This weekend….Salvaging Building Materials and Junk!

Warning – sheer grunge follows!!

There is no gardening going on here this weekend but Roger is busy, busy. Most of our materials for outside have been salvaged from somewhere or another and a couple of weeks ago Roger heard about a new vineyard going in next to the farm where he works. To make way for it they are pulling down old shearing sheds and yards with hundreds of metres of timber fencing. Roger went around to see the contractor and told him he was interested in some timber for both fences and gates (we have to fence off the whole garden which would be no small cost if we were to buy it new) The guy took his number then rung him last night to come and take whatever he wanted because it is going to be demolished on Monday.

We went around last night to see if we wanted anything other than the fencing he had seen,  these fences you see at the side go for miles and some will be coming here. They aren’t as old as some of the timber. this building is between 80 -100 years old.

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Gates galore.IMG_3910

And 3 sets of these cute old indoor swinging gates (I have no idea what we are going to do with those!)

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And really old gates covered in lichen which Roger will make something with, but a mountain of these.IMG_3914

Inside is a long feed trough made from a really heavy old wood. It’s about 8 foot long and will go in front of the house for plants.

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This old hand basin doesn’t look flash all grubby but it’s a fabulous old thing, much bigger than a usual hand basin, there is no damage to it anywhere. We both liked it and are hoping we can use it downstairs.

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Some old cubby shelves.

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And there were treasures that were nothing at all to do with timber or fittings. Roger bought these home – they are interesting! Not good for anything but looking tatty somewhere 🙂

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Tomorrow our carport will be full of what to anyone else (yes, I know what you are thinking! lol) but to us all of it has potential. It needs a damn good clean, but this represents a huge saving on building materials for us. On top of that we get a pile of junk we cetainly don’t need but can do something with. I am not even going to show the old cupboard because everyone will think we are madder than we really are. Maybe one day 🙂 🙂

If you don’t ask you don’t get and Roger will ask if he knows something is going to be thrown out or burned (me, no, I won’t ask) But I am just thinking of a conversation we had with a young guy here about 6 months ago. When they moved here he couldn’t find work and things were pretty grim for him and his family. He saw a farmer getting his sheep in one day while they were out driving. He stopped the car, bolted the fence and bowled up to the farmer asking if he did 2 days work could he have a sheep to eat. The farmer didn’t hesitate and he got the animal butchered by the farmer all ready for the freezer.

During the week the old church down the road was pulled down, it was damaged too much in last years earthquakes. We didn’t know until later but I imagine (I certainly HOPE) that they managed to save the lovely old windows and some of the timber.

DIY Beeswax Food Wraps

Sometimes you see an idea that is so brilliant, so simple, so economical and you have to try it… this is one and gleaned from My Healthy green Family. Her post is so much more colourful than mine with alot more info and also some good comments so I urge you, if you are interested in making these, to check our her post 🙂

My husband is a big user of clingfilm for his lunches and other options have not proved successful. He will take his food packages out on the farm to eat through the day putting the wrap in his pocket when finished, it’s easy for him. I don’t know how many containers he has lost over the years (or lids) when I have tried to get him to use other things. Paper “doesn’t keep bread fresh enough” apparently and rips.

I was rapt to see these and made them today. Simple. The beeswax is cheap to buy from bee owners (I bought these for 50c a block and used 2 1/2) but now we have our own if hubby is happy with these it will be very good. When I started making them and told him he could trial them tomorrow he spoke in that lovely tone men use when humouring their ladies but he had to admit when I was finished they look a good, practical, healthier option.

Preheat oven to 150 deg C. Cut clean cotton cloth (old sheeting is fine) into desired sizes. I had 6 old cotton serviettes I used to trial them – the same colour as the beeswax which was an unfortunate choice to photograph.IMG_3842

Place on baking tray and grate the beeswax onto it, sprinkling it to fully cover.IMG_3843

Place tray in cover for just a few minutes, the beeswax will melt into a fine liquid that will seep down into fabric.

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Use a pastry brush to spread onto areas not quite covered enough if it bubbles. Hang to cool and dry on a clothes airer (just takes few minutes)

Done!

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 Wipeable, waterproof, airtight cloths that can be cleaned in hot soapy water by hand and will last a few months.

Footnote: These got a big thumbs up from my husband who declared “They work brilliant!”

Restless Leg Syndrome and Homemade Vapor Rub Recipe

I experience Restless Legs Syndrome as a symptom of Fibromyalgia. It starts mid evening and can last until after bedtime, often keeping me awake. Twitching, fidgeting, restlessness, pacing are all part of this wonderful malady 🙂 I have tried lots of remedies for it, the only one I found to work was throwing a tantrum in my room and stamping my feet (quite by accident when I went into my room, slammed the door and threw a tantrum a myself lol). A quieter and more soothing fix to the condition would be nice though!

Last week at work a colleague happened to mention she also had it and had finally found something that worked, Vick’s Vapor Rub rubbed onto the soles of the feet when it starts. I wanted to try this but didn’t want to buy Vicks as its petroleum based. I checked out the list of ingredients in the shop though and looked online to find a recipe. This is a mixture really of what others use. Yes, it has worked for my restless legs which I am really pleased about…the tension and tingling sensations just eased and faded away.

 

Natural Vapor Rub:

1 cup olive oil

25 grams (1 oz) beeswax

30 drops Eucalyptus oil

10 drops camphor oil

20 drops peppermint oil

20 drops lavender oil

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Using a double boiler (or two pots inside each other with water in bottom one) melt the oilve oil and beeswax together.

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Leave to cool till the outside is just starting to set then add the essential oils. Mix through thoroughly and pour into a tin to set firm. If it sets too quickly (as mine almost did) or if you decide you want to add more essential oils return to pot to remelt.

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An optional oil you can add to this is Turpentine Oil, which is in the original Vicks.

 

Because this is a blog on frugality I will mention how I buy my oils. I never buy new but buy secondhand when I see them. Part used bottles can be bought for nix at op-shops, garage sales and through online auctions. I have built up a large supply for not alot of money and added these this week (including the box) when I bought them online from a local woman for $25. Over half hadn’t been opened and the remainder had had little use. Good oils can cost upward of $10 a bottle here so this is a huge saving.

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Winter arrives….

We have had some beautiful days but also some cold ones and the nights are leaving hard frosts on the ground. Roger has been bringing home more pea-straw for the garden. We are very fortunate to get that free from the farm he works at – we get the older stuff from the previous year. I hate to think how many large bales have gone on our garden over the years but the results have been great. When we first dug up our lawn it was just dry, stony old river bed.

We got two great buys last week, the best would be a load of paint. Roger got this on an auction for $7…I guess many others wouldn’t bother because there was clearly alot of old stuff that would need to be taken to a chemical dump (lead based or useless). But he could see there was also new. Given we need more paint for other jobs around the house and outside he took a gamble.Image

We ended up with over 40 litres of good paint, around 10 litres of white enamel, 8 litres of brown decking and fencing paint we needed (I just bought a 2 litre pot just to cover the porch and it cost over $40) Other neutral paints and varnishes which will be handy and around 3 litres of clear varnish for my next attempts at decoupage. We were rapt. But we got more! Roger only had a $10 note and told the guy to keep the change, but the guy rushed off and got these for him. 2 bottles of wine and 4 jars of Pickled Red Onions. His family own a 6 family member production plant and these were from there. We felt like we had been paid to take this paint away!Image

One wine bottle is discreetly parked behind the other here because we opened it straight away 🙂 🙂

And I bought this lovely rug for $15

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 We got our first taste of our homegrown honey and it is utterly gorgeous. The bees need the honey that’s there for over wintering but we sneaked a tiny bit.

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We were just discussing last week how we could harvest it ourselves when I came across this post from lizard100 on the home made equipment they created for the job…we will be trying this.

The bees and butterflies are enjoying our Buddleia tree outside our lounge window. This needs a severe pruning this year after it’s flowered.

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You would think with all the preserving I do I could manage Quince Paste but this apparently is not so. Last year I had it cooking for forever only to burn it. This time I made crockpot paste but it didn’t set firm and had to be potted into jars for use as a spreadble paste. While divine it’s not quite what it should be.

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 Remember this? I showed it when I bought it for $5, I wanted to repaint it.

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I have been working on it the last two weeks and was having trouble finding knobs. One very kind soul, another blogger who lives on the other side of the world! offered to send me some.

Lois from Simply Free, thank you xx

I will show it when finished.

Home and Garden….

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The garden: 

The back yard is just a muddy mess and Roger has been clearing out dead plants and started pruning. Something that desperately needed doing is a huge macrocapa (a type of cedar) hedge than runs the length of the property down one side. It’s just got higher and higher over the years and has got to the stage where it truly needed to be reined in, it’s keeping way too much sun of both house and garden. It’s just a big job worthy of a great deal of procrastination but he bit the bullet and started.

At the beginning

At the beginning

Out of the second story bedroom window

Out of the second story bedroom window

  The raised garden out the front, the only garden we can grow in over winterIMG_3678

What most of the property is looking like, straggly and on it’s way to bareIMG_3683

I took this at 7 am yesterday morning off the front porch… a most beautiful sky before a dismal day.IMG_3674

The kitchen: Very little going on here apart from meals but I have been busy elsewhere. We grew out of our small kitchen summer of last year and Roger fitted out an old unused laundry on the middle floor for a larder. That has become too small too, once we put all the shelves for jars and 2 freezers in there was little room for anything else. There were all sorts of things that needed storing somewhere else.large selection of jars, brewing stuff, appliances…. so, I have emptied a small bedroom (actually our junk room) as far as possible and put everything in there. Several trips to thrift shops and the dump later we are organised!

House: Honestly, we seem to do everything the hard waysometimes ! We have hideous carpet. It’s 40 years old, stained, full of holes and getting worse, and regularly needs shampooing. We have mats everywhere. For 2 years we have been trying to find second-hand carpet but our lounge is longer than many and we have a staircase as well. Nothing would fit. We thought of used rimu floorboards but they are expensive and don’t come up often – this would’ve meant years of hoarding it somewhere to eventually get enough.

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It doesn’t look bad in this photo but this is a good area, it’s had it. Before we painted the lounge we considering buying new carpet but then decided to just put up with what we have. So lounge painted, everything put back in and up and NOW we decide we will buy new. A local firm has 18 months interest free and good reduced prices so, in 3 weeks we have to empty out the lounge and dining room and put all downstairs for one day while they lay it.

One of our best buys ever – curtains:

When we moved here our lounge  had stippled ceilings, pink and silver floral wallpaper and chocolate brown worn curtains – they were so worn one fell apart in my hands when I was pulling them one day. Large curtains are terribly expensive and we needed 3 large sets including a full length pair that goes most of the way across the front of our room. It took us almost a year of waiting but some came up on our national internet auction site in the next town. Sometimes people will just have a Buy Now option and if you keep an eye out (and get in quick) you get a bargain.We got a houselot of curtains and steel rails for $50. They wouldn’t have been anywhere near our first choice if buying new but a whole lot better than what we had.

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We had curtains in the other rooms so we just needed the living areas to fit…put them up and we are happy with how they look now, in fact the colours in our curtains lend themselves to the more traditional type of stuff that we like.IMG_3695

We thought we would put all the other curtains and rails on the same auction site to get rid of them. They all ended up selling for nearly $200.

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I bring up the curtains now because I have a really weird thing going on about having to buy new carpet!! I don’t want to spend money each week for 18 months to pay for it. I am not being miserly about it (or am I? lol) about it but hoped for better options, sometimes they just don’t present themselves!

Making new from old….and homemade Mod Podge

A month or so ago I showed a little cupboard I had started repainting, one that my son almost threw out. I wanted to turn it in to something my granddaughter might like but or I would rather have inside (depending on how it turned out!) then I didn’t like my paint job 🙂 I decided to decoupage it. Anyway this is it before:Image

My husband pinched a short length of cane from the back of a cane bookcase to replace the missing one, I painted it, covered it, attacked it with sandpaper to shabby it up a bit and applied a couple of coats of Mod Podge.Image

Mod Podge is a horrific price here in New Zealand – $20 for a wee pot of it. As I have never tried the real stuff I have nothing to compare the results with but from my very unexperienced eye I am happy with the surface.

Mod Podge:

1 cup Elmer’s or PVA Glue

1/2 cup cold water

2 tablespoons clear varnish

Mix all together and store in glass jar.

The price for much more than a jar or Mod Podge was around $3.

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I love the look of rusty barbed wire and old timber. Rustic and shabby are my favourite styles in decorating…which is good because it’s cheap, or sometimes free. Overall though I guess you could say we are eclectic collectors of junk 🙂 Roger works on a farm that has heaps of discarded “materials” everywhere so he brings home bits and pieces sometimes.

6 months ago he made me this kitchen shelf to hold bigger things I had no storage for. It was made from old farm gates and posts.Image

And a few weeks back he made me this 🙂

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And maybe everyone will wonder why on earth I love this but I have no idea….I just DO love it. We went to help someone clean up their section around 5 years ago. They own an old country pub/cafe and this was in a skip. It was much bigger and is solid wood and quite weathered. Much to my husband’s consternation I asked if I could have it for the kitchen wall. He cut it down for me to fit but it’s still very large. It came down in the quakes and we are about to put it back up.

About as eclectic as it gets adding this to the bunch lol

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Home, lavender products and the absolute best of market finds!

After 2 weeks of cold and rain we have a most beautiful autumn day here so I popped out and took some photos of the “hood” 🙂

This photo shows our wee valley, we are in the first row of houses opposite the vineyard and amongst trees.

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New Zealand, home to 4 million people and over 30 million sheep 🙂

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Winter is creeping up.

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We managed to finish our lounge but haven’t finished putting everything back or all the pictures back up. This is it though, it’s actually a pale coffee colour which isn’t showing very well. We are really happy with it. It ended up costing around $290 to de-stipple the ceilings, replaster and finish/paint, put in downlights and paint the walls, windows etc. A big job for Roger but I did help with the painting and the shifting of way too much “stuff”

Before:

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After:

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Last weekend we had to go to Nelson for Roger to attend an apt and got there early to have a look around the markets. It was only 30 minutes before they were due to pack up and I asked one woman how much she was asking for some cake tins and a retro dinner set  – just being nosy really as I thought they would be too expensive. “Fill a bag for $1, I don’t want to take this stuff home” she said handing me a pile of supermarket bags. After a brief discussion with me clarifying she actually DID want people to take this stuff for so little…she then put the cake tins inside each other so we could fit more in a bag, we ended up with all this for $4.

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 And some shameless advertising for my sister 🙂 Jan owns a lavender farm in Carterton and have offered to put an ad here for her for any Kiwis interested in purchasing lavender oils or products from her directly. She sells oils. soaps, hand creams and lavender pillows and can be found at lavenderabbey. Look at her gorgeous dog Rene!

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There is very little going on in the garden right now, but Feijoas and Figs still coming thick and fast. Job today!

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