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Thursday, 12 September 2013

How I increased my carbon footprint and planned the perfect murder

Eldest has a new school. It is miles away; we drive a lot. I have spent the last hour adding audiobooks to my online library wishlist.

People who like audiobooks, it seems, have much the same taste in reading as people who read large print. They like a bit of crime. Whether, after a couple of years of immersion in this genre, I start a) writing crime fiction or b) killing the readers of crime fiction remains to be seen.

I signed myself and the Lattes up to Library Elf. This is going to save me a fortune in overdue book fees, and increase my karma no end by decreasing the number of times I come home to a blinking red light on the answerphone informing me that our records show that a library item is very overdue.

Really, I don't mind at all paying library fines. Without the library, we would be living in a tent with books for clothes. Libraries have saved me many hundreds of pounds. Right at this moment, scattered around the house you will find a CD of tango music, a DVD of an independent film, a book about sorting your life out, two satisfyingly massive thick novels, a selection of books about fairies and mermaids, an origami guide, a sewing book, three audiobooks and The Hairy Dieters cookbook. That's before we get into the strange array of unread books that Eldest - an enthusiastic reader when it comes to book blurbs, but little else - has brought home.

I couldn't possibly afford to live in such luxury without libraries. Every so long, I hang onto things a little too long and end up paying a tenner in fines. I'm not ashamed. I could have paid twice as much for The Liberty Book of Home Sewing alone, and it wasn't even good. I ordered it from the library for 60p and they saved it for me on a special shelf for a week with my name handwritten on a slip of paper.

And we've not even started on the fact that I can log Eldest into her library account come homework time and trust her to a range of safe and age-appropriate resources that I value far above Google.

Libraries, I understand, are partially evaluated through the number of issues - that is, the number of times you take things out. If you care for them at all, go get some damn books out and make a case for them. Libraries are under threat. Amazon pays bugger all tax. It is, as they say, a no-brainer.

Anyway. Enough of me shouting. I shall atone for my outburst with a quick blast of pretty. I made Littlest a bag.


I made it out of a Next Jeans duvet cover I bought from the Salvation Army shop for £2.99. It's huge. I predict that everything I make for a good few years will be made of denim.


I'm not taking credit for any of it. The owl is a free pattern from Craftsy. The bag pattern is from here. I did modify the pattern a little bit, replacing the inner lining pocket with an embroidered name tag, and putting a lined denim pocket instead on the outside, under the flap.

No flimsy inside pockets made of lining material for Littlest. She would just fill them with stones for her 'collection'.


The lining is Liberty lawn. Which, as you no doubt know already, I buy at a stupidly low price from a factory shop. I also get toilet roll from a factory shop, but you have to buy in bulk. Liberty lawn is considerably easier to store.

There will be no pictures of the bag I made for Eldest, because Eldest is too cool for home-made bags. Eldest has a polka-dotted item from TK Maxx, bought approximately 43 seconds after her grandparents handed her some holiday money. Who cares? I didn't want to make two, anyway.

No, not really. Not at all.




30 comments:

  1. Ha! Enjoy sewing for Littlest while she still enjoys it. You're not alone with the library fines thing. I have a stack of books upstairs that technically I bought from the library when they disappeared temporarily during a house move, and they demanded the cost of the books. THAT'S how overdue they ended up. I'm much better these days, as we go regularly every couple of weeks. DD usually has a stack of half a dozen or so and I usually have two or three out at a time. All hail the library system for free (or very cheap) reading!

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    1. All hail indeed! Eldest has to stop me getting more books out. "Step away from the books!" she cautions, as I stagger to the issues machine with my arms full.

      But they put NEW BOOKS by the issues machine. NEW BOOKS!

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  2. I keep meaning to sign up for library elf. In the same way as I keep meaning to remember to return my library books before they become overdue. I'm such a failure. I like to think of it as helping to raise library funds to assuage my conscience. Love the bag, I'm sure littlest is the envy of her classmates. And always good to have a stash of denim.

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    1. I am already having special thoughts about a denim-edged cushion cover.

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  3. I am always grateful that our library fines are so low - 20c per book per day. I'm pretty happy to hand over $2.60 every so often! I think your bag is ace, and I am sure there will come a day when eldest wants a handmade bag again!

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    1. My problem is the sheer number of books which have followed me home.

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  4. I adore libraries too. We always have loads of books hanging around here. My library sends emails now when books are due back, and I can renew them online which has saved me a fortune in fines. Did you know you can have twenty items out at any one time?? We have four library tickets between us! Wonderful. I often reserve things to see whether they are worth buying. Mostly they aren't. Good luck to your eldest at the new school. Hope you enjoy all the murders.

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    1. That's just what I do with reservations. I've bought only one book that way.

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  5. I love our small local library. Unfortunately because not many people were using it the council decided to close it but luckily a group of volunteers got together and are now running it as a community library. My son and I are avid readers and the library is our number one source of books. It's such a shame that such a vital service should close due to lack of footfall or enough issues to justify it staying open.

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    1. I am terrified about what austerity will do to libraries across the country.

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  6. Where is this wonderful factory shop? Can we all use it? Do they only sell direct or do they do mail order?

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  7. Once they're past 12 they don't want anything handmade. Unless it's a cake.

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    1. I may be able to convince her to a glasses case.

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  8. I'd love to take mine to the library if they actually read anything past joke books. Sigh.

    (this must be the best post title ever!)

    (I'd like suggestions for audio books please.... free ones if poss!!)

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  9. The bag is perfectly charming. How about making a big denim shopper-type bag for yourself in which to transport your library books? Perhaps with 'Not Very Overdue' embroidered in large letters on the front.

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    1. Ha! I could not possibly reinforce the handles to a sufficient strength.

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  10. mine don't even want handmade cake. I bought some cheap shortbread and they said it was the nicest thing ever....
    why didn't I know about library elf?
    and how did you get to be so brilliant and not only make bags, but they have stone pockets.......

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  11. I must get my sewing machine up on the table instead of in the corner, on the floor. Well done on the bag.

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  12. ...satisfying massively thick novels...you a re a girl after my own heart. My sister and I always said bookstores and libraries should have a "fat books" section.

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    1. Yes; they don't think these through, do they? A-Z fiction. Ridiculous system.

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  13. Oh, but how you sound like me. I was a librarian in a former life - I confess I rarely use them because I live so far out of town, but I can regularly be heard remonstrating with people who don't use them. Hmm. And as for making stuff for youngest & an eldest too cool for school... my eldest turns 16 on Monday. Lord help us all ;-)

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  14. The library is the first stop when we move to a new place! Here in the States you can sign up for email reminders three days before the book is due.... V. helpful. However, our village library insists on only sending out a reminder by mail AFTER the deadline! Why? Email would be much cheaper. The WT still harks back to my fine of $38 about fifteen years ago - around £10.

    The bag is terrific.

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  15. We took the opportunity on long drives to listen to books like The Hobbit which were beyond reading to the children but they enjoyed them. Lord of the Flies - Common Entrance and GCSE text. Daphne Du Murier when in Cornwall. Enjoy the audio books, not so much the school run. I have just gone back into a school run for my daughter's final year in 6th Form as the bus price is high and her timetable is sporadic. Ours is about 4 miles so too short for audio books - just right for the News though.

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  16. How did I miss this? I must have been living in a hole in the last week or two. Top crafts you. Tell me, do you patch your teatowels with Liberty print?

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