Hurrah for Public Transport (and Preparations for a Homemade Christmas)

There has not been so much blogging lately as I am snowed under trying to balance studying with sorting out our lovely new old house (if you know what I mean). An aged house such as ours has its own particular set of problems for any new inhabitants inheriting all the ‘quirks’ that the previous owners never fixed. But it’s fun o_O

I am also trying to make preparations for a make-do-and-mend, pre-loved, home made, Un-paving Paradise Christmas with all the family. I have already made a shawl, wrist-warmers, napkin rings and am onto the recycled cotton crocheted flannels (which will be wrapped with home made soaps and bath bombs) and pine cone decorations. Last year I made two pairs of these lovely slippers, and will also make a couple more pairs for friends and family for this year. It’s a simple, but very effective pattern. My middle child still wears them and loves the fact that they were created especially for her, which is as much the value of a home made gift as the gift itself 🙂

It being half-term here in this Lost Corner of Middleshire, we took the children to the National Space Centre. It’s a fantastic place. The planetarium alone is an amazing experience. A particular favourite was the ‘rocket’ in the cafe, which every so often would begin to rumble and emit vast quantities of dry ice lit by red lights, to much shrieking delight on behalf of the children stood underneath. Also, if you book online in advance, you get a free annual pass. Read more here.

We travelled by train and stayed overnight as it’s a long way away, which led to some interesting questions with regard to the eco credentials of train travel: why is it more environmentally-friendly to use the train, but costs more? Shouldn’t the fact that there are 100 people travelling in just one carriage be more economical for the traveller? Why, even when you have discounts such as the Friends and Family Railcard and you book weeks in advance, is rail travel in Britain so expensive?

Help Save Mohammad from Execution

Mohammad, an Edinburgh grandfather on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan, is in a critical condition. He was shot by a prison guard and remains at risk of further violence. Mohammad has a documented history of mental illness and has been charged with blasphemy after becoming delusional. It is a tragic case. Tomorrow, Jasmine, Mohammad’s daughter is taking a petition to Downing Street (please see the link below).

According to 38 Degrees (a non-party-aligned political action group), a Downing Street spokeswoman said yesterday that “the PM has been following the case closely.” More than 70,000 people have signed the petition to save Mohammad. Please would you consider signing it too?

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/bringmohammadhome

Scarlet Blast

So good I wanted to share it here, too.

Easy Cooking on a Budget

I made the following smoothie this morning for breakfast and it was so good that I didn’t even notice that I’d forgotten to take my medication.

Handful fresh spinach

Handful blackberries

Handful raspberries

400ml water

2 small dessert apples, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice (I cheated and used bottled lime juice)

1 tablespoon agave syrup

1. Place ingredients in blender.

2. Blitz until smooooooth.

3. Drink straight away otherwise the liquid separates from the solids and it’s not so nice.

Serves four (unless you’re greedy and only share it between two, like we did)

TOP TIPS

If spinach, raspberries and blackberries are not in season, you can use frozen versions. When using frozen, I use spinach direct from the freezer, but usually defrost any fruit overnight in the fridge. 

Ice would also go well with this, especially on a hot day.

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Waste Less Live More-Discover It

It’s so much fun discovering new ways of doing things!
I think we just have to try to not take the burdens of the whole world on our shoulders and not worry about where we have got it wrong, but focus on the little changes that gradually add up to bigger changes. These then begin to influence those around us to make little changes for themselves. 🙂

My Make Do and Mend Year

Waste Less Live More Week has flown by.
Today is the last day, and it’s time to #Discover It.
Discover itDiscover new ways of doing old things-different ways of getting to the same place; different places to shop; different things to do with the kids…

I thought that as this blog came about from a year of Buying Nothing New, I would encourage you all to discover alternatives to buying thing new (I know I’m kind of preaching to the choir here, but maybe you might find a little nugget of inspiration!)

  • Discover alternative retail outlets: charity shops; auction houses; flea markets; vintage fairs; jumble sales; reclamation yards. These are all fab places for finding ‘new’ things. And don’t forget Freegle and Freecycle, as well as events like Swishing (clothes swapping) to pick up some totally ‘new’, totally free stuff
  • Discover how to make: once you can sew, or…

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Un-paving Apparel

I’m not a fashionista, let me say that straight away. I hate clothes shopping. I rarely wear make-up or even high heels. But I do choose my clothes with care and I do take care of my appearance. In my efforts to be more eco-friendly I have slimmed down my wardrobe, giving half of my clothes to charity. I have kept my favourite items and enjoy, at the end of each day, choosing with care the clothes I will wear the following day. I rarely buy new clothes (except underwear!) and nowadays I rarely buy second-hand clothes either.

However, given that it has been nearly a year since I bought new clothing, I decided to have a look at the ethical clothing shop Nomads. I’m so glad I did! I was thrilled to be able to purchase two new, stylish fair trade dresses from the Nomads clearance sale for less than £30.

You can check out Nomads online clothing store here.

NB I have no affiliation to Nomads. I just like their clothes.

Reblog: Crochet Coasters Tutorial

Just in time for Christmas! I have resolved to make as many gifts as possible this year and coasters may well be one of those gifts that I will duplicate for various different people. I’m already half-way through a shawl for my mother. These coasters look great and the pattern is simple. Win, win, win!

The Green Dragonfly

Crochet coaster free pattern I’ve had many, many requests for a crochet coaster pattern since I originally posted making coasters because the original pattern seems to have disappeared. If it does pop back up Ill link back to  it, but in the meantime, here’s a quick little tutorial for you to whip up some crochet coasters, for yourself or as a lovely gift!

To make these crochet coasters you will need…

  • DK (8ply) yarn – I like to use a cotton or cotton blend
  • 3mm or 3.5mm crochet hook – use a slightly smaller hook than usual because you want a nice firm fabric.
  • Needle to sew in ends

Crochet coaster free patternFirst up, chain 6 and join to form a ring:Crochet coaster free pattern

Chain 3 (counts as first DC) and DC 19 into the ring (20DC) Join with a SS into the top of the starting chain 3 to complete the round. Crochet coaster free pattern

Chain 3, DC in the next…

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Tackling Mount Washmore

I’m thinking of getting one of these

Ecoballs: simple, effective, eco-friendly and inexpensive

We have been attempting to save energy recently by hanging clothes up to dry instead of using a tumble dryer. Of course, this is nothing worthy of an Archimedes’ ‘eureka!’, but I have figured out that if I hang clothes in a certain way, they dry with far fewer creases and hence require little to no ironing and irons use an awful lot of energy (as well as being boring). My method uses lots of pegs, to ensure garments are drying as ‘flat’ as possible. I also have clothes hangers which I keep by the washing line so that anything that requires a hanger now goes straight on the hanger after drying and then directly into the wardrobe. I got this idea from one of FlyLady’s emails. We have two people in our house with bladder problems so we regularly have lots of washing. I do at least one load of laundry every day to stay on top of things, and I use ecoballs instead of laundry powder. This method saves time, money and electricity, so it’s win, win win!

The Italians have it right, but I doubt this would work in rainy, cold Brittania…