Sunday, June 29, 2014

Taking it Easy

I've been spending a little time taking it easy recovering from a virus. If I wasn't asleep I was

  • listening to Lloyd Cole after a great show last week,

  • reading and listening to Gavin about his busy few days here and here. Inspiring.
  • preparing for Plastic Free July (only 2 more sleeps). A newsletter arrived in my Inbox today full of great info and tips. It's not too late to join in the challenge.
Take care

Saturday, June 21, 2014

DIY Beeswax Sandwich Wraps

I'm so excited. You know when a little kiddo is so excited that they do a little dance on the spot and have trouble getting the words out? That's how I am feeling at the moment.

I was on the lookout for something that I could do at an upcoming expo. I am so sick of the amount of plastic wrap that is used to wrap sandwiches and then thrown straight in the bin that I thought sandwich bags would be a good activity. My two concern here are the need for a sewing machine and the fact that a lot of the material used to make these waterproof as not so healthy.

After much searching I came across that fact that you could make your own beeswax infused fabric! Who knew? (I'm sure just about everyone is now saying, "Me, that's who".)

Well I had no idea.

I knew that I had everything necessary for this so I gathered ran around and grabbed all of the equipment.

I used the pinking shears to trim a piece of fabric I bought ages ago. By using the shears I didn't need to worry about overlocking the edges. I had washed and pressed it when I bought it but hadn't known what to make at the time.

I shaved some beeswax that I had bought to make lip balm a few Christmases ago. The peeler worked well but I will keep my eye out in the op shop for a grater that I can keep specifically for wax.

After scattering the wax over the fabric, and covering with some baking paper, it was time to get the iron out of the cupboard. It doesn't really see the light of day. The great thing about using the paper is that you can see where the wax has melted. It is also easy to reuse as long as you remember which side has had the wax on it. (Please watch the video above before you have a go as their instructions are great. I didn't see the point giving the specifics as they did a great job.)


The finished product is quite stiff but easy to fold. After a few uses I am sure that it will get a little softer.

These are also pretty versatile as they don't just need to be used for sandwiches but you could also use one to cover a bowl in the fridge. At the moment we are using plates on top of bowls but I could certainly see myself using one of these instead.

From all of the articles I read that main points to remember are to rinse off in cold water and a little detergent as warm/hot water will melt the wax, and don't throw it in the dryer if you use one.

That was so much fun and I can't wait to have a go at another one soon.

I also thought it was pretty timely with Plastic Free July just around the corner. Don't forget about the giveaway. Only one more day and only one entry so far.

I would love to know if you have a go at this project.

Take care.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Sandwich

Do you even have those days when you know you are craving a particular taste but you don't know exactly what? I knew I was hungry for something fresh and crunchy but being quite cool outside I knew I wasn't in the mood for salad.

I had a picked up Isa Does It from the library on Friday and was flicking through the pages when the solution jumped out at me: Chicky 'Tuna' Salad Sandwich. Being vegetarian I'm not generally a fan of recipes that are trying to imitate meat but the look of this one had me checking through the fridge and pantry for the necessary ingredients.

The only real change I made to the recipe was to use egg mayo rather than the vegan kind. The suggestion in the book was to have it with lettuce and tomato but the avocados are looking too good at the moment. Next time (yes, there will be a next time) I will be organised and rehydrate dried chick peas to give the spread a crunchier texture.

Mr Mouse also had the winning idea that we try it on toast rather then a plain slice of bread. Delicious. (I'm really glad that he likes it as the recipe makes quite a bit and it will certainly make its way on to the lunch menu this week.)

What's your favourite sandwich filling?

Take care

PS Don't forget the giveaway that ends next weekend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Green Drinks and a Giveaway

All over the world, generally hidden out of sight, there are groups of people gathering to listen to inspirational speakers sharing their knowledge and experience about sustainability. These events are Green Drinks.

In Perth, Green Drinks take place about four or five times a year. The most recent event sounded like it was going to be amazing, so amazing that this free event booked out before I managed to register.

I had wanted to listen to Rebecca from Plastic Free July talk about how the campaign originated and how they built it to the great success that it is in three years.

Imagine my excitement when I found that some incredibly wonderful person had recorded the talks and put these up for the world to see.

This years focus of PFJ is on reducing the use of takeaway coffee cups with the campaign 'Bring one, get one tree'. To help promote this, I thought I would run a little giveaway. If you would like to be in the running for a Keepcup leave a comment below and tell me one type of plastic (apart from coffee cups/lids) that you could live without in July.  The winner will be selected at random on Sunday 22 June at 8pm AWST so that you can get the cup in time for July. Edit: Thanks for entering, ladies.

If you are interested in having a look at the other talks from the evening, try here and here.

Take care

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Happy World Oceans Day

We thought we would celebrate World Oceans Day by heading down to the beach and having our own cleanup.

The beach we chose is one that we go to with my Dad, usually as the sun comes up to see if the fish are biting. We were a little later today and the carpark was choc-o-block.

The main difference I noticed from last week was the number of smaller pieces of plastic which really reminded me of a video I saw earlier in the week called A Bottle's Odyssey.

I was also amazed with the number of cigarette butts that we found. According to data collected across Australia, butts are the biggest form of littering by number. After this morning, I can see why. These were everywhere!

No undies were in our haul this week but there were a few strange bits and pieces.  We found a plastic soldier, four empty condom packets and a bong. Luckily we were prepared with gloves and long handle grabbers.

I was feeling a little disheartened as the area was so busy and still a lot of litter that we didn't manage to collect, but then a little boy rode past with his dad and I heard him say, "I want to do that too, Dad. It's good for the environment."  I wanted to go up and hug him but thought that there are laws against random ladies hugging other people's children. Instead I just gave the dad a smile.

We finished the morning with a coffee and hot chocolate that we had brought from home in thermoses and a snack that I had picked up from the bakery on our way down. At the end, we packed everything back in the cooler bag and headed off home. We were all in dire need of a hot shower.

We didn't weight this week's collection but I think it would have been at least over five kilograms. Not as much as the eight kilograms last week but the pieces were much smaller.

It is nice to feel that we are making a bit of a difference. A small one, but a difference.

What did you get up to this weekend? Did you spend any time at the beach?

Take care.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Green Cleaning Workshop

Over the last few years there have been so many new 'green' events popping up around the city. It is really promising.

There is a great green cleaning event taking place this Friday organised by ecohub. Unfortunately I can't make it but thought I would pass it on to any Perthite that might be around the city at lunchtime.

They have also compiled some information about non-toxic cleaners including recipe.

If anyone manages to go, I'd love to read about it.

Take care

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hand vs. Machine

When the kiddoes were much younger I remember feeling that most of my time was spend standing at the sink, while the rest of the time was either preparing food or washing clothes. Buying my first dishwasher was such a thrill: doing all of that research about water and power, and comparing powder and tablets. (I think I may have mentioned before that I am a bit of a 'Numbers Nerd' so researching gives me a bit of a buzz.) Since then, we have lived in a few different places, some with dishwashers and some without. It wasn't until our last trip away that I actually found great pleasure in washing dishes by hand.

Here's a few things I have noticed.
  • Washing as I go keeps the kitchen much tidier.
  • Kiddoes are definitely of a washing and putting away age.
  • Washing with the kiddoes is a great way to have a chat and find out how they are feeling. (I remember reading an article about working side-by-side with kids is a great way to get them chatting. Keep away from the eye contact.)
  • It is amazing how many songs can be sung and dances can be danced with a kitchen full of people doing the dishes after dinner. Thankyou, Pandora.
  • I am definitely a drainer not a drier.
We had a bit of hot water system failure over our long weekend so instead of boiling water each time there were dishes I thought I would spark up the dishwasher again. It hadn't been used in about 6 months so fingers were crossed when I pressed the start button. It worked. Dishes were washed in hot water. 

There were a few downsides for me. It took all day to get a full load and we actually used more dishes than normal because everyone kept getting out something new each time they needed a drink or a snack. When the machine was on after dinner, all of the dishes used after were stacking up in the sink. We have had a bit of an ant problem lately so I kept looking out for the ant army that could probably smell a crumb a mile away.

With the service of a fabulous local electrician, we now have hot water. (You don't know how much I have missed a hot shower). I think I will be going back to washing by hand.

Hand washing or dishwasher: what do you do?

Take care

Monday, June 2, 2014

Plastic Free July Countdown

How can it be that time of year again?

With a month to go, I am starting to get myself ready for Plastic Free July. I first took part in the challenge in 2011 and each year since have found the challenge a little trickier, mainly because we are cutting more single-use plastic from our household permanently. The less that we are consuming, the harder it is to cut it out.

Those clever people at PFJ have made a great video. Please take a few minutes to have a look at maybe even join the challenge.

Do you think you could join the challenge? 

Take care
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