Saturday, December 31, 2011

12 in 11 December Update

It's so unlikely that I'll buy anything today I thought I would get in early.

This month I finally found the dress I needed for the ball back in October.  An actual proper formal frock in a daring bright red that fitted very nicely.  So I bought it.  The next ball is not until April 2013, but for $7 I'm prepared and who knows what fashion emergencies 2012 will bring.

I overspent my clothing allowance by 7 items (more than 50%) 19/12.

Not a brilliant result, but my goodness it was a fascinating experience.  While still buying most items second hand (one retail purchase only and that an emergency funeral buy), I learned to focus on quality, cut and colour to make the most out of what was already in the wardrobe.

I really do have a capsule of basics now, at least for the cool weather.

I took the lessons I learned about cut in particular and have culled my sewing pattern library (Ravellers, look for a destash soon) to leave me with a handful of patterns that suit in styles I prefer to wear.

Despite failing at 12 in 11 I'm up for it again. Not because I like to fail, but because I like to try. These challenges teach me things about myself and assist in least making me better aware of my shortcomings even when they are not completely overcome. It helps keep me focussed and this year focus is particularly necessary.

There are 3 known items on the 2012 "to buy" list

  • a pair of replacement Mary Janes. Even by the redoubtable Jhay the Cobbler is unable to repair the last pair.
  • an outfit for Junior's wedding in December. I may make the frock, but I'm going to keep a couple of items in reserve just in case I need to buy a dress and shoes for the wedding.
The usual rules will apply. A flurry of yarn purchases in December (birthday and Christmas gifts to myself) ensured that I have some truly lovely garment quantities of yarn to use. I also came across a couple of caches of gorgeous fabrics in an op-shops in December and bought several. It is a sign of maturity that most of that cache was left for others to enjoy.   I look forward to creating with some of the lovelies that came home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

How I clutter my home

This spinner doll was in the 50c bin at the Salvation Army shop.  Couldn't leave her behind.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Looking Forward

Just because it's Summer now, doesn't mean I'm happy about it. Apart from stone fruit and skinny dipping, I don't like much about Summer.

While we were at Manuka Oval yesterday we checked out our latest investment.  Seats in the members' stand for the three Greater Western Sydney Giants Australian Rules Football matches next year.  It's as close as we will get ot a Canberra team in the AFL and we aren't going to miss out.

The Manuka Oval website doesn't have a detailed seating plan, so we had to book our tickets without knowing exactly where they were.

I'm sitting in one of our seats.  The bag and hat are on the other.

Am I pleased?  See for yourself.

Four rows from the highest point in the stand; on the aisle; only two people to bother us getting up and down; right on the left edge of the centre square; under the roofline.  Fabulous!

Bring on Winter.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Signs of Summer

Despite the coolish day, it is summer. And summer means cricket.

Knitting a Citron with laceweight kid mohair at Manuka Oval. 

Tasmania defeated NSW by four runs in a one day match.

Citron requires one more repeat and a ruffle and it, too, will be vanquished.

Friday, December 02, 2011

12 in 11 November Update

I spent $20 at the St Vincent de Paul garage sale in November.

For me - a pair of new with tags (English brand marked at 30 pounds) $5; a pair of RM Williams riding boots $4; a pair of Kumfs heels $4. The boots and shoes are very lightly worn.

TOF scored a pair of Thomas Cook boots (brand new) $4, and a pair of polar fleece ski pants $3

The helpful ferret is a resident but going cheap.

So I added 3 items to bring my total of purchases to 18 for 2011.

Delighted by crochet

We saw much sheepy goodness in New Zealand.  That was expected.

There's a sculptor living in Omarama who has added larger than life fish and sheep to the town's streetscapes.

There's a crocheter living in Omarama with a sense of humour.

The yarn-bombing was delightfully unexpected and well thought out.  Thosed crocheted toes are stuffed with microfibre or similar.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Get 'em while they are young


Dunno about Australia, but I literally rode on the sheep's back!

My nanna and me September? 1967, "Sunnyglee", Jerilderie, NSW.

I was 20 months old.  If you look closely, I'm wearing a handknitted bonnet and jumper.  The corduroy overalls would have been cut down from a pair of trousers belonging to my grandfather or uncle.  The jumper would have been reknitted from one of their old jumpers, too.  Mum made all my clothes, mostly from recycled materials.

Mum and I lived with her parents while Dad served in Vietnam. My grandparents raised sheep and wheat at Jerilderie. There are always lambs that are hand-reared. The one I'm sitting on was probably one of the house lambs that year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Knit Couture?

Picked this up from the blog Damn You Alexis. It's a D&G apres ski blouse.

Surprisingly - I think this is cute.  Certainly not for this little black duck to wear - the shape's all wrong - but cute.

I responded to the colour first, but the whimsy of the fair-isle print is very appealing.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

12 in 11 October update

The temptation to go all out this month because I've blown the challenge already was quite strong.

I resisted.  Mostly.

My will power was not so steely as to withstand a pair of as new Birkenstocks for $1.50.  I had to look a couple of times in case it was $15.  All mine for less than the price of a bus ticket. I've never had Birks before - I may be grateful that the investment was so low.

Quota Used 16/12.

So in answer to Louisa's question - yes, I'll be keeping track. 

I've learned that I really do wear 20% of my wardrobe 80% of the time, or at least something approaching it.  I was very, very resistant to wearing some of the my clothes.  My first instinct was to replace tired favourites with close replicas rather than use the other items.  So I'm embracing that.  Unused/resisted items during this challenge have been disposed of.  The wardrobe is looking a bit minimal, but that's ok.

I've analysed what's left over so have a fair idea of my minimum needs and am developing a succession plan.

As I buy almost all of my clothes second hand, and am a difficult size, I give myself permission to acquire quality garmets to replace the already tatty or soon to be tatty as they are found.  The one in one out rule will apply.

Tops for work are knit fabrics in the main.  Buying them second hand means they usually only have one or two seasons in them.  I will allow myself to buy the better quality tops when I see them in op-shops etc but I will confine purchases to fabrics and cuts which will last longer.  In theory, a well-constructed garment in a natural fibre can be maintained for longer than one from a man-made fibre.  Certainly fine woollen knit tops with hand-washing and regular depilling last years. It's not possible to successfully depill a standard poly-cotton t-shirt.  I've tried.

Ditto, trousers and skirts. Ás I find suitable woollen or linen pants and skirts the synthetic blends will be retired.

Natural fibres are easier to over-dye than synthetics.  Black linen and cotton tops which have greyed a little can be resurrected in a dye-bath.

Natural fibres also require less laundering as they "breathe" better than synthtic fibres.  Synthetic and synthetic blend garments need washing every wear which increases their environmental impact in terms of electricity, chemical and water load, and they wear out sooner.

I am also committed to maintaining what I have rather than buying replacements.  I've found a good cobbler.  It isn't cheap to have shoes resoled or boots reinforced but if the item is good quality to begin with, it will stand a few repairs and it's still cheaper than buying the a replacement in an equivalent quality.  And much, much more environmentally sustainable.

And if all this sounds a bit controlled and dull - boring black uniform with sturdy shoes - it would be if it weren't for accessories and I can knit or sew my own.

And I'm kind of tempted by trying for 12 in 12.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

12 in 11 September Update

Baby done a bad, bad thing.

Blew out the challenge in September while we were in NZ.

No defence, no excuses, just did.

Quota Used 15/12

Op shopping in a new country is fun.  Some of the brands were familiar but not all of the specialist sizings that I look for. It was a bit of a test of my ability to assess quality and cut based on the garment rather than the label. 

This challenge has led me to assess what it is I need in clothing and my preferences for colour and shape.  If I couldn't just have it, I had to assess each item.  It's a good skill to acquire and hone. 

So, what did I get that was worth blowing the challenge for?
  • 1 pr Blundstone steel cap boots, new in box from Salvos $10 (we have some major landscaping and gardening ahead of us and these are perfect to protect my tootsies from falling pavers etc.)
  • 1 pr strappy sandally heels to wear to this accursed ball $6 from Salvos. 
  • 2 jumpers; one is a tunic style that has seen some wear already and another in a henley style which has replaced my baggy saggy, pre-weightloss winter favourite (already gone to the op shop).  Both are in green shades, one a light gumleaf olive, the other a bright kiwi green.  Both are medium guage.  $23 the pair from Save Mart.
  • 1 moleskin shirt for football and outdoor wear next autumn/winter replacing the way too large pincord shirt I have been wearing for years. $6 Salvos.
  • 1 jacket for work.  I am expected to travel more for work in the next couple of years, so I picked up a dressier jacket in non-crushable knit.  $20 Vinnies.  Yes, a lot more than I usually pay but this is an excellent brand and fit and slips in the my mix and match wardrobe really well.  Retail it would be about $200, so I'm pleased.

Knickers bought just before we left for NZ.  These replace the daggies worn and abandoned in NZ. 

Bra, new with tags from Save Mart in Invercargill.  $15.

Hosiery - found 5 pairs of new in packets stockings and tights in op shops including electric blue stockings for an average $1.50 a pair.  Given one pair of pantihose retail is $12, I'm a happy hosiery freak.

We left most of our travelling clothes and shoes in NZ, returning only with our "new" purchases and a change of shirt and undies.  Fate handed us a woman of size at the caravan park the evening before our departure.  She was in town to watch her brother play for the Fiji Rugby Team.  She gladly took our clothes for her family and we were delighted they went to a welcoming home.

Since we've been back wardrobe culling continues with several bags full off to op shops as new items were washed and put away and the winter wardrobe turned over to spring and summer.

Friday, October 07, 2011


What 7am looked like yesterday.

Working on a commission to be delivered on Sunday.  A soon to be born grandchild is in need of a bonnet and better-than-boottees socks. 

The socks will take 6 hours to complete so I'm working on the bonnet first.  The design and yarn was left to my discretion, as long as it was white.  The vintage Patonyle (60% wool, 40% nylon in 25g balls) has been in stash for some time.  It was purchased second-hand and I have 3 balls. The bonnet is going to take just over one ball and I'll get the socks out of the remainder of that ball.  A lovely set for 50g of yarn.

The pattern is vintage Patons and written for for 3ply, but using smaller needles in a ribbed/lacy ribbed garment means sizing won't be an issue.  This will fit from about 3mos on. As we don't know the gender of the baby, I'm figuring lemon ribbons for the ties.  All materials are from stash.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Traditional Fathers' Day

I nearly burst a pfooffa valve the other night watching an advertisment.  Can't remember what it was advertising, but the gist was "don't give Dad socks for Fathers' Day".

I am happy to report that TOF doesn't think socks are a naff present for Fathers' Day.

He loves his handknits and knows how much love they represent and appreciate that the animals cared enough to commission me to make them.  He likes his new Wallabies jersey and the bottle of whiskey as well.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

12 in 11 August Update

Quota Used 10/12

I bought a frock for the ball in October.  More a maxi than a formal frock, but for $6 from the Salvos it's long and floaty and will do.  I need to take it in a bit, but will wait until we return from NZ.

Given the big freeze in NZ a couple of weeks ago, I bit the budgetary bullet and ordered a down jacket from Canada.  I can't get one to fit here, and I've tried.  Less than $200 including postage and I will be warm.

Exempt Items

The silk thermals I bought to wear in NZ come under the heading of underwear so they don't count.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


TOF hit the jackpot this week and brought home a lovely book -  Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free by Grace Cheetham.  It's has some interesting takes on traditional treats and desserts as well as meal recipes.  Between us, we can eat neither gluten, dairy, mushrooms nor beef. We don't really have a problem with meals, but treats, oh treats....

Today's treat is our take on Grace's chocolate and fig biscuits.  As we couldn't find our stash of dried figs from last year's plunder of public fig trees in Canberra, we subbed dried apricots. The chocolate called for was a 70% cocoa solids, but we used Whittaker's 50% bitter sweet because it was open and is still dairy free.

Total win.  The resulting biscuit was moist but not mushy and we got 15 biscuits.  A darker chocolate would give a richer result and I can't wait to try it with figs.

Friday, August 05, 2011

12 in 11 July update

Nothing at all to report this month.  Nothing new came in either by purchase or by gift.


Not really wanted much, although we have a ball to go to in October, and I have nothing to wear.  I got rid of all the evening wear when I lost weight and it's the last thing to be replaced.

Finding a ball gown is impossible and I haven't the inclination to sew.  I suspect it will be cocktail length rather than formal length this time around.

While I was on leave in June I threw a few pale and/or stained items into a dye bath.  I now have several indigo coloured revamps - just like new clothes.  Hope to turn a few of my navy shoes black this month as I've had to get rid of some old favourites recently and the work shoe situation is getting dire.

Friday, July 01, 2011

12 in 11 May and June Updates

Shitty couple of months and I did not resort to retail or op-shop therapy.


I bought a pair of fake pony skin leopart print pumps late in May.  Brand new Kumfs for $20 at Vinnies.
I followed up with a dress in June to wear to my mother's funeral.  Half price but retail.

Quota used 8/12.


2 prs pantyhose 30% off at DJs.
2 bras on 30% off at Target.  Still looking for another couple and badly need undies.
12 summer t-shirts.  New t-shirts cleared from Mum's cupboard.
5 pairs hand-knitted socks.  Socks I knitted for Mum which I have now reclaimed.
Jacket for gardening in, gift from TOF.
Cotton cardie/cover up thing for work, gift from TOF.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Packing up

I am writing this from Mum's hospital room.  Yep, again.

This is her third hospitalisation this year.  I am waiting for the medical staff to finish their meeting with the nursing, physiotherapy and social work staff who are deciding Mum's fate.

As soon as a place is available she will be moved to respite care, pending a nursing home.  It's not going down well with Mum, although she's so sore and tired at the moment the fight isn't really there.

This morning before coming to the hospital, I started looking at the house with an eye to packing it up.  Fortunately Mum is a neat freak so it's not going to be a task like on the tv show "Hoarders" as a friend on Facebook imagined.  It's just going to be emotionally difficult and physically challenging.

The kitchen and linen cupboard look like the best places to start.  Fewer items of sentimental value and I cleared out the extraneous from the linen cupboard in January.  I'm going for easy wins in the first few days. 

The craft stuff, too, has to be dealt with.  Again, I've culled this fairly well in the last six months.  Moving things on will be easy enough - I know lots of people who can use craft supplies - but there will be things I want to keep such as the length of tartan in the family pattern bought in Scotland and a gift from a dear family friend (long dead); the Brussels lace bought for me by my grandmother for my wedding dress (poor deluded but well-meaning woman); and the vintage vyellas and batistes.  I can't and won't keep it all, but some of it will come home.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Green Tomato Sauce

We were the grateful recipients of several loads of green tomatoes this year.  Just as well, our entire tomato yield was 3 ripe tomatoes and a balancing amount of green ones.

I keep forgetting where we get our recipes from so this will be the first in a series of posts recording what we made, where it came from and any deviations from the original recipe.  I probably should have recorded yield etc, but I didn't.

RECIPE:  Green Tomato Sauce

SOURCE:  The Australian Women's Weekly Home Library. The Book of Preserves. Australian Consolidate Press, 1990.  p. 106.

DEVIATION 1:  used our own red wine vinegar instead of brown vinegar - softer, sweeter, more complex flavour as result.

DEVIATION 2:  in second batch added a couple of sliced green chillis. 

NEXT TIME:  Add more chilli.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

12 in 11 April Update

This month I appreciate, very clearly, the value of thrift.

With one of the dogs requiring several surgeries and associated costs, having savings to fall back on was immensely comforting.  Doesn't make parting with more money than I've ever spent on anything apart from real estate any easier, but it is comforting.

I'm also glad of the extra discipline the 12 in 11 challenge has given me.  In order to replenish the savings, I'll need to be more careful than ever, and as op-shopped clothing is a particular indulgence of mine, this challenge is now an economic necessity.


1 fine wool black jumper (Maggie T brand for the Aussies).  I know I'm a knitter, and that's what makes it possible for me to know that this fine knit in a quality brand was an absolute bargain at $4.  Mixes and matches with my work wardrobe for winter layers and cared for properly will see many more seasons.

Quota used 6/12.  Half my quota used in 4 months.  Sounds a lot but is less than I'd buy on a good op-shopping day normally.  I'm happy with my progress.


Last year I bought a man's wool and silk blazer at Salvos.  It fit well around the hips and was a good length in the body, but the shoulders were too wide and the sleeves too long.  I'm a good home dressmaker, but I'm know my limitations and resetting the sleeves in a lined jacket of this quality is beyond them.  I had a local tailor recut and reset the sleeves. The jacket cost me $25 plus  $85 for the tailoring.  $110 for a tailored to fit wool and silk jacket that looks great with jeans and boots to dress up a casual outfit.  Love it. Worth it.

Creating has been for other people this month and will continue for a while yet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes. Rosie is out of hospital(s) and appears to be on the mend. We are waiting to see what the weekend will bring but are very hopeful.

I won't be around much for a while and the seven things challenge has been put on hold.

Mum's been in hospital and is out now but requires a little more care at the moment and another family member is very unwell and I need to be present for the family and not worrying about inconsequential things like my clutter.

Everything will be fine, I just need to concentrate on the family right now.

Back soon xxx

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

This is our lovely Rosie.  She's in need of your healing thoughts, prayers and wishes right now, having just had her second lot of abdominal surgery in a fortnight.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Seven Things Week 21

Calming down on the "ins" after the last couple of weeks.

1 porcupine quill to use as a shawl pin GIFT
2 DVDS.  Popped in to buy a gift, ended up with a copy of Don Juan De Marco for $7 and something else for TOF.  Johnny Depp films under $10 are part of the collection development policy.
1 book.  Went to Lincraft for fabric dye.  No dye but ended up with Naughty Needles from the sale table for $8.  Impulse buy fail.

2 cup top coffee filter holders RECYCLING
1 glass coffee flask RECYCLING
1 plastic brooch RECYLING
1 old bag strap BIN
2 back packs OP SHOP
7 video recordings OP SHOP
1 skirt OP SHOP
1 jacket OP SHOP
1 pr jeans OP SHOP
1 shirt OP SHOP
1 riding helment OP SHOP

2 pairs socks for gift giving.

IN 4
OUT 19

Friday, April 01, 2011

12 in 11 March Update

End of the first quarter and tracking a bit high.

With the change of seasons, though, comes a reckoning in the wardrobe.  I'm pretty ok for casual gear, but my work wardrobe was a little low and the going out clothes very patchy.  That's fixed now.

Also, the planned sewing didn't happen.  I need to get back into a routine with the sewing machine. I'm incredibly proud of my discernment in shopping, though.  I've brought home in three months what would have come home in a day previously.


I picked up fine wool blend charcoal grey trousers and skirt. Quality fabric and well designed, cut and made garments.   The trousers (Lisa Ho) set me back $5 and the skirt (Basque - the Myer larger sizes label) $2.   I couldn't leave either behind at that price.  I have also culled a lot of tatty garments from last winter's wardrobe, so no nett gain; a nett loss in fact.

Then there was the black stretch satin evening skirt for $2.50.  I was missing a black evening skirt or pants. The purchase of this one skirt means I have five going out outfits. We don't go out much, but it's good to know I have options when we do.

Running total 5/12



1 dress.  TSS bought it for me on the sly but I was going to buy it anyway.  A black and white spotty sun dress in vintage style that fitted for $3, you bet it was coming home with me.  Although it's not outstanding quality, it is well designed and matched all the other criteria for inclusion in the wardrobe where there is a lack of fab and fun frocks.  I would not have been able to make this - no patterns and the fabric would be difficult to source and certainly not for $3.

1 pair socks.  Created from the scraps of other hand-knitted socks.  C'mon- triple bonus points on this one?
1 pair socks.  Yarn recycled from jumper TOF bought at an op shop for $1. (I''ll get at least 6 prs of socks from this jumper).

There was an attempt to buy new underwear, but bra shopping when Target had a 30% off sale ended in a mixture of rage and self-loathing.  Of course there was nothing left in my size in the one style they sell that I can wear in the colour I wanted (black - not exactly unusual).  Plenty of all the other sizes and one to fit in granny beige.  What does this tell you Target?  OK, not quite calmed down yet.  Nothing purchased.

My only pair of summer sandals died in January.  I replaced them with a pair from the Vinnies Monster Sale (brand new) for $3 and added a pair of new pair summer sports shoes for another $3.  I've decided to exempt these as they are replacements / necessary exercise equipment.

Nothing added and while I came close a couple of times I resisted all but the good quality gear that coordinates with the current wardrobe.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Seven Things Week 20

20 weeks!  Good golly.  Another big week for ins thanks to the Lifeline Bookfair and Vinnies Monster Sale.

This week the summer clothes were put away and the cooler weather clothes disinterred.

Naturally I took the opportunity to remove anything not worn over the summer and to reassess the winter stuff.  There is a small pile of items ear-marked for wearing in and abandoning in New Zealand and a very small pile for the dyepot to make them useable next season.  Not looked at yet - knitwear and accessories.

  • 1 pr fine wool blend trousers for work $5 OP SHOP
  • 1 fine wool blend skirt for work $2 OP SHOP
  • 1 black satin evening skirt $2.50 OP SHOP
  • 2 Tupperware items $3 OP SHOP
  • 1 bags - replacing 6 with 1 is not bad. $6 OP SHOP
  • 1 pr sandals $3
  • 1 pr sports shoes $3
  • 12 vintage patterns/knitting mags $15 LIFELINE BOOK FAIR
  • 10 books - LIFELINE BOOKFAIR
  • 3 skirts
  • 8 tops/shirts
  • 4 prs trousers/shorts
  • 2 jackets
  • 6 hand bags
  • 1 pr hiking boots
  • 1 Tupperware container

IN 30
OUT 25

Monday, March 21, 2011

Seven Things Week 19

Hmm, so the cross-border raid on the Goulburn op shops resulted in a few ins.

We did take the advantage of dropping off some outs at the Smith Family, though.  Canberra no longer has a Smith Family Op Shop (and I still miss it badly) so we can be assured of not accidentally buying back our own stuff, or buying back an something to present to the original owner (this has happened).  On that note, anyone shopping at Vinnies in Dickson - please don't buy me any knitting wool.

Also a week of ferrying dogs to vets, work and a weekend spent in family celebrations and support team for World Naked Bike Ride, Canberra - not much time to identify any outs.  TOF locked his wardrobe just in case, though.

5 knitting patterns for the collection OP SHOP
1 battleaxe OP SHOP
1 Bodum coffee plunger OP SHOP
6 items Tupperware OP SHOP
1 dress GIFT
1 ball yarn GIFT
7 lots of buttons OP SHOP
1 scarf (Wallabies official merchandise) OP SHOP
2 shirt for TOF OP SHOP
1 pr trousers for TOF OP SHOP
1 mincer attachment for the Kenwood Chef OP SHOP
1 sausage filling attachement for the Kenwood Chef OP SHOP


1 hand bag

1 pr socks

IN 28

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seven Things Week 18

Another odd week.  I'm now required to work every second Saturday.  The upside is I have every second Monday off.  I may have spent rather too much time in op shops last Monday.  Then two days in the last weekend at a course in Sydney and no time to shop or cull.

We have a public holiday in Canberra today, so TSS and I are taking Mum and heading over the border to Goulburn who do not have a public holiday today.  I'm just the driver, though.  Promise to try to be good. ;)

TOF has done the traditional Canberra Day long weekend thing - he's gone to the coast.  He will be op shopping the south coast today - look out Bermagui!  I suspect there will be a problem with the "ins" in the coming week.

1 Tupperware jug $2
1 cake tin $3
1 pastry container $2
1 hat for TOF $2
1 scarf for TOF $2
1 charm $5
all op shopped.
100 balls yarn 
7 tops

IN 6
OUT 107

Monday, March 07, 2011

Seven Things week 17

It's all about the yarn again this week.  Craft supplies, particularly yarn, cause most of clutter here.  If it's not sitting around on chairs like a sulky teenager, it's taking up all the room in cupboards that could be used for other things which also perch on chairs and in corners waiting to pounce on unsuspecting visitors.

I just want to put it all away.

The assessment process for yarn is evolving.

I rarely knit for garments for myself and I prefer lighter weight wool to anything else when I do.  Mostly this is thinner wool (5 and 4 ply).  It is  may also be light as in not heavy - so my beloved Patons Jet with its alpaca content is safe for the moment.  Similarly, TOF doesn't feel the cold much, so should I ever knit him a jumper (and I am not saying I will, why tempt fate with the sweater curse?), I'd use a 5 or 4ply.

I went through the 8ply first and took out anything in colours I wouldn't knit for myself or the ones I love, dividing into jumper amounts and smaller amounts. A jumper amount is 20 balls or so.  If there was less than 20 balls, most of that went.  Some smaller amounts in good colours for accessories for TOF, Mum or I stayed, but most went. All they hand-dyed stayed. Some jumper amounts stayed just because I couldn't bear to part with them yet.  That's ok.  I'm allowed to keep stuff, I just need to make sure that I love it and/or can actually use it (sometime).

Then I went through the 5 plys and did much the same thing.  I was less rigorous with this category because TOF prefers a 5 or 6ply sock, so in this case I got rid of colours I wouldn't use.  I know I can overdye, but given the quantity of yarn, I don't really need to.  The charity knitters were very happy.

Novelty yarns were next.  Some of it was the muppet variety, others were lovely blends and textures.  There was an amazing amount of this still hanging around, although I'd obviously kept only certain colours and shades.  I think I intended a textured blanket in black, white and greys with this, but as I'd forgotten the exact plan, it was bagged up and taken to the op shop from where it disappeared within days of arrival.

This week the 12 ply and bulky yarns set aside for hats for the homeless etc.was the focus.  I've not knitted many of these in recent times but I'm not ready to get rid of all of this particular stash. Other assessments were mostly about colour.  This one was about feel.  I fondled it all and decided that if I couldn't stand the hand, the yarn went. It's not about softness, so much as whether I could stand to knit with it, some harsher outerwear yarns still feel good.  I haven't finished assessing this yarn, but so far it's about 50/50 keep and go.  All of this went to the op shop.

I've exhausted my usual, and a couple of new, yarn heirs recently.  As most of the yarn came from an op shop, it seems reasonable to send some of it back.  Any yarn given to me for charity knitting has been given to other charity knitters.

The cottons and sock yarns are quivering in anticipation.  It's their turn next.

  • 1 framed painting.  Landscape in oil. $3.30 TIP SHOP
  • 1 metal rack to be repurposed as a mini greenhouse $3.30 TIP SHOP
  • 1 clothes airer, large, new and solid (not small and flimsy like the ones in the clearance shops. $3.30 TIP SHOP
  • pr gym shorts for TOF
  • 125 balls wool.  OP SHOP
  • 1 leather purse - mouldy BIN
  • 1 more pair of green cotton sports socks HAND KNITTED
  • 1 pair of pink and green socks from the scraps of the last 6 pairs HAND KNITTED

IN 4
OUT 126
SIAA   2

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Football season has started.  We've  been to two Brumbies home matches so far.  Last night the only thing in the stadium more colourful than these socks in progress was the language of two blokes in front of us.

These are using up the leftovers of the socks I've been making since the beginning of the year.

So far I've made 5 pairs of green and one pair of pink socks.  I should finish these today and that will be the last of the pink (from an unravelled scarf) and the last of the  the lime.


TOF picked up a jumper at Salvos recently.  It was completely knitted from lime green Bendigo Harmony.  It cost a dollar.  There's enough yarn there for exactly 10 pairs of athletic socks.  I'm going to try some longer socks and will overdye them.  Neither Mum nor TOF will wear the green.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

12 into 11 February Update

This month there has been a definite shift in mindset.

Look. Try on. Internally debate colour, fit, quality and usefulness.  Sigh with wistful resignation. Return item to rack.   And it really is resignation or realisation, not regret.

Early in the month there were a couple of additions to the savings jar but since then it's been quite easy to say "no". Including on a trip to fashion-conscious Sydney. I took the opportunity of the big shops and a free evening to go looking at new clothing. I tried on a several items and left it all behind. Not even close enough to put money in the savings jar.

Not that it has been a smooth progression. There was a point mid-month when I really couldn’t be bothered what I wore or how I presented because it’s not like I could buy anything to perk the wardrobe up.  Fortunately Nettie’s experience of a similar challenge last year helped me recognise the symptoms early. After a day or two, I gave myself a good hard shake and recalled that the challenge was about valuing what I have.  Then I went and polished a couple of pairs of shoes and groomed my eyebrows.  Much better.

There are other weapons in my arsenal to meet this challenge. I have sewing skills and equipment. It's not so hard leaving something behind in the shop when there is a pattern and fabric at home to make something close to or better than what's available in the shops.

So I have re-assessed the sewing patterns; removing the ones that no longer fit, or are essentially duplicates of each other or where I said “what was I thinking?”. They have been culled by about a quarter and fit into a drawer of the chest of drawers allocated to the sewing stash. A few goes at the 7 things challenge means the sewing fabric stash is pretty streamlined, but there is enough there to keep me in basics for this year.

That being said, I bought a vintage cotton sheet to make a summer skirt and/or blouses for $2 because I loved the colours and pattern and because the quality of the fabric is great. I am trying not to transfer acquistion of clothing to acquistion of potential clothing in the form of fabric. Sewing will be from stash before buying more fabric.

Enough navel gazing, though - let's see this month's numbers....

None this month.  Current tally 2/12.


  • 1 pair of black shorts from Mum who finally (we're talking months) got around to trying them on and found them too large
  • 1 nightie  GIFT
  • 1 rain jacket GIFT
  • Nothing at all, I'm afraid.  Don't know where the time goes.
  • 2 pairs of handknitted sports socks
  • $7  Black voile shirt.  Tempting, I carried it around the shop for a while.  I don't need shirts to iron, I need cotton knit tops for work.
  • $4  Black swimsuit - nicer than the cossie I bought in January. Very nearly caved.
Running total - $40

Monday, February 28, 2011

Seven Things Week 16

Wow, going away for work for a couple of days really puts a dent in this.  That and I forgot some of last week's ins.

  • 2 metal bowls to use as double boilers for melting and purifying beeswax.  TOF has a heap of beeswax from candlemaking, so I'm going to make some handcream, leather conditioner etc. The price of new double boilers is extreme, particularly as I will only be able to use it for the beeswax, so this seemed like a really good improvisation $2 TIP SHOP
  • 1 Tupperware container (TOF can't help himself  when it's in good knick and a bargain at $2.50 from the OP SHOP)
  • 2 thermals for TOF RETAIL SALE
  • 1 pr shorts for TOF RETAIL SALE
  • 1 Tupperware Rice cooker NEW (for the caravan)
  • 1 piece pantry Tupperware  NEW (TOF's breaking in a new Tupperware distrubutor so we place a small order to compensate for all the replacements we get)
  • 1 sheet $2 SALVOS
  • 1 pr shoes for TOF $3 SALVOS
  • 1 popcorn maker (for coffee bean roasting - based on experience these will break regularly.  We're buying them as we fin them second hand) $5 REVOLVE
  • 1 set sock needles.  Sydney business trip souvenir. MORRIS & SONS
  • 1 bowl - dropped and smashed - BIN
  • 1 glass - dropped and cracked - BIN
  • 9 mismatched socks and gloves (that's all TOF would let me get rid of at his house.  I need to work on this resistance) - BIN
so close, but nothing finished this week - see going away for work excuse

IN 12
OUT 11

Saturday, February 26, 2011

TOF and I sampled the delights of Queanbeyan's four op-shops today.  All but the big Salvos Family Store had half price sales.

Little Salvos had half price on everything; Vinnies, half price on most stuff and Bargain Hunter, half price on summer clothing.

We didn't buy as much as you might expect.

A pair of brogues for TOF and a vintage cotton sheet which may or may not become blouses and/or a skirt next summer.

Still for $5 the lot from the little Salvos, we were happy.
Originally posted to I Op Therefore I am ACT.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seven Things Week 15

Freecycle could be my undoing.  When someone offered a popcorn maker this week, it was on the proviso we take all the other kitchen stuff they'd decluttered as well.

It was difficult sorting through two large boxes of assorted paraphernalia, much of it new, and getting rid of it.  It was nice stuff and it was free!  However, we were pretty strong.  Some of the mugs are going into work so there is a nice matching set for guests, we've earmarked some items for friends who would like at least first refusal, some we binned and some will make it back to Freecycle and then to the op shop if no one wants them.

We ended up keeping a tea infuser (I have a lot of leaf tea and I can use the infuser for single cups, which is what I make at work so it's really a way of using things up), a pudding basin just because it's a nice thick china, a teatowel because it's a perfectly fine teatowel  and, of course, the popcorn maker.

We buy green coffee beans through Coffee Snobs and TOF has killed a few popcorn makers roasting beans. 

  • 3 lamb fleeces GIFT
  • 1 rain jacket.  TOF got it for me for $1 with the intention of leaving it in NZ later in the year.  We're setting aside clothing for NZ with the intention of leaving it in an Auckland op shop so we have space for fibrey souvenirs.  The wine and Whittakers chocolate will come back on my hips. GIFT
  • 1 jam funnel $15.90 NEW, RETAIL but not the $38 one local shop is asking.  Anyone wanting a stainless steel jam funnel o' bliss go to Butts 'n Brew at Kaleen shops
  • 1 dinner set - TOF's china pattern, a partial setting for 4 (missing two tea cups and saucers) $20 at Vinnies
  • 2 pieces fabric.  $11 Vinnies
  • 1 knife.  Note to self.  Get a footy kit together and put it in one place.  We had to buy a small knife to cut up our cooked chook at the footy.  $7
  • 1 tea towel FREECYCLE
  • 1 pudding basin FREECYCLE
  • 1 tea infuser FREECYCLE
  • 1 popcorn maker to use for coffee bean roasting.  FREECYCLE
  • 20 old jumpers (from the unravelling and felting stash) GIFTS and DONATIONS
  • 4 bead containers GIFT
  • 16 stencils GIFT
  • 8 bags sequins GIFT
  • 1 bag beads GIFT
  • 1 Tupperware container DONATION
another pair of hand-knitted sports socks - but this time in hot pink!

IN 13
OUT 50

Monday, February 14, 2011

Seven Things Week 14

Work is back into full swing and full on.  While I have fewer temptations, there is also less time for de-cluttering.   I'm not home until 7.30pm at the earliest after work and a couple hours of dealing with Mum's needs.  Motivation to do even more work can be low when I've been hard at it for 12 hours by then.

I'm countering the temptation to sit on the couch with a cuppa and my knitting by building in decluttering with normal activity.  It's slower than but ultimately more sustanable than the "must clear this room tonight" method.

So putting the folding away means removing everything from one shelf or drawer, appraising and following through.   I only have to do one container (draw, box, shelf) a night and there is always a cardboard box by the front door ready to receive the outs. 

Realistically this means 4 nights a week at the most and most weeks only three nights, but it all adds to up.

This week the camisole and singlet drawer got the treatment, as did the sewing patterns, a box of jars, bottles and vases from under the house and what I optimistically call my "going out"clothes.

  • 1 camel pack (actually last week, but I forgot) $3 GARAGE SALE
  • 1 nightie - GIFT
  • 1 jumper - GIFT (for unravelling and knitting into socks)
  • 2 shirts for TOF $5 OP SHOP
  • 2 tv series on DVD $2 OP SHOP
  • 1 wheat pack $4 OP SHOP
  • 1 cage to protect veggies from possums and my dogs FREECYCLE
  • 1 belt sander GIFT FOR TOF
  • 2 huge bound volumes of the Sydney Morning Herald (1856 an 1861).  These were a gift from an aunt about 30 years ago.  They lived under my childhood bed.  This week the perfect recipient for something that was really a burden turned up.  So tempting to count every issue out - GIFT
  • 2 dinner sets - OP SHOP
  • 22 decorative jars OP SHOP
  • 2 Tupperware containers GIFTS
  • 1 top - body-hugging green stretch satin, never worn in 18 months (wonder why?!) - OP SHOP
  • 1 tapestry frame - OP SHOP
  • 4 old software installation CDs and associated manuals - BIN
  • 16 balls yarn - OP SHOP
  • 19 sewing patterns - OP SHOP
  • 13 singlet tops, singlets and camis - OP SHOP
  • 1 framed print - OP SHOP
  • 3 books - LIFELINE
  • 1 pr handknitted sports socks (again)
IN 10
OUT 86
SIAA   1

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

White Elephant

This postcard from the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand Picture Library was a gift from The Shopping Sherpa on her last visit home.

It's from the early 1940s and is by Alex McLaren of Canada.  Most likely it is fiscal restraint propaganda from World War II.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Seven Things Week 13

Back at my place for a few nights this week as we're back at work, I've resumed caring duties for Mum and Junior is back at tech.

Yarn destash is at a difficult stage.  Firstly, it is hard to let go of stash.  Really hard.  Secondly, I've lost momentum from not living with it for 5 weeks, and thirdly, I've overloaded my usual recipients of stash. By that I mean people who respect the yarn and whom I trust to do the right thing by it.

To aid the decision making process I dragged several large plastic bins (120 litre bins) from the yarn cellar and left them where they had to be negotiated when I moved almost anywhere in the house.  Boxes were opened and closed; opened, partially examined and closed; opened, fully exhumed and closed; and finally opened and decanted into bags and boxes and loaded into the car.

I considered Ravelry destash but couldn't face it hanging around once the decision was made and the thought of having to deal with people over it made me want to cry, so this week I took yarn to the op shop.

I have not completely abandoned stash.  As I have found from previous attempts to cull the herd; stash has its own level, resents vicious pruning and has it's own way of getting back at me if I disrespect it.  To reassure it that I mean only to rid myself of that which would languish underappreciated and unknit, I have bought (on destash), bamboo blend sock yarn for ToF.

  • 1 ball sock yarn (more bamboo blend for TOF) RAVELRY DESTASH
  • 1 pr boots for TOF (bnwt) replacing the outs from last week $17 OP SHOP
  • 1 Rock 'n Serve $8 OP SHOP  a bit pricey but cheaper than new and ALL of ours are currently in use
  • 1 book $3 OP SHOP.  TOF is trying out Iain Banks.
  • 2 Brumbies members caps FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP
  • 1 cheese knife. $4 OP SHOP
  • 1 pr shorts - GIFT
  • 2 calendars - GIFTS
  • 2 bookmarks - GIFTS
  • 1 pr trousers - fiddly and highly crushable.  I've worn them once this summer, gone to wear them twice and replaced them with something simpler.  OP SHOP
  • 1 bookmark - GIFT
  • 1 magazine - GIFT
  • 51 items of baby clothes that have been hanging around for months - finally off to women's shelter. DONATION
  • 1 drinking glass, smashed in the sink :( BIN
  • 2 cd racks - OP SHOP
  • 272 balls yarn DONATION AND GIFTS
Nothing completed this week.

IN   12
OUT 329

Sunday, February 06, 2011

This Challenge is a, well, challenging

This only buying 12 items of clothing in a year is not an easy challenge.  It's building a new habit, while breaking a very old, ingrained and much loved one.

Although the challenge has positive intent it does have the side effect denying the pleasure of immediate gratification.  The challenge is about less rather than more.

How do I keep motivated and show results?  While the seven things challenge is partially about reduction, there is a cumulative total that helps measure progress.  It is the external indicator of inward progress.

Enter the "savings" jar.  Each time I overcome the temptation to buy clothing which pre-challenge would have come home, the value of the item goes into a jar.  This creates a visual reminder of progress and ensures there will be cash on hand when the perfect garment appears or to pay for repairs I can't make myself or buy materials to transform already owned garments (there are some tops and shoes which need dying).

The money for the three items I only just resisted in January has been thrown in
  • some Very Silly shoes. $7
  • a black top in a favoured brand but which had a couple of buttons missing and some signs of wear. $5
  • an evening frock, BNWT which fitted beautifully and was tempting to have as a standby for the wedding in April as cool weather option.  Despite the great fit the colour was not quite right and could not be dyed so after much debate I left it. $17
When I say these were only just resisted I mean cheating was considered.  Apart from the evening frock, no-one would have been any the wiser if I chose to purchase and not disclose.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

12 into 11 - January Update

I opted into Louisa's challenge of only buying 12 clothing items in 2011.  That makes it roughly one item a month.  Given that I'm already de-cluttering, it seemed a reasonable and possibly aspirational thing to say yes to.

I had already purchased a dress to wear to a family wedding in April.  So that was the January allowance used up.

I've not stopped looking in op-shops; that would be cowardice, but knowing I can only have 12 things in the year has made me look at the racks differently.

If I'm spending one of my precious items, do I really want it to be a cheap, worn t-shirt or really cute ridiculously high-heeled shoes that would be worn once and relegated to the back of the cupboard and eventually an "outs" bag? The answer is invariably "no", although it was a close run thing with those Very Silly Shoes.

I'm also anticipating purchases. Five Ferns is looking for a down-filled jacket for me (can't get one in my size in Australia), as well as some exempt thermals, and there will inevitably be a t-shirt or jersey purchase as a souvenir of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. So really I only have 9 items left for the next 11 months.

Except that I only have 8.  We found two Australian representative grid-iron shirts at the Salvos on half price ($3.50 each).  They are perfect to wear to the Australia v Italy World Cup match in September (over the top of our warm clothes).  They are unneccessary and frivolous and yet absolutely essential.  I was unable to resist.

In January I bought/received/made the following exempt items.
  • a divine hand-knitted cashmere shawl which will go with the dress, so wedding outfit sorted which was a gift from a clever and lovely friend
  • 2 long sleeved t-shirts and a hoodie from Mum as part of her wardrobe clean out
  • 1 hat for protection of fair skin in great outdoors, gift from Tip Shop
  • 1 hat for the footy.  It's a Brumbies bucket hat - I loathe baseball style caps on my head, and won't wear the one that comes with our membership if I can help it.  Gift from TOF
  • 1 oversized men's shirt, gift from my brother to be remodelled.
  • 1 pr sports shoes (brand new without tags from op-shop for $8.  I priced them in a sports shop, originally $120)
  • 1 pr swimmers (brand new without tags from op-shop for $8.  I also priced these - $90)
  • 3 prs hand knitted sports socks.  (A) underwear is exempt (2) handmade is exempt.  Do I get bonus points for hand-making an already exempt item?
I did debate including the swimmers in my 12 but decided they were exempt because they are (kinda) underwear and definitely fit into the safety clothing category - safety for everyone else in the pool, really.  ToF and I do an aqua fitness class once a week, and the tankini rides up and is not much fun when doing strenuous if supported exercise.  The new cossie is much more suitable for actually moving in.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Seven Things Week 12

More feeding the freezer and pantry shelves cooking this week but I managed to squeeze in some op-shopping time.

I also picked up new glasses this week, but decided not to bother with the ins and outs of them.  How ridiculous is it that it is cheaper to buy new than to get new lenses put in old frames?  Ditto, that it's more expensive to repair boots than buy a new pair.

A few more ins than strictly necessary this week, but it's back to work tomorrow so my op-shopping time will be limited.  I'll also be living back at my place during the week, so expect more culling to happen.  The front room is chokka with yarn looking for a new home, so I'll address that tomorrow and Wednesday.
  • 2 pieces fabric (4m navy cotton lycra for tights and 4m burgundy silk for undies, $5 and $3 respectively) OP SHOP
  • 2 shirts (one each) $3.50 ea OP SHOP
  • 1 footy jersey for TOF OP SHOP
  • 2 leather backpacks (my handbag of choice) $2 each GARAGE SALE
  • 2 DVDs for TOF $3 each TIP SHOP
  • 1 stainless steel square cake tin found by side of road (I kid you not - made TOF let me out at the traffic lights to get it) free
  • 1 ball sock yarn.  ToF has discovere the joys of bamboo socks.  As the man with the sweatiest feet in Christendom he only ever wears woollen socks.  Now he also wears bamboo.  Guess which sock yarn I don't have in stash?  Have another ball coming. $8 RAVELRY DESTASH
  • 1 pr TOF's boots.  They could be repaired, but it would cost more than buying a new pair and they were dangerous to wear.  BIN
  • 1 saucepan - I burnt it senseless in a cherry sauce accident and it's beyond redemption METAL RECYCLING
  • 1 cat scratching post BIN
  • 2 fry pans - scratched and awful teflon METAL RECYLING
  • 60 balls yarn - GIFT
1 pr hand-knitted athletic socks

IN 11
OUT 65

Friday, January 28, 2011

Under Pressure

When I get gifts of cash I try to use it for something that is substantial and an investment in our future frugality.

The 2009 Christmas cash went towards buying our Fowlers Vacola preserving kit.  We love the Fowlers kit.  We've bottled lots of fruit and add to our bottle collection as we find them at op-shops and garage sales. 

At one garage sale (where we bought a second kit and lots of jars) we heard about pressure canning.

The water bath preserving method as used by the Fowlers Vacola kit, is great for things like fruit, but for low acid and protein foods, pressure canning is the way to go. 

So with my last birthday cash, we bought a Presto Pressure Canner via Amazon (for nearly half the price of buying one locally, including postage) and have spent a good deal of January canning soups, curries and casseroles.

With our combined food intolerances, we can shelf store our own dairy free, gluten free meals made from seasonal produce with no additives. It frees up freezer real estate, ensures portion control, and there are no excuses to get a takeaway when fast food is sitting on the shelf.  We see it as a win all round for a fairly small investment.

The canner will take ordinary glass jars with screw top lids.  We can re-use jars from store bought goods, although it is recommended we buy new lids.  We are using a mix of Fowlers jars because we have quite a few and because they make uniform canning and storage easier and larger screw top jars, which are really too big for jam etc.

A Fowlers size 27 bottle contains a smidge more than 3 metric cups of liquid.  This equates to two servings.  So far we've made about 200 servings of soup, curry, casserole and ragu.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seven Things Week 11

The last couple of weeks has been all about cooking summer surplus into winter meals and stocking the freezers with gluten and dairy free bread, rolls and pizza bases.  No real time for reflection on the nature of consumerism in general, or mine in particular.

I was sad to take things to the tip for land fill, though.  There may have been other uses for the 30 year old three-quarter sized mattress etc, but they were beyond me.

  • 1 mattress - gift for the bed in the caravan
  • 1 spinning wheel bobbin.  Too big for my wheels but it's beautifully burnished with age and will make a wonderful candle holder - tip shop
  • 1 Akubra hat - free tip shop
  • 1 shirt - gift from my brother.  It's too big for him and he was going to give it to Vinnies anyway.  Putting aside as remodelling project in Feb.
  • 2 prs trakkie daks, TOF - Op Shop
  • 2 shirts, TOF 1 new, 1 near new, Op Shop
  • 1 jacket, TOF Op Shop
  • 1 Brumbies bucket hat, all clothing from op shops.  I am particularly pleased with this hat.  I loathe the baseball style caps that come with our annual memberships and have coveted the bucket hat but been unable to justify $25 or so for it.  TOF picked this up for me at the Salvos store for $3.  Just as well, the club isn't selling them this year.
  • 1 ceramic reusable tea mug with silicon top $5 from YMCA shop.  Exactly the same price as in the shopping centre chain shops but it was new and the money went to the Y. 
  • 1 knitting magazine - Interweave in newsagents now.
  • 1 Tupperware lunch box, new from op shop $6
  • 1 ironing board, broken LAND FILL
  • 1 mattress - the old one from the caravan - cost us $15 to take it and other hard rubbish to tip - LAND FILL
  • 1 bed head - LAND FILL
  • 1 plastic (and non-recyclable) chair base - LAND FILL
  • 143 balls yarn - GIFTS
  • 1 pr jeans, too big and despite the preference of someone in this house for fally-down trousers, they were driving me mad - OP SHOP
  • 2 books.  Actually read two books this year.  Amazing what being on holidays will do for letting fiction back into my life - OP SHOP
1 pr socks (yep, another pair.  Get used to it, I've got a lot of this yarn)

IN   13
OUT 150
SIAA     1

Monday, January 17, 2011

Seven Things Week 10

  • 1 high visability vest for TOF $7 Vinnies
  • 1 pr swimmers(bnw/ot) $8 Vinnies
  • 1 pr shorts for TOF (bnwt) $2.50 Salvos
  • 1 pr shoes for TOF
  • 1 DVD set.  Season 2 of The Cook and the Chef.  $14.95 at the Post Office.  An impulse buy but nearly as cheap as my late fines on the library copy.
  • 1 Frankie magazine 25c Vinnies

  • 1 magazine - RECYCLING at the cricket.
  • 1 magazine - GIFT
  • 1 Filofax cover - GIFT
  • 1 book - GIFT
  • 140 balls yarn - DONATIONS/GIFTS to colleague's granddaughter's school's knitting club and fellow knitters
  • 1 baking tin - GIFT
  • 87 lids for Fowlers' jars.  Note to self - only buy the stainless steel.  The other ones rust in seconds.  - RECYCLING
  • 1 pr jeans - OP SHOP
  • mended 1 pr trakkie daks.  No need to chuck 'em out, just replace the elastic.
  • 1 pr socks for me.  Actually needed.
IN     6
OUT 233
SIAA     2

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Wee atheltic socks made from Bendigo Harmony a pattern of my own devising.

These in response to a desperate need for sports socks.  I know I can buy 3 prs for $1.80 at Rivers, but they are crap. 

Good things about these socks:
  • soft, squishy, comfy and should be longer wearing that the Made in China rubbish
  • I can get 5 socks from a 200g ball of Harmony.  I'll be looking for Harmony or Heirloom Breeze scraps soon, I reckon, to make a stripy scrappy pair.
  • they use stash
  • they are really quick to knit.
  • while they stretch out worryingly on the foot, the wool and lycra content mean they spring back into shape when washed.
  • they machine wash in cool water
Mk II already on the needles.  This time I'm including knitting-in-elastic for the ankle ribbing and shortening the heel flap a tad.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seven Things Week 9

Oh dear heaven!

Finally got to Mum's this week.  I was meant to be clearing out under the house storage, but she hijacked me into going through her wardrobes, linen cupboard and craft stash first.  I made a start under the house, but it's going to be a longer job than anticipated.  None of the stuff from Mum's is being counted.  If I stop to enumerate, it will never get done.

I've lost count of the trips to the op-shop.  Fortunately the paper recycling centre is located between the two closest op-shops and each trip to Vinnies or Salvos was followed by a trip to the recycling centre to pick up more boxes.

Mum's cupboards are now neat, tidy and adequate to her needs.  They are not minimal, however, so I can stop buying her clothes for a wee while.  Also, when the time comes to move her, I have a good understanding of what is there.

On one of the op-shop runs I met a woman who is a member of a group that sews and knits for charity. I've dropped off a lot of the sewing fabric and yarns to her.  I've been the recipient of much lovely yarn to knit for charity and Mum and I've been slowing working our way through it.  But now that Mum can't knit and my time is even more limited it's only right to pass it on when I can.  More will go out when I get the chance to really go through my stash.  All that's gone is the easily accessed top layers.  Also, TOF's Dad will be getting a couple of new jumpers out of stash.  Two lots of lovely 8 ply went to TOF's Mum.

Other yarn has gone to the Happy Spider for her school knitting program.  I'm always keen to support new knitters.  Also we all know how great knitting is for soothing the spirit and what more restless spirits are there than teenagers?

  • 1 shirt for TOF free from Tip Shop
  • 1 pr trousers for TOF - $7 Vinnies
  • 1 pr shoes for TOF - GIFT
  • 1 Tupperware pet dish $3 from Vinnies
  • 2 Tupperware champagne flutes $1 from Salvos
  • 2 knitting patterns $1 from Tip Shop
  • 1 dress to wear to a wedding, Vinnies $10.50
  • 2 knitting magazines (Yarn and Yarn Forward)
  • 1 pr sports shoes - new and never worn $8 YMCA op-shop
  • 2 balls sock yarn - GIFT
  • 1 shawl which goes beautifully with the dress for the wedding - GIFT
  • 1 DVD. TOF got series one of Ghost in the Shell for $5.  He's a very happy man just now.
  • 2 Tupperware Rock 'n Serves in TOF's favourite style.  They have broken lids which will be replaced at the next party we go to. Vinnies $2
  • 2 prs shoes - TOF
  • 1 pr shorts - TOF
  • 4 magazines - GIFT
  • 8 board games - OP SHOP
  • 1 lamp shade - OP SHOP
  • 19 sheets - OP SHOP
  • 2 doona covers - OP SHOP
  • 4 pillowcases - OP SHOP
  • 8 lengths dress fabric - GIFT
  • 1 pr tongs - OP SHOP
  • 1 balloon whisk - OP SHOP
  • 340 balls yarn (whole balls only counted, not partials) - GIFTS
  • 12 promotional drink bottles - RECYCLING
  • 1 pr curtains - OP SHOP
  • 1 knitted shawlette/scarf - yep, another one
  • 1 knitted beret
IN   21
OUT 401
SIAA    2

Friday, January 07, 2011


I finally got under Mum's house today to start clearing away Dad's workshop and 45 years of family life.

I've made two trips to Tiny's Green Shed, the re-use facility at Mugga Way tip, the car dangerously loaded.

Dad's trained as an electrician in the Air Force.  He was also a keen gardener and adaptive re-user before it was trendy.  It was how he and we grew up.  His workshop is full of tools and boxes upon boxes of useful things, or things that might be useful one day.  He spent a lot of time fixing things and creating things under the house. Mum can't go in, she keeps seeing him at the bench.  I know what she means.  He is very present in that place.

It is really hard to dismantle that.

My brother has been slowy removing Dad's tools.  As he needs something, he removes it and doesn't return it.  My brother, although he lives next door and is currently on leave, is keeping well clear while I deal with the other stuff. 

When Dad died, I was the strong one.  One of us had to do the organising and holding it together.  I didn't do a very good job of holding it together today.  I only had to pull off the road twice to howl.

I'm not counting any of the things from under the house as outs.  If I stop and think about it long enough to enumerate I will be paralysed.

While this is emotionally horrible, it's necessary.  I can also recommend being responsible for getting rid of someone else's shit as an antidote to consumerism.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

12 in 11

Louisa at The Really Good Life, has set herself the challenge of only buying 12 items of clothing in 2011.

I am sooo up for this.  I have a lot of clothes.  They are mostly op-shopped, but I still have more than is strictly necessary.

I've already bought one item this month, a dress to wear to a wedding in April, so that's January's quota taken care of.

Louisa's exceptions list is very sensible and I see no reason to change it.
  • Essential footwear – new sports shoes when the old ones die, gumboots or essential footwear for safety, anything else is part of the 12. 
  • Essential underwear – bras and undies are exempt but on a replacement basis only.  Hosiery is exempt but purchases will be minimal.
  • Gifts - gifts of clothing are exempt but I will not solicit clothing as gifts.
  • Stuff I make myself - I can sew and despite recent decluttering continue to have a good fabric supply.  If I need it, I should be able to sew it.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Seven Things week 8

Traditionally this is a week of cleaning out in order to start fresh in the New Year. 

And it's not just me.

The Op Shops are always overloaded during this period.  Vinnies even had half-price sales in the fortnight before Christmas in order to clear some space for the influx.

I was full of plans for my own clear-out but a gardening induced injury on Christmas Eve jarred my bad hip and I've been unable to do very much at all.  Resentful+
ToF has been marvellous and entered the spirit of Seven Things on my behalf.  He has cleared out several pairs of skis and stocks and let me declutter some of the flat surfaces at his house in lieu of the big clear out at mine.  He also let me tidy the linen cupboard as long as I promised not to throw things away.  I'm sure it's been bloody annoying for him and he's borne it with good humour and patience.  I'm also sure he's checking this to see if I've sneaked anything out on him. ;)

  • 7 magazines from op shop for browsing and passing on $4
  • 1 knitting magazine (a weakness, but it was the Fall Vogue)
  • 1 pr moleskins for TOF Salvos $1
  • 1 polar fleece ski shirt for TOF Salvos $3.50
  • 1 cast iron baking dish GIFT for TOF
  • 1 set serving dishes GIFT 
  • 4 prs skis.  Not worth salvaging, I'm afraid.  We'd sell them if we could - BIN
  • 2 prs stocks - OP SHOP
  • 1 kitchen scale  OP SHOP
  • 2 watches, unfixable - METAL RECYCLING
  • 1 steamer insert for saucepan - METAL RECYCLING
  • 1 plastic sewing box - RECYCLING
  • 1 bag marbles and decorative stones - OP SHOP
  • 1 glasses case - OP SHOP
  • 2 boxes bottle tops, failed craft project - RECYCLING
  • 1 cat scratching post, destroyed - BIN
  • 1 pr ski boots - OP SHOP
  • 5 books - RECYCLING
  • 1 pr jeans - OP SHOP
  • 2 jumpers - OP SHOP/GIFT
  • 1 pram net - OP SHOP
  • 4 shirts - OP SHOP
  • 2 skirts - OP SHOP
  • 1 jumper - OP SHOP
  • 5 storage jars - OP SHOP
  • 1 pr shoes - BIN
  • 12 odd socks - BIN
  • 1 pr dead cotton socks - BIN
  • 1 bathrobe, threadbare and stained - BIN
  • 1 doona cover - OP SHOP
  • 3 lengths furnishing fabric - OP SHOP
  • 1 book - OP SHOP
  • 1 aluminium baking dish - OP SHOP
  • 7 hand towels - BIN
  • 1 oven mitt - BIN
  • 1 lace curtain - OP SHOP
  • 5 items of microwave plastic stuff - OP SHOP
  • 1 casserole dish - OP SHOP
  • 1 coffee mug - OP SHOP
  • 1 set outsized playing cards - GIFT
1 shawlette/scarf

IN 12
OUT 74
SIAA   1

Sunday, January 02, 2011


TOF has set this as the wallpaper on his computer.

I'm a multitasker, but even I'm not that good (and TOF's just pointed out that my arms aren't that long)!