Thursday, April 29, 2010

1. Add 275mls to your rinse cycle and it will drastically reduce the lint in your washing.

2. It's great for preserving the colour of swimmers - soak swimmers in a combination of water and a teaspoon of vinegar after swimming in a chlorine pool.

3. Blankets and woollens come out a lot fluffier from the wash if you add 250mls of vinegar to your rinse cycle.

4. It will act as an insect repellant if you add equal parts water and vinegar and wipe over the surface you want to remain insect free.

5. Clean your windows with a solution of white vinegar and warm water in equal parts. Spray on the window and buff with a soft cloth. Will not leave streaks or marks on the glass.

6. Put neat vinegar on a rust stain until it disappears and then rinse the marked item.

7. Keep fresh cut flowers longer by adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the vase.

8. Rinsing your hair in vinegar every so often neutralises the alkali left by shampoos and gives your hair extra shine.

9. Douse the outside perimeter of the sandpit in the backyard to keep cats away.

10. If you have an unpleasant odour in the car such as vomit (hello Rhianna!) then place a bowl of white distilled vinegar of the floor of the car and close it up for the night.

Have you ever had a look through the wonderful stuff on Etsy? For those who don't know, Etsy is an online marketplace for crafty folk to sell their wares.

Boy, there sure are some talented people out there. And I met a lovely lady today called Marsha who lives in the USA. Marsha crocheted the wonderful afghan below and I promptly bought it from her. (Actually my son wants to buy it for me for Mother's day - thanks Broc.)

I absolutely adore the colours and the hexagonal granny squares. It's my first international buy from Etsy and it's Marsha's very first sale. So we were both kinda excited. Let's hope it all goes well.

That's not to say that I've given up on my own plans to learn to crochet - it's just that a little inspiration never hurt anyone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Few New Loves

Don't you just love it when someone gives you a gift for no reason. Well, I do. Yesterday one of my lovely new friends, Emma surprised me with this card making tool (on the right). She then further surprised me by lending me this fantastic book all about vinegar and its wonderful uses.
You see she sometimes reads my blog and thought this was something I might be interested in reading. Umm... yes please. Thanks Emma. I wish there were more people like you in the world and that I was one of them.

Going through my scrapbook stash the other day, I started to feel mighty guilty about the amount of scrapbooking supplies I have for somebody who has not produced a layout in about 6 months.

So I got to work. These two pages are in their early stages but I felt a great relief that I can again say with pride "Yes, I scrap."

Do you remember what it's like to fall in love? The thrill of seeing your beloved for the very first tim? well, I felt it all again today - at the newsagents.

I am a magazineaholic and these, dear readers are my new drug of choice. Peppermint and Frankie. Another blogger got me onto these 2 magazines and I am loving them. If you love your craft with a good deal of kitsch thrown in - have a look at these next time you are at the shops.

And in the mail today, some welcome junk mail. My new Cath Kidson magazine from the UK. I am having a bit of a moment lately with everything British - (think tea and toast and woolly cardigans). I just applied for this online and a few weeks later here it is. All things Cath Kidson - very drool worthy over a cup of Earl Grey.

Rhianna decided to make some flags with chalk in the backyard. One was an Australian flag. (Rhianna actually wrote this part of today's post herself)

Hope everybody had a good hump day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Love Padlock Lookout

A couple of years ago I read about a place called Pecs in Hungary where lovers began to clamp padlocks to a wrought iron fence in the main square of the city as a symbol of committment to one another. This tradition has now been replicated in other cities over the world. I thought it was such a cute custom.

Last year Bill and I celebrated 10 years of marriage and I had my own padlock engraved with our names and date of marriage. But where to put it??????

Hungary was obviously out of the question. So I presented it to him at our favourite lookout walk at Glenbrook. It's a lovely bushwalk of around 20 minutes and then you come out into a clearing with a view all the way back to the Sydney CBD. We locked our padlock onto the fence in July last year. Today we decided to pay our padlock a visit.

The troops get organised

Here is our padlock. It's only been attached to the fence for about 9 months and already its quite weathered. After we attached it last July we threw the keys over the edge of the lookout into the bush. I said to Bill "And there it will stay forever." And he replied "Forever, or until the vandals hack it off." Well, we are happy to report it is still there. And we had an added little surprise today......

..someone else has followed our lead and now there are 2 padlocks on the fence. Hello to Melissa Gilbert and her beau. I was so excited to see another padlock I screamed. I've started a tradition. Me, little old me, has started a tradition of love in my little suburb. I was so chuffed.

I'm now hoping to see more whenever I go.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

No Junk Mail

As most of you know I am a nazi recycler. I recycle absolutely everything that I can. I even recycle the little tags off the end of teabags. Well, every little bit helps. We have our recycling basket behind the bar as our kitchen is way too small for normal rubbish AND recycling.

In recent times I have had to upgrade to a bigger basket as it gets full quite quickly. And that led me to thinking about all the junk mail that is going in there. Specifically, I am talking about catalogues and store brochures.

Now I love my catalouges as much as the next girl. I love to see what's on special at Target this week and what are the good food specials at Coles and IGA.

But you don't need to fill your letterbox with a tree to look at these catalogues. You can go to and read them all on there. They even have some I don't normally get delivered so it was quite exciting all round. Then the next thing you have to do is put a NO JUNK MAIL sticker on your letter box. Of course I have sourced a free one of those for you as well. Just ring the Distribution Standards Board on 1800 676 136 and they will send you a free No JUNK MAIL sticker. There, all sorted.

Here is one lady who desperately needs a free sticker

Happy recycling everybody.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Little Things

It really is the little things in life that bring you the most happiness. Wondering around the house this morning I found these little pockets of happiness around my home and I couldn't helping smiling as I saw them.

Last night my husband brought me home a bunch of flowers, for no particular reason but it was Rhianna who opened the door to let him in. Of course being a woman in training she assumed they were for her. "Oh Daddy, you bought me flowers. It's the very first time you've ever bought me flowers. You usually just buy them for Mummy. Thank you so much."

Bill didn't have the heart to correct her. So when I woke up this morning and saw them, I really did smile.

Then when doing a tidy of the lounge room I found lion and puppy sitting, waiting patiently for the return of their Mumma from school.

And lastly I had a proper look at the little Bingo bags my Mum has made for our school fete. You really are a treasure Mum.

I hope you all find something to smile at today. Have a great weekend everybody.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Random Bits and Pieces

So excited to receive my free lamp from buysterlighting . I love it and it fits into our house so nicely. Now in the family room we have some nice muted light after dinner instead of glaring down lights shining on us.

It looks so nice next to our new retro lounge

I was given all thes lemons by a friend last week and I have been staring at them ever since wondering what to do with them.......hmmmmm

Then inspiration struck in my new Julie Goodwin cookbook. Lemon Diva Cupcakes. I will be giving these a go on the weekend. I have plenty of people visiting this long weekend so it will be nice to have something homemade and delicious to offer them.

My friend Linda made this cute little notepad in one of her cardmaking classes. Just the right size to pop in your handbag. I love how she was able to match the cardstock to the colour of the pen.Thanks Linda.

And on the inside, some of those handy post-it notes.

I'm having an absolutely lovely week this week and hope you are too.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Bedtime Bag
I think I might have mentioned that my Mum loves the odd bit of craft herself. I wanted to show you something she made for Miss R last year. Its the bedtime bag.
It's simply a reusable "green" bag that you buy from Coles, except obviously, its blue. Then Mum has appliqued a fish on the front. This is to represent one of our favourite books - The Rainbow Fish.

Here's a close up of the detail. Inside the bag Rhianna keeps her Pajamas for that night and the bag hangs on the back of her bedroom door.
On either side of the bag is a pocket - this is where we keep our nightime reading stories. At the moment its chapter books that I read to her.

Anne of Green Gables is a new addition to the bookcase. we started it last night. Rhianna loves it. A friend of mine, Emma, reminded me how much I loved this story myself as a girl so I found it for Rhianna.

Mum says the whole bag cost her 99 cents as she had all the fabric scraps already lying around. So much cutemess for such a little price.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Aren't Mums Handy?

Rhianna and I have just come back from a few days with my Mum and Dad. My Mum is very crafty too, so as you can imagine the house turned into craft central pretty much as soon as we got there. Dad left the house 10 minutes after that. Haha.

Here's Rhianna hard at work making some cards.

We found some child sized knitting needles in an antique shop at Lawson and the holidays seemed like the perfect time to learn to knit. Rhianna that is, not me. Much patience was required on my part not to take over and to avoid commenting on the many holes that kept appearing.

Mum showed me how to "sew" my knitted squares together to start forming my blanket. As this is my first knitting project I am quite pleased with how it is turning out.

And while at Mum's, I spotted this in the local Coles supermarket. It's an organic conditioning body wash and shampoo for kids. If you're interested it's in the body wash/ soap section of Coles and it was $3.99 which is pretty good as the container is a decent size.

Have a good week everybody.
The Smile Challenge.
When you embark on a lifestyle change you start to realise that progress does not come in huge leaps and bounds. It comes in small one degree changes. You baby step your way to a new life and mindset. Every little action becomes part of a bigger picture.

Today you will probably take a shower - maybe 10 minutes of your time (4, if you're good and have a timer in there with you, hehe) but over the course of your life you will spend 6,000 hours in that little cubicle. You will also eat 1200 chickens and buy 678,740 consumable "things". So little things can have a huge impact - even just by little old me (or you).

One thing I'm into, and this is going to sound a bit weird, is smiling at strangers. I really like it when the stranger looks grumpy. If I go for a walk I say hi to every person I walk past - even if they have headphones on. If I am being served by somebody in a shop I smile at them first before I start talking. And mostly people respond in the positive. I mean, some people smile straight back at you, some people nod or smirk but usually there is some response.

But then I met the lady from the drycleaners/newagents at the end of my street. She aint smilin' at no-one - for any reason.

Now normally, I would then refuse to go back to that shop as the service, and lets face it, the atmosphere is less than desirable. But not this time. I am making it my personal mission to get a friendly response from this lady.

Everytime I go in and I remark what lovely weather it is - she keeps her poker face firmly on. I then pay my money and as I leave I say "Have a nice day/ weekend/ evening". No response. But I will not give up. I actually enjoy the challenge - strange little creature that I am. And when she does smile, when she finally cracks open that sour faced shell of a face I may just give her a hug.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Treetop Fun

I've been promising to take Rhianna up to this new attraction on the Central Coast for a while. It's called Treetops Adventure Park and it's at a place called Yarramalong.

There are a series of platforms located throughout the treetops and between each platform is a "challenge" activity. There is a run for the kids and graded runs for adults. I had to supervise Rhianna so unfortunately could not have a go myself but I am dying to go back sometime soon as everybody there was having so much fun.

First we get fitted with our harness and safety helmet

Then it's time for a safety talk and challenge instructions

The first challenge.

Good concentration is required

It's best if you don't look down.

I'd highly recommend this as a family outing. Its fun, its outdoors in the Ourimbah State Forest and it sure tires everybody out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TV Free Days
One thing I've noticed during these holidays is my children's reliance on screens for entertainment. Statistics show that children watch 1,023 hours of TV compared to 900 hours in school per year. They view 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders before their 18th birthday. Scarier still, is that meaningful conversations between parents and children were logged in at 38 minutes a week.

Our solution as a family is going to be a TV free day each week. I'm going to make it Friday.

Firstly we have after school activites on a Friday and we also do our family Fun Night on a Friday - so hopefully the whinging and whining will be less. I'm going to make a list of alternative activites for us ALL to do during this TV free time - like reading, riding bikes, craft etc.

I'll let you know how it all goes. I just hope I remember as I am usually pretty brain dead by Friday. I also just read that over 45% of homes have 3 or more TV's in their house with most children over the age of 4 having one in their rooms. I must admit we have 3 Tv's in our house although one doesn't get used. Rhianna does not have one in her room. I would love to not have one in the bedroom but Bill likes to watch TV in bed some nights and they are a godsend when the kids are sick.

I'd love to know how many TV's you have in your home?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The New Craft Cupboard has Arrived
Well, actually it's not new at all. We had this old sideboard out by the pool. The doors had gotten pretty weathered and would not close properly. So, I took the doors off, moved the cupboard undercover and proceeded to make a craft cupboard for Rhianna and I to play in.
Most of the boxes we already had. The baskets were a cheap purchase from Go-Lo and all the supplies were moved from the laundry to their new home.
We made some pretty new labels using stickers, cardstock and ribbons.
We have a place for everything. And yes, I realise I have spelt stationery wrong.

Fun things to do every day.

We Love Lamps
In this house we use a lot of lamps. We love old lamps......

......girlie lamps......
..and lamps instead of lots of lights. After dinner we turn on a low wattage lamp in the kitchen to reduce the release of carbon dioxide (and save on our electricity bill).

In the bedroom we use lamps almost exclusively.
By replacing all our globes with CFL globes we are helping to reduce our carbon footprint and save money as these globes last 10 times longer than ordinary globes.
Someone from buysterlighting must have heard about my love of table lamps and have offered to send me one to test out and review on my blog - for free. And all I have to do, is tell all you wonderful readers to go and have a look at their website at all their lovely lamps.
So, as Winter is about to start and lamp light is so snuggly to curl up with, invest in a couple of lamps if you don't already have some, pop in your CFL globes and watch your fave DVD by lamp light. Not only will you save money but you'll be helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Loving Larsson and Lipton

One thing I've stopped buying in the past year is soft drink. As well as being rubbish for your waistline and teeth it's also bad for the environment. A litre bottle of soft drink uses 30 litres of water in production. Instead we are drinking lots of cold water in summer and lots of hot tea and coffee from here through till spring.

Now everybody knows tea tastes better in a nice cup. In a little antique store the other day I found this adorable cup. The art work is by Carl Larsson. The Larsson trust has allowed a very small percentage of his gorgeous works to by used for commercial purposes.

I love the little tea strainer inside and I really like the little ceramic lid that keeps my tea warm as I wander around the house. Too cute!!!!
I'm So Tired
We had such a busy weekend we were all in bed by 9 o'clock last night. On Saturday we had to go up to Rhianna's school to water all the plants. Rhianna has joined the gardening club at school and that means we've ALL joined the gardening club at school. During the holidays the new seedlings and plants have to be watered.
Here's Bill watering in the vegie patch

And here's me watering the new natives

And here's Rhianna, not watering, and playing on the equipment. The things I do!!!

I also won this fabulous 1930's club lounge on Ebay. We had to travel up to Katoomba to collect it.The people we bought it off loved to talk (and talk). We were there 3 hours. But I am in LOVE ,LOVE, LOVE with my new lounges. But boy are they heavy to lift and move around. And that is why we were in bed early on Sunday night.