Stop and go

To amuse himself whilst I have been searching for string (a quest that may finally be over), Mr Snail has been animating one of my creations…

Not bad for a first go… I think we should expect more


Kirkenes Blue: started life during NaNoWriMo 2013

Kirkenes Blue: started life during NaNoWriMo 2013

It’s November, which means it’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Personally I have no desire to write a novel, but Mr Snail does… well, actually that should say another novel (there are two already published). And so, each November when he can, be embarks on the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. To keep him company the last time he did it (2013) I signed up for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) – where participants aim to write a blog post every day during the month of November. This year I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to attempt 30 consecutive days posting, so I didn’t officially sign up. However, we’re on day 11 and I’ve managed it so far, so I’m planning to try to maintain the momentum throughout the month.

The route to so many interesting people.

It’s real to me: the route to so many interesting people.

I’ve written before about my reasons for blogging, and they continue to be reinforced. Over the years, I have made connections with people from all over the world – not the sort of people we see on the news, not ‘celebrities’ (whatever they may be) – but people who I think are heroes: gardeners, crafters, students, activists. I have swapped seeds, arranged barters, given and received advice, marvelled over creativity, shared sad and happy times, found answers to questions I never thought to ask and generally shared the experiences of you all. I’ve even met a few of you in person! And for all these reasons and more, I think it’s worth dedicating some time to this activity on a regular basis… others may scoff at this ‘virtual’ world but to me it’s a valuable way to experience reality around the world.

So, do excuse me in the busy months when I don’t write or read much… I haven’t forgotten you… and I hope you enjoy my exuberant activity this month…

Kirkenes Blue – It’s Out!!

I’m delighted to announce that Mr Snail’s second novel is now available in both paper and electronic formats, as detailed in his post… just follow the link below the picture… or head off to Amazon and search for Kirkenes Blue

Source: Kirkenes Blue – It’s Out!!

Value-added recycling

National Recycle Week – Day 3

Today is National Upcycling Day!

Actually, I was a bit confused about what counts as ‘upcycling’ so I decided to find a definition. The Oxford Dictionaries web site defines upcycling as follows:

Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original

Well of course, once you start talking about increasing value, you have to consider what your definition of value is. For me, any re-used or repaired object that was going to enter the waste stream has had its value increased by being rescued from this fate. However, upcycling carries the suggestion of making something more fancy or using it for something other than its original purpose. This means that my repeated repairs of slippers, socks and clothes in general are not really upcycling.

Mr Snail’s gate from a pallet

So, I’m beginning to wonder if I have anything that I could really describe as ‘upcycled’. I suppose that Mr Snail’s palletgate is an example of upcycling, because he actually modified something (a pallet) to turn it into something different (a gate). I’m also using frogged (unravelled) and washed yarn for some of my knitting projects (bath puffs and hexi-puffs for my beekeeper’s quilt). But mostly, we don’t do this sort of thing. We do repair like mad, which means that most things around the house are still being used for their original purpose – often long after most people would have thrown them away.

So, whilst I salute all you upcyclers out there, I have to confess that I’m not very good at it. What about everybody else? Do you upcycle? Have you made glorious objects out of discarded items?

If you want to see some great examples of upcycling check out Remade in Britain – it’s a shop, but there’s lots of inspiration too, in fact they have an A-Z of upcycling here. Also today on Twitter Jen @makeandmendyear is doing an A to Z of upcycling techniques, with links to tutorials, which is fun.

With Snail and I

Aw, shucks…



Aristophanes told a good story. Well, Plato made him. The former claimed that the gods, being angry about something (as per usual), decided quite literally to split humans in two, to make them sorry and afraid (the way all gods work in fact). At the time, your average human was a hybrid male and female, with four of everything we now have two of. Knitting jumpers was a challenge but you were never alone and you could always see where you had been as well as where you were going, simultaneously.

Once split, humans would forever be searching for their other half. Ha ha ha said Zeus, or Apollo or whoever, before nipping off to be a white bull for the evening.

Now, my Dad told me that story and no one made him. I was five years old at the time and expecting Thomas the Tank Engine, but…

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On the case

Mr Snail has recently bought a new laptop. This was not something he undertook lightly as we don’t buy new technology for the sake of it (you should see my ancient mobile phone!) and it was only the fact that his old laptop had pretty much given up the ghost  (despite a number of repairs) and that he is away from our main desktop computer at present that he finally gave in. In order to nurture this new piece of kit, he asked if I would make it a case – he suggested felt, but I wanted to crochet it. None of my stash was suitable – the only chunky yarn I have in sufficient quantity that would give enough padding was pink and green and he wasn’t keen on that colour combination. S0, unfortunately, on Saturday morning we had to make a trip to Red Apple Yarns.

I was a very good girl and only bought yarn for the project in hand (are you impressed? I am). After much discussion about colours and stripes and different sorts of yarn, he chose a self-patterning acrylic. He really loved the colours and pixel-like pattern that it created. I have to confess this is not what I would have chosen, but it’s not for me and this really was what he liked. In the afternoon, as the weather deteriorated, I made a start on the crochet.

I had a couple of false starts, as I made it too wide to begin with and it was still too wide even on my second attempt. But, the third time is the charm and I finally got it right. I worked in half trebles (British terminology) throughout and edged it with the same stitch, but using an oddment of white yarn, the origin of which is a mystery… I’m certain I’ve never made anything with white chunky acrylic! The buttons are antique mother of pearl, from my button collection and the whole thing was completed in just over 24 hours, just in time for him to take it away for the week.

He seemed to be pleased with the result, anyway (despite looking so serious in the picture below):

Weekend 2 – Palletgate 4

Mr Snail has been writing about the garden again, so once more I can just reblog his post for your entertainment (he was really chuffed with all your visits the other day and even more chuffed that some of you decided to follow his blog too). Enjoy…


Drilling Holes in Palletgate - that'll teach it!Drilling Holes in Palletgate – that’ll teach it!

With still-aching limbs, and an extra hour in bed as we moved to GMT (proper time), I trepidly approached my other task of the weekend – the repair of (cue halloweeny-type scary music) PALLETGATE.

Ex-hurricane Gorblimey didn’t only vent its anger on the willow hedge. It also encouraged certain nails in Palletgate’s construction to make various bids for freedom, leaving the gate looking decidedly weak.

Fortunately, I had already assessed the situation and, realising that I couldn’t simply ignore it and hope it would fix itself*, I had been and purchased roofing bolts and plates (the flat metal kind rather than the good ones you eat yummy stuff off). Although the bolts and plates had come from our nearest town (Lampeter, the first town in the UK with a loyalty card scheme) I actually had to buy more bolts from my local big…

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Making a grab for it

Sadly we are back down to four hens after Aliss died a couple of weeks ago. This leaves us with two oldies who are rarely laying and two newbies who are providing us with a steady supply of eggs. Tiffany doesn’t lay every day, but some days she lays a small egg with one yolk, some days she lays a large egg with two yolks and some days she lays two small eggs, each with one yolk. She quickly got into the routine of laying in one of the nesting boxes. Annagramma, on the other hand lays a smallish egg every day, although these are gradually increasing in size. However, we can’t persuade her to use the nesting box and she has a preferred spot in a lovely inaccessible part of the hedge.

We rapidly got fed up with fighting our way through blackthorns and bramble to retrieve Anna’s eggs, and so a long unused tool was brought out – the slug grabber. Since the chickens have mostly rid the garden of slugs, we no longer have to do the nightly slug hunt, and so the grabber has been hanging in the shed unused for a couple of years. It had been cleaned up after its last use and we realised it made an ideal tool to retrieve eggs. Here it is, expertly operated by Mr Snail:

… you see I know there’s a reason I don’t throw stuff out- you never know when it can be repurposed!


An aside from my usual subjects… but we are celebrating chez Snail because Mr Snail-of-happiness’ first book has been published on Kindle.

In fact it is part of our sustainability strategy… poly-employment… a way to make our income stream more robust.

But really I just wanted to share the happiness!


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