Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Op Shop Finds

Hi everyone!  I know I've been gone a while, but I'm back now, hooray!  Since I wrote this rather serious post about op shops, I thought I'd take the time to write a fun one, with pictures (yay!  Pictures!) and so have been running around my house all day looking for things I know were bought at op shops.

I took photos of my favourite bargains, things like:

awesome piratey bandana (50 cents)
Queen bed doona cover - it says "LOVE", not "OVE", but my fence is only so tall ($4)
This bowl, and also
this bowl (20 cents each)
This handbag, which I carried for my school formal ($2.50 without the dog on it, I added that myself)
Patchwork book ($1)
This scarf ($1).  One dollar!  I like a good big scarf, very versatile, but this is extra amazing because
silk and also made in France! ... I'm not normally excited by things like that, let me have this one.
Delightful winter coat ($10) I'm not wearing it today as it's well over thirty degrees in here...
$5 outfit ($4.50 skirt, 50 cent top)

And possibly my very favourite op shop find of all time, saved until last especially...
This cup and saucer set ($2.50 for the set!)

I've also bought many books for as little as 20 cents each, PC games for $1 and CDs for 50 cents.  I've bought pairs of shoes for $3 and hats for $2.

What's your favourite op shop find?

Signed with love,
Cassandra Louise.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sunday Selections

This week, for something new and different, I am joining in Sunday Selections with the very lovely Kim from Frogpondsrock.  I take a lot of photos, and, other than the ones I take with a purpose in mind, they seem to live in my camera.  I thought I'd give some an outing.
There is a theme to these photos, even though it may not seem that way.  I made the background of this blog pink-ish for a reason, which is most "eco-blogs" I know of have a green theme, and living sustainably is thought of as "green living".  I thought (and still think) it's sad that there's so many colours in nature that aren't green which go uncredited, and so I present to you for Sunday Selections pictures of things in nature which are not green.
This sunrise isn't green.
The sky isn't green, and neither is the still, deep water.
These flying foxes aren't green, although yes, the trees they live in are green.
More flying foxes.  I know people have strong opinions about flying foxes, my strong opinion is that they are both important and beautiful, so I put them in twice.  These ones aren't green either.
Low tide calls for much more walking.  None of these things a green, although I'm certain something green lives around here somewhere.
There's a brushtail possum in there, a big one.  So many colours in a possum, and every possum different, but I'm yet to see a green one.
This chive flower isn't green, although yes, I know the chives are.  I could have included any number of flower photos, but I love that this "flower" is actually a cluster of flowers.
The hornet that came into my bathroom was not green either.  No jokes intended, there...

Signed with love and laughter,
Cassandra Louise

Friday, 3 February 2012

News from my garden

You guys remember these lovely surprise potato shoots?
Well I'm actually not sure if the only thing that came up in that pot is a potato plant or not.  I'll be certain to keep you posted.
I know a lot of things in my garden are going quite well, others, not so much.  So much rain recently.  Rain is very good, and I am ever grateful for rain, but it was too much for some of my less-established bean plants, and they buckled under the weight of their own drenched leaves.  My more established bean plants, however, really took off in the rain.  They have gotten to the stage where the flowers are starting to fall away, revealing tiny little green bean pods, full of life and vitality yet to be realised.  These beans are purple king beans and the pods, when fully grown, are vibrant purple.

These are climbing vines, and they have wound their way right up to the top of the fence and beyond!  This is a picture of the tops of the plants up above my head.

Quite beautiful, really.  And the end result of this beauty will be something my family can eat.  Bonus!

Signed with love,
Cassandra Louise.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Things you may not know about menstrual protection

Hi everyone.  This post is mostly for the ladies, although I'm sure there are some men who would be interested from a scientific viewpoint.  It's a post about different forms of period protection, and I promise I will try to talk about myself and about actual periods as little as possible.  Hopefully.  I really don't plan these things.
Period protection has come a long way as can be seen here and there are many different forms currently available on the market.  Most women use disposable sanitary products, such as disposable pads of various kinds, and tampons, but reusable forms of protection are also available.
I'm going to be honest, when I first heard about reusable pads, my first thought was "Ewww!" even though it's clearly much better for both the environment and the woman's body, not to mention much cheaper over time.  This prompted me to do some research.
Disposable pads
There are pros and cons of every form of sanitary protection.  I believe a major "con" of disposable pads is the amount of plastic used.  Not much in one, but most women will need over 11,000 in her lifetime.  That's a lot of plastic.  That's a lot of non-biodegradable plastic sitting in landfill. I have worn some disposable pads that were so "plasticy" I could hear them rustling when I walked, and although I feel that nobody should ever feel embarrassed for being a woman, plastic rustling is not pleasant personal theme music!
Another negative is the amount of chemicals that one would not even think about, such as bleach, which is used to make the pad whiter, and therefore look "cleaner".  This bleach is in contact with your body.

It is worth noting that there is also the option of chemical-free biodegradable pads, such as these from Natracare and many others.

Tampons are often thought of as being a better choice from an environmental standpoint, as they have no plastic backing, but they do contain a surprising number of other chemicals, including, once again, bleach, and they can contain polyester, which is still a form of plastic!  Some are, of course more natural than others, some kinds are made from pure cotton and there are some completely natural, chemical-free, plastic-free biodegradable options, which are better for both the environment and also your body.  If you choose to use tampons, look into organic cotton, such as these from Jolie and others.  Always read carefully, it is amazing what is considered alright to put into tampons, and therefore inside a woman's body.

Reusable pads
There are so many kinds of reusable pads it can be a little overwhelming!  Reusable pads were usual and normal until fairly historically recently, disposables becoming more common for the same reason that disposable nappies (diapers) became so popular- convenience.  Reusable pads need to be washed and made not just clean but sterile, preferably without the use of harsh chemicals.  There are many kinds, but they can be loosely grouped into "bought" and "home made".
I found some patterns for home made reusable pads here, and I imagine that some of those would be very comfortable, but choice of fabric would be very important, as fabrics can be very chemical also.
For bought reusables, just do a web search and you will find many brands.  Some of the websites I found look a bit "hippie", but so do I, and I'm perfectly lovely, of course!

Menstrual cups
These strike me as the best option environmentally, but I'm not sure about the idea of rinsing it out - although I do think rinsing the cup out would be more fun than washing reusable pads, although that's just me.  I found the FAQ section on the Mooncup website very informative and well put together.  I read through the questions and answers and am actually thinking about purchasing one for myself, but I think I need a little longer to fully come to terms with the idea.  There are also testimonials and reviews on the site which I will look into.  There are also other companies that produce menstrual cups, but I like that Mooncup is colour-and-chemical-free.  I think it's the idea that the flow is collected in a cup rather than absorbed that makes me feel unsure, but at the same time it's not drying to the walls of the vagina like tampons are, and doesn't collect the blood outside the body  and allow it to develop an odour like pads can.  There are no dangerous chemicals used in the manufacture and chemicals are not required to clean it, and again there's the point that 11,000+ pads and tampons would be kept  from landfill.
Honestly I'm still not sure.  I know, bad hippie!  I think menstrual cups are a great idea for any woman who can handle the thought of them, maybe me, maybe not.

I hope I have given you all a few things to think about, I know I'm thinking about a few things myself!
Love to you,
Cassandra Louise