Posts filed under ‘Clothing and materials’
As foretold… today after coming home from TD berry picking, I followed this method to preserve some already long-in-the-tooth lemons. I also used left over cloves from the pomanders, bay leaves from a food swap, and Murray River salt.
I guess I won’t know if it worked until I’ve let them sit for a few weeks and see if they develop the ‘harmless white mould’ referred to… harmless has a comforting ring to it – I’m sure I can just scrape it off if so, right? Don’t take my advice on that, seriously, I eat borderline stuff all the time, my stomach’s used to it.
Oh, and some of my pomanders did develop mould =( I think I might have to try again and find a dryer, cooler place to store them while they season… definitely taking them to work in a sealed container was a bad, bad idea…
Anyway the one experimental thing I did today was to use some of the nicer looking peels of the lemons that I squeezed for juice. I just put more salt in each half-lemon peel, then tucked another one on top and repeated and squeezed into a smaller jar.
Let’s see how it goes!
Christmas Crafting Part 1: Making Orange and Clove Pomanders
For the last few Christmases I’ve been making my own little Christmas gifties. Two years ago I had bags of lemons from the tree and so make lemon cordial (thanks to a winner recipe from Julie from the Plummery Food Coop). Last year I had bags of boysenberries, blackberries and logan berries from Sunny Creek Organic Berry Farm from our TD berry-picking excursion – if you want to join this year’s excursion, email Rachel.
What was hanging around this year? My lovely housemates had buckets of oranges and lemons so I decided on a very traditional Christmas decoration/gift – pomanders of oranges, studded with cloves. I’m not sure where I first heard of these but it was as a child, and I’ve always been rather enchanted by the concept. They smell good, they look good, and they are
meant to ward off moths too, so you can hang them in your
cupboards after the holiday season – they last for years apparently, just sort of drying out and wafting their goodness around.
So, how to make pomanders? Here’s the recipe I used.
I did a couple of things slightly differently – I didn’t bother with the masking tape, just put the ribbon straight on, and
I rubbed oil directly on the oranges for extra pungency and preservation (I used orange blossom, cinnamon and sandalwood). Oh and one other thing I found, and it could be because my oranges were already… seasoned, shall we say… I often didn’t need any piercing implement,just pushed the cloves straight in.
Preserved lemons will be Part 2, if I’m not sick of the sight of citrus by then..
What an inspiring afternoon learning all about Angora Rabbits and how you can make clothes from their fur. It is the softest stuff I have ever felt and when knitted into clothes is just divine. What amazed me about this afternoon was not only has Asphyxia created her own house out of mudbrick, created a garden that supplies oodles of fruit and vege but also has an animal that supplies her with wool to create her own clothes. The rewards of this type of lifestyle are huge. Asphyxia mentioned wanting to see if she could live like a “medieval woman”- what a great aspiration in this fast paced, consumer orientated society.
Asphyxia will show us how to look after Angora rabbits and turn their fur into clothes we can wear. You can even have a go at spinning some yarn!
When: 2pm Sunday 17 April
Where: 7 Bower Street Northcote (Asphyxia’s house: down the back behind number 5).
Close to Dennis railway station and 251 and 250 buses.
This workshop is free (donation optional) but bookings are essential as places are limited –
contact Sally: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0415 099 829 by Thursday 14th of April – first in best dressed!
The clothing and materials working group are hosting regular casual get-togethers where people can bring along a crafty project, maybe get some tips and advice, or maybe help someone else with something they are making.
Our first crafting session will be at 1/15 Ballantyne Street, Thornbury from 2pm on Sunday the 10th of April. We will look at making this a regular event if it proves popular! Other venue suggestions are welcome.
Because a stitch in time saves nine.
A night of sock-darnin’, hole-mendin’, and patch-sewin’.
Go hard and get all your sewing fix-it jobs done at once!
Bring a plate to share. BYO gear but some materials, sewing machines, cuppas and amateur sewing advice provided.
Wednesday 9th March 2011
Loophole Community Centre
670 High St Thornbury
One day last year this idea occurred to me: I should try to go for a whole year without buying any new clothes…
Since much of this blog is retrospective I’ve broken it up thematically rather than chronologically, though you will find there is something of a chronological flow if you read from top to bottom. If you don’t have a spare half hour, however, skip to the topic that interests you!
I love clothes. No two ways about it. As a little child – and in fact to this day when I have the opportunity – I preferred to change my outfit several times a day to suit my mood, the weather, the occasion. My wardrobes and drawers are overflowing. Why?
As a teenager, when my appetite for fashion was growing at an alarming rate, we didn’t have much money. Ever since having any kind of job at all, I’ve been making up for lost time. But it’s a bottomless pit. The more I buy, the more I want. That’s our consumption culture for you!
In a world where so many people don’t have the basic necessities of life, where many of the clothes that we buy in Australia are poorly made, not meant to last, produced under ethically questionable conditions out of environmentally unsustainable materials, then shipped half way around the world using up fossil fuels and contributing to climate change, just how can I justify my insatiable penchant for clothes?
The first answer is that I probably buy about half of my clothes from op-shops, which I feel fairly comfortable about, ethically speaking (see the ethics of op-shopping).
The second answer is: I just can’t – particularly given that the other half of my wardrobe is pretty much the worst kind. Cheap, mass-produced stuff from across the world, mostly bargain-hunted from factory outlets. (I don’t let my obsession get in the way of my thriftiness. Just my ethics…hmmmm.)
So one day as I was pondering this conundrum, a thought popped into my head:
“Could I go for a whole year without buying any new clothes?”
My first thought was that if I was ever going to do it, now was the time. Firstly, I was about to go back to full-time study, so op-shop clothes would be about all I could afford. Secondly, it’s going to be a big year for Transition Darebin, maybe I can write a blog about it!
My second thought was What does ‘no new clothes’ really mean??
So what did I mean by “no new clothes”? Sounds straight-forward but what I really meant was “no new and unsustainable clothes”. So I began to think: what clothes could I feel pretty-much guilt-free about buying? These are the things I came up with that are allowed according to my own conscience:
1. second-hand clothes (see the ethics of op-shopping)
2. new clothes that are made locally (for me locally pretty much means Melbourne, or at least Victorian, or if I’m travelling around, local to wherever I happen to be, but if I’m desperate I might extend this out to Australia)
3. gifts and freebies (but not if I’ve solicited them)
I originally also thought I might have to make an exception for socks and underwear, but then I realised that could come under rule 2 – that is, if I really needed new socks or underwear, make sure they are at least Australian-made.
What is The power of a pledge?
What is an op-shop? If you’re not from Australia, op-shops are those places where you can buy second-hand clothes and other items really cheaply. They are usually run by charities, who use the proceeds to fund their organisations. You might call them ‘thrift stores’ or ‘charity shops’.
Sounds like an ethical place to shop, right? But for David Holmgren (co-founder of permaculture), even op-shopping is not a guilt-free pleasure. I think that’s because it can give us a false sense of the value of clothes and allow us to buy heaps of clothes for little money rather than really curb our consumption. My personal feeling is that we are in a time of transition, and op-shops are going to be with us for some time. And in a culture where the new and shiny is prized, I reckon op-shops and other second-hand shops are a nice counter balance celebrating the ‘pre-loved’, reused, repaired etc. Most people don’t yet have the skills to make their own clothes, and a lot of the locally designed and produced clothes are beyond the budgets of most people, so I think second-hand is a good place to start.
Other people object to anyone but ‘the poor’ making use of op-shops. They believe it’s unfair for people who can shop elsewhere to shop at op-shops. I have some thoughts and questions on that.
1. Have these people actually ever been inside an op-shop? It’s not the boxing day sales. You don’t generally see ladies in twin-sets and pearls elbowing defenceless young single mothers out of the way to get to the bargain bin. In fact most op-shops seem to have an over-supply of stuff and there’s plenty for everyone. Most times I’ve been to op-shops, there’s been me, maybe an old lady or two, a couple of students, and the volunteers running the place.
2. Where do you draw the line? Who qualifies as an acceptable op-shop-goer? Do I qualify this year because I’m studying and only working one day a week? Or are we more talking about socio-economic class here? If so, again, where do you draw the line? (And as above, why do you need to draw the line when there seems to be plenty to go round?)
3. What about the benefits to the charities that run op-shops? Would they make any profits if they relied entirely on ‘the poor’ for custom? In fact don’t they make donated items available to the actually poor for free?
4. Or is the objection that if the well-off, fashion-savvy hordes descended on op-shops en masse, that they would take all the good stuff? Well, that is a point, but I think there are three key bits of information to consider. First, there seems to be an endless supply of stuff that people want to give away. Second, “the good stuff” really is in the eye of the beholder. My “good stuff” is entirely different from the old Greek woman’s “good stuff” which is different again from the “good stuff” for a young guy looking for something to wear to a job interview. Third, the early bird catches the worm. There are always new things coming into op-shops. You can find nothing on one day and a treasure trove the next. What you find depends a lot more on how much time you’re prepared to spend looking or coming back and checking than it does on how much money you have to spend.
So on balance, I’m pretty comfortable with shopping at op-shops as an ethical choice at this stage in time. But it’s true that as time goes on, hopefully people will stop buying the masses of imported clothes that they do and therefore the supply to op-shops will dwindle. I reckon that just means that we’ll see far fewer op-shops around, or they will be much smaller, and they might become more like other second-hand shops you see today – namely, more specialist and expensive. But hopefully our expectations of how many clothes we need will also become more realistic. Hey, I’m working on it, okay?