Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Simple Living

(updated info in bold 05/05/09)

In my attempt to live more simply I've decided to put together a list of aims to remind me of what I am trying to acheive. I don't think it's enough to recycle and reuse, although that's good practice in itself, I want to produce less waste in general. This seems to be as good a place as any to put it as I'll be able to update it as I acheive/add/delete or generally change anything about it. I'm not sure exactly how to arrange the list as several of the items could appear under different headings. I think a good start would be a list to remind me of what I already do so here goes -

Things I already do
- Recycle as much as possible
- Buy organic and/or natural much of the time (especially fruit and veg)
- Became vegetarian August 08
- Exercise fairly regularly (left the gym I belonged to about 2 years ago)
- Try to use recycled supplies as much as possible for my crafting
- Take my own bags to the shops/supermarket
- Dry washing outside or under cover (I own a dryer but can’t remember when I last used it)
- Use natural cleaning / cosmetic /bathroom products as far as possible (trying to find ones with less packaging especially plastic)
- Home baking - Compost kitchen/garden waste
- Run a car with low running costs
- Walk instead of drive where possible
- Buy clothes/books/craft supplies from charity shops
- Take packed lunches to work every day in resuable containers
- Grow some of our own fruit and vegetables
Well, that's not a bad start. I'll think next about what else I want to do and make another list.

The photo at the top of this post is of my daughter's 2 dogs at the weekend chasing a stick thrown into the river. They had a whale of a time and it was a good way for them to cool off on such a glorious sunny day.

We were looking after the dogs for a few days and, not being used to dogs, it was like having a couple of toddlers around the house again.

They both had to carry the same stick back to the thrower, no matter which way they had hold if it, which led to some very funny walking positions.

And a final picture of the beautiful countryside near where we live.
Bye for now
Teresa x

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Baking, Birthday & Bath

This fantastic cake was made by a friend of mine for my son's 21st birthday recently. When my children were small I used to make and decorate birthday cakes for them every year and they were quite happy with my amateur offerings. I had the time to do it in those days and when they had shop birthday cakes from other parties they never liked them. The plaque on the front with the picture of a chef, my friend painted completely by hand. It was very impressive and looked even better in 'the flesh'. We (I & my husband, son & girlfriend, daughter & boyfriend) all went out and had a lovely meal at The Butcher's Arms in Eldersfield, Gloucestershire even though it was a 45 min journey and a week night. My son, being a chef himself, has tried all the decent restaurants in our area and wanted to try somewhere new.

I also did some baking of my own at the weekend and made these biscuits from the book in the picture, which is from Reader's Digest. Inside the cover of the book I've written the date I aquired it - 1983! I have made a few recipes from it but must try to make better use of it. The biscuits are called Cornish Fairings and are much more biscuit-like and crunchy than many of the recipes I've tried.

I bought these lovely soaps recently from Behold the Bath. I came across the site while searching for some natural toiletries. The smell when I opened the box was devine. The Geranium &Vanilla bath and hair bars at the front are for myself as I'm also looking for a natural alternative to shampoo and these are much more eco-friendly in that they don't have plastic packaging. Behind those are Honey & Oatmeal bars which are for my husband to try as he has sensitive skin, and finally the bar at the back is dog shampoo which I will keep to give as a gift.
It might be a while before I get to use these as I have other bath products to use up first.
Although I may run out of shampoo sooner, so I could start using it for my hair only. I am eager to find something natural that works well and doesn't mean having to throw away plastic bottles. Hopefully, it will be better for my hair too so I can save money (and time) by not having to wash it every day.
In my mission to live a more simple, less consumerist life, I've decided to write a list of goals for the rest of the year. Some of them will be simple and maybe obvious measures, some more adventurous but I think that if I get them down in black and white it will help me to remember and stick to them. I'll start getting this together and write a post about it soon.
Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 11 May 2009


It was lovely and sunny on the weekend so I took the opportunity to take a few photos in the sun. This is our house taken from our garden which is on the opposite side of the road and about 5' above the road level. It's a very small house but not as small as it looks here. There's an extension behind the holly tree which we added, along with practically rebuilding it, about 16 years ago. The porch was added last year. The original tiny main part of the house is where my father was born and brought up with 4 brothers and 1 sister. I don't know how my grandparents did it!

This view (above and below) is looking down the lane from the porch. On the other side of the road is next door's garden (through the white gate) in a similar arrangement to ours. I like the look of the gardens at this time of year with all the different greens starting to fill out.

Here is the latest progress on my sample quilt with 2 Grandmother's Fans partially done. I still haven't finished quilting last months blocks but once I've got a new design I have to abandon the previous one and start the new one. Any further work on the abandoned blocks only gets done when I have one of these ready for club, therefore my pile of unfinished blocks is increasing all the time.

Over the weekend I also managed to do a bit more knitting on the 'Sack Boy' (see previous post) and now have only the arms to finish before sewing up. I looked up the pattern and found it again. It seems it's from a game called Little Big Planet and came from The Sun. I don't know if this will work, but hopefully this is a link to the Sackboy. I think I'm asking for trouble by showing what it's supposed to look like. Wait until I show my effort!!
Until the next time.
Bye for now.
Teresa x

Friday, 8 May 2009


This post is about my current Works in Progress as opposed to the Unfinished Projects I have lying around and tucked away, which I haven't even looked at in years. I took a couple of quick (poor) photos this morning of these on-going projects. Here are a few more blocks for my sample quilt. I was trying to go for rustic, muted colours but yellow and orange seem to be creeping in quite a bit. I've also got 5 blocks already quilted, 4 waiting for a border and 2 cut out to be sewn. That should make approx. 15 altogether. I'm not sure how many more I need.

This is the current progress on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. I'm continuing with the light blue around all the 'flowers' and the darker blue in the background will surround them all in some way. I haven't decided yet whether to leave it simple and just do a single border or to try a bit of variation. I've printed some hexagon paper I found on the Internet and will colour a couple of options to get some idea of what it would look like.
I bought/won some ready-cut vintage hexagons and squares on eBay which came yesterday. There are many different patterns so they will go towards making more of the flowers and also keeps to my effort to use vintage/used fabric as far as possible.
Yesterday I gave my mother some hand-made, natural soap, a loofah and 2 hand-knitted (by me), cotton face cloths for her birthday. I got the pattern from Homespun Living (see my blog role) so thanks to Deb. Then I started knitting a 'Sack Boy' from a pattern I printed from a newspaper's website. This is a request from my sister for her son's birthday on 1st June. Apparently it's a character in a computer game but I don't know anything about that, so whether it looks anything like it should when it's done is any body's guess!! I'll try to get some pictures if I can.
Bye for now.
Teresa x