I will do a separate craft year in review but this year but in a lot of ways both sides of my worlds collided into one.
Reading has been an activity I have done a lot of this year, mostly on the topics of sustainability and minimalism. I made use of my local library borrowing several books. Some books I have gone on to further buy but it was a good chance to preview the books for free and decide if I would want to refer back to it or not. I have learnt a lot from reading these books but I need to get into the habit of writing down useful notes or ideas as I am reading so that I can remember them later on. Looking up the online library catalogue there are a plenty more books I wish to borrow in future. There is something about holding a book in your hands and soaking up the contents of it. Fact or fiction there is magic in books.
On the topic of sustainability it has been a big focus for me this year. I’ve tried to be more sustainable in my crafting adventures as well as my everyday life. To reduce more of my single use items I made reusable lid mats for work and a wet bag for my umbrella. It was pretty wet in Sydney this year so I saved a lot of bags and as for the paper towels I think I worked out it was a couple of hundred saved. For my desk drawer at work I brought some reusable cutlery for the times when I’m eating more than just a sandwich. Sadly with my OCD issues I still use a lot of single use items in particular baby wipes and food packaging. I need to investigate further options of how I can improve in those areas. I’ve noticed at home we could do with a few more reusable paper towels in the kitchen so I will have to make more of those too.
Unfortunately the same week I did the post on the book 101 Ways To Go Zero Waste the largest soft plastics recycling program in Australia Redcycle closed down after it was revealed that for some time they had been storing the collected plastics and not recycling them. Some of the companies they partnered with had closed down and another had a major fire resulting in it being offline until mid 2023. Major supermarkets across the country had collection bins that you take back a range of soft plastics that couldn’t be put through regular kerbside recycling. The items you could drop off included plastic bags, packaging, bubble wrap, even some foil lined food packets. For about 10 years we had been collecting items and taking them back to the local supermarket. Due to the pandemic Redcycle had noticed an increase in products returned through the program as more people had items delivered to their homes, one supermarket enforced the option of only having plastic bags for its home deliveries instead of bag less like it did pre-pandemic. It is hoped that the Redcycle program will start up again in future, possibly next year. Some people have said they will hang on to their soft plastics until the program is running again but unfortunately we aren’t in a position to do that, we just don’t have the space. It was really hard to stop collecting the soft plastics when it was announced, we had to change a habit we had been doing for 10 years. We were trying to reduce the amount we were sending to landfill but now we have increased it. As we don’t drive we rely a lot on items being delivered via the post or delivery drivers which unfortunately means a lot excess packaging. Earlier this month I brought extra food storage containers online so we can reduce our food waste, they were sent in a box full of plastic inflatable plastic packaging, it felt paradoxical, the items were purchased to help us reduce landfill waste yet it was surrounded by packaging which we sent to landfill as we couldn’t recycle it. There is a program available in some council areas that you can arrange for your soft plastics to be collected from your kerbside by an independent company, our council isn’t involved in the program but even if it was, our apartment complex rules don’t allow you to place anything on the kerbside for collection. Until the Redcycle program or another one similar starts up we have no option but to send the soft plastics to landfill. We are trying to reduce the amount we have but we still generate waste.
Around the house we have made some changes to reduce our waste. We purchased a soda stream this year to make soft drinks at home to reduce our plastic bottle and aluminum can consumption. We purchased it from our regular supermarket in an online exclusive sale and got it delivered at the same time as our regular grocery shop, we were able save money and it wasn’t covered in excess packaging. When I was purchasing from a craft supplier, I remembered that the shop sent a free sticker as a freebie with every purchase, I don’t use the stickers so I asked for it not to be included in my order. It saved the shop money and also meant I wasn’t throwing an item I didn’t need out. I’m trying to incorporate the ideas I have read this year into my everyday life, even if it is just one sticker at a time.
The worm farm was a late addition to our place this year. It is still too early yet to be placing all of our scraps and organic waste into it but we have started placing small amounts. In a few months or so it should be established and we can put all our waste in. I’ve enjoyed taking an interest in the garden, it is an activity that Womble often do together. It gets us outside and away from screens. We planted some seeds which have sprouted so hopefully early next year we can harvest some more veggies from our little balcony garden. I’m starting to enjoy being out on the balcony again, I’m finding myself going out there to sit with a cuppa or a book more often.
Both of us did manage to stop smoking this year. I don’t know what date I stopped, I don’t want to know as I don’t want to be reminded each year that date rolls around. We were cutting down our cigarettes over a number of weeks and then one day Womble wanted to see if he could go 24hrs without one and I just kind of stopped from then. He still has the occasional one, but for the most part he has stopped too. For someone who had been smoking for 60 years he has done remarkably well. I know some people can have the occasional cigarette and be ok with it, I know I’m a person who never be able to have another cigarette ever. For me there is no just thing as one. I know I would be the same with chocolate which is why I haven’t had any in 8 years. Whilst all this was going on we both had a couple of health issues arise (not related to smoking) We were both having heaps of tests and scans done. We went through a really stressful period yet still managed to both stop smoking during it so I’m pretty proud of us both. Thankfully our health has settled down a bit now so we get a break for Christmas and New Year from the stress of it all. If anyone is wishing to give up I strongly urge you to try. Our strategy was to reduce how much we smoke gradually, we reduced down about 25% per week. It took us about 1 month but by doing it slowly it wasn’t a shock to our systems or made us feel pressured to not have any straight away. We were lucky that we didn’t have cravings but there are lots of aids to help you stop. We did use nicotine replacement patches for a bit but found after a while we didn’t need them. I will be honest the habit is still on my mind sometimes and I do occasionally think we should have one after for example a nice meal. Womble requested No Smoking signs be stuck up around the apartment as it was easier for him to be in a place where he knew he wasn’t allowed to smoke. We still have the signs up because even without cravings we still need that reminder out of habit.
I still enjoy writing but I don’t get as much time to blog as I used too. Helping Womble set up his blog this year was a lot of fun. It is funny how experiencing something you have done for a long time through fresh eyes can make you realise how much you enjoy it.
This year has been full of stress from the start of the year to the end. Smoking issues, health issues, increased cost of living it pressures, a series of false positive RAT tests it was just one thing after another for the entire year. I’ll be honest and say it really drained me. Emotionally, physically it has been a struggle this year. I know there isn’t a magic reset button on the calendar for the start of the year but I’m hoping 2023 is a little less complicated. We are going to do everything in our powers to make it as less stressful as possible.
I hope you had a lovely Christmas and a safe New Year