I'm in the middle of a major craft room shift, so there are things everywhere while we get power sorted and move furniture. I've also been decluttering, again.
Here's the during pics (the after pics will be next week).
I etched some glasses and embellished some can holders for an engagement gift.
The garden is still producing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, strawberries, raspberries, lemons, rosemary and mint so we had lots of cucumber salad, and tzatziki.
I grated zucchini and made zucchini fritters.
I hung more mint and rosemary to dry.
I made breadcrumbs from crusts saved in the freezer.
What did you make, bake, grow and sew last week?
This past week was a bit slow on the creative front.
The tomatoes were starting to ripen, so I picked them as they just started to turn red and brought them inside to finish off. It was a race between me and the birds, and we need those tomatoes.
I separated the rhubarb crowns and repotted them to grow more rhubarb plants. This is the first time I've done this, my mother used to always do this for me. I was praying the whole time that the crowns will grow and become new plants for our garden.
We brought in the last of the over-wintered pumpkins, it is the biggest of them, ready to process. This will become soup, puree for baking, some pieces for roasting and if there's any left it will be dehydrated and powdered. The seeds will be saved to hopefully become more pumpkins next year.
The weather was mild early in the week, so it was nice to work outside. I started to get the yard and verandah ready for winter. I know it's not even autumn yet, but there are a few chores on the list to get done before the weather turns. Better to start early and get them done easily than wait and have to rush them.
I let two more zucchini get big, and found one I missed amongst all the leaves and it was huge, so they were grated and dehydrated. My goal of enough for two years on the shelf is about halfway.
Most of the "makes" this week were cards. It was my turn to demonstrate a new card at our monthly card making group, so I played with my idea and created a few different versions of the card for the ladies to make.
And I started working on the samples for the card class in March.
And because I will be doing card classes here, we are rearranging and moving the craft room!
What did you make, bake, sew and grow last week?
Looking back, last week was busy, but it didn't seem to be. Perhaps loving what you're doing makes chores seem like fun and you don't think of it as work, I know I don't.
The really hot summer weather finally arrived, so I doubled the salads and we ate potato salad, coleslaw and pasta salad for four days. I also made a double batch of fish cakes, cream cheese patties and quick rice patties; half went into the freezer and we had the rest with the salad and in wraps for lunch.
I picked rhubarb from the garden and made rhubarb and apple crumble and an apple crumble using apples from last season that were in the freezer.
Brisket was on sale for $13.99/kg so I bought two big pieces. One went straight into the freezer and one went into the slow cooker. I used this to make Mexican style pulled beef and a roast beef and gravy dinner, and pulled beef in gravy for subs for quick dinners.
I had one red tomato, finally, I was so excited I called out for Hannah to come see, it looked perfect. Then when I went to pick it, the back half was eaten by a bug! But I have been picking cucumbers and zucchini.
I let some zucchini stay in the garden to get big, then grated them, drained them and put them into the dehydrator, and made zucchini pickle. I'm hoping to get enough for two years, to have some as a back-up on the shelf, just in case next year isn't a good year for zucchini.
We have been eating the cucumbers as tzatziki, and cucumber salad, and just to munch on, with the hot weather finally they are so cool as a snack.
I picked lots of mint and dehydrated it.
I picked lots of rosemary and have it hanging to dry - the kitchen smells wonderful.
The second flush of raspberries are starting, and the strawberries are just beautiful. I've picked a bowlful most days, and what we're not eating I'm freezing to make jam.
I had more oranges, so I made whole orange cake and more marmalade.
The greengrocer had potatoes on sale for $1/kg, a bargain price, so 20kg came home and I am working on them, getting them canned for winter.
I've been working on Bonnie's Make Do and Mend challenge and the mending pile is down to one shirt that needs buttons, but my button jar doesn't have the same or enough of any others the same so I'll keep looking. It's so nice to not have a pile of mending taunting me.
I packed up three big parcels of cards to send to the nursing homes and CWA.
I took the plunge and joined Stampin' Up as a demonstrator a few weeks ago. Why? Well because the deal is too good to pass up - pay $169 for $315 worth of product that I chose, with free delivery. I use so much cardstock that buying it for almost half price was too good to pass up. Then talking about it with Wayne, we decided that I'll start doing some cardmaking workshops - a new "career path" for me - or really a way to pay for the products I use to make the cards I donate. So if you are in Melbourne, and would be interested in attending a card making workshop, let me know. I'm in the planning stage to get started in March right now. And if you love cardmaking and quality supplies, this offer to join Stampin' Up and pay $169 for $315 worth of product is available until 28th February, and there is no ongoing commitment or requirement to buy more (unless you want to of course) - if you want to know more, let me know and I'll do my best to help you.
And finally, this isn't a make, bake, sew or grow, but something that's been hanging over our heads for a few months - AMRA Vic has finally found a venue for their annual exhibition, seeing as Caulfield Racecourse cancelled their booking for this year due to renovations. Poor Wayne has been going spare, along with everyone else on the committee, trying to find somewhere big enough, with the right facilities for unloading/loading, and catering, and parking and public transport for visitors, that they could afford. Some of them were just stupidly ridiculous prices - $60,000 a day for what is just a big empty hall was the worst. Anyway now they have a venue they can go ahead and plan the exhibition. How does this affect me? Well that weekend I'll be working in the exhibitor's coffee lounge, and we'll have houseguests staying with us for the week of the exhibition, and now I can plan because August will be here before I know it!
What did you make, bake, sew or grow last week?
This is really a combination of week 5 and week 6, seeing as I simply didn't have the energy to upload for week 5. Good thing I keep a running tally of what gets done or I'd forget.
Week 5 was a good week for crafting and getting things into the present box and crossed off my list.
It started with orange marmalade. Yum. Some for the pantry and some for gifts. I etched "orange marmalade" into the jars and cut orange gingham toppers. I think this lifts them above the regular jar of jam type gift; it only added about 30 cents to the cost of each jar of jam, but increased the sale value by a lot. A jar of homemade or gourmet style marmalade sells for $10 - $16 for a 350g jar! It costs $2.10 to make six 350g jars and homemade is so much better than mass produced bought marmalade. If you have your own oranges, you can make six jars for $1.10!
I made burger pickles using cucumbers from the garden. Again, some for the pantry and some for Hannah's pantry (she loves them on burgers, says the golden arches should use my pickles on their burgers and everyone would eat them) and some for the hampers. The hamper jars have "pickles" etched on them. The cucumbers came from my garden so they are organic and just delicious.
I picked so many cucumbers I was able to share a basket with the ladies at the card afternoon I went to. They were excited to get homegrown, chemical free cucumbers and made me laugh with all the ways they were going to use them. I was grateful to share them, the glut is typical for this time of year.
I made a pavlova for Australia Day and used the egg yolks to make lemon butter for the topping. It was so good, and big enough for two desserts. I forgot to take a photo - I need to get in the habit of doing that, but I don't keep my phone on me, it sits on the desk. I'll need to rethink that too I suppose.
I spent an afternoon with some lovely ladies and learned two new card styles and techniques. I love them both, but will definitely have to practice the water colour with ink!
I made a new baby card, a sympathy card and a get well card. These were all made using materials from my craft room.
I took some little notepads from the cupboard and used some journaling cards from my stash to decorate the fronts for the present box. I love doing this, it makes an ordinary notepad something special. The journaling cards also strengthen the cover of the notepad, perfect if you keep it in your handbag or pocket, it doesn't get scrunched and torn so easily.
Week 6, last week wasn't quite so productive, but a few minutes here and there and still things were done. As one was finished I moved onto the next thing on the list.
It's no spending month over at the Cheapskates Club, so this month I really will be using up my stash and not buying ANYTHING at all to make gifts or crafts.
Last week I made some more cards, fancy folds. I love the fancy fold cards, they make simple cards something truly special. These are the last of the February birthday cards, and are already written and addressed and even stamped, ready to pop into the post box.
I made Valentine's cards. We don't usually do anything other than wish each other a happy Valentine's day, but this year I just feel the need to make everything we do, every day, a little bit special so I made cards for Wayne and the kids and I'll make some treats to go into the little boxes I cut on the Scan and Cut to leave on their pillows on the 14th.
Every day I picked more strawberries, cucumbers and zucchini. I picked some lemons. Thursday afternoon we had a storm come through that blew over all the tomato plants, breaking some of the stems. We had to go out and tie them back up; there are too many tomatoes to lose, I'm counting on them to add to our pantry stocks for the coming year.
I grated the very big zucchini and dehydrated it. Now its shelf stable and ready to use in winter soups and stews and zucchini bread and muffins.
I made another batch of tzatziki with cucumbers from the garden and we have been snacking on this with cucumber sticks all week.
I played with some acrylic blanks and the Scan and Cut to create some coasters for the craft room.
I added orange peels to a jar and covered them with white vinegar to soak. I'll add more orange peels as we use the oranges this week, and then put the jar in the laundry cupboard so they can steep. After six weeks (I'll put a note on the whiteboard so I don't forget) I'll strain the liquid off and use it for cleaning the bathrooms.
What did you make, bake, grow or sew last week?
A few weeks ago I took the plunge and signed on as a Stampin' Up demonstrator.
I love the products, especially the cardstock and the stamp pads, and have taken advantage of special offers and special occasions to add to my supply over the last few years.
During the holidays Wayne and I were talking, and brainstorming how we are going to supplement our retirement income, and of course Home Among the Gum Trees will be a part of my contribution to our income supplement, with the various products I can make and offer to you for sale.
I am fussy about the materials I use in the things that I make, be they for gifts, donations or sale. I know I would want whatever I buy to be the best quality it can be, and that's another reason I use Stampin' Up cardstock and stamp pads, and some of the tools when I'm making cards and scrapbooks (did you know I make scrapbooks and memory books too, they are usually to order); the quality is always there and the end result shows this.
So thinking along the lines of my future self and what I'd like to be doing in my retirement (which is still a long way off unless I can convince someone that early retirement would be a good thing) and after talking with my darling, I took the plunge and joined the Stampin' Up crew.
Every now and then you'll see me do a video that will feature Stampin' Up products. As I do with most of the craft/cardmaking/Scan and Cut videos, I'll list the materials and tools used for each project with a link to how you can buy them, if you want to, and if you'd like me to be your Stampin' Up demonstrator, I'd be thrilled to share my passion for paper crafting and these wonderful products with you (and you can be sure that the Cheapskate in me will make sure everything gives you the best value for your money).
How Does Using Stampin Up Products Work with Cheapskates? Isn't that a contradiction?
Well it could be. But as I say often, many years ago we made the conscious decision to ditch the stuff that isn't important to us so we could have the cash to enjoy the things that are.
And these days, quality craft supplies are important to me.
Why did I choose Stampin Up, when there are other brands around?
Well about six years ago the card group I belong to went to what was called a garage sale, hosted by some Stampin Up demonstrators, where they were selling their retired stock and tools.
I was a skeptic! I wasn't going to spend a lot of money on something I could get from a $2 shop. So, me being me, I bought one stamp pad - Mossy Meadow - for $5. It was secondhand and I figured if it was awful then I'd only lost $5.
I'm still using that Mossy Meadow stamp pad and it is my absolute favourite colour for stamping too. Mossy Meadow is that gorgeous dark green that just co-ordinates and blends and contrasts with everything. It's dark enough to use instead of black, when black just isn't going to work, but still a green when you need it to be a green.
And folks, that's why I'm a huge fan of Stampin Up. One $5 stamp pad is still going strong, even with all the stamping I do (I make hundreds of cards every year).
The next thing I tried was the cardstock. Again I was wary because it was expensive, to me anyway, but the cardstock I had been using was terrible. It didn't crease well, cracking more often than not on folds; it didn't cut cleanly, leaving fluff on all the cut edges; it wasn't square - and I could probably have overlooked the cracking and fluff, but not being square nearly sent me crazy! Having cardstock be absolutely square is vital when you make fancy fold cards - you don’t want to spend a lot of time only to find the end result is out of square and nothing lines up. So I am a huge fan of the Stampin' Up cardstock.
Two reasons why I just love the products.
But how do I call myself a Cheapskate when I buy these products?
First off - value for money. You do get what you pay for; if you pay for quality, you get quality.
Secondly - I sell a lot of my cards, but I donate most of my cards, as well as sending them to friends and family, and I make scrapbooks and memory books to order, so I want them to be nice. And good quality. And I want to get value for money from the supplies I use.
But I can still call myself a Cheapskate and use Stampin Up products because I work Stampin Up to my advantage.
Right now there is a joining special: join Stampin Up as a demonstrator before 28th February 2023 and you can choose up to $315 worth of product - any product - from their catalogues and pay just $169. That's a 47% discount! 47% - that's a great deal.
So I took the plunge and I joined as a demonstrator, chose my products, and paid just $169 for so much cardstock, some DSP, a punch and a stamp set - I chose what I wanted in my starter kit, perfect as I already owned some Stampin' Up products.
That's how I can not only afford to use Stampin' Up products, but use them as a Cheapskate.
Does this mean that I will be pushing Stampin' Up constantly? No. It means I will still be doing my best to share what I believe to be the best value for your money when it comes to your (and my) paper crafting.
If you have any questions, just ask me. And if you don't already have a Stampin' Up demonstrator I would be honoured to become yours, and share my love of all things paper crafting with you.
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