Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Jane’s Date & Cashew Treats

Feeling guilty about how much chocolate you eat? Try these yummy treats instead – healthy and delicious!


  • 200g fresh dates – seeds removed
  • 200g raw cashews
  • 1.5 tbs cocoa powder

1. Put cashews into a food processor and process until cashews have formed a fine meal. It’s ok if they’re a bit chunky but the mix will hold together better if it’s finer. Put cashew meal into a medium sized bowl.

2. Chop up dates and put them in the food processor. Process until the mix forms one big ball (or it’s totally mushy).

3. Add cocoa powder to the cashew meal and stir until combined. Then add the dates.

4. Use your hands to rub the mixture together until the ingredients are totally combined.

5. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls (you may need to add a few drops of water if the mixture is a little dry and not quite holding together).

Makes approx 30 balls. Store in the fridge.


Guilt-free, easy and delicious!


Want a Greener Wardrobe?

A couple of weeks ago I decided to set myself an ethical clothing challenge for 2012. I’d been down to one of the January sales and bought some cheap shoes and I couldn’t help but feel a stab of guilt as I have been a lot lately – if I’m getting these for such a bargin someone has got to be missing out here, someone else is paying the price for my purchase.

Ever wondered about who made the clothes you buy? What were their working conditions? How much did they get paid?

Or take it a step back further and ask yourself how was the fabric made? Were the natural fibres grown using sustainable farming practices? How much energy was needed to manufacture it? How far did it have to travel to get to you? What about the company selling it – do they have a good environmental and social record?

A lot to think about and certainly it’s not easy to find out all those answers. But there are some simple steps you can take to get yourself a greener wardrobe.

1. Buy Second Hand. Scour those op shops! It may not be as easy to find something you like – but it’s so much more satisfying when you do! Savers have a loyalty card, so that each time you take in a bag of donations you receive and increasing percentage off  your next purchase. Vintage shops are great too but a little more pricey. You can also pick up a bargin at pre-loved markets.

2. Swap. The Clothing Exchange is an event I’ve always wanted to go to. Events are held throughout the year in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. You bring along your (good quality) unwanted clothing, get some buttons to use as currency and swap away. Local councils also organise events on National Swap Day or why not organise one with your friends?

3. Source Ethical Clothing. Ethical Clothing can mean a number of things depending on what is important to you. Is it organic? Or fair wages and conditions? Is it the carbon footprint? Or is it a company’s environmental & social record? A website I highly, highly recommend is this ethical consumer guide. It’s aimed at supermarket shopping (a whole other challenge!) but you can apply the principles to any consumer purchase you make. Find out what is important to you and start from there. Ethical Clothing Australia is an independant committee that promotes fair wages and decent working conditions by assisting businesses through an accreditation process. You can view the list of accredited brands here. Etkio promote fair trade and sustainable. Sustainable Hemp Products focus on sustainable natural fibres.

Livia Firth in a dress made with fibres derived from the mechanical, non-chemical recycling of plastic bottles

So great to see some ‘green’ dresses on the red carpet – check out Livia Firth’s (Colin Firth’s wife) Green Carpet Challenge.

4. Make Your Own. Go on, try it! I bet you know someone with a sewing machine. Start simple, maybe get some lessons and get a good basic instruction book. You’ll be so proud of yourself!

A dress I've made from a tablecloth - you find some fantastic fabrics in op shops!

The whole subject of Ethical Clothing can get quite overwhelming when you start to research – and I’m only just beginning the process myself. But just remember that everytime you buy something you’re sending a message. You are supporting that company and it’s activities, whether you are aware of it or not and whether you like it or not. Be deliberate about what you buy, make your money count.

Hoppys & Bottys

A big welcome to the newest members of the Ragged Blossom family – Nessie, Metal Mickey & Tristan. They are all made from upcycled fabrics and have some cellophane inside to make them scrunchy and appealing to little ones. Suited for baby’s aged 3mths+ their appendages are supersoft microfleece, great for grabbing and chewing.


Meet Nessie the Frog. Nessie’s body is made from a skirt, her spots from a mens tie and her arms, legs and eyes from scraps of microfleece left over from making nappies.

Metal Mickey

Meet Metal Mickey the Robot. His grey body is made from one of my skirts (I was never going to get round to altering it anyway!), his buttons and panels from a mens tie and his appendages from lovely soft scraps of microfleece.


Meet Tristan. His body is also made from my scraps of microfleece, his panels from a mens shirt and his buttons from a mens tie.

They will be available for sale at Pearcedale Market tomorrow for $15 each and following that will be for sale online (via the tab at the top).

Why not try making your own from unwanted clothes?

A Sneak Preview…

Check back tomorrow to meet the latest members of the Ragged Blossom family…

Delicious Lemon Cordial

It’s a bit hot out there today and this delicious lemon cordial really goes down a treat! I can’t take credit for being the maker (my husband makes it) but I’m really enjoying being the taster!


  • 1.5 kg sugar ( we only added 1.25 and it’s plenty sweet enough)
  • 1 tbs citric or tartaric acid
  • Zest & juice of 6 large or 8 medium lemons
  • 4 cups boiling water

Place sugar, citric or tartaric acid, lemon zest and boiling water in a large heatproof bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves, then add lemon juice. Leave to stand overnight or until cool, then strain through a fine sieve.

Poor into steralised bottles and seal. Makes approx 2 litres and can be used immeditely.

So good and so easy to make. Trust me this will go down a treat and you’ll be making a second batch before you know it!

The perfect summer cordial

How to make a simple Modern Cloth Nappy

I thought I’d put this tutorial out there for anyone using or interested in using modern cloth nappies and wants to have a go at making thier own. I used patterns from this site and the one I’m showing today is a modification of Shar’s newborn fitted pattern.

To make this nappy go to this site and print out the paper pattern. I changed the way the leg and back elastic are sewn from the original pattern and added extra layers of fabric.

1. I used 4 layers, though 2 would be fine. You just need a waterproof outer layer and a soft absorbant inner layer. I’ve used an outer layer of cordoroy, then PUL (waterproof layer), then flannelette, then bamboo fleece. I bought the PUL and bamboo fleece from a great website called Green Beans.

The four layers I used

2. I take the bamboo layer away and mark the places to sew the elastic (from original pattern).

Mark where to sew the elastic

3. I first attach the elastic 2.5 cm from the edge of the fabric using a zig zag stitch. Once the elastic is attached pull it as tight as you can while sewing using a 3 step zig zag stitch.

Sewing the leg elastic

4. This is what it looks like after the elastic is sewn.

Elastic sewn in

5. Place the bamboo layer right side down onto the cord layer. Pin and zig zag around the edge, leaving a large gap on the bottom edge to turn right side out. I try to stitch as close as possible to the edge but being careful to catch all the layers.

Leave a gap at the bottom for turning out the right way

6. Turn nappy right side out and straight stitch around the entire nappy. Fold the raw edges of the gap inside the nappy as you go around the bottom.

7. Sew velcro to places indicated on original pattern. I made the arm tabs quite small and the others large to adjust as your baby grows bigger.

Edge stitch complete and velcro sewn in

The finished nappy!

These nappy’s use inserts. You can buy them from Green beans too or make your own. I’ve made some from bamboo and some from an old towel with a layer of microfleece (it’s a stay dry layer).

Insert made from an old towel and microfleece

Other resources I’ve liked:

  • My friends at Little Diamond Bums sell their own cloth nappies as well as other reputable brands. The also hire out newborn sets and have lots of cloth nappy related stuff including some really beautiful smelling foaming wipe solution.
  • This facebook site is a fantastic place to buy and sell (or giveaway) modern cloth nappies – but be careful – it’s very addictive!
  • Nappies Covered is another great place to buy nappy making fabrics and related items.

Dairy & Gluten free Banana Oat Squares

A new recipe I tried today. I replaced the butter with Nuttlex to make it dairy free and I got to use my lovely new babushka measuring cups that mum gave me for Christmas.

My lovely new babushka measuring cups


  • Nuttlex                                    6 tbsp
  • Brown Sugar                           1/2 cup
  • Large egg                                 1
  • Mashed banana                       3/4 cup
  • Salt                                            1/4 tsp
  • Quick-cooking rolled oats      2 cups
  • Chopped walnuts                    1/3 cup
  1. Beat butter and brown sugar in medium bowl. Add egg. Beat well.
  2. Add banana and salt. Beat until well combined.
  3. Add rolled oats and walnuts. Stir until combined.

    My daughter Maggie stiring the mixture

  4. Spread evenly in a greased 20 x 20 cm pan. Bake in 175degree celcius oven for about 55min until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

    Greasing the pan!

  5. Let stand in pan on wire rack until cool. Cuts into 25 squares.

    Banana oat slice

My first Blog

Ooooh how exciting (and a bit scary), my first blog!

I started this blog initially because in 2012 I have decided to commit myself to ethical clothing and I thought it’d be interesting to journal my challenges and help keep me honest. I also have a small business in which I handmake creations from largely upcycled fabrics, but I really want to commit to being 100% ethical (whatever that may be for me?).

I’m still finding my way and setting up shop – so I’m going to test myself and see if I can get up a photo of my latest creation scrunchy frog. This little froggy is made from microfleece (originally purchased to make my daughter nappies but got WAY too much!). It’s spots are made from a mens tie and inside it has some cellophane to make it all scrunchy and interesting for a wee bubba.

So here goes…

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