Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My creative space

What do you do when you want to stop putting nappies on your baby? You make sure you've got LOTS of pants... so I got my fabric stash out and got creative...
Today was Miro's first day without nappies, we did well, 100% dry, youhou!

This is a new design, possibly soon for sale in the shop... Features big knee pad/ pockets at the front, eyelet elastic, great for adjusting the waist size. They are designed to last, first worn as pants then as short as the kids grow... I particularly love this blue cotton/ linen blend...

More creative goodness here!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An afternoon in the garden

I've managed to spend more time in the garden lately, and with the warming weather I've very keen to get ready for spring and summer planting! The garden is loving the extra warmth and sunshine, everything seems to have picked up and things are starting to grow again.
So I've been tidying up the broad beans (and discovered we've already got some beautiful green pods growing!), we dug out a whole new lane, got a trailer load of horse manure and spread it on the said lane and on the border (this year I want a nice flower border as well as some veges), I even managed to get some weeding done! Next thing you know I will be spraying liquid fertilizer, which I haven't done in 6 months probably. i discovered that Miro is very happy sitting in the push chair watching the dog and chooks and even puts himself to sleep when he's tired. This has been great because it means I can get lots done (a baby in a front pack is not ideal for anything that involves digging, bending down, etc and Miro hates being carried on my back). So there, my hopes of having a decent garden by summer are not in vain. Yet.

What do you do with fabric scraps? You tie your veges.

From unruly broad beans to tidy garden

Our first broad beans! 

Yum! This one is definitely edible


My new favorite root vegetable: swede

Broccoli and broad beans, they seem to like growing next to each other

The new garden bed (foreground)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Growing Power - A Model for Urban Agriculture

This is great, very inspiring. Keep growing! (pun intended)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

my creative space

Working a on a few things, including some new stuff for my shop, exciting! I feel like I'm going forward at the moment, nice feeling, although at a somewhat slower than snail pace. None the less, things are getting done. I finally got round to getting a couple of new designs on screen, including a dinosaur for Tahi (he's been asking for one for at least 6 months!).
I decided a few months ago that I really ought to get rid of some fabric before I can justify buying any more, so I'm slowly but surely working through my stash and actually sewing instead of buying new fabric with projects in mind that never get done. Good to de-clutter every now and then, and as a result I think my productivity is rising... Now the question is: what can I go shopping for?

Adult stuff! Women's top

New screen print design: a bee with a gas mask...

More creative goodness here!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our library

For a small town, Gisborne has got a more than decent library. Lots of books, for kids and adults, references of all sorts new and old. Tons of cooking books including ones for people on special diets, various cultures and countries, famous chefs, specific ingredients, great art books, lots of sewing books (although I have to admit more old fashioned ones than "cutting edge" ones), arts and crafts... Tahi, Miro and I go there at least once a week, and never walk out empty handed. They seem to have a never ending supply of dinosaur books. Whenever we go our routine is to look through all the kids' books to find dinosaur themed ones first. I'm always convinced we'll only find ones we've read before but no, there always seems to be a new one.
I love getting books out for myself too, and I'm rarely disappointed. A few months back I shared a post about my bookbinding fun with the help of a library book. I also like browsing the pages of books about refashioning, like "Born Again Vintage". Great for ideas!

A few weeks ago I also found a book about how to choose wardrobe essentials. It was interesting and I liked some of the styles.

There's no denying the internet is a great source of inspiration and ideas, but every now and again it's great to find a real book about a specific subject and just browse, sitting on the loo (I love reading in the loo!) or snuggled in bed under my duvet (we don't own a laptop), I find there's something quite special about it. I also believe I might never come across something similar on the web lost in all that information and there's nothing like walking aimlessly along the aisles of a library to pick up a book on a subject we'd never have looked into otherwise!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The beauty of homemade

Remember my recipe for oat crackers? I mentioned they were inspired by Nairn's oat crackers. Well, my memory of them anyway.
Well, the other day at the supermarket Tahi claimed he was hungry (must be all that colorful packaging rolling before his eyes), and I didn't really want to buy some snack but then I happened to be passing by the very Nairn's oat crackers, so I thought I should give them a go and see how they compared to my recipe.
I don't usually buy something without having a proper look at the ingredients list. It's become a habit. I try to avoid food coloring, food enhancer (i.e. monosodium glutamate), palm oil, anything with numbers or unpronounceable names. This time I didn't, I just grabbed it. What can I say? It was an impulsive buy motivated by curiosity and necessity (feeding a hungry boy).
When I got into the car and opened it to give some to the said boy, I realized there were four packet individually wrapped in plastic. overpackaging, bad points in our family. Plus the fact that it is baked in Scotland, hello food miles!

Then when I got home I looked at the back and realized there were far more ingredients than in my recipe, including palm oil. Eeek! Then I read the bottom and saw they use palm oil from a sustainable source, OK not so bad after all. But still. Inverted syrup, potato starch, soya lecithin (doesn't say wheter it's GM or not)... I mean, when you read a recipe in a cook book, these ingredients are never called for, right? So what do they do? Where do they come from? When I came up with my recipe I didn't even think I would need more than flour, oats, salt and butter or oil. I can see why they add sugar, although I'm no fan of that, but the rest?
Anyway, ingredients list aside, I tasted them and to be honest I prefer my simple homemade recipe waaaayy more. It's my honest opinion and I'm not even tempted to buy Nairn's ones anymore.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

urban bouquets

Spring is just around the corner, or it feels like it when walking the streets of Gisborne!

The jasmine in our garden is flowering. It is considered a weed in New Zealand, but I personally love it. A bunch of the delicate white flowers in a room provides a beautiful fresh fragrance, better than any spray!
On the list of "weeds" in New Zealand: jasmine. 
 The streets are filled with flowering camelias, and the magnolias are blossoming too, it's a pink fest. About the only time I love pink (I've never been a huge pink lover. Blame it on my tomboy-ishness!).

Tahi insisted on being in the photo, along with the grapefruit we picked

If I had the inclination and the time to paint, I'd give this "nature morte" a go. If.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My creative space: PRL

Dee at Dee*construction started this flickr group called "Pin real life". Ok, if you're not familiar with Pinterest, then this is going to make no sense at all.
Basically, with Pinterest you get to pin photos from websites you visit onto a board. You can have as many boards as you like (well I think so), and you can give them any name you like ("projects", "I want it", "holiday ideas",etc...). The cool thing is, when you click on the said image, it takes you back to where you found it, and that's aawesome.
Two recent PRLs:
- These yummy carrot/ raspberry muffins from this pin.

- This festive tree from this pin (pinned from this post!)

More creative goodness here.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I was having my routine round of the garden this morning, guess what I spotted? Our first asparagus spears! Smells like spring to me. It seems a bit early but hey, I'm not going to complain!

Last week was breastfeeding week, for the past 3 years I have been going to the "latch on", where breastfeeding women around the world gather at the same time and pop their boobs out.

And after we throw ourselves onto the buffet to make up for the lost calories, he he he.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cheese and quote of the day

I've been making lots of cheese lately. It's amazing how many by products you can get from one bottle of raw milk: cream, butter, whey, buttermilk, cheese, yoghurt, kefir... When I tell people we buy and drink raw milk the first question is "is it safe?" (the answer is yes if you source it properly) and the second one is "isn't that expensive?". The answer to the second one would be "NO!".
I went shopping yesterday so I decided to check out prices for milk (organic and non organic) and cream. A bottle of milk is about $4 for 2L, if you buy organic it's $5.60. A bottle of cream is $5.40 (on average). Two liters of raw milk (farmed organically) is $6. With 2L, I get about 400ml of cream. I can use it as it is or make butter, which is about $1 per 100g nowadays. I get about 50g of butter with 400ml of cream. Doesn't sound like much, but if you subtract even 50c from the $6 we pay for the milk, that makes it as expensive as the organic milk from the supermarket. and with the rest of the milk I can make cheese, kefir or yoghurt. And the milk itself tastes good, way better than the store bought homogenized milk. Store bought yoghurt makes me feel sick after a few sips. Raw milk doesn't, I can happily gulp down one big glass (and I was the first one to be surprised). So there you go.
In the first place though, I only wanted raw milk to make yoghurt and cheese without having to buy plastic packets of yoghurt culture or cheese. And I found out it was super easy and very satisfying. Check out this post, this one  or this one to find out about a few of my experiments.

Since I've been making quite a bit of it and plan to try my hand at making a few hard cheeses as well, I decided to invest in a cheese cylinder. Luckily it just so happens that a local potter makes them, which is way better than investing in a plastic one, is locally made and beautifully made (and affordable). So there you go, it was meant to be.

And a great quote to end this post, which might answer the first question about raw milk:
"We've spent our energy on corn we shouldn't have grown to feed cows who shouldn't have eaten it to acidify the rumen to grow E.coli that shouldn't have lived to make people sick that should have been healthy, to fill hospitals we shouldn't have needed" J. Salatin (The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer)
(You can also read more about raw milk here)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My creative space

Lots going on in the real world, haven't had time to slow down and organize it for the blog... in the meantime, a creative week end of photos. We spent three days and two (chilly) night in a caravan at a community we are interested in joining. It was a lot of fun (Tahi didn't want to leave), we love it down there, it feels like we've found a means to achieve what we aspire to. Since moving to Gisborne three and a half years ago, our life has changed.
We live with little or no income, which can be stressful at times, but we are learning to be self reliant on a lot of aspects (growing, making, scavenging, bartering) and I have to say I have never felt so close to my own self. We are poor but resourceful, we know how to feed ourselves and look after our health and to me it seems like the most important thing to know. I am also lucky to be a full time mum, and I am savoring these years because I know that once they're gone, they're gone. We only live once, so we might as well make it count.
Settlers and caravans

Sheep shearing

Our abode

under a beautiful starry night

we woke up to a frosty morning