Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Organic Explorer book is out now

Look what arrived in my mailbox. The new Organic Explorer book, hot off the press! 

A bunch of people have been asking me to write an ethical Christmas post. I will. But I can give you a sneak preview now...on the top of the ideal gift list will be a copy of Organic Explorer 2015-2016. $10 a copy and it's a pearl of a book. Listings of all eco stores, travel options, accommodation and happenings all over NZ, plus good articles and beautiful images. It's a great summer read.

I have two articles in this edition: Secondhand and Crafty Highlights Guide to New Zealand and Mini-Nature moments in Auckland. Plus some of my photographs. GrowMama readers might recognise a few. SO lovely to see my photos in print. It makes me excited about spending hours putting together my portfolio and themed folders! A mammoth task that has been sliding off my list of things to do on a regular basis, ahem, but I digress.

The woman behind Organic Explorer is Leonie Johnsen. It's been a total pleasure working with her. Organic Explorer is online too, You can have a look around and buy copies of the book HERE.

That boy. SO funny.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

not being graceful and therapeutic sewing

Goodness. What a week. What a month. Or quite possibly, year. 
I haven't been managing to juggle all that is life very gracefully lately. At all. I have been running around trying to make things on time, always feeling like I have forgotten something, or deadlines looming and I am just keeping my head above water. 
You know. I think a work commitment has to go. One that's been stressful for a long time.

Time to take stock, step back a bit and see how I can simplify things a bit. 
Time for a little therapeutic sewing. 
I pulled my old favourite pattern, Simplicity 3835, for a new summer shirt. 
I used this fabulous light cotton polka dot fabric I bought from Sarah at Sew Love Tea Do and the shirt is a firm favourite already. I loved the colour but wasn't sure whether it would suit me. I am crap at that. If in doubt I take a photo and THEN I might be able to work it out. Maybe.
With this one, I just sewed it up then wore it. That worked too. I had four people ask where I got my shirt from and commenting how much the colour suited me. Got that sorted then!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Uncommon Goods - the future

Don’t you just love packages arriving?! This is Jed opening a box from Uncommon Goods. If you haven’t heard of them, you need to. They are the future of business…ethical, supportive of their staff, eco-minded and with an array of gifts that will astound. 
It’s inspiring just to LOOK through their website. 

How fun is this?! 
Invented by a 12 year old, the wall coaster is a marble run unlike any other. Especially good if you are tired of toy clutter on the floor, this one tacks onto the wall. It comes with various components and their trademark non toxic poster putty that doesn’t damage the walls. You can even use it on windows. 

We got the extreme stunt kit and two add on stunts, the crazy loop and the super stairs. Jed has spent hours with playing with it. Last thing at night he’s downstairs playing with it, making new runs, fine tuning and playing. First thing in the morning…back down there! 

We’ve used it in our homeschooling sessions looking at physics, motion, angles, velocity and speed. We are big fans. The Wall Coaster would be an awesome Christmas present…fun for all the family ALL day! The whole Uncommon Goods store is jam packed with gift ideas. We had great fun going through the kids section together. 
You can have a look HERE.

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I have done reviews of cool projects, products and businesses I love for years. In no way is an exchange of money affecting my voice or GrowMama’s ethics. Uncommon Goods is a good case in point. These folks feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. For those of you who love handmade, half of what they sell is handcrafted. There’s a big focus on using upcycled and recycled materials too. 
Big yay to that! 

Their uncommon hearts are in the right place, with $1 from every purchase going to the charity of your choice. Their lowest paid worker starts at 50% above minimum wage. There’s a lot to like about this company. Just wait until you look through their store

Jed was lucky our allotted $65 went to his Wall coaster marble run and Scratch World Map because I was sorely tempted by some of the beautiful jewellery and gifts in Uncommon Goods women’s section the website. Have a look HERE. There was plenty of choice for the Dads in the men’s section HERE which makes it a great place to go to shop for the hard-to-buy-for men in your life. That ought to be a relief for a few of you! 

Another fun acquisition from Uncommon Goods is our World Scratch Map. A handsome looking map, we’ll scratch off each country as we study it. Love it! Both the Wall Coaster marble run and the scratch map are the kind of thing we'll use and remember for years to come. 

Uncommon Goods is proud to be a B Corporation. B Corporation’s  use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. The B seal means that Uncommon Goods meets rigorous standards on a wide range of issues including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to our community. We need more of that in the world. 

So... Uncommon Goods. They are good. Very good. In more ways than one. Go see.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

the sewing revival

I have been on a bender. Of the most innocent kind I might add. I have been sewing. I have adopted Angela from Mermaid's Purse's ziploc bag sewing project system and having every thing bagged and ready to go just makes the actual sewing so satisfying and FAST! 

I have a few new shirts in rotation that I'm loving but the best value is sewing Jed some new hoodies. He's grown out of the pixie hood "just a normal one thanks mama" which is the end of an era. The merino fabrics I picked up for a song at the last Fabric-a-Brac market. I whipped out two in our old favourite pattern. It's the Sewing Clothes Kids Love book by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn. If I had to choose one book to rely on to use for patterns to take a kid all through childhood, this would be it. There's so many for the littlies and not so much for the bigger kids. This one does it all. All genders too. Big yes! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

mountain herbs

Kicking around outside in Queenstown a few weeks ago, I showed the kids how many medicinal plants were around. There was chickweed, yarrow, cleavers, oregano, mugwort, plantain, dandelion, violets...the place was rampant with medicinal herbage. It reminded me of the French Pyrenees, where I used to live, I would come home from walking the dogs with armloads of fragrant plants.

This is chickweed. Stellaria media. She is a great friend. I try and eat greens wild every day. Chickweed is yummy and is packed with minerals and vitality. You can eat it alone, on sandwiches, in salads, or lightly steamed with new potatoes with fresh olive oil and sea salt, like my friends in Croatia taught me. Simple and so good. Such a fine line between medicine and food. Chickweed is also one of the main herbs in the salve I make every year. Here's a post on how to make magic salve.

They even had broom growing in abundance like I used to have up behind my house in France. The kids eyes bugged out when I told them my neighbours still used to lash broom branches to a longer straight stick to make a broom to sweep their floors. I imagine that is where the name 'broom' comes from. Dried, it also makes amazing kindling. Pretty important stuff when the fire is your only source of heat in a country where it snows. 
It was like being around old friends. Now I just need to find a source of elderflowers and berries nearby...