Category Archives: Living Green

Wardrobe Wednesday #8

Continuing with the Love to Love You theme set for February.

One of the things I am striving for in my life is to be more ethical in my spending choices. Although it is easy to pick up bargains (and I do find a good bargain kind of irresistible!) many of those bargains come at a high price for people involved in their manufacture. But then there is the economics of always buying NZ/hand-made/ ethical choice goods…..

One of my solutions to this it must be said is op-shopping and second-hand – this way every $ I spend is going to charity (most of the time) and I am not supporting a chain of supply and demand that rests on the backs of poor people in the world.

Today both my skirt and top are NZ designed and handmade and they are (in my opinion) incredibly reasonably priced. By this I mean similar prices to a place like Max but made by a real NZer who has also created her own patterns to make them from. I know she hand makes them because I have seen her at work in her lounge at home.

I love wearing this outfit because it makes me feel pretty and feminine and also because it showcases a very talented and local woman and I feel especially good about that. (also washes like a dream)

The shoes I bought about 13 years ago (I know do I ever throw anything out???? I assure you I do!) for a job interview and I haven’t worn them for ages, and I almost threw them out, but I love they way they look so I decided I had to wear them first before making the decision to chuck. I  put them on again today and the love has come back! So glad I kept them – girly, comfy, cute.

Outfit run down:

Top – Also Sailor Spy but from her last season collection (I think around the $40-50 mark)

Skirt -$89 Sailor Spy (click on shop tab at top)

Cardi – hand-me-down

Shoes – Hannahs bought in 1999

Earrings – gift/giveaway win (I love them I wear them HEAPS!)

Rings – engagement ring made at Camerons in Palmerston North, Wedding ring designed by us, engraved and made by Manawatu Manufacturing Jeweller, (both in 1999) Silver ring bought for me by The Atlas in Austria on holiday from a small boutique type shop.

To see what other lovelies are wearing head over to Nin’s place.

** I realise this may seem like a) an ad for Sailor Spy – just so we are clear Nin is not aware I am doing this, b) condemning of purchasing things from chain stores, especially cheap ones – when I buy new (which is seldom nowadays) I still do go to places like K-Mart, Farmers, Glassons… so I’m not judging I’m just saying I find it weighs on my conscience so I am trying to do something about it.

**** Also, I realise this is a bit of a novel! I can’t help myself the minute someone compliments me on an outfit or comments on something I have to tell them the WHOLE story of whatever it is I am wearing – I’m a bit tedious that way.

This is a day early because tomorrow is the anniversary of the big quake and I want to mark that.


The Great Outdoors

This week I am joining in with Paisley Jade and other grateful people.

Even though I did a big holiday post this week I want to stop and be grateful for New Zealand.

The ease with which we can explore the outdoors (even though I’m an inside kind of girl!)

Especially I was so blown away by The Otago Rail Trail



And do-able, if only a little stretch, by Flip an awesome thing to do.

And Moeraki those boulders are incredible and the beach beautiful.

And just the classic countryside of New Zealand

it is so easy to see why they could film Lord of the Rings and the Narnia movies here

We are SO blessed

and we need to be grateful and responsible for this piece of paradise we are stewards of.

A Little Bit of ‘Awe’some

Outside our back door is a swan plant.

Somehow in the mystery’s of creation we now have tiny (seriously like some as small as a baby fingernail cutting) caterpillars.

They are so wonderful to look at.

We are fascinated.

In awe.

This week I am grateful for the awe that creation provides when we bend down and have a good look.

What little bit of ‘awe’some have you discovered recently?

More grateful people here.

At What Point?

At what point does collecting becoming hoarding?

Does the stuff designed to enhance your life or your living environment start to add stress to it?

I read an interesting article about ‘stuff’ the other day (I can’t find it now!) in which the author made some very salient points about how much the stuff in our life detracts from our living of life. We spend so much time organising, sorting, storing…. all the excess in our lives.

It’s made me do some thinking.

Don’t get me wrong here I have stuff. A lot of stuff actually.

I don’t spend a lot on it (I don’t think) I like op-shopping, I like second-hand and hand-me-down.

But I am learning that stuff is not memories

Stuff is not wealth

Stuff is not insurance against loss

Stuff is not happiness

Stuff is just stuff – some of it makes our lives easier – plates, cutlery, tables and chairs. Some of it makes our lives more comfortable – clothing, towels, sheets, heaters, buildings. Some of it brings us pleasure – crafts, games, art…

But none of it (should) define us and though losing it would make us sad and we might mourn the precious things handed down through generations, the letters from our children, the photos…. these do not make us who we are.

So as we unpack after our renovation I am trying to loosen my grip on stuff – just  a little. I still have pretty things in my home. I still love having clothes and enough cutlery and crockery to have people over and many other un-ecessaries.

I know I will still buy trinkets.

I am still trying to find the balance of living simply, living fully and taking delight in every day.

I remind myself every thing I let go of, I give to someone else for their pleasure, to enhance their life, to fill a need in their life – or maybe just to add to their clutter and not mine.

I remind myself even though something is lovely or good quality or worth-a-bit –  if I am not using it, I won’t watch it again, or read it again, or my boys don’t play with it, if I won’t/don’t use it, or I don’t wear it, I have too many of it to actually use them all, or I don’t even like it – then it is selfish for me to own it.

I naturally hoard.

I am in a process.

I am growing.

I am simplifying – slowly.

I like the way William Morris said it – ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.


Book Of the Month – July

This month I read ‘Better Off’ by Eric Brende

I SO enjoyed this book. The book is a social/technology experiment that the author tried on himself and his new wife as they attempted to live without any technology for 18 months.

The author was doing a degree in the impacts of technology on our lives and the way that the things we have in our lives that are so touted to make life easier and more convenient/relaxing/enjoyable can actually be doing the very opposite.

In order to try this out they lived in a community somewhere in the United States (location deliberately not shared by the author) that is considered extreme even by the Amish in terms of its stance on technology.

I found this book compelling to read it is challenging in terms of the impact no technology had on their lives – more leisure time, the manner in which relationships and community develops and the skills that are required. Brende says in the book our attitudes about people who live in these communities or in places in the world without technology is that the people will be unskilled labourers forced into a life of hard physical work. His experience was very much the opposite.

This book is gentle in its encouragement and attitude. There is no feeling of pious condemnation on those who use technology but it definitely challenged me about our cultural life values and how much we work and are enslaved by debt, money and the inability to provide our own needs without technology, mass-production, convenience stores….

In all this though it made me feel hopeful and excited about what we can do for ourselves when we exercise conscious choice about HOW we live in all areas of our lives.

The book is very easy – diary like – to read and I would thoroughly recommend it. I got my copy out  from the local library. Regardless of how you feel about the need for technology or otherwise it is a great glimpse into the lives and lifestyles of those who deliberately choose to live without it.

In The Winter Sun

There is something about sunny winter days (actually it may still be autumn but it feels like winter in the mornings!)

Yesterday I had one of those days where I wouldn’t trade my ‘domestic drudgery’ for anything.

We biked to school and then Bounce and I biked on and bought our fruit and veges.

Kyleigh came over and we made laundry liquid, dishwasher powder and lemon cordial – from the lemons on our tree!

Home-made pie and garlic mash for dinner.

Sun streaming into the lounge as I lay on the floor and read a book for 10mins while the pie simmered and Bounce slept.

Plenty of blessings to count today – friendship, warmth, my children, the satisfaction of making things in your own kitchen with sunlight pouring in, sleeping baby.

What has given you pause for joy today?

The Lazy Girl’s New Top

I also scored this fabric from Deb’s throw away and as I am always in need of new tops I thought I’d whip one up.

Ultimate lazy top I just cut the sleeves and body as one piece around a top I already own and like (DO NOT do this unless you are using stretch – it will end in tears!)

Then I just seamed the shoulders and sides.

Then of course because I had made the neck huge I took some ‘tucks’ around the back and sewed a corsage on to disguise some wonky binding around the neck.

1/2 work + free fabric = new top

Pleased. (Yes my room is that messy and yes the top I cut around is that crinkly – I don’t iron)

Progress Week #14

One of my aims for the year has been to shop more ethically.

To support artisans – local or international by buying less commercially produced stuff or to buy second-hand.

I think I’ve been doing okay on this. I enjoy a good op-shopping expedition as much as any other hoarder er, bargain hunter hippy.

Christchurch rather sadly has a lot of malls and while these are convenient for their nice toilets, all-weather shopping and, mostly, easy parking they are full of chains, chains and more chains. It’s not that chains are totally bad and there are some benefits to them but a trip to the mall can end up feeling a bit like a blow out at an all-you-can-eat buffet enjoyable at the time – rather regretful later.

Northlands mall though has always had the redeeming feature of TradeAid (one of my all-time favourite shopping destinations). Today with 2 cheques that desperately needed banking I made the mammoth effort of getting there – post earthquake not easy from my place. And I found to my delight a TradeAid sale and to my huge disappointment they are closing! The store in town is in the cordon so I have no idea about that.

My assumption is a store like TradeAid must find it very difficult to keep up with the demands of retailing in a mall – high overheads and opening hours. All the people who work in their stores are volunteers and their stuff is so reasonably priced. Very sad. I picked up the beautiful bedspread – handprinted, Queen sized $32.00 and the 100% silk scarf $10 and the super cute tray $5. Amazingly cheap but tinged with sadness. I do hope they set up somewhere else in a suburb or small shopping centre.


The tricky thing with Christchurch has always been the layout of the central city where the boutique and interesting shops are. Hopefully there will be some rectification of that with the new city….

Whilst in the mall I also popped into Whitcoulls and was very excited to find a Cath Kidston combo of books for $35. When I arrived at the counter to pay the assistant told me it was $10. I just about fainted.

The Atlas had also generously given me a voucher to finish off that he was given for the mall last year – so a totally worth the effort trip for very little outlay.

The Bedspread

On the shopping front I also picked up this tasty little tempter through the Kindy book club thing and I look forward to showing you something when I have stopped drooling long enough to cook with it.

I realise this post feels very little like progress but here’s something: I biked 10km on the weekend (5km each way) to help out with a wedding. Here I am working my new bike.

Have you entered my giveaway (are you feeling tired of the hints???)? You can enter more than once!

Pop over to Cate’s and see what others have been up to.

The Coolest Park Ever

If you have just learned to cycle without your training wheels

If you love road signs, pedestrian crossings, bridges, roundabouts

If you like not sharing the road with real cars

If you like being pushed in a swing

If you like riding your carve board because you are still really just a boy in a good way

If you like spending time watching all your boys feeling happy

Then Westburn Park is the place for you. We will be going again. Whoever thought of this wonderful idea deserves congratulating. It is a gem.

Homemade Children’s Gift Ideas and a Giveaway.

Okay so in an effort to think of more cool things I can make for children’s parties I am brainstorming and asking for your input.

And because I need to do a random act of kindness for April I will have a giveaway for one lucky commenter. Watch out for a similar post for grown up gift ideas coming soon.

These are the ideas or things I have made or might make for gifts for children’s birthdays (links to previous pics/posts):

Apron and cupcake cases

Pencil case – personalised

Baby taggy

Tutu skirt

Bed Cushion

Personalised ABCs made by one aunty for my boys – SO loved

Soft toys

Baby shoes – I want to make some this year

Leave me your ideas or a link to something you’ve seen you think I could attempt. I sew, bake, and craft but I can’t crochet and I’m not much of a knitter or artist. If it is simple enough I am prepared to give many things an attempt. I don’t follow instructions very well – I put this down to my inherent creativity rather than my lack of self-discipline. Others may disagree!

For every idea you give me I will enter you into a draw to win either a personalised pencil-case OR an apron (adult or child sized). Let me know when you enter which one you’d like.

Open for 2 weeks closing Friday April 15th – so come back and enter every time you get inspired at 3am!!