Saturday, 30 April 2016

Random thoughts on home-made bin-liners

Even before plastic bags cost 5p a go, I was a conscientious shopper who tended to have at least one shopping bag with me every time I went out, and often more than one owing to my charity shop habit. I still accumulated plastic bags somehow though. The odd unexpected need to get something when out and unprepared for shopping; people dropping things off swathed in plastic. The home-made carrier bag tube was always full.

Now it's emptying at a steady rate thanks to the fact I use old plastic bags as bin liners. My thoughts turn to ethical matters, and whether I can make my own bin-liners for the household bins (not the kitchen bin, that's a gunky/ moist job I'm currently okay to leave to plastics) out of the vast stocks of fabric I have.

Question: How long do cotton fabric and plastic take a long time to biodegrade? 

A quick search yielded an estimate of between 450-1000 years for the plastic.

Cotton fabric? About half a year. Also checked on thread and that will take a few months also.

Sold to the slightly deranged woman with lots of old duvet covers to hack up!

On the topic of biodegradability, I learned in my internet foraging that cigarettes can take up to 12 years and sanitary towels up to 800 years to decompose. I don't smoke so that's more of an 'oh, how interesting' fact. I do menstruate so that 800 years causes a bit of uneasiness. Even going for the lowest estimate of 400 years is hardly uplifting. Weird to think that all the sanitary towels I have ever used will outlive me by centuries. Weird and slightly gross. There are guides out there on how to make you own reusable menstrual pads but that's not top of my list right now. If it should manoeuvre it's way up there, I promise now to try and resist the urge to blog about it. Or if I do I won't post pictures. Unless I make them out of fabric so cute that I can't resist.

One more small digression before I get back to the post title, the winner of the longest to decompose title that I could fine was glass. Any ideas how long that takes? Well, I'll tell you. 1-2 million years. Wow. If sanitary towels were made out of glass I'd be feeling even more grossed out. And I'd also probably have sustained at least one serious injury by now.

I remember as a child collecting sea glass along the shore. As an adult I found a jar full of the stuff while having a clear out of some memory boxes. Blues, browns, dark greens, ambers, opaque whites, pale minty hues. You can buy sea glass jewellery and that idea is appealing to me. I love the idea that these fragments of glass are going to undergo numerous incarnations in their long lives. Bottle to sea jewel to child's treasure to pendant to possible relic.

But back to the subject in hand: bin-liners made from old duvet covers that are too scruffy and old to give to charity shops for someone else to use. Kitchen bin is excluded at present from this ethical amendment to my lifestyle, which leaves me with three different bin liner patterns to draft, one for the titchy bathroom bin, one for the incredibly mature bedroom bin (you'll have to stay tuned for future posts to find out exactly what kind of bin it is), and the middle room and front room bins which are those wicker-y ones with sharp bits poking out that you get from £1 shops, a plastic layer sewn in that somehow gets stained and dirty even if you have always used a plastic bag as a liner.

Later, people. I have biodegradable landfill alternatives to design!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Is book dowsing a thing?

One of the things I dream about is having less in my life that means more. 

I recently went through the stupid amounts of books I had to read and got rid of all of them. I closed my NetGalley account. I deleted the list of books I'd accrued on my library wishlist. I returned any books I had borrowed to the relevant quarters - friends, libraries, family - and bagged up those I'd acquired from charity shops, book shops and library sales and donated them. I went to my Kindle account and deleted all those items I had downloaded because they were free or on sale. 

Finally, I was done. 

For the first time in years, I could savour the pleasure of NO reading pile. No clutter of books that I knew in my heart would be lucky to get picked up let alone read. Was this, I wondered, how normal people lived their reading lives? No pending to-do list of reading? How blissful. I could now go to any book or charity shop, any library, any car boot sale, any friend's house, and if I were drawn to a book I could take it away with me and read it. Not put it on a pile. Not bring it back to the house and put it in another room and add another title to my mental to read list and stumble across it, untouched, in a year's time. 

This may sound like pretty tame to someone not interested in reading but to me it was heady stuff and I didn't want to squander what I had. 

I say 'didn't' but as it's the present for me I should change that to 'don't'. I have one book on my reading pile at the moment. ONE book. Ah, it's blissful. What to do when I finish this book? I like the idea of going to my local library and indulging in a bit of book dowsing.

Is that a valid term? It should be.

A quick Google search on the term Dowsing yields this description:
Dowsing is the action of a person--called the dowser--using a rod, stick, or object hung from a string--called a dowsing rod, dowsing stick, doodlebug (when used to locate oil), divining rod, or pendulum--to locate such things as underground water, hidden metal, buried treasure, oil, lost persons or golf balls, etc.

I don't intend to use a rod, stick or object hung from a string to do my dowsing so maybe I can't coin that term at all. Whatever, I'm using it.

I intend to go to that library and walk along a shelf of books picked at random, trailing my fingers along the spines, not looking at them, just feeling them. I'm going to let the next book choose me. Wait to feel a tingle in my fingertips that says here. Stop here. Read me. 

And it will be as easy as checking the book out and taking it home.

It might go horribly wrong and then people can pooh-pooh my hippy plan to their hearts' content. :)

Random Intro

So, this is my second blog. The previous one ran for about 18 months and was deleted around 6 weeks ago. As I miss blogging, here I am again, a tiny, tiny voice in an enormous sea of bloggers.

Blog the First was influenced by the books and articles I read about blogging before I started. Pick a couple of things to blog about – that way you attract and hold a specific audience. Choose your tone and don’t deviate. Be consistent. Blah blah blah. I ended up with a blog where I kept things lightweight and felt I could only post about certain things in case it ‘put people off’. The irony of the situation was that it ultimately put me off. I was bored with my vanilla blog and tired of keeping up with something where I didn’t feel I could talk about the many random things that cross my mind/ path/ life.

Hence A Pocketful of Random, a place where I can talk about cosy subjects like sewing and crochet but also address other issues like mental health and BRCA1. Debate the pros and cons of a new recipe one day; consider environmental issues the next.

I might get readers. I might not. It’s just nice to have a place to ramble about the haphazard interests and influences in life.