Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Tea Tree

Today I got an email from Threadless (the super cool crowd-source t-shirt website) that my design was accepted for scoring. I'm major excited!

Does this mean it will be printed and available for purchase? Maybe... but that's where I need your help.

In order to get printed my tee needs to gets lot's of high votes and positive comments. At the moment it has 10 scores and I have no idea what they are.

Please, please, please go to THIS WEBSITE and vote for my t-shirt. 

I know you all want a chance to get a hold of this shirt but without votes it just won't happen. 

Thanks for your help team

x Debbie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

An atheist's approach to Lent

This time last year I was contemplating whether I would participate in the 40 days fasting that is Lent. I had read lots of blog articles and Facebook posts about what people were going to give up and I was seriously considering whether I would do the same.

In the end I didn't take part as I thought, being an atheist, it would be hypocritical to do so. I wouldn't be forgoing something to bring myself closer to god, using it to pray, or as a penance for my sins throughout the year. If I participated it would be just to see if I could and that seemed a bit shallow.

Then I heard Alain de Button talk about his book Religion for Atheists and he raised the point that perhaps those of us non-religious-types can co-opt religious traditions simply for bettering ourselves. This wasn't a new perspective to me as I'd argued this point myself while I was trying to make my to-Lent or not-to-Lent decision. As I listened to the points he made I found myself nodding my head and regretting the decision not to take part in Lent.

While the tradition of Lent in Catholicism focuses on prayer & penance why could I not take these 40 days that were already marked in the calendar and use them to make myself a better person. For me Lent would be about discipline, bringing myself closer to the values I hold (even questioning those values), living, and ultimately appreciating, my life in the present moment.

This year I am taking part. I am going to give up the internet for 40 days. This is going to be hard, but I wanted to find something that would be hard, would challenge me and hopefully have me coming out the other side as a different person (even if it is only that I spend my nights reading instead of on Youtube).

I do have to build in some strict rules as I currently work in web design so the Internet is my job. I'm also about to go back to uni in two weeks so I will have to use the internet to access my course information. But aside from my paying work and essential university internet I will be turning it off.

The Rules

1. No Facebook 
At all. Not for work, not to check my news feeds. Not at all.

2. No Pinterest, Instagram, Blogging or other social media. 
This means I can't view it (on any computer or mobile device) and I can't post to it.

3. Essential Internet Only
Work internet will be restricted to the hours when I am working and will be limited to only websites I am working on. I cannot access the internet in my breaks or sneak a look at non-work internet while at the computer.

Uni internet will be restricted to UQ websites only - Our course listings and library database. The only exception is sites that have been given to us in class that we must access for assessment.

4. Restricted Email hours + Internet Banking
Emails can only be accessed for 1 hour a day for essential correspondence (bills, university notices, online shop orders). All internet banking must be done in this hour.

5. No Online TV
Iview, Youtube and all on-demand TV is banned.

6. No Podcasts
This is going to be the hardest. My Podcast playlist on itunes will not be accessed. I will not listen to them at work or on my ipod. No streaming of them on Stitcher either.

Reading back this sounds like it is going to be a very difficult 40 days - It's only when I started to catalogue what I won't be able to do under the 'No Internet' heading that I realised just how much time I invest in this thing. But I am determined to get through it, and honestly, I can't see how spending a few weeks without the internet could leave me worse off.

I haven't yet read Religion for Atheists - perhaps I'll read it over the next 40 days, I'm pretty confident that I will get a lot of reading done.

If you haven't come across Alain de Button before I recommend watching this talk... he's an interesting man with interesting ideas.

Is anyone else planning to give up something for Lent (for whatever reason, religious or reasons similar to mine)? 

Let me know in the comments... I still have a few days to read them :)

Edit - completely forgot to add Lent is from 13 February - 30 March this year

Sunday, February 3, 2013

DIY Window Herb Garden

I love cooking with fresh ingredients so have had setting up a herb garden on my to-do list for a while.

In the past my herbs have sat outside, but this usually results in them getting feasted on my the punk teenage possums that live in the tree next door.

This time round I hatched a plan to keep my herbs possum-safe and close at hand for when I am cooking.

I don't have much space in my kitchen so getting the pots up off my counter was essential. This is a very easy project and I finished it in a couple of hours.

Step 1

Measure up your window and cut a piece of dowel to fit. Make sure the dowel is thick enough to bear the weight of the plants you are going to hang there.

Step 2

Measure out the number of hooks you will need for your pots and space them out out evenly. Cup hooks are easy to screw in by hand. To make it easier hammer a guide hole (usually only 2-3 taps then take the nail out) and use pliers to twist the hook in once it gets too tight for you.

Alternatively you can use s-hooks - no screwing in of hooks necessary!

Step 3

Measure up your window sill how high you want your pots. Remember your pots will hang lower than the dowel and you want them to be at a comfortable height to access the pots, but not so low they are in your way - especially if they are over your sink.

Drill in curtain brackets on either side of the window and place your dowel in the brackets.

Step 4

You can purchase pots that are designed to be hung from hooks, but if you don't have these you will need to drill your own holes. Ensure the hole is big enough for your hook and they are in the same place on each pot to keep them hanging straight.

Steer clear of ceramic or glass pots (if you are drilling your own holes) as you are likely to have a broken pot instead of one with a hole in it. I used galvanised metal pots from ikea, but you could also use plastic ones.

 Step 5

Pot up your herbs in pots that will fit inside your hanging pots. You don't want to pot them straight in there for a couple of reasons:

1. You won't have drainage (believe me, you don't want your pots dripping water all over your kitchen) so your herbs will get way too soggy and will die.

2. While your herbs will do well in a sunny window eventually you are going to have to give them a holiday outdoors. Or if they are annuals you will just compost them and replace. This is much easier if you can just take the interior pot out.


Now you have your kitchen herb garden. I have been using my fresh herbs regularly in my cooking and nothing tastes as good as food you have cooked with fresh herbs, especially ones you grew yourself.

Some tips - I have got another group of herbs outside (in a place where the possums can't get them) ready to swap over when my indoor herbs are ready to replace. This rotation schedule makes it easier to keep your indoor kitchen herb garden looking fresh all year round.