Are you ready for the caravan of love?

So this morning I found myself singing this tune on my way back from collecting something from the post office: “Caravan of Love”, The Housemartins.

I love the lyrics:

are you ready for the time of your life
it’s time to stand up and fight
it’s alright it’s alright

Hand in hand we’ll take a caravan to the motherland
one by one we’re gonna stand up with pride
one that can’t be denied stand up stand up
from the highest mountain valley low
we’ll join together with hearts of gold

[…] Every woman every man join the caravan of love
stand up stand up stand up
everybody take a stand join the caravan of love
stand up stand up stand up

I’m your brother
I’m your brother don’t you know
she’s my sister
she’s my sister don’t you know

We’ll be living in a world of peace
in the day when every one is free
we’ll bring the young and the old
won’t you let your love flow from your heart

These words tell so much of how I feel about this world and how I wish matters were for Mother Earth.

While walking back my late mother came back to my mind. In the few times when she would be happy, sometimes you could hear her singing some old tunes while going around the house. I loved to hear that – she was such a gentle and generous spirit and I feel really sorry that she had a hard and unhappy life with my father. I so wish she could have had the life she deserved, for her good spirit and many talents.

Sorry I brought back a personal and sad topic, after the cheerful song!

Isn’t it lovely when you find yourself or others singing a tune from the bottom of their heart?

Have you recently found yourself singing?

woollens

Lovely pattern

Until now I have done very little season shopping: I don’t think there is much that I really need and in general I love buying presents that will have some practical use.

On Sunday I visited the Old Spitalfields market with the idea of finding some presents… Sadly, I failed to find anything suitable. The market itself was nice to visit, but I was a bit disappointed that many stalls didn’t sell items of own production.

There were a few stalls with woollens and I didn’t resist the sheepy temptation for long! I went home with a woolly booty:

as well as some soap bars by All Natural Soap Co (handcrafted soaps, 100% palm oil free, made with olive oil and wild shea butter).

And this is a hand-knitted present (a self-aid charity put my commission through to a skilled knitter who made it). My friend will have a beautiful neck warmer and a knitter will have had work. The (free) pattern is Braidheart by Rose Anne.

After the failed attempt at the market, I resorted to the net, where I found some useful presents:

Fire Log Carrier Bag

A fire log carrier bag

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Kneeler cushion for gardening

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Seedling labels

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Striped twine assortment

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Twine in a tin

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reusable muslin bags

(all but the first one were purchased from Burgon and Ball, an old British company based in Sheffield, England)

[disclaimer: as usual, I have no agreement and receive no compensation for mentioning items or brands]

And then there were the draught stoppers

Today I came across an old post about the Feline Draught Stopper, then WIP.. It took a while to complete, but last year it was finally done, and in use. Tadah!

ex Feline Draught Stopper

Here above it is, washed, stuffed and ready to be put in action again after the summer.

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I omitted the original feline head and tail, so it’s fair to say that cat is no more. I had to leave them out because they were going to be in the way when put in place on the window.

To make it I have (re)used materials that I had already in store. The outer shell was made with assorted wool rests, while the inner filling was done reusing bubble wrap from deliveries – just gathered together and rolled as a sausage.

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Above, on the right, you can see another draught stopper sewed by a friend of mine. It is made with fabric rests and vintage snap fasteners to close the side opening.

And here it is in use: preventing the cold draught coming in from the sash window, and also saving heating fuel. Good for the environment and for the purse!

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Finally, just a few ideas I saw in a shop window nearby. Maybe someone good at sewing could make these…

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Sun & flowers

Given the season’s weather (for those in the part of the world around the UK), I thought to add some colourful and bright photos…

In my yesterday’s post on jam and food waste I was showing the refurbished balcony in Austria – it did look a bit barren! The photos were taken just after the company finished working on the wooden structure that had to be replaced as the old was completely falling apart.

This time I’m showing some pictures – nothing special but at least there is bright sun light and flowers – of the balcony after the addition of some small plants.

Actually, the tallish green on the side of the balcony is now gone – someone stole it (all of the plants, vase and vase-holder)… unbelievable!

The blue-purple flowers are particularly loved by bees – a good bee-friendly way to add colour to one’s “garden”. They are called Aster (“Aster dumosus Sapphire”). Notice the bee in the photos below (yay):

And finally, a plant I had for ages and bloomed just before my arrive (isn’t that nice?)

Making: a wave blanket

I have had quite some random yarn which wasn’t enough or particularly nice on its own, but still didn’t want to dispose of (no waste!)…

There are many ways to use smaller batches and in my opinion one of the most useful is that of using them in a blanket – in general I prefer to make things that have a practical use.

There are many nice patterns, both for crochet and knitting, and quite some are even free.

I had eyed this pattern a long while ago and finally I got around to actually make it… isn’t a nice feeling when you choose an item and start with it?

This time I have been good, and didn’t just start it (Startitis..?)!

The pattern is “Easy Ripple Afghan” by SusanB (free Ravelry pattern and blog post) and it comes in two sizes (throw and baby blanket) – in any case it is very easy to adjust to fit the size you want.

My (little) project notes are on Raverly and here are a few pictures…

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Have a lovely Sunday!

Jam making VS food waste

Long time no post… There is a lot to catch up with!

I’m now working so I try to keep the spare time during the weekend for offline activities.

I have been reading with interest about people trying to live in a more sustainable way and I try to contribute myself – through small steps and actions – to a better future for the planet.

Apart from buying less of unnecessary things, I buy more local or sustainable (although it’s hard to know/find the truth about origin, process of making etc. in these times of hype marketing and displaced purchasing).

Anyway, let me cut this story a bit shorter.

This summer and autumn I have been making jam from gathered berries and the odd fruits bought in season and even from salvaged fruits!

I made elderberry jam (sorry no pictures) from berries I salvaged when some elder plants had to be cut to refurbish my balcony in Austria.

Back in London, I was gathering blackberries at the local natural park. I also bought some in-season English raspberries, which, because they were a few days old stock, had been strongly reduced – so I saved money and avoided it going to waste; but next time I’ll try to find some local produce, instead of buying from a supermarket.

Finally, one day on my way back home, a local seller was disposing of some damaged fruit (that is, he left the baskets by the road-side for waste collection).. I felt a bit bad to take it, so I didn’t stop. After thinking a bit about it, the idea of the fruit going to waste was making me feel really bad!

Once a friend told me that I’m a “war child”, which luckily I’m not. Though I do listen with interest to stories from people who have gone through hardship. My late mum told me of when she was a child and their family was poor and while the adults were out working in the fields, the kids were at home and there wasn’t much food, so sometimes they went searching for bird eggs or wild salad… I don’t think such stories only belongs to the past or third-world countries: there are many children and families living below the poverty line even here in the UK (3.7 million children were living in poverty in the UK in 2013-14, that’s 28% of children).

Anyway, the bottom line is that I did go back and took some of the little that, by then, was left  on the street – a few small baskets of figs and some strawberries; they were a bit damaged but a good part could be salvaged for jam making after removing the wasted parts. I also added some more berries I harvested during another walk. So that became “figs & berries” jam.

I really enjoyed harvesting the fruit, making my own jam – which I’m now using instead of the store-purchased one – and knowing exactly what ingredients went in the product!

PS some links…

and some “easy” wisdom:

  • use less
  • buy local
  • also buy the product that is less pretty – taste is not less
  • serve just enough
  • use what is left
  • don’t throw away, just don’t

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius: Not a question of fact, but perspective

I usually don’t reblog, but I think this post gives some interesting facts and discusses a sadly real issue.

I would have liked to include a “cartoon” from Sinfest, but I don’t want to violate any copyrights – so you can check directly at the source:
http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-10-09

(the story has more episodes and begins at http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-10-03)