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Monday, 28 December 2015

Enjoying Post-Christmas Time, Sorted Jewellery.

Don't you love that time just after Christmas? There is still so much food around that I haven't needed to cook properly for days and can keep well away from any madness in the shops.
We got some fabulous gifts this Christmas - made all the more special by the effort family made to give us things that fitted into our wishes for things that would be environmentally friendly.
Among the gifts were two wood and canvas hanging chairs, some cool recycled fifties records (we have a turntable), some bottles of wine, a box of picture all of those together and you'll see how we are relaxing under a shady tree in the beautiful days we have been enjoying.

Every Christmas I swear that I will be more organized next year. We like to make the few Christmas cards we send and make at least some of the gifts. This year I was again making gifts at the last minute - jars of crumble topping with instructions, and I made this terrarium, which was really easy. It is low care and very quick to make, with plants from the garden and pieces collected on beach walks. For locals, the glass is a vase from Spotlight that was on sale for under $20

Boxing Day saw me reorganizing my messy jewellery box after Derek made this cool hanger for all my necklaces. The cute knobs were a find in a charity shop a couple of years ago - I bought bags of them, at less than $1/ knob.

I then fished out some plastic gift packaging (that had been received & thrown out by someone else) to put all my earrings in order.Young Katie thought that was a good idea so promptly did all hers too. (Helping her to see a use in what she throws out).

Using plastic packaging to store earrings

Another cool gift that I got (from Derek) was this battered old tin trunk, which we think looks great, tidying up a mishmash of pot plants.

We are off to Russell tonight to enjoy the other part of his gift which was tickets to NZ band The Feelers - looking forward to that!

I wish you all a Happy New Year. We will be rocking the night away with our band up in Paihia. May 2016 be good to you all.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmas Colour

There is nothing that says Christmas time to a New Zealander more than our own Christmas tree - the Pohutukawa, which flowers in December. New Zealanders all over the world hanker to be sitting in the shade of one of these magnificent trees on a beautiful beach around Christmas time.

It is a productive time for the garden here, so Christmas lunch will feature salad ingredients, roast beetroot, freshly picked beans, and hopefully raspberries all from the garden.

The Christmas plums are ready, and so far we have mostly beaten the birds to them.

The presents are mostly wrapped (thought I was not doing wrapped presents this year!-I should have taken a photo of the big present to show you - it's a wooden logging truck, handmade by a local artisan) - not so much colour coordinated this year, but that's all recycled wrapping paper of one sort or another, including the ribbons. Old Santa there was made by Derek's mother many years ago.

 The Christmas cake is made finally, better late than never. Just the lawns to mow and a bit of a tidy up and we're ready.
The weather forecast is for a sunny Christmas Day with the possibility of a shower. We should be able to get in a game of petanque on the lawn then, and probably down to the beach for some barbecued ham steaks for dinner on Christmas day.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

No-Pay Garden Assistant, Eco Breath Mints, Christmas Shopping

I'm not complaining, just noting that having Spring roll into Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere makes for a very busy time if you are a gardener.
I'm always glad to have a little help - but this recently came from an unexpected visitor.
We have a native bird called a pukeko - basically a swamp hen. We don't usually see them in our garden, which I am kind of pleased about as they can do a lot of damage, eating one's plants etc. 

Pukeko flees from his weeding leaving a trail of pulled weeds

This lone pukeko however spent ages on the lawn pulling out some of our worst lawn weeds right down to the roots, leaving a bit of a hole. Go pukeko. Then after a couple of days of this he was gone and I haven't seen him since. 

Minty breath freshener
I used to like a bit of chewing gum to freshen my breath - before I discovered that I was chewing plastic that would never go "away". Those breath freshener strips too - more plastic packaging than anything - and $7 for a packet??
So I couldn't resist this chocolate mint plant when I saw it. The pot will get reused, so it's not so bad.

Recommended natural breath freshener

I have had some interesting responses when offering friends and family a mint after their coffee in town, and then whip out a leaf that I have brought with me in a little container. After accepting it dubiously, they have admitted that it is quite refreshing. Just sit the leaf on the tongue - I think they are just as breath freshening as mint strips, but so much better for me and the world.
 It's ok - I know I am a bit unusual, but I am still on a mission to find replacements for all those purchased manufactured items.

Christmas Shopping
I ventured into the shops yesterday looking for something specific, but with my increasing awareness of not buying "stuff", it felt like a nightmare that I wanted to rush home from. Long queues of people and trolleys loaded...shudder.
Our Christmas shopping this year has mostly been done online. We have purchased tickets to concerts, the Waiwera Thermal Pool complex, Grab One restaurant vouchers etc. We want to give experiences not stuff. It will also mean very little time wrapping presents (exquisitely in recycled paper). They will be presented, probably with a home made food gift to make it feel a bit more personal. I'm pretty sure no family will read this so my secrets are safe.

One gift that I got last year was thoughtfully tailored to my ethics, and was lovely.

It was this cut glass decanter, with a pretty cameo decoration, both upcycled.
It now graces our bathroom with home made bubble bath in it.