Monday, 27 April 2015

Waste Not, Want Not

Linking today with I'm An Organising Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

I have just been reading Economy Gastronomy: Eat Better and Spend Less, after reading about it here at Sweet Little Wood

Thanks for the recommendation! Great recipes and interesting reading in between.
It is also a TV show; who knew?! You can find lots of the recipes here.

I was particularly drawn to this list from the book as I think food waste is a terrible crime.

The Top Ten Most Wasted Foods

1. Bread

2. Potatoes

3. Apples

4. Bananas

5. Yoghurt

6. Cakes

7. Lettuce

8. Tomatoes

9. Cabbages

10. Rice - a world staple. Surely we should feel bad about wasting such a vital food source that many people need so desperately? It actually makes the whole list seem spectacularly selfish and wasteful. Don't contribute to this list.

(There is actually a little blurb for each item but most of them are just about uses to prevent waste. I just added the last as I agree so totally with the selfishness that is food waste).

Of course, during the world wars, food waste was taken very seriously, as shown in these posters from the era.

All of these are equally relevant today. I think particularly the six point list would make a perfect plan for minimising/eliminating food waste in any home.

When I typed food waste into Google, so many lists came up! This is a whole blog dedicated to food waste. This is a useful ten tips to prevent food waste. And here are 29 tips to prevent food waste.

I think the main weapon against food waste would be planning. Being organised means you are not buying more food than the family will eat. This can be hard with boys, who seem to be a never ending pit. I just bake A LOT! I always have to make sure there is food made and ready or I get this attitude!

So sad for the poor dears!
I am also so glad that I have my chickens as food is never really 'wasted'. When I visit family in the city, it does my head in to have to throw food in the actual bin! It is so hard to make myself do it! I keep wanting to take it home (even if the visit is for a while!) so I can give it to the chickens.

Menu for this week is:-

Monday - Spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread

Tuesday - Quick Spiced Chicken Thighs with 'Emergency' Biryani

Wednesday - One Pot Tomato Stew with Pork Meatballs, Chorizo and White Beans

Thursday - Spinach and Potato Frittata with green salad

Friday - Chilli Con Carne with tortillas and extras

Saturday - Porterhouse steak, potato wedges, green beans

Sunday - Twice Stuffed Chicken with Potatoes and Creamed Sweetcorn

I am not just trying to eliminate food waste, but am looking at all areas of waste in our home. I am doing all the baking at home now, which I find a big packaging saver. All the flour and sugar I buy comes in paper bags, which are then used either as paper to start the wood fire, shredded in the compost or the chicken nesting boxes or used as layers in the lasagne garden beds. I am trying to even reduce what is put in the recycling as I am not convinced of the efficacy of the recycling model.
A huge plus for me this week was that hubby actually noticed that there was less rubbish. Yay! We do not have rubbish collection, so we do once monthly trips to the tip. So it was great that hubby noticed that there was less!

What do you do to eliminate food waste? Do you feel meal planning helps in this? What other areas of waste in your home really bother you?
I would love to hear all your waste related comments!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

On To Stitchcraft November 1933

Time to move on to our next issue of Stitchcraft - November 1933. Here is where I purchased the magazine in a PDF.

There are some lovely womens' knits in this issue. But the models are all so thin! I know that is just how everyone was then, but it is disconcerting, to say the least, to think that you are enormous compared to their standards!

The simple coat jumper is made in pale blue with white ribbing and collar.

'A new crepe wool is used for this exceedingly smart jumper - vivid apple green in the original. The charming little rib pattern, shown full size in the close-up, is very simple to knit.'

My thoughts exactly! When I first saw this, I loved it, except for the rolled shoulders. Then I read the introductory paragraph and yay, they are detachable!

This is the swagger coat I mentioned in a previous post. Very stylish.

 And for the younger set. 

'Your schoolgirl daughter will look and feel her best in this trim suit - navy blue, with touches of white and red.'

Lux advertisement
Lovely fashion ad from Corot of London
I found this great resource while looking for yarn substitutes - Old yarns and their equivalent plys from Louisa Amelia Jane. Lovely vintage blog, full of information and wonderful photos.

Now for this issue's knit, I am trying to decide between the shoulder roll jumper (without the shoulder rolls!) and the simple coat jumper. 
What do you think?!

I won't be stash busting on this knit as I do not have enough 3ply to make a woman's jumper! I wonder what colour you would suggest as well?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

That Pig Again!

I have been absent the last few days, so missed all my usual Friday, Monday and Tuesday link ups. 
My daughter's baby does have Down's Syndrome as well as a few other issues which they are hoping will resolve themselves. I always thought it would be me facing this as I had my last child at 40; certainly not my 19 year old daughter who decided to have her children early as it is all she has ever wanted to be - a mother.
My heart aches for her as I can see how difficult her life will be. But God has a plan and obviously this baby girl will be a blessing to our family in ways that we cannot yet imagine. 
I am so proud of my darling girl as she faces this with such strength of character and love for her unborn baby. 

One of the books I read this week is about the way we cannot see the works God is doing in our lives. We may think we are not making a difference to anyone, but God knows. He sees and if we keep our faith and let Him guide us, then anything is possible.

The Shepherd's Song is about a mother who writes Psalm 23 out for her son and tucks it in his coat pocket. This note then takes a journey around the world, affecting 12 other people along the way. I read it in one night, just couldn't put it down.

'Kate remembered praying, "Let my life count," and she knew her prayer had been answered."

The other book I have just finished is First Impressions by Charlie Lovett. I love Jane Austen inspired books and this was wonderful. I read this one in two nights. It is a mystery based on a lost manuscript and just ticks all the boxes for me - Jane Austen, searching through old documents for evidence, bibliophiles galore! I like the way the chapters alternate between Jane Austen and the modern characters. 

Favourite quote (quite long! - a discussion between the main character and her uncle who showed her the love of books):

' "Am I a book collector, Uncle Bertram?" she asked.
"What do you do with a book when you get it?"Uncle Bertram asked.
"I read it," said Sophie. "Or I ask you to read it to me."
"And then what?"
"And then I put it on my shelf so I can look at it again whenever I want to."
"And do you ever want to throw it away or sell it?"
"Of course not," said Sophie. "What a silly question."

What a silly question indeed! I read this passage and breathed a sigh of relief that there are people like me - that love the smell of old books, love to just look at my books (and stroke them and give them a friendly pat!) and find it really hard to part with a book once it is on their shelf. They are old friends. My hubby doesn't get it. Periodically, he will start to go through my shelves and ask if I have read a book. If I say yes, then he will want to know why it is still here then. Nope, doesn't get it! 

And here is Peppa Pig! Well, some of her!

So far, she has a head, ears, body and arms. She is quite large now that I have stuffed her and sewn the head and body together.

And with her dress sort of on!

Thank you so much for all the prayers and good wishes you have been sending our way during this period. It is so greatly appreciated.

Sunday, 12 April 2015


I know today is Sunday and therefore the day for the next instalment in Adventures In Stitchcraft. I can only apologise and say that due to family circumstances, I will have to postpone until next week. 
My daughter had her ultrasound in Melbourne on Friday and they found multiple problems. She is awaiting the full results tomorrow and will see her doctor on Tuesday to discuss them.
Please pray for her and her little one. 
Thank you.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Resizing Vintage Patterns

I am so incredibly grateful to Tasha at By Gum, By Golly for all the hard work she put into teaching us to resize vintage knitting patterns.

The instructions are in two parts: Part One here and Part Two here.

I have taken all the measurements using the instructions in Part One and am now ready to use them when needed to resize patterns during Adventures In Stitchcraft.

I think the most important thing I will need to remember is that I cannot get away without swatching! I am terrible when it comes to swatching; I just want to jump right in and start. Which is probably why I have recently only knit shawls or socks for myself - no fit problems there!

Tasha also has this series of blog posts on fitting a 1940s pullover.

Head on over - you will love Tasha's blog!

And some free 1930s knitting patterns from The Vintage Pattern Files. This is a wonderful source for free vintage patterns, from the 1800s to the 1970s.

Fancy some 1930s knitted underwear, anyone?!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Odd Type Writers and a Knitted Toy

Joining with Small Things for Yarn Along.

I have finished the 2x2 rib baby vest from my first Adventures In Stitchcraft project (Ravelry notes are here).
I love how stretchy it is, which makes for a very forgiving pattern to size.

I am currently reading Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors.
I am really enjoying reading the little snippets about lots of wonderful authors. I always find biographies fascinating, so this is like a little bit of biographical information for lots of my favourite authors. Maybe I am just naturally nosy!

Such as:
Colette's first husband published books written by her under his name. He 'routinely locked his wife inside a room to write for four-hour stretches.'

Colette, painted ca 1896 by Jacques Humbert
Jack London had many rejections before being published, suffering from depression and even contemplating suicide. 'The weight of 650 rejection letters bore down on the poor, struggling author.'

Jack London in 1914 (Sunset Magazine)
Coffee or tea were often necessary for writers to function.
'Honore de Balzac consumed up to fifty cups of coffee a day, and he wouldn't settle for a subpar brew.'
'Voltaire was known to drink up to forty cups of coffee in a day.'

Cafe le Procope in Paris where Voltaire and Balzac frequently drank their coffee.

My favourite quotes are these two about tea, as they both sound like me with my tea drinking!

'C.S. Lewis once said to his friend Walter Hooper, "You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."'

'Samuel Johnson described himself as 'a hardened and shameless tea-drinker; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning."'

Willa Cather and Maya Angelou both read the Bible before writing, Cather as she wanted to 'get in touch with fine prose' and Angelou 'for melody. For content also. I'm working at trying to be a Christian and that's serious business'.

Virginia Woolf and Lewis Carroll always wrote in purple ink, while Rudyard Kipling insisted his ink be the blackest black.

Written by Virginia Woolf
James Joyce's notebooks were elaborately colour-coded.

Notebook used for Ulysses
Oh my, I could continue on for ages, as these tiny little details fascinate me. But enough is enough! If they fascinate you too, read this book! The author, Celia Blue Johnson, has also written Dancing With Mrs Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature. I have this on hold at the library and I'm sure it will be just as interesting!

Finally, on the knitting front, I have been knitting away at Cuddlepie's Peppa Pig toy.

I have a few pieces made now - the dress, the body, the head and the snout. Looking at the pieces, she will be larger than I imagined. (Ravelry notes are here).

I am hoping to have her finished to show at Friday Finishes.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Guilt - are you guilty of it?!

Type motherhood, guilt into Google and you get 748,000 results. That is probably about the number of times the average mother will feel guilty for something over the course of their child's growing up years.

Yep, I am always feeling guilty about something or other. And no matter how much you tell yourself you are doing a great job and doing your best, that guilt just creeps on in. 
Guilt when you attend the primary school sports day, but not the high school one, as they are on the same day; guilt when you are in a bit of a rush in the morning and pack a jam sandwich in the school lunch rather than the lovingly made sandwiches that you KNOW every other kid is having; guilt when you say no to pretty much anything as you want to give them everything; guilt, guilt, guilt!

Yet God does not want us to feel guilty permanently. Sure, guilt was given to us to serve as a wake up call as the feeling is a message that what you are doing is not right. But we mothers take that feeling to the extreme and way beyond what it was intended to convey. Most of the things we feel guilty about are probably not worth the worry and thought we expend on them.
I was watching a TV show the other day and one of the characters, a mother, was talking about why she is stressed all the time. She talked about how every single decision, no matter how small, starts an internal dialogue about who would it effect, how would they feel about it, what would be best for each member of the family, etc.
That is me to a tee! 
In my Bible reading, two verses seem to apply particularly in this area.

'Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.'

1 Peter 5:7

'There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.'

Romans 8:1

There are, of course, many more, but these are the two that I am trying to say to myself whenever I feel anxious, worried, guilty.

This is just so true.


Make A List Colour Monday

Joining this week with Porch Swing Quilts for Make A List Colour Monday.

Last week's list:
  • Finish Peppa Pig toy (half done).
  • Unpack four more boxes.
  • Do three hours of hand quilting on Miss Ballerina's quilt. (I did five hours - yay!)
  • Clean out and organise freezer.
  • Begin drawing/planning the new vegie/fruit tree garden area (when it is all done and looking lovely, I'll post a picture of my plan).
  • Research and knit/sew for my new project (wow, I had so much fun writing the first post for this!)

This week's list:
  • Finish Peppa Pig toy.
  • Unpack four more boxes.
  • Do three hours of hand quilting on Miss Ballerina's quilt. This seems to be never-ending! Miss Ballerina asked today if it would be finished for this winter. Let's hope so!
  • Clean out and organise laundry cupboard.
  • Process the last of the peaches into Peach Pie Filling. This is a great recipe that I first made last year. We can't get enough of it to make crumble and pie during winter.
  • Process, pack and freeze meat from our butchered cow.
  • Do cutting list for Whirlwind's Minecraft quilt, using this one for inspiration.
  • Research and knit/sew for my new project (this will be a permanent feature of the list now).
And the colour theme for this Monday is spring break - where would you go?

 A tropical jungle waterfall looks quite inviting.

 I would love to take my knitting and sewing and spend some time in this English cottage.

But all time holiday wish list destination has always been Ireland. 
I'm not a beach person at all; I need greenery around me and Ireland seems to have the green theme down!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Meal Planning in 1933

Joining today with At Home With Mrs M for Meal Planning Monday and I'm An Organising Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

This week's meal plan is coming to you from 1933. I have spent the last two weeks of Adventures In Stitchcraft in 1933, so felt inspired to research some recipes from the era as well. (The 1933 posts for Adventures In Stitchcraft can be found here and here).

One of the first discoveries I made was this little beauty - Betty Crocker's 101 Delicious Bisquick Creations

Now I will admit to having no idea what Bisquick was, as it is not something I remember seeing for sale in Australia. But it was first released for sale in the US in 1931 and has been for sale ever since.

However I have made a similar mix myself and it is a great time saver. This recipe is for a homemade Bisquick mix. 

A page from the 1933 Bisquick recipe book.
So for my baking this week, I will be making the following (using my homemade Bisquick):

Bisquick Coconut Cherry Bars

Bisquick Lemon Almond Cookies

Bisquick Blueberry Muffins

Cinnamon Sweet Rolls

For meals:

Monday - Mushroom Cream Soup (from the San Jose New, March 1932), bread rolls.
              For dessert, Mrs John Jerome Finlay's Deep Dish Apple Pie.

Apparently one of the most popular girls in Chicago in 1933.

Tuesday - Roast lamb, Spiced Sweet Potatoes (see photo for recipe), stir-fried veggies

Wednesday - Avocado Fritters, green salad, rosemary potatoes, pork sausages.
                   For dessert, American Poverty Pudding.

Thursday - Baked Fish With Vegetables (The Scranton Times, Nov 9 1933).

Friday - Porcupine Meatballs with spaghetti

Saturday - One Pot Pork Chop Supper, creamed spinach, ginger/honey carrots

Sunday - Hungry Hobo Beans Bake, green salad, roast root vegetables.
           For dessert, Grandma's Great Depression Cake

This would have to be the most amazing recipe book I have ever seen! I think the blog post title says it all - they sure don't make recipe books like they used to!

A recipe book in a stamped aluminium Art Deco binder - yes please!

If I had some persimmons, I would so be making this recipe. It is Preserved Whole Persimmons from the Sunset All-Western Cook Book. 

I found it at this wonderful blog, Lost American Recipes. Well worth a look - I quite like the sound of the Parsnips Stewed in Dark Beer from 1627.

You must read this hilarious blog post about a recipe that won a prize in an Australian Women's Weekly prize in 1933. I will agree that a recipe involving spaghetti and tomato sauce in a pastry case does not sound appetizing! I don't think I'll be trying it!

And a bit of fun, as 1933 saw Prohibition in the US repealed - some Repeal Day cocktails.

Have a delicious week!