Social Media Clutter

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Today marks five weeks that I have not signed in to facebook. I found that my use had creeped up again, with regular thoughts such as ‘I should check facebook’ fueling the compulsion. I felt obligated to sign in to a website; to reassure myself that I wasn’t missing any attempts at communication.

Overall, the majority of information on the site was really 1) negative political posts about various forms of government in various countries, 2) slander campaigns against ideas with which posters do not agree, 3) complaints, 4) annoying memes, 5) random app invites.

None of these things filled me with happiness or made me feel a positive compulsion to sign-in; it was the social obligation that kept me returning and apathetically scrolling through page after page for something interesting or useful updates on people’s lives.

I realised that it unnecessary in my life, so put up a cover photo saying I was taking a break (recognising that this only works for those who actually visit my page) and stopped signing in!

I have broken the habit now, which is nice, but I wanted to post about what facebook has in place to try to keep people addicted to the obligation to ‘not miss out’ and play their role as voracious consumers.

After I had been off the site for three weeks, I began to receive email messages notifying me of what I was missing.

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No big deal, right? WRONG. I received not one but two messages each day for a week:

April 5th: (deleted the first one); 5:51pm
April 6th: 10:45am; 7:14pm
April 7th: 11:38am; 5:52pm
April 8th: 10:50am; 7:52pm
April 9th: 11:45am; 6:13 pm
April 10th: 10:52am; 7:19pm
April 11th: 10:31; 4:54pm

Seriously.

It has now since reduced to one email a day, which is still far too many. While I understand that it is trying to get me to wonder what those notifications, messages and friend requests could be, I don’t understand how cluttering my emails and mind would build for me a positive association with the website!

There’s no need to fear that some life changing information or contact will be missed by not signing in to some website (unless, for instance, it was a government website on crucial tax or immigration information). If someone really needs to find me, they can email, phone or even reach out through my wife. If it were ever that urgent.

Yes, I have been off of facebook for five weeks, and I am not sure when I’ll go back.

This is a very good way to declutter your life if you ask me!

Moving On

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I started this cabled cardigan in March. March 2013, that is! I started it immediately after receiving my copy of Crochet at Play and it travelled to the US with me for holiday last year.

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When I arrived, I realised that I hadn’t brought any additional yarn with me, so it sat. When we came back home, I worked on it casually.

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I tried to complete it to gift to several people over the summer. Each time I had the clear intent of giving it away, I could not find it. It reappeared in October and I realised that I needed to keep it. I finished crocheting it and knitted the Pebble vest from a different colourway.

Both have sat in my drawer since then; complete and blocked but avoided. I finally dug them both out and sewed on the buttons. It is time to move on.

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Lost on an Island

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After I booked a long weekend off work, Honey started to make secret plans. She took us away to the Isle of Arran and planned the perfect balance of adventure and time to go with our whims: from organised trail rides and spa treatments to hanging out in our B&B listening to Wicked before bed and goofing around on the mini golf course. I put my phone on flight mode for the weekend (it still served as a camera during several activities) and the more we lost ourselves in the weekend, the more we found.

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I recorded a few soundscapes from the weekend, linked here. Starting with the overwhelming chatter of the crowded ferry (matching my thoughts over the past few weeks), moving on to the calm found in moments along the way. The birds on Fisherman’s Walk in Brodick, the clip clip of the horses, the waves, and the babbling birds and creek along Glen Dubh all fill my memories and will serve as reminders of calm.

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Tahini Fudge: Mouthfuls of Bliss

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This is a public service announcement: if you have never made tahini fudge, stop what you are doing and make it immediately!
Seriously.

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I found a recipe on elephant journal and used honey instead of maple syrup (that stuff is expensive here!) and it was amazing.
Seriously, I made it on a Thursday night and went to bed while it set. I woke up on Friday morning and had a piece. I then thought about it all day.

Since this has a coconut oil and tahini base, it must stay in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. Unfortunately, this means that it doesn’t transport well to share with friends despite your (predicted) ravings about it. Then again, maybe you’ll be pleased that you can’t share!

Nuts About Soapnuts

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Although I’ve made homemade laundry detergent several times over the years, it is just too hard to find the right ingredients near us. Borax is no longer carried in regular supermarkets and plain soap is difficult to find. On top of that, I have come close to breathing in soap dust too many times after grating it for mixing. I’ve tried both dry and liquid homemade detergents. Now, we’ve found something even better: soapnuts. I’m even prouder to say that Honey initiated this one!

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We ordered our bag from Salveo Wellness and have been using them happily for about three weeks. They are so easy to use: put a few shells into a muslin bag and chuck that in the washing machine. Your clothes come out smelling clean and fresh without sickly perfumes. If you like your laundry to smell like something other than fresh air, Honey has added some essential oils to the wash a few times and that works fine.
After years of choosing chemical-free body products, I am glad to have gone back to chemical free laundry.

Bags and Bags of Bulbs!

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On Friday after work, I brought a pack of wildflower seeds across the street to neighbours. I had found an envelope from our wedding favours and thought they would like them. They had been about to come across and ask if I wanted any snowdrops. They were converting an area of their garden and were sharing the bulbs out. After I had a bag, they said that they were going to have to ditch the rest but didn’t want to. I said that I would take more and share them with people, so I left with two bags.

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I was also sent away with a clump of wood anemone that had been hidden under another plant and some other bulbs that I was told may be lilies.

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Before I started to plant, I knocked on doors to see if others wanted any. The little farmer from next door helped me with this. We managed to share bags of snowdrops with six other neighbours!
When we returned from those deliveries, I found yet another bag of bulbs with a note saying that it contained bluebells and daffodils! Now, I have a few daffodils out front but have been thinking about how I would like some in the back. Similarly, I’ve thought about how long it would take the current clump of snowdrops to grow enough to spread around the yard. And bluebells? Well, I love them! My goal is to fill the front yard with a succession of bulbs and herbs and to stage a woodland-type area under the tree in the back.

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My young neighbour and I planted a few things in the back and then he headed headed home. I continued to plant the bulbs out front and in the back and we now have a much more balanced ‘woodland’ area. I can’t wait to see how it develops!
I was very thankful to receive such an amazing gift from neighbours and to be able to share some with others. The surprise that met us from some neighbours tells me that there needs to be a bit more sharing that goes on in this area so I look forward to the next thing we can spread around!

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Vintage Bedding

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We picked up this beautiful vintage sheet and duvet cover set at a charity shop in Llandudno, Wales when we were down for New Years. I love the charity shops down there. Honey spotted them thinking they were for a single bed and we could sew with them, but they are doubles in perfect shape!

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The sheet and cover are so old that they’re the Marks and Spencer’s brand St. Michael from when things were actually made in the UK. We’re so happy to be giving these a loving home.

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