Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell 2012 ....Welcome 2013

Oh Deer!!! Another year over!!!
Happy New Year!!

I have wanted to share a little more of my day-to-day life with you by having a look back at the year. Often we think about the year that has gone and think "Well that flew past!" - well, I want to record and share some of my personal achievements and approaches.
I love reading Christine's monthly reflections at Slow Living Essentials , so I though that I would use her format to show you my year.
Nourish - I enjoy cooking for my family, but I need to be organised to make the most of fresh produce and other ingredients available. I has read about other bloggers using menu planning and how it made life much easier - however I thought that this wasn't for me! However, after attend a series of Love Food Hate Waste workshops I became a convert and now happily plan my meals to ensure a variety to our meals, as well as to shop wisely and not waste food.
Being a stay-at-home Mum this year, also gave me the time to cook from scratch making bread and pizza dough, pasta sauces, casseroles and soups. With my husband working shift work throughout the year, I provided all of his meals rather than him buying from the canteen (saving money) - my home-made sausage rolls were the envy of the lunchroom!
Using my fresh produce from the garden gives me great satisfaction and ensures that our family eats well.
Prepare - I stocked the pantry with tomato relish, green tomato pickles, plum jam, spicy plum sauce, pesto, strawberry and mulberry jam, tomato sauce and mango chutney. I found a recipe for Lemon Barley Water and have been making it throughout the year for a thirst quenching drink.
The gift of an ice-cream maker has also seen me experimenting with ice-cream, sorbets and gelatos.
Reduce - You have probably realised by now that I enjoy op-shopping and curb-side crawling, and love the challenge in reusing materials.
I made my sister a quilt out of flannel Pyjamas for her 50th birthday (and i forgot to take a picture!!)
I knitted a rag rug out of my son's old t-shirts.
Various cushions were made from vintage tea-towels - both for our home and for gifts.
After making my little garden area out of materials that I found or was given, I decided to re-make an old chair for my Mum for Christmas - I even learnt how to use an electric angle-grinder to remove old rivets as my husband was working away. Mum was so overwhelmed that I had made this for her!

During the year our family participated in a BillBuster programme and 28 Day challenge (run by our local Council) to reduce the use of electricity and water within the home - this provided incentives to change our daily practices to reduce energy consumption - we were able to reduce usage by 40% and I am glad to say that family members are still doing things to save like turning of lights, switching off appliances at the wall.
I participated in Plastic Free July - a very challenging exercise that still has me examining what I buy daily and how we need to avoid plastic.
Green - This year saw us invest in solar panels to produce our own electricity - hopefully we will see our savings soon, however the positive so far has been the changed behaviour in usage by the family.
On the personal front, I have not used shampoo or conditioner for about 11 months - pure soap and a final rinse with water and cider vinegar do the trick. I also started using honey to wash my face - and I love it!
After receiving Rhonda's book for my birthday in May, I have made laundry powder and liquid. All of my cleaning is now done with citrus vinegar, bi-carb and pure soap - the home loves it, my skin loves it and the family have not had as many allergy problems.

Grow - I have two vegie gardens under production providing a bounty of produce. I have been sprouting pea shoots on the windowsill. Two worm farms are busy recycling food scraps and providing wonderful worm wee!
I am enjoying talking to my parents about their gardening and planning our planting together so that we can share vegies without having huge gluts.

I am planning with my husband to make a tumbling compost bin and to install a water-tank to use for gardens.

Create - I need to knit!!! I have found that this is my stress release, my meditation, my inner joy. This year I have been consumed by the need to knit washcloths/dishcloths - making many for the home and as gifts. I was fortunate to pick up about 60 balls of knitting cotton on Freecycle to allow me to indulge in knitting.  I also made scarves and beanies for the Guardian Angels Knitting Program. Quilts, cushions, clocks, necklaces and bags also allowed me to create.

We also painted the outside of our house - so many opportunities for creating new areas and colour schemes.
Discover - I attended a few great sustainability events this year that allow me to be with like-minded people and learn more about caring for our planet. At the Fair Share festival I got to meet one of my blog idols, Tricia from Little Eco Footprints who presented a fabulous workshop on Learning To Live Better With Less.
The Living Smart festival provided a fun day out for us - lots of giveaways and opportunities to learn more - even to make a pedal-powered smoothie!!!

As part of my ongoing career development, I finally finished my Diploma of Community Services Management, updated my Cert IV in Training and Assessment, and completed a unit in business Sustainability. With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, I attended initial training with Carers NSW, as well as a Disability Services Expo.

Enhance - I felt part of the blogging community and knitting community by taking part in Sally's call for knitted squares for Born To Knit, the Guardian Angel Knitting Program and Softies for Mirabel.
I also joined in some community knitting while waiting for lunch one day.

Since knitboy has started attending a local school, we have enjoyed being part of the school community and joining in with events, such as Christmas Hamper appeals.
Getting to know a few of our neighbours has been rewarding, offering them friendship and support.

Enjoy - I have found that I have slowed down the pace that we live our lives - spending time with family and finding time to do what you love, with those with you love has made this achievable. I have found that I take the time to listen to nature - what birds are around, what the lake looks like each day, and to appreciate things like sunsets, clouds and rain.

If you have gotten to the end of this .... thank you!! I trust that you feel fulfilled by your year and have great plans for 2013. If things haven't been the best for you, please take care.
I look forward to continuing my journey with you.
Do you make New Year Resolutions??? or Do you have special plans - I'd love to hear from you ;)


  1. Wow what a great year. Love the tea towel cushions, might make some myself! What a great find all that cotton on freecycle and that chair for your mum is fantastic. Love it .Thanks for popping over and leaving a comment on my blog. Look forward to reading more about what you do.

  2. Hello Knitgirl! Bungalowgirl here wanting to say hello and thankyou for your extremely kind and generous offer for my Liongirl. To say she would be over the moon would be an understatement as she has on multiple occasions mentioned the necessity of the little red phone. When i told her today of your offer, she immediately shuffled things around and showed me the spot for it! I couldn't find your email anywhere, mine is at the top right of my blog, if you could email me I will reply with my address details. Thank you so much, and love your vintage teatowel cushions btw. mel x