Posts Tagged ‘Magazine article’

Cheap As Chipped China – redesigned

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

As a school project, Natcoll design student Marie Holdaway recently re-illustrated ‘Cheap As Chipped China’, Issue #8 of World Sweet World Magazine, by Kura Rutherford. Great to see how people reuse material, put their talent to work and create something new. Marie illustrated the article with the frankie magazine in mind, and found her inspiration at Lovely Sweet William.

Cheap as chipped china

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

When keen crafter Rosa May Rutherford bought her first car and found herself with both time on her hands and a growing sense of adventure, she hatched a plan to drive from one end of the country to the other, stopping at every small-town op shop along the way.

Inspired by Ann Packer’s book Crafty Girls’ Road Trip, twenty-four-year old Rosa decided to put her own spin on the fun concept. With a tight budget and little ‘all weather’ driving experience, Rosa was determined nonetheless. She had a plan: to put on loud music, fill her car with petrol and drive from the far north of New Zealand to the deep south, not returning home until her wee Mazda 323 was jam-packed full of second-hand stuff she could fill her house with, or repurpose for craft projects.

Having fun, catching up with friends along the way, and seeing new bits of New Zealand were high priority, but Rosa’s trip was also strongly informed by her staunch belief that craft-making is made all the better by reusing resources. ‘There is so much out there to be reused’ she says, ‘and I was determined to go out and find lots of it.’

While, she says, it’s great how the majority of crafty New Zealanders will now purchase 100 per cent natural fibres, she is inspired most by the people who have gone the next step and are buying their craft materials second-hand. ‘I think I would cry if I saw that my friends had bought brand new knitting and crochet needles. The world is overpopulated already with size 3 1/4 knitting needles!’

‘I’d never been on a solo road trip before so having a focus really gave the trip an extra momentum and I found that having a style or era in mind really helped me to hone in on the perfect scores! When I arrived in some small towns, it was a bit of a downer being by myself, but knowing there were op shops just waiting to be explored made it ok.’

Rosa developed a method to finding op shops in every new town she visited. ‘I’d always do a lap of town, and check out the back streets just to make sure the shops weren’t hiding behind the library.’ She admits though that there would definitely be quicker ways of finding them. ‘If I had been more on to it, I might have actually gone in to the library and checked out their yellow pages! But there’s something satisfying about finding the shop yourself.’

Along the way Rosa became as passionate about the op shops themselves as the potential scores. ‘Op shops rule. I know they’re nothing new, but maybe we take op shops for granted. I love the sense of community and the locals all doing their weekly shop there and catching up on the grandkids. It also adds to the sense of community if you know that every dollar you spend is helping in some small way to keep a good thing going.’ She noticed the places that really took pride in their shops. ‘Some people really make an effort to make their shops interesting and appealing, and that’s inspiring. The best shops were often in the small towns. Some of the big city shops were really lacking in that care – and I just walked in and walked out. You can tell if the shop has their heart in the right place! One small op shop even offered a free piece of home baking with each purchase.’

Refuse centres were another regular pit stop, and great places to ferret around. ‘It’s pretty funny arriving in town with the first question running through my mind – “wonder where the dump is around here!” But it definitely paid off when she would finally spot a Recycle Centre sign, and come out an hour later with two shopping bags full to the brim with kitchen goods, aprons, reusable fabric and have only spent $5, after giving a $2 tip!

Having returned from her trip, and now settling down to start on a myriad of new craft projects, Rosa has good news for fellow crafters and op shop scavengers; ‘having driven from north to south, I can tell you there is heaps of cool stuff around that needs to be found, and used.’ Rosa May totally recommends a second-hand crafty road trip to anyone wanting an adventure. She was overwhelmed by the beauty of the homeland, and the kindness of people along the way, but most of all she is still in awe of her stack of op shop scores.

Rosa May, like many others, has a mini craft business selling her crafts on ‘I want to look after our planet, so I make sure I use as many recycled and organic threads as possible.’ Now she has such an assortment of craft materials (and a house that almost looks like a second-hand store, with so many tea cups and enamel coated dishes) she figures she and her wee business will be set for life – ‘or at least until the travel bug next gets me’.

Greens for all seasons

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

This article is written by Johanna Knox (

While some useful and nutritious weeds wither or die back during autumn, others just keep on flourishing. Two that you’re likely to find growing all year round are chickweed and puha.

Puha: what’s all the hoo-ha?
Botanical name: Sonchus species. AKA: Puwha, Sow thistle

puhaPuha grows all over. There are several species in New Zealand, and even within species, individual plants can look quite different from each other.
Their appearance depends on age, growing conditions, and probably natural genetic variation. In moist, rich soil and some shade, puha can grow huge and lush. Puha plants forced to lead harder lives often have smaller, sparser leaves and a more purplish tinge to their stalks. The flowers of Puha look a bit like dandilions.

Puha as food
Puha is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Young puha leaves and stems are quite bitter. In bigger, older puha, the leaves seem to lose some of their bitterness and even become slightly sour and salty. However, the stems of older plants fill with a gooey white sap that’s extremely bitter.
Young leaves and stems and older leaves can all be used raw as salad greens. Every above-ground part of puha (even the buds and flowers) can be cooked.
If you’re using the stems of older plants in cooking, bruise or crush them when you rinse
them to let the bitter sap wash away. You can substitute puha for spinach in any recipe. Just as
with spinach, allow for it to lose volume when cooked.

Puha as medicine
Bitter-tasting plants like puha have long been known to have medicinal value, and I suspect
many of us 21st century urbanites would benefit from eating bitter greens more frequently.
It’s the actual bitter taste that is important. Bitter tastes trigger a set of responses in your body that stimulate and enhance digestive function, and help your body absorb nutrients. For the best effect you should probably eat your bitters about 15 minutes before the rest of your meal. (So have a puha salad as a starter!)
Avoid bitters if you have ulcers or a reflux condition though, or at least check with a medical
professional first.

Chickweed: star of the wild
Botanical name: Stellaria media. AKA: Starweed

chickweedFinding and harvesting
Chickweed likes to grow wild in gardens (often on a bed of soil you’ve just cleared), as well as in the unmowed areas of parks and reserves. It starts life as a mat of tangly, sprawling stems with small teardrop-shaped leaves. The leaves get bigger and the stems more upright as it grows.
Its tiny, white flowers look like they have ten petals, but if you peer closely you’ll see they’re five petals with splits down their middles.
It’s hard to pull a handful of chickweed up without bringing other bits of unwanted weed with it. The easiest way to harvest it is to find the tips, pull them upwards, and snip off the bestlooking bits.

Chickweed as food
Chickweed contains B vitamins, as well as vitamins C and D. It’s also a respectable source of iron, copper, calcium and sodium.
Raw chickweed snipped up into little pieces (1 or 2 cm long) is a healthy and yummy salad ingredient. It reminds me a bit of alfalfa sprouts. You can also cook it in a stirfry, a soup, a casserole or a sauce. Add it at the last minute, and preferably cut it up quite small so it doesn’t feel stringy when you eat it.
Cuisine-wise, chickweed really comes into its own in pesto. It’s one of a number of plants that contain saponins – compounds that lather up like soap. (Some plants that contain especially high levels of saponins are used as natural soap substitutes, but that’s another story.) The saponins in chickweed give your pesto an especially creamy quality.
You can also throw chickweed into a smoothie – it adds nutritional value and makes the smoothie extra frothy!

Chickweed as medicine
It’s partly the saponins that make chickweed valuable as a soothing and healing skin treatment. Chickweed poultices or compresses can be good for eczema, insect bites, and other itchy skin conditions.
To make a chickweed poultice pound a big handful of chickweed in a mortar and pestle, spread it over the area you want to treat, and bind it on with a strip of cotton or gladwrap, or a layer of each (cotton then gladwrap.)
To make a chickweed compress first make juice from a few handfuls of chickweed. You can do this in a juicer if you have one. Alternatively, whiz up the chickweed in a blender or food processor with a little water, then strain the mix through muslin.
If you prefer to take the unplugged route, pound the chickweed very well in a mortar and pestle, add a bit of water, and strain through muslin to obtain the juice.
Finally, lay a piece of clean cotton on a clean towel, and pour the chickweed juice over it. Place the juice-soaked cotton on the affected area of skin, or wrap it around it.


Scavenging for your supper
Wild foods can be fresh, yummy, healthy, and free. And foraging is an addictive pastime.

Tools of the foraging trade
What you need when foraging depends on what you’re planning to gather. But to be very well prepared, take scissors, gloves, several bags of different sizes, and even a small trowel, if you think you might dig anything up. Reusable shopping bags and vege bags are good. (Onya do a good line:

Just how safe is this foraging business?

  • RULE #1: If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it
  • RULE #2: Get to know your local toxic plants. Try this Landcare Research resource:
  • RULE #3: avoid areas that get showered in car exhaust, could be polluted or may have been recently sprayed with herbicide (although harvesting new growth from areas that have been sprayed in the past should be okay)
  • RULE #4: Be sure to get permission before foraging on someone else’s property, including farmland.

Check out this lovely Chickweed recipe!