Finish as you mean to go on

So, here we are on the last day of the year…

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, I believe that when you want to make a change in your life you should do it when it’s right for you. Making resolutions because someone has told you that you ought to means you are much more likely to fail. However, it’s good to take stock sometimes and today is as good a time as any to do so. For me, 2016 has  involved lots more little steps to have a smaller negative impact on the planet and make life a little better for the people who live on it: from trying to be responsible for less plastic packaging (using soap and shampoo bars, taking our own bags and containers to the shops, seeking out products packaged in paper/cardboard/not at all), to growing lots of food; from undertaking lots of mending, to trying to cut out palm oil.

Today has been no exception: I started with a little pile of garments to mend:


a variety of mends needed

I started by repairing a pocket of a pair of Mr Snail’s jeans. It had been repaired once before, but a new split had appeared so I used mending tape and a little piece of scrap cotton. The previous mend was spotty and the new one is checks, but only you and I know because they are hidden inside the pocket.

Next I replaced the toggles on my hand-knitted hoodie. The previous ones were glass and two of the three had broken. Before that it had wooden toggles and Sam ate them. This time I’ve used plastic, which I hope will be more durable.


fingers crossed these never need replacing

Then I darned two pairs of hand-knitted socks. Mr Snail is very hard on his socks, so this is something of an ongoing chore.

My next job was to salvage the usable parts of the underwear that I made with my old sewing machine. Most of the pieces will be reused and stitched together using my new overlocker.

And finally, in my ongoing biscuit quest I made Granny Boyd’s Biscuits… a Nigella recipe that came my way via my friend Sue. The verdict: delicious and really easy to make, plus no palm oil. Thank you Sue, these are going to be a regular bake from now on.

So I have finished the year in the spirit that I intend to live in 2017. How about you? Do you make resolutions? Do you have plans?

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  1. I plan to make a few changes to live more sustainably, and actually apply myself to achieving one or more of my larger life goals rather than just talking about them. Happy 2017 to you!

  2. The only new years resolution I ever kept was to never make another new years resolution. If you are resolved to do something, the date doesn’t matter. Happy New Year!

  3. Ann

     /  December 31, 2016

    Ditto Pat! I gave up making resolutions years ago, and make tiny changes as we go along. Today has been mainly in the garden, with the punk hedge and overgrown archway being brought into check I always feel guilty about cutting the ivy, but there is sense and reason with these things, they can’t be allowed to grow unchecked or we would be able to get down the garden. So all ends well. I joined in Kt’s 2017 planning workshop yesterday and feel inspired. Happy New Year to you & Mr SoH, from me, Steve, Sir Percival, Spike, Shy & the kids. 🙂 XXX

  4. I too never make NY Resolutions – perhaps as we grow older and wiser we see them for what they are, just another version of ‘dieting’. 🙂 I simply hope to keep growing older and wiser and learning more day by day. I am impressed with your list of new skills this past year! I’m well into the first day of 2017 already, so Happy New Year to you and Mr Snail and the little furry ones too xo

  5. My new years resolutions are more goals that I have been waiting to put in place as soon as my son moves all his stuff out of my small home. The clutter makes me crazy and I’ve been quite frank about it. His move is on Jan 5 and then I can begin my complete reorganization of my home. I will no longer be paying for a storage unit so many things will be sold or gifted. Then many of my other goals can come into play. These last 2 years have all had other agendas than the coming one. I’ll take a fresh start every day, not just new years day. I’d like to make some of the clothing that has been sitting on the back burner. So much of mine is almost past repair and threadbare. I come from the age of waste not, want not. I love how you repaired the socks and other clothing items. I remember when socks could be darned and loved doing it.

  6. Happy New Year and good luck with your ongoing quest.

  7. An excellent end to the year. I too have a pile of mending, from socks to clocks! I think if we all mended more, the world would already be a better place. Happy New Year to you both!

    • And a happy new year to you and HoC. Of couse as soon as I thought I’d finished the mending I realised that there were another two things… a blouse and a bag… ah well, I did say I was setting the attitude for 2017, so that’s were I will be starting.

      • Mending is like cooking and housework. No sooner have you finished than it’s time to start all over again…. Happy New Year – again!

  8. do you have a recipe for he biscuits? They look delicious!

    • These are the instructions Sue sent me:
      Granny Boyd’s biscuits
      250g butter
      125g caster sugar
      300g SR flour
      30 g cocoa powder
      Cream butter and sugar. Sift cocoa and flour together and work into mixture. Form into walnut sized balls and arrange on trays. Flatten slightly with the back of a fork. Bake at 170 deg for 5 mins then turn oven down to 150deg for another 10-15 mins. The top should be firm and the inside slightly squidgy -they firm as they cool.

  9. I’ve always thought it was immensely gratifying to repair things. I finally chucked one of my softest sweaters, a blend of silk and wool, when the underarm hole grew to half the length of the arm. I darned the sleeve once, the underarm once, but alas, it was down to nothing. That sweater had a lot of life. We were poor for many years after my father died as girls, and my years going to college and working in theater were also quite lean. In those days, I made my clothes or took in hand-me-downs. I hand washed hosiery in the sink to be worn again and again, and in the dreaded “pantyhose” days, I would cut one leg off of a pair and match it up with the good leg from another pair.

    Though I could now afford to fill my closet with an ample wardrobe, I don’t see the point. There is an incredible amount of clothing waste in this era of disposable fashion. All of my clothing fits into three drawers and a third of our bedroom closet. Of course living in California means that I have little need for heavy coats and bulky sweaters, both of which take up a lot of room.

    I’ll join the chorus: no resolutions for me. I do like the idea of choosing a word to live by for the year, but that word has yet to present itself. I’m feeling glum about the election and the recent announcements to dismantle an outside ethics committee!!! and affordable health care. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the last century, stay tuned. 😦

    Baking and mending, baking and mending, baking and mending. You’re repairing, creating, keeping feet warm and bellies full. Would you consider a run for office?

    • I’ve always thought that, in general, the people who wish to run for office are the least suited to do so… it seems to be increasingly true if that’s possible

      • I know, I know…you’re absolutely right. What a thankless job anyway. Unless you are serving at a local level, which I think can be incredibly worthwhile, you need nerves of steel, lots of money, and the willingness to do things that would make most of us sick to our stomach. I’m so glad you’re a blogger instead!

  1. Using Less: Goodbye to Disposable! – Nerd in the Brain

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