Friday, January 18, 2008

Plastic Bags

There is a lot of attention on the evils of the lowly plastic bag in the media, with whole towns working together to prevent shops handing them out to customers. They do have an environmental impact that is of great concern, especially for marine life and landfill sites. As a fairly recent invention, as I remember everyone used to take their shopping bag with them, and there is a very sensible move to return to this practise, like deposits on pop bottles, which was a way for kids to earn some sweetie money.

Remebering to take your shopping bags with you is not always possible, and does not account for those impromptu moments when you have no carrying device on you.

I decided that recycling my bags was not very creative, so referring to a womens magaine idea from the 70's I started to crochet with the bags- not to make another bag as in the original pattern- but small bowls and pots. I learnt quickly that supermarket bags are much easier to use than the heavier department store bags which hurt your fingers. The brighter coloured bags are more effective. The resulting items have some novelty value, being recycled, recyclable and eco friendly etc.. but what I was not expecting was how quickly I ran out of plastic bags. They are really very thin and it takes two bags to make a small item.

I no longer had any bags for my bins, my other recycling, the compost, dog muck etc...I found myself putting fewer items in supermarket bags so i could crochet them later, which is clearly beside the point!

Life without the freely available plastic bag was inconvenient, and the thought of having to buy plastic bin liners, and adding to the plastic bag demand in a differnet way did not sit well on my conscience or my pocket. So now I do not crochet plastic bags, but use them for the job they were designed for a that they do exceptionally well.

So in conclusion, I would miss the free bags, I have become dependant on them and the only way forward is to make them bio-degradable from vegetable oil so we can use them sensibly and sustainably. Perhaps we should concentrate on the use of polystyrene as you can't crochet those!

Long live the plastic bag.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

End Of Summer & Wedding Hat Worries.

This week brings the repetitive school run back. Getting up in the morning before you really want to, and dropping everything at 3pm to get to school in time for the bell. There is something very dignified in allowing your body to wake of its own natural accord. I couldn’t believe it the other day, when walking the dog, there were conkers on the ground. I still haven’t been on a picnic this summer. Its either been raining or the ground is still wet, or its just not warm enough.

Now thoughts are turned towards my sisters wedding in a month’s time. I have decided that I need a fantastic hat to plan my outfit around, and after two days (well it feels like that) of searching the internet, I have only come up with two options that will be original and stunning enough. One site has rubber hats made from recycled inner tubes and the like. They are fantastic, a little bit S&M, and black, so not right for a wedding, but other occasions! Then there is Ana Voog. WOW! I have discovered free form crochet and think that now I will make myself a hat. Of course this a lot of time and effort, and lets face it, it might be rubbish and then I will be without a hat! I can’t go hatless to a wedding, so I may have to make a fascinator as well. What a ridiculous name, a FASCINATOR! Still, should be less work than a full head covering, and possibly more mad.

I am thinking a cross between medieval and sci-fi, with princess Leiya type coils etc.. I will have to be careful not to show up the bride as well, so it will need to be slightly understated. There is a danger I will look like one of my sock creatures too which is an effect that I am not after, especially if a wear my knitted skirt too.

Today, I am off to purchase some gridwall system for the PINK exhibition we, eveArt, are installing at the end of the month, even though I have not made artwork yet! I will have to get going on that too. I have to check emails and do lots of those little pesky things that clog up your head and your desk.

So heres hoping your September starts well

Monday, August 20, 2007

Northern Green Gathering

I know I have been back a week already, but I had such a good time at the Northern Green Gathering, I just had to share.

It has been 15 years since I have been to a festival, feeling the enjoyments of being free and watching bands into the night, wandering aimlessly etc. did not go hand in hand with small children, although many do take their children. This year, aware we were not going to get a conventional kind of family holiday, I thought this little festival would be a good substitue. I wasn't wrong.

It is situated in the non exotic Pontefract, Yorkshire, in mainly two fields. One has the stages and food, and craft yurts, showers, cinema etc.. the other is camping. What really helped was being blessed with stunning weather. having come back from Crete and the searing sun, I was foolish to think a filed in Pontefract offered no threat. The UV in England is deceptive, and both Madeline and myself ended up inthe First Aid tent for some aloe vera for sun burn.

I was most excited about being learning to quilt in a yurt! So relaxing, sitting with lots of women sewing. It looks easy and in theory it is but its not! getting straight lines with all that padding pulling the fabric in different directions. I have done further quilting since my return, and I think I will need a lot more practise.

Madeline had her 12th birthday at the festival, and was bought a large and very silly felt hat to celebrate. In fact festival hats were a must, Lisa had a cat hat, Rowan had what he called a Bobby La La hat, (don't ask).

There were fire jugglers, cabaret shows, bands, and all sorts in the evenings, and the joy of just sitting in a field in the sunshine with no electricity is always a joy of camping.

This last week has not been very exciting, and mainly about work, but today is the first day of the six week long summer holidays that I have really felt at a loss as what to do, and seem to have agreed to take various children swimming later. Not my favourite activity.

I will sort out getting some photographs on here to animate it some more- especially of those hats.

Until then

Monday, August 6, 2007


PINK- an exhibition.
So this Contemporary Womans Art Group I am in, eveArt, are having an exhibition at the end of September in the Sheffield Winter Gardens, with the theme of PINK. I like working to themes, as creating art work is such a daunting task, having some perameters is always helpful, otherwise there is the whole of my brain and its concepts of the universe to choose from.
Where to start. Well, dictionary definitions are usually helpful- but not in this case, its merely states the obvious. The theasaurus is no better really. So I come up with Liliy The Pink, In the Pink, Pink to make The Boys Wink etc.. Hardly a statement, or easy to represent.
So I come to girliness- pink, fluffy, light, silly, giggly etc.. and realise the colour pink is rather like a heavy mantle of frivolity, despite the infinite shades and tones that get called pink. So this is my starting point, a really heavy pink chain- as in ball and, only as a charm bracelet- with symbolic represenations of all manifestations of being feminine & girly.

Well thats the easy bit, collecting all the relevant bits together and making it look good is the fun bit. The really hard bit seems to be making the chain pink! Yes I have obtained a beautifully heavy and shiny chain, galvaised- which seems to be the issue. The plastcote pink enamel spray is not drying totally and little bits attach themselves to every surface, leaving little holes on the chains surface. Apparantly its the zinc reacting. Being a girl of pinkness how was I supposed to know? I did remove all grease and make sure the chains suface was clean and dust free, while using my rubber gloves ( pink of course).
So with this minor irritation in my head, I am now considering the presenttaion of my oversized and weighty charm bracelet. The board will have to be at least 1m square, and I think using pipe insulation to create a form, but covered in what?

Its very distracting making art- and takes up a great deal more time than most people realise, so if you ever look at the price tag and wonder why, well half goes to the gallery for starters and the rest barely covers the hours let alone the priceless inspiration.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Home Again

Back from a lovely week in Crete, sun, pools and sleep, just what a holiday is for. The heatwave, of temperatures in the mid 30's, made a pleasant change, and I very cold now I am back in England.
It was so hot, it was not possible to go roaming around the countryside, just walking a 100 yards took some effort. Good job everything we needed was five minutes away. I am sure a lot of the traditional cretan elements are now purely for the tourists, as internet cafes, mobile phones, and all other commercail trappings were rife. Restaurants advertised "Full English Breakfasts" and everyone spoke english. Not the place for a culture shock if thats what you like.
I am not looking forward to remembering what I was in the middle of now I am back- hopefully I will have a different perspective on most things!
The papers say August 15th is the day of our summer- only three weeks to wait!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Off To Crete

Hello, I am new to this blogging thing, but as Tony has been at it for a decade thought I should catch up!

I am taking my eldest daughter to Crete tomorrow for a week, a mother daughter bonding session. I am a little worried about the carbon footprint, but considering its been raining here in Sheffield solidly for weeks and weeks, in fact you could say we now have a rainy season, and my mood has followed suit, I don't feel too bad about chasing the sun. No doubt my conscience will get the better of me and I shall plant trees- but you can't do that just willy nilly apparantly! Perhaps I shall save an acre of rain forest instead.

I am, perhaps, as concerned with spending a whole eight days with just an 11 year old for company, and leaving the other two with their dad and the dog. As long as I get some uniterrupted sleep, hours of lazing about unable to move due to the excessive heat, with an air conditioned apartment to relieve the relentless sunshine, and a good book, maybe some beer, I am sure I will be fine.

The last book I read was A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami- so I have bought another of his. In fact i have also read the Wind Up Bird Chronicles which got me hooked. They are fabulous in their unexpected storylines, and the total unsensationalism, un celebrity, and unremarkable characters ( they say that about themsleves!). I recommend them anyway.

Now I am going to run about like a headless chicken packing things I don't need and then unpacking them again!