Sunday, 20 February 2011

Earth Hour 2011

Earth hour 2011 is on 26th March at 8:30pm,

Earth Hour is organised by the WWF, and the following explains exactly what it is, and is from the Earth Hour website , it is a brilliant idea, we are using up precious resources at an alarming rate, turn your lights out for 1 hours and show that you along with tens of millions across the world mean business!

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.
On Saturday 27 March, Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off. People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.
Earth Hour 2011 will take place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time). This Earth Hour we want you to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference. Together our actions add up.

Please join, and show you care

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Reduce, reuse and recycle

It's that time of the year again, the garden is calling for a trim and tidy before it starts it's main growing season.

Hubby spent the day, clearing up leaves and cutting back the overgrown branches of some of the apple trees (this is the reduce bit)and has cut up smaller branches into kindling size...., we've used them to start the our fire (the reuse bit), much more environmentally friendly, much cheaper obviously and the smell is just wonderful.  Now I'm really struggling with the recycle!  Oh well as Meatloaf would say Two out of Three Aint Bad!!

The tidying also included picking up of piles of leaves, this had to be done very quickly as some certain feather friends think it a game we're playing with them and as fast as you rake them up so they 'very helpfully' scratch them about again just in case there is something of interest that we've inadvertantly covered up!

And where have all leaves ended up? On my veggie patch!!!!  I know they rot in and add valuable nutrients to the soil, but I don't think they'll manage it in the next couple of months before I'm going to be wanted to plant my little seedlings in their permanent home.  Well I suppose in the meantime, they are keeping the soil a little warmer than usual.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

February's Make of the Month

I'm actually on time this month and am posting my Monthly Make 2011February in the correct month!!!

I'm actually killing two birds with one stone.  As it's valentines day I'm showing the velvet and cotton hearts that I've made, however this was actually the push I needed to get ahead for next christmas.  I want to have a collection of heart decorations around for Christmas so I'm now welll ahead in my plans, is this good or am I sad?!  The fabric came out of Laura Ashley's end of roll basket which is always heavily discounted, and it's suprising what you make out of small off cuts.

If you haven't already done so, check out the brilliant makes by the bloggers you have joined the group over at The Felt Fairy  Annie's blog is a wonderful read to boot.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A banana fest

You can't look a gift horse in the mouth as the old saying goes. 

When I popped into our local post office and village store the other day, we are so lucky to still have one, the owner Mr S was looking rather bemusedly at a crate of bananas.  Now the store is quite small, as in about half the size of your average living room, so a wooden shed has been converted into their greengrocery section.  The banana had obviously not taken kindly to the shivery temperatures outside and had decided to blacken their skins in protest!  The insides of the fruit were perfectly ok, but as Mr S pointed out no-one was going to buy them to find out.  So thinking aloud, I said that they would be perfect for banana cake or banana and walnut muffins, Oh says Mr S, would you use them for that?  Of course I said, to which I had the crate thrust in my hands, with a there you go then, if you don't use them all through whats left to the sheep!.....Did you know sheep liked banana? No me neither.

So off home I did trot and a baking session was started, I managed 2 dozen muffins and 3 banana loaves, and never got to find out if sheep really like bananas....maybe next time.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Better late than never

As you will have seen from my previous post, I've joined A Monthly Make 2011 organised by Annie at The Felt Fairy .  I had duly made my items for January, lovely lemon curd to try and bring a taste of summer into these dreary days, and some spiced cranberry and pear relish which comes out in the most gorgeous colours, at Christmas Sainsburys had offers on their fresh cranberries so I stocked up and froze them to use throughout the year.  Annie said that you can make absolutely anything, so I'm taking her up on that this month and am showing my foodie makes.

I also had go at making a knitted brooch, in reality it looks fine and as I made it in a lovely cherry red cotton it's quite cheery, but oh dear how my photography lets me down so use your imagination folks please....note to self, get some practice in on the camera if your going to be publishing your pics!

Well that's all I've managed this month, and as usual I'm late with my posting. No 1 son is busy doing coursework for his GCSE's so is hogging the pc, but I shan't complain as long as he's working.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Monthly make challenge

On my tour around cyber space, I've come across a lovely idea from the Felt Fairy who has come up a monthly make challenge, where those who decide to join make an item every month and post to their blog, and if more technically minded upload to a Flickr.

With my intentions to make as much as I can for both my family needs and also for gifts for family and friends this fits in so well.  I guess as I've already displayed the brooch I made for my sister-in-law, I can't use that again, even though it was a January make, so I'd better get my thinking cap on, I'm not so much struggling to decide what to make, but rather struggling to decide which one item to make, my list of things to do is getting longer and longer, inspiration has really struck.  I'm not saying that I'm a brilliant seamstress, knitter, candle maker etc as I'm not, I'm just an enthusiastic amateur and I just love making things and so hopefully this comes across in the things I make and the recipients appreicate the effort and thought that go into the gifts I give....if not there are always plenty of charity shops who always welcome donations ;-)

Thursday, 6 January 2011

And so it begins

How do they manage it?, doing the ironing ready for the start of the new year...yes I know I've had several weeks to do this, but no 2 son had only just found his uniform hiding under the bed! I discovered that two pairs of school trousers were only just hanging together by a thread.  To say the seams had come apart would be an understatement, there was nothing joining them from waist to knee...the result of slipping over in the snow apparently!  Well it was time to test my new resolve and instead of rushing into town to get him new trousers, I dusted off my trusty old sewing machine and set about 'mending' these, in the end I basically had to unpick the whole lot and reassemble both pairs.  Some 4 hours later I have to admit they looked as good as new, I was £40 better off for not having to purchase new, I also managed to listened to a few CD's that I had borrowed from No 2 son's girlfriend and I felt I had achieved something at the end of it.  The make do and mend philosophy really does have something going it!


It's my sister-in-law's birthday next week, so whilst I had my sewing basket out it was a good opportunity to make her present.  I had some squares of different coloured felt, and plenty of seed beads in a variety of colours, so decided to put these to good use and make a brooch.  Very simple, I cut out 4 circles in alternating colours and graduated sizes, once I'd done that I cut petals into the circles (I found it less fiddly that trying to cut a flower shape to start with).  Next I layered them on top of each other, fixed in the centre with the seed beads and then sewed a safety pin on the back - Ok a brooch back may have been better, but I didn't have one and improvisation is now a key word in my vocabulary!

I actually made two brooches whilst I was at it, I haven't decided which colour I will give to my sister-in-law, but whichever one, I'll put the other up for when I have another birthday to make for.  I was quite pleased with how they came out, and of course the fact that they were made from bits I already had made it even better. 

Saturday, 1 January 2011

And so the journey begins

Well Christmas is well and truly over for another year,  it's the New Year and many of us have been thinking about  the resolutions we all make, you know; the ones which are normally broken by the middle of the month.  I like to think that I am quite organised, and get most of my shopping done well before the manic crush of the last few weeks of December when everywhere you turn there is Christmas Musak, with stressed out people all cramming into our shopping centres, trying to buy the world for what they think is necessary for the Big Day. But even I find myself succumbing to visiting the local supermarket in the last few days before Christmas for the last few 'bit's' we just "can't do without!"......of course this year was even more stressful as the forces of nature were also against those who thought they had escaped the need to join the throng by ordering their gifts and food on-line, with the white stuff was delaying or even cancelling their deliveries. Now try and tell me mother nature is not in charge of us all, and sometimes sends us a little reminder to prove it!

Why do we put ourselves through this every year? 

I really don't know, and as I sat thinking about what I could change for next Christmas, I remembered when I was a teenager and our village was cut off by snow for a few days, I overheard an old lady in the village shop who could understand what everyone was making a fuss about, she didn't have electricity so the power cuts were of no consequence to her, and she was almost totally self sufficient.  It was she who had the last laugh, whilst the rest of the village were wondering how they were going to manage if the roads didn't clear soon, how could they get to the shops? how could they manage without power? the only inconvenience she incurred was that she couldn't buy her daily paper! 
There is no way that I could contemplate going to the extremes of no power and water from a well, and realistically I will still need to buy household supplies, but  returning to Christmas, could I make most of my gifts, and Christmas food?  Could I buy what I couldn't make from one of the wonderful local suppliers I'm fortunate enough to have around me?  As I started to make lists, I'm an avid list maker, I love the satisfaction of ticking off completed tasks.... oops sorry digressing again, it struck me that this way of thinking  "could be for the whole year, and not just for Christmas!" So I'm setting off on my journey with excitement and good intentions, I work full-time so this is not going to be easy and will initially take some careful planning on my part, or should I perhaps say time-management, but I hope that ultimately this will be a fullfilling and enjoyable year. 

I thoroughly looking forward to it, I can remember from my childhood my grandparents growing all of their own vegetables, so I'm off to browse the seed catalogues and plan my patch which has been rather neglected.

I did already make a few jars of chutneys and jellies during the autumn, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing, and will certainly be making many more in 2011.....I see hampers at Christmas!

I've had, what I think is, the most fantastic book for many years.  I've dipped in and out of it over the years but can see that it will be a regular friend.

So off I go, hang on tight and enjoy the ride!  I know I will and can hardly wait.