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.

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

Do you Give a Crap?

the green noticeboard || cityhippyfarmgirl

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Top 13 Eco friendly Gift Ideas

Top 13 Eco Friendly Gift Ideas || cityhippyfarmgirl

1. Fermenters Starter Pack- scoby’s, sourdough starters etc. Bundle a bunch of your favourite fermented goodies together and some written ‘how to’ instructions.

2. Get baking. Put together a little hand made hamper. Jam’s, biscuits, brownie, cake, pesto, bread, Iced VoVo Cupcakes– the options are endless. If you team that up with a little second hand basket, (always nicer than a gifted pair of synthetic, made in China, novelty boxer shorts…promise.) A little hamper like this is sure to win over your loved ones.

3. A succulent in a vintage teacup I still say is a visual winner. Get creative.

4. Assistent Original– now this is a pricey gift for Christmas, but if you are serious about a kitchen investment that is going to cater for every kitchen whim you have- it’s a worthy investment, as cooking from scratch is a commitment and you want to make it as easy as possible. (For bread baking nerds, look no further… 5 kilos of dough she can handle.)

5. Sign a loved one up for a Milkwood Permaculture course, (or a locally grown Permaculture course in your area.) They will be brimming with inspiration afterwards, and that…is always a good thing.

6. Subscription to your locally based farmer friendly organic fruit and vegetable box.

Bliss honey- south coast NSW || cityhippyfarmgirl

7. A big jar of local honey. Honey can be used as a face wash and natural exfoliant, stirred into your morning chai, or drizzled over toast. Make a list for the recipient of all the things they can do with their sticky prized jar. It really is a sweet idea!

8. Still sweet talking. What about the ultimate gift of a hive of native bees. Your recipient will be beeeside themselves with happiness.

how-to-make-gift-labels || cityhippyfarmgirl

9. Have a peek over at Ecolosophy. They have some wonderful eco friendly, handmade and fairtrade goodies, perfect for all ages.

anzac-biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

10. Or you could try… a simple plate, dish or second hand tin from your local op-shop/thrift shop/charity shop. Beautiful one off antique ones can bought for usually just a couple of dollars. Fill the plate with your favourite biscuits and the recipe printed out on the back of the card.

11. Digital Subscription to an inspiring magazine- someone will be jumping up and down with excitement. (Earth Garden Magazine, Great Ocean Quarterly, PiP Magazine, Green Magazine, Slow, Dumbo Feather– they are all wonderful!)

french-breakfast-tea-cityhippyfarmgirl

12. For the tea drinker- love chai, love tea and little ginger bread bites for dunking in. A simple present that is 673 times better than buying something bland in a generic department store.

enamelware || cityhippyfarmgirl

13. For the baker, drinker, eater…errr anything really- enamelware. You can’t go wrong, really you can’t.

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What are some of your eco friendly gift ideas?

 

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

twine

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

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What are you making at the moment?

* linking into the inspiring My Creative Space

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.

patching it up

I still haven’t quilted properly. Not a full size one anyway. But I am loving this whole patchwork business. What’s not to like about cutting little scrappy pieces of fabric up, stitching them together and making something useful or enjoyable (or both!) Doona covers still don’t sound as exciting as a quilt, but for these three purposes they suited me better. So covers it was.

The hippy one (top- just in case you weren’t sure) screams flared pants, orange flowered coffee cups and …excuse me a minute while I part my hair down the middle, plait it and then go afro Mr Chocolate’s hair up. I can very much deal with that, as well… it says it all in the blog title doesn’t it?

These two scream practical. Two Monkey doona covers that were either old and very unexciting or unexciting and looked old. Either way, a doona cover suited their The Monkey’s sticky fingers over a quilt and a little upcycling was in order. Chop, chop, chop… and we are in Monkey business.

Now, what else can I cut up and turn into something else?….

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.

wrap it a little differently

I really like thinking of new ways to give presents to people. I’ve always thought it was a bit funny the idea of buying gift paper, wrapping a present and then watching it being ripped to shreds by the recipient. Not that I don’t like giving presents, I do. Actually I love it. However, if it’s expensive beautiful paper it seems like such a waste and if it’s cheap, well it’s still a waste. I’ve mentioned before using chocolate wrappers which if you go through the quantity that our household does certainly puts it to good use.

Christmas is still a little while away, but if you like these wrapping ideas they may take a little while longer to accumulate.

1/ Old maps make perfect wrapping paper. They are square and flat. Easily bought in second hand shops where they are quite often sold very cheaply as areas change. Places get outdated easily. Looks funky too, well I think it does. Add a ribbon or some wool, tying it up and gift is ready.

2/ Old movie or music posters. Quite often sold in music stores cheaply as they were advertising a band or album that was coming out. For the music or movie  fan this can make an exciting present….(well the wrapping of it anyway.)

3/ Turn your head slightly on the side and look at your food packaging slightly different. Bulk rice bought in a bag can be a wonderful way to present a gift. Linen sack of oats, beans, coffee can all be done the same way. Just have  a look around. This one is a zippered 5 kilo bag of basmati rice.

4/ Second hand stores are usually brimming with baskets of varying sizes. Save wrapping a present altogether and present it in a basket.

5/ Use retro fabrics, easily picked up in second hand places, (or auctions). Hold the fabric together using ribbons or wool.

6/ Use simple brown wrapping paper that hasn’t used dyes and decorate it yourself. Draw your kids hands all over it and get them to decorate it. Paint some flowers all over it. Or write little messages all over.

So many possibilities.

Going, going…gone

Auctions.

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.