Monday, November 19, 2018

Introducing: Pakaraka Permaculture


A few Sundays ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Niva and Yotam of Pakaraka Permaculture for a feature article in the summer issue of Organic NZ Magazine. Watch out for lots of tips and insights into market gardening and a fab life. - It sounds like a great issue, I'll let you know when it's out!

Niva and Yotam are three seasons into their highly successful organic market garden and are passionate about food production and sustainable living. We had to be careful to stay on task. Toward the end of our time together we kept veering off into the realms of climate change and how to communicate the importance of changing policy and shifting human consumption of the unnecessary. A topic I have spent years thinking about and taking action on. As you might have too. (More on that in another post shortly.)

Pakaraka Permaculture run market gardening and homesteading workshops and internships. It's a beautiful setting, just outside Thames, Coromandel and these two are talented teachers. They have a full schedule runnnig this summer, get along to one if you can. 

I love it when you meet new people and walk away friends. Especially ones that produce the best salad ever.  I've eaten a lot of salad in my time and I can vouch for that!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sneak preview - Pattern review: Coastline top



All you non-crafty sewy types might want to scroll on by this one!

Sarah from SewKnitLove posted a request for pattern reviewers for their new Coastline top on facebook and was swamped in hours. I was lucky enough to be among the chosen. In all my years of blogging and sewing I had never done a review. A friend and fellow sewist down the road was a reviewer too and it was super fun to swap stories along the way. You get a sneak preview before the pattern is launched, lucky you!

It's not a pattern I would have chosen but I love the finished result and have worn it three times since I finished it ten days ago. I'd definitely go with fabric with good drape so the peplum isn't too poufy. I took in the peplum slightly with this in mind. I am not sure what the edits will be for the final pattern so I'll save detailing any hacks until it's released. I'll post a heads up when the pattern is available for sale. 


I used a navy silk linen blend (yup, from Fabric-a-brac again!) with pretty good drape with navy Japanese cotton gauze for the handmade bias binding at neckline. It's an awesome top for spring and summer, I am pairing it with jeans and saltwater sandals mostly. Love the feel of the fabric and the shape. 
Thanks, SewKnitlove crew!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Flashback Friday: seven years ago


Flashback alert. 
One of my favourite places online had a thread about the times we'd lost our kid/s.
Okaaaay, so out of context, that sounds terrible but let me just say, for those of you who aren't parents or haven't spent any time with small people, let me just say, it happens!

My kid was pretty much within sight for years on end but he did manage one spectacular bunk. He's not one to do things by halves. Here's my comment from that thread:

I always always knew where he was. Until one day I didn't. We were at home so I checked the garden, nope. Called and called. Nope. Checked at the neighbours, not a peep. Stopped panicking for a deep breath and thought about where he could be. Hmmm. Checked the front door coat rack. Yup. Handmade Stop/Go sign, gumboots, helmet, radio and high-vis vest missing. Went down our road and around the corner and there he was, in full little-guy road working regalia, stopping traffic for the roadworks he loved so much, being beautifully cared for by a group of roadworkers and just generally being a total star. He knew the dudes working the road as we'd been out there watching a bunch and they were so great. They even insisted on taking a photo with him. It took all my self control not to completely freak out at my boy, I had been so scared. We talked about it later, once I could breathe again.

The original stop/go, little-guy roadworker blogpost is HERE.  


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Thinking out loud: I want the whole story

Photo credit to Giacomo Ferroni 

Reading through the blurbs of each fabulous woman in the NEXT Women of the Year 2018 nominees list I was wondering why I wasn’t grabbed by their stories. Every one of them is doing amazing work, often catalysed by a disruptive event in their lives. All good journalistic fodder right? So why wasn’t I riveted?

Like many, I found myself at a distance from those women’s stories. There was no context.

Did they have the opportunity to go to uni? Did they have the fall back of a supportive mum and dad and family home to move back to when they were starting out? Did they have the money for startup fund, or access to it through their family or personal networks? Can they afford to outsource domestic tasks so they can focus on all the fab creative stuff? If their kid is sick, can someone else cancel meetings and stay home, or cook a meal when you’re too fried to fry an egg?

I am not undermining their accomplishments. Not at all. My heart soared reading their bios. The world is a better place through these women’s work and I am a fierce advocate for finding your passion and working for positive social change. I just want the whole picture.

We are told we can do it all. Social media feeds us collated images of success divorced from the reality, we see the pinnacles of that success and not the years of hard work that has gone into getting there. We celebrate the fruits but keep the labour and our support structures quiet and hidden. I want role models and people who inspire me who are succeeding and being validated publicly who have the same challenges I do.

Years ago when blogging was in its infancy, there was a blogger I admired hugely who often wrote about the hardships of parenting her brood and juggling her business and blog. I measured myself against what I saw in her posts. Surely I could do all the things if this blogger could be that successful and be a fabulous mama to four kids, I only had one! One day, I found a feature on her in a magazine at the doctor’s office. Turns out her mum and dad lived next door. They had the grandkids four days a week in school hours (they homeschooled), were on call for babysitting and to cover when travel was needed, and aunts and uncles were within driving distance for the same. I think I turned pale. This was a vastly different situation than had come across in the blog. It was the first time I really clocked that the online world can be candid but is still a collated exhibition of lives, not real peeks. I have grown wiser and no longer compare myself to others in the media, my fangirling is of kick-ass women I know, or know of.

Context matters.

Getting a leg up and knowing you have back up when you screw up is huge. I’m tired of reading articles of the shiny stuff, I want the whole story. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Herb spread spring boost

This isn't a sponsored post, I just like to support small business. When I'm onto a good thing, I like to share the love. 
I'm always on the lookout for ways to up my fresh greens and herbs quota. Waiheke Herb Spread is one of the tastiest ways out there. So delicious. I like it as a dip for fresh bread or crackers, on toast or on the side of a main. Way before these folks started making theirs, I would make a similar spread every spring as a sort of herbal superfood boost. 

On spring equinox I'd do the rounds of my garden, or the nearest community garden and pick a bunch of fresh herbs and whizz them up with olive oil, sea salt and sometimes soaked almonds for a creamier spread. Parsley, chives, dandelions, thyme, rosemary, plantain, nasturtiums and whatever greens I had an excess of. It lasts for ages in the fridge. And you get to feel all sanctimonious as a bonus! 

I am remembering how fab it was to have extra jars in the fridge to grab for those times when you're meant to take a plate and completely forgot.  Sheesh, my old self was inspiring. Ah well, something to aspire to.