small steps - but stick to them

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The knitted bunny - a few knitting projects

A civilised bunny for a good person at my workplace (well, for her daughter).  you can take the clothes off - and put them on.  There is a special t-shirt under there too.  The jeans have pockets (and a tail-hole).  I wanted it to be fine enough for the recipient.

This has been the result of a long process of making and redesigning - the third bunny.

The first bunny was too goofy for the recipient - as I used rainbow wool for the actual bunny (in the final bunny was just used for jumper arms).  I gave this bunny for a super cute awesome girl I met where we bought our Netherland Dwarf bunnies for Troy and Lucan.  Pure spirit able to appreciate the bunny. 

I really liked this one - what happened was, the pattern (by Clare Garland) was a bit tricky - I lost where I was in the pattern - and actually the head was on backwards.  I was able to alter it into something else - cool - a sloth.  He was really a character guy - so I sent it to a little character niece - the very creative Breanna who lives in North Carolina.  I ended up knitting him a little jumper for when he needs that cuteness of ears.  Mistakes can be great!  And all the learning I did along the way - made me able to find the pattern easy in the end (as long as I don't drift off - it is tedious to follow a pattern!) 



Fun with silhouette fabric dyes (often used in Rarotonga)

After helping Phoebe dye her sheet - I experimented with the Silhouette dyes myself - they are a heatset dye that they use in Rarotonga - where the sun is hot (and here). You can place something on the fabric and it will be lighter where the object outine was - as the sun will help the dye take up more.

I placed branches and an outline of a branch was left -(my favourite) - even as the shadow moved along.

I placed leaves and the outline was left. The hands I did also dryb...rush around a hand stencil to make the outline stronger (I used a stencil as a child would not want to hold their hands still for hours) but the top leaf outline in the photo shows the effect of sun alone. Also some material I had scrunched up and left have wrinkle effects.

It was so fun!

The photos show the dyeing process (after this for Phoebe we cut out a P from upholstery fabric to create a P after the sheet was saturated), and the squares are for a quilted toybox cover I am making from the dyed cotton fabric.

Very cool to make hand stencils from your child hands and date it - I did this for Troy, Phoebe and Georgie.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Learning how to grow a natural, beautiful little garden with plants that attract good insects, crop rotation

I love growing a veggie garden - creating new life, connecting to nature - the cool magic in the garden (and bugs, smells, life). But then when the veggies are produced, it's almost an afterthought and I often don't know what to do with it.  Especially now that I am working full-time - there is only time to have a small, manageable patch.

I learning now to grow what I am going to use, keep it on the right scale - and to plant flowers and things which attract bees and insects which eat ladybugs. It is so fun! And I am keeping it very small scale so it's just to go out and snip spinach for a sandwich or dinner or whatever - or kale. Mint repels cabbage butterfly. Marigolds repel pests.

Chillies are easy to grow - and make into sauces and things, so I always grow them now.
Tomatoes shouldn't be planted too closely together AND a tip from my kiwi friend Bridget - never water the leaves, it causes mold and rotting - in this warm humid climate.

I am also cutting away any leaf right away with that white spotty fungus on it (powdery mildew) like courgette leaves - and pumpkin leaves. Then it doesn't spread. Nothing is worse than the wastefulness of suffering, pest ridden life when you are gardening!

I am also practicing crop rotation (prevents disease spreading, and different plants take different nutrients) never planting same type of plant twice, rotating through all 4 types of plants. Although - I started with the best of intentions with sections - but now there are just all these spots I am rotating - a little bit too random. Will need to plan a bit better next time.

Categories you need to rotate:

Group 1: Plants grown for LEAVES OR FLOWERS, such as: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce...

Group 2: Plants grown for FRUITS such as: tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin, corn, cucumber, potatoes (are you not a root?!! oops learn something new every day)

Group 3: Plants grown for ROOTS such as: carrots, onions, beets

Group 4: Legumes that FEED THE SOIL such as: beans, peas,over crops (such as alfalfa or clover)
I am enjoying my small scale, productive, beautiful, little bit of nature. Learning what conditions the plants thrive.

I have also planted a heap of seedlings of plants that attract bees and beneficial insects (a mix from a special gardening lady at our raft race community day). And comfrey - it's deep root system means that leaves added to compost put minerals in there.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rewrite the Rules - Ted Turner on Oprah's Master Class

Rewrite the Rules

These links are to Ted Turner's interview on Oprah Winfrey's Master Class series.  (He is the innovative person who started up CNN, the first 24 hour news channel.) 

The link is not allowing embedding so here they are. 

On Youtube, at 4.5 minutes in, "Rewrite the Rules":

On his website:

Fulltext coming soon - I love this clip of Ted Turner's thoughts.  Especially from 4.5 minutes in - about looking after planet Earth.

 i.e. He doesn't poison insects on his lands:  "When you kill insects, you are damaging the ecosystem very badly."  He has allowed natural predators to move back in, and on his extensive lands is allowing it to be natural again.

He feels as I felt, sadness about losing all the buffalo - when he found out - as I did.  He is a thinker.  I feel like we are very similar souls.

Here are his 10 Voluntary initiatives, "a new set of rules to play by" to replace the 10 Commandments. 

1. I promise to care for planet earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow human beings

2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect and friendliness

3. I promise to have no more than one or two children

4. I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world in its undisturbed state and to restore degraded areas

5. I promise to use as little of our non-renewable resources as possible

6. I promise to minimize my use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and other poisons and to encourage others to do the same

7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate, to help them become self-sufficient and enjoy the benefits of a decent life including clean air, and water, adequate food, health care, housing, education and individual rights

8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force, and I support United Nations arbitration of international disputes

9. I support doing everything we can to reduce the dangers from nuclear biological or chemical weapons and ultimately the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction

10. I support the United Nations and its efforts to improve the conditions of the planet

11. I support clean renewable energy and a rapid move to eliminate carbon emissions

Feedback to my company about Enviro Day events it holds

Feeling refocused lately on matters such as this - sludgey efforts of many to become more sustainable.  Recently all the employees were asked for ideas about our company holding their Earth Day or Environmental events.  This is what I said:

I like the idea of the quiz.

1.     I think a huge part of eco living is the time we have to devote towards these things.  Especially with terrible traffic congestion problems of Auckland  The more we can have flexible working arrangements, the more we have time to care and put energy and thought in (instead of being too worn out to do so).  Things like going to bulk food stores, recycling properly, all a challenge if working full time.

2.     Improving transport would be an awesome thing for Downer to cooperate with.  Subsidised public transport, building a path out to that train station behind Kerrs Rd, promoting travelling less.

Those are obviously ideas for the environment, not for Downer’s events. But how can we promote those ends through the events?  Otherwise it’s just pointless having the events. 

I found the photo competition to be totally irrelevant to the environment, as it was judged upon photographic merit.  It has to be judged for sustainability value – either in documenting actions / or in new awareness about sustainability.

How about rewarding IDEAS on how either employees, or Downer, can become more sustainable?  And publishing the best ones?  Like that box competition but for enviro.

Why not teach about the areas which we are currently unsustainable – carbon pollution: transport of selves, buying local; zero waste: info/trips how to waste less, places to buy cool zero waste equipment like sandwich wrappers, or stainless steel, buying less crap, home gardens – education on why? Like plastic in oceans/

Etc etc

This all has to be fun and cool or it’s a no go.  There are really cool reusable nappies out there – really healthy, better alternatives for everything.  I think a Downer tips email which was done in a fun, loving, nonjudgemental way would be the best idea ever.


Nonavee Dale
Graphic Designer - Projects, Downer
New Zealand

Monday, September 14, 2015

Zebra Art for Vincent

When learning to make zebras on this trip - when I saw real zebras with their vivid stripes - that looked painted on, they were so distinct - I wanted to scrap the idea of using the print I had been using. Each stripe aligned to the zebra's body in a certain way.  I was taken with the essence of this.

I didn't get a chance to paint a landscape with zebras as I had wanted - Shane's visiting family was more important on the trip. But I did get a chance to make a zebra out of white cloth, and then paint each stripe... along the body as I had wanted.  The hair was set right into the seam along the back of the head as alternating bunches of white yarn, black yarn, white yarn, black - as their hair is.

It was no longer soft - with acrylic paint used - but it was art - although nothing close to the beauty of a real zebra, it was a reflection made with imperfection of human hands, but out of love, to encourage the spirit of a wonderful person who fell ill while I was there.

Vincent - Shane's mother Elaine's, husband - holding a zebra made by me in the night - and a giraffe model cut out by Troy - for the purpose of giving someone else strength.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Song of the Sea animation, folk tale of the selkies retold and animated by Tomm Moore

I am in love with this magical animation.  Song of the Sea is not just a fairy tale but reflects the truth of the world.

 I love how recently animations have been used to bring back and teach people about the ways and stories of the past - like the Book of Life - of the ways of Mexican culture.

This tale is true. To sing and remember songs and stories will awaken the frozen spirit of the world, which had almost turned to stone completely.