Sunday, 29 June 2014

Wool Dryer Balls

None of us like the thought of having to turn on the clothes dryer - they are such a huge drain on the household electricity usage.  However, after about the third day of rain, when you are running low on clean knickers and the laundry basket is starting to overflow there sometimes is no other option.  When you have to...using felted wool balls in the clothes dryer can save you some money.

Dryer balls are simply felted balls that bounce around in your dryer.  You just throw 3 to 6 balls in with the load and here is what they do.......

  • absorb moisture from the clothes, cutting the drying time by 25 to 50%
  • help reduce static cling
  • soften the clothes
  • can lightly scent clothing by adding essential oils (optional)
A full tutorial on how to make a felted wool dryer ball can be found at

Once you have a set of six balls made all you need to do is sprinkle a bit of essential oil, lavender is my favourite, on the balls and throw them in with your load of wet clothes.


Crochet Edge Blanket

This is a very quick, easy, inexpensive gift idea for someone special.  I bought a polar fleece throw (1.4 metres x 1.6 metres) for $7.00 in the Mother's Day sales.  It was a "dream" find as the blanket stitch around the edge had already been completed and it had rounded corners.   Blanket stitching and corner shaping is usually the most time consuming part of a project such as this.  With all that having been done I was ready to go .....

The yarn I used was some leftover 8 ply from a previous project and a number 4.00 crochet hook.


Row 1  -  1 sc in the top of each blanket stitch (except for the 10 stitches as you go around the corner - place 2 sc in the top of each of these 10 stitches) in all four corners.

Row 2  -  Ch5 skip next stch, sc in next stch, ch5 skip next stch, sc in next stch.........continue around and join with a ss to complete row.

Row 3  -  ss in first 2 chains of first chain loop.  From this 3rd chain (the middle) continue as follows.  Ch5, sc in 3rd chain of next loop, Ch5, sc in 3rd chain of next loop.......continue around and join with a ss to complete row.

**Repeat row 3 until border is desired width

A really quick and easy pattern but once I had finished it looked a bit plain so I decided to dress it up a bit with a few embellishments. 

The flower pattern can be found here and the pattern for the leaf here (make sure to scroll right to the bottom of the page for the leaf tutorial).  Both are really simple and when I finished I just slip stitched them in to place with some quilting thread.  A few buttons of course sewn on for the flower centres.

All in all I am quite pleased with the result and I have another gift ready for when it is needed.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My Nana

Lily  Isabel  Glassenbury

31st August, 1912     to     22nd June, 2014

102 years strong


I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one,
I'd like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve
to dry before the sun
of happy memories that I leave
when my life is done.


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Keith Urban

I just love country music!!!!

Remember I said - "country" - any type, style, new, old, it doesn't matter just as long as its country - not "western".   Trouble is I don't often get the chance to sit down and listen to any as I spend a lot of time out in the garden (don't want to get my i-phone dirty) and when I am inside, the airspace in my home seems always to be monopolized by my son listening to his vast collection of cd's.  

I make up for it when I am out in the car though - all my favourite cd's are lined up in the glovebox ready for my "alone time".  They just need to be fed into the dashboard cd slot and......away I go.   Singing along with gay abandon, oblivious to the stares of other road users as I pass them on my way.

Isn't it funny how when you are alone in the car you think you know all the words to all the songs and just sing along at the top of your lungs, not caring what you look like to those outside the car, peering at you, thinking......weirdo.

The other time you seem to let go of your bashfulness is at a live concert.  I think this is because there are always thousands of other people there with you that think they are sensational singers too.   Really, everyone just blends into the crowd, all of us just being yet another noisy "fan" having a good time. 

This week I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Keith Urban - Light the Fuse concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.   A W E S O M E ! ! ! !  Can't get much better than Keith, in his denims, on stage, belting out a tune on his guitar.

Don't believe me!!  Just check out this youtube - I know you will be all dreamy-eyed like me soon enough. 

Friday, 20 June 2014

To Skein or Not to Skein

Several months ago I purchased some skeins of cotton from ECOYARNS.   They are Australian suppliers of 100% organic, fair trade cotton which is plant dyed by hand using Traditional Methods.

After seeing the wonderful array of colours available and the 100% organic cotton label - I was hooked.  Seeing the yarn in a skein (which I had never used before) also spoke to me of being that much more organic, simple and more of a "starting from scratch" kind of project.   I just needed to.......... "get me some of that" as soon as possible.

I dashed to the mail box everyday for a week waiting anxiously for my parcel to arrive.  Finally, there it yarn had arrived.

I eagerly tore open the parcel, untwisted the first skein and began to try and wind it into a ball.  Oh my gosh....what a mess - my lovely skein, after a few turns had turned into a tangled, knotted mess.  The more I twisted and turned the yarn trying to untangle it,  the more it knotted.  Low and behold the tears started to flow.  After two hours of trying to wind, then more detangling and cutting, I had produced 4 tiny balls and a huge pile of tangled yarn.  I picked it all up and threw it to the back of the cupboard and tried not to think about the money I had wasted on the other 3 skeins that I had purchased, with now,  no way of winding them into balls.  

Then a few days ago, I met Rhonda from "Down to Earth" who enlightened me to the wonders of her antique wool winder. looks like something from Star Trek but it is truly an awesome invention.

After a hands-on lesson at her kitchen table, over a cup of tea, I was flabbergasted at how simple the whole process of winding a ball of yarn could be.  Five minutes and you are done.   Thankyou, Rhonda for the lend of your wool winder.  I now have all my skeins neatly wound into balls ready to be knitted into a project. I am also on the lookout for my very own wool winder.  Scouring the internet and shops.

And I emphasize to all who read this.....YOU CAN NOT ROLL A SKEIN OF YARN INTO A BALL BY HAND.   Never, ever, ever attempt to try !!!!!!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

June in the Garden

Ahhhh......the beginning of Winter  -  such a favourite time for me here in the garden  -  easily my most productive season throughout the whole year.  Milder temperatures, less hot sun, not as much torrential rain and a greatly depleted population of insect pests makes it a happy time for me - "THE GARDENER".

I have growing at the moment :
  • BRASSICAS - Sugar Loaf Cabbage, Pak Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Kale
  • LEAFY GREENS - 3 types of Lettuce, Silverbeet, Spinach, and Rainbow Chard
  • LEGUMES - Bush Bean, Climbing Bean, and Snow Pea
  • SOME ROOT VEGETABLES - Carrot, Beetroot, Sweet Potato, Ginger, and Yacon
  • TOMATOES - Full size (at this time of year) makes a change from the little cherry tomatoes
  • POTATOES - Really healthy in their homemade planter towers
  • PERENNIALS - Asparagus, Pineapples, Comfrey, Aloe Vera   
And of course as always
  • HERBS - Oregano, Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint, Lemon Balm, Basil, Coriander, Chives and Spring Onions
Making sure my seedlings "get off to a good start", I have found that surrounding them with an old pot works a treat.  Simply cut the base out of a small pot and, after planting the seedling, place the pot over the top pushing it into the soil about 2 centimetres.

This method makes it extremely easy to water and feed the seedling in its early stages of growth and protects the young plant from slugs, snails and cut worm.

After the leaves start to protrude from the top of the pot, simply lift it off, wash thoroughly, and it's ready to be used again.   The seedling would now have established a thicker stem and a more intricate root system which will enable it to fend for itself better in the wilds of the vege patch. 

I find all my plants benefit from a regular feed with seaweed or a home made compost tea.  Regular being at least once a week.  The brassicas will also need a spray with "DIPEL" to deter the cabbage moth which is out and about in force this time of year, and I do keep the soil well mulched the keep in the moisture. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I Quit Sugar...

It has now been six months since deciding to eliminate sugar from my diet.  And I must say I feel healthier, lighter, I am no longer bloated, and have so much more energy......


Quitting sugar for me is about eating what I think my grandmother would have eaten.  Eating wholesome foods that have not been mucked around with.  Also, as I don't think my grandma flew off to the gym twice a day, my exercise is balanced to all the incidental activity that occurs in my daily routine.

[STATISTIC : 100 years ago the average person ate 1kg sugar per year. 2014 now sees the average at 60 kg per year]

100 years ago people ate basically what was grown and available locally.  They ate eggs for breakfast, a salad sandwich for lunch, meat and simply prepared vegetables for dinner.  They drank whole milk and had the occasional piece of fruit as a treat.  They cooked their own food and made all their meals from scratch.    


There are many books available to read about eating, sugar free, but the ones that fit best with my beliefs and lifestyle are those written by SARAH WILSON and are available HERE.

Her first book - "I Quit Sugar" and then the follow up "I Quit Sugar...For Life".  

Both books are very easy to read, come with lots of suggestions and encouragement and contain hundreds of simple to follow recipes.

 I believe eating sugar free also helps me to tread more sustainably on the planet and live a more productive, simple life.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Olive Oil Soap

Today is the 8 week mark since trying out a new recipe for some Olive Oil soap.  It now means my soap should be dry enough for us to use. smells divine.

My first attempt at Olive Oil soap was a bit disappointing  -  it was very soft and went extremely "gluggy" in the soap dish.  I then discovered "SOAPCALC" , an on-line soap calculator.  After I ran through a few different ingredients it came up with the following recipe for me.

  • 532 mls water
  • 198 gms lye (caustic soda)
  • 1000 gms olive oil
  • 400 gms coconut oil
  • (and I added 5 mls lavender essential oil) optional
I mixed both oils and water/lye together at 50 degrees and although it took a while to come to trace, when it did, it poured into the moulds nicely.

After drying for the last couple of months the soap now seems extremely hard, is a lovely shade of vanilla in colour and has held the lavender scent quite well.

As they say "the proof is in the pudding" I'm off to the shower now to test it out. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Growing Yacon

This year, I am trying my hand at growing another crop of Yacon (Polymnia Sonchifolia).  I purchased 4 small plants from Daley's Fruit Tree's and planted them out into one of my raised garden beds at the end of December last year.  The yacon plants grow to about 1 and a half metres in height with quite large leaves.

Clusters of lovely daisy-like yellow flowers came on the plants in early May and soon the tops of the plant will start to wither and die back over Winter.

Once the plant has died back to just some stalks it can be harvested by lifting up the "root ball" with a large fork. This must be done carefully to avoid damage to the tubers.  After washing away the soil from the root ball the rhizomes need to be separated from the tubers. Tubers last better if  they are left in the sun for two days to toughen up the skin before storing.


After harvesting the rhizomes store best in a cool dark place in a pot covered with sand or sawdust.  This will stop them drying out until they are ready to plant out again next Spring when the soil warms up again.

Here's hoping that my harvest will be a bountiful one........

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Homemade Linen Spray

I recently came across a wonderful recipe for a homemade linen spray in a book that has been sitting quietly on my bookshelf for ages.  The book is called Green Clean and it contains some very quick and easy,  DIY, cleaning products for around the home.

The linen spray is simple to prepare and very easy to customize to your personal "scent" preference.  Spritz a bit onto your sheets and towels when folding them off the clothesline.  Spray onto clothes, teatowels and tablecloths before ironing.  Or, simply spray into the air and use it as a room spray.

  • 2 tablespoons of 100% proof vodka (or isopropyl)
  • Rainwater or distilled water
  • Your choice of essential oil  -  jasmine, bergamot, lavender, lemon myrtle 
  • 500 ml spray bottle
  •  Mix the 2 tablespoons of vodka with the oils of your choice.  Some suggestions are :   
  •       1 teaspoon jasmine + 1/2 teaspoon bergamot 
  •       1 teaspoon lavender + 1/2 teaspoon sandalwood    
  •       2 teaspoons lemon mrytle
  • Then add the rainwater until the spray bottle is almost full
  • Screw on the cap and shake the bottle to disperse the oils evenly throughout
  • Shake lightly before each use
See..... so quick and easy to do and it makes all your linen smell divine