Category Archives: Style

Slow Home Essentials: What Exactly IS a Slow Home?

Slow Home Essentials - What is a Slow Home, Exactly?

You’ve no doubt heard the old adage, “home is where the heart is”. I don’t know if I’ve ever explicitly explained it, but that thought is central to this blog and my wider philosophy on life.

To me, Home is not just a house. Home is an ever-changing combination of:

  • family
  • relationships
  • the apartment, house, barn or tent you currently live in
  • memories being made
  • outdoor spaces
  • creativity
  • your kitchen and the food prepared in it
  • religion or spirituality

Home is at once all-encompassing and constantly changing. It is everything that is important. It is everything that makes up the essence of you.

The official Slow Home Movement was founded by Calgary-based architects, John Brown, Carina van Olm and Matthew North. And while that movement provided me with my first look at the idea of creating a slow house, I have since redefined it to something that covers my own expanded version of Home. The one that you can take with you, regardless of where you’re currently living.

Home is not just four walls and a roof. But what typifies a Slow Home?

To me, it’s a fluid combination of being:

If you look at each of these elements separately (and I plan to, over the coming months) they are all really positive traits to have in your home. Combine them – even some of them – and your life and home will benefit more than you can imagine.

OK. But what does a slow home look like?

Does a slow home have a vegetable garden and a chicken coop? Sure!

Is it a tiny home on wheels, able to shift around when the mood for change strikes? Why not!

What about an old cottage soulfully renovated and filled with happiness and memories? Of course!

The point is, a slow home looks and feels different for everyone. It’s less about features of the home and more about your approach to life. It is true that a slow home is less centred on stuff, and it is harder to create a slow home if your house is a 5-storey sprawling mansion (because cleaning), but anyone, anywhere can create a home that works – I mean truly works – for them.

It’s just a matter of priorities.

Tell me, what does a slow home look and feel like to you?

Slow Home Essentials - not all about backyard chickens and vegetable gardens

Slow Home Essentials - What is a slow home?

This is the first post in a new ongoing series called Slow Home Essentials, where I will look at different elements of creating and maintaining a slow home. If there’s anything you’d like to know specifically, feel free to leave a comment! 

Green Living: A Guide to Shopping Vintage and Second-Hand

The last few weeks has seen about 15 parcels arrive on my doorstep as I started buying second-hand and vintage pieces for Spring and Summer. I got lucky in that everything I’ve bought so far has fit really well, but from now on I don’t really want to leave it to luck.

I’ve put together a list of tips so you can get the most out of your second-hand and vintage shopping, both online and in person.

1. Have a list of what you need. Etsy and eBay have tens of thousands of items of clothing, that it really is overwhelming to just browse. You may end up with lots of great pieces, but if there are things you need (for example, I needed flat leather sandals, 3 or 4 dresses, some denim shorts and at least one maxi dress) you should keep that list next to the computer or in your purse.

2. Know your measurements! This post on FreckledNest sums up everything you need to know about taking measurements for buying vintage dresses – it’s incredibly helpful and well worth a look. Keep a note with your measurements beside the computer and another one in your purse.

3. Work with what you know. If you have favourite current labels that you know fit well, then it’s worth scouting for second-hand or even BNWT (Brand New With Tags) pieces on eBay. I picked up 4 Anthropologie dresses recently for between $20-$90 because I now know that their size 6US fits perfectly. Keep a note of these too and you can snap up a bargain if you see it.

4. Be patient. Set up searches for the things you’re really after (I use the eBay app on my iPhone, which keeps track of new listings for things I’m looking for) and don’t settle for anything you’re not 100% sure of.When shopping in person, understand that it may take a few visits to your local second-hand/vintage/op-shop to strike gold. Plus chatting with the staff will help you figure out when they restock the store, when they have discount days and if there’s anything exciting waiting out the back.

5. Read carefully! When shopping online, be sure to read the descriptions carefully, as well as the sales conditions, shipping estimates and other essentials. Nothing worse than just skimming the description, only to find there is a stain on the garment or a button missing.

I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve been amazed at how much further my dollar stretches when shopping this way, plus that buzz you get knowing you’re wearing something one-of-a-kind. I do also love the environmental benefits of buying vintage and second-hand, plus it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt, with really good prizes!

Green Living: Rosemary Water Hairspray

{unrelated except that our rosemary is in the background}

Here’s something interesting I came across recently. You can make a hairspray alternative using rosemary and water.

I’m really keen to try this out, as even though I barely use hairspray, I am mindful of the fact that it is really toxic and could be inhaled by the kids on occasion.

I’ll let you know how it goes, but this is what you need:

a handful of (dried) rosemary sprigs
a French press
boiling water

1. Put the rosemary in the French press and fill with boiling water.

2. Allow to steep and cool for a couple of hours

3. Transfer to a spritz bottle and use in place of hairspray as needed.

Green Living: Shopping Vintage and Second-Hand

Spring is (nearly) in the air and I’m feeling sartorially inspired. I’m keen to find some new-to-me spring and summer clothes, accessories and shoes that are pre-loved, vintage or second-hand.

I immediately turned to Etsy (gah!! the choice is paralysing!!) and eBay and have started to slowly buy some bits and pieces for the warmer weather.

I know that the environmental benefit of buying vintage from a seller in the States and having it shipped to Australia is debatable (no resources used to make a new item versus the resources used to have it shipped here) but the majority of what I’m buying is local, so I’m OK with the occasional international purchase.

These ones have already made the cut and are currently being shipped:

from Specialty Vintage on Etsy

While these delicious treats are in the Definitely list:

From Margaret and Olivers on Etsy

From Thriftage on Etsy

From Sally Jane Vintage on Etsy

From Sally Jane Vintage on Etsy

How about you? Do you shop vintage or second hand at all? Do you have any red-hot vintage tips for me? Any must-visit stores? Do tell!!!

Adventures in Op-Shopping: A Tale of Success and Woe.

Sorry for the recipe-heavy nature of yesterday – I guess the cold weather has my brain switched to the Food setting!

Last weekend was a busy one, but while I was waiting around for a doctor’s appointment on Saturday morning I snuck into our local Vinnies for a quick peek. They usually have tonnes of kooky knick-knacks that are fun to look through, but the real gem is the furniture “showroom” downstairs. It’s always hit and miss, and fun to have a look around.

I scored a great raw timber A1-sized frame for the princely sum of $3, that I have plans for (showcasing some of Isy’s art and craft) and I spotted a delicious chest of drawers, that was screaming for a makeover and a new home in our living room (maybe even as a TV unit?)

I sent a picture message to Sparky that said something like: “$35?” but he sensibly reminded me that we actually need a lounge first. So I had to let her go. But it hurt just a little bit, I have to say.

I’m really enjoying the process of decluttering, but I’m also surprised by how much I’m enjoying scouring second-hand furniture shops, ebay and garage sales for new furniture for our house. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of chai, but I love the positive environmental implications of not buying everything new as a matter of course as well as the fact that these pieces have a history to them.

Bonus: this coming weekend is a long weekend (yay!) and it’s also hard rubbish night for our area (double yay!) I am going to try and convince Sparky to take a scouting drive with me, but we’ll see how successful I am.