17 for 2017 – February Update

Spreadsheet

Spreadsheet

Here I am again with a 17 for 2017 progress update (where does the time go?). If you look carefully at my spreadsheet, you can see that one of the rows is full! There are still some rows that don’t contain anything, but I’m making some progress, and some is very seasonal anyway. So, here’s where I am so far:

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. I sent off my first of these just the other day. I want it to be a surprise for the recipient (although she knows it’s on the way), so no photograph just yet.

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. I’ve only made one batch this month, but since I made loads last month, the total for the year so far is a respectable 7 batches

Fifteen… cheeses.  No hard cheeses this month, but one batch of curd cheese.

Another pair

Another pair

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. Three more pairs completed this  month bringing the total to five. I’ve getting better with the overlocker, so they are getting easier to make.

Thirteen… mends. Three this month: the knees of Mr Snail’s work jeans patched again; a hole darned for a friend and a pair of my leggings mended.

Twelve… letters to friends. Just one written this month, but that’s ok because I only have to average one a month to reach my target.

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. I’m delighted to say that there are now seven bird roosts listed – some felted and some made with woollen twine. I haven’t sold any yet, but it’s early days.

Ten... plants given to good homes. None yet – it’s still too early in the season.

Nine… games of Scrabble. None yet… we seem to have been so busy.

Eight… meals using only our own produce. None yet, although we’ve eaten lots of omelettes, making them partial meals from our garden!

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. I’ve managed two ‘big’ visits – first to Manchester, where I saw a whole load of friends who I know via Twitter, as well as my dear Sarah, who I’ve known since I was 18 and my niece Alex; second to Birmingham, where I got together with lots of permaculture friends, most of whom I communicate with via FaceBook.

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. None yet… it’s all been about crochet recently.

Five… book chapters written. None yet, although I may have persuaded a friend to contribute to the book.

Max quality-controlling the final blanket

Max quality-controlling the final blanket

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. All four done… I will make more later in the year, but I’m having a rest for a while.

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. None – it’s still too cold to venture up there yet!

Two… patterns published and on sale. I did one last month, but nothing further this month.

One… denim gardening apron. Not yet, but I will try to sort out the fabric in the coming month.

So, it’s progressing well – how about your projects this year? If you have 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

17 for 2017 – January Update

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see- very geeky!

As we are coming to the end of the month, I thought I’d give you a 17 for 2017 progress update. I’ve got quite geeky about it all and made myself a spreadsheet with hyperlinks to pictures and (in one case) a second spreadsheet, meaning that I should be able to see how I’m getting on at a glance… if I remember to actually update the spreadsheet as I do things! Anyway, in less than I month, this is what I’ve done:

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. I haven’t finished any yet, but I’m working on quite a big creation to send as a surprise gift.

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. This was under-ambitious for the year – I’ve already made five batches!

Fifteen… cheeses.  I’m not sure whether I should count one or two here – I made a tomme-style cheese, and then I made ricotta with the whey. I’ve only entered this as one cheese on my spreadsheet, because it was only one cheese-making day.

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. Good progress here: two pairs completed and another six pairs cut out and ready for sewing.

Thirteen… mends. Two done: some boro mending on the knee of a pair of jeans belonging to Mr Snail and a tear in a cotton tunic repaired using my overlocker.

Twelve… letters to friends. In a flurry of activity on a dull and wet day, I wrote five letters!

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. None yet (although one pattern is now listed, but that’s lower down this list)

Ten... plants given to good homes. None yet – it’s too early in the season.

Nine… games of Scrabble. None yet… we’ve got a bit carried away with watching The Blacklist on dvd to the exclusion of playing games.

Eight… meals using only our own produce. None yet, because neither of us fancy kale omelette!

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. One visit to blogging friend Katy the Night Owl.

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. Yarn and new pattern at the ready, but none started yet.

Five… book chapters written. None, although I’m planning a talk on ecology that will form the skeleton of one of the chapters.

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. Two completed – one for Knit for Peace, one for Sixty Million Trebles, and two on my hooks.

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. None – it’s too cold to venture up there yet!

Two… patterns published and on sale. Bird Roost pattern finished and available as a digital download from my etsy shop.

One… denim gardening apron. Not yet – I’ve been dithering about the fabric!

If you have 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

17 for 2017

Over the past year I’ve really enjoyed hearing what fellow bloggers have achieved off the lists that they made at the beginning of the year in 16 for 2016 (and before that in 15 for 2015). So, reading this year’s lists from gillyflower, Nana Cathy, Murtagh’s Meadow and others, I’ve been inspired. As I’ve said, I don’t like new year’s resolutions, but I do like a list. I started off on paper with some ideas.

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it started with a mind map

 

Finally I’ve settled on this list of some of the things I’d like to achieve in 2017…

Seventeen… Love Rocks (my rocks will have little crochet vests rather than glued-on hearts) or other little random yarny/sewn gifts to be given to individuals or left to be found by anyone

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits

Fifteen… cheeses… it’s ambitious, but now I have my great source of milk, it’s do-able and they don’t all have to be hard cheeses

Fourteen… pairs of knickers… that’s how many I’m planning to make!

Thirteen… mends… darning, patching, gluing, stitching… whatever needs doing

Twelve… letters to friends, using real paper and real ink

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop (this is long overdue)

Ten... plants given to good homes (this one is inspired by Murtagh’s meadow)

Nine… games of Scrabble… Mr Snail and I used to play often, but we rarely do now even though it’s something we both enjoy

Eight… meals using only our own produce (except oil and seasoning)

Seven… visits to see friends who I normally communicate with via social media

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns (I have one pattern I use over and over, but I want to diversify)

Five… book chapters written. I’m planning to write a beginner’s guide to ecology

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there (I think there’s a box of 30-year-old bank statements!)

Two… patterns published and on sale. This year I will finally complete my crochet bird roost pattern and my skeleton hat knitting pattern (which involves a chart).

One… denim gardening apron

So, really it’s business as usual, but one or two of my goals may be quite a challenge and this should help to give me focus.

If you have 17 for 2017 blog post, do leave a link in the comments, I’d love to read what you are planning.

Of words and wool

And so, we have reached the last day of November: a month of words (National Novel Writing Month for Mr Snail and National Blog Posting Month for me) and wool (Wovember).

NaNoWriMo Success

NaNoWriMo Success

Mr Snail wrote more than 50,000 words of his new novel entitled Xylophone at the Gates of Dawn. And, with this post, I will have published every day of the month on my blog. In addition, the paper copies of Mr Snail’s latest completed novel, Kirkenes Blue, arrived through the post (remember to leave a comment before 6 December on yesterday’s post here and on Mr Snails blog for a chance or two to receive a free copy of it). Yesterday, for the first time ever, Mr Snail and I managed to co-ordinate our blog posts, each linking back to the other. This was a major achievement and took much more time than would have seemed reasonable until we actually attempted it. Anyway, I’m going to have a bit of a rest from writing for a day or two, but I think Mr Snail is still raring to go!

On the wool front there were successes:

and a failure… I went from this:

Ready to go...

Ready to go…

to this:

Just not right

Just not right

and back to this:

Back to balls

Back to balls

Finally adding this:

Two new skeins

Two new skeins

So that I am now about to start again with this.

Here we go again!

Here we go again!

In addition, a couple of days ago, I decided to make a start on a completely new project and so, I’ve been working on some socks knitted with the Norwegian wool I bought in Norway earlier this year:

Norwegian socks

Norwegian socks

But, in fact, the month held much more, including some great cooking and even a bit of growing.

Plus, we’ve celebrated World Toilet Day, we’ve not celebrated Black Friday, we’ve found ways to be kind to the planet and to humanity, and I’m pleased to report that Tiffany is now fully feathered, after a rather bald start to the month. So, despite the poor weather, bereavement, and dreadful things happening, we’ve been able to keep taking small positive steps and trying to make the world a better place.

December is going to be quieter on the blog, but just because I’m not writing, doesn’t mean I won’t be doing. So. I’ll see you in a few days time… now I’m off to have a lie down in a darkened room…

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Max, for one, is exhausted!

One-a-day

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!!

BATDIG – the Paper Version!

Mr Snail-of-Happiness’ first novel will be available in paper format in the next couple of days!
We have celebrated with homemade strawberry shortcake and a nice cup of tea – we know how to live the high life here chez snail!

writinghouse

BATDIG on CreateSpaceBATDIG on CreateSpace

At last, a copy of BATDIG you can safely read in the bath*! Both parts of the novel first published for the Kindle together in one predominantly papery place** plus some Author’s Ramblings about the creation of the story and a short excerpt from my next novel, Kirkenes Blue, which I guess I really must finish now.

BATDIG will be available on Amazon in the next 3 to 5 days ( so around the end of May then) but is also available from CreateSpace themselves, although only for American readers (at https://www.createspace.com/4705967).

ENJOY!

oOo

* Bath not included.

** I think there is a bit of cardboard in there too.

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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.

NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo

BATDIG CoverAs many of you will know, November is National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short, during which participants each attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel. Mr Snail of Happiness has participated in this event in the past – resulting in the first half of his novel BATDIG in November 2011 (the second half was completed a bit later). Last year he was less successful, as he suddenly got swamped with work and did not have time to write the target of more than 1600 words each day.

Anyway, here we are again. Mr S-o-h has decided to accept no external work this month and is focusing on a whole new novel, which means that I will have plenty time to myself whilst he is busy writing. I certainly don’t have a novel in me. I love writing, but have no ideas for stories and no desire to be a novelist. Over the years I have had various pieces of work published (including a chapter in a book about restoring land after opencast mining, various articles in the local newspaper, a piece in Natur Cymru about teaching natural history, and a book on scientific writing) but it is blogging that I have found most inspiring. I think that this is because of the opportunity for direct feedback and seeing that people are really engaging with what I write.

NaBloPoMo November 2013So, I have decided to show my support for Mr S-o-h and write something here on my blog every day this month. My posts probably average four or five hundred words, so I’m not going to get anywhere near the NaNoWriMo-ers, but it will still be quite an endeavour. It turns out that I am not alone in wanting to do this, so I have joined NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month. Hopefully, over the next four weeks, I’ll entertain you and give you some things to think about in relation to living more sustainably… so please try to visit regularly and see what I’ve been up to… and read yesterday’s poem if you missed it (it was NaBloPoMo post #1).

The lost blog

A completely unrelated picture, but it's always nice to have something to look at!!

A completely unrelated picture, but it’s always nice to have something to look at!!

Yesterday was a little sad – I lost a follower from my blog. It’s not something that I usually pay much attention to… followers come and go, although losing one is relatively uncommon and each week I generally make a net gain.

But this follower was different – this was someone who wrote a blog that I enjoyed reading and who put up posts that I returned to to re-read. Alas no more: not only has Yambean stopped blogging, she has completely erased herself from WordPress and deleted her blog ‘The Great Dorset Vegetable Experiment’. No more can I return to her musings on aquaponics, ducks, diet and her fabulous recipes (none of which I saved); no more can I follow the interesting links she had on her blog pages; and no more will I exchange thoughts about growing strange crops and the state of the world.

The worst thing is that the only way I knew Yambean was through her blog and without that, she is lost to me.

So this is a little request. Even if you don’t think it is the case, there are likely to be people out there who value what you write in your blog. Even if you only add to it occasionally, don’t abandon it and your readers, followers and friends. We may be geographically distant, but we share a lot here in the bolgosphere. So, keep in touch; and if your life changes, do tell us about it, I’m sure we’d all love to hear!

So, Yambean… if you ever read this post, please know that I miss you and I’d love to read how you are getting on in your new unencumbered life in the sun. And the rest of you… keep on blogging!

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