L is for…

Mr Snail-of-happiness learned to knit so that he could contribute a square to My Masterpiece. Like everyone else, I asked him to write something to go with the picture of the square in my scrapbook. This is his contribution:

a special contribution

a special contribution

I’m just finishing off the scrapbook… photos to follow.

Over to you

I have now completed edging and stitching together the central twenty-five squares for the masterpiece – these are all made by me and you can read about the significance of each one on my masterpiece page. Overall, they represent nine permaculture designs, the permaculture principles and ethics plus some aspects of design work in general.

The Masterpiece so far

The Masterpiece so far

I do have several more squares in hand (mainly meditation squares – made when I wanted to do something with my hands whilst my mind was otherwise occupied), but I’m not adding these just yet. The next additions are going to be yours… some are here already, some are on their way, some are not yet made, but will be. If you would like to contribute, but can’t crochet or knit, then I’d love you to write something for my scrapbook… the details are here if you are interested. I’m planning to collect contributions up until about Easter time. so there’s no rush. And many, many thanks to those of you who have already sent a square or a piece of writing… I am deeply touched.

A written record

I have spent quite a lot of time over the past few days getting started and up-to-date with the masterpiece scrapbook. I realised that if I didn’t do it as I went along, it was going to be a mammoth task at the end.

I selected an album covered in recycled sari silk and with pages made from cotton waste sourced from a company who specialise in Fair Trade paper (and other) products:

The scrapbook and squares so far

The scrapbook and squares so far

The first pages have pictures of the squares representing the designs that will form my portfolio, along with a bit of text:

Squares representing my first two designs

Squares representing my first two designs

Then I go on to the twelve squares representing the permaculture principles:

Principles squares (there is tissue paper between pages, hence the ones on the right appearing through a mist)

Principles squares (there is tissue paper between pages, hence the ones on the right appearing through a mist)

And them I moved on to other squares I’ve made and ones from all my friends:

Squares from two friends, along with their messages

Squares from two friends, along with their messages

I’m really pleased with how it’s coming along, and I’ve had messages telling me there are more squares on the way so I’m sure it’s going to be a lovely record of the project. Oh and I should mention that a few people who can’t knit or crochet have just written (or are going to write) something to go in the scrapbook, so there is no need to feel left out if you can’t make something from yarn.

Terminal scrapbooking

Back  September I wrote a post on the disposal of human remains… it was all part of my ongoing thoughts about death and dying. As I have explained previously, I think it’s important that we think about the end of our lives, both for our own sakes and to support the families and friends we leave behind. What has been occupying my mind recently, however, is how to put together all my research and ideas, so that they are accessible and available when they are needed.

The trouble with dying is that you don’t know how and when you’re going to do it, so you can’t make firm plans – it could be sudden, it could be prolonged; it could be tomorrow or in 50 years time; you could be ill, you could be well; you don’t know who will be around. What to do, then? How do I collate all the information I have been gathering? How do I make sure my family know what I want? Well, obviously, the first thing is to talk to people… Mr Snail-of-happiness knows how I feel about various aspects of the end of my life, as does my sister, but we’ve never discussed the subject ‘systematically’ and I’m sure there are things I have thought about that I haven’t passed on to them, or that they won’t remember.

Some resources I've been using, plus my empty book on the left

Some resources I’ve been using, plus my empty book on the left

I was really inspired last weekend, therefore, by a workshop that I attended about exactly this subject. It was run by Katie Shepherd, a former palliative care nurse, who has a very balanced perspective on the subject. She is putting together a website at the moment (not live yet, but I’ll let you know when it is) to provide support about end of life choices, including links to resources; she’s also going to be running workshops on the subject. She has drafted a form to fill in that gives guidance on the sort of things you might want to think about, but she also suggested making a sort of scrapbook. And at this point a light bulb went on in my mind! This is what I’m going to do – I’m going to print out bits from websites, I’m going to collect pictures, I’m going to make notes and I’m going to compile a scrapbook – my own Book of the Dead – that I can add to and modify as the years go by. I can include information about where to get a felt burial shroud (here, if you are interested), what sort of location I would like to be buried in, end-of-life treatment and so on. I’ll also be able to include messages and thoughts… I might even put a CD in it with music I like.

I can make it engaging and accessible and not fixed… and, strangely, I’m quite looking forward to doing it!

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