Showing posts from January, 2020

What is good for 'the environment'?

Recently I've been pondering claims that various practises are good for 'the environment'.  I've come to the conclusion that such claims are often dicey - not because of 'greenwashing' (although that's real), but because there isn't, exactly, an 'environment'.  Instead, there's a whole bunch of systems, which often need quite different things to support them.  Sometimes the things different environmental systems would benefit from are even directly opposed to each other.

The place I see this most starkly is plastic packaging.

Old T-shirts for Christmas

Martin and I are both fairly hard on our T-shirts (and wear T-shirts a lot), so I have a ready supply of old T-shirts for crafts.  Originally I was using them to make rag rugs (there's one about half-way down this blog post); but most people I think are likely to want one of those have one now, so before Christmas I was looking for new ideas.  Here's what I ended up with :-)

T-shirt pompoms.  Like regular pompoms, but bigger.  You cut the T-shirt into quite narrow strips, pull the strips to make them curl in on themselves, then make a pompom (something I don't think I've done since primary school!).  It takes about one T-shirt per pompom.

I also learned how to make these little storage bowls.  They're quite thick and I think the same technique would be great for hot mats.

Martin gets a cold head at night and has long slept in a balaclava.  As part of his Christmas present he got two new balaclavas (winter and summer weight), both made out of old T-shirts.  Here he i…

Recent happenings

A few recent bits and pieces from me...  In general, physically I'm getting stronger and stronger, although mentally I seem to have crashed quite badly over Christmas.  I'm struggling to face any 'thinky' tasks.  I was working quite hard on Just Kai stuff in the lead-up to Christmas and am hoping I've just overdone it a bit.  I'm trying to leave the thinky things alone for a while and hoping things will come right soon; it does seem a bit better today and yesterday.

But here's some of what I've been up to before and after our Taupo holiday :-)

I had my first go at royal icing a Christmas cake - or, rather, three Christmas cakes.  Two small loaf ones (one for Martin's parents and one to take to Taupo) and a larger one for home.  They're a bit random, but I was fairly pleased with them :-)

Our Christmas tree is also rather random, although it's open structure does allow you to really see all the ornaments, most of which have a story behind the…

Christmas holiday in Taupo

Our good friend Temi recently moved to Taupo for work; Martin and I decided to go and visit her for a week over Christmas.

To reduce the carbon footprint of our trip, we went by bus,* including catching the local bus into town to catch our bus.

* a long-distance bus in New Zealand has about a sixth the carbon footprint per person as the total footprint of an 'average' petrol car traveling the same distance.  That means your emissions are about equal if you have all five seats in the car full, but with just the two of us it reduced our emissions to a third.

I found it very satisfying to travel all the way to Taupo without using a car, although it did take a fair bit longer.  It should have been about 6.5 hours door to door, but was just over 7 due to both traffic delays and someone not getting back on the bus in time at the lunch stop.

We had five full days in Taupo and I swam in the lake on four of them :-)

It was cold, but not too bad late in the day when the water in the shal…