DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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SIMPLE, GREEN, FRUGAL CO-OP

I started the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op in 2008 when I invited a number of other writers to join me writing about sustainable subjects of all kinds. I retired the blog writing for a couple of years when things got really busy, but now it's back. The Co-op has always been popular and has had a unique take on simple living. Why no take a look. Click here to go there.

27 April 2015

Welcome to our new baby

Another night goes by and the next morning is filled with news that she is here. Eve Magnolia was born in the early hours of last Tuesday morning. She is Shane and Sarndra's second child and a sister for Alex. She weighed about 3.6kg/8lbs. From all reports she's doing wonderfully and she's feeding and sleeping like a champion.  Another grandchild, a granddaughter, I'm so happy.


There is always a lot of excitement in a family when a new baby is born. All of a sudden, after all that waiting and apprehension, there is this little person to hold close, to love and care for.  It's one of life's most memorable and tender moments. 

We haven't been up to Gladstone to meet Eve Magnolia yet but have plans to go soon. I can hardly wait to look into her eyes and introduce myself. I have been waiting for a long time to hold a baby girl in my arms who is so closely related to me. There was no daughter for me but a granddaughter is just as good. Of course, we'll take an arm full of gifts to welcome our new baby, but the real gift is from Shane and Sarndra who have brought this beautiful baby into our family. I am one proud grandma.

24 April 2015

Weekend reading


The weather is cool here now and it's ideal for working inside and out.  This weekend I'll be finishing up the crafts that will be photographed for the new book. I'm looking forward to it because it's a refreshing and interesting change from writing, which I'm doing today.  I hope your weekend is all you want it to be. What are you doing?

~~♥︎~~

Anzac Day should be quarantined from politicians
Indigenous Australia, a fabulous beast
Secret photos of Sydney
Australia faces battle to maintain living standardsA messy room
Old fashioned
How to make flower fairy lights
Arts And Crafts Activities May Ward Off Dementia, Study Finds  This was posted by Coffeee/Sue on the forum but I thought a few here might like to read it too.  Thanks Sue!

23 April 2015

Getting ready for older old age

Hanno and I have spent a lot of time this year and last fixing, painting, rearranging and fluffing our home to prepare it and ourselves for our older old age. We're in the early stage of old age now, the perfect time to assess what we'll need in the future, what work we want to do and are capable of, and to use that information to prepare our home to keep us safe, warm and content in the years ahead.  We don't want to replace furniture and paint verandahs when we're in our 80s. Soon it will be too late to do this work but it couldn't be done too soon because we wouldn't have know what to do.






We also have to make sure we spend our money wisely. So in the past year and a bit, we've enlarged the chicken coop, replaced an extremely long boundary fence, removed two vegetable garden beds, erected a growing trellis for fruit, had the bathroom floors professionally cleaned, replaced an old bathroom vanity unit and mirror, replaced carpet in our bedroom, replaced an 18 year old air conditioner, removed living room curtains and replaced them with timber blinds, bought a new couch, bought new-to-us outdoor furniture, painted the roof and replaced all the old screws, replaced the front door and security door, decluttered our wardrobes and drawers, and in this last couple of months, tiled a small area of the front verandah, painted the floor and updated my office. And we did it all without going into debt or buying anything on credit, we bought when we could afford it and apart from the bathroom floors, bedroom carpet and the verandah tiling, we did the work ourselves.

Everything was done as we could afford it and when we had the time.

I'm not going to tell you it was easy, at times it was exhausting but now we're at the end of it, I'm so pleased we did it. We both feel we're retained the integrity of our home, it's still an expression of us and not a show piece. This work has been made easier because we've done ongoing maintenance and upkeep all through our lives. But now we have to get it right. Money isn't automatically replaced with our wages every month as it was in the past and it's vital we get the best value for the money we have.







Ongoing home maintenance is essential, not only on a monthly basis with lawn mowing, gutters, cleaning floors, ovens and fridges, but also with a longer view. If you have a plan to replace, renovate and modernise as you progress through the years, you won't come to a point when you have to do it all at once. There will come a time when, like us, you'll have to do the last of the big jobs so you'll remain independent and comfortable in old age, but if you've kept up your maintenance before that point, it will be much easier and cheaper to do those later important renovations.

How do you manage this in your home?


22 April 2015

Time to get serious again

What a grand couple of weeks it's been with my sister Tricia here. I swear we get closer as we get older and at times it was like having another me here. :- ) She helped me with the sewing and crochet for the book and we tossed around ideas about things to add. It's so helpful having a sounding board that you know is sensible, intelligent and creative.  


I wrote last week that Tricia had me select fabric to make some new covers for our outdoor lounge. Well, here it is: green rabbit/hare cushions with blue-grey stripes.  I just love it.  A couple of months ago we had someone in to tile an area near the front door where concrete cancer was creeping in and then Hanno stripped back some older uneven paint and painted the floor a beautiful shade of bluish grey. It's so peaceful and relaxing out there now.



Hanno found some plums at the shops last week and being very partial to plums he bought a few that I made into a plum cake. The batter was very dry and I thought it might not turn out well but the cake was delicious and was eaten in two days (I had one slice). I won't say who had the most cake but it was a man. ;- )

Here is the recipe it used (from Smitten Kitten). If you have no plums, use peaches, apricots or pears, it would be equally delicious. As usual, I made adjustments, the chief one being to reduce the amount of sugar:
  • 1 cup of SR flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 plums, pitted and sliced
In a medium mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in. Add the dry ingredients and fold in a with a spatula.

Place the batter in a round cake tin, greased with butter and lined on the bottom with baking paper.

Place the sliced plums on top of the batter and bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F. The batter is thick and the plums easily stay on the top. 

The cake is baked when it's golden and smells cooked or when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Serve warm but it keeps well and will be just as good the following day.

I drove Tricia to the airport to fly back to Sydney yesterday afternoon and we were both nervous because the weather there was atrocious. She arrived late but she was safe. And now we're back to what we call normal. I'm still busy writing but I've reached the halfway point now. The visit with my sister felt like a holiday for me and I feel refreshed and ready for whatever is ahead. So after a brief period of laughter, frequent cups of tea and lots of talking, it's time to get serious again. Let's go!


17 April 2015

Weekend reading


This is my desk, and yes, it's usually untidy.

It's been a wonderful week here full of life and family. A birthday always makes me look back and look forward to think about where I am and what needs changing. Often I write those musings in my blog but this year there was no time. Here are my musings from 2013, I hope you enjoy the read.  Did you have a good week too? Let's relax over the weekend and get stuck in again next week.  xx

Ethical clothing
Small town clothing building projects
Australia is still the world most expensive country to live in
Americans spending billions to subsidise the working poor
How to build a brick oven
Why should cancer make me want to knit?
A beginners guide to knitting

16 April 2015

A fine day for my birthday

 Sunny's sushi buffet.

We had a lovely day yesterday. It was my birthday and, as usual, I was made feel like the queen of Sheba.  Sunny and Kerry invited us all over for lunch and when we arrived Sunny had their new home looking beautiful and some delicious food waiting to be eaten. She did up two huge sushi platters for us as well as Korean fried chicken and some tofu-like acorn squares. The acorn from an oak tree had been dried and cooked into this delicious side dish.  Sunny is such a fine chef, whatever she cooks is superb.

Tricia sewing the covers.

After lunch Hanno, Tricia and I went to Spotlight to pick up a few extras for our sewing bee today. We're sewing for the new book, I hope you like what we're making, I think you will. This book is full of practical projects that suit simple lives. So today Hanno is out all day and Tricia and I are about to set up for sewing. I hope to get a few hours of writing in later. We'll be eating leftovers today so the food is taken care of, now we just have to get a wriggle on and start our fabric work.

Every year I do a birthday photo. This is from yesterday, after lunch.

I got a few spectacular birthday gifts this year and I want to talk about two of them. Tricia took me to the shops and asked me to pick out some fabric to cover the seating and cushions on the front verandah. Then she made them up!  It's looks absolutely fabulous. I'll show you some photos soon.  And the other gift was from Hanno, who gave me a French ironing press. If you've been reading here for a while, you'll know I hate ironing. Well, this press is so easy, I've been enjoying ironing! Wonder of wonders.  I'll write about it next week.

I have the best family. Every year on my birthday I marvel at how lucky I am to have the family I'm in the middle of. They see me at my worst and still there is love, appreciation and warmth. I'm one lucky woman.



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