It's YOU! Hello! Nice to see you! Here you will find stuff about living a creative life in country Australia. I create with watercolour, pen, collage, mixed media and photos. I teach, hosts workshops, collect, dream. I love cheese, travel, my garden, faffing, colour and whimsy. I am crap at time management, and do way too many things, but it is all good. Oh yes, all pictures and photos on here by me too, just saying.

Monday, 10 August 2020




Breadtags are tiny mundane little bits of plastic. Ordinary, boring, simple, something most never think about. However, I am one of the  strange few who are the exception to this because I spend way too much time thinking about them, because of THE BREADTAG PROJECT.

Before you think of this as strange, do me a favour?

If we remove the word BREADTAG, and look at these objects as just a piece of human archeology, a human artefact of the modern world, they really can be a bit fascinating. How so? 

So starting at the beginning…

The breadtag entered the world  at a time when plastic was slowly becoming a more common way of packaging goods. Until then, cardboard and paper were the usual way of things being packaged and carried, especially at grocery stores. But the upsurge of plastic meant that something was needed to close plastic bags effectively, quickly and securely. The breadtag was invented, and emerged as a real problem solver. It was efficient, and easily incorporated into factory settings as the packaging and volumes of food processing increased, and food production and distribution becoming became more automated. Food suppliers, store owners they loved them.  

The general population saw breadtags as winners too, because they were effective and simple. The ability to be close bags easily became a selling point as no-one wanted to throw away food because it was spoiled.

Cue forward. 

Bigger populations, more people, more food. And more BREAD and carbs everywhere. No longer made at home or from little corner store bakeries, but bulk amounts of bread in supermarkets. All with breadtags. Populations keeps rising. Food consumption rising ( and  waste too incidentally). Breadtags, or ‘tag closures’ are popping onto foods everywhere. It is a global world, and tags are spreading like mad, as is plastic usage in a zillion ways, and we now rely on it for all sorts of commodities. 

But we do not notice yet there is a potential problem here, because we are happily sliding through baby boomer years, oblivious to the problem lurking, growing. Things are cruisey, life is good. Plastic - light, strong, versatile - it truly seemed like a wonder product. 

Cue forward some more but this time with a little niggle, and with a little more information. So, where does this wonder thing plastic actually come from? 

Plastics are derived from natural, organic materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and crude oil. Crude oil is a complex mixture of thousands of compounds and needs to be processed before it can be used, so the production of plastics begins with the distillation of crude oil in an oil refinery — not a place known for its environmental credentials. 

Scientists and people who care about the environment know this, and have begun  to notice something. The environment is showing some signs of not being happy. Alarm bells begin to sound. 

People who hang out at beaches, and spend time in and around oceans, begin to notice lots of crap and garbage washing up and floating about. Reports of a vast expanse of plastic swirling around in the oceans  come to light. Now regular people and consumers are beginning to take notice too. Grass roots groups form, and then the wider community begins to accept some basic information and truths that scientists have been telling us for a while now. Climate change and associated problems are openly debated, discussed, and almost universally accepted. 

Cue forward again. 

And now we are in 2020, and as it stands, plastic pollution has become a much more widely recognised issue. Some nations are preparing to ban single use plastics, some already have. Some cities and towns have banned plastic bags, and supermarkets now make us pay for bags, and no longer hand them out for free. Plastic straws are seen as a bit nasty, and there are viable alternatives. Recycling bottles and plastics is a ‘thing’ that many households do, and all councils encourage us to do. Single use disposable plastics are being seen as a problem.   

Some of us realised this quite a few years ago, and that that breadtags were one of the little things we try to eliminate, because surely there are more sustainable, environmentally friendly materials and solutions? 

They are generally made of plastic number #6, polystyrene though, which is not as recyclable like other plastics can be. But why worry about breadtags anyway? They are so small, surely they do not pose too much threat? But they are so small, who really cares? 

But like a beach made of grains of tiny particles,( as well as all that crap and garbage they collect as flotsam and jetsam) you begin to add a few here and there, or a few thousand here and there, and before you know it there is a tsunami of them. And they are no longer a solution, but a problem. A massive, ginormous amount of unrecycled plastic. 

Breadtags  will only very slowly degrade, become micro-plastics, become part of landfill, get into waterways and  potentially into the gullets of animals, fish and birds, and also humans. So yes, they ARE a problem, for all living things.   

As history begins to turn, people are slowly moving towards making wiser decisions (even if it is at grass roots level) and beginning to become aware of our over-reliance on plastic, how we are plundering oil and mining resources from the earth at a staggering rate. That this story, this narrative needs to change. 

The age of fossil fuels and plastic is no longer just good news. 

And soon, I anticipate the breadtags will come under as much attack as plastic bags, straws, styrofoam cups and other plastic nasties. I predict ( and hope) they will become obsolete. 

So from emerging initially as a hero, a wunderkind, a thing that solved problems to evolving into a dastardly, pesky little thing, the breadtag has truly charted the evolution of plastics, factory automation, population increase, globalisation and different eating habits, and the dawning consciousness of caring for our planet and sustainability. 

Its story has followed our disposable lifestyle, when they were tossed aside  nonchalantly, with no care at all about how many resources are used to create them, to now being one of the symbols of how things must change, and how our environmental consciousness has been elevated. 

So really it is quite an interesting thing, the breadtag. The history of us, reflected in the history of the breadtag as a human artefact. And just maybe something worth thinking about. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Things to do with BREADTAGS!

 Breadtags,breadtags, breadtags... and things to do with them! 

Miracle of miracles! I am actually putting my fingers to the keyboard and doing a blog. I realised that I had to do something, write something, to give people out there a few ideas of the FUN THINGS you can do with breadtags. At home, with your kids, or just by yourself! 

The teacher in me sees lots of opportunities when it comes to breadtags for learning stuff and creating. (Mind you, though partial to breadtags, you could use bottle top lids too, or both together.)
Kids are what we call concrete operational, which is a fancy way of saying they learn best when they can touch and see objects in front of them, not imagined, invisible things. So breadtags etc. are just tools to be used, another medium to create with! 

And so … here are some ideas for you,  put into headings for ease of use.  

1. Line them up and count them, stack them like a graph to see which colours you have most of.

2. Look at the dates on the tags, and put them in calendar order, by day or month. 
3. Use them as counters and count by twos, fives , etc. 
4. Write numbers on them, mix them up, and then put them in order, or backwards , etc. 
5. Use them to make symmetrical patterns, shapes, etc. 


1.Sort them out and classify them. You could do it by colour, size, shape, date. Look carefully at the size of the 'hole' they can be quite different! 
2. Google breadtags and find out what plastics they are made of and if they can be recycled. 
3. Use them to talk about pollution, and recycling and why breadtags are not good for plants, wildlife etc. 
4. Get kids to 'design' machines or ways to reuse them, or alternative solutions for breadtags. 

1. Put them under paper and rub over with pencils/crayons to make shapes. This is called 'frottage'.
2. Trace around them to create an outline that you can use to put patterns in, colour in, or make new simple pictures.

3. Arrange them to make temporary images and take photos of them. 
4. Arrange them into rainbow colours and talk about which colours blend into each other.

5. Use them as mini canvases, and use sharpies to do pictures and patterns. 

6. Think of things that breadtags look like and turn them into them. For example, kids have suggested to me they look like helmets, Pac-man, lions manes, artist palettes, apples, teeth, ghosts... 

1. Write a story or poem  about a breadtag! 
2. See if you can use describing words (adjectives) to describe a breadtag to someone who has not seen one before, like pretending it might be to an ALIEN. You have to use words to say what they LOOK like, FEEL like, WHAT they are used for , etc. 
3. Write vowels, letters of alphabet on them, and use them to make words, write their name, put in alphabetical order etc. Get the kids to write on them! 

1. Play tic tac toe/noughts and crosses with them. Kids design their own drawing/shape on them, or use different colour tags as their tokens. 
2. Do two patterns/images on breadtags the same, make a set of them, and play mini pairs/memory with them! 
3. Play hide and seek, by hiding them in funny places. The person who finds the most wins. OR hide one, and play saying WARMER, COLDER etc. Winner is who finds it fastest (can time them, which is good for maths too) 
4. Use play dough with them, make imprints, use to chop up play dough, stick them in to make funny things.  
6. See if kids can make up their own games with them! 

Yes, I know, these things are a little weird. But everyday objects like breadtags are really great resources! Things do not have to be fancy, expensive and store bought. 

I'm also a HUGE believer in using imagination and coming up with solutions, ideas, experimenting by just playing, to see what can happen. That is what kids are great at doing when they are young, but they seem to lose it as they get older. We seem to lose it as we get older  as well! Scared of looking foolish, making mistakes? 

And we get lazy too, and are used to being entertained by pressing a few buttons and just being passive observers rather than interacting in meaningful ways. Holding, dropping, touching, feeling, connecting, arranging, flipping, sliding, rotating, moving, stacking... REAL things gives us memory, builds synapses, challenges and teaches. 

So there you go, a few ideas that you may like to try in this crazy time, stuck at home, broke, bored, cabin fevered and running out of things to do. 

And PLEASE if you think other things to do with breadtags, let me know, or if you do some of them, take photos videos!  I would LOVE to see! 

Meanwhile... please stay well, stay healthy, wash hands and look after yourself. xxx