Freecycle: The Wonders and Pitfalls

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Why have I not discovered Freecycle sooner? It’s free stuff, as in ‘pay nothing’ and someone gives you something. It’s great. Until you realise you’ve been ‘gifted’ a fridge that’s missing two shelves and needs a whole new door – cost £106 – or to be taken to the tip – cost £22 if the council take it away. We ended up paying £22 to get rid of something that was supposedly ‘free’. Fortunately we saw a ‘reconditioned’ fridge in our local furniture store so we were able to buy a fridge and support a local business, which is something. Admittedly I did also get the council to remove a couple of old mattresses (too stained to be reused) at the same time as the fridge so I would have paid that money anyway, but still… it’s the intentions of the giver that are questionable. I shan’t be so trusting in future and will insist on looking at the thing first.

However, we also managed to get hold of a freezer via Freecycle and that has been great. Nice people gave it to us, no problems. Works fine. The moral of the story: some people use Freecycle as a means of getting rid of junk because they can’t be bothered to take it to the tip (or don’t have the means to so decide to trick someone else into doing it for them!). Whether they couldn’t or wouldn’t I’m less than impressed o_O In future I will take all Freecycle offers with a pinch of salt.

Verdict: Freecycle is a wonderful idea and when it works it’s an example of the very best of humanity and the very best of eco-friendly principles in action. But there are a lot of chancers out there, so although I will remain a committed user of Freecycle, I will be more careful to inspect something before I take it into my home.

All Aboard the Number Two

What a brilliant idea. That’ll get the job done. I was thinking only the other day how human waste is an unused, ever-renewable resource***. We must be able to utilise it more. Ingenious!

*** I really, really must get out more.

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?

Have You Got Furoshiki Style?

The previous post, reblogged from My Make Do and Mend Year, reminded me of Japanese furoshiki. Furoshiki is a way to fold simple pieces of cloth to make various useful things. I used furoshiki for the first time last year to wrap Christmas presents. I now also use furoshiki in the ‘katakake fukuro’ style to to carry my crochet gear around. It works very well. The Japanese use furoshiki cloths with beautiful designs, but squares of any fabric will do. I have used ladies scarves, fabric remnants and even an old Christmas tablecloth.

Check it out:

 

You can also find instructions on various furoshiki styles on this website from the Japanese government (it is, helpfully, in English).