She sleeps in her car

Wanted to share this short video (3 minutes) of this young girl who went to graduation then home to her car. Her long gown didn’t look the same next day, this the reality for many young people and it’s too sad. “About 50,000 youth in the U.S. sleep on the street for six months or more. But what happens when “on the street” isn’t really “on the street”? You never know what someone else is going through — especially when their struggles don’t look how you imagined they would.”

Blog Hop Around the World

Pauline, The Contented Crafter invited me to take part in this blog hop. Pauline is a fellow Kiwi and a talented artist who sells her lovely work on Etsy. I won these beautiful cards in a giveaway when she first had them printed and I treasure them.

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She is also mother to the most gorgeous new wee puppy Siddy and a most precious ginger cat called Orlando (featured in this middle card above) and I read her posts of the antics between these two with many giggles. Pauline is a kind and generous lady with a great sense of humour. Do check out her blog, she’s a sweetie :) I must admit to feeling anxiety when Pauline nominated me. As she wrote in her introduction, I don’t think of myself as being particularly creative. I used to be many years ago, I was always an avid knitter –  over different periods I made rag dolls, handsewn patchwork, did folk art and knitted tiny lacy layettes for antique dolls with crochet cotton. but I hadn’t done anything at all for years, I am only just starting to make “stuff” again.

 

 

So the questions I have to answer are:

 

 

WHY DO I CREATE WHAT I DO?

I have no one hobby that I am great at. Either, I have a desire to make something prettier (the little cabinet) I have a need for something in particular and would rather make my own (soaps, skin balms, lotions etc) Roger asks me to paint something for him (the birdhouse he wanted painted as a traditional cottage) I want to see if I can  (paintings and drawings) or I have something that I’d like to re-use (broken china from the quakes made into mosaics) seemed a good idea at the time (the cat bed).

HOW DOES MY CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?

Well it depends :) I am confident in the kitchen so I guess that’s where I am most creative. Food holds no issues, making things with oils and herbs is something I enjoy and get “into”. Some things I will simply give it a go and be happy with an ok finish, some things I have collected materials or tools for but don’t know the HOW’S yet – I would love to try many different things. I draw pictures for my granddaughter and enjoy the fact I don’t have to do perfect for an 8 year old. Painting on the other hand gets me stuck but it’s the one thing I would like to do well…I get frustrated by it :) I don’t want lessons,  I want to learn through my own processes but then get hung up on being unable to ever complete them. The painting above of the vase of flowers is something I have got wrong in some areas and still haven’t finished because I don’t know how to make them right. I can see what the problems are but…..!

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF IT’S GENRE? How does one answer this lol. It doesn’t. I generally copy someone else’s ideas, recipes or pictures while I am learning and I have much to learn in many areas. A couple of ways I may be a little different are that I like to create pretty spaces and inexpensive decor from things I find in nature.

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I also love the look of rusty barbed wire, lichen covered recycled wood etc. Roger recently made this because I wanted one and couldn’t do it, HE enjoyed making it alot.

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These materials lie as scrap everywhere on the farm he works on so we would like to use it :) He is now making a large celtic cross. My ultimate desire would be to make barbed wire and beaded corsets (about as “different” as one could be!) but I cannot bend the stuff. How very kind is my rather rugged man who offers to make the corset if I show him how I want it…..I probably couldn’t make him go through with that :)

WHAT AM I PRESENTLY WORKING ON?

The bird house pictured above and a small set of map drawers I am decoupaging. I have also just discovered soapmaking and have two batches curing and have plans for others.

So, that’s enuff about me.

I would like to introduce you to another two bloggers whose work I admire, Lois at living-simply-free.com  oawritingspoemspaintings.wordpress.com who unfortunately can’t participate because she is committed at present to other things but is happy for me to share her blog with you. Lois is a passionate environmentalist and I always find her posts enlightening and thought provoking. She also works magic on neglected furniture, saving them from landfills and restoring them for those who can use them. projectIcon She sews and does the most loveliest of crochet (and all sorts of other things!) for her grandchildren. princess dress

Photos copied with permission, thanks Lois

Oawitingpoemspaintings is an artist, a photographer :) a poet, a writer, a gardener, a thinker. Photo used with permission, please do check out this great blog.

Living life to its fullest! ©copyright2014owpp

 

Nature in Distress

quarteracrelifestyle:

A good post from Lois but oh, a concerning read :(

Originally posted on Living Simply Free:

Things are different this summer.  I have gotten a couple of mosquito bites, the first ever here in my little sanctuary. The reason is that we lost our bat colony.  We had hundreds of bats that would fly out of the pines each evening. It was a sight to witness.  The most we’ve seen at any one time this year has been four.

My grandson found this dead bee. There was damage to the one wing.

My grandson found this dead bee. There was damage to the one wing.

Then there is the field. Where are the bees?  It used to be that I would see my plants covered in bees.  They were every where in the gardens and around the wild plants.  This year I added some bee loving plants such as lambs ears. Nothing. I know we’ve had to have had some bees visit the garden because I have a couple tomatoes forming. Yet I worked in the garden for several…

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Winter…downtime.

You will have to excuse my lack of posts in recent weeks, really I have had little to post about! I am enjoying our winter and some downtime from the kitchen and garden. There have been other things going on though….reading, napping, odd craft things, been to two weddings :)

First things first, the garden This is about all that’s happening for Roger at the moment, lots of maintenance, clearing, pruning.

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We have garlic planted, carrots are still being harvested along with leeks, beetroot (beets), broad beans (edame?) are growing, broccoli, winter lettuce, baby spinach, onions, red onions and silverbeet (chard).

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I realised I had never put a tally on here of how much we grew over the first 6 months of recording our harvests. This doesn’t include some, we either forgot to record or grabbed some for visitors and never thought at the time to write it down. Some good crops, some flop crops.

Berries (Cranberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Worcestor Berries)  - 39 kg

Figs (not a great season) – 25.5 kg

Carrots – 42 kg

Feijoas – 50.5 kg

Beetroot – 46 kg

Leeks – 8 kg

Onions – 14 kg

Pumpkins 80 – 90 kg

Apple cucumbers – 16 kg

Potatoes (terrible season!) 14.5 kg

Capsicums x 24…. Chilli – less than 1 kg

Zucchini – 44 kg Marrow 52 kg

Peaches (Two trees didn’t fruit at all) 6 kg

Beans – 38 kg

Tomatoes  - 28.5 kg

Sliverbeet – over 100 kg (we grow two large patches for chook food as well)

Lettuce, brocolli, spinach, herbs etc – picked most days but we didn’t weigh them

Eggs – over 100 kg

We bought extra tomatoes to preserve as this was one of the worst seasons we have had, bought extra capsicums to preserve and peaches, plums and walnuts.

The Kitchen

This will sound terribly boring for me but it’s really not, it’s a good thing. All we are eating is our meals based around the garden, eggs, meat Roger gets. All the fruit was frozen for smoothies. Lunches are sandwiches or leftovers usually and dinner is 1001 ways of cooking the same things, occasionally buying chicken on special or a little fish. I have not baked for months and the reason for this is we haven’t wanted it. I made desserts that didn’t get eaten, cakes that were left in the tin….so I stopped. We are eating really well and are not desiring anything other than pretty basic foods. Have I lost weight though – nope! Not an ounce even though I could do too.

House:

Roger got a great buy online with carpet for the bedrooms. He bought what was listed as 6m x 3 m of beige 1 year old pure wool carpet and underlay for $50. When he went to collect it the guy said it was probably quite a bit more, he wasn’t sure. It is enough to do 3 bedrooms and his friend’s sleepout. This is presently sitting in a huge, heavy pile in our lounge waiting for us to lay it. It’s taking a little time to gather the motivation required!!!!! It is sitting in front of a cabinet that contains the stuff I need to finish some projects but weighs a ton.

Remember the cat bed I made that Mittens did not like? We came home from a weekend away to find he had decided it was OK after all – to lie ON though not in.

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Life: A couple of weeks ago we attended the wedding of my most special niece and her man. We almost didn’t make it, both coming down with tummy bugs, but managed to rebook flights and get there. It was a fancy dress wedding and we went as Indiana Jones and Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was such alot of fun and we thoroughly enjoyed it. My oldest son whom I only get to see every couple of years made it :) The bride and groom are the loveliest couple and they had a movie theme… red carpets and Oscars and all sorts of Hollywoody stuff! It really was a neat wedding :)

And this Saturday just gone my youngest son married his sweetheart, a young lady from Indiana, USA. I couldn’t be happier – after a difficult couple of years for him he has found great happiness with a really special lady and they adore each other. I don’t think they would like their photos put on a strange blog they know little about but I thought I would show this one. It was raining and cold and though my granddaughter started out with the intention of holding the umbrella over the bride while they went for a walk this is how they returned lol

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I Finally Ventured into Soap Making

I have been wanting to try making soap for years but two things held me back. Firstly, working with lye – my first husband had a bad accident with caustic soda so I wasn’t keen to use it myself. Secondly, alot of the recipes I had read looked to be quite expensive, I didn’t want to spend alot of money to make something that may not turn out.

A couple of weeks ago one of my sisters gave me a bar of her homemade lavender soap and it’s such a treat to use! I adore nice soaps but rarely get them, just using commercial brands instead. Natural soaps are quite pricey, handmade ones even pricier. So…I decided to just get over myself and make some of my own. I read heaps on the net and found a couple of good recipes to start with. I also found some helpful tips from well experienced soap makers which took some of the complexity or possible issues out out of the process.

Good tips:

Mix the lye into the water on top of the stove with the range-hood going, the fumes go straight up that.

Keep vinegar on hand if you do happen to splash yourself, it’s alkaline and will neutralise the acid.

The lye and the oils just need to be cooled to body temperature and many people don’t test with a thermometer at all, just wing it – so that’s what I did (I don’t own a food thermometer)

You don’t have to stand over it mixing until it reaches trace. You can mix for a few minutes, go do something else then come back to it, mix a few more minutes…..until it reaches desired stage.

Covering in cling film lessens the chances of soda ash occurring.

Putting the soap into the freezer after cutting makes it easier to remove from mold if it’s a bit stuck.

Cutting the soap with a strand of fine wire (or guitar string) lessens the wastage found in using a knife. (I don’t have a fancy soap cutter, used a knife and yes, did lose some through crumbling)

Honey and Oat: My first effort turned out!! I used a recipe which was economical Lard and Olive Oil Soap. It cost around $12 (NZ) to make just under 2 kg (4 lb) and I added honey and ground oats, Roger gets eczema and needed a simple soap. Apparently this recipe has a nice lather and is gentle. Because it wasn’t perfumed I wanted to dress it up a bit and sprinkled dried calendula petals on it. Wrapped it in glad wrap and a towel and left it on the bench to show off to Roger :) You can imagine my utter horror when I next went into the kitchen to find not only was the cat on the bench but was curled up on top of the towel wrapped (and still soft!) soap. I don’t know what movie that scream “Nnooooooooooooo!” came from but heard myself sound just like it. Unwrapped the soap to find it one great mess but managed to scoop most back in, the petals no longer on top!

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Lavender: Yes folks, the fraidy cat is gone and Wendy is now hooked on soap making. This first one didn’t smell pretty enough so with new-found bravado I tried Lavender, this time using a vegetable, coconut and olive oil blend. This cost around $20 to make, for around 6lb, it smells divine and will be nice enough for moi and for gifts. The vegetable oil in this is similar to Crisco but Kremelta (coconut and soya oils). i found this recipe by our own wonderful Wendyl Nissen - Make Your Own soap. I added Lavender oil and dried buds. This is silky and creamy and not “earthy” like the fist one.

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This made two medium sized dishes which will be cut tomorrow and a better photo added here. Left now to cure for 4 – 6 weeks I look forward to trying them!

 

Freeconomy – The Moneyless Manifesto

quarteracrelifestyle:

Adding to yesterday’s post I just stumbled across this lovely blog who has a link for Mark Boyle’s second book “Freeconomy -The Moneyless Manifesto” available to read for free on-line.

Originally posted on The Fearse Family:

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Freeconomy – The Moneyless Mantra

A kind friend sent me a link for the Sustainable Living Festival running in Melbourne this month. In amongst the program I found an event talking about Mark Boyle’s quest to live money-free for a year. Naturally, I found the idea instantly appealing. I wanted to read more. Well, I can. For free. And so can you. Mark Boyle has published a book and made it available to read in its entirety online. This makes me BNN happy, but also, a different happiness. Could this be the beginning of something? A more generous society? Less concerned with accumulation of wealth and belongings and more concerned with community?

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. 

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Freeconomics and Mark Boyle, The Moneyless Man

I just finished reading Mark Boyle’s book The Moneyless Man and found it hugely inspiring. Mark was an economics graduate and businessman who discovered Ghandi. Ghandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world” became the ethos by which he began to live and Mark started a Freeconmic movement, one in which members gave freely to those in need. This movement operates in over 150 countries around the world in town and city communities. The Freeconomic Movement operates on a Pay-It-Forward ethos. As he puts it in his speech (linked below) “For thousands of years we have been looking at life through a lens of “What can I take”. Imagine on a table in front of you there are different lens and we take off our old and put on a new one of “What can I give?”

“Imagine a world where we can give without expectation of receiving anything in return to someone who needs help.”

From an ecological viewpoint Mark discusses the toll consumerism has taken on the planet, the wasteful nature of it. In the UK 1/3 of all food traded through supermarkets etc is wasted, thrown out by either the stores or the consumer – much of this food imported from all around the world just to be dumped. Much of this food is grown by poorer countries who use low paid workers to produce it, the expense of getting it to our shops/homes grows with every step of the journey not only adding to the cost of the product but it takes a toll environmentally…then so much of it is dumped. The same could be said for many of our purchases which end up in landfills sooner or later.

From a humanitarian viewpoint, how much food, warm clothing, furniture etc is dumped when so many have so little and go hungry, not in only third world countries but in our own?

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In late 2008 Mark made a commitment to try living one year without money. He advertised on Freecycle for something he could live in and was given an old caravan, he made a rocket stove to cook on. He found an organic farmer who was willing to let him live in a small area in return for some work. He dug a hole to use as a loo, surrounded it with a makeshift tent he could also use as a camp shower. He also was given a fire and used waste wood to heat his caravan. He used an old bike to get around or walked many miles many days. He grew his own food, foraged and went skip diving. He talks of feasts him and his friends threw for up to 1500 people on waste from supermarkets, donations from many different sources (though I expect his profile in the area possibly helped alot there) He not only survived the in the year but at the end of his time realised how much happier he was, that he was a better person for it and decided to stay. The proceeds from his book are going towards land for a Freeconomy Community to set up their own place and this will not be a closed community but an open one.

Few of us would be willing or feel able to give up money, for those who would like to he shows it’s possible. But I found him inspiring for many reasons …he puts his money (or lack of!) where his mouth is, he fosters generosity rather than greed, he raises awareness of all sorts of ecological and society issues, he is a man who has taken up the “Be the change you wish to see in the world” challenge and run with it expecting nothing in return. His Freeconomy communities run much like Freecycle, people can advertise for stuff they need whether it be a lift somewhere, a couch to sleep on, tools, food…whatever. People can trade good for services or skills or just give freely. I am seriously considering starting one up here in our town but it does need thinking about. There will always be the takers who use something like this the wrong way, there is always potential for not so nice people in society to take advantage but… there are alot of good reasons to do this too. Many years ago I belonged to a Green Dollar Community where people traded skills and items with others expecting they in turn will recive what they need from others. I became very frustrated by doing alot of work for others who weren’t prepared to do their bit in return. This is different, there is no expectation here that you will receive anything in return, only that those you give to may one day pay-it-forward. People can get together to hold book or clothing swaps, family days etc. As an introvert I find this idea a bit scary :) as a person who does care about the effect poverty has on people and communities I think it’s a brilliant idea. Anyway….bears some consideration.

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 To watch Mark Boyle’s talk on Ted X see here It runs for 15 minutes. Or an article he did for The Huffington Post here

The Sydney Morning Herald did an article on the rise of this in Australia while people are finding things tough and it appears to be successful and well used.