Saturday, 26 August 2017

Two months in and going strong

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I'm pleased to say we got the dryer fixed. It wasn't the door mechanism as I thought - it was the sneaky (flux) capacitor! I am pleased to say I now have a working dryer and I saved all sorts of resources by not buying a new one. The next step is to find a second-hand clothes horse so I can reduce the amount of energy wasted on using the dryer.

I had a lovely time at my niece Isla's ninth birthday party. Her gift was a hooded scarf that I knitted. I downloaded the pattern from the internet, used beautiful Icelandic wool Eliza had brought back for me and made do with the wrong sized needles. I finished the scarf off with buttons from an unused vest. I was very happy with the result as was Isla!

This week I headed off to the ACAud Congress in Adelaide. It was a great few days learning lots about new hearing device technology and all things in the land of ears. I had some spare time and had a wander down Rundle Mall. It was quite liberating knowing I wasn't going to be succumbed into buying anything unnecessary.

One third of the way through my 'six months to freedom' adventure and so far all challenges met! I've bought nothing new and I'm learning lots about myself and how I can continue to help the environment. Forward on to the half way mark ☺

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Can I fix it?

Week 6
It turns out no I can't, but it was fun trying...

We moved in to an apartment over four months ago and our lifestyle has changed a fair bit. Apart from being occasional empty nesters we also find ourselves with time on our hands due to less cleaning and less gardening. It's quite liberating!

A dryer came with the unit (wall mounted) but we didn't check it before moving day so it was probably no surprise it didn't work the first time we tried it. No matter - we had a good working dryer from the old house. However it could not be wall mounted so it sits in the kitchen, taking up valuable space, and quiet time (it's a noisy bastard).

So I had a few options:
  1. Put up with the noise
  2. Buy a second hand dryer
  3. Get someone to fix it
  4. Fix it myself
I decided on option 4.

I found this great site on how to fix household appliances and I happily pulled apart the dryer following the step by step trouble-shooting instructions. Halfway through my investigation, hubby joined in (thank goodness) and we think we've found the cause - the door switch! However, we don't have the right equipment to fix it and I'm not about to rush out and buy it 😉. So I rang the repair man and left a message telling him what I thought was wrong with my dryer. Next week we shall find out if I was right!

While not being successful in the fix it department, I was happy to use some second-hand kitchen equipment to while away the rest of my weekend.

I love whipping up juices, thanks to this sturdy beast my sister-in-law gave to us second hand a few years ago. It's around 20 years old and still works a treat. The bottle holding my juice I picked up from Berry Waste Depot about a year ago. It has a great 'buy back' centre where you can pick up some unloved items to reuse or repurpose.

The green juice is a fav recipe from my PT Chris (Square One Fitness - you guys are legends!) and gives you a real boost of energy when needed. Throw in a green apple, celery, lemon, cucumber and if you like extra punch, a handful of kale or spinach leaves.

I'm enjoying it in a travel glass/mug that was included in our garage sale when we moved. No-one wanted it so I adopted it and found it a very useful item indeed, especially when taking my juice to work after an early morning training session.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Activities for winter sustainability!

Week 5 and life is easy when you're not contemplating getting to the shops to buy that new dryer or much needed cat toy. I'm getting better at making my waste paper bin liners (it's very therapeutic) and enjoying wearing my 'new' clothes from the swap party last week.

The highlight of the week was my green daughter Eliza returning from her seven month trip to Iceland. She is, as always, my inspiration to continue my journey in to a sustainable lifestyle. We had fun catching up and a relaxing afternoon with me teaching her how to make paper bags!

Eliza's first class at uni this week was in Environmental Quality and Assessment. He lecturer reinforced to the class that in Australia the No. 1 pollutant issue is plastic. Not arsenic or lead or persistent organic pollutants but PLASTIC. Scary when you think about it.

My lovely work colleague Monica, who generously listens to all my ranting on sustainability tagged me in a great idea this week. Making your own wax paper looks like fun! I've got a couple of sheets I've been using for a few years and love this idea. Making my own looks like a bit of a challenge to find the ingredients without buying anything new but I will see how I go.

I also started on my latest knitting project. I'm using wool from a vest I knitted last year but never used. This is something my mother would do when I was a kid. She would unpick jumpers we no longer wore or fitted in to and would knit up something new and fabulous. Thinking about my mum and knitting squares for a blanket is a wonderful way to while away the cold evenings.

I wonder what Week 6 will bring? Nothing new of course!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Party time

Week 4 has not been difficult. There was a party (more about that below)
and thankfully, no dilemmas in sight! I made the decision not to order the name badge for work because why would I miss something I never had? Thank you to the readers who gave such sound advice.

I visited my two favourite haunts this week to purchase food staples and groceries. The Source, Rhodes store is always fun with its wide aisles and great products. Thanks to the lovely young lady who happily weighed my containers, searched for black tea and recommended which protein balls were the best! She also handled with aplomb the customer who wanted a plastic bag for his one purchase (already in a paper bag). Some people don't quite get the idea behind the store...
Here are some of the goodies I purchased on this visit:

I am enjoying my black tea leaves from the store. An avid tea drinker, I vacillate between loose leaf and teabags, but after seeing / reading about the plastic used in making teabags I have relinquished by tea bags for good!

Orange Grove Organic markets are held every Saturday morning with wonderful produce to be found. The wonderful thing about the markets is that if you go prepared with your bags and containers you don't need to buy anything with plastic. I was tempted by the fresh cut flowers because they smelt so beautiful but I didn't need them and they didn't fit into my ethos of only buying food or medical/health products.

So with all my beautiful produce I ready for my first ever 'clothes swap' party!

The lovely ladies from work (Giti, Giselle, Romayne and Sonya) all arrived with bags of fantastic clothes to swap. We had fun trying on clothes, drinking champagne and having a laugh. So keen to do it all again soon and to show off our 'new' looks at work! This is a great way to gain yourself a new outfit without spending any money and contributing to the consumerist fast fashion environment we live in.

Try it - I guarantee you'll have a great time and add at least one new fashion item to your wardrobe!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A dilemma and a lesson learned

Week three of my six months’ challenge and I’m having lots of fun watching my seedlings grow (hope that it's veggies coming up not weeds!) and making paper waste bin liners. It’s easier than it looks if anyone wants to try it – you can find out how here.

This week I faced a dilemma and I would love readers’ feedback.  TAFE NSW is going through a major restructuring and due to the changes, we have new business cards and name badges. We have been instructed to go online and order ourselves the new-style name badge – they come in lots of pretty colours. But I can’t make myself do it. Most other staffers in my section have their new name badge and I’m must admit I’m a bit jealous.

So what to do?  Let’s break it down:

·        The badges appear to be made of plastic and magnets

·        They look great

·        Work is paying for them so technically I won’t be purchasing it

·        But do I really need it? I’ve lived without a name badge for ten years at TAFE – do I really need one now?

I would love some input on this dilemma please :)

The important lesson I learned this week involved a very cute pair of shoes I bought the week before I started my challenge. I was shopping with the gorgeous Lily (my Melbourne-resident daughter) and we ventured in to DFO for a bit of retail therapy. I have always had a weakness for shoes, especially when shopping with Lil. She has great fashion sense and we have fun when perusing the shoe stores.

The first shop we entered was having a 70% sale and we were both drawn to a pair of mustard coloured leather loafers. They didn’t have any in Lil’s size but they did in mine – or so I thought. The first pair was slightly too big and the second slightly too small. ‘They will stretch,’ said the shop assistant. ‘And they’re only twenty dollars.’

Twenty bucks! What a bargain. I put the smaller size on and walked around. They were sort of comfortable (they weren’t). Only twenty dollars! I’d better get them.

I pulled them out to wear this week. They are too small and too uncomfortable. What a waste! They may have been cheap but I shouldn’t have bought them. I was sucked in by the sale.

And this is what consumerism does to us. If it’s a bargain, we’d better buy it as we are saving money - no we’re not if we don’t wear it! And we are definitely not doing the planet any favours.

Thankfully I think I’ve found a home for them. But I’m mad at myself for wasting my money and the resource. Lesson learned.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

It all adds up

 Week 2

My second week of 'buy nothing new for 6 months' has presented me with some interesting challenges. I thought it would be an worthwhile exercise to keep total of what I would've spent and what alternatives I've come up with. Let's start with the garden.

Challenge 1

About this time every year we prepare our veggie patch for planting of the summer produce. We would spend upwards of $100 (at least!) buying plants and seedlings for the garden. Our favourite place to buy our plants is at the monthly Berry Country Fair. The produce is always fantastic and lovingly grown to sell to gardeners of all types. I could probably have justified buying the plants as they were for food but it would mean bringing more plastic containers into the house, and I already had seedling trays from previous years' purchases. Light bulb moment - I'll grow my own from seeds! We had stacks of seeds from Eliza's time working in the Auburn Friendship Garden  so I set up seedling trays and pots to grow (hopefully) our summer crop. This will certainly test my green thumb!

Challenge 2 

One of my favourite pastimes is to spend a few hours in a book store and choose a few titles to be going on with. Not now! It will be borrowing books and visiting the library or re-reading old favourites. This week I borrowed the classic Around the World in Eighty Day from my son Zac. Awesome read 😃 and a saving of about $30.

Challenge 3

Birthday presents...
This week I attended my godson's 10th birthday party and for this I required a present. I wanted to get Tom something cool that he would like but without purchasing an object. So I had to put my thinking cap on. An activity or experience would be good. Skateboarding lessons won out! Nil cost advantage as buying a tangible object vs. an experience cost about the same.

Challenge 4

We have recently moved in to an apartment. There was no microwave and I thought we could manage without one. However it soon became apparent that we missed this convenience. We had two old ones at our coast house so I brought the smaller one (about 7 years old) back to the apartment and dug the 30 year old monster out of the garage for the coast house (wedding present). Works perfectly!! Which goes to show you don't need to throw things out because they are unfashionable. If they still work - keep using it. Saving here anywhere between $50 - $300 depending on the type of microwave purchased.
Savings for the week - around $200. Good job JB! 😌


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Freedom from what?

Tyranny? The media? A bad hair day?
Possibly, but probably not.

I've been on a personal journey over the past few years to reduce my footprint on this planet. Inspired by by my greenways daughter Eliza, I've adopted the 'no plastic bag', installed an urban composter (check out your local Council to see if you can get a discounted Bokashi bin), started an organic veggie patch
and tried to convince everyone at work to use their own coffee mug at the Cafe O (shout out to Fred and Nashwa who were discounting coffee for the caffeine heads with their own mugs before it became cool). But I wanted to do more.

Our household tried to go plastic free and did well for a while, but we need to maintain the rage. My husband Mick refashions old household items into re-purposed objects but needs more room and time.

I've even considered Dumpster Diving with Eliza but fear of authority has put that on the back burner for now.

So what to to do... what to do...

After watching the excellent series War on Waste by Craig Ruecassel and being blown away by Ep 3. and the horror that is fast fashion, I have decided to relinquish my "consumer-driven life" (10 things I hate about you) and to BUY NOTHING NEW FOR 6 MONTHS.

Now I'm not a huge buyer anyway: economics, time and indecision see to that, but I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to see how often I do want to buy something and learn to live without these supposed 'must have' items. Do I really need a new garlic press, or those cute boots? Will my green lounge stay safely off the verge, not to be replaced by something more stylish? I'm hoping to feel less constrained by what the world tells me I should be wearing, using, driving and owning. And be more content with what I have and find inventive ways to repair, re-purpose and reuse items that are apparently past their used-by date.

Of course there will be some items that will be purchased new over the next six months. These are food, toiletries and medications. However food will be sourced as much as possible in plastic-free containers and from sustainable sources. All toiletries will be carefully considered as to whether they can be dismissed or are vital to maintaining health (and friends - not going soap-free for anything!). And hopefully medications won't be very necessary.

I want to record what I didn't buy, see if my life continued on ok without it and see how much money I saved. Perhaps by the end of the year I would have saved up enough money to buy something I really want/need (like that ZaZen water cooler I've bend eyeing off).

So one week in to this challenge I can see I'm going to be challenged! Just ducking into the local craft store to buy more wool won't do, so I've started digging out old balls of wool and will unpick an unworn vest to knit into something else. It's going to be an interesting 6 months and I'll hope you'll join me on my march to freedom 😬.

Two months in and going strong

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I'm pleased to say we got the dryer fixed. It wasn't the door mechanism as I thought - it w...