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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Reusable Gift Bags

Isn't it funny how you always do something one way - then you discover a new and better way. This time I'm talking about gift wrapping.For many years I haven't bought gift wrap, choosing to recycle anything I already had, but insisting that it has to look attractive.
For Christmas this year I made a few fabric gift bags, something I hadn't done before. I couldn't believe how easy it made gift wrapping - and of course the big plus side is that they can be reused time and time again. Also it gets other people (the recipients) using them (hopefully), if not they can give them back.

You don't really see fabric gift bags for sale anywhere do you - apart from maybe online craft sites. So I had a great idea - gift bags for every occasion. 


Fabric gift bags


I flew my idea past a friend who runs an annual Early Childhood Education conference with an environmental theme. She loved it - they want to use them as part of the environmentally friendly conference bags.
The bags can have a drawstring threaded through them and be used to hold kids toys or even as snack bags, or they can be tied with recycled ribbons, hemp string, or even fabric scraps to give gifts in.
So, I have an order for 200 - but I have until November. I am using donated fabric remnants and recycled materials to make them.

Tomatoes
One morning's pick

Derek's catch cry was "You can never have too many tomatoes". Well we have been giving them away, roasting and freezing them and of course enjoying them fresh and in savoury dishes. No, you can never have too many!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

A Little Piece of Paradise

Wow - Happy New Year! 
This is busy season for us, if you had wondered why I have disappeared.
We live on the coast, so summer is when we get more visitors than usual. It's also the time when our band is busiest, currently playing 1-2 nights/ week.
And the garden - watering, mowing lawns, picking veg and bottling fruit....and Christmas in the middle of all that! 

Visitors with camera, impressed by home baking - rare shot of self.

We had a visit from Derek's brother and his wife recently. The best part for them is if we can get down the river for the day. I whipped up date scones and pikelets to take as we stay down there for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea so that we can catch the incoming tide on the way home.

You can see our place - a little white speck on the green between our heads

We all piled into our little boat for what is a ten minute trip to the river mouth where there is the loveliest usually-deserted beach.



This year the mussels were thick, and a super low tide meant we didn't even need to swim to get them.

I just found a nice sandy place to kneel down - that's brother-in-law Jack


 With easily getting our limit of 25 mussels per person, we had enough for 4 meals of mussels - first with white wine, plus some of the fish I caught on the way home and other ingredients - a simple bouillabaise.
The next night they were done with coconut cream, and the other fish, a kahawai, was marinated in lime juice, then had coconut cream plus other things like chilli and spring onion added.
Next day mussel fritters. 
The rest I gave to my daughter who loves them.

It has mostly been beautiful weather here -I hope it holds out for Saturday, when our band will be playing in the garden bar of the Towai Tavern 

Garden bar awaiting a band