Monday, August 23, 2021

Insourcing to stay sane in insane times...

 If there's one thing I've learned since, at the age of 61,  I transitioned into my seventh decade on this Earth, it's to be myself. Find what I like, in the sea of being told what to like. It's liberating.

It's only when you remove yourself from all of the external influences in your life, that the Real Self, sometimes comes into clearer focus. I think this has been the case for many of us, as we negotiate lockdowns.

These days, if I want to eat home made Enchiladas in the middle of Summer, and Sashimi in the dead of Winter....I do.

I'll eat pasta for breakfast....

...and fresh hot off the pan flatbread for lunch, all by itself if you don't mind.

Muesli and yoghurt for dinner? Sure.

Chocolate mousse for afternoon tea? Why not?

Surely at this moment in time, we should all do whatever we need to do to keep our spirits up.

Bubble bath at lunch time when you work from home? A sanity saver if you ask me.

What about this idea....

Give yourself a hand massage. Go on. Slather on some hand lotion. Or even better, make a hand scrub with equal parts raw sugar, olive oil and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Now, don't just rub it on haphazardly. Pay attention to the back of your hand, your palms, each of your fingers and your thumb. Massage your wrist and up to the crook of your elbow. Use long strokes, and take your time. Rinse with warm water to activate the scent of the essential oil. Pat dry. Nice, right?

Give yourself a head massage. Particularly nice if you have a bit of length on your fingernails. Why do we wait for 'someone else' to do these things that we can do for ourselves?

See how here.

Curl up with a really good read. Something totally escapist. Certainly nothing to do with pandemics, thankyou. This is not the time for a Stephen King novel.

Can't go to the gym? Find an online workout or app that works for you. There are thousands. Gyms are not a good insourcing idea anyway. 

Compile a new playlist on Spotify and dance at home, instead of attending a class.

Weights are your thing? Improvise with weights at home, logs of firewood, bags of clothing (those ones you've just decluttered). Get creative. Previous generations got their cardio by doing what needed doing around the place. They didn't pay someone else to do their chores, wash their car, walk their dog, and clean their gutters, and then also pay to go somewhere to exercise. It's a special madness, I tell you.

The Universe is trying to tell us something. And all respect to anyone with different beliefs, but it is NOT that the government is trying to kill us or take away our liberties.

We need to return to a slower way of life. A more authentic one. 

Until we do that, nothing much will change.

How sad.

Look after yourself. Give yourself a break from the news and social media. Whatever is happening out there will continue to happen whether you engage with it or not. Rest your weary mind.

This storm will pass.

Stay safe. Stay calm. Breathe.


Friday, July 9, 2021

Homespun Things...upcycling a denim jacket...

It all started when I was Pinterest-ing one day, scrolling through trims for Chanel-a-like jackets. I will make one in my lifetime. I've promised myself. This bit of froth and frou-frou caught my eye, and I've dreamt about it ever since.

Finally an opportunity presented itself. Not a Chanel jacket sadly, but a marked down denim jacket in KMart, for just $7. Just the ticket for a bit of upcycling.

I'd purchased the feather trim some time ago, knowing that if I did so, the 'jacket' would find it's way to me. The Universe provides. I know that. You know that. No harm in being ready!

I cropped the jacket to just under the bustline, and likewise, trimmed the sleeves to mid-forearm. That's the best length for me.

Trim was pinned and I thought I was ready to go.

However a quick try-on showed that due to the jacket being shortened, it was sort of tent-like, especially at that under-the-boob level.

I unpinned the trim, inserted a couple of darts, and I was off and running...well, stitching actually.

Two broken sewing machine needles, several broken pins (don't buy those ones at the checkout at Spotlight, they're s**t), and a small amount of bad language later, I was done!

Cute undone as it is above...

Or done up as here below.

I'm feeling rahther Zsa Zsa Gabor.

A bit of fun. Life is short, right?


Monday, July 5, 2021

Budgeting and Insourcing.....Beads and Bulk Cooking!

We found ourselves in lockdown again here. 

Thankfully, for a mercifully brief couple of days. Phew. It does sometimes feel like this cycle will never end, right?

I personally don't mind lockdown. We have excellent supply chains where I live, including 8 supermarkets within five minutes drive. In addition, I always, always, have a minimum of one months supplies of pantry goods on hand. So there is no panic in our household.

I used this time to concentrate on some beading projects I've been working on.

I buy these statement necklaces from an Australian company called Erstwilder. Their releases are wildly popular, and usually sell out within weeks, sometimes within hours. This latest release was inspired by the Art Nouveau era, a particular favourite of mine.

I wasn't loving the chain or the, to my eye, 'unfinished' look of this Klimt inspired Tree of Life necklace, but I knew just how to fix it.

The addition first, of some apricot faceted vintage beads to replace a portion of the chain, helped enormously.

...I then played with several versions of the drop on the pointed bottom end, before settling on this, to bring out the red in the rectangles featured in the center of the piece.

I love this very much.

Second was this Magnolia necklace, which I chose to upcycle with a lucky find of marbled pink, heart shaped beads on a necklace somewhat similar to rosary beads.

I just adore this elegant version of what was already a very beautiful piece.

I became bored with beading one afternoon, and decided to bake.

This cake is called School Cake, as it was once served in School Cafeterias in the UK. It reminded me of the basic butter cake my Nanna used to make. It's delicious slightly warmed (I'd say 15 seconds in the microwave).

That accomplished, it was back to my beads, and this peacock feather necklace and earrings...sigh...just stunning. But again, what to do with that chain??

I found this black chain and aurora borealis bead necklace in my stash, and it was a match made in heaven, as they say....

The peacock ring, also from my own stash, makes this a truly beautiful Demi-Parure to treasure.

Meanwhile, Hubster returned from a supermarket trip, bearing roses. I always put them next to a mirror to double the joy. Do you do this?

My dwarf cumquat tree rewarded me with these little darlings which will be preserved and used as a side for a special chicken or pork dish, or as decorations on a cake.

See those Chrysanthemums? They were a marked down find at the supermarket too. So pretty in that ginger jar with matching graphics.

A mile (just about) of lasagna was made too. I can't make one lasagna. I just can't. Family members happily received their share.

How do you spend lockdowns or other enforced stay-at-home times?


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Insourcing and Budgeting....DIY wins Every. Single. Time.

I know that you know that I've been banging on about this topic since...well...forever. DIY may as well be my middle name. It's a peculiar passion, that even now, when I don't NEED to DIY, I still find I WANT to.

I'm also fascinated by the societal changes, that worship buying ready made everything, whilst also bemoaning being locked out of the housing market due to rising prices. Amongst other things.

When we were kids, we actually felt sorry for the kids who only had 'bought stuff'. Everything we had, from cupcakes in our lunchboxes, to hand embroidered, pure wool, satin lined Winter coats, was made-from-scratch. 

Where did that mentality, that level of skill, go to?

Me? I couldn't make a hand embroidered, satin lined Winter coat to save myself. But my Nanna could. 

She could also behead a fowl, pluck it, remove it's innards, and have it in the dinner pot, before you could say Chicken Soup. Apologies for that visual. I couldn't do that either.


I can make a dang mean vegetable flan, complete with made-from-scratch gluten free pastry. When I say made from scratch, I mean I made the home made Bisquick multi-purpose baking mix on one day, and turned it into pastry on another. I'm not completely immune to time saving tactics. 

Waffles. We craved them. I made them. Gluten free of course. Courtesy of the same Bisquick stuff.

And when you decide that you love a good statement necklace as well as those cute brooches, what else is there to do, but buy a couple and upcycle those into something uniquely 'self'.

Of course, the Daughter continues to need the occasional bulk cook-up, and not wishing to have rusty skills in this area, Mother provides.

Another necklance, meanwhile. This one is indicative of the next stage of my life.

And in the midst of it all, there's always cupcake decorating with the granddaughters. A special pleasure, always. Why would we pay for entertainment, when it can be had for free at home?

Custom statement necklaces can be up to $300 each on Etsy. Mine were $50 each, plus vintage beads at around $10. Three necklaces at $900 all up, mine, $160. 
Savings $740.

Ready made meals...two weeks worth. Around $350. Cost to me...around $25. 
Savings $325.

Those gluten free waffles are $14 for a pack of 4 at the local posh deli. I make a dozen at a time for about -75c. That's a saving of $41.25 on waffles for petes sake!

Time with the granddaughters...well I dare not put a price tag on that. If they really wanted an outing, we'd have one and not think twice. But they look forward to just hanging round the place.

Savings of $1131.25 this week on equivalent bought items.

DIY wins. Every. Single. Time.

Tell me about your DIY in the home. I'd love  to hear!