Who gives a crap?

Last year we started getting this toilet paper. It’s good, it feels good buying it. And I don’t just mean on our bums either.

I mean it feels good for my soul buying it. I’m doing something, that is right and just. Something that helps so many others, just by me taking some control over where my purchasing dollars are going to.

Who Gives A Crap

I certainly do. That’s why I buy it

As an added bonus, the individually wrapped rolls are the start of 100 kinds of crafty hours. Whether it’s for you or your small people. I tell you, the different ways in which to play with empty toilet rolls, tissue paper, and a large box is limitless, (only limited by your imagination of course.)

At our house they’ve been made into binoculars, bowling essentials, flowers, people, they were briefly wrapped as presents last Christmas (yes, I so went there.) Pinhole camera accessories were lots of fun and more robots than I care to count. Kids don’t need expensive battery operated plastic toys to play. They need a box of toilet paper…that’s all, I’m sure of it.


How about you? Have you used this company before, have you thought about it?

Do you Give a Crap?

the green noticeboard || cityhippyfarmgirl

cutting, stamping and tying

    how to make gift labels- cityhippyfarmgirl making labels- cityhippyfarmgirlhow to make labels- cityhippyfarmgirl

It’s dark outside

and everyone is asleep,

except for one

One who is cutting, stamping and tying,

now what do I need again?

brown paper for jam jar tops

brown cardboard


hole punch

scissors I’ve had for 26 years

new stamps to play with from here

recycled glass jars

and the afternoon before of a hot sticky kitchen, making jam

gifts ready to go

and a bed that is calling


What are you making at the moment?

* linking into the inspiring My Creative Space

packaging, landfill guilt and sweet music


Collecting all of my kitchen wrappers and packaging for a whole week eh?

On the one hand the idea captivated me, and on the other hand the idea utterly repelled me. Why? Not because I felt our family was particularly overly enthusiastic with tossing out of household garbage. On the contrary, I tried to be incredibly mindful of how much came in and out. However combine our seemingly smallish amount, combined with your smallish amount and their smallish amount, and suddenly that sort of smallish amount was not so damn small at all. All getting joined together and going in as a huge fetid mess into land fill.

Even if everyone was like minded and was particularly mindful of all the packaging that they used,  monitoring all that was entered into the household; on a global scale the sheer amount we are talking, I find that frightening. Hideously frightening.

A few weeks ago I had felt a pang of guilt when my boy wanted to take for recess a small chocolate bar left over from a party. My pang of guilt had meant there would be a wrapper in his lunch box. His first wrapper in nearly three years of school and one year of pre-school. Several weeks later and his school had a “waste free day”. No wrappers to be taken in at all on that particular day of the year*. My pang of guilt seemed laughable.

Looking at all the plastic packaging on bread recently, I was appalled adding up in my head how many packets that would be binned in a year if our family ate regular supermarket bread. My effort in making all of our bread was renewed. Well and truly renewed. Aside from the health, cost, and taste benefits, the fact that I’m skipping putting approximately 208 plastic bags in the garbage a year (that’s 5,200 bags over a 25 year span) is certainly something to think about.

I asked Mr Chocolate what he thought of the challenge of keeping everything we would normally throw away in our kitchen (or repurpose) for a whole week. He didn’t seem overly keen.


I eyed my recycling box off and pondered a little further. Living in a small inner city space certainly has benefits in this regard, but drawbacks in others.

We benefit by having regular curbside recycling trucks come and take our binned empty packaging away, (along with regular rubbish and set council clean up days.)

For bigger items we also benefit by people often leaving unwanted things on the street for others to take if they would like.

Drawbacks are that we have a limited living space. Something that may be beneficial in time to come, and worth considering keeping, quite often is just not possible. When every one centimetre of space is already accounted for.

Another drawback is in fact one of the benefits, we DO have regular recycling trucks that take away our excess packaging, but does that make us blase? Is that enough? Would we be more considerate as a community if this option didn’t exist and instead had to dispose of things ourselves?

And then there was this video, which ultimately just left a tear in my eye and my heart that bit bigger….please watch it.

So tell me, would you be willing to collect all your garbage for a week?

Some teeny tiny ideas that also may help

Keep a cardboard box on top of a kitchen cupboard and slowly add to it with other small cardboard or plastic packaging pieces that can be used for raining craft days with kids. (If you don’t have children see if your local pre-school would like it, they generally have a lot of craft activities going on.)

Repurpose Reuse Recycle Reclaim- Pinterest ideas.

Waste free school lunchboxes






* It’s now been rolled out as a once a week, “waste free day”.

Thanks to Living a little Greener for that awesome link.

Slow Living February 2012

First up, a huge thank you to all the lovely, lovely well wishes from my last post. We are still taking things nice and slow, and really enjoying this precious babymoon time. I’m still around, quietly reading your blogs and really appreciate any comments thrown my way as well.

I will be posting here and there with a few posts I have up my sleeve until I get used to our new family rhythm. For now though, here’s what was happening round these parts slow living style in Feb.

Slow Living February 2012

(an awesome concept created by the lovely Christine over at Slow Living Essentials)

NOURISH: Mr Chocolate has taken over the kitchen in the last two weeks, which I have to say has been fantastic. There has been a steady supply of chocolate chip biscuits, (now perfected) lots of tasty healthy meals for a hungry mama and a few well timed containers of deliciousness from awesome friends. Perfect.

PREPARE: I had been stocking up my freezer with ready to go meals, or little things that can be easily cooked up quickly. A few rolls of biscuit dough can make things a whole lot easier when there are school lunch boxes that still need to be filled and hungry little hands being held out. Now if only that freezer was twice as big, THEN I would be sorted.

REDUCE: Making use of my mum’s rather hefty sized stash of retro terry towelling. A new change table cover, and some little wipes sewn up. So much more interesting than standard bought ones.

GREEN: I’m still using the bicarb to wash my hair. So easy, and I really love not having to rely on shampoo to get my hair clean.

GROW:  My little pots still continue to struggle on. Too wet, too dry, not enough sun… the usual cityhippyfarmgirl garden goings on. I still like having some sort of greenery to look out to though. A little rosemary to rub between my fingers, a chilli or two to pluck… a caterpillar or three to squash under my shoe. I’m also still thinking about an olive tree in a pot, or perhaps a gardenia… or a bay. It’s for our placental planting, so if anyone has any tips or has done this before with good results in a pot I would love to hear from you.

CREATE: I’ve been hooking a cowl. After putting it over Mr Chocolate’s head 53 times, (to get an idea of what on earth I’m doing) I’m still not sure about the over all look. But I am loving the colours, and the rhythm of crocheting has been really relaxing…hook, hook, hook.

ENHANCE: I was the lucky recipient of this bag full of garden goodness from my lovely midwife. Home grown… just tastes so much better.

ENJOY: New life… yep, I’m completely smitten.

upcycling to gift tags

Gift tags are such a simple thing to make. You can upcycle so many things to make instant eye catching tags that re-cycle something, look pretty good and don’t cost anything. Scissors, a hole punch and imagination are all that’s needed.

Christmas cards are a great thing to chop up, (thanks to Tricia for the point in the right direction with this one). Just make sure there is no writing on the other side.

Gift to match: Anything Christmassy.

Cereal boxes. I know that sounds a bit odd, and it would depend on what cereal you buy maybe… but with the right gift, I think it works.

Gift to match: Jar of muesli/granola, box of muffins.

Chocolate wrappings. Ok, this isn’t going to work if it’s a mars bar. But if you are buying some tip top chocolate once in awhile, it seems a shame to spend all that money on some delicious chocolate, for it not to get a second go doesn’t it? (See this post, on how to make wrapping paper and cards from chocolate wrappers.)

Gift to match: Anything, it looks a bit different.

Biscuit/Cookie boxes. Again, maybe not for any old box, but given the right one and it can look rather interesting I think. I was given these as a gift and loved the box so much it just sat there empty for a few months on a shelf. The Monkeys had been told to keep their little mits off it until I had decided what to do with it.

Gift to match: Something lovely.

So many things can be turned into a gift tag, or used as a small card. Perfume boxes, old calendars, pasta boxes… lots and lots of things to have fun with and give a new life to.

Going, going…gone


When most people hear the word auction. They think of a house auction. A home up for sale, or possibly a land auction. That’s not what I think of though.

As a kid the word filled me with fear. Auction combined with weekend, and it was a double whammy. I knew my precious not- schooled days would be taken up by spending at the dreaded auction. You see my mum had a thing for auctions. You know the kind? Antiques, wood furniture, cobwebs, retro finds, vintage fabrics, household items. As a pre-teen this meant hours and hours of reading in the car. The occasional sandwich would be thrown my way, and if I was lucky a can of lemonade. Other than that, the day was mine to read…and read…and read. Until the auction had finished and it was time to load up the car with our new found treasures.

As an adult, the word auction has a new meaning. At first there is that initial body rattle of fear (you can’t fight history right?), and then my ears prick up, my eyebrows raise, followed by a slight eye narrowing…what have they got? The possibility of so many wonderful finds is sometimes just too tempting to pass up. Household auctions are the best, when the whole house contents are up for sale. Quite often they are going for a song and you just have to be there, with a quick raise of the hand, showing your number, and it’s yours. This is how a lot of antique dealers get their stock. This is how second hand stores get their goodies. This is how bargains are to be had. If you want a bargain step away from the chain store and reach for your local paper instead. This is where you will find out when the next auction is on.

With my mum having a keen eye for a bargain at an auction, I have definitely benefited from it. Along with my siblings, retro, vintage, antique, you name it has passed through our hands. While this might not be that exciting for a lot of people it got me thinking recently. I was sifting through some of my mums things and just felt nothing but sadness. Before me was such a vast amount of things that were probably one offs now, perfect condition, not wanted by the original owners, not needed by my mum any more, and destined to go to an op-shop (thrift, charity store) IF they were lucky. There was only so much I could take on in a two bedroom flat. Vintage lace, balls of 1970’s icelandic wool, retro 70’s (new in packet) sheet sets, 1960’s table cloths and napkin sets…and bundles and bundles of finished and unfinished embroidery. Pieces that someone had put hours and hours in to…how could I not turn that in to something?

The top picture is off a truly gorgeous embroidery that someone has painstakingly done and not finished. Now made into a cushion, and sitting proudly on my arm chair with 3 other cushions made from retro auction material.

As our consumerist lifestyle seems to get faster and faster, are all these items things of the past? In time to come people won’t be looking back fondly at their Ikea bookshelves and think ..,wow, look at the workmanship on that. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a time and a place for Ikea and other such stores, but as far as long term quality pieces…it’s just not there. So eventually will all quality furniture, clothing (anything at all really) be replaced with cheaply produced items. Things that have been made with minimum effort and maximum profit? So many things in todays society seem to have such a short shelf life, very little seems to be designed for the long term in mind. With media encouraging people to upgrade regularly, it’s a way of living that so many people seem to easily fit in.

The whole idea just makes me sigh…a big one.

So next time you think hmmm I think we could use a new sideboard, toy box, samurai sword or shell lamp (yes, I have one) check out your local paper first and see what’s happening in the auction section you might just come out with a one off bargain.

Chocolate cards

(I’m going to stick with the gift theme for another post.)

This is a household that consumes rather a lot of chocolate. Not any old chocolate, but still vast quantities of the dark and luscious food of the gods. With that large consumption, comes wrappers. A lot of them.

So with all those wrappers accumulating, I started to collect them and turn them into things. The chocolate of choice that we generally buy is Whittakers, and the wrapping of it really is lovely to begin with, dark and gold with a lovely picture. First came the birthday card and then came the wrapping paper.

For the birthday cards, most people haven’t even realised it was once a chocolate wrapper. I match it with a couple of other coloured papers and card, then stick it down. For the wrappers, they are all just stuck together to make whatever size I need.

I really love beautiful wrapping paper, but hate to see it being ripped and torn as a present is opened. I either see it as part of the present itself or like to see it as something that can be more easily discarded. I was always one of those annoying kids who carefully peeled back the tape on a present, not ripping and then gently refolding the paper for another use. People would go to sleep while waiting to see their gift unwrapped.

I hope people don’t think I’m just being cheap when I give it. As I really do think it looks good and it’s something to do with all those wrappers….I could cut back a bit I guess on the buying and consumption…but nah, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Honey Almond Nougat Gift ideas

Gift ideas. Sometimes I can get completely stumped for ideas for gifts. I want to give something, but don’t want the present to be a token something. I want there to be some kind of thought behind it. A little present to say Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas or a simple I’m thinking of you.  Not something that screams… uh oh I forgot your birthday up until an hour ago, and this was the first thing I sawIsn’t it pretty!

Here’s one idea for a gift. First stop, go to your local second hand store.

One Donna Hay tea cup and little white dish later. ($2 dollars spent, for perfect condition.) Add some recycled ribbons that I had got via a whole bundle from a LETS trade a while back. Now to fill them.

Kecap Manis Roasted Almonds

Your desired quantity of raw almonds, coat them lightly in Kecap Manis (Indonesian Soy Sauce). Then put them on a tray and slow roast them in the oven. Done when an almond is cut in half, and lightly browned through.

Honey Almond Nougat

2 cups caster sugar

1 cup glucose syrup

1/2 cup honey

1 cup toasted whole almonds

1 tps vanilla

2 egg whites

75grams softened butter

rice paper sheets

Mix sugar, glucose, honey, vanilla in a pan. Stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil uncovered until reaches small crack stage (a tps of mixture snaps when its dropped into cold water.) This usally takes about 6 minutes or until reaches approx 138C.

Beat egg whites until firm peaks form. With mixer running, slowly add hot mixture in a thin stream. Mix for 3 mins or until the mixture holds together, then add the butter. When combined add the nuts.

Quickly spread into greased and lined with rice paper tray. Smooth the top down and press the remaining rice paper. Wait until it gets to room temperature, and then cut into desired shapes.

Two easy hand made gifts that are made with love, using recycled dishes, and ready to be given to someone that needs a good present.

Rainy days

What to do on a rainy day with 2 kids in a flat?

Over a period of time I collect all sorts of things that would usually go into the recycling bin and instead pop them into a box in the kitchen for a ‘rainy day’. Toilet rolls, patty pans, cardboard boxes, what ever looks like it could be turned into something else gets kept and thrown up on top of the kitchen cupboards. The boys love it when I get the box down and empty it out on the lounge room floor as it always changes and we can always make something new and exciting. So this is the rainy day activity box. Egg cartons become buses, toilet rolls become people, the carpet with the pattern becomes the road, and the flat becomes a recycling centre with things thrown about every where!

Another favourite is getting a few bigger boxes and joining them together to make a train for all their stuffed toys. Hours of fun in there.

I also pack away one box of toys that get stored under a bed and brought out as well. That way they can ‘re-discover’ their toys for the day and then that box gets packed away again. This can be rotated a bit so they never get tired of the one thing.

And when that rain won’t stop and it really is far too soggy to go outside, the dining table gets turned into a cubby house. Blanket over the top, and every available blanket and cushion for the inside. All cosy and squishy inside, perfect for 2 boys who love nothing better than to hide away and giggle.

 ….and maybe some space for a moment or two for Mama to lay a weary head down as well.


Gifts- I love giving presents I really do. But I hate the idea of buying something as its the “right present to give”, give it to the person and then they hate it in turn. No point! So when I give a present I really  try and make some thing or incorporate making something into the gift. So some ideas that I am using lately.

Antique saucer, some great smelling soap and a recycled ribbon- looks good, is practicle and an easy thing to go in an op shop bag if they don’t want the saucer anymore. Do the same things with home made biscuits on the plate instead, and wrap it up in some cellophane tied up top. Looks professional, different, you are also re-using or up-cycling.

For Christmas this year I did the funky opshop one-off plates, made some jam shortbread biscuits and then wrapped it all up with a ribbon, this was then bulked up a bit with a fundraising teatowel from my kids community playgroup. I got a lot of positive feedback from them. Church fetes are also a great source for different plates.