Fabric Buying Online

We’re pretty settled in our new place, having moved 4 months ago, however there are a few tweaks needed to make for best presentation and comfort. One issue, once winter came, was the uncovered windows above the sliding doors in the kitchen/family room area. When the sun started shining through these windows we knew there was a problem. The sun comes in full on to our music collection and photographs. I decided the only way to overcome it was to cover the windows. Curtains (simple flat ones) are the easiest way. However, that brings up other problems, like finding an appropriate fabric. Not an easy task in Australia. There are a couple of stores which stock furnishing fabric, however I’ve never been impressed by the available range. Of course there are fabric swatch books you can pour over and order from, however as soon as you go down that path the stores seem to charge like wounded bulls.

So I hit the internet. I found some sites with decent ranges and somewhat reasonable prices. One charged in a very strange way – per 45cm unit of length, rather than say by the yard or metre. Even though these guys were based in Australia their shipping cost was very high. That put me off from the start. I continued searching a found a fabulous US website Fabric.com where I spent a happy hour searching. Not only did I find a fabulous fabric, I was able to find it a range of colours. Even better was their pricing and shipping cost. For less than half the price of the Aussie site I was able to order exactly what I wanted. Fabric for the windows, with enough extra to make 2 cushion covers, plus the same fabric in another colour to make a further 2 cushions, all for less that $100 (including shipping). The shipping is via UPS and you get exact tracking details, you can follow the package’s journey the whole way. Having left Georgia on 2 July my package has now departed Hawaii.  The anticipated delivery date (to my door) is July 8. That means 7 working days from the date of my order. If you’re lucky enough to live in the US you get free shipping for orders over $35.


Free Shipping on order $35+

Here is a link to their site (home decor fabrics) Fabric.com

Here are the fabrics I chose.

Embrace in Corn Yellow

Embrace in Tangelo

Robot Vacuum Cleaners, are they worth it?

In my new house we have what seems like acres of white tiled floor. I simply couldn’t keep up with cleaning the dust bunnies and small (make that tiny) winged bugs which seem to get through the screens, determined to find a nice white tiled place to die. Not to mention hair. I go outside to brush my hair but that didn’t stop me finding hair on the floor, every day.

I’ve been checking out the infomercials for robot vacuum cleaners for a while and even checked out a few in person at various stores. I decided I didn’t want to pay almost $700 for the one on the infomercial. So I waited, thinking that Aldi would bring one out soon, and, (drum roll…) they did. We got up bright and early on the appointed Saturday and ventured into the store ($169 in hand), hurriedly scooting down the aisle to find their stock of robot vacs. I was not disappointed. They were neatly piled up, gloriously displayed. I was a bit surprised that not everyone in the store wanted one, anyway that meant I was able to claim one without too much competition.

So upon returning home I opened the box and immediately got it charging. I plugged the charger directly into the unit thinking it might be faster than using the charging dock. I don’t know the answer to that question. When it was fully charged I gleefully used the remote control to start it and off it went.

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I have to say that it picked up a lot of hair around the side brush on its first outing, plus dust and grit.

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One thing proved to be too much of a challenge for my new flat friend. The fringing on my rugs. Poor little robo kept getting tangled in the fringes and calling (well, beeping…) for help. So there was only one thing to do. Cut the fringing. Not a small undertaking as there are 7 rugs to trim. Anyway most of the job is done and both robo and I are happy.

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Cutting the fringing was a small inconvenience for the benefit of having the floors cleaned easily.

The manufacturers talk about gadgets called virtual walls to restrict the cleaners area of work, I have simply put it in a room and shut the door, let it go about its business for say 10 minutes then moved it to another room. It does have challenges navigating lots of chair legs, so I lifted them up for a thorough under the table clean. The floor under furniture has never been so dust-free before and the evil bathroom dust/hair combo has been thwarted. I figure a few minutes every second day solves that problem.

A salesman for another brand told me they were like a carpet sweeper. I disagree. While they aren’t as effective as a super dooper Dyson vac, the unit is very effective, especially considering the effortless nature of the cleaning. Are they worth it? Well I don’t think I’d pay $700 but I paid $169 and I’m very happy.

Aldi Bauhn 9.7″ Wi-Fi Android Tablet Review

I purchased the Aldi Bauhn Tablet on 23 February 2013 (I also bought the Bauhn Tablet Case and Bluetooth Keyboard).

I had no expectations about the tablet. I just hoped it would work for me.

Aldi Bauhn Tablet Feb 2013

It certainly does. I’m impressed at the battery life 10+ hours suits me fine. The screen is clear – no issues there. The speed is very good, faster  than my cable connected laptop.

At the moment I’m using wi-fi from my home router for the internet connection. I don’t want a monthly plan so I’m considering the Savvytel $99.95 for 10Gig of data – 365 day expiry to get true mobile internet.


I declined to buy the $14.99 SanDisk 16GB SDHC card from Aldi, deciding to purchase a 32GB version for $21.20 on eBay. PS The 32GB card arrived in 2 days. Installed easily (it’s tiny), no problems with the slot cover, tablet picked it up immediately, so now I have 48GB storage.

Re the Bauhn Tablet Case and Keyboard (I’m using it right now) it works fine the bluetooth automatically disconnects after a while (maybe 5 mins) and reconnects when you hit a key. Sure it’s a bit bulky, but it does include the keyboard, like carrying a small book. No problem for me. The issue I have is that it’s obviously NOT designed to fit their own product (most likely suits an iPad better) because the cutouts to allow access to the on/off switch aren’t perfectly placed. The cutout for the rear camera barely makes it over the camera. You can’t access the volume controls at all, but of course you can via the keyboard. The $29.99 price is great, I’ve seen others which look just the same to me for over $80.

So all things considered I’m a very happy buyer. For $249 + $29.99 I’ve got a totally functional android tablet. Well done Aldi.

UPDATE:  With the help of a sharp craft knife my husband cut away sections of the case to make the buttons and headphone jack more accessible. Then I painted over the cut sections with black nail polish – looks just perfect.

UPDATE TWO: My original Bauhn tablet gave me some trouble – doing strange things like accessing apps without my input and then the battery said it was 100% charged one minute and zero charge the next. Once turned off it would not turn back on. I called the Tempo Australia support people who recommended I do a reset – you can do this procedure either from a turned off state or when it’s on – I did the reset and still had issues. I was told to return it (given a return authorisation) and they would check it.  I did return it to them – they give a Australia Post authorisation so I didn’t need to pay for postage. After a few days I called them to check progress and was told the unit was not repairable (I don’t know what went wrong with it) and they sent me a brand new one. The whole return process took a week till I received the new one. So no complaints from me about their service.

Homewell Ice Cream Maker Review

Well, after my disappointing experience with the Aldi Ice Cream Maker I considered my options, should I a) give up and buy commercial ice cream? b) spend a heap more money to get the type of maker which has a freezing mechanism or c) try another brand of the (much) cheaper sort of ice cream maker (with the inner bowl you need to thoroughly freeze before use).  Given that makers of type c exist, I figured they must work, right?

I found a “Homewell” brand maker in a local shop, by accident when browsing, it only cost $19.95, so I thought I’d buy it and try it.  I’m glad I did. It works!

Homewell Ice Cream Maker

I got everything as cold as I could. The inner bowl had been in the freezer for a week. I think it’s found a permanent place there. I chilled the outer bowl in the fridge, I even put the paddle in the freezer. Then I placed the ice cream mix (recipe below) in the freezer for 20 minutes, just to ensure success (given that it’s summer here and quite hot). Within 25 minutes the mixture thickened up and the only issue I had was that I heard a clicking noise and didn’t know what it was until I removed the ice cream from the bowl.   A quantity had frozen very hard against the inner bowl and the paddle was scraping against it. All up I let it mix for about 35 minutes.

The resulting consistency was good, and definitely “ice cream”.

The simple no egg recipe is as follows:-

  • 300ml of milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar – I used caster sugar
  • 600ml of thickened cream
  • 1 teaspoon of best quality vanilla essence
  • Place milk in a bowl, add sugar and mix until sugar has dissolved (no need to heat)
  • Add thickened cream and mix, add vanilla essence and mix.

Ice Cream!