Category Archives: Green

Katrina Rodabaugh on why mending matters

Photo by Karen Pearson for Mending Matters

“No matter how fast-paced our world gets, there’s something about our bodies that want to know where our food came from, that want to understand how our clothes are made, we want to know how to fix our houses. On some primal level, even if we have all the people in place to help us with these things, there’s a connection and nurturing and nourishment that comes from understanding it.”

Katrina Rodabaugh

Hello, and welcome to season 3!

After a longer-than-expected hiatus between last season and this one, it’s a delight to be back in your earholes. We’re so thrilled with this season of the poggie and can’t wait to share it all with you.

And honestly, what a way to kick things off.

Last Christmas, while my parents were visiting us in Canada, my mum taught me how to knit. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time (never quite enough to take action, mind you) but the past 18 months of travel and stripping back our belongings has had an unexpected effect. I now value handmade things far more than I used to.

Where I used to view all things through the lens of minimalism (i.e. Is this a necessity?) I now have a more well-rounded, gentler view of stuff. I certainly won’t be diving head-first in to conspicuous consumption again any time soon, but I also acknowledge that the things we own can have a positive impact on us if we choose to own them mindfully.

I find myself drawn to handmade jewellery where before I didn’t want to own any. I’ve been playing around with making some of my own accessories (scarves and headbands at this stage) but am really hopeful of developing my skills enough to make things like blankets and rugs, crocheted dishcloths and produce bags. There’s a true sense of sustainability that comes from knowing how to create things, and the first episode of Season 3 of the podcast dives deep in to the sustainability of slow fashion.

In this episode I chat with slow fashion expert and advocate, fibre artist, writer and crafter Katrina Rodabaugh, who is so passionate about opening the door wide for all to access slow fashion and who’s enthusiasm for mending has me trying my hand at mending my own beaten-up jeans.

We talk all things slow fashion: why Katrina got started, how her fashion-fast experiment became her lifestyle, the art of mending, creating systems and networks for thrifting and more.

We also talk social media and the importance of ‘showing the cracks’, the trade-offs of going slow, and how to start slowing down your wardrobe.

This conversation is a practical, uplifting, inspiring call to action and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Questions featured in this episode:

  1. What did your fashion fast initially look like?
  2. What surprised or challenged you in that first year?
  3. Was the idea of convenience something you had to overcome?
  4. You also grow and forage dye plants on your property and the colours you create are incredible – is this something new for you?
  5. Do you think there was a stigma attached to mending clothes, and do you think it’s shifting
  6. Where can people get started with slow fashion?


Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!


Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening!

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Green Living: A Guide to Shopping Vintage and Second-Hand

The last few weeks has seen about 15 parcels arrive on my doorstep as I started buying second-hand and vintage pieces for Spring and Summer. I got lucky in that everything I’ve bought so far has fit really well, but from now on I don’t really want to leave it to luck.

I’ve put together a list of tips so you can get the most out of your second-hand and vintage shopping, both online and in person.

1. Have a list of what you need. Etsy and eBay have tens of thousands of items of clothing, that it really is overwhelming to just browse. You may end up with lots of great pieces, but if there are things you need (for example, I needed flat leather sandals, 3 or 4 dresses, some denim shorts and at least one maxi dress) you should keep that list next to the computer or in your purse.

2. Know your measurements! This post on FreckledNest sums up everything you need to know about taking measurements for buying vintage dresses – it’s incredibly helpful and well worth a look. Keep a note with your measurements beside the computer and another one in your purse.

3. Work with what you know. If you have favourite current labels that you know fit well, then it’s worth scouting for second-hand or even BNWT (Brand New With Tags) pieces on eBay. I picked up 4 Anthropologie dresses recently for between $20-$90 because I now know that their size 6US fits perfectly. Keep a note of these too and you can snap up a bargain if you see it.

4. Be patient. Set up searches for the things you’re really after (I use the eBay app on my iPhone, which keeps track of new listings for things I’m looking for) and don’t settle for anything you’re not 100% sure of.When shopping in person, understand that it may take a few visits to your local second-hand/vintage/op-shop to strike gold. Plus chatting with the staff will help you figure out when they restock the store, when they have discount days and if there’s anything exciting waiting out the back.

5. Read carefully! When shopping online, be sure to read the descriptions carefully, as well as the sales conditions, shipping estimates and other essentials. Nothing worse than just skimming the description, only to find there is a stain on the garment or a button missing.

I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve been amazed at how much further my dollar stretches when shopping this way, plus that buzz you get knowing you’re wearing something one-of-a-kind. I do also love the environmental benefits of buying vintage and second-hand, plus it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt, with really good prizes!

Green Living : 3 Tips for Reducing Food Waste

via Bob West on flickr

Ever get that guilty feeling as you toss some good-food-gone-bad into the bin? Realized as you’re cleaning out the fridge that you had enough food for another meal or two, if only you’d thought to check, or been more organized?

Despite my best efforts I often have that realization and it really annoys me. So a while ago Sparky and I started planning our meals a week at a time. It’s really helped cut down on waste, it makes writing a shopping list easier and doing the groceries less of a pain.

But still we get caught and I thought I could give some tips on how we can salvage some of those easily wasted foods:

You can rescue a stale loaf of bread by wrapping it in a clean, damp tea towel for fifteen minutes. Take the teatowel off and pop it into a hot oven for three minutes or so. Not quite fresh baked but better than tossing it.

If you’ve bought too many veges, you can save them from an untimely end in the bin or the compost heap by freezing them. (This works particularly well for onions, carrots, pumpkin, parsnip and other root veges.) Just peel, chop and place into freezer bags, and freeze until you can use them.

Similarly, if you have too many berries, place them in a single layer on a baking tray and freeze. Once frozen you can pop them in a freezer container until you need them. (The first step just stops them from sticking together).

If you have lots of odds and ends of veges rolling about in the crisper, you can always cook up these vegetable quesadillas or this hearty soup. Both are really good ways to use up what’s left and eke out an extra meal from your weekly shop.

I’m constantly on the look-out for recipes like this, so if you know of any, please point me in the right direction!

Green Living: Rosemary Water Hairspray

{unrelated except that our rosemary is in the background}

Here’s something interesting I came across recently. You can make a hairspray alternative using rosemary and water.

I’m really keen to try this out, as even though I barely use hairspray, I am mindful of the fact that it is really toxic and could be inhaled by the kids on occasion.

I’ll let you know how it goes, but this is what you need:

a handful of (dried) rosemary sprigs
a French press
boiling water

1. Put the rosemary in the French press and fill with boiling water.

2. Allow to steep and cool for a couple of hours

3. Transfer to a spritz bottle and use in place of hairspray as needed.

Green Living: Shopping Vintage and Second-Hand

Spring is (nearly) in the air and I’m feeling sartorially inspired. I’m keen to find some new-to-me spring and summer clothes, accessories and shoes that are pre-loved, vintage or second-hand.

I immediately turned to Etsy (gah!! the choice is paralysing!!) and eBay and have started to slowly buy some bits and pieces for the warmer weather.

I know that the environmental benefit of buying vintage from a seller in the States and having it shipped to Australia is debatable (no resources used to make a new item versus the resources used to have it shipped here) but the majority of what I’m buying is local, so I’m OK with the occasional international purchase.

These ones have already made the cut and are currently being shipped:

from Specialty Vintage on Etsy

While these delicious treats are in the Definitely list:

From Margaret and Olivers on Etsy

From Thriftage on Etsy

From Sally Jane Vintage on Etsy

From Sally Jane Vintage on Etsy

How about you? Do you shop vintage or second hand at all? Do you have any red-hot vintage tips for me? Any must-visit stores? Do tell!!!