Wednesday, December 7, 2016

end of an extracurricular era

I have been a contributor to Extracurricular magazine for years. The latest issue has just landed.
It's always a joy to sit down with a cup of tea and see it all in print.
I will miss it. Yes, because despite it being the only publication like it in NZ, our lovely editor Ellie, has decided it's time. We'll have Frankie and Peppermint from across the ditch, sure...but I will miss sweet EC and the crew of crafty creatives it's covers held.

I have met and interviewed some fabulous people for EC over the years. Eve Gordon from The Dust Palace, Holly Fullbrook of Tiny Ruins (I saw them play at the newly reopened Hollywood Theatre venue last weekend...she has to be one of the nicest, most talented people ever) and in this latest issue, I talked to the ebullient and thoughtful Carissa Corlett from The Misfits Art Club. Lucky me huh?

I loved collaborating with Ellie and friends from the blogosphere like Melissa Wastney from Tiny Happy, and the super sisterhood of Rosa and Stella Rutherford - who you can find here and here, respectively.

A big round of applause and many cups of celebratory cups of tea to Ellie Smith and her cohort, Sonya Nagels for a job very well done. I am looking forward to seeing what those two get up to next!

(You can get your copy of Extracurricular here. )

Sunday, December 4, 2016

In praise of stuff.

In praise of stuff. A comment on the culture of a clutter free life:

Someone walked into my house and said ‘my, you have a lot of stuff’, like it’s a bad thing. Again. You'd think there were piles of the stuff. (There is not)

It’s the hip thing to be minimalist. The whole declutter trend is running hot, I get that. It is also a choice. I happen to love my stuff.

I spent 16 years abroad. I lost track of how many years I spent living out of my backpack, or gave away a household’s worth of goods to set off with just a backpack again. I loved living simply but to be honest, sometimes I craved stuff.

I love that we have craft supplies so when we’re struck with inspiration we can get right down to it. I love that I have a few boxes of fabric stashed and can find a pattern online at 11.30 at night and be sewing it by 11.35.

I have some stunning vintage clothing that I may not wear weekly or even monthly but those dresses bring me great joy and joy is a good thing in my book. We re-use, recycle and upcycle wherever we can like my grandmother and her mother did. Most of my stuff comes from op shops and trades. We live rurally so ‘popping’ into town to pick up supplies isn’t an option.

I understand the consciousness raising around unnecessary stuff, how consumerism is ripping holes in the ozone layer and leaking into the waterways. and how many people compulsively buy crap stuff they don’t really need. That consciousness raising is important work. I do it too. But the judgement is a different beast. No-one is converted to your way of thinking from being judged negatively. Negative judgement creates a disconnect.

 We try and buy stuff ethically. That means second-hand or handcrafted stuff. We make stuff ourselves and if we do outsource, I try and give our money to local folks, good folks. My stuff tells a story that dances through twenty countries and meeting eyes with countless talented sparkle-eyed folk.

Before big holidays we do a cull. If anything comes into the house, something else leaves. And I always ask the question, ‘Do I really love it?’ If the answer is not a resounding yes, it stays on the shelf/market stall or in that dumpster.

My house is not cluttered, it is curated. My house is not disorderly or dirty. On the contrary, it is organised and while I won’t be winning any housekeeping awards, it’ll do. I put connection before all else but living in a mess makes my thinking messy. I prefer order. Which isn’t to say the dining table isn’t overrun with science projects in progress or a collection of sea shells at times, because that’s just the way we roll. 

I wouldn’t walk into your home and say in a dark tone, ‘Oh sheesh, you need some more stuff in there honey, it looks like a motel’. The minute my house resembles some obsessively unhealthy hoarders home, please action an intervention but otherwise, live and let live huh?

Thursday, December 1, 2016


After a month out of action because of a back injury, I am back in the garden. It's such a big part of our lives, this pottering in the garden thing. The growing our own food, tracking the seasons by the blossoming, fruiting or harvesting that goes on out there. This is our first growing season on the land so I have had a light touch until spring surprised me with what popped up where. I am enjoying flowers I would never have planted myself. I am more of a vegetable, companion plant and herb grower but I have to admit to being charmed by some of these old timey beauties. 
Things in life can feel completely overwhelming or stink but an hour working in the garden always works wonders. I do need to be careful though. Awhile ago I was at a meeting in the city and looked down to realise I had dirt under my fingernails. Oops.

The feijoa trees are in full bloom, the plums are getting bigger, the last of the celery, lemon crop and grapefruits are coming in. There are always salads and greens fresh and although it's the first days of real summery warmth, I am already grateful to have the hose set up to pump water from the stream.
Today brought the first of the summer swims at the beach!

We've all been enjoying the carrot crop. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

General Collective

What a week it's been. 
We have so far to go, we humans. I have a lot to say about the US elections and the outcome. Others will say the same things more eloquently than me tonight. The hardest part for me is hearing from friends, wonderful people, in the States, who are afraid of having their healthcare cut, or are now even more concerned for their personal safety. That cuts straight to the heart, that good people, people who give so much to their communities, should be afraid when a new president is elected. That is just wrong. 

To clear my head and see some friends I headed into town to the General Collective market today. I used to work the markets with my GrowMama range of babies and kids clothing and household goods and I still love a good market. 
This one had a long line of folks waiting to get in. Impressive. The introvert part of me doesn't like crowds, especially in an enclosed space. I had done a few circuits before I found myself sitting down by a bunch of indoor plants. Clearly it was time to head for the hills again. Funny. I did head for home but not before snaffling a taco. Such a treat.

Great to see Sarah and Cecil from Sew Love Tea Do and finally meet Rhiannon from Toast. There's a great bloggy/crafty community and it's always nice to meet face to face. If you haven't seen the dresses and skirts in Rhiannon's new online store, do! It's over HERE

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Garden goodness: then and now

We're in the first of the warm spring days. Last weekend was the official start to planting out the garden with summer crops but my greens garden has been going off all winter and it's still going.

I planted celery, salads, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, bulb fennel, rocket, carrots, Cavolo nero, parsley and chard in this raised bed when we first moved in and it's been lush. Easily meeting my greens consumption. Must be all that delicious compost I put on it. I'm am very glad of the raised beds too. The flood couldn't reach, yay!
I have been pulling old salads and spent plants out and planting out fresh salad plants to ensure a consistent supply of salad greens. I love a wild looking garden. Can you tell?
There's been a bumper crop of chickweed as ground cover all winter too. It's my favourite green and I will miss it in the warmer weather. Look at the difference between the planting and the lushness!