January 16th - text got lost so I'm reposting...
I really felt that I got some things done this week as I worked my way through TO DO lists. In between all of the admin tasks I worked on piecing my king-sized Spring quilt. Basic sewing seemed to help me come up with ideas and possibilities for how to organise the Yurt's tour of America. It looks like I will need to travel around the USA for a few weeks or fly over more than once. Three fairly major snags in that plan are my children so I am even considering looking into RV hire and taking them with me. In order to save up enough money for this grand scheme I have investigated signing up as a primary school supply teacher. However, first I have to get references, attend an interview, refamiliarise myself with the curriculum and hope that enough teachers go sick that some nice jobs come up where and when I want them, despite Aberdeenshire Council making major cutbacks to their education budget!
I ordered 35 metres of fabric to dye for the USA Yurt roof and some procion dyes since I was inspired by pictures posted on Tamarack Shack's BlogSpot about snow dyeing techniques. I have avoided the mix it yourself dyes before because I couldn't quite figure out the recipe. The mention of potash, bicarb, salt, heat, differing amounts, calgon and synthrapol has previously put me off but the results look great. As soon as I placed my order, our lingering snow finally melted but I will at least be ready for the next lot. I have to decide whether to overdye coloured fabric or whether to see if I can get good results on white. It should give a crystalline-batik effect so it will be interesting to see what happens.
The result of the slow thaw was that our track turned into a lethal luge run of 4" thick ice running with surface water. It became impossible to drive or walk on it until the Farmer came along and gritted it. Freya stood still and slid downhill for 150 yds to catch her school bus. Our new glass shower enclosure was delivered to the end of the track where the driver shoved it into the back of my Landrover and tied the door shut with rope. The missing roof-rack finally turned up on Friday and was also dropped off at the end of the track. I am disappointed that I paid £50 carriage to get it delivered but it took a month to get here, got lost and then I had to carry it up from the main road with Tania's help.
I have handed over my accounts books to a friend who is putting everything all onto Excel. It is such a relief to hand it over to someone who seems to know how to organise it all properly so I should get the tax return sorted out by the end of January deadline.
I made enquiries into reserving a stall at Festival of Quilts – this year I hope to share the pitch and get something a bit bigger on a corner so I will complete the booking and tick that off a list as well. I also booked flights to London to attend the APQS technical training day at the beginning of February. It is important that I spend a bit of time networking with some of the UK longarmers and I will be able refresh my knowledge so that I can run a technical class myself for APQS owners in the North.
There was a thought provoking series of documentaries on TV this week hosted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage. He is campaigning for the wasteful practice of discard to be abolished, raising awareness of the impact of catching small fish from the other side of the world to make fish-food for farmed salmon, and exposing tuna fisheries that catch endangered marine animals as a by-catch. Hugh has become a most articulate environmental activist for sustainable fishing methods. The River Cottage team has tried introducing a tasty alternative to cod in UK Fish & Chip shops; we made battered mackerel in a bap for supper on Saturday and declared it delicious. I urge you to pledge your support at http://dev.fishfight.net so that Hugh F-W can go back to the European Parliament with a petition showing overwhelming public support for sensible and sustainable fishing, particularly in the North Sea.
Finally this week, I even tackled one disorganised kitchen cupboard. It was only a small cull from the recipe book shelves. I threw away all of the unused free leaflets from the supermarket and jotted down the scribbled post-it-note recipes that actually work into a proper notebook with alterations in temperature to accommodate my oven that burns everything. I removed the bag full of cookie cutters that fell out every time I opened the door and stashed them in the pantry. That is also due for an overhaul because I can't fit any more stuff on the shelves. There are flowerpots on the top shelf just in case I ever decide to make a Barbie-doll cake and about a dozen ice-cube trays from the era when I mistakenly believed that my babies would eat frozen vegetable puree, so that should create a bit more space...