Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wait in that corner until that breeze blows in

I may have had some odd interactions at times with people in my search for 'good pear colours', but two clever spotters did me proud recently.

good pear colours

These are both Paton's Jet, colourways that apparently never made it to production. Yum.

And here is some daggy, functional crafting for the new house - plastic bag dispensers. No pattern for these, I just used my biggest crochet hook, made a base circle leaving a hole to pull the bags through, then just kept double crocheting (I think?) around in a spiral until it seemed long enough. Both are made from a chunky wool hand dyed by Happyspider. They were pretty quick, the smaller one took a couple of hours for a not at all regular crocheter.

The smaller one is full of recycled bread bags - various family members keep these for me and we use them to clean up after the dogs on our walks. The bigger one is full of supermarket plastic bags - I hope we have finally stopped acquiring these but there are enough miscellaneous bags around to keep this dispenser going for a while.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Out of the blue and into the black, they give you this but you pay for that

a junk_img_2239

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago, waiting out the back of the recycling centre for my sister to offload a car full of stuff. We had been cleaning out the garage and had loaded two cars full of things that still worked or were potentially recyclable, things you don't want to throw in a skip or put in landfill. According to local government policy, each of the landfill sites in Canberra has a recycling centre. As you approach landfill there are signs encouraging you to stop at the recycling centre first to drop off.

I was able to offloaded only about half of the stuff in my car. The signs might be very welcoming but it's not as simple as dropping stuff off and being thanked for your donation. It was busy season - being Christmas break, I guess a lot of people take the opportunity to clean out the garage or renovate. There was an air of suspicion as I presented my wares - hand over a suitcase and it's "And what's in there?" as if I might have stashed dirty clothes or the old vegies from the bottom of the fridge in there.

This was still a lot better than our experience half an hour earlier at the other recycling centre, where they wouldn't even look at any of it. Just said, sorry, the shed is full. Although the car behind me with a trailer full of furniture was allowed to stop and drop. That was a frustrating day.

It can be really hard work, and sometimes disheartening, trying to dispose of things mindfully. Just as I realise I've gotten much better at parting with things and being more selectively sentimental, I find that's not all there is to it. I also need to think about it a little more when I acquire items in the first place. Sure it might be cheap but is it going to be in landfill in a couple of years? (Or in the garage waiting for the inevitable delayed clean out?) I realised I had been keeping things too long, things that might be useful, but I didn't use them. And the longer you keep them, the less likely that even charities or recycling centres will want them. A better, more up-to-date class of junk comes in every day.

I sat in my car staring into the 'Aussie Junk' yard, marvelling at the stacks of white moulded plastic garden chairs that can be bought so cheaply, and a few years later duly delivered to places like this when you upgrade to a nicer set. Those chairs will probably last forever. And most people would never think to get them second-hand. Why would you when they are a few dollars each new?

I'm more and more keen to try to buy more things second-hand. Although I need to tighten my belt now anyway, it's more the thought of avoiding being responsible for the unnecessary manufacture of more THINGS. Of course, furniture-wise, I mostly always did buy second-hand - that's because we acquired everything when we were poorer and never bothered to upgrade in our little rented house. A lot of it is pretty crappy and I'll be happy to replace it - gradually - with a better class of second-hand.

At least things seem to have slowed a bit at the recycling centre. They were much happier to see me today, and I was happy that there were no suspicious questions this time.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I've seen the love open like a dancer's fan

Recently I put my hand up to participate in Pay it Forward with Rhonda. This is a really nice simple concept, and it has been really popular. You offer to make a handmade something for a limited number of people who sign up by commenting. They don't have to do anything for you in return, but they undertake to make the same offer on their own blogs, and an increasing number of people receive handmade gifts.
starry night cushion
Rhonda made this for me. When I opened the package my jaw dropped. I think it is absolutely amazing. And she designed it herself. The swirly embroidery over the knitted base fabric is the perfect choice to depict the swirly style of the painting. I love it.
cushion close
As we gradually get the new house arranged, I am still looking for the perfect spot where it can be enjoyed as a cushion without being 'enjoyed' by the dogs. They don't appreciate art.
I did have some misgivings about joining Pay It Forward. It's been circling knitting blogs for quite some time. Rhonda got it from Nettie, who got it from Bells. I'm certain that many of the knit/craft bloggers who sometimes comment here have already had several chances to participate.

As originally conceived, Pay It Forward is limited to bloggers who make crafty stuff. Some of you who read here don't have blogs, don't knit/felt/make stuff yourselves, and some don't necessarily feel comfortable leaving comments.

I want to honour the commitment I made by signing up to receive this beautiful gift from Rhonda. As I'm pretty sure there are no Pay It Forward police, I'm going to make it a bit more flexible.

I'll make something for the first four people who contact me. Anyone is welcome, you don't have to be someone I know, and you don't have to leave a comment, you could also email me - oliviasherwood [at] hotmail [dot] com - or if you know another way to contact me, do so! I don't know exactly what I'll make for you or when it will be done. A deadline of one year is traditional, I believe.

You can choose how you want to fulfil your Pay It Forward obligation.

1. You could choose to make gifts for a few people 'just because' and without obligating them to do anything in return. It's a nice idea to do good things for people and just trust that the good vibes will flow on - you don't actually have to require them to 'pass it on'.

2. In similar vein, you could look out for a few opportunities to commit random acts of kindness or beauty. Put money in a stranger's meter before they get a parking ticket, pick up rubbish at the bus stop, deliver flowers anonymously. There are many more ideas to be found all over the place.

3. The old-school way is an option too - you have a blog, you put out the call on your blog, make things for a few people and ask them to Pay It Forward.

So. Sing out if you want to play.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I might be old, but I'm someone new

The recent house move was the last straw for my old boots. I've had these since I moved from the checkouts to doing more grocery/stock work at Coles, during uni in the mid 90s. They saw me through all sorts of grotty endeavours, from shelf stacking and pallet hauling in the wee hours, polished up for checkout work too, a walk up Mt Kosciusko (though I can't really recommend this style to stand in for hiking boots - they roll a bit easily), and years of mowing the yard. The soles are drastically worn away. With some regret I chucked them in the bin.
boots img_2166
That chewed section of the side elastic was courtesy of Mia, when she was a puppy. She also liked to fish out the insoles and have a go at them.

We forgot to put the bins out for collection today. And I know the boots are still sitting at the top. Inspired by Bezzie's fun use of a pair of accidentally felted socks, I'm tempted to fish them out again, fill them up with potting mix and throw in some seeds.

Bezzie's idea is more original - I'm sure many people have planted things in boots. It might even be a corny idea in the garden world. I have no idea what I would plant. I pretty much have a black thumb, and don't really garden. At all. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Driven. Enamoured. Armed with sticks and string.

I think Elizabeth kinda gets it. With a big wink.

They dream knitting I think, as every spare second, every minute waiting for a doctor or on a plane is spent, knitting, knitting, knitting.

She doesn't even hint at that phrase , you know the one, that includes "your grandma" and "knitting's not just" and "for" and "anymore".

Actually I don't really like to identify as a "knitter", like that's a special category. I may have said this before, I really think the urge to be creative and 'make stuff' is actually a basic human drive. It's just a shame that many people suppress it quite young because society says you have to have 'artistic talent' and that only a small percentage have that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hey la, hey la

welcome mat
The internet is back in my home and my life!