Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fantastic Freecycle Fabric Freebie

Ooooh, did I get the score of the week recently! Picked up an enormous amount of fabric on freecycle on Saturday that was up for grabs. I wasn't even the first to ask, but after the first 2 people offered didn't show (quite annoying when you are giving stuff away) I was offered the lot.

There is a lot of 70's style knit fabric in every colour you can think of, as well as other jersey knits, lots of cottons, linens, satins, and even some thick boucle-style fabric. There are over 50 pieces, and apart from a few smaller pieces (under 1 metre) most are large enough to make clothing or large craft items, some up to 4 metres long!

This is such a brilliant lot for a novice sewing enthusiast like me! I have made a few items of childrens clothes recently, but still learning along the way and always wondering what I will try next. So great for practising my skills and trying out a few different things.

Here are some of my favourite prints ....

If you haven't joined freecycle in your area yet ....... why not? There are freecycle groups all over the globe, and if you haven't one near you - start one! Its a great way to give away unwanted (but decent) stuff that might otherwise go to landfill (and to pick up stuff too!) I've given away heaps from kids toys they've outgrown, to backyard ponds, and picked up some great things at times too. You know what they say - "one man's trash is another man's treasure" !


Oh, and today I made my first SALE! (Completely unintended, but welcome all the same!) One of the childrens aprons I made recently was spotted by my friends sister-in-law, who loved it and asked me to make one for her daughter. For money! For those who make their living doing this, it may seem trivial, but it was such a confidence boost for me. And the validation that someone else is prepared to pay for something I have made was a real pleasant surprise.

And finally I will leave you with this .................

(shamelessly taken from Judi at ALS) -

Reasons To Buy More Fabric

It insulates the cupboard where it is kept.
It keeps the economy moving. It is my duty to support the cotton farmers, textile mills and fabric shops.
It is less expensive and more fun than psychiatric care.
I’m participating in a contest – the one who dies with the most fabric wins.
It keeps without refrigeration, you don’t have to cook to enjoy it, and you’ll never have to feed it, change it, wipe its nose or walk it.
Because I’m worth it.
Like dust, it’s good for protecting previous empty spaces in the house.
Like the ironing board, the laundry basket and the dining room table.
It’s not immoral, illegal or fattening.
It calms the nerves, gratifies the soul and makes me feel good.
Because it’s on sale.

(or freecycle!!)


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Feeling a little NUTTY ?

Oh, I am excited!!!

Today at Blackheath Community market I put my order in for some HAZELNUT trees, which are being distributed as part of the Hazelnut Tree Project, a community bulk-buy scheme organised by the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute. (Have a look at their great website here HERE )

Hazelnuts are particularly suited to our climate here in the mountains, and are an excellent food source. You can read more about them and how to grow them at Hazelnut Nursery Propagators , who just happen to be right here in the mountains!
They are wind pollinated, (so don't depend on a healthy local population of bees) and you do need a minimum of 2 trees so they can cross-pollinate. We have ordered 4, which I understand will be different varieties to maximise the yield and the length of the growing season, as some are early and some late season producers.
They are a decent size tree, bare-root stock, and at just $15 per tree, a great investment!
It is a little early for us to buy them, as our land still sits empty waiting for our dream home, but you know what? In a couple of years we will have a fantastic food forest growing there complete with fruit and nut trees!
In the meantime we can either try to pick the best spot for our future orchard or plant the hazelnuts out into large pots while we wait ....
I'm just happy to be moving further towards our dream ........

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vanilla Custard Slice - too easy!

Ok, this is such a cheat I feel almost embarrassed blogging it - except that it is SO delicious if you don't already use this recipe, I'll bet you will from now on!

It uses SAO biscuits instead of pastry (in UK- maybe cream crackers?) Works a treat....

1 litre milk
4 heaped tbsp custard powder
4 level tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
Sao biscuits (I used 18 for this dish)

1. Bring 3 ½ cups milk to the boil in a saucepan.
2. Mix the custard powder, sugar, vanilla and remaining milk in a jug to a paste, then add to the hot milk. If this doesn’t thicken enough straight away, continue to heat until thick.
3. Layer sao’s in a deep dish (I used a square baking dish which fit the biscuits 3x3, but just trim them to fit whatever you have)

4. Pour custard over the biscuits, then layer the remaining biscuits on top to cover.
5. Pop in fridge until set

6. Passionfruit icing – pulp of 4 passionfruits mixed with 1 cup icing sugar. (may need 1 tbsp warm water to get smooth consistency)
7. Spread over top of slice, back into fridge to set.

This cuts easily when cold, and the sao’s soften the next day which makes it even tastier!