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February 2011

January 2011

Six things I’ve learnt so far from wearing less

I’ve made it through the first week of the Six items or less challenge. I started a few days early, so I’ve now been wearing the same six items of clothing for 10 days.

I’ve loved it.

I love not having to think about what to wear. I love the simplicity. I love not having to rummage through that huge pile of laundry that lives on our lounge looking for a particular top. I love ignoring my wardrobe that is full of clothes I don't even like.

I’ve also learnt a few things.

1. It’s easy to be organised when you only have six items of clothing to manage.

I’ve found it surprisingly easy to make sure I had something clean, matching and ironed to wear each day. Dealing with a few pieces of clothing is far easier than dealing with a whole wardrobe of clothes.

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I keep the clothes hanging on my door knob. Each time I undress, I run through a quick mental check-list...

Is it clean enough to wear again? If so I’ll hang it straight up.

Can I spot clean it? If so I’ll spot clean it straight away and then hang it up.

Does it need to be washed? Do I have a full load ready? If not I’ll simply hand-wash it (before you jump up and down about me wasting water hand-washing see point 2) and hang it on the line to dry overnight.

Simple.

2. Hand-washing isn’t that hard.

A few times I’ve had something that needed to be washed, but didn’t yet have a full load of washing. So I simply hand-washed. Not wanting to waste any water, I washed in Little Eco’s bath water.

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I don’t think Little Eco had ever seen hand washing before. She loved joining in and was truly proud of the clothes she had washed all by herself.

3. Ironing is a great way of freshening up already worn clothes.

I have to admit, on one day I pulled a top out of the dirty clothes basket to wear.

I’d decided it needed to be washed the previous night, but on the following morning I decided I really needed to wear it. So I simply ironed it with a damp cloth in hand, spot cleaning as I went. It came up fine.

Daddy Eco thinks this is too gross to admit. But i'm guessing i'm not the only one who's tried this at least once?

4. Those 50’s housewives were smart ~ Aprons are a good thing.

I’ve taken to wearing an apron when I’m at home to keep my clothes clean for longer. I’m wearing an apron when I’m cooking, cleaning, gardening, and even when I’m eating dinner.

I'm pretty certain I’ll continue wearing aprons long after the six items or less challenge has finished. My look is currently more frumpy daggy housewife than 50’s housewife chic, so I’m checking out a few vintage apron tutorials and down-loadable patterns.

5. Less washing = saving energy and water.

With all this wearing twice, spot washing, and hand washing in bathwater, I’ve had less washing to do this week. For every load less i'm saving energy and water.

6. A totally ‘dark’ or totally ‘light’ wardrobe would make life easier.

I seem to always have not quiet enough ‘lights’ and not quiet enough ‘darks’ for a full load. It would be so much easier if all our clothes and underwear were either one or the other.

This is not exactly a new lesson for me. When travelling, I make sure I only pack things that I’d wash together. The six item or less challenge has got me thinking about applying this rule to my whole wardrobe. I'm now thinking that monks, in their lovely shades of brown and orange, are just as smart as those 50's housewives .

For those of you doing the challenge, have you stuck to it? Enjoyed it? Learnt anything so far? Have any hints for me?

Have a lovely week :-)


I wash my face with honey

I used to make Julie's lovely honey facial cleanser. Early last year I ran out and, while waiting to find the time to make another batch, I started washing my face with just honey.

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I've used nothing but honey to wash my face since. I love that i'm washing my face with something thats simple, natural, package-free, renewable, frugal and I can totally see the benefits to my skin. In contrast to many of the toxic chemical ingredients typically found in commercial skin care products, honey is a natural renewable resource. I’m sticking to honey!

I simply place a little honey on a face washer – and wash, then rinse.

A friend mentioned that adding wheat germ to the honey makes a lovely face scrub. Wheat germ contains vitamin E and B and is apparently really nourishing – so I’ll definitely give it a go.

I'm collecting a few other honey pantry pampering recipies i'd like to try. On the 'try soon' list is wheat germ and honey body scrub, egg-white, honey and lemon juice facial mask, oatmeal and honey face mask, a honey hair mask, and definately this honey, wine and chocolate facial mask.

Go on, I dare you, wash your face with honey :-)


Healthy mini banana and honey cakes {and bekeeping link love}

I'm into honey at the moment. As you can imagine, with all that glorious golden honey  sitting in my pantry, I can't think of much else. I've a few honey and beekeeping posts dancing around in my head. I hope you can cope with a week of me chatting about honey and beekeeping?

I just had to share this recipe for mini banana and honey cakes. These sweet little cakes are so quick and easy to make. 

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Little Eco and I whipped up a batch in the 15 minutes before having to walk out the door to swimming lessons the other day. Between the three of us we have managed to gobble-up 24 of these sweet little muffin-like cakes in 2 days. I'm cooking another batch tonight ready for a back-to-preschool lunch box tomorrow.

Speaking of lunch box food. If you don't already follow Linda's Muesli Bar Challenge, you must check it out. She provides recipes for loads of lovely healthy lunch box snacks. 

Mini healthy banana and honey cakes

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These easy-to-make cakes are free of added sugar and come from Jennie Maizel's Finger Food for Babies and Toddlers. It's been one of my favourite kids-food cook books. I've just noticed there's a giveaway happening for this book. Quick - go and enter.

Makes 12 fairy cakes or 24 tiny petit four (mini muffin) cakes.

90g butter, softened (I've also substituted various oils and they've worked just as well)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg, beaten
85 ml milk
1 Tbsp runny honey
200g self-raising wholemeal flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
90g sultanas

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line your muffin/bun tray with paper cake cases.
Cream together the butter and bananas.
Mix in egg, milk and honey.
Gently fold in flour, baking powder and sultanas.
Divide the mixture between the paper cases, then place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden in colour.

The book also includes a recipe for a cream cheese and honey icing, but i've not yet tried it. I'm sure it would make these healthy little treats even more dangerously tempting. 

Enjoy :-)

Finishing off with a few of my recent favorite beekeeping links

On biking and beekeeping, Simply bike
10 things you can do to help bees,
Queen of the Sun
Queen of The Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?,
Movie teaser (video)
Call of the Honeybees (video), Cooking up a story
Tour De Hive Honey Bees Tour in Portland (video), Cooking up a story

P.S if you are in the mood for more inspiring stories of sustainable living don't forget to check out my inspiring reads page.


Glorious golden raw honey from my very own bees

Remember my backyard bees? I sadly had to say goodbye to my bee hive almost a year ago because of an unhappy neighbour. Close neighbours are definitely one of the major downsides of living in an urban area.

The hive has been living in the country near my Dad's place since then. I finally had the chance to harvest some glorious golden raw honey from my hive over the christmas holidays.

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How gorgeous is this honey!

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Here's my hive in it's new home. Surrounded by fields of Canola and an incredible amount of Scotch Thistle. Both much loved by honey bees.

Want to know a little about how honey is extracted?

Here's how we extracted our simple raw honey.

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Before we opened the hive we calmed the bees down with smoke. After opening the top of the hive we removed each frame and brushed all the bees off. A sting on the thigh reminded my Dad not to brush the bees onto your shoes, because they'll quickly climb under your pants and up your legs. 

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Here's Daddy Eco in his safety gear. The only protective clothing we bought was the net veil. He wore jeans tucked into his socks, a long sleeve shirt, rubber gloves, and a wide-brimmed hat covered with the veil. It's a good look isn't it.

You can buy big fancy suits, hoods and gloves, but really all you need to do is ensure your skin is totally covered and there is nowhere the bees can crawl into.

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We placed the frames to be extracted into a box we had waiting in the car.

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Little Eco insisted on sampling every frame.

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To extract the honey we first removed the caps with an electric uncapping knife. The cappings are collected and melted down to get the wax.

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We then placed the frames (three at a time) into an extractor. Each frame is spun first with one side outward, then flipped to expose the other side. The honey flows out of the honeycomb and drips down the inside of the drum to collect at the bottom of the extractor....

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...where it pours into a bucket below. We didn't filter our honey and simply let it settle in the buckets for a while, waiting for any little bits of wax to float the top. I'm impatient, so we're planning to buy a strainer so we don't have to wait for the settling next time.

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We have a tap on the bottom of the buckets and the following day we simply poured the honey into jars.

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Little Eco was one very proud bottler.

Honey recipes

With all this honey to enjoy, I've been checking out honey recipes. Here's a few I plan to try soon.

Honey banana bread

Honey and rosewater baklava

Vegetables with honey mustard sauce

Honey Nutters

Honey Oat Cookies

Honey Sweet Cornbread

Do you know any good honey recipes? Please share.

I'm also thinking of brewing a batch of Mead. Anyone know what it tastes like? Or tried making it?

 


I've signed up for the six items or less challenge

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eeek!

I've just signed up for the six items or less challenge. I'm tired of having a wardrobe of clothes, but nothing to wear. I'm tired of being tempted by new clothing that I don't need. I'm hoping it will help me let go of clothes that I rarely (or never) wear. 

It officially starts this Monday 10th January. But I'm actually ready and started today. I'm looking forward to not having to think about what to wear.

I wonder how many people will notice?

How about you? Could you wear only six items of clothing for an entire month? I noticed there's only two other Australian's registered so far. Why not join me? Please pretty please :-)