Sunday 23 February 2020

Missing In action

Hi folks, you might have thought that I'd dropped off the edge of the earth, but the truth is that I've been feeling for a while that my blog has mostly run it's course.
There's nothing worse than forcing a blog, so my blog posts have become sporadic, and now they might only appear once or twice each year, but it will be when there is something I feel is worthy to share.

What I have been doing is directing a lot of my energy into getting Intercept Fabric Rescue up and running. For that, I have just built a website, which is still a work in progress, but gone live anyway. You can find it here -
plus I will be writing the blog attached to the website. 

Beautiful vintage fabrics that we are saving

It is an exciting time - with a new shop opening soon, and a lot of interest in what we're doing. The best scenario is that this model goes worldwide.

So, I'll see you around, when I pop up here or drop in to your blogs.


Tuesday 24 December 2019

Christmas 2019

Blooms from the pohutukawa - New Zealand's Christmas tree

Wow, where did the past year go??
It's Christmas Eve here in New Zealand. The eggnog is prepared in the fridge, as is the trifle, parts of the salads prepared to go with the cold chicken and ham. Family are bringing the potato salad and cheesecake. Plus there are all the trimmings, like cherries and fudge, camembert and crackers, pistachio nuts.

We've got raspberries and strawberries from the garden -  a benefit of Christmas in summer. The weather forecast is for cloudy and around 23 degrees - typical Christmas day here. 

Wooden Christmas tree, handmade by the seller's grandad, bought from a garage sale near Raglan.

How fortunate we are. It is this life that makes me want to help those less fortunate during the year - by redirecting spare food, books and clothing to those in need, saving those things from being wasted at the same time. 

Reusing old T-shirts is a great way to wrap bulky boxes. T-shirt yarn for ties.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas wherever you are. May 2020 bring enlightenment to the world and prosperity of spirit. Kindness to all.

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.


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

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.