16 February 2020

Happiness Homemade 16th February 2020

This week has been busy, with lots going on, and lots getting done. But when I look around, I can't really see all the work and effort. It's hidden in tidied cupboards, washed curtains, cleaned ceiling and exahust fans, scrubbed grouting - all jobs that are hard work, but don't give a "wow you've been busy" impact at first glance.

Oh, I cleaned the oven too - not that it's working, and it's about to be pulled out, but I want to keep the racks because they should fit the new ovens, and that will give me more shelf space.

Yesterday was card day. We had a lovely day at Wendy's, with a surprise birthday lunch for Pamela and an extra special surprise visit from Carol. Our gang was almost complete. Card day is my day. It's the one day of the month that is for me, me, me, and it would take something very big and important to have me cancel.

If that sounds selfish, it isn't. The rest of the month I devote to my family and friends. I care for our home and garden; I look after Cheapskates Club; time is spent volunteering for others. As a wife and mother, and a homemaker, I need time to myself, doing something that I enjoy. It's time out (that's the modern name for it) and I don't feel guilty for taking it.

When AJ was born, Mum gave me some advice, that my Great-Grandma Curtin, who raised seven children during the Great Depression and WWII, had given her: once tea was over and the dishes were done and the baby was in bed, my work for the day was over. Just because I'm a mother and homemaker doesn't mean I work non-stop 24/7.

So, even after all these years and adding two more children to our family, after dinner, when the dishes are done and the kitchen is clean, I stop.

I don't fold laundry. I don't do the ironing. I don't clean or tidy or dust or vacuum. I don't do website work.

Most evenings, by around 7.30pm, my work day is over. I make a cuppa and the time is spent reading or knitting or making cards or sewing or working a tapestry. During the summer I like to potter in the garden, watering and weeding and planning the next planting. Or Wayne and I will go for a walk and talk and catch-up from our day. In winter I'm often in bed (it's warm and cosy, and there's no point in heating a big room just to sit and read).

If you're a wife, mother, homemaker and work outside your home, you not only can, but need to stop your day and rest. You may need to get organised (I did, but the habits have stuck), and you may go non-stop for an hour or so before dinner, but you need time out to rest, recuperate and rejuvenate before you tackle the next day.

Don't feel guilty for being tired. And seriously, those super-women who seem to be able to do it all - well chances are there are quite a few things they're either not doing, or not doing very well or getting outside help - the illusion of having it all is just that - an illusion.

Remember: if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of your family.

14 February 2020

Happiness Homemade 14th February 2020

One of my favourite things is pottering around at home, tidying, cleaning, cooking, changing doyleys, washing windows, setting a vase of flowers in a corner or on a table. They all make me smile. They're all chores, jobs to be done, and some of them are hard work. So why do they make me smile?

It's simple: they make my family happy.

Sometimes when we're homemakers, it may seem like our hard work and loving efforts aren't appreciated. You may never get a thank you for the clean bathroom or the swept porch. The fresh towels in the bathroom won't get you a thank you. The nicely set table and the full cake tin may be ignored.

But look at your family, see the happiness in their eyes, the contentment on their face when they eat the meal you prepared, or take the ironed shirt from the wardrobe.

See how they enjoy being at home.

Of course it's nice to get a thank you, and you should get them. Every night after dinner all my family thank me for their meal. I know they appreciated it, they ate it. But it is nice to hear it.

But sometimes a thank you isn't delivered in words. It may be in a kiss to the cheek, or a hug. It could be help brining in the shopping, or pulling weeds or changing a lightbulb.

When you're feeling discouraged, and tired, and wonder if it's worth your efforts, take a look at those happy faces and realised they're happy because of you.

This week Wayne and Tom helped me wash the outside windows. They were filthy after the dust storms and smoke we've had the last month, and desperately needed cleaning. Here's how I wash the windows with just an ice-cream container of water, and they sparkle.

All our meals have been cooked from scratch, using ingredients from the pantry, fridge and freezer, or from the garden.

The meal plan was a guide and I swapped around and changed up to suit what we wanted to eat each night. That's a huge benefit of having a pantry of ingredients - switching things around is simple and doesn't cost a cent.

Over the weekend we worked outside, tidying up the garden, cleaning the cars, sweeping down cobwebs. Getting ready for Autumn and the change of seasons. I trimmed bushes and dead-headed the hydrangeas and geraniums and lavender.

I took some lavender stalks to strike. All the lavender in my garden has come from strikes from my mother-in-law's lavender garden. They were slow to start, but this year they've all taken off and during spring and early summer it was gorgeous. The plan is to put these new plants under the front windows.

I made zucchini pickle.

I made mixed berry jam.

I finally caught up with the card a day challenge, and managed to get more done for CWA. There should be enough to send off by the end of the month. Then I'll start on the nursing home box again.

I taught myself to crochet a doyley. The first one was a little wonky, and I just used a scrap of yarn I had left. The next one was better and the third one is good enough to use. Now I have something else I can make for the present box, and for our home.

My happiness was homemade again this week.

07 February 2020

Happiness Homemade 7th February 2020

This week has been wonderful.

We had a little more rain which was very good for the garden, and then the days have been mild and sunny, such a relief after the heat in the 40s.

The medication kicked in, and combined with my home remedies and oils, my headache and cough eased and I could breath again. By Monday I was feeling almost 100%, certainly better than I had been for a few weeks, so I've been able to get things done.

This week I counted the tomatoes on the bushes - 306! That's a lot of tomatoes. Plenty to make sauce and dry, and to share with friends. Hopefully they'll ripen slowly over a few days so I will be able to pace the preserving - otherwise it will be a marathon! The eggplant are growing well and the orange tree has lots of little oranges on it.
Pellegrino's had strawberries cheap so some just found their way into the kitchen and they were used to make lovely strawberry jam. I added the strawberries from the freezer; they came from our strawberry patch. Altoghether they made 4 x 500g jars and 2 x 120g jars, so we're set for strawberry jam for the year. Of course it had to be sampled, so as soon as it was cool, the troops opened a jar and gave it a thumbs up.
I've almost caught up on the card a day challenge. None were made while I was sick, I just couldn't be bothered.
Instead I've been knitting dishcloths and crocheting scrubbies. Nine dishcloths and two scrubbies have been added to the present box and Hannah's glory box. The yarn was expensive $25, so they've cost about $2.30 each to make, not including the hour it takes to whip them up.
All our meals have been cooked from scratch using ingredients in the pantry, fridge and freezer.

I dried bread for breadcrumbs using crusts and stale bread saved in the freezer. Now the breadcrumb canister is full. This means the breadcrumbs were free - a saving of $2+ on buying them.
Petrol dropped down to $128.9/litre so I filled up my car, and Wayne filled up Hannah's car. Then it jumped up to $179.9/litre! 50 cents in a matter of minutes.

With being ill, and the Coronavirus in the news, our medical pantry has had a stocktake and I have a list of a few things to add to it, to rebuild it.

I found a crochet pattern for a very simply doyley. I've never made a doyley, so this is my task for the weekend: to crochet a doyley. I have the cotton and the hooks and the pattern was free. If it doesn't work, I can always undo it and use the cotton for another project.

This week has been a home week, and its' been good, with lots accomplished.

I hope you've had a happy week. How did you find happiness homemade this week?

06 February 2020

A Card A Day - Day 34

3rd February 2020

A Card A Day - Day 33

2nd February 2020 -

A Card A Day - Day 32

1st February: A month of cards done already!

A Card A Day - Day 31

Card A Day - Day 30

A Card A Day - Day 29

28 January 2020

A Card a Day - Day 28

Today's card is very simple, made using a Kmart card base, bought embellishments and scrap cardstock and DSP.

The sunflower embellishments and the sentiment are from packs I bought at a local $2 Shop a long time ago and had in my stash.

27 January 2020

A Card a Day - Day 27

I found some Australiana themed paper and ephemera in my box so here goes. These card designs/layouts have been CASED (copied and shared everywhere) from a photo I saved from somewhere. Having a layout to follow helps a lot, especially when it comes to layering and adding the embellishments. 

The paper and ephemera are Kaisercraft, bought a while back when they had a huge sale and they were 80% off 

Kraft card bases are from Kmart - 10 pack for $3 (I think - could be $3.50). 

I'll be doing one each day this week to use up what I have.

A Card a Day - Day 26

Happy Australia Day!

This card should probably be an Australian theme, but honestly, it never occurred to me. Oh well, here it is.

Made from a  design in a magazine, using some of the free paper and embellishmnents that came with it. As this is a use it up year, using up the free kits, papers etc. that came with some of the magazines I have is a part of my card a day challenge.

A Card a Day - Day 25

A Card a Day - Day 24

This is a bigger faux pinwheet - 6"x 6". The DSP is Kaisercraft - Miss Betty I think - it was loose in the box. Pink cardstock is from the brights cardstock pad from Kmart. Mounted on a 6"x 6" pre-made card base. Used pop dots to give the pinwheel some dimension. A few pearl dots in the centre.

No sentiment added ,I'll wait to see who it's going to and what the occasion is.

A Card a Day - Day 23

Day 23 Really simple - Kmart card base. DSP mat cut slightly smaller from a scrap. Band cut from a leftover strip of DSP and glued down. Sentiment stamped on a scrap of white cardstock and trimmed to size. Adhered with pop dots.

The stamp is from a Stampin Up set I bought second-hand for $10 at a "garage sale" a couple of years ago. I use it a lot, sometimes bigger sentiments work as the focal point of the card.

A Card a Day - Day 22

Not colours I would usually use,but I think they work in this faux pinwheel card.

21 January 2020

A Card a Day - Day 21

And I've caught up! I was a little behind on the posting due to what I thought was a migraine that turned out to be a rather persistent virus. Not to worry, I was still able to make cards, they just took a little longer and I had to have a couple of breaks.

This is another faux pinwheel card. I love making these cards, they use up small leftover DSP and cardstock and always look beautiful (well I think they do). They're really quick to make too, so if you need a WOW card in a hurry, this is one of the easiest to make.

I followed the instructions from Jam B. Cards to make the first one last winter, and I've been making them ever since.

Depending on the DSP they can be made for male, female, children, baby cards, sympathy cards, wedding cards - it's up to your imagination.

A Card a Day - Day 20

Today's card is a Double Easel card. I used green cardstock to create the easel, and stuck it to a white card base.

Two mats of DSP using a Kaisercraft paper (I think!) to create the patterned mats.

Die cut the butterfly from green glitter contact (from Kmart, in the back-to-school aisle) that was stuck to white cardstock (to reinforce the butterfly). It took a few runs through to get the die to cut through all three layers, but it did eventually happen.

The lower half of the butterfly was glued to the top of the small easel.

Stamped the sentiment in gold Delicata ink and used pop-dots to mount it on the front of the card.

A Card a Day - Day 19

Another Kmart card base with leftover papers layered to create mats. I fussy cut the sentiment badge from DSP, glued it to white cardstock to reinforce it, and used pop-dots to give it dimension on the front of the card.

20 January 2020

Happiness Homemade - Bug Out Bags

I joke with Wayne and the friends we go four wheel driving and camping with that I can be packed and ready to back out of the driveway in 30 minutes if a trip comes up.

It's not really a joke though, I can be, because after every trip I restock and repack, ready to go again.

Australia has seen some horrible weather in the last three months, with the last 10 days or so being absolutely horrific. We've had extreme heatwaves causing mass blackouts, bush fires and a collapse of society as the communities involved suffer.  All this weather means that people have had to pack up and leave their homes, often with very little notice, and not knowing when, or even what, they will come back to.

So my question is if you had just 30 minutes notice to evacuate your home, and you didn't know when you'd be back, would you be able to pack the necessities, enough for at least three days (the timeframe that is standard before disaster relief *may* be available)?

Would you know what to pack?  Do you know how much water to pack for three days? Do you have shelf stable food that doesn't need to be cooked? Enough for everyone? Do you have a bug out bag for each of your pets?

In our personal bags we have:

  • 7 sets underwear
  • 4 changes of clothes - t-shirts, jumper, trousers
  • Hat and sunglasses - these don't stay in the bag, but they're always in the car
  • Toiletry bag - toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, sunblock, face washer, towel
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Personal medications, enough for a week

In the "kitchen" box we have:

  • 2 small gas stoves
  • Spare gas bottles
  • Canned and dried foods to make meals
  • Bug spray
  • A camp oven
  • A frying pan
  • A small saucepan set
  • 2 plates
  • 2 bowls
  • 2 mugs
  • 2 knives
  • 2 forks
  • 2 spoons
  • Tongs 
  • Sharp knife
  • Foil
  • Baking paper
  • Paper towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunblock
  • Chap sticks
Right now we don't have pets, but when we did, I had a box with food for a week, food bowls, old towels and blankets and a box of kitty litter (we had two cats). It was the one time I splurged on pouches of cat food, because they're lighter and easier to carry than tins - but they were far to expensive to use all the time. It lived in the laundry cupboard and was easy to pick up and pack. We never had to use it to evacuate, but it came in handy when we were taking them to be cat-sat when we were away.

We also have wind-up torches ($5 each from Kmart a few years ago) and a wind-up radio so we don't need to rely on batteries. ABC radio has been advertising and suggesting that everyone in a fire zone should have a battery operated radio. That's fine, if you can get one - but you need to keep on top of the batteries. If you're not using the radio, take them out or they may corrode and ruin the radio. That means you need to keep fresh, spare batteries handy to use all the time. If you can find a wind-up radio I believe they are a much better option, simply because you don’t need to worry about batteries. Ditto for the torches.

Last year I added solar phone chargers to the box. In the case of a natural disaster often the electricity is the first thing to go out.

We have a 90 litre water bladder in our Patrol, that we keep clean and filled. This gives us nine days of water for the two of us.

On that note, these days I make it a habit to keep both our cars at least 3/4 full. It means I fill up every week, but in an emergency we have enough fuel to get us a few hundred kilometres (if we need to go that far).

With all this, we're pretty well set up and virtually self-sufficient. But what about you?

If you had to evacuate in a hurry would you have everything you need?

19 January 2020

A Card a Day - Day 18

Day 18 is the Double Easel card I learned at the monthly card making group I attend.

It is so easy, but looks amazing. And it's very quick to make - 15 minutes and you can have a beautiful card ready to post or hand to someone special.

I love that it uses very little in theway of DSP, and with a regular top fold card base and a bit of leftover coloured cardstock you can create something gorgeous.

The motivation for this card came from Sharon Armstrong (no relation!) of TxStampin Sharon

A Card a Day - Day 17

Posting late as I was unwell on Friday with a migraine.

Day 17 is one of my favourite card styles - faux pinwheel. I learned this technique and style last year from Jan B. Her blog - Jan B. Cards - and You Tube channel are full of the most beautiful cards. What I love about her designs and tutorials is the precision and detail. Her videos are so full of tips and instruction that make it impossible to have a creative failure if you follow them.

16 January 2020

A Card a Day - Day 16

Finished off the scraps of this Kaisercraft pad.

15 January 2020

A Card a Day - Day 15

Layout copied from a sketch, scraps and bits of cardstock used on a bought 6 x 6 card.