The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Colour change your world.

Lucy's wedding is only a week away. My nerves are kicking in!

I bought my dress a fortnight ago and I really love it! I love the colour which is a deep midnight blue. So next I needed the shoes and bag. I used to love shopping. Now I really don't like it at all. I walked Adelaide and went online too, to get shoes to match my dress. It was a waste of time and shoe leather. There is blue/navy everywhere in clothes but apparently no one thought to do the same in accessories!

In the end I resolved to get a favourite shoe of mine, that I love but also I know won't kill me. Also a bag the size I want. I could get both in any colour as I would colour change them myself.

So here they are.... the bag was $10!

Step one is you use methylated spirits to wash down the area to be painted. Then I use sticky tape to mask areas to be protected. This setting up makes it easy.

You want to do several thin coats rather than one thick one. I get a set of fine paint brushes as the one they provide you is thick and messy.

So here is the result with my dress in the middle...

To get the colour right I mixed navy blue with some black as the navy wasn't dark enough. I messed around until I found a pretty much exact match.

I'm pretty happy! Also excited. This dress is probably the nicest dress I have ever had!

This stuff is useful and I'm telling you as it can save you money. Firstly you can get spray or paint. I get paint unless I want plain black. This way you can get any colour in the world by mixing colours. Seriously you can match anything. The easiest thing of all is to colour change to your original colour. This sounds mad but if you have a black shoe with a scuffed heel or scratch, black colour change will fix it. You can remove a stripe by painting over it. Suede is fabulous. You can revive suede shoes or boots by repainting them the original colour and they will look new. Then when dry use waterproofing. It is like having new boots/shoes! Get some fine brushes for touch ups and just touch up the scratch mark. It is wonderful. Then clean your shoes up and polish them. You will be thrilled. 

Another use is making over some shoes you never wear. Even if you then wear them once with a special outfit you have saved money.

While on the subject I really love suede. Suede shampoo is the best stuff ever. If you have boots or shoes in suede have a clean and then waterproof session once a year for amazing results. 

Generally shoe repairers sell colours and will advise and which colours to mix for the colour you want. Getting other repairs done if needed can save you a fortune. It certainly applies to good quality footwear. They are worth looking after.

With sneakers etc. I remember trying to clean white back to white. And a tooth brush and cleaner will often get things looking pretty good. But failing cleaning white try white colour change paint to re whiten impossible areas. They too will look like new again. Sometimes these sneaky tricks can be a big saver.


Recently I have been amazed at the prices of fresh fruit and vegies in the supermarket and at the green grocer. And specials have been lacking. Not like other years where I have found so many wonderful bargains. Our apricot tree was a saviour plus some free nectarines. 

My best find this week was some pears for $1 a kilo and I got these as they were getting quite ripe. But I like ripe pears, they are usually hard as rocks and I have to wait! I made a pear, rocket and walnut salad to go with dinner tonight, as a start on them.

Also, I got some tomatoes $3 a kilo which saying it, does not sound cheap! But most have been double that. Bargains are thin on the ground.

My three tier pot of herbs at the back door has been growing like crazy and I have been picking heaps. We have had basil quite a few times plus rocket. It's not long since I planted this so it has taken off and I can see is providing a lot of food. 

This is how it looked this morning...

As I walk past it smells beautiful!

We live on salads and vegies and I never want to eat less of them. Less specials means being even more careful not to waste any. I wash, dry, wrap carefully and keep an eye on the fridge contents so stuff is used up not going mushy or forgotten until too late! Weekend use it up pizzas, or toasties help with this. 

Last year organising my fridge really well (after a big clean out) made a difference. I bought some of the baskets with a handle. They help you see what you have as they act like little drawers. And at least once a week going through everything before I shop makes sure I do use things up. It is too expensive to waste. Groceries generally are a big expense. It is also an area we can make a big difference with, by the way we shop, cook, store food etc. Sometimes a re think, re arrange, re organise can help. It's easy to get stuck in a rut!

With my herbs leaping out at me as I walk past (practically!) I noticed a glaringly obvious thing. Our lemon tree in a big wine barrel planter, also near the back door, was really a vast amount of dirt with nothing in it except this tree. (We also have limes. I can dash out and pick lemons or limes much of the year). 

Anyway, why I never thought to use this space better I don't know! And I do hope it doesn't harm the tree but I have filled the space with rocket, several varieties of lettuce to pick as we need it and parsley. After only a few days it is looking like it is taking off!

I will take a photo in a couple of weeks as it seems amazing how these things grow. And if you keep snipping how they keep going. Also it has to be healthy, I don't ever use sprays or anything and it is picked then eaten in minutes. All these efforts are little ones but they make a difference to the health and freshness of our meals and the budget. 

Plus I can give a bunch of herbs away. Lucy called in this afternoon and I sent her home with a fresh bunch knowing she will use them happily.

Little ways to be more productive, waste less. Share more. Freeze left overs or use them for tomorrows lunches. A little planning really helps. I know this weekend we can have a "use it up" meal or two and I have a heap of pears.... I will stew some and there is a beautiful cake covered in caramelised pears that I could freeze for winter. If I make a couple of those I have something lovely I can lay my hand on down the track. These things make you feel abundant and stretch the budget quite a bit. When I have a large amount of something I go to Taste online and type in my ingredient. Usually there are so many ideas of ways to use it that it is just fabulous. 

I am terribly late to post today. Wedding preparations are taking over here! Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The look of vintage plaster flowers...

I always say you can have anything you want as long as you can figure out how to make it! And with pinterest, DIY blogs on anything, You Tube tutorials etc working out how to make anything is easier and easier.

Vintage plaster work and flowers around mirrors, frames, on gorgeous furniture, is something I just adore. I am working on some ways to reproduce these effects. I have so many things I'm working on! So these are my first attempts at some "barbola" frames and my first project a waste paper basket.

I worked out two methods. One is to use fake flowers and spray paint. The other is to dip flowers into plaster and let them dry, then arrange them on things. I have a whole heap of frames to do, the idea is for wedding photos.

Anyway this was really fun. (and messy)

I love my waste paper basket! To do this I bought a two dollar wire basket from Cheap as Chips and small flowers from Spotlight. I used the wire on them to wire them into place so they are sturdy. Then spray painted the whole thing several coats. When it dried the flowers are rock hard, just like plaster! 

I would like to do baskets. I just need to collect some then I will have a try.

Now I have frames to make over for the wedding photos and these are my first two attempts. One is big soft looking flowers and the other is tiny little roses. I really like both frames. I can imagine the smaller roses in a baby pink frame for a little girls room.

The flowers feel hard and look sculptured. I am amazed. I don't think I'll be able to sleep thinking of the possibilities for this. How about flower girls baskets, trinket boxes, beautiful mirrors, all kinds of baskets.... so many things I will be looking at now sideways considering their suitability! 

I have to admit that over the next fortnight things are going to get a bit crazy around here and in the end I may not post everyday. To get a blog up and running I have posted everyday since I started. And I'm pretty sure I usually always will but there may be days where I just can't. Also each day I post a shorter post and my projects on the Bluebirds Facebook page. This gets a lot of followers, I am amazed, I have almost 4000 over there. It is good too because it is a little more interactive. It is also much quicker so on days I am overwhelmed I will post quickly there. If you click on the fb badge here on the blog it takes you to Bluebirds on facebook. I am happy too if anyone clicks "add friend" as that then allows personal chat between us. This is how mostly I get questions or suggestions of things to post about and I have "met" quite a lot of lovely ladies and chatted to them online which is lovely!  It is also how I get updates from all my favourite blogs and people everyday which is a huge injection of daily joy! I am also happy to answer any questions or try to find a craft solution or an organising solution to anything anyone is having a problem with. I enjoy that so much! I am amazed at what we have for free. Free chat is fabulous!

Thank you all for so much support and friendship. It is wonderful to "meet" so many beautiful friends. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Making your own gifts.

The secret to making your own gifts for everyone (or almost) is to start in January and do a few things each month. It is amazing how this grows and works! Or start now if you haven't. You don't really need to be crafty. There are so many simple things.

With wedding plans, summer swimming and gardening I have to say I am slightly off track. I keep a cupboard as my stash and it is so wonderful to look in there in about November and start to plan who gets what and maybe what else I need to do.

I keep seeing lovely dip painted kitchen utensils. They look so sweet and so I started to collect wooden spoons to do sets. Last week Woolworths had Arcosteel wooden spoon sets of five for $3! Bargain. I also got some pretty pink spatula's for $2 each.

If you know someones kitchen colours or favourite colours you are set. I mixed my own colours as I always keep white as a base. But tubes of paint as very inexpensive. I also did not dip them I just painted and kept the paint to about where your hand would go as you do not want paint in food.

Very easy!

With gifts like this I will end up making sets. ie the pink ones go with the pink t towels I have been edging. I also have sets of Boquet Garni I did earlier. Plus pink cup cake patty pans with little flowers that I found at a bargain price. Gathering together a little theme I can make up a little gift or a major one.

Chloe loves Tiffany Blue. I made this up to get the shade and it's lovely! The towels I am crocheting around as I get time!

When you make your own gifts you really can give the most lovely things for very little cost. I love giving gifts so this all keeps me in stock!

These would be beautiful for a kitchen tea, bridal shower. I know lots of cooks so these will be handy. I am now working on a few other colours for some particular kitchens. They only took a few minutes and really the kids could do them for you.

Quite often by the end of the year I have forgotten much of what I have put away. Getting it all out is really fun and deciding what I have and for who. It is such a great help knowing the colours people love or their colour schemes etc. Same as knowing the scents people love, flowers etc. Handy knowledge!

We used to do a lot of projects like these in the school holidays. The girls would then have gifts to give to family, teachers and friends. I am amazed to hear people feel they need to spend huge amounts of money on gifts. You don't. A little planning and you always have a treasure trove to go to when you need a present! 

I leave the foodie gifts for Christmas until December, except for the cakes which I make in October. There are a few people who love their shortbread, gingerbread and cakes. Having everything else made through the year makes Christmas lovely. It is not a financial strain it is a joy instead.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Re work what you have.

The other day when I cleaned up my mantle piece and jewellery I gave away some things I will never wear and made up a bag full of things that have elements I like but the chain is broken or the wrong length or some other reason the jewellery isn't worn. Some things I keep because they were given to me by someone special or have some lovely memory attached to them.

A while ago I noticed in stores some very expensive pendants which were like little collections of interesting things grouped together. And they were kind of interesting and lovely. But I thought wouldn't this be even better if the bits and pieces were personally special or told a story? So I began to group together various trinkets I have into pendants. I love pendants and a secret is if you plan for a pendant to fall and sit at your skinniest point (or best bit!) they will draw attention there. So for me that is my under bust and thats the length I wear pendants. Try it, it is a visual trick that really works!

This would be a good rainy day craft. Simply collect together bits and pieces lurking broken, unworn, hidden away, and group them into little wearable collections. The results are lovely! A think piece of velvet ribbon makes a lovely "chain" as well as fine leather.

Consider odds and ends like old keys, charms, brooches, watches, medals, medallions, ear rings even as lots of things can have a joiner added to them so they can be hung.

This collection is mostly really old things, found things. The seahorse I have had for years. Alone he looks a bit lame but in a little grouping I love him.

The crown is just a cheap charm. On their own things like this don't hang as they are too light. But paired up with something heavier they work just fine. Love crowns. And wings! The silver shell my Dad gave me when I was a teenager. I have always treasured it. 

There may be some stunning things you could be wearing with a little re arrange of how they are worn. The layered look is really lovely. But to do it you don't need new things, just wear several things together. I often wear four or five necklaces as I love that look. Different lengths look lovely. Have a little play and see what you can come up with. 

Treasures from the past are my favourite things. A whole heap of memories come from just looking at them. I think they are romantic and better than any store bought thing! 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A refresh is as good as a holiday!

A few weeks ago Andy came home with this coffee table which let's face it would not be greeted well by everyone...

The top was terribly scratched but he knew the pretty shape of the legs and top were on my hit list of good qualities!

Over the weekend I gave the top a quick sand and used some left over paint to paint it up. It was really quick and easy. I did it because as a table it is lovely but I was thinking I have no idea where I am actually going to put it! If it is something really lovely I will do something with it, it might end up given to someone, in the girls homes, a gift. But I felt pretty determined that this would suit our house.

Here it is painted while I am thinking where to put it!

Paint amazes me. Probably only an hour and a half of work and it is like a new table. If it was smaller I thought painted very pale tiffany blue Chloe would love it. Can you imagine even palest pink or blue.... ahh paint is wonderful!

So I had a re arrange. You know when you start moving things and it has a domino effect? I moved three things from the lounge room and as you do it you dust and wipe over then I was moving things in other rooms and putting some things away into storage and so on. In the end things got re arranged in the bedroom, office and lounge room. Dusting, cleaning, generally fluffing around until I was happy with it all. Oh my goodness! The bedroom ended up benefiting so much! The lounge room looks better too. It sounds simple but it turns into an epic saga but all worth it in the end!

So this is where it is going to live for now...

Today is so beautiful, sunny and perfect. As was yesterday. You know when you have re arranged a room or added to it and the next time you walk in there you "see it" for the first time and feel so pleased how much nicer things are? Well, today that has happened to me three times in three rooms and things just feel fresh and nice. And it all cost nothing. I couldn't be happier if I had spent a thousand dollars at a homemaker centre. 

Not everyone has a husband who brings in road side finds but most of us have furniture that might look different or a shed of old things, a parents or grandparents shed full of old stuff or op shops and garage sales and so on. All are great ways to find interesting bits and pieces. I wish I still had Pa who had a shed of amazing stuff! He kept everything. His shed had a museum quality about it. the things I could do with some of that stuff!

I am still reading Flylady everyday and on top of the wonderful article about making the most of what you have another was about making your home nice for YOU. Because YOU deserve it, you deserve to live in a nice environment, you deserve loveliness and peace. It doesn't have to be for guests or anyone else because we can even feel and think better in a relaxing place. I think that's so true. Every time I put in the effort to clean something up, make it better and organise some thing in the end it is really me who benefits most. Others will like it, Andy will be happy and all of that but I am here most and I benefit. It is true that it is hard to relax in a mess, in clutter and it is lovely to be happy at home. 

Little things that you know make you happy, a little bunch of flowers on your bedside table, a pretty cup and saucer, what ever it is, treat yourself nicely. On a busy day even these little things make a big difference.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Making the most of what you have.

Have you ever admired something in a store or a picture and then thought "oh yeh I have one just like it!" (or similar) What it has mean't is that someone has styled something to look just lovely and now we are wondering why we didn't think of that!

Many things just look beautiful if made the most of or used in an interesting way, given a life. Lots of gorgeous things never see the light of day and although we have them they do nothing for our daily joy or the beauty of our home! 

In a quest to use what I have and make the most of things yesterday I sat about finding a place for two old candle chandeliers I have had laying around. Really I had no where to hang them. One was hanging in the apricot tree for ages! In a concentrated effort to use them I walked through the house AGAIN looking and thinking. I have gradually been trying to make the front verandah look nicer and yesterday we had a cleaning and tidying day so it was all looking nice. Ta da! Why not hang these chandeliers out there?!

So at last they are up and they look lovely. They have improved my front door area a bit more and as we look out they look gorgeous. Last night I kept looking out the screen door as I was so pleased!

I just love the fact that they have gone from wasted to loved again in the space of a day! To the left in the picture below is the garden bed that has just been almost entirely re planted after being burned. Hopefully by spring that will be beautiful again.

And if the front entrance is an indication of what's to come in a home then our front entrance is starting to be that. 

It was dreary for a while and now it's much prettier. Now I actually feel inspired to keep going with this space as it has been a bit wasted.

Having a lot of "things with potential" in waiting, mainly in the craft room, I'm on a mission to make the most of each of them in a similar way. I had thought to have a major storage reorganise. Then I thought no, don't store things, use them up as decor, gifts, donations or whatever. So the storage idea is out. I'll use it or lose it. Many of my supplies can be made into Christmas and Birthday presents as well. 

Once again pinterest is a huge help in this. Simply name your languishing item with "other uses for" or "up cycled" and a few things like that and the suggestions start flowing. A daggy old frame in the shed or whatever is suddenly your next project and beautiful home addition. Some of my favourites are uses for birdbaths, urns and ladders. Oh so many gorgeous things! 

It is the most perfect day today. I hope everyone is having a beautiful Sunday! xxx

Friday, 21 February 2014

My mantlepiece and jewellery clean up!

Our bedroom has a beautiful fireplace and mantle piece. After making my dressing table look nice and sorting out all my makeup I felt "what next?"

I'm pretty sure even though I am busy working on things for the wedding I am filling every moment with extra activity so I am not worrying/stressing. That's me. I am better busy and active or I will start to dwell on things to worry about and then I will tend to not sleep so well. 

My jewellery was a mess. Some was dusty, a lot not worn and some needed cleaning. Over time I've made it my style to wear pearls most days as they suit me and I love them.

So I have arranged things so I can see the things I wear almost every day and have placed other things I should wear so that I can see them and might make better use of them. 

Plus this is a major part of the room, it needs to look nice.

My friend Shell made the lace bunting for me as a gorgeous gift. I love it. The fire screen I found on the side of the road. I am hanging my long pendants from it. The wrought iron fire surround I found in an old cottage on the farm. It is beautiful and I treasure it. The little shelves were from an op shop. I use that for evening purses and bracelets/watches.

Just to show... the left of this are shelves with my pictures etc and the right Andy keeps his hats. He is a hat man. Never leaves the house without a hat.

Seriously again I had a big mess to get to this stage! A whole heap of jewellery is now in my craft room to be re made, re used somehow in crafts. I have a few things that if hung on a nice chain would make great pendants so I will have a bit of a re make.

My candle sticks are lovely to hang the pearls I mostly wear everyday. When not worn they look beautiful just hanging there!

Knowing I love pearls my family have given me these as gifts which makes them even more special.

Going through everything, cleaning and re arranging makes you think "why haven't I worn this in ages?" and is a good reminder. We forget things. Good things get drowned out by stuff that is really junk and we don't wear anyway or no longer even like. Cleaning things and thinking how to wear them again, maybe in a new way, is like having new things almost! 

I will have to wait until after the wedding to go through my wardrobe but I will be doing a "shop my wardrobe challenge" and seeing how many outfits that I love I can create from what is lurking in their. At least I have my jewellery sorted out!

I posted onto the fb page a link to a wonderful Flylady article. It is called "The cheapest remodel of all" Really wonderful. It is about making the most of what you have and it applies to everything else too other than your home, your wardrobe, your jewellery and so on. If you need a boost or motivation read that article.

If you have some stunning jewellery that you don't wear consider wearing it! Otherwise maybe gift it to someone who might enjoy and give it a new life. One beautiful piece of jewellery can make you feel a million dollars and turn jeans and a top into something stunning! Vintage styles are beautiful, a good clean and great grandmas brooch or ring might be your new heirloom accessory. Absolutely make the most of what you have!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A road side find and curating your home.

About a week ago Andy came home with this little old bench that he found on the side of the road. He knew I would love it! And I do, it's really old. 

It needed a good clean up. Then I mixed white paint with about three times as much water and roughly painted it so that the wood shows through, it is a white wash. The wood had a drift wood look, very faded and worn, which I loved and wanted to keep. Anyway this worked out and I really like it.

I had always fancied a bench at the end of the bed for blankets and stuff so thats where it has ended up. A little arrangement of things I have and for 100% free the bedroom is added to and we both really love it!

The way the room is, you see this view as you walk down the passage....

It is a big improvement.

With de cluttering and blogging, taking photos and arranging things I am fascinated by the word "curate" we get to curate our own home, our collections and our wardrobes etc.

Aside of deciding to rid ourselves of clutter, curating is to decide of what is left what do you really love, use and adore and what really is just there, maybe actually ugly to you even and remove it!  I had a picture in my hallway that I decided this week I don't even really like it. I took it away and looked at the space without it and considered. The space looks better without it. I think we keep things because they are "good" things but even too many good things end up being too much, choices have to be made. Sometimes things are inherited or gifts and that is tricky. Mostly I don't thing anyone giving you a gift is really meaning to hand you a life sentence though! Curating is deciding that something isn't fitting in, isn't necessary... it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it, it is just wrong for you or this room.

When we live somewhere for a while we stop seeing it with fresh eyes. I notice when I walk in after a holiday I see things differently. A good thing to do is pretend you are a real estate agent or potential buyer and walk off the road side into your home looking as if you have never seen it before.  Doing this now and then causes me to think good grief how did I get in this mess!? A fresh look, a re arrange and a bit of a "home blessing" and things feel and look so much better it's amazing.

I just love that little makeovers and re arranges can be totally free and freshen things up beautifully.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Vanilla essence.

I love vanilla as a scent. I remember Nan told me that when she was young they had no money for perfume and that she dabbed vanilla essence behind her ears for years.

My very favourite room scents are from Glass House, their candles and diffusers are divine.  If asked what I want as a gift I will sometimes say a Glass House candle in vanilla or caramel or diffuser.... the house smells so good then.

But my main stay is to use vanilla lots in the house and in my cleaning. I wipe the fridge out with a damp cloth with vanilla, countertops and I boil vanilla in water inside the microwave then wipe that out. This steams it up and scents the house at the same time!

I made vanilla the first time last year. All you do is run a knife along vanilla pods to open them up and drop them into a bottle of vodka. I used a whole bottle and about 12 vanilla pods. Then you shake that once a day. Thats it! You keep this up for at least 6 weeks. I think the longer the better. ie if you would like to do this as Christmas presents start it now and it will be amazing for Christmas. If you have vodka lurking in a cupboard this is a great way to use it up. I have a collection of little bottles and decant it into these. 

Now last time I had a disaster. After about 4 months I was digging around in my cupboard and something fell over. A domino effect had my vanilla essence fall on the floor and smash. I was so upset. All that time....  I cleaned it up and as you can imagine it was a big mess! Well.... it turned out to be the best accident ever! The house smelled gorgeous! And it lasted and lasted. People visited and said "your house smells beautiful" and Lucy came over and asked how I got it to smell so good!

So this happy accident made me realise that this stuff is my dream home fragrance and now I use it in a diffuser as well. So easy to make. Diffusers can be made several ways but one is to use scent in vodka and that is what this is anyway. So you just need bamboo skewers and a vase or whatever you like....

Using vodka or oils you can add any fragrance you love and then you have the liquid for a diffuser. So you could use essential oils or even a favourite perfume. I rotate the "reeds" as I go past once a day or so, just a couple of them.

I love scents as long as they are my favourites. That is very personal but our true loves make us feel beautiful, happy, comforted...

A little scent can go a long way and a good thing as most as very expensive. I love body powder. I buy the plainest unscented one I can find and pour it into a round box with a lid, that will just fit a powder puff. Then into that I spray a few sprays of Chanel No 5. After a day or so that whole batch of powder smells of Chanel no 5. It transforms it and it is just perfect, delicate and lovely. 

My friend loves to scent her whole house this way and it can be done with a real or "fake" fragrance and only a tiny amount is needed. Very luxurious!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Makeup storage and de cluttering .

My makeup collection has been huge mostly thanks to two girls who have been in the cosmetics industry! And it is my weakness too, trying things and keeping everything!

This was such a challenge. I have a list of organising things to conquer this year and this one was daunting! Now most of us have some areas that are our big challenges, organisation wise. So I would say this was my biggest. It feels wonderful to have done this!

It was so bad that I would die of shame to show you the before. Put it this way, Andy took a photo of the clear dressing table and the floor! He thought it was funny and threatened blackmail.

The only thing  was to clear the whole dressing table completely and only allow what was fresh, used, loved etc back. Plus clean everything, wash all makeup brushes and so on. It took a couple of days!

The wedding coming up prompted me to hurry and do this. Yesterday I got my dress! Now I know what makeup I will wear and it is all ready, pencils are sharpened etc and well it is now a joy instead of a stress looking at the confusion.

So here it is....

The makeup drawers I got online. Look for acrylic makeup storage or drawers. Howards Storage World have them too, or similar. They remind me of the drawers to keep fishing tackle in. Someone finally thought to make them for girls! I love them!

Either the hardware type of these would be wonderful for the tiny bits and pieces in the craft room. My craft room is on the hit list and a huge job! I actually have to try not think about it until after the wedding! But still this is a big thing I can tick off my organising list!

it honestly feels so good to clear and sort things out. It is hard to be brutal but in any instance clutter is clutter and it feels bad. 

With old stuff that was open I told myself it is hazardous, which it is. With new unopened things I told myself that if I didn't love the colours or whatever it was quite valuable stuff and my favourite op shop (Doctors Without Borders) could probably turn it into cash and help someone overseas get medical treatment. So lots is bagged up ready for them. 

This thinking helps me de clutter lots. I think if I am not using something they could turn it into cash and help someone in dire need. Then I can part with the item knowing it will really help someone. To keep it feels mean, I don't even use it. To me it is clutter.

So what could you donate to help your favourite charity? Hundreds of dollars may be cluttering your home but would help someone enormously. 

As we go into autumn I will be doing this with my wardrobe. I can't wait! I am slimmer and I have lots of new outfits I can make from what I have. Other stuff can hopefully help someone. 

Looking at it like that makes de cluttering a double joy.

Monday, 17 February 2014

FlyLady and blessing your home.

Over the years Flylady has helped me so much. If you don't know her you will easily find her site and she is wonderful for helping you get organised and your house under control!

I follow by facebook. I find that easier than a lot of emails. Also then I get to hear how other people are going and that is often inspirational.  And I have my routine written out and know it by heart as well now. Every now and then I need a refresher. Or the motivation of reading some of her articles. Her writing on clutter is the best I have ever read. Clutter steals your life, space and joy.

I have never liked dusting! It was only ever listening to Flylady that I found the "cure".

Here is my duster. It is 120cm tall, so added to my own height plus the length of my arm I can reach all over the place...

I once thought dusters like these were very pretty but old fashioned and not necessarily functional. Well they are pretty! Mine is so thick and feels lovely to use.  After it cleans so simply and looks like new again...

One of my favourite parts of the FlyLady routine is the Weekly Blessing Hour. I wiz around and get so much done in that time even the bulk of my dusting as once you get going it really isn't much to do as it is kept well under control! After your home feels fresh and happy and so do I. It feels beautiful to be on top of things.

The secret is real ostrich feathers. They grab and pick up the dust and the feathers get into everything, around everything, effortlessly.

I have another smaller one as well as this giant one. The long handle on my big one means you do skirting boards, under things, on top of things, light fittings and so on, instantly with no bending down and no climbing up. It is dare I say it, actually fun.

Please note Ostriches are not killed for their feathers. Feathers though are used if you think about it for so many things from down pillows which are divine to fashion. Also many dusters end up in the bin quickly where as these last for years and years.

As I do my home blessing I think of the beautiful verse "she looks well to the ways of her household" I really love that. It is funny how some tasks, even though they are small really, trip us up. And an equally small solution is really wonderful and make life easier!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Easy and economical weekend food.

Every weekend we have a pizza night or a toastie night. It is easy, yummy and uses up left overs. So, as I do it I go through the fridge so come Monday I know what we have, what needs using, and then do my grocery shop from there.

A really good way to make very easy pizza bases is the method where you use a cup of yoghurt and mix into plain flour. If I am doing this I allow 2 cups flour per pizza and then add some yoghurt and milk to make a dough. I find I need to press this dough into pans as I can never get it to roll. But it is cheap, delicious and works amazingly!

I keep all kinds of things suitable for pizza bases in the freezer. Since they are going to be cooked and covered in toppings I look every time I go to the supermarket in the area with the bread mark downs. Last week I got a packet of Lebanese Bread, six large rounds, for $2.30. So that will make 6 pizzas. Now 6 pizza bases here are about $12!  Other breads I buy for this are actual pizza bases marked way down, turkish bread (I would cut in half to be long thins) Lebanese bread, focaccia bread... anything kind of flat really!

When the kids were little I found muffins split made great bases for lunch box pizzas. Or even just bread, crisped up a bit and then covered in pizza topping and baked. A tray of these then cut in half gave me a few days lunch box/after school snacks etc. 

Also I would put out the ingredients and get kids to assemble their own pizzas and say ok do one for tomorrow and put them in the oven...

A supply in the freezer means pizzas are only ever a few minutes away. I cannot see the pint of making one pizza. Saturday I made five with my Lebanese Bread bases. So it goes like this... I did not have any tomato paste so I used a jar of spaghetti bolognese sauce and that worked fine. I had some frozen bacon so that was the meat. I had a couple of brown onions so I sliced them thinly. Left over camembert from Valentines Day. I had no tomatoes but I had some left over sun dried ones so I used them. Grated cheese. Sprinkle of oregano from back garden pot. 

Now other candidates could have been pineapple, left over roast pumpkin, onions or sweet potato, left over roast chicken, lamb, beef... capsicum, mushrooms, tomatoes, any cheeses and really just so many things! 

Then I did have left over rocket from Valentines Day also. So that was my topping. 

They were yum!

What -ever's -laying -around -pizza is not really a good name but that is what it is. 

This gave me pizzas to send on Sundays fishing trip so that was done. I gave Chloe a pizza as a gift, that is probably a dinner and two lunches for her. Andy has one today for lunch box and I froze one. I know they were around $3 each or under.

Now the lovely pizza place near us makes good healthy pizza and they are divine and around $20 each. So my haul was worth $100!

If I had little kids I would have done a tray of mini ones for lunch boxes so Monday and Tues would be half ready to go to school. 

These nights are really good! I have had a letter from Lisa and like many of us she has a meat loving husband. Keeping the budget under control and feeding meat lovers is a big subject. But if your meat loving man has some likes ie pizza, hamburgers, even pasta dishes or possibly mornay, steak sandwiches.... anything else he likes other than just a slab of meat then make the most of those loves. Because in all of them a little bit of meat can go a really long way. If you become a star at these "take away" type dishes you will save a fortune! (and he will think you are amazing!)

Other nights we will have a toastie and in winter/autumn we might do jaffles in the fire. It is the same deal, use up what we have and use massively marked down bread I keep in the freezer to do it. I usually pay 40c a loaf for bread for this and get a heap of these nights from one loaf. Again if I am doing this I will make a couple of extra. The next morning I will heat up the extra one and wrap it in foil and that will be hot breakfast on the road for Andy. He loves that. 

Every family would have favourite combinations. When I was little Mum did cheese, bacon and pineapple. I thought this was positively gourmet. (Still love it!)

Last night we did them... I had turkey, cranberry, camembert (those left overs) and rocket. (also leftovers and needing using up) it was so yummy. 

Well, we had a wonderful weekend, the left overs are used up, I know what's in the fridge and today I go shopping. I see what the best buys are then plan my meals from those. 

I got my garden bed all re done yesterday and it is great, all the rain we had everything is growing like in the tropics. This is my basil from a couple of weeks ago and I have been picking it!

In my menu planning I will make sure we have salads with basil over these next few weeks! (note to self) and give away some as I know if I trim it that it will keep growing and it is perfect right now. Haloumi cheese needs to go on the list or some soft mozzarella and some ripe tomatoes.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and gets off to a wonderful start to the new week! xxx