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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Random Musings

Hi All. I was going to take a little blogging holiday, but thought I'd just fire some random things on here to let you know that we made it back from the cruise ok. It's not all about the trip tho.
There were good times, but as I suspected, it's not our preferred mode of travel, mostly because of the sheer number of people. 

Dravuni Island, Fiji


Dravuni Island in Fiji has only about 158 inhabitants (not 400 as I thought), no vehicles and no roads. I thought that arriving there with a cruise ship full of passengers would be awful. However it was better than I expected. The Islanders were so gracious and the island was just beautiful. I hope they made enough money to keep themselves going all year by selling coconuts, icecream, barbecue lunches massages and colourful lavalavas.

Suva Market

Suva market (Fiji) - the biggest fruit and veg market that I've ever seen. I wish we had one like this. Very little plastic.

We didn't buy much - I'm not one for souvenirs, but this lovely coconut chandelier came home with us and came through customs with no problem whatsoever.


We're happy to be back home with our solitude and garden, which is looking pretty, although a little overgrown.


I'm busy with Intercept Fabric Rescue(earlier post) since my return. It's only been going 7 weeks and we are working hard to get systems in place. We have quite a few new volunteers joining us following a great article in the local paper.
We've rehomed a lot of clothes and bedding with those in need and some of the team are skilled upcyclers.

Upcycled by Jenny Hill


Zillions of soft toys go to the landfill throughout the world - this one has been rescued, plastic nurdles removed and restuffed with fabric waste to make it a dog toy, others will become hand puppets. 



There's lots to get on with. It certainly makes me appreciate home.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Travel - How Does It Make You Feel?

Hi All. I feel guilty. Every time I travel now( which we are reducing). It's climate change - I know that the way we travel doesn't do the planet any good and it makes me feel like a hypocrite.
But we live on an island in the Pacific, and family members live overseas.


So we are off on a cruise soon. It's our family catch up. I've never been on a cruise before, not sure how I'm going to like it, but at the same time, determined to enjoy it. 

To help give it more sense of purpose we have gathered a bagful of things to deliver to a contact in Vanuatu. Stepdaughter tells me this makes me sound like a spy. So I've gathered from friends a big bag of lightly used bras, as in Vanuatu buying a bra can cost a day's wages. There's also a bag of reusable nappies - Vanuatu having recently banned disposable nappies (good on them!). Then some small stuff - books, pens, flippers and masks. 
It makes me feel slightly less of a tourist. However travel does broaden our horizons and helps us to view things from a different perspective.


I've also been doing a bit of research. The travel agents sell us things like "you must try the delicious coconut crabs"...but I've read that they take 12 years to get to eatable size and the numbers are dwindling... 
We're not going to be wearing sun block when we swim - with the coral reefs in mind, even though I know there are supposedly reef-safe types.
One of the stops we are making in Fiji is to an island of only 400 inhabitants - with a shipload of 4,000 people! I'm kind of horrified, but I know that these people probably depend on the cruise ships to be able to exist there.

At least the cruise line that we are travelling with donates large amounts to nature conservation projects in the countries that they visit. In Northland of NZ they are generously supporting the kiwi conservation programme. 

So many environmental/ ethical dilemmas.
How do you feel when you travel? 

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Intercept Fabric Rescue

Design on an upcycled denim jacket by fabric artist Jenny Hill - Intercept instigator

Some weeks back I was approached by Jenny with the idea of rescuing some of the fabric that is going to the landfill from one of our big op shops (thrift store). 
The manager has told her that $60,000 dollars per year is spent on dumping fees by this store alone. They currently send a skip to the landfill every 2 days - most of it textiles. Apparently out of what is donated - 20% is saleable, the remaining 80% goes to the tip.
So, four of us have started Intercept - Fabric Rescue, earmarking salvaged textiles for various places and uses. These include:

Local designers using upcycled materials, such as Shelly from Ano - anoagainreuse, who mostly works in denim. 

Anoagainreuse models out shopping before a recent fashion show.

Making t-shirt bags for the store to use out of what they were throwing away.
Making t-shirt yarn for crafters to buy, plus hopefully fabric bundles for quilters etc.
Removing graphics to reuse in upcycled projects.
Saving all wool, silk, cotton, denim for reuse.
Saving what we can of synthetics to make bunting.

Rescued t-shirts made into yarn and reusable bags. Saving graphics.


The store have started making rags again - which they had stopped. They have given us a room to work from and are very supportive. 

We have big plans to promote the work of makers using Intercept fabrics, plus we have  local Design School students working on swing tags and labels for us, that use rescued materials.

It's all very new at the moment and still a work in progress, but such a great opportunity to make a difference.
Thanks to movements like the Climate Strikes, many businesses are seeing that the way forward involves a lot more consideration of the environment. They need to be seen as making positive changes. 
Now is a great time to start.

Friday, 13 September 2019

A Boot Refashion and Four Great Salvages

Hi All, this post is all about saving things from going to waste. I believe that we should treat everything as a resource, sending them to the landfill should be the very last thing, when there's no better option.

These Boots Were Made ....Shorter



These leather boots had languished in my wardrobe long enough. They were mid calf length - which is an unflattering place for a boot to end on me.
They are pull - on, so no zip to deal with. I just cut them to where I wanted, allowing for some turn over. I glued the lining down first, then glued the leather. I use the Bostik glue that I have been using to mend wetsuits - because it sticks really well and has a lot of give in it.


I've worn them more already since I did them.

The next rescue is something that I imagine most people throw away.
The protective mesh from a duty free bottle

I was trying to think of a use for these and came up with ......
 A padded coathanger


Tell me if you've come up with a good use for these.

A wonderful rescue was made by a relative who works in the recycling industry. He often comes across treasures put out with the rubbish and knows what will appeal to us.

Vintage shop sign

 I understand that Au Bon Pain is now a chain in the USA, but this one looks very authentic - we love it and it has pride of place above our coffee machine.

Our last rescue is a food rescue. One of my ex work colleagues mentioned that the fruit was falling off their trees and going to waste. They weren't able to keep up with picking, due to ill health, and none of their family wanted it, as they all have their own fruit trees.



Derek and I went there on two occasions, picking this much each time, nearly all of which we gave to our city's Food Rescue. They also receive donations of food from various businesses and it is redistributed to where it is needed. 
Most suburbs in town have a Pataka Kai (1 minute video) - or a community food stall - for people to help themselves.

And lastly, I want to link to Cynthia's blog "I'm Retired - Adventures Of A Simpler Life", which I follow. She took some great photos of an exhibition of artworks made with discarded plastic. This is one of my favourites.

Artist Sayaka Ganz

 They are so clever - thanks Cynthia.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Sorrel, Orange Peel, 2040 - the Doco.

Sorrel 

Disregard the spelling mistake!
The other weekend I went to a plant and seed swap (just wonderful to do). The generous garden owner shared a taste of his sorrel and I couldn't believe that I had never tried this before - tangy, lemony goodness in a leaf! He kindly dug out a piece for anyone who wanted some. I can't wait for it to grow big enough to divide and make more plants, and to add to salads. It looks a bit like a weed at present so will need to stay well marked!
It's a plant that you don't need to keep planting - it just keeps on giving.


How to grow sorrel by Garden Lady at Sow Small Garden

It's full of nutritional goodness - read this link Benefits of sorrel leaves by tinyqualityhomes.org

Orange Peel



On my journey to use that-which-is-under-my-nose I wondered why I was composting our orange peels. We have a tree of the most divine navel oranges. I started saving the peel, by re-peeling them with a very sharp knife to remove the pith, then laying it on a splatter guard on top of a kitchen rack which I have been placing on our wood-stove at night. I don't leave it overnight though as it is quite flammable. I'm collecting it all in a jar and will powder this lot in the food processor. This first lot (above) I pulverized with the mortar and pestle.

I've been using it to add to teas, sprinkled in homemade muesli, in baking and added to my tooth powder (tooth whitener). It gives a delicious orange flavouring.
It too appears to have multiple health benefits...Health benefits of orange zest by Pioneer Thinking

I'm also soaking peels in white vinegar for a couple of weeks, then adding the vinegar to water and a few drops of castile soap for a spray cleaner.

2040 - the documentary



Have you heard of this documentary? It's just new out. It is a positive spin on how the world could be despite climate change. It is a bit utopian, but hey, hopefully it will all catch on. There were lots of people viewing it, and the first movie that I've heard a round of applause after.

So yes, recommended...get along and see it, or tell me what you thought if you've seen it already.





Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Woman in The Wilderness, Foraging

Most mornings I try to ride 8km on my spin cycle (exercycle). This requires good reading material as it's a pretty boring activity.
I found this book  "Woman in the Wilderness" by Miriam Lancewood in the Hospice shop and swooped it up excitedly as I had seen her in a tv interview a couple of years back. 



It's a fascinating tale of living for years in the wilderness of New Zealand, just coming out every 2-3 months for supplies, and how it has changed the author. She has spent that time with her husband, who is 30 years her senior. They spent much of it living in their tent - even through winter, in the snowy South Island and hunting for meat. She walks everywhere, even in winter, in sandals.
It made me realize that we have native plants in our back yard that we have never utilized. So began my research into kawakawa and manuka teas.

Kawakawa 
Kawakawa plant. The caterpillar looking thing is the fruit.

This plant is related to the Kava plant from the Pacific Islands, which is made into a sedative, anaesthetic and euphoriant drink.
Kawakawa does mildly have some of these properties and is/was used as per this excerpt from Wikipedia

The root, fruit, seeds and especially the leaves of the kawakawa plant were favourite medicinal remedies of the New Zealand Māori. In fact, the kawakawa is one of the only plants still used by the Maori people today. Externally, Kawa Kawa was used for healing cuts and wounds, as an ingredient in vapour baths, and also as an insect repellent. Internally, it was found to be effective as a blood purifier in cases of eczema, boils, cuts, wounds, rheumatism, neuralgia, ringworm, itching sore feet, and all forms of kidney and skin ailments. The leaves were chewed to alleviate a toothache. The bruised leaves drew pus from boils and skin infections. A drink made from the leaves helped stomach problems and rheumatics when rubbed on joints. The leaf, if dried and burnt is an insect repellent.
The name kawakawa in Maori refers to the bitter taste of the leaves.


Surprisingly, the tea is quite palatable, and the leaves can also be used in

cooking to add a peppery taste. For the tea, scrunch up 3-4 leaves per cup and 

let them brew for 5 minutes. 

I'm looking forward to trying the fruit in summer when it ripens.

Manuka (Teatree)


Manuka seedling in front of the trunks of the mature trees.

This has been used as billy tea for centuries. Captain Cook used it for his crew

 to help prevent scurvy. The leaves are high in antioxidants and vitamins, so I 

was really hoping to like it. Apparently fresh leaves have more benefit and taste 

than dried. We used a teaspoonful per cup and were aware that it would be very

pale, but not to brew it too long as it would be bitter. (And not to brew it too 

strong as it was used as an emetic like that - ie can make you sick!) It was quite a 
delicate flavour, so I think my way to use it will be to replace the green tea that I 
currently buy 
and mix with my favourite Earl Grey tea.
This is also a multi-use plant. We use it for firewood and garden stakes plus it is famous for Manuka honey.

This all might be not much use to my readers from other countries...but what do you have in your backyards that you've never tried, that maybe your indigenous people have known about for centuries?


Thursday, 25 July 2019

Milk Powder Yoghurt, Chocolate Chia Pudding

 Most of my readers will have probably perfected DIY yoghurt years ago, but this is for the ones like me who have had not-so-good results for years.
For a long time I wouldn't even try making yoghurt, other than from using sachets in the Easiyo maker, because I didn't think there was any point if I had to buy milk in plastic bottles. Since we can now get milk in glass I've tried again, but could not get it like the bought stuff, and ended up making a lot of chocolate chia pudding with the less than perfect results (recipe to follow). 

This recipe makes thick creamy yoghurt - from milk powder



Original poster Lisa Rogers says... Super easy! I know there are other ways, but this is how I do it in an esiyo maker (I always see heaps for cheap in op shops).
1. Use the FULL FAT blue milk powder - fill to the 450ml line on side of the esiyo jar (or weigh 200g)
2. Cover with luke warm water, add a dash of water from kettle that you need to boil anyway. Not stone cold, not too warm, just take the chill off. Put lid on and shake to mix.
3. Add 2 Tablespoons of FULL FAT UNSWEETENED GREEK yoghurt as your starter & top to litre line with water.
4. Mix again and place in esiyo maker with boiling water for 6-8 hours, or until set. Put in fridge - any liquid that forms on top can be poured off or mixed in.
You can then sweeten or flavour as you wish.
**Remember to save 2T from your batch to start the next batch.
**If it "cooks" too long it may go a bit lumpy, just whisk together in bowl and re-jar.
Cost: You can get 5 litres of yoghurt from a 1kg bag (Pams is about $8.80 at Pak n Save) === $1.76 per litre of yoghurt 🙂 Super cheap!


We can buy milk powder packaging free here - so it's perfect. 
My lukewarm water was 35 degrees celsius (I have a thermometer) 
The culture can also be frozen as apparently it will only last for a few times of remaking before the culture becomes too weak.
Also I have read that it shouldn't be left in the fridge for longer than 2 weeks or the culture will die.

Chocolate Chia Pudding



1Tbsp of rice syrup (or 3-4 dates soaked and chopped)
4 Tbsp of chia seeds
1 cup of milk (or failed yoghurt)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all with a food processor or stick blender and put in the fridge for 3 hours or so to set. 

2 Tablespoons of Chia contain:
 64% more potassium than a banana
 2x the antioxidants of blueberries
 41% of your daily fibre
 5x more calcium than milk
100% more omega 3 than salmon
3x more iron than spinach
32% of your daily magnesium
info from www.riseorganics.co.uk