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Shameless self-promotion but still mustbethrifty

Okay, this what-the-frak-it’s-not-a-Tuesday post is going to be an act of shameless self-promotion. WPMU.ORG has just published my “Hoodwinked: Free WordPress Hosting, Themes, and Plugins” Continue reading

Gardening on a Budget

Leaf harvest

NOKIA Lumia 800_001124Autumn has come to an end before I even had a chance to write another seasonal thrills without frills. The asparagus and the rhubarb is starting to die down and the trees have dropped their leaves all over the lawn.

I’ve raked up the leaves in the hope of making leaf mould. Unlike regular compost, leaf mould is easy to make, doesn’t smell, and doesn’t require special equipment. It does, however, require patience. Continue reading

Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal, Going Green, Secondhand Scavengers

The best things in life are freecycled

My local library has given me access to a lot of mustbethrifty resources. One aspect of thrift that has been cropping up in my reading is freecycling, ‘the act of giving away usable unwanted items to others instead of disposing of them in landfills’ (via Wikipedia). First conceptualised by freecycle.org in 2003, freecycling is a form of hand-me-down via online groups or forums.

A couple of months back, I signed up to the local freecycle group’s mailout in the hope of finding some old sports trophies as wedding decorations, but my first foray into freecycling was a failure: no one replied to my WANTED post, and I spent fifteen minutes every day clearing my inbox of Freecycle spam.

I continued subscribing to Freecycle, however. There was something appealing about nosing through other people’s junk. Continue reading

Gardening on a Budget, Gen DIY-er, Going Green

My dad’s mini greenhouses

Dad is a Jim’s Mowing man. He’s also one of the thriftiest gardeners I know. I don’t think he’s ever bought a bag of compost or a plant; most of his specimens come from seeds or cuttings or are castoffs from other people’s gardens.

I shared some of my seeds with him and he’s been nursing them in mini greenhouses made out of plastic food containers:

The greenhouses help maintain a warm and consistent climate for the seedlings. They also protect the seedlings from snails. Continue reading

Gardening on a Budget, Thrifty Asian

Striking betel leaf cuttings

It’s lunar new year this weekend and one of my favourite snacks to eat from the street-festival vendors is bò lá lốt, beef wrapped in betel leaves. I’ve recreated it at home, using Luke Nguyen and Mark Jensen’s recipe (via Secrets of the Red Lantern). Nguyen and Jensen use pork mince and pork fat to enhance the flavour, but Luke Nguyen also has a pork-free version up on the SBS website.

Because betel leaf is a such rare commodity in Melbourne, I’ve struck my own with the stalks leftover from cooking. Continue reading

Cheap Dates, Thrills without frills

Frugal thrills: Christmas in Melbourne

Christmas may be an expensive time of year, but sometimes the best things Christmas presents in life are free:

1) The Big Sing

Organised by the Gertrude Players, The Big Sing is the free alternative to Carols by Candlelight. Come and help 400 carollers at Fitzroy’s Napier Hotel belt out ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’ at 6pm on Friday 21st. The carollers will make their way to Fitzroy Town Hall, so do bring some comfortable footwear as well as your best singing voice.

Continue reading

Buy Nothing New October, Gardening on a Budget, My Suburb is My Gym, Second-hand Scavengers, Thrills without frills

Frugal thrills: spring in Melbourne

It’s past the midway mark for spring and the weather is finally warming up in Melbourne. Time to try 5 outdoorsy activities:

1) Bike it, hike it

Grab your bike, a mate or a date and pedal along the Capital City Trail, the Merri Creek Trail, or any other of Melbourne’s dedicated bike and pedestrian trails. For details on specific routes in and around the city, check out The Bicycle Network’s Melbourne’s Metro Trail Network page.

If you prefer a slower travelling pace, put on the hiking boots and explore one of the region’s many walks. I haven’t done Werribee Gorge yet, but apparently it’s a stunner.

Bike it, hike it, whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to take drinks and food so that you’re not spending a fortune on lunch along the way. Continue reading