DIY Menu Plan

I’ve been thinking for quite awhile now that Mr A and I need to menu plan in our household. Too often, we both get home from work and can’t be bothered deciding what to cook for dinner, or we don’t have the ingredients required to cook whatever we have finally decided on.

Since getting our thermomix, we have a no take away rule in our house. Given how easy it is to create fast healthy meals in the thermomix, we have no excuse. The one thing I wanted to add into our house to supplement creating healthy meals was a menu plan board.

Our menu plan board will be going onto the back of our pantry door, so it had to be small, lightweight, and easy to use as there’s not a huge space behind our door.

Menu Plan (1)Here’s what my DIY menu plan board looks like. I’m pretty happy with it, and it ticks all the boxes; lightweight, affordable, easy to use, and good lookin’!

I had a look on Pinterest for some inspiration, and these were some of the ideas that I came across;

  • Laminated cards – meal on the front, ingredient on the back for a quick shopping list
  • Fortnightly plan – eliminating the need to grocery shop each week
  • Pockets – pockets to rotate meals around to ensure Mr A and I don’t get bored
  • Lightweight & easy to install

Our menu board is actually a picture frame. I added some funky scrapbook paper to the back of the frame to tart it up a little.

The menu cards are stuck on the Blu Tac. I saw lots of menu boards had pretty pegs, which looked really cute, but wouldn’t be functional for our space at all. I cut the pockets from scrapbook cardboard, used some pinking shears to give the tops of them a bit of zing, and then used foam letters that I purchased as Spotlight.

In total, the menu board cost $30. Half of this was laminating the menu cards, as we have about 45 menu options all up. When we think of some more meals, I’ll just add them and do a bulk run to our local shop to have them laminated.

DIY Menu Plan BoardMy favourite thing about this is definitely having the ingredients on the back of the cards. It means once our meals are picked for the fortnight, our grocery list is already 90% done. As we go along, Mr and I add things to our grocery list to make sure nothing gets missed.

I’ve found going to the shops on a fortnightly basis, rather than on a 2-3 day basis like we were doing before has helped tremendously with our budget. We know exactly what we need, what we have left, and what we’re going to use .. so there’s less chance of unncessary things being added to our trolley, left in the fridge, and then thrown out.

Somehow though, chocolate makes it in our trolley even though it’s not on the menu board .. I’ll have to work on that I think! ;)

I’d love to know what you think of our DIY menu plan board – love it? hate it? made one yourself that you’d love to share?

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A New Sewing Machine..

I’m in the market for a new sewing machine, and I seriously didn’t realise how hard it would be to make a decision.

When I bought this sewing machine, it was almost on a whim. It was on sale, and it seemed basic enough. It had an instructional DVD (thank god!), and I wanted to make things for our wedding. Up until that stage, my was experience and memories of sewing were awful. I only remember ‘trying’ to sew at the start of high school and always, always, ALWAYS getting my thread tangled.

Looking back at picking my first sewing machine is kind of amazing. I’m sometimes so surprised I ended up making orders for people. When I first started it was just to save a few $$’s for our wedding, but now, it’s basically my whole past time.

Anyway, not much thought went into my first sewing machine. I should add, I’ve only every had one. I liked that it was cheap, and seemed easy to use and that was it, decision made. So this time around, it is so much more of an indepth decision .. I don’t know how I’m going to decide!

I know there are some things I definitely want;

  • Controllable speed. At the moment, my sewing machine is super fast or super slow, which will make learning to applique a bit hard I think.
  • Up down position – being able to control whether my needle stays in my fabric or out of my fabric would be amazing.
  • Variety of stitches – my fanciest stitch right now is a zig zag, and let’s be honest, it’s really not that fancy at all. Functional yes, but fancy no.

My current sewing machine is a Brother, very basic model. It has a total of 10 stitches and that’s it. So whatever I end up getting, I know it’ll be a huge upgrade. I’ve been looking at the Janome 3160QDC, which would be a ginormous upgrade in specification (and price!!), but the reviews I’ve read so far have all been positive.

 

One frustrating thing I’ve found though is looking at reviews online. Australian / UK / American versions of machines seem to be different .. So I’ll find lots of reviews about a certain Brother / Singer / Janome / (insert sewing machine brand here), but then it won’t be available in Australia. Or maybe it is, and I just can’t find the model conversion, who knows.

So, I’m wondering, how did you decide what sewing machine you’d buy? I’d love to test some out, but we don’t really have any places around my area where this is possible, so I’m relying on reviews and that’s it.

I would love if you’d share what sewing machine you have, and how you decided on it.

DIY Home Bar – Decor Update

Our home bar has been decked out, with many cocktails and coffees already made!

This is an update to my original post showing the steps of our DIY home bar / coffee station.

Mr A is pretty clever, and added a pull out shelf to our bar so that there’s a bit more space to make cocktails and coffee. This little shelf makes the world of difference when you have a couple of people waiting on a coffee or cocktail.

I bought the bartender stem glass holders on eBay. They were only $10, and are a great addition. We have A LOT more alcohol in the bar, but it’s covered by the grey doors at the bottom. The alcohol on the top shelf is just what Mr A and I usually drink .. Kaluha, Malibu Rum, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Canadian Club, and Gin.

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Quilted Cushions

Last week I was involved in a random act of kindness. To start with though, I need to give you a bit of a back story as to why this act is so amazing, and so out of the blue (pun intended, don’t worry, you’ll get it in a minute).

I live in Perth, Australia and in the scheme of the blogging world, it’s a pretty tiny place. So being contacted by a reader of my blog, who lives in Perth also, was already pretty cool and crazy.

BUT, this reader, whose name is Jenny contacted me to donate her craft supplies to me, because she no longer uses them.

As you might be able to imagine, upon reading this e-mail I was pretty delighted, and then totally blown away. I honestly don’t know how many people who be willing to contact a complete stranger (basically), and offer to donate them supplies .. I mean, that is pretty frickin’ cool!

Mr A collect the supplies for me, and Jenny donated me some great quality stuff. In order to say thank you, I quilted some cushions for her. I’m planning to drop these off this week .. So Jenny, if you’re reading, act surprised please!

Quilted Cushions (2)

This is the first time I’ve ever quilted or sewed a cushion before. I used a basic envelope cushion tutorial, and just adapted some of the measurements. The top of my cushion is 9 5″ charm cuts, from a Moda series. They’re blue hues (get the pun now?!), and I’ve used a simple chevron fabric for the back .. Because we all know how much I love chevron!

Quilted Cushions (1)

My cushion inserts were size 14, which is 36cm x 36m, which is 14″ x 14″. I added a grey border to the sides of my cushion quilt top in order to meet the dimensions of the tutorial.

Quilted Cushions (3)

These were simple to whip up, and quite effective .. I think I’ll add them to my gift list from now on!

I hope Jenny likes them. I really wanted to thank her for being such a generous person.

 

Mission Accomplished!

It was a very busy weekend in the crosstitchery household; engagement parties, catch up with friends, walks around the river, and finishing off my latest order! My rainbow baby quilt was also delivered to its’ new owner on the weekend .. So I’m feeling quite accomplished, which is great given how I’ve been feeling recently.

If you remember, I’ve been in a bit of a funk, finding it quite hard to get motivated .. I really appreciated all your comments and support advising it was probably time to take some rest and relaxation time out for myself.

In true crosstitchery fashion though, I persevered and am very happy to say my quilted bed footer was completed and finished over the weekend, and dropped off to its’ new owner on Sunday.

I loved making this quilt, as it was for the mum of one of my best friends. In my excitement to get it to its’ new owner though, I forgot to take a finished photo so I am kicking myself a little bit!

Despite this, I am feel really glad that I pushed through and completed it. I’m now going to take a weekend to recharge my batteries, before I start on my next order for a baby boy jungle themed quilted. Excited to start this one and I’m going to tackle applique for the very first time.

Do you have any tips and tricks for applique? 

 

 

Because who doesn’t love a lil Ryan Gosling?!