Posts related to 9. Making Things
This category covers things that we make and tells you how you can make them too.
23 August 2016 - My birth story
Louis is now six weeks old and fast asleep beside me. He makes loud grunting noises as he sleeps, sometimes interspersed by soft squeaking and cooing. He’s lying on his back, tightly swaddled to contain his startle reflex. He frowns and smiles, letting out a little cry occasionally when the wind in his tummy gets too much. Last night he fed nearly every hour. We’ve been told he’s going through his first developmental leap, so he’s needing lots of mummy time and feeds. I found myself gently crying after a feed and toilet trip. I was tired. I had started thinking about my birth after feeling how tender my scars still are when I wipe after going to the toilet. I decided that today I would write our story, to process it fully and record it whilst still relatively fresh in my memory.
For nine months I prepared as much … Read the rest
05 November 2014 - How to make no-dig gardens
A few weeks ago I built some no dig garden beds in our new home that we are renting and planted them out with small cuttings and seedlings. After living in Bolivia for the past 2 years, growing at altitude and indoors, in pots, I am excited to back at sea level in the sub tropics, converting grassed areas into abundant food production gardens. Here, my plants are growing so fast that I feel like I should be able to see them gaining height real time. This is how I built my no dig gardens: Each layer is around 10cm thick but it all settles to a height of approximately 20cm once finished. When doing no dig gardens and composting it’s good to know your Carbon:Nitrogen ratios to help you pick suitable materials. As always, it’s best to use what you have in your environment rather than buying in … Read the rest
16 September 2014 - Bolivian Story: Gabriel Coimbra, bringing nature to urban Bolivians
I met Gabriel whilst volunteering at Red Monkey, a vegan restaurant in La Paz, Bolivia. At first I knew him as the guy washing dishes and tidying up but I soon learnt that there was so much more to this young man from the Amazon! One day he gave me some soapnuts he had collected… I hadn’t seen these since we were living in Europe, in the eco stores. I was so excited to use them to make soapnut liquid as an all purpose cleaner and natural pesticide for the white flies on my tomatoes. Another time I tried his Andean wild herbs bath salts as well as various other infusions and creations. Gabriel’s knowledge of plants, interest in all things natural and wonderful culinary experiments are impressive. I wish I could have stayed longer to learn from him. He is in the process of developing products and I’m thrilled … Read the rest
25 June 2014 - Bolivian Story: Alejandro Barrios
I met Alejandro whilst volunteering at vegan restaurant, Red Monkey, in La Paz, Bolivia. Ale was in charge of baking the bread and making the vegan cakes. I was fascinated by making cakes without eggs, milk or butter and I knew they must be good because Ale is the happiest, most laid back person there… high on life and baked goods! Actually, Ale’s wonderful attitude to life, his joyful presence and playfulness is what kept me going back on Thursdays to help out in the kitchen. I’m so grateful for the time spent with him, exchanging, learning from him and teaching him my sourdough skills too. I hope you enjoy this short interview with a charming Bolivian baker. 🙂
I met you at Red Monkey, where you work as a chef, specialising in cakes and breads… can you tell me how you became a chef and interested in food?… Read the rest
26 March 2014 - Bolivian Story: Maria Calzadilla
One sunny day I went to a Mercadito Pop [a fair] and discovered an amazing electric blue felted hat I just had to have to protect me from the harsh sun we get here at the high altitude of La Paz. The lady designing and selling these unique hats was Maria. I noticed straight away she was a woman caring about design. You know those sort of people, right? They look effortless. They always have something ever so slightly different hanging from their ears or neck, but never too over-the-top or in-your-face. This is Maria – comfortable, unique, creative and warm. She’s the sort of person who wears what she likes and relishes in sorting through second hand clothes in El Alto to find a bargain. She follows international fashion trends but never through complete imitation like I have seen of so many people during my time living in London. … Read the rest
08 March 2014 - Bolivian Story: Daniela Lorini
One day we visited the Christmas fair at the American school and discovered some unique, beautiful mirrors, paintings and coat hooks being sold by Daniela Lorini. She was there with her partner, Arnaud, selling her art works which stood out among the collection of crafts there. We started talking and before we left Dani asked for our contact details. At the time I thought she was just being polite but they were different. They remembered us and invited us over for dinner in the new year. We instantly connected.
I started hanging out at Dani’s place one day a week – sometimes helping with her art and other times simply chatting but always sharing about various topics together. Dani’s art is done with a pyrograph. She burns her organic designs onto wood, as she writes on her website “designs drawn by the fire” and then paints in bright oils. When … Read the rest
06 March 2014 - Bolivian Story: Diane Bellomy, Artesania Sorata
Soon after we arrived in Bolivia we met Diane Bellomy. Diane’s work was very interesting to me since she owns a Fair Trade business called Artesania Sorata, producing and selling hand dyed and handmade alpaca clothing, accessories and home wares that are generally made by women. Here in La Paz there are very few places that sell genuinely handmade, genuinely Bolivian or genuinely Fair Trade alpaca wear, despite the numerous shops in the tourist street Calle Sagarnaga claiming some of these. So, before long I started volunteering unofficially around 3-4 days a week, for around a year. During this time I met many of the women working for Diane, learnt their stories, deepened my understanding of Fair Trade and helped organise a few aspects of Artesania Sorata.
Diane is the only Bolivian Story we’ll post of a non-Bolivian. She’s American, but she’s been in Bolivia for over 35 years, … Read the rest
04 March 2014 - How to vermicompost: composting with worms
We are packing. We are moving to Australia, starting all again. I find myself a little teary occasionally as I say goodbye to all our babies – our plants, bacterias and yeasts I’ve nurtured carefully over the years here in Bolivia. Kombucha SCOBYs, kefir grains, sourdough starter, worms and apple cider vinegar mothers all to be distributed to caring souls wanting to improve their health. I think about the future, starting them all again. I’ve had so much pleasure with my weekly routines – feeding the worms, watering the plants, kneading the sourdough, bottling the kombucha…
Anyway, I’m a sentimental little thing sometimes, even over non-human microscopic babies. Our worms too have been so happy. I can tell by their prolific numbers! I realised when giving them to their new owners that we haven’t written a blog post about how to start a worm farm. So, … Read the rest
27 February 2014 - Bolivian Story: Crisil
We decided to visit Bolivia’s largest glass factory that uses only recycled glass to produce some of their wonderfully organically shaped round glasses like the ones shown in the below photos.
We were in for a very warm welcome and tour thanks to Marcelo who, along with his father and brother, run the factory in Cochabamba. Actually, it was his father who founded the Fair Trade business in 1993. After having a small workshop transforming plastic, someone suggested he could easily do glass instead and at the time the Dutch government was offering funding… and so it was born! Now they have around 100 employees who do shift work during night and day. The factory operates 24 hours because of the amount of natural gas needed to get the ovens to 1300degC.
Marcelo explained to us that they have 5 maestros who blow the glass, so every single item is … Read the rest
26 February 2014 - How to make water kefir
Do you make water kefir? Our grains are multiplying beautifully lately!
Sorry… I’ve got ahead of myself… do you know what water kefir is? Well, like our milk kefir, water kefir is a beneficial probiotic beverage that tastes delicious. It’s so simple to make. The flavour is like a ‘dry, slightly fizzy lemonade’. Like kombucha it is first cultured by introducing a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) into sugar water – the SCOBY in this case are called grains. The beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in the water kefir grains metabolize the sugar, turning it into an array of beneficial acids and infusing it with beneficial microorganisms, additional B vitamins as well as food enzymes. Water kefir, like most fermented foods, supports gut health, your immune system and overall health. The beneficial bacteria in the water kefir grains consume the sugar in the sugar water, which means … Read the rest