the ongoing search for a decluttered way of living - combined with a stroll through our semi-rural lifestyle

February 11, 2015

drumroll please .....

and we have a winner!

Apologies are in order.

Firstly, this is a very quick post.  I am packing, we are off on holiday tomorrow.  Tasmania is the destination.  Nearly made it there last year.

The catchup link is here  if you'd like to see what happened on the way to Tasmania last time.  We didn't get there (long story short) but we are definitely flying off tomorrow for the Apple Isle.
 (from our last road trip to Tasmania!)

Secondly I have drawn the random winner for the prize link to Grow Your Blog.   I used Random Picker which was very easy.  I had to bring the date forward on account of our holiday.

There were 36 entrants ... and the winner -  Debbie1/26/2015 4:53 AM .     

So Debbie could you please email your postal address and I will be mailing to you some vintage hankies and an Australia tea towel which I hope you like.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment.  I hope you keep on reading!

Cheers for now Wendy 

February 6, 2015


If you are looking for the Grow Your Blog link ...... it is here.  Just leave a comment and I will draw random winner on 11 February.
However - this  a gratitude post.

2015 is my year with some weekly gratitude posts.  Keeping it simple might be the way to go for me I think.

Today I am grateful for online friends - and sharing some links.  I have been inspired by these two lovelies - Sue from Living the Good Life and Sue from You Can Call Me Sue to actually make something from all those plums.

The jaboticabas were eaten just as they came from the tree.  However I really wanted to be creative with the box of plums.  

I haven't really had much luck with preserves in the past.  However I decided to soldier on and try it.  By jove I think it worked.

Using this receipe - thanks baby-mac - it was all pretty easy. 

So now that I have had success (all worked out) I will  tackle some other preserves. Certainly we have gluts of fruit and veg at some times of the year.  Chilli jam next I think.

cheers Wendy 


February 2, 2015

and then there were lots ......

This is one jaboticaba

and a gathering of jaboticaba!

if they are not picked promptly they end up on the ground 
and they have a very different growth pattern.  Not a good photo as it was taken after fruit had been picked.  However I have noticed they are often referred to as the grape tree, and often spelt Jabuticaba also.
It's an easy tree to grow, ours is about 6 years old I think.  The main problem is remembering to pick the fruit before other critters get to them, or they fall off the tree. 
We usually just eat jaboticaba raw, but I might investigate a few recipes. 
They are an unusual fruit with a tough skin and an a grape like texture.
Not a lot of flesh with 2 of 3 seeds inside. 

However this picking co-incided with my impulse buy at the markets! 
A big box of blood plums (not sure of variety) for $7!
Another bargain.

So I'll be washing, cooking and maybe even bottling some plums. Plum Jam, Plum Jelly, Plums in port maybe? Personally I just like them lightly poached/stewed with yoghurt. 
Plum Crumble could feature too.

cheers for now
Thanks again and waving hi to my lots of new followers!    
I'd be happy for you to leave a comment on this or other posts too.

January 29, 2015


2015 is my year with some weekly gratitude posts.  Keeping it simple might be the way to go for me I think.
Grateful that all the rain we have received recently has topped up our little dam nicely.  

A big welcome to my new followers.  I'm grateful too for the Grow Your Blog hop! My giveaway continues - if you leave a comment on my blog - anybody can enter, including international readers.  

I have a little parcel with several pretty vintage hankies and two vintage Australian tea towels to be mailed to the winner. Giveaway drawn on February 11.   - any comments added to this post will be to the February draw. 

Please note!  I've had to change the draw to February 11 as we will be away from this date until the end of February with no computer access.

Back to the dam though - we are on town water, but use the dam for watering the fruit trees, the vegie garden, washing the car etc.  

However, recently the dam was so low we could not pump from it.  I don't have a 'before' photo, but this is how it looks 'after'.
Not only is it of use for watering the garden, but it is also our outdoor entertainment area!
The little upside down feature is our paddle boat which gets quite a bit of use. Perfect for sundowners on a sunset cruise!
Another feature is our 'Iron Bar' (side view) our dam-side entertainment area.  It is actually a re-built horse shed and quite a popular spot for entertaining.  

The front .... with big spotlight on awning.
and viewed from inside, facing the dam.
Some lovely big gums we planted, they are about 10 years old. 

I thought this might be interesting to some readers and now the secret is out. 
You all know where we often sitting on a hot day to watch the sun go down! Certainly much nicer to look at when there is plenty of water in it.

cheers for now

January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog .....

I'm joining in with Two Bags Full - Grow Your Blog so if you have jumped over from there - welcome! 

Just a little intro if you haven't been here before.  I'm Wendy and welcome to my blog which I started as an incentive to clear out my clutter - hence the name duchess_declutter.  However, over time it has evolved a little.

I blog about life on our little acreage in South East Queensland, Australia where it is hot and humid at the moment!  We've had a lot of rain lately and our 5 acres are looking very tropical.

I also blog about my love of vintage and retro items.  I'd like to say I blog about decluttering - but there hasn't been too much of that lately.  I love to op shop /thrift / upcycle and have done so for a long time.  I love the thrill of not knowing exactly what you are going to find, what's just around the corner.

Of late though I am more selective and concentrate more on items from the late '60s and early 70s and am particularly fond of retro homewares.  Bright colourful, geometric patterns get me every time!
However, these photos are of  recent painting blitz.  Our house is dark brick inside and out and after 20 or so years of it, I decided it was time to lighten things up a little.
I've just discovered Annie Sloan chalk paint and absolutely love it.  It is so easy to work with and very forgiving to a basic painter like me!   So I've been madly painting some of the not so special bits of furniture and oddments that have been sitting in the garage waiting for some attention. 

of course I have my little assistant Dexter overseeing my work!

This is one from a pair of bookcases from my teen years!  At some stage they were bright orange - but my husband removed multi layers of lead paint  (at my request) and took it back to the natural timber.  Now I wouldn't mind if they orange again - however I've settled for white.

All items turned out really well - I might try and take some photos inside the house when it's nice and bright.
This our resident brushtail possum.  I know I know I know - they can be pests and I should not be feeding him - but he is so cute!  He must get very hot up in the roof on some of our summer days though.

If you've got this far well done!  I'm offering a giveaway if you leave a comment on my blog - anybody can enter, including international readers..  Of course I would love to have new followers but that is not a requirement. Prizewinner drawn randomly. 

I have a little parcel with several pretty vintage hankies and two vintage Australian tea towels to be mailed to the winner. Giveaway drawn on February 15.  

EDITED TO ADD:  I have had to change the draw date to 11 February.  My apologies, but I will be away after that with no computer access.

cheers for now