Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reduce Reuse Recycle

I believe we throw out too much. There is disposable or single use everything. Not only that, but I think it is expected that you use a disposable item. Perhaps people see reusable items as old fashioned and what ‘poor’ people do because they can’t afford the ‘better’ single use item.

Well, we used to think like that too, but I came to the conclusion that that idea stinks (sorry, had to be done). Each week our bin was so full we had to jump on it to fit the last lot of rubbish in on bin night. We still recycled, but our recycling bin was also full each fortnight.

We have reduced our rubbish output dramatically over the last few years as we became conscious in our everyday lives and now our bins are rarely full, but our goal this year is to only ever have our garbage bins half full.

So, how are we going to do this? Here are a few things that will help us to achieve our goal.

Our worm farm and compost bin. 90% of our food scraps go to our worms or to the compost. Apparently Australians throw out a ridiculous amount of food each year and I know I used to buy too much and then had to throw some of it out at the end of the week. Now I buy less perishable items at a time and by putting food scraps in the worm farm or compost we have pretty much eliminated food going into the bin.

Cloth Nappies. I must admit to not using as many cloth nappies as I should and some days I am really slack, but using cloth nappies will reduce your garbage volume significantly. I will point out that it is important how you wash your cloth nappies. If you use a hot wash and bleach and huge amounts of water in the wash then it may be doing more damage to use cloth. Just another thing to consider. I have talked about my cloth nappies here.

Being aware of packaging. If you are cooking from scratch you won’t be purchase food with lots of unnecessary packaging but you should still be aware of this as it can sneak into your trolley at times. For example fruit and veg that have been wrapped on one of those trays or putting 2 apples in a plastic bag.

Reusing things. I know I spoke about reusable things instead of single use items, but reusing also means thinking of a new use for something. For example, I shred any non-glossy paper that comes into the house and add it to my compost and use it as mulch on the veggie garden. I also use the punnets that the strawberries come in to start off my seeds. Before you throw anything away, ask yourself what else it can be used for.

Stop buying stuff. I know I seem to harp on in almost every post about this but really, we buy way too much stuff and most of it isn’t built or designed to last.

If anyone has any other ideas on how to reduce our garbage volume I would be happy to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Frugal Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and The Long Thread has some great ideas for gifts and cards using recycled materials around the home.

I especially like the covered cans.

I will definitely be using some of these ideas this Valentine’s Day. Showing someone you love them does not mean spending a fortune on gifts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day

This is just a quick post today as we are off to spend time with family to celebrate Mum’s Birthday (Happy Birthday Mum!).

For those reading from across the seas, today is Australia Day. What is Australia Day? In true Australian form I would scratch my head and say that I think Australia Day is the day when Donald Bradman discovered Australia or something like that and then smile when I say we get a day off work to have a BBQ and drink beer.

Seriously – I know what Australia Day is. It’s when Captain Cook brought the convicts out right? No wait, it’s when Edmund Barton discovered Australia – no that’s not it either.

Perhaps I shouldn’t make light of a day a lot of people take very seriously but I have been thinking about what Australia Day means to me and I have yet to come to a conclusion. Indigenous people would say it a day to mourn rather than celebrate. Some people would say it is a day to remind the nation that only red necked, white people should be ‘allowed’ into the country. Others would just be thankful for the time off work and pick one of the above explanations for the reason.

I do know that I don’t want to parade the flag on my car, house or person, I don’t want to eat fatty, charred sausages and drink copious amounts of cheap beer. I will also take the opportunity to say I think locking up refugees sucks and I am ashamed that our government is still doing this.

I am thankful for growing up and living in Australia. I am thankful that I can write these things and my life won’t be in danger. I am thankful that my neighbours come from many different backgrounds and that many aspects of their cultures have merged to enriched the multi-culture-ness of our society. I am also thankful that we have a public holiday today. (Who wouldn’t?)

So, whilst I ponder all these things we will embrace our multi-culture-ness and head out to yum cha later this morning to celebrate both Mum’s birthday (which is tomorrow) and Australia Day.

Mmmm, yum cha.

Ok, so that wasn’t such a quick post. For those that are still confused about what Australia Day is – here’s wiki.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stitchery 101 – Part A

Here is Part B of Stitchery 101
Here is Part C of Stitchery 101

I have finished my stitchery but keep forgetting to get it scanned (I promise I will do it over the weekend), so here is a beginners stitchery tutorial in three parts.

This design will fit into a standard 4”x 6”frame. It has a few different stitches for you to learn but I think it is simple and quick enough for a beginner.

You will need:

All of the items can be purchased from a patchwork shop.

Fabric – I use osnaberg but homespun, any patchwork fabric, cotton lawn, linen, or any natural fabric with a bit of weight will do. If you can, go for seeded homespun or osnaberg. You will need a 20cm x 25cm piece.

Pellon – This is a light weight batting (or wadding) that is put behind the stitchery to give it a nice quilted look. It also hides any threads that may show through from the back otherwise. It is much more forgiving than only using fabric and will make your stitchery look like it was made by a professional. You will need the same amount as the fabric – 20cm x 25cm.

Embroidery Hoop – This is a thin hoop that holds the fabric and pellon taught so your stitches lie flat. Some people don’t use them but they aren’t expensive and will make the job easier.

Thread – To make it easy I have used one colour. You can pick lots of different colours if you want. In Australia, each colour thread will cost around $1.
I have used DMC stranded cotton no 221.

Needle – You need an embroidery crewel needle, size 8 or 9.

Scissors – Small scissors are easier to use and you will be less likely to snip through the fabric when cutting the thread. Whatever size you are using, they need to be sharp, not paper scissors.

Blue Wash Out Marking Pen – This is to transfer the design onto the fabric. It is bright blue and very easy to see and will wash out in cold water. Heat will set it though so once you have marked the design DO NOT IRON THE FABRIC.

You will also need larger fabric scissors to cut the fabric and pellon, paper for the design, a dark pen or marker, cream sewing thread and a thimble if you want to use one.

Whether you prewash your fabric is up to you. I don’t because the fabric is cream and won’t run, and both the fabric and thread are good quality.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Drowning in a Sea of Seeds

The nursery at Foxglove Spires sold Eden Seeds so I bought the rest of my seeds for autumn and winter.

Yes, I know there is a lot. Here is the list:


Beetroot - Chioggia, Melbourne Early Slowbolt
Broad Bean Coles Dwarf
Broccoli - Chinese, Di Cicco early, Romanesco
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage - Michihli, Red Dutch, Cauliflower Phenomenal Early
Carrot - Royal Chantenay, Heirloom Mix from Diggers
Corn Salad
Kale Nero Di Toscana
Leek - American Flag, Musselberg
Lettuce Italian Lollo Mix from Diggers
Onions - Creamgold, Red Brunswick, White Lisbon
Parsnip Hollow Crown
Peas - Green Feast (Bush), Sugar Snap
Radish French Breakfast
Silverbeet Rainbow Chard
Snow Peas


Basil - Dark Opal, Thai Siam Queen
Chives - Onion
Lemon Balm

(just cause they’re pretty)

Echinacea Purpurea
Good Bug Mix from Green Harvest
Sunflower (may have to wait until spring though)
Sweetpea - Bijou Mixed, Painted Lady, Spencer Choice Mix

Obviously I am going to stagger the seed sowing so I don’t get a huge crop at once.
I am also going to try and save as many seeds as I can this year so that the majority of the following years seeds will come from my seed saving.

And here is today’s harvest

Pumpkin, Capsicum, Zuchini, Beans, Tomato, Chamomile and Borage

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Quick Drop In

This is just a very quick post today. We have been away for the last few days and of course today will be spent washing all the clothes – why do they seem to multiply when you are away?

Anyhoo, for those interested we went down the coast to Merimbula and stayed in an eco-cabin. We had a lovely time surrounded by bushland. Miss Berry met kangaroos, a goanna and lots and lots of birds.

One of the local beaches - we were the only ones on the beach.

Miss Berry chasing the ducks outside the cabin. They were not impressed.

These two roos came right up to the back door looking for food.

An absolutely stunning open garden called Foxglove Spires at Tilba Tilba.

So, I am refreshed and ready for the new year. Because it was an eco-cabin it gave me a lot of food for thought about how we can reduce our carbon footprint even further this year. Our first step is to get a couple of chooks.
Chicken tractor here we come.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Hope Our Budget Had a Nice Holiday

All of our bills from Christmas are in and we were able to sit down and look at how our budget fared over Christmas. Our budget must have gone on holidays early because it obviously was nowhere to be during Christmas.

Is anyone else in this situation? We are generally pretty good with our budgeting. We use a cash based system which I have talked about here. Over Christmas though, the credit cards came out and the cash was forgotten about.

We spent an afternoon going through our bills and working out a plan to get ourselves back to living frugally.

1. Stop spending, put the credit cards away and go back to using your budget. This seems like an obvious step but I know I can get into a spending frenzy so this is an important step.

2. Sit down and work out how much damage you have done and where you spent the extra money. Finding out what you spent your money on can help you to identify when the situation will arise again. Surprisingly, our extra spending wasn’t on Christmas pressies, it was on all the holiday things we did and because we were at home - all the things we did around the house and garden.

3. If you can, use your emergency fund to pay off the credit cards and get the balance down to zero again. Doing this straight away would be ideal as it would avoid any interest charges on the credit cards. If you don’t have an emergency fund or you have just started one and it isn’t big enough to pay off the credit card, then put the money you would usually put into your emergency fund onto the credit card until it is paid off. You can then go back to building your emergency fund.

4. Go back to monitoring your spending by writing down everything you buy each day. This can help you get back on track. It can be hard to start again if you have really gone off budget so going back to basics can reinforce the good habits you were developing.Don’t beat yourself up about it. Wallowing in self pity and complaining about how bad you are because you have ‘failed’ is not going to help things and it certainly won’t encourage you to go back to frugal living. Firstly, you haven’t failed. If you have got to this step you have realised that you went off track and have taken steps to improve things and I think you should

Friday, January 16, 2009

Any New Stitchers After How-To Posts?

I was looking through my blog traffic stats and noticed that one of the most popular searches was for my sewing category. I have no idea what people are looking for in that category so I thought I would ask you.

Do you already know how to sew and are just browsing, or are you new to sewing and would like more information so you can start a project?

I was thinking of running a series of posts for the beginner stitcher and I will work on the design over the weekend. If you have any ideas or have been searching for a particular tutorial on embroidery, please let me know and I will either include that in my design or make a new one to do later.

If you are just happy to read and learn, stay tuned and I will be back with a design next week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Op-Shop Find

I have a Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul) op-shop around the corner from home and I finally managed to find time to have a peek inside. Oh my, I think I will be a regular. The shop front is a tiny narrow thing but once inside it’s like Mary Poppins bag – inside it just keeps on going.

Anyhoo, I was sans child and spent a wonderful time rummaging through things, and look what I found.

This gorgeous hand appliquéd and embroidered table cloth with 4 matching napkins. The work is exquisite. The appliqué is done with tiny, tiny blanket stitches – probably about 2mm apart. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work went into this and here it was at the bottom of a basket in Vinnies.

The saddest part of this is the price tag - $6. I can only imagine that this linen was given to Vinnies as part of an estate. The maker’s relatives not realising that they were giving away a family heirloom and bundled it with the rest of the linen.

Well, it now has pride of place in my embroidered linen collection and will be loved for a long time to come.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It’s All About Attitude

The rest of the week is set to be an absolute stinker in Sydney and I am sitting here procrastinating about the housework that has yet to be done. I am not sure if it is because it is hot or because I am still in holiday mode that I am putting off my daily chores. It’s probably a bit of both.

It did get me thinking though. The housework is something that has to be done every day and yet some days it is a chore and others it is – dare I say it – enjoyable. Why? I think it is all down to attitude. My chores do not change from day to day, my perception of them does.

If I approach them with a negative “I have to get this done before I can enjoy the day”, I end up having a miserable time and rush around and cut corners to get the housework finished. Then the next day, all the things I didn’t do properly the day before have to be done again and the cycle continues.

Instead, I try to think of the housework as part of my day, as providing a loving, nurturing environment for my family. When my attitude is like this the tasks go quicker, I am not hating every minute of it and I am doing a better job which means it will be longer before I have to do them again. When the house work is done, I can be proud my achievement and enjoy my work.

The same approach can be made in the kitchen. You can approach cooking as an evening chore to be done as quickly and as effortlessly as possible – whack some mince on the stove and bung in a jar of pasta sauce sort to thing. Or you can look at cooking the evening meal as an opportunity to nourish your family and provide them with appetising food that has been prepared with love and attention. A good meal is also the basis for the family sitting down together and discussing their day. I think that is something to be proud of and to enjoy. It makes the time I spend in the kitchen something I look forward to, not something I am dreading each day.

Now, don’t for a minute believe I have a positive attitude about my housework every day, because I don’t. But I try to remember what I have just written and keep my attitude towards the positive side of things as most of the time.

I also find that when things start to be a chore, a few compliments from the rest of the family is all I need to swing my attitude and get my but back into gear.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Garden Clean Up

Yesterday Miss Berry spent the day with her Nanny and Poppy and Mr Berry and I got stuck into the back of the garden. Our yard had been neglected for about 5 years or so and when we moved in it was overgrown and full of weeds. We have slowly been clearing out sections and had left the worst til last.

This photo was taken a few months ago - we forgot to take a before shot yesterday

Here is a photo just after we started.

We were working on the area behind the veggie patch. We thought it was one big garden bed. Look what we found!

Who would have thought all this was under all those weeds. This house and garden must have been really loved once.

There was an orange tree under that jasmine.

As well as lovely neat edges around – well everything.

I also found these concrete pots – they weigh a ton but look like they have been hand decorated. I think I will put some colourful flowers in them.

There is still a lot left to do – we just cut down the growth in the beds and there is still the other half that needs cleaning.

I can’t wait to find out what is under this.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The History of Aprons

I received this in an email last week (thanks Robyn and Mum) and I thought I would share it here.

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron......

But Love !!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Biggest Kitchen Table - keeping chickens

Rhonda from Down to Earth has started the Biggest Kitchen Table where we all sit around a virtual kitchen table and discuss all things simple, frugal and sustainable. Today’s topic is about keeping chickens and although I do not have any chickens, it is on my list but I can’t think of how I could get it to work in our back yard.

We are renting at the moment but are planning to stay here for a few years. I don’t think the owners would mind if we had chickens but the back yard is not secure. There isn’t a gate from the backyard to the driveway and one side fence is only a meter tall.

This is the driveway. I am standing in the back yard to take the photo and the beans (on the right) are against the garage wall and the wall on the left is the house. The driveway goes along the side of the house to the garage.

This is the area behind the garage. It would be perfect for a chook house. I think it originally was built for a caravan.

My question to anyone who has chickens – is there anything I can do to the backyard so I can keep chickens? Obviously any changes can’t be expensive and I am pretty sure the owners won’t contribute to any of it. Also, I don’t think I would want to keep my chickens in their cage all the time and not let them free range. Then again Nan and Pop’s chickens were always in their house so if you have chickens that stay in their cage (I mean big house – what is the word?) please let me how they go.

Because I don’t have chickens, here is our favourite egg recipe.

The Slice
(yes, it does have a capital T and S – always. It is that good)

This is a weight watchers recipe from years ago. I am pretty rough with my measurements and it always works out. Don’t be put off with the microwave cooking – it is also more energy efficient than an oven.

4 Rashes Bacon
1 Leek (an onion will also work)
2 large zucchini (although not as large as these – normal large will do)
2 large carrots
100g grated tasty cheese
1 cup self raising flour
5 eggs
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ cup low fat yoghurt and baby spinach leaves to serve

Chop leek and bacon and cook in microwave for 2 mins on high (wrap in paper towel for low fat version).
Grate carrot and zucchini and combine in a large bowl with sifted flour, cheese, bacon and leek.
In another bowl lightly beat the eggs and add the oil and mustard. Mix well and then stir into other ingredients – season if desired.
Grease a 19cm square (or similar) microwave safe dish and pour in mixture. Cook in the microwave for 15mins at 50% power or until edges are firm (they will come away from the sides of the dish), then grill for 4-5 mins or until golden brown on top.
Serve with baby spinach and a dollop of natural yoghurt

And for those interested in point values (although you will have to use low fat ingredients)
Serves 6 – 4 ½ points per serve (including yoghurt)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How Can a Zucchini Grow So Quickly?

I swear when I went to hang out the washing the other morning these were not there.

The zucchini plants had gone nuts and had tumbled onto the lawn and provided me with the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen. I am not sure what to do with these as I understand that the larger they are the less flavour they have. I will probably roast them.

It has been super hot lately and my garden has really suffered because of it. Mainly because it has been too hot for me to do any work in it. I have lost two of my tomato plants but have managed to pick a bucket load of green tomatoes before too much damage was done to them. I think my beans have suffered a bit too.

My zucchinis - the white marks on the leaves are powdery mildew

The zucchinis have some mildew on them and I am going to treat them with a milk spray. I haven’t done this before but you make a mix of 1 part milk to 9 parts water (don’t exceed 30% milk as it will have the reverse effect) and spray the mixture on both sides of the leaves and repeat weekly. Rain has been forecast today so I will wait until there isn’t a chance a rain before spraying them.

See the brown marks on the leaves? I think that is from too much sun.

Also, my strawberries are not doing too well. They are getting flowers but the fruit is not maturing. I think they are getting too much sun and it is burning them. I am thinking of moving them into pots and having them on the steps going to the yard from the back door. At least in pots I can move them if it gets too hot.

And of course the pumpkin (which I think is actually a triffid) is going strong. Mr Berry swore these two just fell off the vine when he walked past.

I am not sure when pumpkins are ripe and I vaguely remember reading about leaving them on the vine to dry out a bit – I will have to read up on it soon. I think I will cut up one of the picked pumpkins and see what it looks like inside.

And if it is ok – pumpkin scones. Yum!

Actually, I haven’t made pumpkin scones in years. They were the very first thing we made in Home Science in year seven (I am not sure what the equivalent of home science is now but it was the cooking/kitchen/household class). My mum is the scone making queen in our family. Her scones are so light and fluffy and wonderful that I haven’t wanted (or needed) to make normal scones for fear of ridicule, but I think pumpkin scones are different.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mango Chutney

image by visualdensity

I love mangoes. I mean I really, really love mangoes. I could live on them throughout the entire season and not get sick of eating them.

But, a box of mangoes will only keep for so long and when you have two boxes...

I decided to try my hand at some mango chutney and since I had so many mangoes I made two different chutneys.

Mango Chutney 1

1 ½ kg mango flesh – diced
600g sugar
500ml white vinegar (2 cups)
1 ½ cups sultanas
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp fresh ginger – grated
1 tsp mixed spice
Scant ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
6 peppercorns
6 cloves
6 lge cloves garlic, finely chopped

Boil mangoes and sultanas in vinegar for 15mins. Add other ingredients, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 45 mins or until thick. Stir all the time to prevent the bottom burning. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Mango Chutney 2

1 ½ kg mango flesh, diced
500g onion, chopped
1 ½ cups sultanas
500g sugar
500ml vinegar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cloves, ground
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1 scant tsp nutmeg
2 scant dessert spoons salt

I was a bit lazier with this lot and threw everything into the pot and brought to the boil. I then reduced it to a simmer for about an hour or until it was thick. You will still need to keep stirring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal

Chutney 1 is probably the nicer of the two but chutney 2 is a lot sweeter – possibly because of the onions. I liked the idea of a sweet mango chutney and I think the heat of the garlic and ginger in the first recipe also affected the sweetness. The spices, ginger and garlic in the first one would be good for a tomato chutney though.

I think next year I will combine the two recipes and make my chutney something like this:

Next Year’s Chutney

1.5kg mango flesh, diced
500g onions, chopped
1 ½ cups of sultanas or raisins (raisins may be sweeter)
500g sugar
500ml vinegar
1 tsp mixed spice
6 cloves or so
1 tsp mustard seed
1 scant tsp nutmeg
Scant ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt

I have a Fowlers Vacola preserving kit which was given to me as a birthday present last year and it has worked really well in sealing the jars – all of them ended up sealing properly. I will definitely be preserving excess produce from now on. I usually freeze my home grown veggies but I think I will also keep an eye out for fruit specials too and buy bulk lots when they are in season.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Madeit vs Etsy

I have decided that I need to support my habit. I love fabric and sewing and I tend to go a bit nuts when surrounded by bolts of fabric – for example when I am in a fabric shop. So rather than not going into the shops which is impossible because I seem to stick to them like velco, I am going to sell some of my creations and hopefully my fabric addiction will have a zero effect on our budget.

There are two websites that allow craftspeople to sell their handmade items – Madeit and Etsy.

Etsy seems to be well known but it is US based and all the items are in US dollars. Madeit is the Australian version. Madeit is still quite small but it is local and it is in Australian dollars which I think helps people in Australia to buy things from the site.

So, do I list my things on Madeit or Etsy? Or, do I consider eBay? I would love to hear from anyone that has had any experience with any of these sites.

In the meantime I will continue to lovingly fondle my fabric stash and try my hardest to avoid any suburbs that have a fabric shop.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Pantry

Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments. It is hard losing a loved one. Nan was with us for so long that you like to think she will always be there.

In times like this I find it easier to keep busy. My mind can then process what it needs to without the irrational, neurotic part taking over and making my feel worse.

I have decided to spend the next couple of weeks sorting out the house and getting things re-organised. We have de-cluttered a number of times over the years but general living can leave you with a disorganised household with clutter sneaking back into the house. I also read Alison’s post at Before Our Time and decided that the New Year is an excellent time to clean out all the mess from the previous year.

So, yesterday I did the pantry.

I forgot to take a before picture of the pantry but let me assure you it was not pretty. Things had been put on any shelf and I was having a hard time finding things, which meant I was buying things I did not need (I have accumulated 3 boxes of loose leaf tea – they must have bred).

I pulled everything out and checked that the containers were in good condition and not damaged, I checked use by dates and disposed of anything that was past it’s date (keeping the jars or containers of course). I had a couple of cheap plastic containers that had damaged lids from opening and closing them and they have been moved to the shed where we can use them to hold bits and pieces that don’t require a seal.

I have a small stockpile of grocery items but it wasn’t separate from the things I was using. I have now put opened items or 2 cans of things I use regularly like tomatoes and beans on the pantry shelf and all my stockpiled items are on the bottom shelf. I am also going to start a stockpile list based on how much I use a month. Then I can keep an eye out for specials and make sure I am only buying things I actually need – it doesn’t matter how big a saving it is, if you don’t need it you are wasting your money. Rhonda at Down to Earth has recently written about stockpiling here if you are after more information.

Once the shelves were wiped down I put everything back. I have my own system of where things go in the pantry based loosely in groups but also on size of containers. All Miss Berry’s things are in a group as are the teas and coffees. Dried fruit and nuts and seeds are together as well as small baking items like vanilla essence, baking powder, citric acid, etc whereas my baker’s flour is at the bottom of the pantry and the other flours are grouped together. I am sure everyone has their own system of where to put things in the pantry. If you don’t, have a think about how you use pantry items and begin grouping them together. You should begin to see a pattern – this is now the beginning of your system.

Having an organised pantry makes cooking a lot easier. You can quickly get ingredients without having to rummage through things and it will take you less time to write your shopping list as you can see what you already have in the pantry and what your are low on. I also find it immensely satisfying when you open the pantry and it looks so wonderfully neat – you can pat yourself on the back for being such a wonderfully organised home-maker and pretend just for that moment that the rest of the kitchen it as neat and tidy.
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