Monday, October 19, 2015

Insourcing DIY life...

Honestly...why would you give your family memories to someone else to create?
In the last month, I've created some lovely ones. And saved a motza to boot!
Just this last weekend, I wrestled a virtual carpet of fondant onto a cake for a special someone. Someone elses Nanna wanted $650 for this cake. Well, hers had fondant Winnie the Pooh and Friends on top, but I can do that too..with a bit more notice! Little plastic figurines were substituted this time around, but the rest of the work was all mine. Do you like my freehand fancy Parchment writing? And that impressed design is done using a cake stamping thingy. You're meant to fill the indentations with piped icing, but the Pinterest trends say otherwise.

A strip of Winnie the Pooh fabric pressed neatly into shape substituted for ribbon with Poohs face which I was unable to source. A bit of lateral thinking folks!

And each of these special someones, had a brooch belonging to Great Grandma affixed to their second birthday cake, so this one had one too.

The Diva and I insourced a succulent garden in a bowl for a friends birthday. Having viewed one not nearly as pretty for $65, we had no angst in gifting DIY!

Likewise we enjoyed a Mango Strawberry Acai bowl at a nearby fruiterers café`, and loved it. $13 each seemed a little steep though, so we've since made our own. That's not chocolate friends, it's Acai and banana puree`. Very yummy. We've been having a home made one every day, at massive savings.

I found a use for my collection of vintage milk jugs and vintage cups sans saucers. So nice to scoop out sugar and dessicated coconut with something pretty. The little jugs and cups live inside the canisters, so no more fumbling for spoons and whatnot to scoop things out. I like :)

I found this vintage Californian jam tin label at the local Thrift store. Hung it on twine in my kitchen. Love. I wish I'd kept some old IXL Plum Jam labels from my childhood, but who thinks of it when they're 5 years old?? $12 gave me my dose of nostalgia.

I made Victorian posies for the girls that dance with The Diva. Little dried red roses, dried lavender, wired into a miniature bouquet and framed with tiny paper doilies. They were prettier than the photo, and welcomed by all. Saving $10 a piece on other end of year gifts. When there's 15 'friends', that's a lot of saving.

I completed my trio of Pyrex mixing bowls. I'd had the biggest one for yonks but hadn't found the two inner ones. I snaffled them on eBay for $10. Thankyou to the nice lady in Gympie. My eye for symmetry is now satisfied. Similarly I found those retro coloured clear acrylic bowls at the top, to round out the display. Same shape as my white ones, but in a complimentary colour to the Pyrex. I love a good sideboard display, don't you? Especially when it's useful too.

I made a gluten free lasagna. We detest the gluten free pasta on offer, so I make gluten free crepes and use them in place of lasagna sheets. Leave the sugar out of the batter though, or it's all wrong. Looks and tastes the same, I promise.

I grew a rose. I know. Unbelievable. Flushed with success, I've planted three more. A Just Joey, a Red Intuition, and a baby pink Floribunda Bonica rose. Faux Fuschia (see her fabulous blog on the right) says that you really can grow roses around here. I'm testing her theory. I've saved space for a Duchesse de Brabant. I read on another blog that they even grow near the ocean. Goodness! I've persuaded the Musician Husband to plant Hydrangeas too. They're going great guns. I'm turning into my Nanna I swear.

Somebody admired my May Gibbs Gumnut Babies spice jars. They've been there so long that I don't think about how pretty they are. I use them every single day. Aren't they sweet? There's 24 of them. all with a different picture.
Here's Thyme....

...and here's Cloves...

 They were an investment back in 1997. They came two a month for ages. $79.95 each pair. An heirloom in the making. I know people knock The Bradford Exchange, and those dolls they do are downright creepy, but who could go past a Gumnut Baby Spice Jar collection? I thought I wanted Wedgewood ones, but these are so much sweeter. Just right for a Nanna like me.

I made a feast for the Dance Teachers. Backstage at Annual Concert is mayhem. And who needs another bouquet of gerberas? Food rules, folks. Leg ham with real butter on soft white bread...

...and individually wrapped Apple Crumble Pies in cellophane bags with gold hearts affixed. And airy whipped cream too, of course.
They were a winner!

I fashioned a bold feather posy for another Dance Teacher who is a little more Avant Garde. We saw a similar one for $150. Sheesh. She liked it a lot. Posy or duster or both...her choice. A useful thing.

Another friend admired my Eiffel Tower Lamp which took me a whole week of poking with a needle to create. I'm glad I persevered. That saved me a couple of hundred dollars.

I finished a kitchen makeover and tidy up, rehoming every little thing in the pantry into vintage pastel canisters. I like it now. I don't feel like something deadly is going to fall on my head every time I open the doors. We were thinking of a kitchen reno at considerable tens of thousands. No more. All we needed was a declutter and tidy up.
I can't decide whether to line the back with vintage mirror tiles (on left) or pretty vintage paper (on right). What do you think?

If I had to include the kitchen reno in my calculations for savings over the last month or so, I've saved my family about $40,000. Don't look at me like that. It's!
It just goes to show what a determined soul can do.
If I worked outside the home, we'd be spending money left, right and centre.
Long live the stay at home Domestic Manager, I say.
What can you do to save your family money today?
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Sharing at...
Curly Crafty Mom
The Art of Homemaking Monday
Cooking & Crafting with J & J
Amaze Me Monday
Oh my Heartsie Girl
DIY by Design
Wow us Wednesdays


  1. Mimi, My husband loves pumpkin pie so this week I made two. I made them crustless and cut down on the amount of sugar the recipe called for. Each pie cost me about $1 each to make and at the store they would have cost $10 each. That's a savings of $18 just in those 2 pies!!! We can save so much by being 'home managers.'

    1. Patsy, we do don't we! I love it. Now, these crustless pumpkin pies...please do share. We love Pumpkin Pie (not very Australian, but so yummy!), but a crustless one...yes please! Crazy good savings on your pies. Love Mimi xxx

  2. Mimi, I am in the bus on my way to the airport. Your rose looks gorgeous and those gum nut baby spice jars bring back memories of my childhood. I love the books written by May Gibbs.

    1. Nanna Chel, happy travels to see your grandbabies! The Gumnut Baby illustrations are the epitome of cuteness aren't they? Love Mimi xxx

  3. Mimi it looks like you have your mojo back in spades - there is only 1 thing that I outsource due to health problems and that is my oven being cleaned - that happened this morning and it is now show room condition which makes me happy.

    I cannot imagine how much the wedding cake cost at the wedding we went to last month, it was not iced in any fancy way at all but I bet they paid a pretty penny for it.

    I am busy reorganising things here - we have started getting our items out of storage and I need to decide if we have keepers, garage sale items or op shop items. Now I could pay for someone to come in and do this for me but who knows better than me what category everything fits into?

    Again cannot imagine how much money I am saving just doing this job alone.

    My sewing machine is here now and I have a dress that needs mending again something that could be outsourced but why when I can do it myself? Just hope that after not being used for so long that it doesn't think it is still on holiday.


    1. Hi Lynette. I don't know about getting my mojo back, but busy hands make for a light heart, as my Mum used to say. Ah ovens...I don't have one to clean just! A blessing and a curse in equal measure! And wedding cakes. I can't tell you how many mediocre ones I've seen. My DIY one for my brother beats the one I saw recently, and that was a $1000 cake. I hope you feel good reorganising. It's a bit of a task, but so worth it in the end. I agree, why would you pay someone to de-personalise your home? I'm so glad you're getting settled there now. Soon it will truly be 'home' again. Love, Mimi xxx

  4. Wow, you have been quite busy! Thank you for sharing your delightful DIY home inspiration with us!

    1. Thanks Jes! Par for the course round here :) Mimi xxx

  5. What a resourceful week you have had! You are quite the busy and creative lady, and saving $$ at the same time, marvelous! I love your pantry with all the pastel canisters. It is wonderful to have everything matching, and in its own place! Enjoyed hearing about your resourceful week. I made homemade taco seasoning, and used dried chili peppers that were given to me, and ground them myself, and then made the taco seasoning. I also made homemade bread and three pies, crust and all from scratch... feels great to be saving the family $$! Have a great day!

    1. Woohoo! Awesome work on the taco seasoning. I love that you used hand ground chilli peppers. Homemade bread AND three pies? That puts my efforts to shame ;-)

  6. Wow, you're quite busy, aren't you? :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

    1. Hi Jess...busy is good. I love being busy. It generates so much that's happy. Love, Mimi xxx

  7. Lovely pictures and story as well Mimi. $650 for a cake! Holy moley. Yours looks beautiful.
    I think there is some kind of weird scam where we have all been conned into we cant do this or that. And there is some truth in it we cannot do everything. I cannot for instance fix a car. So some things we do have to pay for... or hope to have a family member able. But seriously so many things we CAN do and the savings are incredible. If I think something is a royal pain I check out how much it would be to get someone to do it. Someone I know paid $300 to have their windows cleaned! This made my couple of hours window cleaning on Saturday feel pretty good! I earned $150 an hour apparently!
    I loved this post. A joy! xxx

  8. Thankyou Annabel. Yes, who'd think that a two year olds cake could cost that much, or that someone would pay that? But clearly they do! That's an interesting point you make. Once DIY was the norm. Now 'buy it in' is. I know it provides employment and all that, but if you are a stay at home Domestic Manager, then all of this should be part of your own job description I think. Perhaps not when you have really little ones, or if you have a child or children with special needs, but once they're all off to school, you can achieve so much! $300 for window cleaning sounds about right. Crazy stuff, huh? It's so warm here now, I'm happy to get out there and clean my own! Thanks for stopping by. I always love your comments. Love, Mimi xxx

  9. Hello Mimi,
    You are so clever with the ways that share on how to save and make things yourself!
    Thanks for sharing these ideas with us at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Enjoy the rest of the week.
    Julie xo

    1. Hello Julie! You always say the loveliest things. Thankyou. Mimi xxx

  10. Hi, I have a set of May Gibbs jars too. I was just googling to get some more info on them but can't seem to find much online. I don't suppose you have any more info or paperwork that you received with your set that you could share with me? Thanks... Shannon

    1. Goodness. I'm sorry Shannon. I somehow missed your query entirely. I bought mine from The Bradford Exchange here in Australia. It could be worth contacting them. I hope that's helpful. Mimi xxx

  11. It is amazing how much money you can "make" by not outsourcing. I just saved us 5 grand or more on doing our kitchen backsplash and counters myself. Definitely would not have been able to do that if I had been working. Same with gardening, mending kids clothes, having time to shop at the thrift store, make food from scratch, etc. It all adds up! Great job on the Eiffel Tower lamp, I love all things French :)

    1. Thankyou so much! I'm glad you liked the lamp. That was an exercise in discipline. Poking all those holes with a pin, was not fun after the first five! Well done to you on the kitchen renovations. That's a task I've yet to attempt! Thanks for the visit and the lovely comment. Mimi xxx


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