Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Simple Joys

I have been finding that my new simple life experiment has been going well.  It is something that has been happening gradually, like it is taking time to unwind from all the modern day stresses, but also it is making me sort out what I do want to keep in my life from 'today's world' and what I want to let go off.  It's also making me see what new things I want to pick up.  Lots of old fashioned skills to learn, that many people still do have and use, but for lots of us we just simply don't know how.  Nowadays we are very lucky to have things like YouTube, where there are plenty of instructional videos....and even though I'm borrowing from a modern day piece of social media, (something I'm gradually using less of), this is one of the things that I'm happy to have access to.  Instructional videos can go in the 'to keep' pile!  I am also very lucky that I have a brilliant mother who knows how to do all the things that I want to learn, so I am looking forward to spending some time to pick her brains!
Sewing - During the course of my entire existence I have made a total of three skirts for myself.  They didn't come out particularly brilliantly, but I nevertheless I made them and I think that was what counted in the grand scheme of things.  Women used to sew a lot in the past because it was actually a cheaper way to clothe yourself and your family, but nowadays it works out as a WAY more expensive way to stop yourself wandering around naked.  The price of fabrics is bordering on lunacy and unless you can pick up material on sale you are really wasting your time if you think you can whip up a skirt or dress at the fraction of the cost of a store bought one.  However I think the point nowadays is more that you can take pride in saying "I made it!", and that's a good thing.  I think I will make a few things for myself but mostly focus on sewing for my daughter.  This fabric above has been bought to make a simple skirt for her...my first step back into sewing, which really my journey into the world of home stitching had never actually taken off properly...so it's back to basics!
Knitting - A few years ago knitting was right back in fashion, and it was weirdly considered a 'trendy' thing to do.  All the hip and happening hipsters were sitting around in funky cafes, sipping on their soy lattes and knitting up a storm.  No doubt they've probably moved onto something else now, but it did bring knitting back and show that it's not just for grandma.  This is my knitting that I started last week as a practice blob.  I already knew how to do the knit stitch, but had never cast on before, and purl was a whole new experience.  I found a set of very simple YouTube videos here with 'Good Knit Kisses' and before too long I was clacking away and prompting my husband to ask why I was acting like such a granny.  However I have also found that the wool is crazy expensive, and having looked at some simple patterns, and then the cost of the wool...once again it is something, that nowadays you do for love rather than trying to save yourself money.  For interest sake, I am planning on pulling this red thing apart and knitting a little scarf for my daughter as a first project.  From there I need to learn how to read a pattern, so it will be time to hit my mum up and have a bit of one on one time.
Baking - This is something I have always done, although I'm right into it now in a big way.  This is my banana cake, which is something I will make when all the bananas start turning a nasty colour.  I particularly like this recipe because, not only is it my mum's and it's nice to keep the traditions going, but it also uses up food that otherwise might have been thrown away.  I hate wasting food.  Baking does take a little bit of effort, especially when you know that you can just pick up a packet of biscuits at the supermarket, but I'm happy knowing that the food I make doesn't have any preservatives or artificial nasties in it, and this one DOES save you money.  Everything tastes better too.  If you're not a baker and want to get into it you might want to start with just some cupcakes or bickies, or you can go all out like I've been doing and try things like bread, cordial and ice cream.
Preserving - I haven't tried preserving fruit yet, or making jam, but I plan on doing so this year for sure.  I have seen the jars I want in a store in town called String and Salt, which is the nicest kitchen shop ever and not a good idea to wander into when you really shouldn't be spending any money....but..... I will buy these gradually until I have a good collection, and by the time summer rocks around with all the lovely fresh stone fruit and berries I will be good to go.  From what I have read it is pretty simple, as long as your jars are nice and sterile, and you store things properly.  I have some good recipes for jam so I'm thinking of buying up a great stack of strawberries and giving that a go soon.

Are you good at any of these old fashioned skills?  Or is there something you want to learn?





10 comments:

  1. Wow, your practice knitting looks really good. I'm a bit of a closet knitter myself, haha (it's not exactly the sort of thing a young girl in her 20s boasts about)! A scarf and hat are probably the easiest things to start off with. HERE'S a great website that I like to use with easy patterns and instructions to follow.

    http://ditsysprinkles.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks for the link! That's great! I was up the street today in the main town near us and a new store has opened up just yesterday called 'Baa Baa Wool' and it's a wool and knitting shop!! Couldn't believe it! I went in and got a book of simple knitting patterns and some wool to make a scarf. I also got a book on beginner crochet...so I'll give that a go too. Going to have to get my mum to help me on that one I think! I want to crochet one of those granny square blankets! (both my grandmothers had them!) x

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  2. I learned out to knit while I was pregnant. I never got passed the dish cloth stage though. (; I love knitted things, I think they are precious. I've always wanted to learn out to can my own veggies and fruits. Even salsa. My family has a BOMB salsa recipe. (; If you find an easy way to do so, please share!

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    1. Salsa recipe sounds awesome. I have a book that talks about what they call the 'water bath' method to preserve things...which basically means you sterilise your jars and lids well, then put the fruit and liquid in, then put them in a big pot on the stove, fill it up with water so it covers the jars...then boil the life out of them! Should be simple!

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  3. Yes lots of things to pick and drop from modern day! I watched a documentary yesterday about clothing and how much waste the fashion industry creates. It also showed how unethical a lot of name brand companies are and honestly the whole thing made me sick. Overnight I'm looking at shopping differently, that's crazy how big an impact that documentary had on me! It's for that reason that I'd also like to take up sewing. I've always loved knitting but somewhere along the way I've lost interest.. Sad!

    Baking is something I love to do (think I've mentioned if before so sorry if repeating) but in our current apartment the fire alarm goes off nearly every time the oven is on. No, not because I burn anything.. I just don't know why and I hate that sound and don't want to disrupt any other neighboring apartments so the idea of turning the oven on here has become associated with hassle. Never tried preserving, but I love jams and jellies and pickles so if I did try I'm positive I'd love the outcome!! ;)

    PS; what is stone fruit!!?
    MUCH LOVE!!!

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    1. What an interesting documentary. That's a great reason to take up sewing. I'd never thought of that. A new wool shop has opened up yesterday in a town near me where I shop often, I only discovered it today. It's called 'Baa Baa Wool' which I just love (!) so I bought supplies and a pattern to make a proper scarf and a great book on learning to crotchet. Planning on making one of those granny square blankets! I've got to get stuck into the sewing, haven't had a chance yet...I have four interviews yet still to do for the magazine (so I have to write the articles too)...which are all due by the end of next week. I'm really under the pump at the moment! My fire alarm goes off a lot because of the oven...and the reason is because the oven needs a clean!! Could this be the case?? Or is your alarm just super sensitive. Stone fruit explanation ....(must be an Australian name)....are simply things like peaches, apricots, plums...you know...they have a stone (pip) in the middle!! x

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  4. Beautiful post, dear Amber. I feel a constant desire to simply my life, too, and perhaps equal to or even more so, to ensure that in this high tech age, I don't loss touch with the timeless non-computer/tech related joys and elements of life as well. I fear too many of us are far too entrenched in such these days and that we stand to loss many, many important skills, experiences, and even things if we as society don't keep at least one foot planted in the offline world. I love that so much of what you're focusing on here is so beautifully traditional. Keep up the wonderful work!

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you Jessica! I agree with you and find that it is so easy to get caught up with the online world, which can easily happen if you blog as well! There was one stage there when I was blogging every day and even felt like I wasn't living in the 'real' world at all. It was terrible!

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  5. I just reading and reading your posts dear!! All you posts embodies that fun and vibe to it ♥

    New style post on the blog sweetie!
    http://contemporaryboy.com

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    1. Thanks Michael. Will check out your new post.

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