Thursday, May 31, 2007

Marilla said I had to!

I had the strangest dream last night. In it, Marilla Cuthbert (the lady who takes in the orphan Anne Shirley in the Anne series) gave me a special camera. That in itself is weird enough, because 1 - Marilla is a fictional character, and last time I checked most fictional characters didn't pop out of their books to hand out cameras to readers; and 2 - Marilla lived in a time waaaaaaaaay before digital cameras.

Anyhoo, Marilla hands me this camera, and says in her scratchy old voice that it's a gift from Anne, and it'll make me take awesome pictures. And it does - it's got a special filter function on it, so that if I wanted to take a photo of clouds and make them appear really impressive, then it would. How snazzy is that? So then I woke up, and realised that the camera in my dream is the camera I own in real life, and I think my subconscious is telling me that I should really get off my behind and learn to use it properly. Strange to think that my subconscious pretends to be Marilla Cuthbert, though. Hmmm.

On a completely unrelated note, how cold is it today? Brrrrr! It feels like there is snow in the air. I am totally going to make a chocolate pudding for dessert tonight, then scarf it down with lashings of cream. Yum!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Put the plastic bottle down or the environment gets it!

Well, it's been a little while since I treated you all to a plastic free update, so here are my latest thoughts on it.

The first week was hard. Not only did it involve trying to figure out alternatives to plastic packaging, but then I had to hunt around and source them, milk being a good example. But, really, once I got on top of that, it started being much easier. I knew where to get my vegies, cheese, milk and bread in non-plastic or, even better, no packaging and this experiment started coasting along more smoothly.

The fact that the only things I seemed to buy were edible goods helped, admittedly, but the fact of the matter is that my mind set, when it came to purchasing/consuming, has changed a lot over the last few weeks. I'll be in a shop, and something that in the past might have not only caught my eye, but ended in a purchase now prompts thoughts like "Hmmm, do I really need that? Is it manufactured using sustainable and ethical practices? Can this purchased be justified? Can I reuse the packaging? Does it meet my environmental/moral standards?" If the answer to any of those questions was "NO!", then my wallet stayed safely in my bag, and I walked home with a halo of shining goodness hovering over my head.

Not to say that I haven't been tempted. I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to buy the Donna Hay autumn magazine, but it came wrapped in plastic with a free giveaway kitchen timer, which really has to be the most stupid giveaway of all time, because doesn't pretty much every stove have a timer? And if they don't, then wouldn't most people have a microwave timer they could use? Sheesh! So, no Donna Hay for me.

And - confession time. Once my 21 days was up, I gave up trying to get milk in glass. The delivery schedule was just too unreliable, and the cost was astronomical. $2.90 for 720ml is just too much for a family that easily drinks over 10 litres of milk a week, so it's back to organic milk in a liquid paper board carton for us.

However, I think generally I will continue trying to be plastic free. My bread will be from local bakeries in a paper bag, my cheese wrapped only in paper from the local cheese shop, no more juice/drinks in plastic bottles, and most grains and cereals I'm now buying from an local organic wholefoods shop, where you scoop out what you need in a paper bag and pay by weight.

I'm shampooing my hair with the awesome shampoo bars from Lush (no more shampoo/conditioner bottles!), my facial stuff (moisturisers, cleansers etc) come from Aesop which package their products in glass bottles (ok, the lids are plastic, but they are 100% recyclable, and this was the best I could find), I'm only buying soap that comes in either nothing or a cardboard box, and for general house cleaning it's bicarb and eucalyptus or tea tree oil.

Whew, that's enough babbling for one day. I'm going to sign off now, before the humungous storn that's heading our way hits and we lose power, plus I'm a big scaredy cat who actually turns off the computer when the Bureau of Meteorology tells me too. Enjoy your Tuesday, folks!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pieces of Melbourne in black and white

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wiping the dust off the blog

Cough, splutter, hack.
I'm back!

Thanks for all the well wishes. That bug was a killer. It had me laid up in bed for all of last week, and anybody who knows me knows that I never spend the day in bed, let alone a whole week. Still, a lot got done - I reread the entire Harry Potter series, which is like comfort food for the brain. And I even napped during the day, which I dislike doing tremendously, as I tend to give myself lockjaw (don't ask, it's a mystery to me), and do strange dribbles on the pillow, and wake up feeling grumpy and distinctly unrefreshed. Yeeeeeah, that was far too much info, huh?

Okay, let's all have a look at my Mother's Day pressie. It's a bunch of vintage images, which have been made into cards with pithy witticisms stuck onto them, all happily bunged into a frame. My favourite is the well dressed lady on the end, who informs us that "Honey, you couldn't pay me to be twenty!" Oh yeah, I'm hearing you, sister. I'd hate to be twenty again. All the angst of trying to figure out who you are, and where you fit into the big scheme of things - forget about it! Not to mention all the bad haircuts. Twenty nine is so much easier.

Rightio. I'm off to do some knitting. I'm on a tight deadline to finish this top by the 29th of May. Somehow I don't think I'm going to finish the front, neckband and two sleeves by then, but perservere I must. I might also cough up some pleghm, and put it in a jar for my friend, who works at a lab, to have a look at, because I'm pretty sure that the antibiotics I've been on for 10 days are doing diddly squat, and I'll bet my right arm that my particular brand of bugs are resistant to them. You'd have thought that when I went back to the doctor for the second time that she might have put me on something else, but that appears to have been too much trouble. I've just talked to my friend on the phone, and don't worry, she's all for it. She loves stuff like that, and we all need friends of that caliber, yeah?

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm green on the inside (of my lungs)

It's not easy being green. Especially when you are sick. It's easy enough to cough up green stuff, but sticking to your plastic free diet - um, yeah. It kinda went out the window. Since Galumph was in charge of the shopping, we completely fell off the wagon. The litany of sins is horrendous - juice in plastic, cheese in plastic, bread in plastic... yikes!

And I was in no position to argue. I spent most of last week lying in bed, half-heartedly trying to read Emma (not bad for bed-ridden reading, actually, which I'm sure all those Janeites just love hearing) and contemplating various ways of wrecking revenge upon whoever gave this nasty bug to me. The last was completely pointless, by the way, as it appears that I'm the only I know who has it. Boo hoo.

Still, I felt sufficiently recovered yesterday to head out for a Mother's Day lunch of Yum Cha (organised for the Mothershipinlaw, not me, more boo hoos) where I drank a lot of tea and consumed not much else.

Still, plastic free shall continue - I decree it to be so from this moment onwards! And if this piece of information redeems me at all, then I offer it up freely - I spent the entire week blowing my nose on pieces of recycled non-bleached toilet paper. Hooooonk!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My favourite white powder

Ahem. I've been neglecting my plastic free reporting, haven't I? So sorry about that. It's just that, well, I've met somebody new. And all I can think about is him! He's great in the kitchen, never smells, always cleans up after himself, and I've even found a use for him in the bedroom* (blush!). That's right - it's Mr BiCarb Soda!
I really need to work on taking a straight photo. Excuse the slant!

Bwahahahahah! Did I have any of you going? Nah, thought not. But seriously, I'm so amazed over how powerful a cleaning agent bicarb is turning out to be. I needed to clean the bath on the weekend, so I made a paste of bicarb and water, with a few drops of tea tree oil thrown in for nice smelling/antibacterial action (thanks for the tip, Herhimnbryn!) and then smeared it on the bath ring with a knife. Waited 15 minutes, and then scrubbed it off, and my goodness! It seriously made all the grime disappear right before my eyes, without any hardcore elbow grease required from me. Really, it was like magic! And the best bit was that I hardly needed to use any water (rather an important consideration in these days of water restrictions) to rinse it off the bath walls. In the past, when I'd used cream cleansers, I'd spend most of my time trying to rinse the gunk off, including all those pesky bubbles which just seem to keep foaming and forming the more you try to swat them down the plug hole, so having the job done so quickly and with a minimum of fuss and water was fabulous.

I've also used it to get rid of the curry stains on my yukky white kitchen benchtop, and once again - pow! Gone! Seriously, I'm so impressed that if I could have any more children, I might have to bestow the name 'Bicarb' on one of them. Heh heh, just as well I can't!
Ummm, what else? I cleaned the toilet using vinegar and tea tree. That was a little weird. I'm more used to dipping chips in vinegar, not toilet brushes, so there was a bit of odd gagging going on from my end, but it too worked a treat. And now our bathroom smells like a fish and chip shop - huzzah!

* Apparently, it's good to sprinkle some on the carpet before vaccumming to deodorise. So the handy hints on the back of the packet tell me!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Woohoo! I got me a funky new pair of jeans!

Hooray - my arse is on the internet! (Shown for purposes of topstitching only)
So, whadaya think? I'm rather pleased with them. I made quite a few modifications: I brought the legs in 2 cm at the waist, tapering in to 4cm each side, and brought in the yoke 2cm at the centre back, as it was looking a little on the gappy side. I also decided not to topstitch the waistband or add the belt loops, as I thought all that red topstitching was quite enough detail, thank you very much! And the pocket lining is red and white polkadots. Polkadots - cooooool!
I'm a-telling you, I love the fit. They are snug without being so tight that your lady bits start to suffocate. I feel very rock chick in them, bwahahahah! A very warm rock chick - they feel much cosier to wear than my crappy old ones. It'll be homemade jeans from now on, methinks. I mean, how rock is that - I'll be totally anti-establishment. Awesome. Well, until I get sick of putting those darn waistbands on. The air verily turned blue as I wrestled it on this afternoon. Is it just me, or does anybody else have any trouble taming all that folded denim with interfacing, and making it sit just right? Man, it's hard work.
So, that's one item knocked off my S.W.A.P. list. One down, 10 to go - gulp!

Project specs
Pattern: Stretch jeans pattern from Ottobre magazine 1/2006
Fabric: Denim, 1.25 metres
Notions: Interfacing for waistband, red spotty cotton for pocket facings, 15 cm jeans zipper, 15mm button, red topstitching thread

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rain, rain, come my way

The heavier the rain falls, the better Grumbles sleeps. So bring on the rain - I'll have me a new pair of jeans in no time!

(Oh, and a note to the weather gods/spirits/deities: if you could make it rain over the catchment areas, so that 1 - our farmers will have enough water to irrigate; 2 - our poor botanical gardens and their trees will be less stressed; and 3 - at long last I might be able to have a shower longer than 3 minutes, that'd be good too. Ta!)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'm in!

I'm in! I've decided to participate in S.W.A.P, and below are the patterns I've chosen:
What with the crazy warm Melbourne weather we're having (apparently it's 10 C warmer than the average autumn temp!), I decided to go for a more trans-seasonal range, rather than strictly a winter one. I wanted to have something I could wear on any day of the year, no matter the temperature. I also wanted garments that could be dressed up or down, depending on the occaision, and could take me from playgroup to an evening out (ok, so I might be a leeeetle bit over-dressed for playgroup, particularly in the pencil skirt and bustier, but you know me - I'd rather be over dressed than under dressed!).
Sticking with the plastic free month, I've decided to try and make all garments out of natural fibres only (viscose and rayons are allowed). Zips might be a bit tricky, but any buttons will definitely be wooden, or at least scavanged from what I already have here.
Phew - that's a whole lot of sewing. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

To SWAP or not to SWAP...

Oh my! I'm very tempted to enter S.W.A.P. (For those who don't know, the challenge is to create a capsule range of 11 garments, all of which must work with each other i.e. every top must go with every bottom. Tricky!) Very, very tempted. Although, I must admit, despite the fact the I badly need some new clothes (the trousers situation is rather dire), I don't think I need 11 new pieces. Maybe I could do a mini-S.W.A.P?

Hmmmm. Dunno. However, I'd best make up my mind soon, as it starts today. Yikes!

Oh, and by the way, if you want to see some first class sewing, drop by Erica B's place. Wow! Talk about inspiring!