Wednesday, 31 March 2010

What I bought this month

a book
some black trousers
6 packets of veggie seeds
a guinea pigs calendar for my wall
some wool
some books for my little cousins who I'm going to visit at Easter

The seeds were a treat to myself for getting some temping work (only 4 days in a shop over mothers day, but it's a very welcome something after 8 months of unemployment!! yey!). They were on special offer £1.50 for 3 packs - I got peppers, spring onions, carrots, leeks, broccoli and courgettes - I can barely wait for them to grow so I can eat them! The black trousers were also for my new temping job - £1.50 from the charity shop, they look brand new too! Score! I bought the wool cos I was dying to make a crocheted blanket - it's acrylic though, which means it's made with horrible chemicals and will never biodegrade (possibly - I'm not sure on the science of acrylic wool decomposition, but I figure it's plasticy and therefore will be around for a while) I did look at the cotton yarn, but it was waaaay to expensive, so I'm going to have to have a think about eco knitting/crochet materials!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Preparing for a Zero Waste-ish trip...

Next week I'm heading down to Essex to visit my family (my cousin's just had a baby and my other cousin and her son are coming from Australia to visit - I'm so excited, it's going to be lovely!) and I want to make as little waste as possible while I'm down there, which I always find really hard, mainly cos of food (I'm vegan and I have allergies and I'm a picky eater too! And we're staying at a travel lodge so there'll be nowhere to cook, so it's eating out or buying snack food) and cos we won't have recycling I need your help, dear blog readers, to change these wasteful ways and to think of lots and lots of ways to make my trip as green as possible.

Here's what I've already thought of...

*Me, Mum, my brother and his girlfriend are all driving down in the same car (rather than brother and girlfriend driving down separately) to save petrol/pollution
* Taking snacks and food from home in reusable plastic boxes rather than buying stuff while I'm there (I'm taking nuts, some roasted seeds, dried apple, raisins and breakfast cereal) Mum also bought me some biscuits, some in a horrible plastic wrap and some in a nice plastic box that can go in the recycling.
* Taking my flask (Mum bought me a new bottle of water to take, as well as one for her and bro and gf, ever feel like you're not being listened to!? lol *sigh* but I'll leave the one she brought for me at home and take my flask instead) so I can fill it up with tap water whereever I go!
* Taking reusable shopping bags - everyone in my family likes shopping (except me) so I'd better go prepared!
* Taking some sort of huge recycling bag to bring back all the recyclable waste we'll be creating in case we can't find/don't have time to check out the recycling facilities of Essex (I'll be collecting crisp bags, plastic, paper, card, metal, and anything else I can get my hands on!)

Can anyone think of anything else to make my trip greener??

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Upcycled, Button Photo Frame...

I don't want to jinx anything, but there's a high possibility that this month will be the month I move house :) YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!!!!!

I've decided that I want to avoid buying new things as much as possible for my new home. I'm trying to prepare as much as possible now, so that I have time to make and find and research eco friendly alternatives, before we move in and discover we don't have something essential and need to quickly buy something horrible/plastic/made in china/etc. Thankfully, I've lived in about 6 different houses and already have quite a lot of basics (and my fair share of shiny things too!) However, I think the charity shops are going to be hit pretty hard and I've also been having a good rummage and trying to find things I already have that I can re-prettify for my new place.

The first thing I found was this photo frame I've had since I was about 12, I don't have a before picture but it was pink and sparkly with love hearts all over it, not really me anymore. I used all things that I already had to make it over - some purple acrylic paint (given to me by my auntie), glue and paintbrushes (left over from other projects) and some buttons (from the button tin my grandma left me - I'm glad I've found a use for them that means I can look at them every day!) and I just painted it then stuck the buttons on - easy peasy! I'm quite pleased! I put a photo of me and mumma in it - so I don't miss her too much (although I am only moving 10 miles away from her lol!)

Happy Spring!

I Hope you're enjoying the first day of spring!
There are definitely a lot of spring-shaped happenings going on in my garden :)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Tots garden design ideas...

I've been asked to take on responsibility for the little garden that belongs to the 'Nature Tots' group I volunteer at. I'm not sure if I can take full responsibility for it, because when I get a job the time I have available might change and I might not be able to volunteer there any more. But for now I've started thinking of ideas for a really simple garden for the children in our group, who are aged 0-5 and they come with their parents who help their kids with all the activities we plan. I wanted to do a mixture of flowers and veg, have it really colourful, things that grow relatively quickly, and to grow stuff the kids eat (we have veggies and stuff at snack time half way through) so that the whole planting veg thing is really meaningful for the children. And I really want to do a pumpkin for Halloween, so we can have a pumpkin carving activity with the older ones! There's another bit of garden I'd also like to use but I'm not sure if I can - if we do I'd like to do some root veg in it, potatoes so we can dig them up (which is always fun) and bake them on one of our campfires and some carrots, we always have carrots at snack time so I'd like the kids to see where they come from (other than tescos lol!) and mix in some wildflower seed mix scattered about so there's some pretty bits to look at.

I've done some gardening with children when I was teaching, but I wasn't really in charge of choosing plants and stuff. I'm really, really, really, reeeally happy to have been offered more responsibility with the group I'm not too sure what I'm doing! It'll be fun finding out though!

This is my plan, the area is about 3 meters long (along the longest bit of the triangle), if anyone has any ideas about how to do it better, or of other super-quick growing plants or has any advice I'd be really grateful!?

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Spring Gardening!

Oh how happy I am that spring is on the way! We even went on a spring time snowdrop walk this morning at a local national trust property (because I volunteer regularly for the national trust I get in free - hurrah!) and it was beautiful!

We even saw some deer, really close up...

It was all very magical and Bambi-esque!

It was still nice and sunny when I got home so I gave into temptation and planted the seeds I bought yesterday (I knew I wouldn't be able to wait very long!)
I had courgettes, spring onions and peppers to plant, they all say sow indoors starting from march, so even though it's still a bit chilly I thought I'd give it a go, I have plenty of seeds in the packets for another try a bit later if they fail me (incidentally, I chose to grow from seed because (it's more fun!) there seems to be less waste - no plastic plant pots etc, but does anyone know if the little foil/paper seed packets can be recycled anywhere?). I also had some garlic to plant. Last year I took some garlic out of the fridge and stuck it into some pots, which worked well actually, but isn't really the done thing (the majority of supermarket garlic is grown in other countries and doesn't really do it's best in our climate) So mum bought me this to have a go with this year!
Here are all my planted up pots lined up to have their picture taken. The big white tub has the garlic in (that's a nice big white tub you have there, I hear you say. Our fridge/freezer broke last week and I salvaged all the trays out of it for planters before it went away for recycling! This means I got the fun and fiery job of using a metal kebab skewer heated up over the gas ring to make drainage holes in the bottom!) The big black pot has spring onions in and the two little yellows are courgette and peppers. Please send growing vibes our way! Those green things in the purple pots you can see to the side are last years garlics - they felt left out and wanted to be in the picture too! You're meant to wait until the leaves wilt to dig them up...these 3 are showing no signs of wilting - goodness knows how big the garlic bulbs are going to be on these!

And I've put them to keep nice and warm in mums greenhouse. Do you like our improvised incubators (do you call them incubators for plants - they're to keep the warm and humidity in anyway!) a plastic bag, a trifle bowl and a bit of bubble wrap - all my mothers ideas - the woman's ingenious!

And finally, I had a prune of my mint plant, this is my special mint my mummy bought me back from her holiday in Cornwall it's called 'Moroccan Mint' and reminds me of drinking mint tea in hot places! When I'd cut away all the dead bits I discovered all these beautiful tiny new leaves waiting to grow! How lovely!
Hope you're enjoying spring everyone! xx