A little less plastic

I’ve been trying to reduce how much plastic I use and then have to throw away.

I do recycle both hard and soft plastics, I don’t use plastic carrier bags in supermarkets, and now, I won’t need to use those flimsy single-use produce bags any more, hurray! I’ve put together a set of netting produce bags in different sizes, with a drawstring top. Washable, light and easy to see through. They can live in my heavy insulated fabric shopping bags. They’ll be getting a test run shortly, and if all is well, I’ll make a batch more.

I had an old roll of mosquito netting which was perfect for this, being stretchy and non-fraying, and there’s still plenty left for more bags, or replacements when these get a bit tired or start falling apart. The drawstrings are shoe laces, and I used a sewing machine stitch which combines a straight line and a zigzag to finish the edges a little – they don’t need it, but I like things tidy 🙂

I got the idea from Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. She’s a bit of a green superstar and recycling warrior among her many other talents, and her blog is well worth following if you don’t already do so.

Hmm. I think I need some different shapes. Rhubarb, cucumbers, kale, stuff like that…


Lovely nubbly

I’m trying to do something about the amount of refuse we put in the bin each week.

We recycle hard plastics, aluminium, steel, glass and paper. We’ve just started recycling soft plastics by putting them in the Redcycle bin at our local Coles supermarket. I’ve bought two bokashi buckets for dealing with organic waste; we don’t have chickens or a worm farm (away too often for the first and too hot for the second), so I wanted a way to process the waste so that it could be dug into the garden. Apart from an infestation of fruit flies which has resulted in me exporting the bucket to the garage instead of the kitchen, that aspect is working well. I can put used paper towel into it, but I’d prefer not to. I don’t use much, but ideally, I’d like to stop using paper towel altogether, despite its handiness and multiple uses.

A number of friends have been knitting their own wipe-up cloths using cotton yarn. I don’t knit, but I can do basic crochet, so I found some bargain cotton yarn in 10ply and made myself a sample, using a 6mm/J/10 hook. It’s chunky, absorbent and has a pleasant nubbly surface that’ll be great for giving my benchtops a bit of a scrub and wiping up spills. Being 100% cotton, it’ll wash happily, and folded, it makes quite a decent heat pad. Best of all, once it’s knackered, I can bury it in the garden and it’ll rot down to nothing.

My sample is quite large, and subsequent cloths will be smaller. I’ll also probably buy 8ply for future cloths, once I’ve used up the yarn I have, and when the time comes to replace some of the microfibre cloths I’m currently using, so I have a range of sizes and textures.This size used the better part of one 100g ball, so smaller ones will also be more economical with yarn.

For the source of many of these ideas and some truly amazing lifestyle and cooking inspiration, head over to the lovely Celia’s blog at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Time to go and give my cloth a test drive 🙂

The Cloths of Heaven 9: the ear-worm

All yesterday, this dratted song was playing in my head.

Corner templateTrimmed leaves on templateMy brain changed the words: brown became green, grey became blue.

I have 64 leaves to make, so a music track in my head was helpful to keep me going, but now I can’t get rid of it! Does anyone have any other leaf-making sound tracks to suggest?

Anyway, the template is done, about a third of the leaves are stitched and I’ve got a few cut out. The rest are drawn up, sandwiched and pinned, waiting for another mammoth bout at the sewing machine.

The Husband is off work for the next 4 days, so I’ll be spending most of my time with him instead of my sewing machine. We have a ‘fun’ project in mind: the block of land next door is vacant, owned by a construction company, and they have used it not only for the storage offered by the large shed on site, but also to dump all sorts of oddments of construction material, leftovers, and bits and pieces that make my recycling heart glad and my acquisitive eye gleam. I have sought and received permission from the owners to go in and help myself to whatever I fancy, since it will save him having to cart it away! Woo hoo! Chook house and chook yard fencing, here we come.

It’s quite a labour; much of the stuff is overgrown and tangled, and naturally, we’re doing this in snake season, so despite the soaring temperatures and humidity, we’ll be fully swaddled in heavy duty work clothes, boots, gloves, sunnies and hats. But almost everything we need is there, and I’m sure there’ll be one or two things we don’t actually ‘need’ but which I will grab because I’m sure I’ll be able to think of something to do with them down the track.

Time to go and trim a few more leaves. (Nooooo! not that song again!)

Back in the groove

It’s definitely a groove, and not a rut; my work is running smoothly and harmoniously.

The electrician came today, and we are now blessed with working air conditioning, more power sockets than we know what to do with, and the power supply to install a garage door lifter. I’m grateful I won’t be jumping out of the car to lift that heavy thing much longer. What I’ve also been able to do is get my workspace up and, well, working! It’s pressing time up there right now, 35 WOF strips to press the creases out of so I can start stitching them together.

Screen shot 2014-10-17 at 1.42.22 PMThe bare wall at the left of this image will contain floor to ceiling book cases, and the wall above the cutting table on the right will have pictures, a pinboard, a mirror and hooks for rulers and tools. I desperately need to do something about those dreadful curtains, too, a legacy of the previous owners…

Outside, things are progressing too. My beans have germinated and are sprouting, less than a week after I put them in the ground. There are tiny lemons on the tiny lemon tree, flowers on the tomatoes and capsicums, and the sweet potato vine is twice the length it was a week ago. Summer’s on its way; it’s hot again, and I’m happy we’ll be able to cool the house down efficiently.

Screen shot 2014-10-17 at 1.42.41 PMWe got bookshelves up, a dresser constructed, our desks organised and the flyscreens installed in the bedroom windows. I’ve unpacked 7 or 8 boxes of books, and the living room is finally starting to look dressed.Of course, we haven’t even started with hanging pictures or unrolling rugs, but that will all come. I have a mountain of cardboard boxes to deconstruct, many of which will be coming in useful out in the garden as mulch under raised beds, but most of them will just have to be slowly recycled on yellow bin day (green bins for general waste, yellow bins for recyclables). Meanwhile, they can go into the shed, out of sight, and out of the way.

Back to work.