Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Making: linen top

This one is worn on repeat. It's Sew Knit Love's Sarah Dress pattern, the top version. 
I've made three dresses from this pattern now and have made some for friends. I may have to cave to pressure and start taking orders soon.
The linen is an ochre-green and the fabric butter-soft. Perfect with a pair of high waisted jeans and a cardigan. I super love this top.
It's a fast sew and it's a great pattern basic to build your wardrobe with. 
This shirt is a great layering piece. I have my third one cut out and ready to sew. I am not a big t-shirt person, I like these shirts much better.

Hey textile loving people, Auckland Fabric-a-brac is coming up in a few weeks. Proceeds go to charity, usually local hospice. It's one of my favourite events of the year. 
Might see you there?

Monday, August 19, 2019

The best bread recipe

I am back, by popular demand, to give you the bread recipe I blogged about recently. There were a bunch of hollers on the GrowMama facebook page and a wee stack of messages asking for the recipe. 

Every now and then I make a kneadable dough (sensory delight and free therapy you know) but the time and organisation it takes to prove bread multiple times just doesn't get prioritised in this beautifully crowded life. 

Original recipe credit goes to the amazing Claire Inwood. I have since tweaked it. Most recipes get tweaked in this house!

The Best Bread

1.5 l warm water
1 tbsp sugar, coconut sugar or honey
2 tbsp yeast 
9 cups of flour (I use 6 cups of white flour and 3 wholemeal so the youngster will eat it)
1 tbsp salt
1 egg (or if vegan, I substitute with egg replacer or 2 tbsp ground linseeds)

Handful of seeds (however many you like, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, different linseeds, chia)
I grind seeds for extra nutritional value if kiddoes are of the anti-seed variety.

Whisk the sweetener, water and yeast together and when activated and poufy chuck it all together and mix well. 

Use a pastry brush to oil the tins, pour mixture in (it's quite a wet mix) to 3/4 and put in a cold oven.

Heat oven to 190 degrees celsius.
Sometimes I set my timer for half an hour but mostly I check it once the delicious-freshly-baked-bread smell hits the house. 
And, done! Now you can impress the pants of your friends too! You're welcome. x

I make the basic mix for the kids loaves, then dose the rest with seeds for me. I like to play with different flours (I like to use rye and spelt) and you can tweak the wholemeal/white flour balance according to preferences. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kid's anxiety about climate change booklist and getting arrested

I am a believer in direct action and using your voice for those who cannot speak or who have been silenced.  Way back in 1995, I co-organised The Direct Action Conference alongside COP1, the first United Nations Climate Change conference in Berlin. After being arrested, ( a few of us had kryptonite D-locked ourselves to a delegates bus, trying to get climate change in the media, the projections even back then, were scary) I had a bit of time to think. 
When conversation with my cellmate, Anika Jones from Greenham Common, faded out, I was left to my thoughts. I remember wondering what the world would be like if our voices went unheard. How would the next generation, the kids, feel about inheriting a damaged world, all because of human greed and ignorance? I thought about that time in that jail cell while I was researching and compiling a book list on Kids with Climate Change Anxiety for The Sapling. 

I can't tell you how much I resented writing that piece. But it's important work. Necessary. 
If you don't know about The Sapling yet, go and take a look around, it's a special place.
The booklist on Kids Anxiety around climate change on The Sapling is HERE.

And there's a documentary covering the Greenhouse Gathering, Direct Action conference and COP1 HERE, featuring talented activists and social change agents, Paxus Calta, Stephany, Mark, Adam x, Anika, George Monbiot, Hester, Vladimir, Rebecca, Davor, Rod Harbinson and others. Many of these fabulous people have devoted their lives to lobbying, campaigning and working for positive change. Some are well known internationally, some in certain circles, but they are all heroes. People have been working, mostly invisibly, although passionately, for the last thirty years. It's hard to live on the frontlines of climate science for so long and be desperately trying to think of ways of how to reach people, how to make a difference and get humans to act responsibly. So much love to all those people who have been waving that flag for all this time. 
I am at 4.15, 5.41 my son tells me. And that's me with my D-lock being removed from around my neck with an angle grinder. This doco came to light recently, I remember the filming but never saw the finished piece. On seeing it, my son said 'Mama. You are cooler than I thought'. Funny. 

My highlights are the ever eloquent Stephany at 7.30 and Paxus on why direct action is important at 20.37. Imagine if they had listened to us and so many others back then and taken meaningful action. Imagine. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019


I love this 5-grain bread. It's delicious and fast to make. 
People are sometimes amazed when I bring freshly baked bread to share, but that's kind of embarrassing because it's so easy.
It's a no-knead wet mix that gets pops it in a cold oven so you're spared from that awkward moment when you realise you forgot to pre-heat the oven. I have the preparation time down to twenty minutes. And none of those plastic bags store-bought bread comes in. The homemade bread thing doesn't happen all the time but there is nothing like the smell of bread baking. There's something so comforting and satisfying about making your own bread. 

I make a plain mix with ground linseeds and fill a tin with that mixture for the boy (who is seed-averse) and load up the remaining dough with sunflower seeds, rye, linseeds and pumpkin seeds for me. After a few days, the rest of the loaves get sliced and popped in the freezer for toast. 

It always cracks on the top and although I know that's frowned upon, I can't bring myself to care. I'm juggling all the things and solving that particular issue hasn't featured on the to-do lists. 
Anyway, the cracked top adds to the rustic feel. Tastes the same!

This is another no-knead bread recipe I have been wanting to try. I'm on the lookout for a dutch oven. Holler if you see one in the op shop. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Portraits and projects on the brew

Hi All! I just popped in to show off my portrait. I commissioned it from the super duper talented  Kirsten Slade for my new website. You can find Kirsten over HERE and there's a cool piece about her HERE. She is all kinds of brilliant. 

And yes! There are developments afoot over here.

New website, writing portfolio, and a wee business launch are all brewing.
The last three years since I separated from the kid's dad have been stressful. In a different way than the previous years before the break-up but stressful nonetheless. I left with two hundred and something dollars in my bank account, clothes, some household items and my kid. Oh, and the animals. I am proud to be where I am today. 

I have stepped back from the startup charity I was managing and have re-organised my work life to allow time to work on my writing and biz development. 
Finally. I wanted to get this website together ten years ago. Better late than never.
I look forward to sharing it with you. 
Won't be long now.