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Sunday, 7 July 2019

Plastic Free July 2019

I love to read about the plastic-free movement and how many people get switched on to it starting with a pledge to try Plastic Free July.
I've been gradually working towards being as new-plastic-free in my purchases as possible, and I'm still not there. Let's face it - it's hard.

One of my goals this year has been to find a sandwich bread recipe that is virtually no knead, like my other seed bread recipe Busy People's Bread. I have failed to find one, so this week I have bought a new-to-me bread machine. The first loaf was pretty good, and I'm on track to save bringing home 26 bread bags/year. I'll still be making the seed bread, four loaves at a time in the oven. A plus with the bread machine will be easier pizza dough.

My lovely helper holding the container - labels on the underside

A new thing here is being able to take a container to the supermarket and they'll make a bit of a drama about taking it away to clean it, then we can get items from the deli packaging-free.I'm loving buying feta and gouda like this. Just ignoring the drama..("have you got any other shopping to do...I'll be 5 minutes cleaning this" kind of comments). So I got them to put three things in it. It's a bit dearer to buy like this, but the feta's nicer than what I was getting.

My next change for P-F July has been making my own custard powder. Yes, I know you can make it with eggs etc, but it has to be sustainable and I'm not the only cook. The bulk bin custard powder was horrible so we reverted to packaged Edmonds. My challenge was to make something convenient that had to be as nice...success...recipe follows.

DIY Custard Powder

1 cup of icing sugar
1/2 cup of cornflour
1/2 cup of milk powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

Grind all to a fine powder with a stick blender or similar. Store in an airtight container. 
Use as for regular bought custard powder, but I did find I needed to use more. I'm going to try adding more cornflour to the next mix. You can also add a couple of drops of yellow food colouring if you want it to be more like the bought stuff.

Our last innovation, which isn't a plastic-free one, has been to change most of our light bulbs to LED. They have come way down in price recently (now only around $3-$4/ bulb) and should pay for themselves quickly with energy saving and they'll last longer, plus they don't give off heat. If you haven't done yours yet, look into it. #money-saving 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Sweet Little Footlets

In order not to burden the world with more clothing, I try not to buy new...but there are some exceptions. We all have our own limits that we set and mine are socks, underwear, swimwear, night wear. So I have set out to try making my own versions of some of these.
I found a free pattern for footlets/ socklettes here on Sometimes it's the Little Things and although the first ones didn't fit my size 8 feet, it wasn't hard to scale them up.

I used some scraps of stretch material and lingerie elastic that I'd inherited from my mother's stash. So far it's cost me nothing but a little time - I'm thinking they only take about 15 minutes to make a pair, once the sizing was sorted.
I'm never going to be a foot model!

I merrily put them on with some shoes and the first thing that happened was that they scrunched down under my feet - oh no!

Now my bought footlets have a piece of silicone on the heel to stop them from doing that, so in town the next day I whipped into Spotlight and bought a small amount of swimwear elastic. It's rubber and could be bought in small amounts off the card.

Once home I hand sewed a 55mm piece to the inside back of my footlet - and it stayed put!

So now I can make these out of anything I like - but old tee shirt material is a winner. The elastic cost me $1.75 - enough for 3 pairs. There's no buying new plastic packaging or synthetic materials. What a great gift idea too.

So not only is this a win for me - but if you have footlets that slip down - give the elastic fix a try!

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Weeding out Possessions

This year I decided my big mission is reducing our surplus stuff. It's not Konmari style (tip - her blog is quite interesting) - more like Swedish Death Cleaning. This isn't really something new - I know, because my mother did it. 
It seems we get to our 60's and have just accumulated so much stuff ! Our kids aren't going to want it - it turns out we've both bred minimalists. 
So if we want our stuff to be disposed of appropriately we need to do it ourselves while we are fit and able and of sound mind. It takes a lot of effort.

So recently I have got rid of: - 
my vintage china collection and hollow stem champagne saucers and old bone handled knives (and made a tidy profit), a spare fridge/freezer and a lawnmower via Facebook Marketplace.

a huge carload (including daughters' x 2 clothes) at the local boot sale. What was left went to a charity shop, and the only thing they wouldn't oil filled electric heater with a little rust, went to someone on the Pay it Forward page. When we found that person was raising her sister's four children and they had nothing..we threw in some old toys, balls and art supplies.

a bag full of books and CDs waiting to go off to the Zonta Booksale.

my silver cutlery set to my daughter;

a tray of plastic plant pots that went to a market plant grower - and there's still another tray to go. Most of these were found washed up in our river, or rescued from someone who was going to throw them out.

Some sets of snorkel gear are set aside to take to the people of Vanuatu. We are stopping there on a cruise later this year, and I want to make some use of that trip by taking supplies for the people there  - but more on that later in the year.

It has caught on with step-daughter Katie's - she's had a huge clear out too. A lot of glitter got put out to go...I considered throwing this out as it is a pollutant - microplastic - but after discussion with friends it's going to the local drama society. "They would be buying glitter anyway" was the comment - so it seemed like the best option.
glitter - being packed off

a lot of my material stash of small pieces has been cut into pennant shapes ready for a stand we're doing at our local Multucultural Family day, where we're helping people to make bunting and produce bags, plus promoting Boomerang Bags.

We even gave Derek's old caravan away - yes the one we did up. One of those pics has been repinned 3k times on Pinterest! It was getting run-down and we weren't using it. Our neighbours happily took it as they were living in a tent on their block of land. It was a mission to get it moving again!

This decluttering is going to go on all year! I can't tell you how good it feels. 

Friday, 19 April 2019

Mending Matters - It Really Does!

While I was waiting for this book, Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh to arrive, Derek's niece Anabel arrived first. I had requested that our library buy the book in, Anabel arrived as part of her overseas adventure from England, via India.
I love this book, which is lucky as I spilled red wine on it and may end up buying it!

Anabel arrived wearing a really flattering jumpsuit - full of holes.
Before I could say Sashiko mending, Anabel offered up that she should maybe do something about the jumpsuit, which she had rescued from a fellow traveler who was about to throw it out. 
We then had a discussion on mending and went through my fabric scraps. We found some suitable patching material and the next morning I couldn't help but sew on an interior patch with hand stitching. Anabel liked the hole left as frayed, but in the Mending Matters book the holes are tidied up and the edges stitched.

Anabel's jumpsuit, Anne's wabisabi stitching.

I sent Anabel off with the patches and thread and needles. She's keen to keep adding patches in her down time - a suitable occupation for flights to the other side of the world - so long as she doesn't try to carry scissors.

Did I mention how much I love mending stuff? It's exciting that visible mending is on trend - and slow fashion is a thing.

Our last Repair Cafe (where I help with mending) was a lot more lively than the first - thanks to a bit more advertising. We had a couple of sewing mends, then helped some sweet little boys make gift bags, which they were so excited about.

 I was delighted to take my scissors along - including my pinking shears - to the man with a grinder there, and now have superbly sharp scissors - all for a donation. I didn't even know that pinking shears could be sharpened! Even the worst scissors that couldn't cut paper can now cut material.  💃💃 Happy dance.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Camping and Miscellaneous Art

Hi and welcome!

Well we survived the first camping trip in 10 years. We learnt what else we need to pack and will definitely be doing it again. We have just bought a second hand gazebo that will be useful for an outdoor kitchen and also as cover for when we're having a car boot sale soon.
We stayed at a Dept of Conservation campground - Puriri Bay, Northland NZ  - $13/per person/night. The facilities are long drop toilets, plentiful cold water, shower cubicles to hang your solar showers plus some cold showers. 

Me, sketching outside our tent

The view from our tent
There's lots of bird life and kiwis can be heard at night, which is not as common here as you might think.

Very friendly ducks here.

And now to completely change topic...

Recently someone was asking for upcycling uses for old CDs and I remembered that I had this photo of my Daughter from around 11 years ago, when she was about 14, modelling in a wearable arts competition. I unfortunately don't have the artist's details. The tiara and parasol are both decorated with broken cds. Sorry, the picture quality isn't that great - it's a photo of a photo.

 I posted here about the denim art of Ian Berry recently. I wanted to try making one, so, boldly, here is my first attempt. I've bought some old canvasses and have covered one ready for my next, more adventurous piece.

Denim art surfer - made from discarded denim

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Mangrove Honey, Little Balls of Energy

Hi All - look what we've got in our backyard!

They are only here while the mangroves are flowering, but maybe it will be an annual event.
Who knew you could get mangrove honey! We're looking forward to trying some, plus we needed a new honey-in-glass supplier - and he found us!

Energy Balls

I made up this recipe when we wanted a little something with our morning coffee to give us some zip to get through the rest of the chores. It's especially good when I don't feel like using the oven - because that usually means that I cook several things to be efficient with heating the oven.
The recipe is fairly flexible - just use what you've got and get it to the right degree of moisture that the balls will hold together.

Into the food processor place:
1 cup of dates
1/2 cup of nuts
1/4 cup of seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower - any of these)
6-8 pieces of crystalized ginger
1/3 cup of dark chocolate buttons, melted

Whiz them up. It should be able to be rolled into small balls - about 1 teaspoonful is a good size, then roll in coconut and store until they're gone in a container in the fridge.
They'd be good for children's lunchboxes too. Heck, the kids could make them.

Well we're off camping this week - that will be the first time in over 10 years for both of us. With our band winding down there should be more opportunities if we enjoy it (and I'm picking we will - fishing, reading, playing guitar, hopefully meeting some new people). I post a pic next time - we're going somewhere local and lovely.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

A Day of Sadness

March 15th 2019 will always be remembered here as a day of sorrow in the wake of the mosque shootings in Christchurch. Fifty lives taken as they went about their peaceful practice of prayer.

Hopefully it will unite all New Zealanders even more as they stand in solidarity with the Muslims who call New Zealand home. 
Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to change our gun laws to no longer allow semi automatic weapons and to tighten gun ownership regulations.

We are a peaceful country so this is unexpected and shocks us all to the core.

Kia Kaha - stay strong 

Arohanui - great love  💓