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Being in lockdown has been a difficult time for everybody, but it’s also given us an opportunity to reconnect at a deeper level with our wonderful neighbours.

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a weekend neighbourhood bake and I’m keen to keep it up, even though we’re all starting to get busy again. Each family only gets a small portion, as there are so many people to share with, but it’s a lovely excuse to check in with my neighbours on a Saturday morning to see how everyone is travelling.

Last weekend I baked chocolate chip cookies in a slab. These are the lazy version of Pete’s favourite and boast a wicked 3:2 chocolate to flour ratio. I wrap each cookie square individually, as the oozy chocolate makes quite a mess. It helps to have a mountain of rescued-from-landfill food safe paper from Reverse Garbage

Each packet contained just four cookies, but I’ve learnt that a token of affection doesn’t need to be huge. On the contrary, I’m always happier to give something small – that way no-one feels like they need to reciprocate. There was enough to share with eight households, plus extra for Pete and Small Man. Happy days! ❤️

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I now own quite a few mending books, but this one is my current favourite.

I love it so much that I bought both a paperback version and a Kindle (iPad) copy, just so that I could lend the paper version out. It’s a great deal more than simply a how-to guide, it also delves into the why-to. I took photos of a few pages so you could get a proper feel for Lily’s writing style. The book starts at the very basics (how to sew on a button) and focuses mostly on hand sewing. It’s extremely approachable for menders at all skill levels, but particularly for beginners.

It begins with Lily’s explanation on why donating our old clothes might assuage our guilt, but is actually only marginally better than sending them to landfill…

In both e-book and print format, the mending instructions are clearly illustrated and described…

Fabulous information graphics are included…

And I absolutely love that the mending work celebrates function and uniqueness over perfection. It’s like being given permission to play! As you’ve seen from my own repair efforts, I would far prefer a mend which adds to the story of a garment rather than one which hides it…

Additionally, there is a section on upcycling ideas once clothing is beyond the point of fixing…

. . . . .

A friend said to me recently, “Celia, mending is your thing, but it’s not for everyone.” And I really do understand that. As evidenced by the lukewarm response to my suggestions of a darning workshop, even my most staunchly eco-minded friends will baulk at the idea of picking up a needle to fix something.

But folks, that has to change. We can’t keep churning through new resources at the rate we’re going – the planet can’t sustain it.  If there is anything you can do to give something which already exists an extended life, then I’d urge you to have a go.

Seriously, perfection is overrated, and style is always optional. I’ve got a few posts lined up to show you the things I’ve been working on lately in the hope that they’ll encourage you to look at your old clothes in a different way.

Celebrate the story, darn those socks, stitch up that ripped seam. Lily’s book will help you get started! ♥

We were given an emu’s egg!

It’s stunningly beautiful – richly coloured, speckled and perfectly shaped. It looks exactly as you’d imagine a dinosaur egg might have looked, which is hardly surprising, given that emus are the modern day descendants of raptors.

It’s also as solid as a rock. The only way we could get the contents out, short of smashing the shell with a mallet, was by drilling a hole in the top and bottom, then blowing as hard as possible. 500g of white and yolk eventually came out – that’s the equivalent of ten large chicken eggs…

We fried half to use in noodles…

…then turned the rest into a zucchini slice…

It was a bit too rich for our old digestive systems, but the kids loved it.

The shell was rinsed clean and allowed to dry, and now sits on the mantelpiece in our living room. Google tells me that the eggs are seven layers thick and often used for intricate carving. It’s a perfect fit with our rocks and fossils!

“So shines a good deed, in a weary world”
(Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971)
. . . . .

Do yourself a favour, make a nice hot cup of tea and then spend 15 minutes listening to this wonderful talk.

I hope you find it as uplifting as Pete and I did! ♥

 

Our friend Little Kevin is not little at all.

He’s 6′ tall and broad and runs marathons. But he’s also Carol’s baby brother, and we’ve known his since he was a teenager, so he’ll always be Little Kevin to us, even though he’s now an anaesthetist in his forties with adult sons of his own.

Little Kevin makes candles as a hobby. I absolutely adore how quirky all of my friends are! He took my chipped Steve Sheridan tea bowl – the one with the little frog in the bottom – and filled it with soy wax and a couple of wicks. He also took the chipped vintage jug I picked up from the Salvos (1960s Pontesa Castillian Toledo Collection, made in Spain, for anyone who’s interested) and turned that into a candle as well. It was part of a set I bought for $25 and included a coffee pot and six tea cups and saucers…

Last year, my friend Jenni taught me that it’s important to find a way to extend the life of things, even if it means finding a new use for an item that might otherwise end up in landfill. Even if it’s a use you don’t really need. So I asked my friend to turn chipped crockery into candles, even though we’ve never been big candle users, and I made cloth book covers from rescued linen, and water bottle carry bags from the sleeves of t-shirts.

It’s not just about repurposing, it really is about creative upcycling! ♥

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