Winter Days

Reuben

Reuben and Cows

Tiny Toadstools

Family

These pictures were taken at my mama’s farm today. Spending time over there is so good for my soul. The older I get, the more I long for the peace, quiet and space of the country. The feel of earth under my boots, raindrops on my eyelashes and wind in my hair. The warmth of a horse’s velvety nose and the sound of happy chickens scratching in the grass. I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm and though at the time I never thought I’d say it, I miss living on the land. I’m so glad my mum’s little slice of the countryside is just a couple of minutes away.

The days here are short and grey now. Each morning our tiny town is swathed in mist, the grass is crunchy with frost and the cold bites at our toes as we creep out of bed. Outside the deciduous trees are bare and the earth is cold and damp, but inside we are cocooned with socks, blankets and bowls of soup.

I love the hush of winter. Though we all carry on with our usual busyness, somehow everything seems a little quieter. A little slower. Like the world around us pauses to take a breath.

I hope you’ve all had a restful, happy weekend and managed to find a little quiet of your own. Sending warm, happy thoughts for the week ahead!

Katie xx

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10 Tips for Op-Shopping (AKA Thrifting)

Vintage Sheets

This is another of the posts I originally put together for Kidspot. I often get asked how I get so lucky and manage to find so much great stuff on my op-shopping adventures. While luck certainly plays a major role in my thrifting success, over the years I have picked up a few tips and tricks for sorting the trash from the treasure, so here they are!

Go Often

Stock in op-shops can come and go very quickly and the best items tend to move fast, especially in busy city stores. Go as often as you can to maximise your chances of finding hidden gems. If you are really serious about op-shopping, it doesn’t hurt to ask an employee when they refill their stock and find out if there is a schedule for adding new items. If you go right after the stock has been replenished you’ll beat everyone else to the good stuff.

Be Prepared

Some op-shops still don’t accept cards so make sure you have some cash on hand. Thrifting is also a bit more time consuming than shopping in retail stores and, unlike when you are at a shopping centre, there probably won’t be stalls selling snacks nearby. Make sure you have plenty of time and eat before you go. Op-shopping isn’t much fun if you are rushed or hungry.

Vintage Plates

Wander Further Afield

I have always found little op-shops in small towns to be absolute goldmines so when we go on road trips we always make a point of stopping at as many op-shops as we can. Try to get off the beaten track.

Be Thorough

Op-shopping is not like strolling through a clothes store where you can quickly scan the displays. You need to set aside some time to go through the individual racks of clothes, sort through the crockery and dig through the boxes of assorted junk. It takes a little more patience than traditional shopping but if you are thorough, you can be rewarded with great finds at bargain prices.

Only Buy The Things You Love

If you op-shop often and you bring home everything thing you like, you will very quickly find yourself overwhelmed with stuff. When I first started thrifting regularly I used to bring home almost everything that I liked (because it was so affordable) but I soon learned that this is just a recipe for clutter. The cost of all those small purchases adds up too, so you can wind up spending a lot more than you might imagine. Try to resist the things you like and only bring home the things you love.

Vintage Pyrex Bowls

Think Creatively

Look for the potential in things and try to be open-minded. Sometimes clothes, knick-knacks and furniture just need a minor alteration or repair to make them wonderful. Other things can be repurposed into something entirely new. Use your imagination and try to think outside the box.

Remember What You Actually Need

I have certain things that I collect, like vintage linens and vintage Pyrex, so when I enter an op-shop I make a beeline for those sections. I also try to keep a mental list of things I need and want, so that I remember to keep an eye out for them when I’m thrifting. I find that if you go into a store without any idea of what you need or want, you’re more likely to miss out on treasures (because you won’t be looking for them) or come out of the shop with a bunch of unnecessary extras.

Be Impulsive

It stands in direct contrast to my last point but part of the fun of op-shopping is that you can be a bit more impulsive than you might normally, and come home with something completely unexpected. I love the thrill of stumbling across something weird and wonderful! After all, if you change your mind about the item you can always donate it back.

Linens

Leave Some Treasures Behind

Sometimes I see an amazing vintage dress that isn’t in my size and find myself wondering who I could buy it for, or considering buying it to resell. When that happens I have to remind myself that I would probably never get around to listing all those vintage items that aren’t quite right for me, so they’d just be taking up space in my house. If it isn’t going to work for you, or you have no need or space for it, let it go. I find it helps to think about how happy the item will make the next person who comes along and can actually use it.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Sometimes I go months without finding a single thing and I begin to wonder if all the vintage treasures have disappeared for good, then out of nowhere I’ll find something amazing. You never know when you are going to discover the next little gem so don’t give up! In my experience, if it feels like your luck has totally run out, you are probably just around the corner from finding something really special.

Katie xx

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Little Things

No Knead Bread

Passionfruit Vine

Around Here

Reuben and Clover in Garden

Tea

Chooks in Chicken Tractor

Apple and Almond Cake

Joining in the weekly stills over at The Beetle Shack.

1. I finally made this famous no knead bread over the weekend and it was amazing. We devoured half the loaf within minutes of it leaving the oven! I haven’t had a huge amount of success with bread making in the past, but this little triumph has got me inspired to keep working on it. I’m determined to make bread making a more regular fixture in our weekly routine.
2. One of our passionfruit vines is growing nicely. The other isn’t doing quite so well.
3. A handful of goodness, fresh off our little raspberry bush.
4. Clover helping Reuben in the garden.
5. Cold wintery days mean tea. Lots and lots of tea.
6. We bought a lightweight run that we can use as a “chicken tractor” and drag around our yard, to give our girls a holiday from their coop on sunny days. They’ve been having a lovely time scratching in the grass.
7. Yesterday we had friends over for dinner so I made cake for dessert. I had the thought of an apple and almond cake stuck in my head so I googled it and ended up making this one this one with a couple of tweaks (which was good!) but I’ve since realised the seed of the idea was probably planted by this yummy skillet cake on Hugo and Elsa. I think I’ll try that one next time.

Wishing you all a most wonderful week!

Katie xx

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Five Favourite Things (with Sophie of Her Library Adventures)

While we were having our little blog break and pondering what it is that drives us to share snippets of our lives online, time and time again we kept coming back to one thing. Community. Above all else, the friendships, support and togetherness of the blogosphere are what draw us to this space to tell our story. In the last couple of years there have been some big shifts in the blogging landscape and, while change is inevitable and evolution is important, I sometimes feel that the sense of community is no longer as strong as it once was. I know from your comments and the posts I have read on other blogs that many of you feel this too. So! In the interest bringing a little of the community spirit back to House of Humble, I’ve been working on a couple of new blog series, featuring some of the people who have inspired us on our journey to a simpler life. The first one is called Five Favourite Things and basically, it is exactly what it sounds like! I’m going to be asking some of my favourite bloggy people about five of their favourite things. I don’t know about you, but I find the things that make interesting people tick really fascinating! And who knows, perhaps along the way we’ll discover some new favourite things of our own. You’ll probably recognise some familiar faces in this series, but you might also come across a few little gems you haven’t heard of before. Each of these bloggers is inspiring, talented and generally wonderful. I love them, and I know you will too.

Our first favourite things guest is gorgeous Sophie, of Her Library Adventures. Sophie’s creativity, gentle spirit and kind heart have long been an inspiration to me, and I feel very lucky to call her my friend. Sophie blogs about her beautiful life in Mildura with her husband Ben and their baby girl Tallow. She’s a treasure.

fireplace

What’s your favourite spot in your home?

Can I have a few? I just adore our living room and the fireplace, it’s so lovely to have a place to display bits and pieces that reflect our weeks, the seasons and things we love. I also love our veggie patch and am so inspired to get out there each day, water, weed and pick our lovely homegrown produce. Rainbow chard may just be the prettiest vegetable ever!

slingdiaryaudition4

What’s your favourite quote?

‘Respond to every call that excites your spirit’ – Rumi

garden

What’s your favourite thing about winter?

My first few years living in Victoria I must admit I had a tough time transitioning to a real winter. This season though, I’m embracing all the beautiful things that come along with the cold weather, endless pots of tea, crochet blankets, big pots of pumpkin soup and homemade bread. The winter days here in Mildura are amazing and perfect for getting out in the garden, going for an afternoon wander by the river or visiting the farmer’s market (with a quick stop at a few op-shops along the way).

bread

What’s your favourite cookbook?

I have two I love equally! Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel and River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I use both almost every week and they are wonderful reminders to live simply, cook from the heart and make time to celebrate food everyday. I especially love Rhonda’s bread recipe and Hugh’s honey baked rhubarb and pizza dough.

tallowsroom

What’s your favourite thrifted item?

Most definitely the pair of vintage mustard armchairs we found at the local tip shop. I love them so much and they have become a real feature of our home.

What about you?! Do you have a favourite thrifted item or a favourite spot in your home? What’s your favourite quote? Your favourite thing about winter? Tell us about your favourite cookbook!

Katie xx

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Thrifty Finds

It’s been such a long time since we shared any of our thrifty finds! We’ve found a few little gems lately…

Vintage Wood Pineapple Bowls

Like this vintage set of wooden pineapple bowls, still in their original packaging! Aren’t they cute?! That pretty sheet in the background is a recent find too.

Vintage Dish Set

And this lovely set of vintage Johnson Brothers dishes, as well as the tablecloth they are sitting on. Technically, I didn’t find the dishes. A friend picked them up for me. I am so grateful for friends who know me so well and “get” my taste!

Vintage Sheets

After months of thinking I might never find another vintage sheet again, in recent weeks I’ve gotten really, really lucky! All the sheets in the picture above are in mint condition and have never been used. The sets in packets I found on a random shelf in a secondhand furniture store. The ones that aren’t in packets were from an op-shop. All of them are complete sets with pillow cases and have never even been washed! Amazing.

Vintage Elephant Money Box

This sweet little elephant came home with me on the weekend. She looked so sad sitting on a table of junk at a garage sale and for $1, I just couldn’t say no.

Old Bottles

Like the Johnson dishes, I didn’t actually find these. They came with a purchase a friend made at an antique auction, and knowing how much I love old bottles, he gave them to me. These are going to look so pretty sitting on a windowsill holding flowers. I think the tiny bottles are particularly special (I love miniature things!)

Vintage Johnson Australia Cake Platter

I found this vintage Johnson cake platter in an op-shop a few weeks ago. This is actually the second Johnson cake platter I have found still in it’s original box. I found the first one a few years ago and we use it all the time, so I’m really happy to have found another (in a different design). I love Johnson crockery so much and I’m gathering quite a collection of it. I am thinking of donating all my other vintage plates and mugs and only collecting and using pieces by Johnson from now on, so our crockery will all match in a mismatchy kind of way. The pillowcase in the background was 50c at an op-shop last week.

Have you had any nice thrifty finds lately? I love hearing about peoples op-shopping/thrifting/flea-marketing adventures.

Katie x

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