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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Upcycled Beach Debris, Rolling out the Green Carpet




My Latest Upcycle

I loving reusing something that would have been just waste - so how about this:
When I ran out of nylon for my weed whipper, which isn't zero waste, but is better than weed spray around the house and garden, I spent ages hunting for a spare reel, but there was none.
Well we live out of town, so I looked around for an alternative - finding this lump of fishing nylon that we had picked up off the beach. It was the perfect diameter, so I wound it on to the reel - and it works perfectly well!

Putting beach debris to good use


Exciting developments on the local zero waste/ plastic bag free/ environmental front.
There has been a round of emails to gather all of those working and volunteering in these fields in Northland to get together to present a unified front.
There are quite a lot of groups keeping our beaches and roadsides clean, our events as low waste, reducing plastic bag use, helping our schools and businesses to reduce waste, encouraging small coastal towns to go single use plastic free, putting pressure on farmers and the government to clean up our rivers and working on better waste management in the North.
Isn't that fabulous? Watch this space.

As if that weren't enough! Yesterday, my favourite Bin Inn bulk store in Kamo, has decided to give all shoppers who bring their own containers a 5% discount, as well as giving away a free jute bag (with no plastic liner) to shoppers who spend over $50.
Then I stopped in at the Kamo butcher's to pick up my order (in my own containers) and I noticed that they have a huge roll of brown paper behind the counter for wrapping meat purchases. The lovely young butcher proceeded to tell me that he's turned into one of us - refusing plastic bags and receipts, and taking his trundler to the market. Change is a-happenin'.



Sunday, 19 February 2017

Upcycling a Painted Canvas

I have been waiting to find one of these in an op shop for a reasonable price...
so last week when I saw this little beauty for $4, I snapped it up.


I have been seeing pictures of things made with old canvases that so appealed to me - such as covered chairs and journals, and lots of bags.

This is the work of Leslie Oschmann - www.swarmhome.com

A journal cover by Swarm

You can see more here at atelierrueverte.blogspot.

I got to work yesterday to make my own version of a painted canvas bag, using some material from my stash for lining, and an old woven leather belt that never sees the light of day for the handles. 



I love how it turned out! It combines two of my loves - art and upcycling.
I'm not sure how well it will wear, but when it has finished being a bag, it will become a book cover.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Waitangi Day Celebrations

Waitangi Day is a national holiday here in New Zealand. It commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6th, 1840. There has been much argument since then as to the meaning of what was signed away by the Maori, with there being a document that was translated for signing by Maori, not being of the same meaning as that in English. 
However, Waitangi Day around New Zealand is a day to celebrate family and the culture of New Zealand.
Waitangi is not a big place, but it is the home of the Treaty House and Flagstaff, plus a wharenui - Maori meeting house. 
Here's a quick video link from waitangi.org.nz that gives an overview if you want to get a mental picture.
Having an overseas visitor, as we did, is always a good reason to visit Waitangi on this day. 

It was a blazingly hot day, we've had no proper rain for weeks here, but it makes for a great summer.
Love the sun shade


We watched the waka,(Maori canoes) 








I got a video from my phone, wanting to catch the sounds for you, of the conch shells being blown and the calls as paddles are dipped. It isn't clear enough, but you get the idea.


video


This video bite of 3 seconds is the group preparing for the haka.


video

As well as entertainment on several stages, there were cultural groups, the NZ Navy band, markets with lots of NZ foods to try, like hangi and creamed paua, mussel fritters, flax ketes to buy.

All entertainment and buses were free. The buses are so that you can park a distance away and be ferried to and from your vehicle.

They had made a big effort to minimize waste, with much of it being biodegradable, and having volunteers manning the recycling stations to help people recycle everything correctly.

All in all, a fabulous day.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Hangi - How To Feed 850 People

Recently we were in the Bay of Islands during the Tall Ships Race. We discovered they had put down a hangi to feed 850 people for the ceremony afterwards.
Anyone could buy a ticket for $15 and wait for the hangi to be unearthed at 7pm.
The hangi being uncovered


A hangi (pronounced harng-ee) is the traditional Maori method of cooking under the ground using heated rocks. There are a few different ways to do this, but for this particular hangi they used a digger to dig an enormous pit. Normally the pit would be dug with spades. 
The meals were individually prepared and wrapped in tin foil, before being placed over hot stones in metal baskets.The stones were preheated in a fire for about 6 hours. The baskets are covered with wet sacks, then tarpaulin before being covered in earth and left to steam for approximately 4 - 5 hours. 


The table that you can see held hangi cooked mussels (cooked in a separate pit), which besides being delicious, the shells were useful as spoons for the main hangi.
There was more than this - that piece in front is stuffing

There is nothing else like the flavour of hangi cooked food - steamed, smoked and slightly earthy. It doesn't look that attractive, but the meat is amazingly tender. They also did some vegetarian meals. All those people know - it's going to be good.

We took our meals and ate them off our knees, with a nice glass of white wine, overlooking this bay.    
Matauwhi Bay,  Russell, New Zealand

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Stone Store, Kerikeri, New Zealand

Old buildings in New Zealand are just babies, compared to the rest of the world, but this one is solidly built, and I think will be around for a very long time.
The Stone Store in Kerikeri was built in 1833. Currently it is still a store, selling wonderful well made, authentic items that would have been for sale during the 1840's.



The building next to the Stone Store is Kemp House - the oldest building in New Zealand - built in 1819.

The Stone Store, Kerikeri, and Kemp House




I bought a couple of brushes for my kitchen.




The store staff are in period costume and they take tours through the building every hour.



I loved that they even had glass jars of old fashioned boiled lollies for sale behind the counter.


Years ago Derek collected some of the hand made nails that were used in the original shingle roof, as they were tossed away by the builders doing the reroof.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year, DIY Healthy Diet Tonic

Happy 2017! I hope it is a good one for all of you. 
For many 2016 was not so good, but personally, I had a great year. It was the year that I got in with some like-minded people to make a difference to our environment - further here about our plastic-free market project. Our band had it's best year ever, and generally, life has been sweet.

If you look at what is going on around the world it is easy to feel alarmed. I find that taking as much action as I can, and seeking out positive news helps to keep a balance mentally.

One little, spontaneous thing we did on Christmas Eve gave us such a buzz of enjoyment.
As Derek and I drove home from town, we came across a straggle of Te Araroa walkers, (more about them on a previous blog here), while they were still 15 minutes walk from our place. We decided to make a surprise Christmas morning tea for them, so as they rounded the bend, they were met with a hurriedly set up table and chairs, Christmas cake, chocolates and chocolate biscuits, stollen, cherries and iced orange drink. 



The looks on their faces were priceless, they were so excited. They were all from countries overseas, and they said they had not felt like it was Christmas (no snow for a start).
After stopping with us for nearly an hour, they trailed off to walk the rest of New Zealand, our Christmas decorations (donated) hung from various parts of their packs. 

So 2017? Well no resolutions, as usual, as I just jump in and do things as they occur to me. But this year my Derek retires (early), and we have a couple of overseas trips planned. I plan to use these trips to look at ways that other people are doing great things and clever ideas, plus have fun and catch up with family.
I plan to continue eating healthier, getting moving more, and doing my utmost personally for a better world - writing letters, being an influencer, not buying new, making as much as I can myself...
So on that note - here's my recipe (thank you Wendyl Nissen) for 

 DIY Diet Tonic

juice of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp stevia powder
1 tsp honey
10 drops of angostura bitters

Mix together and add to 1 litre of soda water (that's where my bargain soda stream machine comes in).

It's low calorie and so much nicer than bought diet tonic - let alone cheaper and more environmentally friendly if you make the soda water yourself.
Needless to say, it goes great with gin.



Cheers - here's to 2017!



Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Christmas Edition

How the year whizzes by. It seems that I am doing a slow Christmas this year, partly due to recovering from a backpain episode that left me weeks behind schedule. 
Thank goodness for online Christmas shopping, as I knew that I wouldn't be up to it otherwise (all the packaging gets reused or recycled). 
I'm back on my feet now, but could only watch as the tree was trimmed. Last year I merrily bought a living tree, with great plans to use it every year - clever eh, but no - it's still alive, but not looking good enough to bring inside. So back to the beautiful shaped St John's Ambulance charity trees.




This year we decided to decorate with a marine theme in white and gold. A little gold spray paint brought these shells up beautifully - better than store bought if you ask me! 
The gift wrap followed the theme with gold starfish that I stamped on salvaged white and brown papers, making little gift tags to match, and decorating with decorations that I have bought by the bag from a charity shop, and gold crepe paper - also from a charity shop.



We are having a very quiet Christmas day - mostly just Derek and me - so we're planning a picnic lunch at this spot. The forecast is for sunshine and the Pohutukawa trees are a mass of crimson. This is the estuary - the surf beach is on the other side of the houses.


 

Then Boxing day we are off to see the rest of the family.

I've managed to make some of the Christmas presents to go in their gift hampers - quite safe saying that here - no family will read this.

Christmas Bark with pistachios and cranberries


This White Chocolate, Pistachios and Cranberry Bark is so easy and so festive looking - you can find the recipe here.

I've had a great crop of beetroot already so found a recipe for Beetroot Chutney. I saw it only scored 3 stars out of 5, so I made so many changes to it that I think I can call it my own recipe. It's supposed to sit for 3 weeks to develop, but it tastes great already. 


Beetroot Chutney
6 medium fresh beetroot
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp  ground cardamom
4 large green-skinned apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
10g fresh ginger - grated
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of malt vinegar (I used half malt, half white vinegar)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp coarse cooking salt
8 peppercorns and 8 cloves in a mesh bag.

Boil, steam or bake the beetroot until tender, cool a little and peel off the skins. Chop, some finely, some a little bigger.

Combine apple, spices, onion, garlic, ginger, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring at times.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add the beetroot and continue to simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until the chutney is thick. Remove the bag of spices.

Spoon into hot sterilized jars, seal.
Refrigerate after opening

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. May 2017 bring a cleaner, greener, more peaceful world.
xx Anne