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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Napier and Hawkes Bay NZ

Christmastime is our busy summer season here, which is why I have not posted for ages. Gardens, visitors and a busy band schedule keep me away from blogging.
We ran away last week, booked an Air BnB in Napier (population 64,ooo)- which is 476k (295miles) from our home, and 320k N/E of the capital, Wellington. (Not so much a small town - but oh well).
Primarily we went for a Toto concert at one of the wineries, but for 4 nights so that we could have a look around as I hadn't been there since the 60's (I was very young haha).

Napier is known for it's Art Deco architecture - owing to the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake that meant a lot of the city had to be rebuilt. They make a feature of it with an Art Deco festival every year. (That's the Mr)

Vintage shopping at Charleston Chic

She also sang through the megaphone, which made it sound like an old record

Napier lights up at night with many beautiful light-changing fountains

Controversial zigzag track up Te Mata Peak - local Maori were not consulted when a permit was given to Craggy Range Winery to make the track. Locals want it removed.

We bypassed the big wineries for this one - Akarangi - in an old church. The wine tasting session was an entertainment in itself. 

The carved gateway to the Star Compass at Waitangi Regional Park,Hawkes Bay.

The Star Compass, Waitangi Regional Park, Hawkes Bay

Wineries, vintage shopping, stunning scenery and a  great concert - what's not to love?

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Christmas Glimpses

Wow has this year gone fast for everyone? Here we are at Christmas's door, doing what we can to reduce the commercialism of the holiday, yet trying to maintain the celebration. So here are a few pics of how we've gone about it this year.

The Christmas Tree

I find myself over the effort that I have put into trees in earlier days - the bought-from-charity pines, and the wilding (weed) pine even, that I kept green in our hot summer by misting with water every this year's tree is low maintenance...

Found driftwood from our stash and decorations from the collection that gets hauled out every year. I have to say that I found inspiration for these ideas on Pinterest.

I have admired the cute little scenes with a Christmas tree tied atop a vehicle in snow - even though we don't have a snowy Christmas, I'd like to see one one day. My tree is a piece of rosemary, and the snow is epsom salts - which will be recycled out to the garden for the tomatoes and citrus later. The light is a rechargeable that plugs into the USB port. The old car is one we found on the beach.


My daughter's partner Logan is into landscaping - and on his Christmas list was "native plants". It just so happens that we needed to clear these off our bush path, so I hope he likes them!

We've only lost the droopy one - the rest are looking good

Our dogs will be getting a stocking - Munta will be getting a new spare lead, made from the strap of a damaged-beyond-donating handbag.

Twitch (Logan's dog) will be getting all the tennis balls that we have found on the beach, because Munta has no interest in them whatsoever. Plus some packaging free dog treats each.

Derek and I have agreed on a $10-limited something fun from the op shop each, because we have bought ourselves an experience gift of a few days away with a music concert included.

We might not have a snowy Christmas here in Paradise, but we have Christmas colours in our flax flowers, with the added bonus that the birds and bees love it.

In case I don't get back here before Christmas - Merry Christmas everyone, and a safe and peaceful holiday to you all.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Green Parking, In the Sewing Mood

One of my goals for this year was to quit getting those plastic parking tickets from the parking machines. 
I'm ashamed to say that it has taken me far too long, but I have now logged on with and it was easy.
Now when I go to a carpark, all I have to do is log in on my phone and say how long I want to park for and pay. The beauty of this is that if I overstay my time, I can log in from wherever I am and extend the time without having to rush back from somewhere, or risk getting ticketed.

No more of these for me

Even after years ago deciding to stop using new plastic, I am still reducing plastic out of my life. 
Do you have this parking payment mode where you live?

We're finally getting sorted after our return from holiday. It has been hectic; preparing houses for new tenants and coping with the loss of Derek's 95 year old mother, just weeks after our return. Also our gardens were overgrown and seeds needed starting. 
I was hankering for a week in the studio, just pottering. Yesterday was the first day I managed...and this is what I got up to...

Sewed a button on daughter's boyfriend's pants (button was lost -  mum'll have one)
Made 10 produce bags (for the Boomerang bags stall at the Vegan Expo this weekend)
Repaired 2 teatowels - because I like mended stuff
Patched a pair of leggings that snagged on a stick while gardening - they now have a piece of black lace covering the mend, on black leggings.
Made a sewing machine dust cover - finally, after how many years??
Put a zip into a single use vacuum cleaner bag, so it's not single use any more. The zip was salvaged from my old work uniform.
Made an avocado ripening bag from an old blanket scrap. I'm dubious that this is going to work, but will post it if it does. It's meant to hasten ripening ++
Made a draught stopper snake from some knit fabric and scraps from the overlocker. It looks like a python that swallowed a villager, I think the next one will be an improvement hehe.  

It has been unseasonably cold today and I have been back in there again much to do. I figure that if I complete lots of projects then there won't be so much to stash and tidy.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Packaging Free Snack, Upcycled Belt and More

The Packaging Free Snack

What do you grab when you want something with your glass of wine? I've been going for this (see below) lately as it comes packaging free and stops me wanting other wicked things (corn chips). 

Ages ago I posted on how to make no-fail popcorn. Now popcorn can be a little dull, therefore I have discovered that combining it with wasabi peas (which I am able to buy in bulk in my own container) changes the game completely. 
I also add a bit of salt and vinegar flavouring (which I make myself by saturating rocksalt with vinegar and letting it evaporate off in the sun or a warm oven.
If you really want to go all out - try adding snips of nori sheet (sadly not packaging free) and I also throw in some bits of crackers that have broken when I've made my knackebrot crackers

The Upcycled Belt

I have felt inspired by the belts and straps that I've seen on Pinterest made by Amy Hanna, as seen on
I have finally got around to making one myself using my old PU belt that was getting to the end of it's life.
I have also taken the opportunity to make it just a little longer, (ahem, it must have shrunk).


It was fun to design as I went along. It probably won't appeal to the straight line brigade, but I like it.

A snap of the witch I made for Katie's Halloween party - using an old black umbrella. It's not as good as the ones I saw on Pinterest, but oh well, it was a quick job and she liked it. 

There's no top half in case you're wondering

I thought I'd leave you with a pic of a bright spot in my garden. I grew these Sweet William flowers from seed. They have been lovely to pick and give. Note to self - grow more flowers. 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Holiday Asides, Simplicious Flow, A Buzz

Hi All.

Remember before I went on holiday, I had made these passport holders from my stash of things, so they cost me nothing - I just wanted to say that they held together perfectly and were a delight to use. A win for DIY.

Another aside from my holiday..I am fond of reading magazines on the plane, but that can get to be expensive. I try to pick up reasonably new copies in our op shops before I travel, which is also more enviro friendly.
I had a laugh when I opened one to find that someone had commented in pen a few times throughout the magazine -  funny/ witty comments. I only saved one to post.

Don't be afraid to do this if you are passing a magazine on - it had me chuckling away.
Also, if you go to Dubai - a magazine will cost you an arm and a leg (I walked away without buying). A common Australian Woman's Weekly was $30NZ, and all others were even more!

Have a look at this newly-out cookbook, Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson, of I Quit Sugar fame.

I was impressed to see that she's dealing with the subject of food waste - giving recipes that use up all of the ingredients, plus addressing the use of plastic wrap and plastic waste. I've never seen that in a cookbook before - it's definitely different.
There are of course some great healthy recipes in there too that I'm looking forward to trying.
Oh, and look what else is in there...exciting! 

Yes, that's a mention of my little blog with my adapted recipe for Miracle Pan Grease.
You just never know what's going to happen next in this life.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

It's Good To Be Home

We've been flat out since getting home two weeks ago, but oh what a wonderful holiday - 6 weeks in England and France. We visited friends and family and just ambled through those beautiful old villages in both countries, then a week in Paris to finish off.
It's difficult when you live on the other side of the world to those wonderful places - it increases our footprint a lot by doing all that travel, and all I can say is that we try to do what we can to balance it back.
Some of our souvenirs included vintage items we found in the markets. 

Some unplayable instruments that we lugged home to add to our wall decor

I bought no new clothes for myself and popped into a lot of thrift shops, finding that an interesting insight into different countries. I must say that I think ours and Australia's stack up pretty well against those that I visited. 
The produce markets in France were just gorgeous. Such beautiful displays with no plastic - I wish ours were that good.

The market in Bordeaux

Now that we're home I have hurriedly planted all my seeds, but I'm a bit late with them so I've been scouting around looking for plants that don't come in plastic punnets (found some lettuces) - will try our local Sunday market.

There's nothing like going away to make you appreciate what you've got.
Yesterday's walk on the beach coincided with low tide, so we picked a bag of pipis - which I cooked for my daughter's lunch today - much to her excitement. (Seriously, she loves them)

Sorry I've missed a lot of others blog posts while I've been away and still not caught up - I'll be back with you all soon.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Some Novel Ideas and Some Travel Plans

I love to see unwanted items reused for a different purpose, so when we saw this wall decor in a cafe in Auckland, I had to get a shot.

An industrial style cafe uses old baking pans to give texture to a wall

The next item I had to think hard about whether to buy it or not. It's plastic and it's a gizmo (generally 2 reasons not to buy). But if you've read recently where I rub on sliced lemon or lime for deodorant, you might see why I found this attractive.

spray on deodorant

It gives a fine spray and the citrus lasts in the fridge for a week with the nozzle screwed in. There are two different sizes, so when I run out of limes, the bigger one will work on lemons.
There is an added bonus that no one will now accidentally use my deodorant lime, and this way it can also be used to spray on fish, salads or fruit to stop it browning. I love it.

My reading stack lately

I've been sewing with scraps

You may see a recurrent theme beginning to appear...

I think neck pillows are a great idea on long haul flights, but they take up so much space (unless they are inflatable - and I'm not about to go and buy one). So I had the brilliant idea of removing the foam filling of the one I already have and replacing it with those spare clothes that you should pack in carry on luggage, in case your suitcase goes missing.
I copied the pattern and made another one for Derek. 

It looks a bit lumpy but is really comfortable

Next was something to replace those awful plastic travel folders that travel agents give out (and we refuse). I could have bought some - but hey, I thought it would be more fun to add it to the things to do the week before leaving...

Made using materials on hand

So yes, we're off. You've probably guessed the destinations by the reading material. There's a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and a Van Morrison performance scheduled in, among other things. 
Right now I'm just sick of cleaning to make sure it's all ship shape for the housesitters.
I might not be able to publish your comments meantime. I've had to edit comments thanks to a few spammers and I'm not sure that I can do it from my phone.
 So I'll be back here in a couple of months. Until then - au revoir!