3 Olive-y things

It’s olive season here in NZ and trees are laden with olives! Since becoming a zero waster it’s hard to walk away from anything that may go to waste. There are many olive trees near where I live, I also have one in my garden. Here are three olivey things I’m doing right now.

Preserved Olives


I followed the method found on this blog and have had good results :


  • You will have to soak them for up to three weeks and change the water each day. When you drain off the water use it to water your pot plants.
  • Smaller olives are mainly all pip so find an olive tree that has big fat olives.
  • Preserving olives requires you to slit or prick each one, so getting the bigger olives is a lot easier to do this.
I found a tree up the road that has nice fat olives. I asked before picking of course.

Olive Leaf Tea

Excuse the beetroot juice in the background.

Really simple! Pick some leaves, leave to dry out of the sunlight, this could take a couple of weeks. You then put into a processor or a bullet thingee to blend to a tea like consistency.

The leaves will curl and become crispy when dried completely.

Composting the leaves

My neighbour must love that I sweep up leaves from their driveway.

The leaves from olive trees can make a bit of a mess on the ground but are great to use for the brown layer for your compost.

I was invited recently to join a group of people who were given permission to pick olives from an olive orchard and then use their olive press to make oil. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it but it’s good to know that these opportunities exist.

Happy olive season!



Sewing for less waste

I must confess I have way too many hobbies, and sewing is one of them. I am an amateur sewer, and can pretty much only sew a straight(ish) line. But that seems to be all I need to whip up a few zero waste essentials such as bags and well, more bags, actually mainly bags.

Sewing supplies are nearly always at op shops, and sometimes they are not necessarily ‘sewing supplies’. I have used shoe laces, mosquito netting, sheets and pillow cases to make bags.

Pillow cases can be turned into bags easily by cutting through the middle and sewing the edges together and if you can manage, sew a casing at the top to pull a drawstring through.

Here’s my how to tutorial:

The pillow case, scissors and braided string were bought from an op shop.

Depending how many bags you want, cut through the middle as shown in the picture below. I have chosen to make three bags in this instance, two smaller and one large.


For the smaller bags made from the bottom end of the pillow case it’s a matter of sewing one side together and leaving 2-3 centimetres at the open end (this is if you intend to put drawstring in).

Turn the fabric inside out before you start sewing.

Use an iron or pins to fold a casing along the top and stitch around the edge. Using a safety pin thread your string through the casing.

A close up showing the stitching of one side and casing with an opening for the drawsrting.

For the bags or bag you will make from the top section of the pillow case you will need to do a bit of unpicking and cutting to remove the flap. You will be left with two open ends and partially sewn sides. Sew across the bottom, sew one of the sides to the top, and on the other side as above leave 2-3 centimetres open to leave an opening for a drawstring if needed. Fold the top to create a casing and stitch around the edge. Thread through string.

These bags have endless uses!

  • produce bag
  • bread bag
  • lunch bag
  • nappy bag
  • toy bag
  • toiletry bag
  • gift bag


And that flap of fabric you removed – don’t throw it away, it can be used to make a headband! Or keep it in a bag of scrap material to one day make a rag rug or string made from scrap fabric twisted together.

Sew in a piece of elastic


I believe there is enough stuff in this world. Let’s reuse, redistribute and make do.

I write this post upon seeing the documentary True Cost a revealing documentary about the fashion industry. If you haven’t seen this I urge you to do so.