Archive for the ‘green living’ Category

“So shines a good deed, in a weary world”
(Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971)
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Do yourself a favour, make a nice hot cup of tea and then spend 15 minutes listening to this wonderful talk.

I hope you find it as uplifting as Pete and I did! ♥


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Tea Bowl Candle

Our friend Little Kevin is not little at all.

He’s 6′ tall and broad and runs marathons. But he’s also Carol’s baby brother, and we’ve known his since he was a teenager, so he’ll always be Little Kevin to us, even though he’s now an anaesthetist in his forties with adult sons of his own.

Little Kevin makes candles as a hobby. I absolutely adore how quirky all of my friends are! He took my chipped Steve Sheridan tea bowl – the one with the little frog in the bottom – and filled it with soy wax and a couple of wicks. He also took the chipped vintage jug I picked up from the Salvos (1960s Pontesa Castillian Toledo Collection, made in Spain, for anyone who’s interested) and turned that into a candle as well. It was part of a set I bought for $25 and included a coffee pot and six tea cups and saucers…

Last year, my friend Jenni taught me that it’s important to find a way to extend the life of things, even if it means finding a new use for an item that might otherwise end up in landfill. Even if it’s a use you don’t really need. So I asked my friend to turn chipped crockery into candles, even though we’ve never been big candle users, and I made cloth book covers from rescued linen, and water bottle carry bags from the sleeves of t-shirts.

It’s not just about repurposing, it really is about creative upcycling! ♥

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Have you ever bought something online and then returned it?

Chances are your returns weren’t resold to someone else.

We found this out on our last visit to San Francisco, when a pillow that a friend ordered wasn’t quite right. In America, everything can be returned. When he contacted the company for the return details, he was given a prepaid address to send it to….and it went directly to Goodwill. The company didn’t even pretend to go through the motions of taking it back and assessing its condition and suitability for resale (it hadn’t even been used).

Apparently, this practice is commonplace, particularly with clothing. This news article is worth reading before you make your next online clothing purchase. I’m not sure how often this occurs in Australia, but in parts of the world, it’s just much easier and more economically viable for companies to dispose of items (and maybe claim the loss on insurance) than it is for them to pay a real person to decide whether or not it’s fit to be sold again as new.

So what can we do?

Well, we can buy vintage and secondhand. So often the items found at thrift stores and opshops have never been worn before. The dress I wore to Big Boy and Monkey Girl’s wedding is a good example – it still had a tag on it, even though I bought it at the Salvos and it cost me less than a tenth of its original retail price.

Pete has become the king of vintage in the past couple of years, to the point where nearly everything in his wardrobe (even shoes) is decades old. Our friend Arnold at Potts Point Vintage has had a big influence..

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We can buy less. One thing that two months of lockdown has taught me is that I really don’t need new clothes for years to come. In a pinch, I could survive in rescued jeans and ponchos. Believe it or not, I found another poncho photo – this was actually my first one as an adult, crocheted for me by Maude. I wore it to death!


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We can hire outfits for special occasions. I haven’t done this yet (too many clothes, not enough special occasions), but my friends Caitlin and Bee are renting pieces for their upcoming wedding. They’ve raved about a company they’ve found in nearby Marrickville specialising in vintage outfits for hire. Men have been hiring suits forever, and maybe it’s time women joined in as well…

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And of course, we can mend.

Mend, mend, mend, and then mend some more.

It’s such a joyous process and for the comfort-driven like me, it means wearing ever softer clothing. YouTube is full of how-to videos, and I have a very basic tutorial here on darning which might be helpful.

I know that my personal fashion mantra – style is always optional – isn’t for everyone. But we can fix things that never get seen by others – tracksuit pants and pyjamas and socks that hide inside boots. I’ve even patched old underwear, much to Pete’s despair. I thought about it for two seconds, but decided that you don’t need to see a photo. Here’s one of my darling Small Man in his sashiko patched jeans instead…

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Finally, on the occasions when we do have to purchase something new online, let’s do it with a lot more thought. Choose carefully, because anything we return (not to mention the packaging it comes in) might end up in landfill. I’ll try to think twice before clicking the “buy” button from now on! ♥

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At the moment, many international students in Sydney are struggling.

The Covid19 crisis has wiped out their part-time employment and most don’t qualify for government assistance. As this wonderful video I posted a few weeks ago shows, it’s been left to charitable organisations and the wider community to provide them with support during these unexpectedly difficult times.

I was chatting to a friend about this recently and wondering if there was anything I might be able to do to help. She pointed me to the Addi Road Food Pantry, based within the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville, which is also home to Reverse Garbage and The Bower. Not only do they offer low cost, rescued food to the community at highly affordable prices, but they also support literally anyone who needs help by supplying them with Food Relief boxes of essential groceries for free. The  photos and information in this post come directly from their website…

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I popped in yesterday to ask if I could bake for them but it wasn’t possible – they can’t take home cooked food from folks who aren’t certified by the Department of Health. But there are two ways in which we can help.

Firstly, we can donate food and toiletries – here’s the wishlist from their website…

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Secondly, we can make small donations (I’m not sure these are tax deductible), and by small, I mean really little. For $10, you can donate a box of groceries to a family who might otherwise go hungry this week. That’s what it costs to buy two takeaway coffees here in Sydney. The cash is used to buy groceries from the Food Pantry, which I think is how they manage to fill a box for so few dollars.

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Pete and I made a donation last night and I wanted to share this with any fellow Sydneysiders and Inner West residents who might be interested in supporting them.

In these crazy times, it’s a blessing to have organisations working so hard to ensure that people in need are given as much support as possible! ♥

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Neighbourhood Loaves

Remember the artisan bakers flour that my friend Kevin and Robbie sent me?

Well, I finally got to the bottom of the first bag (they’ve actually given me two!). I used the last of the bag to bake focaccia and white loaves for the neighbours…

Inspired by the rescued tea sacks of Elvis and Kresse, I carefully cut open Kevin’s double layered paper sack and ironed it as best I could. I then used it to wrap up this batch of neighbourhood loaves, thereby giving one more life to the paper before it goes into the recycling bin.

Here’s what my lovely neighbours found waiting for them on the back deck! ♥

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