Saturday 29 August 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 29th August 2020

 It's been another ' Make,  Bake,  Sew and Grow ' sort of week at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  My days are fairly full of things to do and I'm really enjoying my time at home.  After many weeks of sewing like crazy to fill all the face mask orders,  I did take it a little easier this week.  I've enjoyed watching lots of Youtube videos on gardening and soap making .  I must admit,  I quite enjoy having a smart tv which makes access to Youtube so much easier.  The fact I can sit in my recliner chair with a cuppa and biscuit is quite relaxing too.

Here's what we've been up to this week -

*  I planted out our Spring / Summer veggie seeds.  I used a mini green house tray for some seeds and a plastic cover / carry case from a pillow I bought a couple of months another green house.  I've planted zucchini,  cucumber,  broccoli,  cauliflower,  lettuce mix,  bush beans,  climbing beans,  capsicum and tomatoes.  A little later I'll plant carrots and radishes where I want them to grow.

*  Darren planted out seed potatoes as well as ones he saved from our pantry.  Some are growing in potato bags and the rest in the veggie beds.

*  Made a batch of olive oil and coconut oil soap.  My skin doesn't like using shower gel or bought soap for too long and we were down to our last bar of homemade soap.  Now that I have more free time I'll be trying new techniques with colors and fragrances to give as presents and to sell to a few friends. 

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker then turned it into another big pot of chunky chicken and veg soup ( not soap ).    Just about all of it went into the freezer for lunches and some will be saved to give to Jessica for her freezer when the lockdown ends.

*  Made a few more masks and cards for orders.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Cleaned the inside of our kettle with citric acid.

*  Picked Bok choy, and   silverbeet from our garden and collected an egg almost every day.

*  Ate leftover meals from our freezer for a couple of dinners.

*  Turned the heater off for a few hours on a couple of days when the Sun was shining.

*  Megan gave us a couple of containers of homemade potato and leek soup.

*  Made sure all the appliances were turned off at the wall when not in use.

*  Darren fed the compost bin almost every day with kitchen scraps.

*  Fed dried bread and weeds to the chickens to give them something different from the usual chicken feed.

*  Jessica organised a surprise delivery of donuts from her work as an early 25th wedding anniversary present.  The donuts were enjoyed for a few afternoon teas.  It was a lovely way to cheer us up.  Due to the pandemic and lockdown,  we were unable to go on our long awaited,  much saved for fancy holiday to New Zealand and the Cook Islands which was meant to be this week.

Donuts from Jessica
Donuts from Jessica

Handmade bath bombs

Mini green houses helping the seeds along

How have you spent your week ?

Saturday 22 August 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 22nd August 2020

 It's been a ' Make,  Bake,  Sew and Grow " kind of week at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  Many of my days have been busy filling orders from friends who want to buy my crafts.  I'm truly blessed to be busy and truly blessed with all the support and words of encouragement.  Along the way I've had lots of lovely conversations with customers across Australia who are concerned for Victorians living through Stage 4 lockdown.  We are living in strange times and kindness goes a long way to making people feel a little better.

When I'm not crafting,  I've spent some time reorganising a few cupboards,  tidying my pantry,  sorting out my shed,  weeding the veggie gardens and doing a little baking.  

Here are my frugal tasks for the week -

*  Made butter from scratch using more of the frozen cream I got for free.

*  Made and sold lots of face masks.  I have just a handful left to sell while I wait for my elastic order to come in the mail.

*  Made and sold lots of face mask greeting cards ( care cards ).  They were fun to make and I know people are buying them  to send to people who need some cheering up.

*  Made four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  When I slice the loaves to freeze,  I reuse old plastic bread tags and bread bags over and over again.

*  Made a pot of chunky chicken and veg soup from stock I had in the freezer.  This pot of soup was enough for Darren and I for two dinners and one lunch.  Almost free meals for us.

*  Made chocolate chip biscuits for our snacks using dough I had in the freezer.

*  Made a few bath bombs for an order a friend wanted to buy.  Our home smelled like a florist for a few days.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden as our green vegetable for a couple of meals.  For me,  a dinner is not a dinner unless it has a green vegetable on the plate.  Silverbeet is so easy to grow and is a plant that keeps on giving.

*  Juiced the lemons I picked from our tree last week.  The juice was frozen to use in jam making later in the year.  In the next few weeks I'll make a batch of lemon butter too.

*  We ate freezer meals ( leftovers ) a couple of times this week.  There were days when I was super busy sewing.  It was a relief to have ready made meals on hand.    Not that we can go out and buy takeaway at the moment.     

Choc chip biscuits

Lots of face masks made

Some of the Care card bundles I made

Cards made for an order

How did you spend your week ?

Are you keeping busier than usual or has life slowed down ?

Saturday 15 August 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th August 2020

 A week and a half into stage 4 lockdown and we've managed to keep ourselves busy and sane.  Darren has taken this opportunity to paint our kitchen,  family room,  hallway and dining room.  There was a mad dash to Bunnings to get paint equipment and it seems many other people had the same idea.  Lots of paint was flying out the door.

We became empty nesters ( again ) a couple of weeks ago.  Now we have two empty bedrooms to rearrange as we see fit.  I've gained a craft room  ( YAY  !! ) which is work in progress.  I've had craft materials stashed  in many nooks and crannies  around the home.  Now the hunt is on to find them all.  So far I have a trestle table for mask making and a desk where my sewing machine stays all set up.  So exciting.

Yesterday I did my monthly grocery shop but make it an extra big one.  I usually spend Winter and Spring building my stockpile up until it has 12 months worth of pantry items,  toiletries and laundry supplies.  I love grocery shopping but most importantly,  I  LOVE to be well prepared.    This pandemic has revealed that no food is guaranteed to be in stock.  I'm making sure that I have everything I need to bake or cook anything on my menu. 

Here's what else I've been up to -

*  Made a menu plan for the next fortnight.  I concentrated on using up bits and pieces in the freezer.

*  Made pumpkin scones using cooked pumpkin from the freezer.  We've really enjoyed them with homemade butter and a cup of tea.

*  Used saved bread crusts from the freezer to make dried bread crumbs.  Bread crusts never go to waste in our home.  If they are not turned into dried seasoned bread crumbs,  they are fed to the chickens.

*  Made batches of butter every 5 or 6 days.  The cream I'm using has been frozen but it had 1 day left on it's use by date.  I'm not sure if butter goes off but I didn't want to risk it.

*  Started working on grocery shopping lists for the next 4 months.  I like to plan ahead and be well prepared.

*  Made and sold lots of face masks.  I've been getting some orders from NSW ( interstate ).  Their COVID 19 cases are on the increase.

*  With just the two of us to feed, I've been cooking the usual amount and freezing all the leftovers.  There will come a time when I can have many nights off from cooking.  

*  Saved the shower warm up water and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Collected an egg almost every day.  We only have one laying chicken and one free loader.  Our laying chicken was at death's door almost 3 years ago.  She was so sick for about 6 - 8 months,  every day we thought we'd lose her. Now she's making up for it.

*  Made a bottle of shower cleaner and floor cleaner using kitchen detergent and cooled,  boiled water.

*  Picked ssilverbeet from the garden a couple of times.   

Making pumpkin scones

                                                         One of our silverbeet plants. 

If you are interested in buying one of the face masks I'm selling,  please message me through my Facebook page My Abundant Life 

Are you doing any home renovations whether it be big or small ?

What was on your frugal list for the week ?

Saturday 8 August 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th August 2020

 It has been an interesting week here in Melbourne.  We are now in stage 4 lockdown for the next 6 weeks. We cannot leave home unless we are shopping for essentials like food,  medicines,  petrol or to go to work if you are an essential worker or care giving.  There are lots of fine details to the lockdown but that's the gist of it. We have a nightly curfew from 8pm to 5am.  The curfew doesn't bother me at all because I'd much rather be at home enjoying the ducted heating and my comfy recliner chair.

So with the latest lockdown,  I cannot continue with my cleaning work for the next 6 weeks.  My last day of work was on Wednesday.  I'm looking forward to staying home but I will admit the loss of income does hurt a little.  I'm not eligible for any government support from what I can gather due to me not being a registered business.

To make up for the lost income I'll continue to make and sell face masks for as long as people ask for them.  If you are interested in my 3 layer washable face masks,  please contact me via Facebook.  They sell for $11 including postage in Australia.  I'm also working on male greeting card packs,  hanging tea towels,  Christmas angel decorations and a few other crafts to sell.

I also have lots of cleaning,  baking,  cooking,  soap making,  Spring gardening preparation,  weeds to pull and general organisation around the home.  I'm sure the next 6 weeks will fly by.

Here's what else I've been up to lately -

*  Made and sold lots of washable face masks.  I've been getting quite a few orders for NSW residents who have been recommended to wear face masks when they cannot socially distance in public.  

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Make two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  I use this on dark clothes that  tend to smell in Winter.  

*  Made a triple batch of laundry powder.  Because I'd spent the time a few months ago blitzing lots of little bars of soap,  it was quick and easy to mix the three ingredients together.

*  Filled all the soap pumps around the home with diluted shower gel solution.

*  Froze lots of leftovers and wrote them into the menu plan for future easy no cook dinners.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden as our greens on our dinner plate.

*  Gratefully received 48 small bottles of cream from a community pantry I volunteer at.  They had one day left on the use by date so they all went into the freezer for future butter making.  

*  Closed a few ducted heating vents in rooms that are not being used.

*  Ate leftovers for dinner a couple of times during the week.

*  Closed the curtains on the colder days when the sun wasn't shining.

*  Made butter using the frozen cream.

*  Stayed away from the shops for almost two weeks.  We have plenty in our pantry,  fridge and freezer stockpile so there was no real need to go out.

*  Picked lemons from our tree.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps.  The bins are almost full and ready to be used.  The compost will be put on our veggie garden beds to top up the soil level.

*  Made a two litre bottle of foaming hand wash.  

Bread dough rising
Bread dough rising

One of the face masks I've been making

Our youngest grandson Bryson all snuggled up.

What frugal tasks have you completed during the last week or so ?

If you are in lockdown,  do you have a plan for keeping busy ?