Saturday, December 18, 2010

Treasure Boxes

Last year, I made a goodies box for Miss H filled with little things. The sort of thing that you could pop in a christmas stocking. I'm doing it again this year for both girls, but with a slight twist.
This years boxes have been decorated and prettied up with scrapbooking paper, glue and glitter. I hope they will serve as a treasure box of sorts, especially on the day.

They'll be carried with us during the day on our family visit, so I'll pop in some goodies that will sustain an active toddler on a restricted diet through the day.
I love that Miss H will be excited by a small piece of organic white chocolate, almonds, an organic lollipop, homemade oat bikkies, fruit and chamomile tea bags!
I've thrown in a special set of beanbags and a pack of cards from Spiral Garden just for Miss H. Add a couple hair accessories and sticker sheets and the day's kit is ready to go.
Baby M's has some crayons, hair accessories and fruit along with a set of lavender beanbags of her own

Making The Beanbags
In keeping with my hand making christmas gifts, I decided to try some beanbags.
I've read a few different blogs that talked about beanbags and beanbag games.
After deciding I'd have a go at making some too, I checked a few more blogs and tutorials to see the different ways to make bean bags and decided on a way to make mine.After deciding on a size and making a template pattern (12cmx12cm square), I picked out a handful of scrap pieces of fabric and cut away.I placed the beanbag faces right side in to each other and stitched 3 sides up, trimmed the corners and turned out. Then I filled them and stitched them closed. I filled these with rice as it was a cheaper option for us, but will restuff them with beans next year. Being bigger, beans won't soak up water as fast so will be more water fun friendly.
I made a whole bunch of colourful and patterned beanbags before embarking on individual sets for each girls box.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Shopping List

I've found that food and my shopping have come into a few conversations in the last couple months, so I thought I'd share with you what we buy and why.

Let's start with the basics... Fruit and Veg!
I won't list what we buy individually because it'll take a WHOLE post to write it out.
What we can't grow we supplement by buying what is in season and grown local. The closer it is grown to home, the less chemicals it has encountered on it's travels to our table. As soon as something crosses the border to get into our state it is sprayed with quarantine nasties... iikkk!
Luckily the fruit and veg man who supplies our small supermarket mostly supplies food grown within a few hundred kilometres.
ONCE I have bought two kiwi fruits and 3 times I have bought pineapple, that's as far as our out of state fresh produce buying goes.

At the moment we buy our dairy but plan to get it from our own animals soon with cows on their way and plans for goats soon too.

We buy Harvey Fresh milk because it is a local product from the Harvey region a few hours drive from us.
Sadly it gets pumped with preservatives just the same as any store bought milk and comes from steroid, hormone and antibiotic fed cows so we limit our use of it.

We buy Capel cheese because it is again a localish product, being from a region a few hours drive away. It's ingredients are milk, salt, cultures and rennet (enzyme)

We WERE buying Capel butter but our supermarket doesn't get it in and we settle on the only other west aussie butter we know... Watsonia. It's ingredients are cream, water and salt.

We buy either Brownes or Harvey fresh cream depending on availability, but we prefer the Harvey Fresh.

We buy Mundella yoghurt. It is a localish pot set yoghurt that contains milk and cultures. We have been experimenting with making our own yoghurt with using this as a starter and had some success. Soon I will be taking this on as a fulltime homemade item with our own raw milk. Until then I will perfect my method to our liking.

These are the items we buy as our pantry staples and buy in bulk when on sale or have that little extra money. I find that by doing this we have gotten through the tough times without resorting to unhealthy frozen or canned veg. We haven't had a canned item in our home for over 2 years now.

Brown rice and dried beans, legumes and grains. These can include red kidney beans, borlotti beans, lentils or barley.

Wholemeal flour. As this feeds our sourdough, makes our bread, biscuits and yummy treats, flour is an essential in our pantry. I hope to start buying bulk amounts of wheat from a biodynamic farmer a couple hours from us for our chooks and ourselves. O plan to soak it, dry it and grind it to make our flour. Soon I plan to be making our own pasta, noodles and crackers too.

Wholemeal pasta and Tomato Paste.
At the moment we buy our organic tomato paste as we use it a lot and have lost our last few tomato crops to Tobacco Mosaic Virus. Hopefully we're more successful this year and can jar enough paste to get us through the most of the next year.

Salt, bicarb, vinegar, occasionally gelatin, herbs and spices. Sugar, we buy brown sugar for baking, raw sugar for general use and jams and golden syrup for the occasional buiscit or pudding treat. I'd like to change over fully to our own bee's honey and Stevia only. One change at a time.

Olive oil, how could I forget olive oil!!
We buy a 2 litre box of Jingilli extra virgin olive oil. This makes the price around $10 per litre as opposed to buying the small botle which costs $10 for just 500ml! Now THAT'S a saving!
I use oil in place of butter in cakes, in cooking and to deep fry with.
By buying a locally grown olive oil such as Jingilli I can be certain there is no chance of it being a GM product. The GM ban was only just lifted here in WA and these crops were planted YEARS ago.
Not to mention that Jingilli are up the top of the consumers choice list of EV olive oils tested for 'extra virginity'. Jingilli made it in 4th place!

That's basically all we buy. We choose basics and make our meals from scratch. We avoid processed foods that contain colours, flavours, preservatives , emulsifiers and GM ingredients.

We source our meat from the local abbotoir and will soon eat our own animals that have lived their days chemical free, roaming 90 acres of organically cared for land.
They will know love through their lives and will die painlessly and suddenly without knowing what hit them.

How much more pure can it get?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sew Simple!

I am very excited to have successfully finished this project.
A little while ago I fell in love with the idea of cloth books and as soon as I saw this genuine vintage reprint cloth book panel on The Oz Material Girls Facebook page, I knew I just HAD TO HAVE IT! I have fallen deeply in love with it now that it's finished.

With christmas looming closer and having a tight budget and natural, handmade and WAHP leanings I decided to sew up some pressies and stocking fillers for our beautiful girls. What shows more love than a well thought gift made with loving hands? This book is just one of the many projects I am attempting to have done in time.

I must say that this was one of the EASIEST things I have ever sewn. As a beginners project it can teach some simple but very useful skills. From straight stitching, corners and turning out to applying interfacing or batting and topstitching.

This book took me only 24 hours to create and that was with limited spurts of time in between soothing a very unsettle sick baby.
So if you're looking for something quick, simple and absolutely beautiful to sew up in time for christmas, you can find the panel HERE.
Please leave just one little panel for me to buy in the new year as a gift for a dear friend of mine... please.

It may be a tad too late for West Aussies to have one delivered in time for christmas as it seems Australia Post are on a bit of delay for us westerners, but one can only try. I have no doubt that Eastern staters not affected by flooding can get a hold of one with plenty of time to spare!