Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Resolutions

I like to make New Year lists of positive things I would like to do during the next year, so here is some good stuff for 2014.
  • go to see an opera
  • go to a concert of an excellent singer or choir  Emma Kirkby in Hampstead
  • perform at the school open mic night
  • make birthday bunting with my sewing machine
  • do voluntary work with children Forest School at the Boxmoor Trust
  • write a poem
  • make laundry liquid
  • avoid supermarkets
  • run a 10K
  • sell a homemade craft item
  • dye wool with natural dyes
  • go to a meditation workshop
  • test and write up budget weekly meal plans
  • make sourdough bread
and last but not least
  • blog at least twice per week


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

yarn along

joining in with Ginny

I have finished the Cheeky Kea. However Thomas has declared that the pocket (a long tube which goes across the front) is too lumpy, so I think I'll have to turn it into two small pockets.



I am just doing the gauge swatch for Hannah's birthday cardigan (she wants a My Honey). She chose the wool (multi-coloured pink not being entirely my taste).

I have just finished reading 'For Tibet with Love' by Isabel Losada. It's a factual account of her attempts to make a difference to Tibet. I liked her writing style and found it easy to read. I thought the first and last parts of the book (where she visits Tibet, and meets the Dalai Lama) were the most interesting, and found the middle bit slightly slower going.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

yarn along

Joining in with Ginny.

I have almost finished the Cheeky Kea for Thomas (the purpley bit I'm knitting is the pocket). OK so it was meant to be for his birthday which was last Friday, but I was close ! This is a fun knit. I did find the directions a little tricky to figure out a couple of times, but I think this was partly because this is the first garment that I have knit in the round (with my new found skill of continental knitting!). I started off (at the top) doing the same repeating stripe pattern, but then got to the bit where you use both sizes of needles at once to do the body and the sleeve edges, and trying to do the sleeve edges in green and the body in stripes and having four pointy ends to deal made my head hurt, so that bit was all green, and after that the stripes are more random.



I have just finished reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. My kids go to a Steiner (Waldorf) kindergarten so the ideas in here are not new to me, but I really like the way he expands upon them. Also his writing style is quite poetic, so even though it's a parenting book it's lovely to read. I don't feel like I've quite won the battle of the stuff in our house though. We have rearranged rooms so the kids could each have their own, and there are still piles of things that need new homes all over the place. We are dreadful for gathering books. One of the ideas in the Simplicity Parenting book is that kids only need a few well loved books out at one time - we're still working on that one.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

yarn along

Joining in with Ginny

I have started knitting a That Cheeky Kea vest top for Thomas' birthday. I'm knitting it out of my stash yarn. I did go to Hobbycraft and buy some yarn for both Thomas' and Hannah's birthday knits but then discovered I'd bought 4 ply rather than double knitting for Thomas. Then we were all ill and I never made it back to exchange it (and anyway it's rather nice 4 ply so I'm sure I can make something with it). So Thomas' top will be a mixture of heathery green and grey. Not sure yet what colour to do the contrasting pockets. I've got a nice heathery purple somewhere that might work.



I'm reading Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson. I read this many years ago when I was a teenager, and started reading it again (the same copy as before - it's showing its age!) over Christmas when we were staying at my parents. It's a good book for intermittent reading as each chapter is a self contained description of an aspect of country life in the 1880s.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

the start of the garden

I planted some tomato plants a couple of weeks ago and they are just poking through. These are a bush variety which need less attention (i.e. no staking or picking out side shoots) so fingers crossed they will be more successful than in previous years........


The kids and I have also planted lots of flower seeds this year. I thought we'd start some off inside and then plant some more outside when it's a bit warmer. We've got Stock, Cosmos, Lavatera, Nigella and Snapdragon. The garden should look very pretty if we manage to plant all those.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

yarn along

On the needles is another neck warmer. This is the 3rd one I have knit recently. I have been teaching myself how to knit continental style in the process. I think I've cracked it now. It took a while to get going, especially with purling, but it is so much easier to knit this way with circular needles. And since I am so, so bad at getting round to stitching up knitting projects, I think circular needles are the way to go.




I am reading Not on the label by Felicity Lawrence. It's about how the power of the big supermarkets, and the push for cheap food, affects the workforce, the environment and the food we eat. It's made me want to reduce my dependence on supermarkets even more. We already get an organic fruit and veg box delivered (just waiting to buy the house with the big garden so I can grow my own!) but I'm also going to start getting some dry goods (rice, pasta etc) in bulk from an organic wholesaler. These companies are committed to social and environmental responsibility, so it's a start.

Monday, 4 March 2013

reduce

I'm trying to reduce the amount of packaging that I use (both recyclable and not). Most packaging is from food e.g.

  • tinned tomatoes and baked beans
  • yoghurt pots
  • plastic fruit punnets


I am aiming to tackle these bit by bit, starting with the tomatoes. The plan is to order extra tomatoes with the veg box on Friday and then transform these into chopped tomatoes which we can use throughout the week. Should be doable !