Monday, February 29, 2016

Take the slow train

Last weekend I took  the sleeper from Sydney to Melbourne, a slow and gentle journey. I had been in Sydney for three days at a conference, and it seemed too good an opportunity for this West Australian, to visit my family in Victoria. By going by train overnight I saved the cost of the hotel room. 

Do you love train travel? It is so much nicer than car or plane.

The staff on the train were helpful and polite. I slept quite well, as my bed was rocked gently by the movement of the train. I did wake up briefly at one point to watch the blue and silver night time trees slide by my window.

In the morning I had great fun using the fluffy towel and showering in a in a tiny moving cubicle!.

I hadn't expected it but they brought breakfast- toast and coffee and muesli.

Afterwards I met a friend in Melbourne for coffee and then joined another country train rolling through Victoria's midlands.  Three hours with a good book so it was most pleasant. A great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Of course it is even better because at the end of this journey were my son and daughter in law and little grandchildren.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Tea and sewing

I was reminded recently about herbal teas that we can make at home. For some reason I had fallen out of the habit, so I got some lemongrass from the garden and teamed it with ginger. I had forgotten how good this is! Must try some other blends - I believe that parsley and rosemary is good too.

My new quilt hangers are getting filled up. This one doesn't fit but I quite like it casually folded over the rod. Until I make a new quilt!

This pumpkin and prune cake was a real winner. Moist and not too sweet. I must make it more often. The recipe was in one of those church recipe books people do as fundraisers, from the Augusta Anglican Church in WA. 

So nice to have a quiet weekend. This week I am off travelling for work and pleasure. Sydney then country Victoria. Now that I have blogger on my phone I should be able to post something whilst I am away. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Decorating with quilts!

I have a friend who is a very talented quilter. Recently she repainted parts of her house. In the redecorating she decided to remove three quilt hangers, hand made for her by a relative. 

This is one of them.  My DH hung it for me today. I really like it, even though I had to adapt the hanging sleeve to fit it.

I have two smaller ones being hung now, and no quilts that fit them. 😊
Yippee! New excuses to make quilts!

Sunday, February 14, 2016


I am loving working on the Peanuts quilt, which I pinned together this weekend. I had a 'cheater" panel in red and yellow which I had picked up in an Op Shop years ago, and seemed just right for the back. I have done some walking foot quilting but now need to decide what free motion quilting I am going to do, and how much.

My quilts are often pretty densely quilted, but I picked up a nice tip on Stashbusters. The idea is to quilt lightly so that, if you want to, you can then make it more dense. If you start out densely quilting, you are stuck with doing it all over!So I think I will concentrate on the central panel and see how I go. Chances are this one is a wall panel rather than a hard working quilt, so it might not need lots of quilting. I will see how I feel about that.

DH put several coats of stain on the extension table he made for me, then used Danish Oil to give it a smooth surface. It is now permanent in my sewing room. I love it! It makes quilting a pleasure with my old machine.

We are in the height of summer. Here are some images from our usual beach walk, which we do about three times each week.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The value of our work in the home

Our lovely Mimi over at  A Tray of Bliss has been counting how much her work in the home was worth last week. If she had paid others to do it, what would it have cost?

So I have been doing some thinking about how did we do last week. 
DH and I work part time, and the time we don't work outside the home is available if required around here.

Dinner for the three of us plus two friends Friday night -they brought wine, we served home made dukkah with home made sourdough bread ($10 to share?) with brie and olives (another $10) , followed by a slow cooker chicken curry and rice with salad ($25 each) . There was a rose water flavoured fruit salad and chocolate ice cream to follow ($8 each) . We sat outside in our lovely patio area.  I reckon I spent about $50 and it would have cost us at $185 in a garden restaurant.  Our work saved $130.

I took two lunches to work -frozen from leftovers -soup and cauliflower cheese. Made coffee with my own plunger. Saved $10 per lunch and $3 per coffee = $26.

DH is working on a sewing extension table for me. I saw one on the internet for $250. He has the tools, the piece of plywood was left over from another project  and the fixings are here too. When complete it will cost us maybe $5? Saving of $245!

I cleaned the leather lounges and conditioned the leather. If I got someone in to do it? Maybe $50.

We worked in the garden, planting new vegetables and herbs. This included 2 hours for me to rejuvenate the worm farm and distribute the castings around the veggies and pot plants. It cost us about $60 for the supplies from Bunnings, but when a bunch of basil is $4.50 at the shop, and lemons are $3 each at the moment, the reimbursement to us for gorgeous flavours in our food is easy to estimate. I am not counting our labour costs because of course not everyone has a gardener. If you needed a gardener, you probably would not have the kind of garden we have.

I know I am so spoilt at being able to go out to the garden to get a fresh lime, or snip some rosemary. As for the wonder which is fresh thyme-O my! We  made pumpkin soup from our home grown pumpkins and sweet potatoes this week, for example, with fresh kaffir lime leaves. I am giving it a conservative estimate of $20 for the week.

I made our sourdough bread twice. These loaves are $5 in the local bakery. The ingredients are flour, water and oil with my home grown sourdough starter. I reckon they cost $2 or less each. Saving of $6.

DH installed three taps in the water tank that was replaced this week. I am calling that a saving of $175 given the price of call-out fees for plumbers!

I make our own washing powder for laundry. I think this saves $5 per week at least!

Exercise DIY -we walked on the beach 4 mornings this week. Saved $30 at least in gym membership.

We share the cooking and I can't remember the last time we bought take-away, but I think it was somene's birthday and we bought Thai from the local and it cost us nearly $70. So being prepared with food in the house, knowing how to throw something together when we are all tired etc $70 saving!

What does it all add up to? $750!