Thursday 28 February 2013

Stylish DIY memo board

I saw this idea on Pinterest (which I'm finding a hugely inspiring source of ideas for crafts) and thought I'd try it myself.

All I've done is put a pretty piece of pale fabric (from my stash of fabric samples that I found abandoned!) with a textured pattern inside a frame then put a pen holder on the frame. All you need now is a dry wipe marker pen and a piece of cloth to wipe it clean and you have a handy write on / write off memo board for menus or to-do lists! An easy and inexpensive crafty idea that makes a lovely gift! You could use pale patterned paper instead of fabric.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Greening for Health

I was lucky enough to attend an excellent conference today (and I mean lucky enough, when I had first made enquiries there weren't any places left, but someone dropped out so I got a place!). Organised by Greenspace Scotland it was about Greenspaces and health in Edinburgh and held at Slateford Green Community Centre which is based in an environmentally friendly, car-free housing development in Edinburgh. There were presentations from people and organisations involved in community growing projects across the city. We also had plenty of opportunities to discuss our thoughts about how access to greenspace can improve people's health and well-being and how to ensure that more people can access the many opportunities on offer.

All the information from the event is going to be collated into a report, but hopefully the contacts that we made will lead to real collaboration between projects.

Edinburgh is a city that has a lot of lovely green areas for walking in and enjoying. 

Cross posted to my website.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Fair Trade Fortnight

It’s Fair Trade Fortnight in the UK!

Fair Trade means a fair price for products that we buy from developing countries. When we drink Fair Trade tea or coffee, eat Fair Trade chocolates or bananas we know that the people who did all the hard work producing those items are getting a fair wage. The Fair Trade premium attached to such produce is invested into the local community, often in environmental projects, underlining the links between social justice and the environment in sustainability.

The theme for Fair Trade Fortnight this year is Go Further for Fairtrade. 

There are lots of Fair Trade products available in supermarkets, delicatessens and independent grocers. The range seems to be increasing all the time, so this fortnight is an ideal opportunity to try a new Fair trade product that you've never tried before. A lot of shops are offering special deals on Fair Trade products this fortnight to make it even easier to find something new and fairly traded to enjoy.

Lots of events are happening across the UK this fortnight to celebrate and promote Fair Trade - find out what's happening near you!

I try to buy products that are made or grown locally as much as possible - for example I buy jam made in an organic farm just outside Edinburgh, I try to buy Scottish vegetables. I prefer organic to non-organic, but will often go for local and non-organic rather than buying organic products that need to be transported a long way. If I'm buying something that cannot be produced in the UK or that includes ingredients that can't grow in the UK, I always buy Fair Trade. So for example my chocolate, tea and coffee are always fair trade.

If you're interested in taking Fair Trade Fortnight into your place of work, I've shared a few ideas on my other blog here. (And for the few of you who ever read that blog, you'll notice that the address has changed to

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Monday 25 February 2013

A Portrait of the Poet with a Rabbit

I recently had a poem accepted by Leaf Press. They asked for a 'quirky' photo of me to accompany my poem and biography on their website so I sent them this one of me reading to Anya, our old rabbit who passed over the Rainbow Bridge a few years ago now. She alternated between being very affectionate and quite aloof so we didn't spend all our time together like this!

You can read my poem 'Return' on the Leaf Press website.

Saturday 23 February 2013

A few oddments about birdwatching

On Monday, I started leading another short series of birdwatching walks. The class this time is a mix of people who are total beginners (who recognise pigeons, mallards and robins and that's all) and people who've been along to the class several times and know their birds pretty well. After the introduction at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre we had a wander along the river and saw several birds, including a number of robins, who were singing in full voice.

Yesterday, as I blogged here, I had some wonderful birdwatching in and around Musselburgh. 

To tie in with the theme here's a short birdwatching related extract from my novel in progress, it's also part of the short story that features Humphrey, the rabbit who used to live at Cottontails Baby. (Humphrey won the competition to star in this story, sadly he has now passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Cottontails Baby recently got a new rabbit Rudolph.). The novel is set in a future, independent and much flooded Scotland.


"So you definitely want to go back to your island?" asked Jake.

"Part of me never wanted to leave and I'm always intending to be going back." Sheena stopped to point across the water. "Are you seeing the kingfisher there on that branch, just above the water. Surprisingly well camouflaged!"

Jake focussed his binoculars on the branch, but the kingfisher flew, a flash of turquoise across the water. 

"Such a lovely bird!" Sheena sighed. "None on an t'Eilean Fada or in New Edinburgh. Very few anywhere in Scotland now, so it's good seeing them."

"Such a colourful bird is good for a beginner like me!" said Jake. "Thank you for teaching me about birds! But I think most of them are more difficult than kingfishers!"

"The wee birds in the trees are confusing for a beginner" Sheena said *though how much more difficult it must have been in the Age of Technology when so many more species were flying around!"

"But I interrupted you" said Jake, after they had walked on for a few minutes, watching the birds. "You were saying you never wanted to leave your island."


and continuing the theme, the latest poem on Bolts of Silk is Birdwatchers by Chris Crittenden.


If anyone is in Edinburgh, this Spring, I'm teaching a new, evening birdwatching class as part of Edinburgh Council's community learning service. This will start 7.30pm 23 April at Broughton High School.  The idea will be to concentrate on birdsong. The first class will take place entirely at the school, then the next four classes will be walks round local areas rich in birdsong. You can book a place here.

as ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to webpages where you can find out more. 

Friday 22 February 2013


I was watching a couple of jackdaws today. They were both collecting feathers for their nest. One of them was rushing around at top speed filling its beak with as many feathers as it could fit in there and if one dropped out the bird would pick it up again. The other bird in contrast, wandered slowly around, picked up the occasional feather and then let it go again immediately. They both flew off at the same time, the first bird had at least six feathers in its beak, the second had none!

One of the things I live about birdwatching is noticing this type of interesting behaviour in any species of bird. No species is too common to take notice of, and, these days, who knows how long any species will remain common anyway?

The other thing I love about birdwatching is seeing unusual species. Today I walked from the mouth of the River Esk to Musselburgh lagoons. Over the sea wall I was delighted to see 14 velvet scoters - the makes have such weird faces! Near to the scoters were two shags, beautiful green birds related to cormorants with sweet tufts on the top of their heads! Then at the Musselburgh Lagoons I was very excited to see a snipe - a bird that has been reported from this area a few times recently but this was my first sighting of it here (in fact only my second ever sighting) and then a pair of grey partridges! I can't remember when I last saw grey partridges, they used to be common farmland birds but their populations have decreased dramatically and now they're pretty rare. They hid in the long grass and at first all I could see were their beautiful brick red faces but then for some reason they broke cover and chased each other across the short grass, such lovely markings they have, very handsome birds.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more

Thursday 21 February 2013

Latest Recycled Craft Project

I worked on this little mat over several weeks. All the fabrics are quite thick and it felt like quite hard work. I think it turned out quite nicely, though it is far from perfect. I made it from two fabric samples from a book of samples I picked up from where they'd been dumped a couple of years ago now. The lovely red velvet that I've used to edge the mat came from a friend who recently gave me a whole load of crafting supplies.

It's not quite the right shape to be a table mat so I've put it on a side table where I think it looks quite nice.

I've got more of these fabric samples and will make at least another one of this style of  mat. I'll do before and after photos of that one! I keep intending to make a small tote bag with some of the fabric, but I'm not sure I'll ever get round to that.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Foraging the Hermitage of Braid

This morning I joined a group of City of Edinburgh countryside rangers and volunteers who've been involved with the walled garden project at Hermitage of Braid for a session of foraging.  I blogged here and here about the writing workshops I attended at the walled garden last year. The photo below shows what the walled garden looks like just now, all ready for planting!

Anna Canning of Floramedica took us on a walk round the Hermitage of Braid and along to Blackford Pond, identifying and picking plants that we would use in preparing lunch! We picked wild garlic, lesser celandines (the leaves are only edible when they're very young, once the plant starts flowering the leaves become inedible), bittercress, nettles and sorrel.

Anna told us about the medicinal uses of these plants and gave us advice on when to pick them if we want to eat them and how to serve them. I've got a Botany degree, but it was heavily weighted towards biochemistry and the internal workings of plants and though my field botany is reasonably good it's not brilliant (though every year it improves dramatically once plants start flowering!).  I'm also trying to learn about foraging but am still a real beginner so I found this session really interesting.

After we had picked a fair amount of plant material, we went back into the rangers centre and prepared lunch: potato salad with wild garlic and the most delicious pesto made from a mixture of all the herbs we had gathered (basically you can make a good pesto with the leaves of any edible herb).

Served with organic brown bread, a delicious Ninemaidens Mead and tea made from sticky willy (also known as goose grass or cleavers), The tea was very tasty and also pretty in colour!

I'm currently reading Richard Mabey's book Weeds (which contains quite a lot of information about the history of foraging and which I'll review at a future date) and studying A Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvests (I attended the book launch for this!) in preparation for a year of teaching myself at least a bit of foraging. 

The real challenge with urban foraging is to avoid dog dirt, it's something that I find really affects my attitude to picking wild plants (that and feeling I'm stealing food from the birds and wild animals, though in the case of really weedy plants like nettles and brambles, that's not really an issue as they grow so fast).

If you're interested in foraging in Scotland, you can find out quite a lot from the Scottish Wild Harvests Association and if you're looking for inspiration for recipes try the Eat Weeds website.

linking up with Nature Notes

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Sunshine on Gorgie Farm

We wandered down to Gorgie City Farm earlier today to check out how the animals were doing. We'd heard there were new lambs and indeed there were, these Ryeland lambs are very young and the mother was most attentively licking one of them.

As you can see from the photo, it was very sunny, though cold too. Outside the pigs were enjoying the sunshine:

and so was Red, the farm horse, who seems to be thriving now, after having lots of health problems because visitors to the farm had fed him something that made him ill.

We also saw Driftwood, our favourite farm rabbit, but he was too busy chasing a chicken to be bothered to come out of his shed to say hello to us. 

Meanwhile Dexter the farm cat was basking in the sun, trying not to get annoyed by the excited children who gathered to watch him.

After our visit, we had tea and delicious flapjacks in the Gorgie Farm Cafe, which is a lovely place for a snack.

linking up with Nature Notes

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Monday 18 February 2013

Are you a Litter Hero?

As many readers of this blog know, I volunteer for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust once a week. I walk a length of the river, recording the wildlife I see and picking litter.

I'm one of several volunteers for the trust, who pick litter either once a week on a regular patch or on the large scale clean ups that happen throughout the year.

But we're not alone! A growing number of people across the UK are picking up litter as their way of making a difference to the place they live! You can read more about this on the Guardian newspaper website.

It was from that article, that I found out about Litter Heroes - a website dedicated to celebrating the people in the UK who pick litter.

I know that some people who read this blog also regularly pick litter - please feel free to share your stories in the comments below!

Oh and it would be even better, of course, if no-one dropped litter in the first place......

Judith O'Reilly picks litter on a number of occasions in her book A Year of Doing Good, which I review over on my Shapeshifting green blog

Meanwhile, I'm delighted that one of my items (made from re-purposed materials of course!) features in this Etsy Treasury

And my poem sleep deprived has just been published on Kumquat

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks to other webpages where you can find out more.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Craiglockart Hill and Pond

It was lovely and mild this morning as we went for our walk round Craiglockart Hill and Pond. The hillside wood was full of birds including bullfinches, song thrushes singing and great spotted woodpeckers drumming and flying around from tree to tree, almost as if they were checking out the best sounding tree trunk for drumming on. On top of the hill we had brilliant views of a kestrel, first sitting on a post then hovering as it hunted for prey.

The pond was hosting lots of mallards, moorhens, coots and mute swans with a couple of goosanders too.

edited to add: I think the fence here is to do with habitat creation. It has rained a lot here over the past few months but this fence is usually in the middle of the water! 

The City of Edinburgh Council is currently consulting on the future management of the Easter Craiglockart Hill Local Nature Reserve. You can add your views to the consultation in this short survey here or go along to the public meeting on Thursday 21 February 2013 from 7.30 - 9.30pm at Meggatland Sports Complex, Function Suite, 60J Colinton Road , Edinburgh , EH14 1AS. The Nature Reserve is a wonderful green part of Edinburgh and its future management is very important.

for Weekend Reflections

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find out more

Friday 15 February 2013

Make Mine Chocolate?

A lot of people reading this blog keep or have kept rabbits and know very well the mixture of joy and frustration that is caring for a bunny. Others reading this blog have never kept a bunny and might be surprised by how demanding such cute and fluffy creatures can be.

Lots of people give rabbits as gifts at Easter, which is not a good idea. Many rabbits are discarded when the owner gets tired of them. Just because rabbits are often seen running about the countryside, doesn't mean that your pet rabbit would be happy there! Domestic rabbits are very different from their wild cousins. In many cases, people may not discard their rabbits, but still get bored of them and leave them in an outside hutch and pay no attention to them. Rabbits need company and exercise and shouldn't be kept caged up all day. (In my own experience, Anya loved to rest and eat in her cage, but we rarely shut the door on it).

The Make Mine Chocolate Campaign aims to end ill-thought out impulse purchase of rabbits. The idea being that if you do want to purchase a rabbit, you need to know all about looking after one, before you make the commitment.

Rather than buy a rabbit as an Easter gift, how about buying a chocolate rabbit? (But make sure it's fair traded and organic!).

Alternatively, how about buying a soft toy? Charlotte at Cottontails Baby has a lovely selection of rabbit soft toys (and as some readers may know, the Crafty Green Household were recently delighted to host Sylvain, a travelling rabbit from Cottontails).

Meanwhile Annette sells soft sculptures of hares in her Leveret's Nest Etsy shop and is running a hare themed giveaway on her blog.

And if you're feeling crafty, then Michelle stocks crafting kits (including rabbit and hare themed kits!) in her Raspberry Rabbits shop.

and if jewellery is your thing, then hop over to see the bunny jewellery on the Lavender Rabbits Etsy shop!

(Yes, I know Easter is a while off, but there's nothing wrong with planning ahead!)

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can learn more!

Thursday 14 February 2013

Valentine's day candle

As many readers of this blog will know, I made a New Year's Resolution to do more crafts. My latest project was to try to make candles from left over wax and seeing as it's near to Valentine's Day, I thought I would make a Valentine's themed candle.

I searched the internet for candle making tutorials and found several via Pinterest. I decided that this one was closest to my requirements.

Given the theme of this candle project, I used only red wax and started out with this:

I then followed the instructions in the tutorial and ended up with this.

I put some jasmine essential oil in it and used a wooden clothes peg to secure the wick while it was cooling.I put it on a copy of the free Metro newspaper, which always comes in handy for this kind of thing!

Then it was time for the decorations for the outside of the jar! I used recycled wrapping paper plus some of the pink handmade paper I recently made, cut into a heart shape. After some measuring and cutting and pasting and such I ended up with this.

And there's a sweet candle for Valentine's Day (edited to add for Crafty Green Boyfriend of course!).

Meanwhile, if you want to share the romance of Valentine's Day with the birds, National Nest Box Week starts today! Run by the BTO (British Trust for ornithology) Nest Box Week encourages everyone to put up nest boxes in their local area in order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Orange Suit

After a day of picking litter (and birdwatching) along the Water of Leith, what better than a film about a man who decides to become a street sweeper!

A photojournalist finds a book about Feng Shui, left in his apartment by his son's tutor, and becomes obsessed with the idea of purifying himself and his surroundings. After obsessively cleaning and reorganising his home, he wanders through Tehran and notices all the rubbish left around. First he starts to take photographs but then he decides he needs to do something more practical so he signs up to become a street sweeper.

Due to his connections in the media, he becomes the most famous street sweeper in Iran and is pursued through the streets by a posse of his erstwhile colleagues and gathers crowds when he ends up in hospital. This fame means that his photography exhibition, highlighting the strange beauty to be found in garbage, is incredibly well attended. Meanwhile the news of his fame spreads as far as Norway, where his wife is studying. She becomes concerned about the effect that the street sweeping and fame will be having on their son and rushed home to shout and scream at her husband.

This is a very entertaining film that highlights the vital work of street cleaners. At the same time it examines family dynamics, comments on the media's obsession with creating celebrity. It also gives an insightful view of Tehran.

Orange Suit was shown as part of the Middle Eastern Film Festival at Edinburgh Filmhouse.

Also showing are:

Modest Reception (which was in the 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival and which I review here) (showing 8.40 Thursday 14 February (it might be a nice, quirky Valentine's Day date movie) and

Lemon Tree, which I saw a few years ago, but oddly seem not to have reviewed - it's definitely worth seeing though. A story of a Palestinian woman whose lemon trees are threatened with destruction by the Israeli security forces. This shows at 6.10pm Wednesday 20 February.

Poets of Protest might also be good, it's showing at 3.30pm on Sunday 17 February.

Lotos of other good films showing too! You can see the whole programme of the festival on the Filmhouse website.

Tuesday 12 February 2013


I was delighted yesterday to receive a bumper package of goodies from the RSPB! This was my prize for winning their Pin It to Win It competition on Pinterest.

The prize consists of:

one bird feeder
two packs of birdfood (one of sunflower seeds and one of 'buggy nibbles' which contain fat and meal worms)
one mug with a chaffinch design on
one box of shortbread and one box of fudge!

Everything we need in fact to have a snack ourselves as we watch  the birds snacking. Unfortunately the windows of our flat don't overlook the shared garden at the back of the building. I'm not sure in fact where we'll put the feeder. But we can sort that out and it's a wonderful gift to have won!

Meanwhile, here is a photo of one of the bird boxes that we recently put up in Colinton Dell along the Water of Leith. You can read more about that project here (I've now added this photo to that previous blog-post too). Starting from Valentine's Day, it's National Nest Box Week in the UK, so a good time to put some boxes up (though ideally they should be up in autumn to allow birds to prospect over the winter).

Meanwhile a wee bird has flown into my Etsy shop. A peace dove on a bookmark to be precise!
(I also just added another selection of sea pottery shards)

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Monday 11 February 2013

Painted Fish

Here, after many failed attempts is the fish I drew for the Paintafish campaign!

The Paint a Fish campaign aims to engage and educate the younger generations in the protection of fish stocks. People (specially children and young people) from countries in the European Union and beyond are encouraged to paint a fish. All fish will be uploaded on this web site to create a colourful fish stock that will call on EU leaders to refill our seas by restoring fish stocks to their maximum sustainable yield.

The campaign is timed with the final stages of the reform of Common Fisheries Policy which is a once in 10 year opportunity to lay the foundations of sustainable fisheries in Europe.

Another key goal of the campaign is to educate younger generations in sustainable fisheries.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Kingfishers and Libraries

I just found out that today is National Libraries Day in the UK. Libraries are a great resource for enabling people, particularly those on a low income, to access books and other media. They're also environmentally friendly, many people borrow the one copy of a book, thus saving on paper, while at the same time authors are paid each time their book is borrowed, so there's not the loss of income that many authors see as a downside to other forms of book sharing.

So, why not pop into your local library today and choose a book to read..... There's also plenty going on today to celebrate libraries, you can find out more here.

This morning we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. We were totally delighted to get a wonderful view of a kingfisher on the pond. It dived into the water and came out with a fish in its beak then flew into a bush where it stayed in full view for several minutes. Kingfishers are often seen on the pond here as it is so close to the Water of Leith, where the birds breed. They're visiting the pond more frequently at the moment, partly because when water levels are high in the river (as they are at the moment) kingfishers will often visit ponds (which is the same reason why a kingfisher is currently often seen at Musselburgh Boating Pond near the River Esk). in the case of the Water of Leith / Botanics kingfisher, it's likely that the ongoing flood prevention works along the river are disturbing the birds, encouraging them to visit the pond.

Also in the Botanics, we heard the wonderful sound of great spotted woodpeckers drumming. Spring is definitely on the way!

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks which take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

Friday 8 February 2013

Use your artistic talents to help nature!

I was contacted recently by the Million Trees project, asking if I would spread the word! This project is a fun way to help the environment. You design a tree (or as many trees as you want to design!) and then pay a small amount as a donation to get the tree planted where you want to plant it. It's a project that seems to be very much in the early stages and I have to admit I'm not sure on the details of how it will work, but it's certainly nice to see creative ideas like this.

A similar project is Paint a Fish, which invites people (particularly children and young people) to paint fish, which are then uploaded to a gallery. The gallery will then be used as part of a campaign to persuade the European Union to increase the protection given to European fish stocks. I've been trying to draw a fish, but so far have been too embarrassed by the results to want to share them with anyone, let alone the decision makers of the European Union!. To get an idea though, you can see Caroline Gill's smiling fish

Thursday 7 February 2013

New Homes for Birds!

This morning I was helping Water of Leith Conservation Trust put up some nest boxes in Colinton Dell by the river. We had boxes for blue tits, great tits, wrens, treecreepers and a single, very optimistic box for spotted flycatchers.

As far as I know, spotted flycatchers haven't been seen in Colinton Dell for ten years or more. I've only ever seen these lovely birds on the Isle of Arran (where they fly around a beer garden outside a brewery) and in Biggar, Lanarkshire (where they fly around quite happily in a caravan park!). So they're obviously not afraid of humans. I found out today that spotted flycatchers are actually doing quite well in Roslin Glen near Edinburgh, so maybe the birdbox we put up today will tempt them back into Colinton Dell! It would be lovely to think so!

I'm looking forward to keeping an eye on the boxes to see if any of them become occupied. I know that most birds will have chosen a nest site by now, or at least have started prospecting for potential sites. So it's unlikely that any of the boxes will be occupied this year....

I'll try and keep you updated on this blog!

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Wednesday 6 February 2013


the redness of a bullfinch
in the bare trees

after I wrote this, I was thinking, for a European bird like the bullfinch, I felt the redness needed to be stated. Perhaps I should have pretended the bird was a robin, as the redness there would be a given, even if the exact species of robin in the mind's eye would vary depending on the reader's geographical location..... any thoughts?

Tuesday 5 February 2013

selected poems of e. e. cummings

e. e. commings poetry is possibly not everyone's cup of tea, and his odd use of punctuation and even odder syntax certainly mean that he isn't the easiest poet. I find some of his poems incredibly irritating but at his best, he wrote amazingly beautiful poems. This small selection of his work (selected by the poet from his work between 1923 - 58) includes some wonderful poetry, including a lot of poems about Spring.

Most of these poems don't have titles, which makes quoting from them more difficult, but this is from p7 and probably illustrates equally both the wonder and irritation of his work:

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of  Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look

and this, from p 67 is, even if it might not make the strictest sense, just full of the joy of Spring:

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

e. e. cummings is considered one of the most innovative poets in the English language and is well worth reading. He experimented with great verve, though he also wrote a surprising amount of formal verse (though mostly formal verse with a good few twists to it) as here from p84:

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why, remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting when)

Formal or experimental, his poetry always buzzes with the joy of language and the joy of nature.

e. e. cummings: selected poems 1923 - 1958 published by Faber and Faber

Monday 4 February 2013

hanging pot pourri bag

In my last crafty blogpost I asked whether you were interested in seeing 'before' and 'after' photos and possibly having short tutorials for my crafts. The idea was certainly popular and I will try to share before and after photos in future. However I have a backlog of crafting projects to share here, which were started (or even completed) before my last crafty post. (I made a New Year's Resolution to do more crafts and I'm sticking to it, thanks largely to a friend who recently gave me a large amount of crafting materials and to Pinterest, which as I've said before is just full of inspiration for crafting projects!).

Anyway, here is a photo of a pot pourri bag I made recently from fabric and ribbon scraps. It's now hanging in our kitchen and smells delightfully of cinnamon and cloves.

I'm also working on some more pot pourri bags of a slightly different design, some of which will end up in my Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop. I'll share the photo of one of those in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile I just added another beaded bookmark to the shop, this one with a Russian doll charm on the end of it.

Thanks to my blog readers who have become the first customers in my Etsy shop. It means a lot to me that my items have started to sell!

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

Friday 1 February 2013

Carbon Capture - an easy demonstration

Yesterday I attended the launch of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. You can read more about the programme for this year's festival in yesterday's post.

At the event, I caught up with two scientific demonstrations. The first one involved first producing carbon dioxide by pouring boiling water onto dry ice (carbon dioxide in solid form, called dry ice because it doesn't have a liquid phase but turns straight from gas to solid when frozen to very low temperatures). The dry ice then sublimated to produce gaseous carbon dioxide.

then washing up liquid was poured into the tube and captured the carbon dioxide in bubbles, preventing it escaping further into the atmosphere.

This is similar, at least in theory to the methods used to capture the carbon dioxide produced by power plants to prevent the gas adding to global warming. You can read more about carbon capture and storage here. You can read about the drawbacks of the process (not least the fact that it isn't yet commercially viable) here.

The second demonstration involved optical illusions and a plastic model of a rabbit that magically changed shape, but, as they say, you had to be there. It was, sadly for all the bunny fans who read this blog, a demonstration that couldn't be captured on film.

Edinburgh International Science Festival will take place at venues across the city from 23 March - 7 April.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.