Check out my Finished Items on the second page

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Live Simply that others may Simply Live

Having spent my formative years in a convent there are certain things which I find I cannot ignore. Lent tends to be one of them. I try to find something that will make me a better person, or the world a better place. . . . not easy in this day and age**, but I am not of the belief that giving up chocolate really encompasses all that Lent is!! (Although giving up chocolate and donating all the saved money to charity is a good option!!)

**That reads like I can't be made a better person and as I am fundamentally flawed in many aspects I wouldn't want anyone to think that I thought myself perfect, but I hope you understand the broader meaning!!!**

Anyway, whilst visiting a friend’s website I came across a campaign taking place across the Catholic Church – Here . I am not Catholic, although I do have a fundamental belief in God, but this campaign seems so much more than religion, it is about living in harmony with the world around us. It is about being aware of the value of life and not the materials within it. It is about respecting our world and being aware that we can destroy it with our thoughtlessness, as easily as leaving a light bulb on.

I am a passionate believer that we over-consume! I look around my house and own so much that I don’t use, and of the stuff I use, a fair proportion of that I do not need! Trainers, shoes, coats, clothes, PC equipment, TV and associated paraphernalia, a cupboard full of DVD’s, mobile phone, kitchen equipment, garden tools, craft stuff, (Plus the list of “I wants” that I keep in the back of my diary for when I have a little money to spare. . . . hair straighteners, new hair dryer, guillotine for card-making, log maker, carpet shampooer (well so would you if you owned a Springer in the rain!) yarn, card, DVD’s, magazines, tracksuit for my race for life training (!).) OK I do use some of it (I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my PC!!!!) but as to needing it, well yes some of it….. but not all of it……. Not by a long shot! My amazing next door neighbour is 85 years old and has lived in the house all her life, she has only 6 electric sockets in the whole house, and no central heating. Now I'm not suggesting we should all live like that, but I use more electricity than that to fire up my PC!!!! It's shameful really!

Then there is food. . . . animals are slaughtered to provide us with food, but so much is left to waste as modern society doesn’t know how to use the odds and ends of the animal. I can remember watching that Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall programme a while ago, where he had groups of people stay at River Cottage HQ and he was trying to teach them to use the chicken carcass to make stock.. One man went off on a total tirade to camera about “Who does he think we are – paupers? we don’t need to cook like this any more, I am better than this” – or words to that effect! – It struck me that he had kind of missed the point! Money was one issue indeed, Hugh was trying to show that with a little ingenuity a chicken can go further than a Sunday Roast, but the whole other issue was how much was being thrown in the bin – indeed a whole extra meal’s worth, and that is just shamefully wasteful!

When I gave up work, I had to re-evaluate my budget to a rather large extent! – and consequently thought I had rid myself of the need for material possessions, but it has not proved so, when I have a couple of extra pounds in my purse I find myself heading to eBay and perusing the bargains often just to spend for the sake of it, I have money, so I will spend it! . . . . it is indeed too much part of our modern-day life to ignore!

So my Lent pledge is to buy nothing that I want, and only that which I need and to pay a fair price for what I buy!– It shouldn’t be so difficult – it’s only 40 days. . . . . . but I have a feeling it’s going to be far harder than it should be! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


(Blog-along Post for February 2007)

According to Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. I had to look it up, because I tend to think of serendipity and “Lady Fate” as being the same thing, but as fate is described thus “that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny”, then serendipity has the advantage of our intervention of making the discovery, as opposed to it just happening that way!!

Anyway, I digress!! I have had absolutely no inspiration for this blog-along whatsoever. I mean I have made decisions and discoveries in my life, and I’ve stuck with them and made them work, because I believed them to be right at the time, that’s just the kind of girl I am. But I don’t know that I specifically made a decision or discovery which would be considered to be desirable, and certainly none that were by accident!! – I mean there are the obvious ones – the accidental discovery of the person who will become your partner, (because let’s face it you don’t ever go out with the distinct intention of finding the love or your dreams do you??!), music you love, hobbies, pets, all these things that make up your life, are to a certain extent, serendipitous . So here I was with not a lot in the way of inspiration for my blog……..

Then, this morning, my doorbell rang, and there was a (slightly bedraggled) postman, offering a rather large package (and it must be said a whole bundle of junk mail!) The bundle went straight into the recycler, which stands on the front door step, and I rushed in to devour the package. – I hadn’t ordered anything. . . and it’s not my birthday for a little while yet, so I was confused.

When I opened my package, I was stunned beyond belief. It was full of card-making nibbles from a fellow crafter and blog – reader. (I’m not going to identify you because I don’t think that’s what you’d want – but feel free to admit to it in the comments if you want!) This amazing friend had taken time out to send me an envelope full of different embellishments, some glitter, some brads, loads of backing paper for teabag folding, a handmade card and a hand-made string bag for my groceries. I really couldn’t believe it! I feel so honoured and touched that someone that I have never met would take the time and trouble to sort through her precious stash to send me a very large selection of things to try in my quest to find even more crafts to take me away from housework!!!

So Serendipity was the decision to re-start knitting a few years ago, which led to the discovery of a forum, which led me to start blogging, which led me to a new forum, which has inspired me to start new crafts. . . . all of which have brought me the most precious gift in life. . . . . . new friends!

Here is my part of the bargain, with love, and gratitude for making my day!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Of Mice and Men

Well it's been quiet here "Chez Noo". The chickens are settling in, although still no eggs :( , but they're young and what with Spot permanently camped at the edge of their run, probably still a bit unsure! They're getting a little more adventurous with me - they don't actually run when I open the door now, just watch and wait to see what little treat they're going to get.

On Wednesday we moved the coop to the side of the conservatory so I can make a concerted effort to train Spot to sit and watch, and not run round and round. Where it was, she could get all around it, so no matter how much I called/shouted/whistled/cajoled she always managed to be the opposite side of the run to me, so that I couldn't actually catch her (she's not as daft as she looks!!) Now we have the run against the side of the conservatory so she can only run up and down one length and one width. This way I can sit with her and try to teach her that watching is fine, chasing is not!!!!! - We are getting some results with a shaker bottle at the moment, but only time will tell!

Anyway when we moved the coop obviously we left behind on the lawn, all the old bedding, feed, pooh (!) from the run. I raked up what I could and it is composting as we speak, but obviously there is a fair amount that's stuck in the grass. Well I came in and was pottering around in the conservatory, when I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. Thinking it was a little bird (my garden is full of robins and blue tits) I went to see. Standing in the middle of my lawn was a mouse, bold as brass, picking up food, straw, anything he could get his mitts on - he may as well have been wearing a rucksack. Now I've always known I have mice in that area of the garden, and in fact have created a little haven of rocks and wood for them to nest in - I'd rather they were there than inside!!! but the sight of this little one just made me laugh.

"Hey guys come on out - you'll never guess what she's left, there's food, and straw for a much more snuggly nest - she must have known we were cold in all that snow last week". . . I had visions of them doing the conga round and round their new snuggly home. . . . . roaring fire, food on the table, decent bit of music!!!! (yeah I know I'm mad, too many books like Wind in the Willows when I was younger!!)

The title of the Post says of mice and men. . . . . . well I lied about the men bit, it's just that the title was good!!!!!!

Have a nice Sunday everyone!