Thursday, November 24, 2016

Three great sashiko aids

My sister-in-law recently introduced me to sashiko: a Japanese embroidery style based on running stitch.  I'm really enjoying it: I love the geometric patterns, plus it doesn't take too long to make something lovely :-)

Sashiko bowl cover for my friend Michi - it's about 25cm across and took me 2 weeks to make.
Over the months I've been doing it, I've come across three things that have really helped me to get good results without too much stress: leather thimbles, a 'frixion' pen and liquid starch.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pork buns!!

One thing we've never come across in Auckland is pork buns made from free range pork.  We both love pork buns, so yesterday Martin had a go at making them himself.  They were really yummy, and not that hard.  We'll definitely be making them again!

half a pork bun on a plate

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ideas that guide how we live

Over the years we've come up with a bunch of key concepts that we refer to whenever we make decisions.  We've found it really helpful to have worked these through, as that means we can often easily see what the right thing to do is in a given situation.  I'd like to share them here :-)

In the Biblical book of Matthew, we read of this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees (religious teachers):
one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

We often refer to these two commandments and our 'key ideas' flow from them.

We also refer frequently to another idea: the Kingdom of God.  This is something Jesus refers to frequently: the world in which he is King and where things are run on God's lines.  We believe that God calls us to join him in redeeming the world and creating 'islands' of that Kingdom in the here and now.  So, running through many of the ideas we reference day to day, is the idea of doing our bit in building that different world.  We believe you get the world that we all, collectively, build; and we want to make that a Kingdom of God world!

So, here are our 'key ideas', as they currently stand!  It's kind of long, so I start with just the ideas themselves, then flesh them out in detail below.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ecotricity: an electricity company building the world we want :-)

We've recently changed our electricity supplier to Ecotricity: New Zealand's first (and thus-far only) independently certified carbon neutral electricity company.

We were excited to find them.  New Zealand has other electricity companies that supply predominantly renewable energy (the whole grid is around 75% renewable, after all), but Ecotricity goes well beyond that.  They're also trying to reduce fossil fuel usage by:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Gorgeous splashes of colour

I'm not feeling too well at the moment and am struggling a bit.  One thing that's helping is all the beautiful flowers around our house right now.  I thought you might enjoy them, too.

A moth orchid I was given for my birthday a month ago, and the bleeding heart vine I got for Christmas a few years back.  I can see these from my bed.

Eat Delicious - a great cookbook for cooking on a tight budget

The other day I came across a fantastic free cookbook!  Born out of a concern for the large number of people living in poverty in the UK, it gives recipes to help people eat well on very little.  They acknowledge that people need more than good recipes to get out of poverty, but hope that this well help while they're there.

I think it's great!  The recipes aren't just cheap and fairly easy, they also look mouth-watering.  In particular, I'm keen to try their:
  • banana pancakes
  • lucky chicken bake
  • mighty omelette
  • cabbage and white bean stew
  • English breakfast (made in a yorkshire pudding!)
  • melt in the mouth bean burger
  • one pot pasta
  • perfect parmagiana (although it uses mozarella which is quite expensive here - it would be a lovely treat)
  • extra crispy roast potatoes