Chugging Along

Recently our hot water system broke down, at first we thought it was just the pilot light that had gone out but no. So now we are clueless as to what is wrong with it and have no hot water, except that which we boil the old fashioned way of course. It’s not much of a bother right now as it’s summer so having a cold shower won’t hurt, I’m worried about what we’ll end up doing though come April. The thing is, even if we weren’t doing BNN this would be a tricky situation as a hot water system is rather pricey… a new one is upwards of $500 from what I’ve seen, and a decent second hand one (decent meaning good quality and doesn’t give us the feeling it’s going to fall apart in the next 5 years minimum) can be $270 or more. We simply wouldn’t be able to afford one, and us not being plumbers I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in buying a second hand one… we don’t know what we’re meant to look for.

So that’s one of the challenges we’ve had recently which has been playing on my mind.

We have been active though, I made two outdoor seats out of some plastic bread crates and then found some pillows from an old outdoor setting we had in the garage, they’re really comfortable and a good size for sitting outside with some friends.

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I also got a good deal on two used, vintage, women’s bikes. I’ve always loved bike riding and we’ve both been working on our fitness so bike-riding is something we’ve both been enjoying. I do have to take them down to the bike store though and get them fine tuned, one of them needs the inner tube of both tires replaced, the other one has a bit of surface rust – easily fixed and both of the brakes need tightening.

LittlePops bike

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BigPops bike

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So that’s what has been going on with us the last 10 days or so, what have you been doing? 

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Day eleven: gift ideas we love

Give a Young Lady or Gentleman Their Very Own Alphabet 🙂

cover photo - DIY Magnetic Alphabet

Kids need to learn the alphabet at some point in their busy lives, why not make it fun with these cool alphabet magnets!

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This first one is done by Ellen Goldberg from Kiwi Magazine it recycles old bottle caps by turning them upside down and inserting letters. If I was to make them I would stick to plastic caps because the metal ones can be rather sharp… Although depending on your child’s age they might be too small. I was trying to think of something larger that is less likely to be swallowed and I thought maybe collecting the Spring Valley juice lids, they are metal but larger and without the sharp bits that are on most glass bottles. If you did accumulate enough Spring Valley lids to make an alphabet set you would also get the joy of reading all the cool facts under the lid!

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Second we have I am Momma Here Me Roar who has made some really cute magnets using pebbles (again I would watch the size you’re using here) What a cool way of incorporating a bit of nature into  your kitchen. These would be really low cost to make, you would only need the self adhesive magnet strips and a bit of paint + the rocks which would be free. If your a bit of a control freak you might want to use a stencil here 😛

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Anyway those are our two tutorials for the day, if your interested there are also a heap that use scrabble tiles but I left them out because I thought it was too obvious and easy (we like a challenge here @ thriftypop!). Whilst searching for these great tutorials I came across a cool article ‘12 Letters that Didn’t Make the Alphabet’ worth a read if you’ve got some time 🙂

I thought they would make a really cute stocking filler maybe put inside one of these gorgeous recycled plastic bottle apple containers! Cute aren’t they! These could be used as packaging material for so many small gifts you may be giving out this Christmas… why not give them a go?

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Let me know how these go! xxx

Ways we have been filling our free time now that we’re not shopping

Since we are not buying new thinga anymore we have a lot more time on our hands. We thought it was about time to share some of our latest projects and hobbies we have developed recently.

Big Pop has been cooking up a storm! She has made some delicious meals for her and little pop to freeze and have for dinner 🙂
She has made Chow Mien, yummy slow cooked stews, soups and even cheesecake! All made with lovely local ingredients. Hopefully when our veggie garden is ready to be harvested we can include some of our own produce in the food!

She also made a football themed quilt out of old family scarves we have collected over the years. This was given to some of the family’s most devoted footy supporters for cold nights watching the Saints play… (Hopefully it will also give them some much needed luck for the rest of the season!)

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Little Pop has been fairly busy with exams but has found time to start finishing off some old crafting projects she started such as cross stitch, quilts, scarves… (This list could go on forever!)

Little pop also found an old wooden pallet on hard rubbish and salvaged it for what is so far an unknown project. We’re thinking it would make a nice lettuce planter… Maybe something like this…

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We have both been reading vigorously (which isn’t something new) but are starting to run out of matierial so are beginning to wonder whether it is better to use the kindle to download ebooks or just buy secondhand hard copies of the books we want.

There are many recycling related Facebook pages we have both been following such as:

Hard Rubbish Melbourne – A group for those who aren’t afraid of a good scavenge, it has a list in the files
Section outlining all the hard rubbish collection dates for each council area.

Recycle in Eastern Suburbs Melbourne – a more localised version of the above group.

Frugally Sustainable has many great ideas for making everyday products and saving money!

And

Upcycled Vintage which is a great blog written by a woman in Adelaide who does up old furniture, she even does custom orders if you’re really interested!

Also – not a Facebook group but equally wonderful is a building demolition team who claim to salvage 98% of the buildings they pull down and then sell them to the public! http://pacedemolitions.com.au/ and http://www.salvagebazaar.com.au/ is a similar online marketplace for surplus and secondhand building matierials 🙂

We’ve also had some success with our vegetable garden we planted not too long ago, but I will save that story for another time 🙂

Adventure to the unknown.

Today Little Pops novio drove her down to the Knox Waste Transfer Station (http://www.knoxtransferstation.com.au/recycled_good_shops.php) to see if there was anything interesting there.

I would recommend it to anyone looking for gardening + landscaping supplies or sports equipment.

I’m thinking of going back with big pop in the next few weeks to get some old ladders to build up our veggie patch. I’m thinking something like this:

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I will keep you all updated with or progress

Little Pop xx