Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



Yesterday, Blogger must have been feeling hunger pangs because it ate some of my post. It also monkeyed with the font.I tried to go back and edit it, but…

So…there is some interesting debate on a couple of other blogs about the detrimental effect “big box” stores are having on local enterprise. In many places. Follow the comment thread here and you’ll see that dissatisfaction is widespread.

I try to support local producers where possible, grow as much of my own food as possible (sadly, in suburbia that is rather less than formerly, where I had several acres to play with!) and my old habit of re-using things has stood me in good stead.

Sure! I toss lots of things in the bin because I know that I will NOT get around to doing something with them. But I am not one of those must-have shoppers. (Didn’t I post about my genetic modification last year!)

I used to make most of my own clothes, too and hope to do so again once the “wrecking crew” have grown up some!And for me, making does not always mean from scratch. Sometimes, I might find something basic at a bargain price which I can alter to my taste. Growing up in a small, remote area just after WWII do-it-yourself was a way of life!Not many people had cars and, sometimes, the cars weren’t up to the 80+ miles trip to the city!

It’s just that, today, so much of what we generate is useless rubbish.Convenient, but not necessary. Poisonous rubbish, in most cases! Take those bloody annoying plastic bags the bakers put our bread in. Horrid things, that make the bread sweat so chemical stuff is added to retard mould growth. Well, whoop-de-do! Our loaf lasts til we get it home to the table. Then what? The bag goes to landfill, right?

NO! Well, not if you have learned to make baskets with my friend, artist, Denise Vanderlugt.

Concerned at the enormous volume of plastic going into landfill, Denise devised a method of utilising bread bags as the core for coiled basketry, a technique she learned originally from native women in Canada.

But Denise’s talent does not stop at baskets. Oh no! This lady is a quilter par excellence and she can turn out some lovely lino prints, often printed on hand-made paper. She also makes buttery, fluffy muffins and did I mention that she and her artist husband, Adriaan, maintain several acres of natural palm forest and a house garden that supports myriad wildlife?

One of Adriaan’s “scrap metal” sculptures in their garden.

In 2005, Denise had an exhibition at a local gallery of hand-pieced and embroidered work which told of the colours’ sadness when they were not together as a rainbow and of how they came to live in special baskets. Several of the “rainbow baskets” were shown alongside the quilted work.

like this one…

And this charming story floated in Denise’s mind, nudging her to put it into print…

Denise, with the book.

The children’s book , “Where Rainbows Live”(copyright Denise Vanderlugt) is available from several galleries and small book stores in the Whitsunday area. Now, this might make purchase ( a snip at $35.00 Australian!) a tad difficult for folk living elsewhere, but if you’d like to buy a copy you can contact Denise at :

PO Box 282
Qld 4800


Hopefully, “Rainbows” will be more widely available later this year.

Sample baskets at one of the workshops.


At the beginning of this post I said things about Blogger which may have been a little undeserved. I’ve just noticed that when Sporran and Geiger curl up on the desk for a snooze they sometimes touch the keys. Hmmm…?


We are not sure who their father is, but this chap, Milo, was seen with the kittens’ mother.

Milo lives next door, when he’s not off Tom-catting! He looks a real hard-bitten bruiser and probably can give a good account of himself when challenged. But he’s a marshmallow at heart and used to sit in the garden quite happily with Josh, once the rules had been established. I rather hope his genes have passed to these new boys…

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Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!

15 thoughts on “IS IT RUBBISH? IS IT ART?

  1. I loved reading about your friend Denise and her husband’s art work – very inspiring indeed. Not, that I don’t like reading about your genetic modification….

    It’s food for thought – reusing materials to use for artwork.


  2. Milo definitely has that “I dare you to mess with me” look. As for those plastic bags you put produce in — or get bread in (when we buy it) — they have a second life here because they end up attached to Zappa’s leash for those neighbourhood jaunts where ‘pick up’ is required. I use plastic carry boxes for my groceries but when I don’t have them with me I need to get bags (outlawed in some places now) and they become bin liners. Those white styrofoam meat trays make excellent palettes. Through recycling and composting, this family of four has never had more than a single bin’s worth of garbage per week. I would love to be able to reduce even more and have heard that one way to get fretailers and manufacturers to cut down on packaging is to unpackage non-food items at the cash register and ask the cashier to dispose of it.

    I am actually getting interested in the idea of a vegeatble garden. One day!


  3. you have all shamed me!


  4. I did sound sanctimonious didn’t I, Zig? I hate that.


  5. Your friend is indeed very, very talented. I love the baskets.
    That is one mean looking moggie! I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the daddy. I imagine if he demanded sex from me I’d have to lie back and think of England.


  6. cynthia…you would love to see it “in person.”

    andrea…If I had the space you do and the climate, I’d grow Savoy cabbage and all manner of old-world, cold-world stuff!

    ziggi…you are on the right path, now that you are boycotting that handbag shop!And you must have a fair bit of manure!

    reg…yes, Milo is a rugged-looking fella! I’ve cleaned up 3 abcesses after he’s been fighting!


  7. Dinah, I’m up to my a*se in it!
    Want some??!


  8. Happy New Year by the way – you must be there by now! Is it better than this year?


  9. Large stores and unnecessary rubbish. Don’t get me started.

    Oh, all right. I’ve noticed since leaving mainland UK and all the supermarkets, DIY warehouses, electricial megastores and so on, for a small island with three general shops, we produce hardly anything for the weekly bin collection. About one bagful every three weeks. Everything else is composted or taken to the recycling skips in the village.

    I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but the mega-bucks corporate fatcats in Britain who look up from the trough every now and then to say they are committed to the environment and reducing packaging irritate the hell out of me.

    See, told you not to get me started.

    And our cat Trevor regularly switches the computer on and off, so I think you’ve found the culprits.


  10. And, of course, Happy New Year.


  11. Amazing baskets…so did I get it correctly that they’re at least partly made out of plastic bags?

    I confess to shopping at Safeway and, usually, bringing home 10 or so plastic bags that must end up in the landfill, if they’re not recycled. I think that’s going to be outlawed soon, though, as Andrea said.

    WalMart truly is a monstrous monolith, but I do make it there a couple of times a year for the convenience and prices.

    All the best to you Dinahmow for 2008!


  12. Those are some beautiful craftworks. And such a cute kitty! Hearing of your concern for waste and the environment, you might be interested in a magazine, you may already know it – Grass Roots, it’s an alternative lifestyle magazine. My mother is actually the editor, so you can gather I’m from a fairly environmentally friendly family… although I confess I’ve lapsed somewhat into commercialism since I moved out on my own a few years ago. Oh well, I do my best! Anyway, check out the magazine (it is Australian, and should be available in larger newsagents but probably not little ones).


  13. ziggi…yes, please. I’ll have coffee ready when you get here! And yes, right now it’s almost 8am Jan 1.

    malc…much the same everywhere, I should think.And the West is fast corrupting the “third” world.

    ww…yes, plastic is only the inner part of the basket;it’s wrapped in cotton fabric.

    stace…I’ve known GR for years.And most other eco-mags. Is Megg your mother? I useed to read the poultry magazine when I had chookies.


    • Well, poor Milo is no longer with us. Injuries and arthritis had crippled him to the point where it was kinder to end the suffering. But he IS the father of Geiger and Sporran.


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