batch of sourdough (of course). Then I whipped up some last minute Christmas presents – and realised very happily that our attempts to reduce waste this year have seeped into every part of our lives.

Let me show you what I mean. I made feuilletine chocolates…and packaged them in cardboard boxes that I’d found in the bag area at Reverse Garbage (industrial surplus)…

A batch of our spiced nuts…packed into paper bags instead of the usual plastic ones. The bags were leftover from my friend Deb’s business, and she was more than happy to trade them for some of my chocolate truffles…

I made a mountain of beeswax wraps (tutorial is here) using offcuts of Sheridan sheeting…

…and vintage patchwork cottons, all sourced from Reverse Garbage

The wraps, as well as crocheted dishcloths, were wrapped in the rescued misprinted paper I bought earlier in the year

…and everything was tied together with saved ribbon from last year’s gifts!

. . . . .

So…as we end 2018 and our year-long waste reduction plan, here’s what we’ve learnt…

1. It’s impossible to change everything, but it’s very easy to change a lot.

And every small change makes a difference!

I hit a moment of uncertainty in the middle of the year when I was disillusioned by all the things that we weren’t able to change. Our medications come in non-recyclable packaging, whole raw chickens are only available in thick plastic, and our medicated shampoo and Sensodyne toothpaste come in bottles and tubes. The goal to be completely plastic-free seemed a long way away.

But then I realised that all our small changes had already made an impact. Our waste output has reduced from an overflowing red bin to just one small bag a week for four adults. Surprisingly, we’re also recycling less, because we’re bringing less packaging home – we try to buy things loose rather than boxed, and to cook from fresh rather than prepackaged and processed. Our water and energy usage is down on previous years, despite the extra washing, simply because I now select the “ECO” function on my machines rather than the standard wash.

I’ve been genuinely amazed at how much of a difference small changes can make! Yes, it is more work, but it’s truly not that much more. By storing my loaves in beeswax wraps, I’ve avoided using three dozen thick plastic bags this year. By switching to cloth napkins, we’ve saved 1500 paper serviettes. Mending and repairing everything from furniture to worn clothes has kept an office chair, an old laundry basket, numerous pairs of socks and many items of clothing out of landfill. Even better, we haven’t had to pay hard earned dollars to replace any of those items. It all adds up surprisingly quickly!

. . . . .

2. It’s important to keep the momentum going.

We have to remind ourselves to constantly refuse-reduce-reuse-recycle. That’s important, because it’s easy to become complacent, especially when we start to notice improvements. But we’re a long way from perfect, and the planet needs us (all) to keep trying.

We were able to action most of the plan I wrote in January, but there were still some areas where we dropped the ball – most noticeably, in taking our own containers to shops and restaurants. We’ll have to work harder on that next year!

. . . . .

3. Refuse-Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Image source

There is a sale on Ebay at the moment, and I can get 10% off at my favourite Indian clothing store. And believe me, I was sorely tempted. But you know what? I don’t need any more clothes. Of all the steps in the green cycle, for me, the most important one to learn has been REFUSE. Because that’s my point of weakness and at 53, I’ve ended up with a house full of stuff.

I’m trying to improve. Over the course of this year, most of my day to day non-consumable purchases have come from the Salvos Stores or Reverse Garbage. I save my dollars to add to my fossil collection, or to indulge in traditional arts and crafts, like these gorgeous Iranian hand-beaten hand-painted copper plates from Isfahan (which I found in a wonderful shop at 64 Arab Street, Singapore, in case anyone is interested. Ask for Bobby!)…

As a society, we need to start thinking carefully about how we spend our money. Every purchase needs to be considered and challenged.

We’ve bought two big ticket items this year – Rosie the Smoker and Henry the Hotmix. Both were discussed and debated prior to purchase, and we’ve had enormous enjoyment out of them already. In budget terms, both were affordable because of the money we’d saved in other areas. It’s amazing how quickly the funds add up when “shopping” stops being a “hobby”.

. . . . .

4. Model behaviour for future generations

At 53, I’m the green equivalent of a reformed smoker. I still have a house full of plastic bags and excess goods. The changes Pete and I make now are important, but they’re not nearly as significant as the impact our children will have as they start out on their adult lives. That’s the true goal – to teach those coming after us that there is a better, more earth-friendly way to live.

Small Man was an eco-warrior from way back – he took to beeswax wraps and KeepCups like a duck to water. Bless him, he won’t throw an item into the bin without asking me first. He folds all the cloth napkins, wears patched clothing, separates out any recycling that’s inadvertently ended up in the wrong bin, and carefully empties his food waste into our often stinky bokashi collection bucket…

Big Boy is slowly figuring it out. He’s so busy with work that he’ll sometimes forget his mesh bags when shopping, or bring home a bubble tea in a plastic cup. But he’s trying – he too separates out his food scraps, takes his lunch in a beeswax wrap, recycles as much as possible and brews loose leaf tea in a pot. And when it’s his turn to take out the rubbish, he’s smart enough to notice how much less there is to throw away.

. . . . .

5. Spread the word

I wanted to make cloth napkins for all my friends for Christmas, but Pete felt that level of environmental evangelism was too much. “You don’t want to put folks off by giving them work they might not want”, he correctly pointed out.

So instead, I made a mountain of beeswax wraps and crocheted a dozen dishcloths, all of which were very happily received.

If our small changes have made such a huge impact on our waste output, can you imagine what it would be like if every house did the same? But I know from our own experience that the thought of making so many changes at once can be daunting. So we’re starting small – a gift of beeswax wrap might keep a few metres of clingfilm out of the ocean this year. And perhaps it might start others down the same path as we’re on. Fingers crossed!

. . . . .

Thank you all SO much for joining us on our waste reduction journey this year. It’s made all the difference knowing that you’ve been reading along and supporting our efforts!

♥ Wishing you and your loved ones every happiness in 2019! ♥

. . . . .

Here are the posts so far on our Waste Reduction Plan:

27 Jan 2018  A Waste Reduction Plan

2 Feb 2018  A Long, Rambling Catch Up

15 April 2018  Our Waste Reduction Plan – Progress Report

20 April 2018  Our Waste Reduction Plan – Fine Tuning

1 June 2018 Our Waste Reduction Plan – June 2018 Progress Report

13 Oct 2018 Our Waste Reduction Plan – October 2018 Update

. . . . .

Tips and tutorials for making your own eco-friendly products:

Mesh Bags

Mesh Bags (pattern at the end of the post)

Furoshiki

Knitted Dishcloth

Crocheted Cotton Dishcloth

Crocheted Acrylic Dish Scrubber

Beeswax Wraps

Cloth Napkins (second half of post)

Sewing a Utensil Holder

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It’s been four months since our last update, and you’re probably all wondering how our Waste Reduction Plan is going.

The answer is…not bad.

We’re still managing to keep our waste down to one medium kitchen bin bag per week (most of the time). We haven’t opened the cling film box or used a paper towel all year. But some things have been trickier to stick to than others.

1. Paper

We’ve had great success cutting back our single use paper consumption – the cotton napkins I made from the Daiso tenegui (Japanese tea towels) have lasted more than 40 washes and I haven’t had to repair (or iron) a single one…

We used to  go through mountains of kitchen paper towels; now we don’t even buy them. They’ve been replaced completely with tea towels, knitted or crocheted dishcloths, and absorbent waffle weave squares that I cut from an old bedspread…

I can’t rave enough about the knitted and crocheted dishcloths – they’re as sturdy as iron, wash well, and just keep going. The ones Rose sent me in 2013 are still in regular rotation, and I finally had to repair one after six years of constant use. These get washed every day or two…

We’ve substantially reduced the amount of parchment paper we’re using by switching to reusable teflon sheets for most of our baking, although I still weaken and use parchment for anything that’s going to be too gross to wash up…

The KeepCups are a winner and I haven’t bought a coffee in a takeaway cup all year. These days if I don’t have my reusable cup, I’ll skip coffee or sit in to drink it. Having said that, I have bought a few bottles of water this year – not by choice, but sometimes a food court won’t offer water by the glass, and I don’t always remember to bring my water bottle.

Small Man (gently) chastised me for forgetting my KeepCup the other day. “I always have mine in my backpack”, he told me. I was very proud of him – he’s the true eco-warrior of the family, the one who pulls me up if I get lazy and throw a teabag into the bin instead of the Bokashi bucket… (Edit: since writing this post, we no longer put teabags in the Bokashi. Pete has dug them up after six months and noticed that they weren’t breaking down. Bugger…)

. . . . .

2. Plastic

In terms of plastic shopping and vegetable bags, we’ve done well. We travel with mesh bags, small carry bags, furoshiki, and our lastest discovery, t-shirt tote bags…

I sketched a rough pattern if anyone is interested in making these – there are also lots of instructions online if you’d prefer to make them without sewing…

Cling film no longer even lives in our kitchen, as we’ve found that the beeswax wraps replace it almost completely. For the few items that can’t be wrapped in beeswax (like meat or soupy leftovers), we use a bowl covered with a plate, a piece of foil, or a reusable plastic box.

The best thing about the beeswax wraps is that they aren’t just an eco-friendly alternative solution, they’re actually massively better at keeping things fresh. Coriander, ginger, cut avocado…all the fruits and vegetables that might have oxidised or gone slimey in plastic…stay crisp and colourful under beeswax. And it’s the perfect way to keep sourdough fresh in our humid Sydney climate…

. . . . .

Unfortunately we’re still a long way from eliminating plastic completely, but we have tried hard to reduce our single use consumption.

There are two areas that we continue to struggle with – the first being purchased items. We buy all our meat in bulk, and it almost invariably comes in sealed plastic bags. We wash and RedCycle these as much as possible, but it’s hard to get them really clean, and I don’t want to run the risk of contaminating the recycling process. Similarly, anything purchased online arrives packed in plastic of one sort or another – again, these can be RedCycled, but it’s not an ideal option. Medicines, skincare products, cereals – we’re still a long way from being plastic free.

I’m also not sure what the best options are – is buying something in heavy thick glass which needs to be recycled better than purchasing it in thin recyclable plastic? Glass and aluminium can both be recycled, but rarely are they reused, and the energy output to change them into a different form is huge.

. . . . .

The other area that’s been tricky has been freezer storage.

We’ve invested in sturdy plastic freezer boxes, which seem to work well. We tried glass containers, but found them too heavy for stacking. We particularly like these 800ml boxes from Daiso – they’re cheap, wash well, and don’t go wonky in the dishwasher…

Instead of using lots of small plastic bags, we’ve been wrapping items in our rescued food safe paper from Reverse Garbage, and then freezing them in bulk in reusable plastic bags or boxes. It seems to be working well so far…

. . . . .

3. Organic Waste

Between the chickens, worms, and the Bokashi bucket, very little organic waste now goes out in the red bin.

The Bokashi has been trickier to use that we expected, as the worms won’t go near it, so we’re having to bury the remains in the garden. Also, some things don’t seem to break down, including large bones, rind, and anything overly fatty. Still, it’s been a great success, particularly for all the items that couldn’t go into the worm farm, such as citrus, alliums and cooked leftovers…

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. . . . .

4. Shopping

Over the course of this year, I’ve become a committed Salvos store shopper!

Not only do my purchases donate much needed funds to the Salvation Army, but they also save me a fortune. I recently picked up this brand new Turkish plate at the Salvos as a gift for my mother’s birthday. It retails for $80, but I paid just $4…

The added bonus is that buying secondhand reduces our environmental impact – I’m sure it’s better to cut back on shopping altogether, but I don’t appear to be genetically or culturally wired to be able to do that.

I am, however, trying to make more informed choices. At my niece’s wedding recently, I realised that everything I was wearing had a story – my jacket was sewn from upcycled vintage saris, my jewellery was made from old watch parts by my friends at Oli and J, and my bag was handpainted vintage Japanese silk. Not surprisingly, I didn’t run into anyone with the same outfit on!

. . . . .

5. Mend and Make Do

I’m mending constantly these days.

At the beginning of winter, Pete pulled out an old jumper that I’d knitted for him when we were in college. It took me forever and he wore it just once before declaring it to be too hot for Sydney.  I married him anyway.

The jumper was full of holes, so I washed it carefully and mended it badly in mid-June. Pete still wouldn’t wear it and neither would Small Man. Admittedly, it’s no longer particularly fashionable and it weighs a ton. But Big Boy, who is the essence of kindness, said “It’s ok, Mum, I’ll wear it when we walk in the mornings”.  And he did, for most of winter. I love that kid so much it hurts…

When spring arrived, he gave it to me to wash and store for next year. It came out of the wash (I promise I was very gentle) with even more holes! By this stage, I’d learnt how to darn, so I set about patching all the broken bits. The end result looks a bit like a starry constellation, but it should last another year of morning walks…

Our new mindset is…with the exception of underwear that is so threadbare that you can see through it, everything can be mended. I bought this e-book of old war instruction flyers and have found it inspirational (it reads well on the iPad but probably wouldn’t be great on an old Kindle reader)…

Here is one on saving fuel for the war effort – “Buttered Toast – or Bullets” – was particularly thought-provoking…

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. . . . .

Our waste reduction plan is a constant work in progress! As always, when I write these posts, I learn so much from all of you, so please let me know your tips and suggestions in the comments below. And if you’re on a similar mission, I’d love to know how you’re going with it! ♥

. . . . .

Here are the posts so far on our Waste Reduction Plan:

27 Jan 2018  A Waste Reduction Plan

2 Feb 2018  A Long, Rambling Catch Up

15 April 2018  Our Waste Reduction Plan – Progress Report

20 April 2018  Our Waste Reduction Plan – Fine Tuning

1 June 2018 Our Waste Reduction Plan – June 2018 Progress Report

. . . . .

Tips and tutorials for making your own eco-friendly products:

Mesh Bags

Mesh Bags (pattern at the end of the post)

Furoshiki

Knitted Dishcloth

Crocheted Cotton Dishcloth

Crocheted Acrylic Dish Scrubber

Beeswax Wraps

Cloth Napkins (second half of post)

Sewing a Utensil Holder

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A Long Catch Up

Hello lovelies, how are you all?

Sorry the blog has been so quiet – I’ve been busy making, baking, mending and cooking, which means I’m not online very much these days. But if you have time for a cuppa, I’d love to catch you up on all our latest projects.

. . . . .

First our big news…we’ve bought ourselves a barbecue smoker! I’ve wanted one for about five years (ever since I first watched BBQ Pittmasters) but Pete took a bit more convincing. In the end, he agreed to a pellet smoker, which enables us to smoke (the American term for cooking low and slow over wood or charcoal) without the need to chop wood or light charcoal.

Our Traeger 34 Pro has electric ignition and a thermostat controlled auger, which feeds the 100% hardwood pellets through as needed. She’s an absolute beauty and the simplest thing to use! It’s our 30th wedding anniversary gift (in advance) and we’ve named her Rosie after the robot maid in The Jetsons. Can you see the resemblance?

We’ve only had her a week, but Rosie has already turned out a delicious six hour blade roast…

…and amazing pork belly, which we finished off on a cast iron griddle…

Stay tuned for more bbq adventures…we’re working our way through this fabulous book by Steven Raichlen

. . . . .

The denim mania continues, and the pile of $2 Salvos jeans is slowly growing in my sewing room. On top of that, my friends are now delivering their old jeans directly to our place!

Lovely Diana brought me her husband Ian’s old Wranglers – they’d originally belonged to her son Giles, but Ian had inherited them to wear as farm pants. Unfortunately, huge holes had worn through on the knees, making them unsuitable for hard yakka (that’s downunder speak for “hard work”).

Other than the knees, the denim was in excellent condition and I was loathe to cut them up, so I mended them. I unpicked the side seams and sewed denim patches in place, then reinforced over the top with lines of straight stitching, then restitched the seams closed.

Ian was absolutely delighted! As was I when I received Di’s wonderful photos of him wearing them around their farm..

I thought it might be fun to add labels to my denim creations, so I dragged out my Print Gocco set, burnt a screen, and stamped some old twill tape I had stashed away (it occasionally pays to be a bower bird)…

I sewed together the waistbands leftover from apron making and added the labels to the reverse side – they make great placemats…

These decorative feathers were a doddle to make – they’re simply cut from the side seams and fringed…

On Lorraine’s advice, I sewed denim hand towels to use with Rosie the BBQ. I added a little sashiko embroidery just for fun…

Diana loved Ian’s jeans so much that she asked me if I’d mend a small hole in her pair. I was more than happy to, then turned an old t-shirt that she’d given me into a tote bag to send them home in…

There are instructions on how to make a no-sew t-shirt tote bag online, but if you have your sewing machine set up, it’s much easier to just run a seam across the bottom of the shirt. Big Boy has just given me a pile of his old t-shirts to play with!

My young neighbour gave me her Barbie jeans to upcycle…

You know I love a challenge! I turned them into pincushions…

Lastly (on the topic of denim), lovely Steve Sheridan, potter extraordinaire and creator of my favourite tea bowl, asked me to make him an apron. Pottery aprons have two overlapping pieces below the waist to protect the knees while straddling the wheel.  I used a pair of old Hugo Boss jeans donated by my friend Anita and sewed the designer labels back on for fun. It was a perfect fit…

Steve and Trish insisted that I choose a new tea bowl in exchange – I was soooo thrilled to come home with this one. When I was trying to photograph it, Pete suggested I should hold it because “it was made by hand to be held in a hand, not to sit on a shelf.”

If anyone is interested in making a pottery apron, here’s a sketch of the final pattern (and no, I’m not taking orders)…

. . . . .

I have a small collection of Royal Worcester Evesham Gold pieces, including this water jug that we use every day, a wedding gift from Pete’s Aunt Anna…

So I was thrilled to find these unused vintage egg coddlers at the Salvos Store for just $10 for the pair…

They cooked our backyard eggs to perfection…

. . . . .

I’ve read and listened to two fabulous books (it’s usually a combination of both these days, thanks to the sync function between Kindle and Audible), the first being The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan…

The second was Mythos by Stephen Fry. Both books were a joy to listen to, if you have access to the Audible versions…

. . . . .

We spent last Thursday night with our old friends Cliff and Kathy at Handpicked Wines on Kensington Street, tasting the award winning pinot noir…

I’m pretty fussy about wine, but every single one I tried that night was grand. My tasting flight was called “I Need A Vacay”…and it really did feel like a mini-vacation to be out drinking on a Thursday night…

. . . . .

Finally, I’ve been madly mending.  My friend Granny Annie suggested I investigate “visible mending” and it’s become very addictive. I picked up this Kindle book and started practising…

First I repaired a kitchen scrubber…

Followed by toe socks…

And then an Aldi bag…

…and I was off! I bought a vintage darning mushroom and now my sons hide their clothes from me for fear of having the tiniest holes attacked with brightly coloured yarn. If you’re interested in darning, here’s an old instruction pamphlet – as you can see, the process is more about weaving new fabric than closing up a hole…

. . . . .

Phew! I’m all talked out! We have a brisket in Rosie at the moment, and Pete’s just come in to tell me that it needs checking, so I’m going to sign off now. What have you all been up to? ♥

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