14 November 2008

Busy and relaxed

I've been busy over the past week but I'm feeling relaxed and rested nevertheless. My main task has been my book which I haven't talked about much lately but have had quite a few people ask me about, so here is an update. I'm working now on the book proposal, which I have to have finished by late December. The proposal is an explanation of what I an writing, how I see the book when it's finished, and what my subject matter is with a list and explanation of the chapters, and a couple of sample chapters. Basically I'm selling the book proposal, so it has to be the best it can be. Yesterday I spoke to a professor at the local university about book illustrators. He set me on the right path to find one - I would like to work with someone just starting out - and next week, I hope, I'll be sorting through examples of their work.

So that takes up most of my days. When I have a break, I usually knit, walk around the garden, or do some housework. Hanno, as usual, is a great help to me. He hangs out the laundry, packs the dishwasher and does the grocery shopping. We make a good team because neither of us asks for help but it's always offered and the work gets done. I guess that comes from living together all this time - each of us know what the other needs and we step in to provide it.

This is the latest addition to the gift cupboard. An organic cotton scarf that is silky soft and an absolute pleasure to feel on my neck. I'll have to make one for myself before winter comes around again.

I'm really pleased that so many of you are interested in reducing your usage of electricity, water and gas and have joined the challenge to help your conservation measures. Like any other thing, having a firm starting point and knowing, really knowing, what our figures are gives us a way forward that is realistic and not based on a guess. If you want to join the challenge, read this post and add a comment. Then it's just a matter of reading your meters and working on reducing your usage. We are winning in a number of ways doing this - we are doing a little bit for our environment, we will save money and we are taking part in a community project, and it is always a good thing to join with others to work for change.

So now I'm off to read my meters again. Over the weekend we'll work hard on reducing our usage of water and electricity and on Monday I'll report in again with my meter readings. We'll then have the chance to workshop what we all did and how we did it, so make sure you get your readings and report your findings and your measures. I wish everyone in the challenge good luck with all the measure you'll take and I hope your families chip in and help too.

Welcome to all the new readers who have come here over the past week or so. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.



  1. I don't comment a lot but I am a regular reader. I really admire all that you have learned to do and appreciate you teaching me. I cannot figure out how to relax. I have tried for years and when I read about you taking a break and doing a little housework. I thought maybe I have this backwards. Do you have any pointers on how to do it all and still have time to relax?

  2. Hi Rhonda,
    What a prety scarf. Whats the name of the yarn you used and did you make up the pattern yourself?
    It's raining here in Melbourne too!! Just had a wonderful thundery shower after two very hot days. Sheer bliss

  3. Hi Rhonda, glad you are progressing well on your book proposal, thanks for sharing the process with us. I don't comment often but I do read every posting you do. Sadly I can't join the meter reading challenge as I live in an apartment with all utilities included in the rent. However I am taking that posting to heart and will try reducing my consumption on heat and water.

    Thanks again for all the information you share!

  4. hello Valerie, thank you for your comment. I guess the major part of the way I relax is that I am basically that type of person. I rarely get stressed, I find happiness in many of the things I do and I enjoy what I do. But to answer your question more specifically, I see most of the work I do here - including needlework, knitting, sewing, writing, gardening etc, as well as the traditional housework tasks like cleaning and laundry as my work. Taking a break from one of those tasks gives me a chance to do something different. That, for me, is the key. Being able to move to something different is enough for me to relax. I don't have to sit down with a cuppa on the front verandah, the change from one task to the next is enough for me. I also never stress over what's not done. It doesn't matter to me because I know that no matter how much I do in one day, there will still be chores left undone. It can be added to tomorrow. I wrote about this about a year ago here: http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2007/11/this-is-quark-i-made-from-my-yoghurt.html I hope that helps a little.

    Anita, the yarn is Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton - 85g, 94m. It's made in the USA. I used 1¼ balls on the scarf. It's the simplest thing to do - use large needles I used 10mmm (US 15), cast on 25 stitches and knit in plain (garter stitch) until you reach the length you want your scarf to be. I made this one in two days of on and off knitting.

    Janet, hello! thanks for joining in as best you can. I don't expect us all to do it the same way but please let me know how you go with your reductions. Good luck.

  5. Exciting news about your book. Hope your meetings with illustrators goes well and you find the perfect person.


  6. what a lovely scarf. is it difficult to knit (I am trying to teach myself)? Is it a special yarn?

    I am not trying to be snarky or sarcastic, but I have noticed projects on other sites for knitted washcloths and dishcloths. Are these lovelies REALLY used for these purposes? Aren't they just "for pretty"?

    And are all size and breed chickens "chooks"? Honest, am not being a wise a*** with these questions. I was brought up in LA and my education is sadly lacking. Thanks, in advance. CB

  7. Hi Rhonda,
    I am also writing a book, but remembering my last one which brought in so little money despite much work I thought of how I could increase the returns this time.
    Even if one has an agent and the book gets published doesn't mean it will get well marketed at all and you can end up getting 10-15% of small numbers of sales. However if you get it published by your own publishing company through Lightening Source and sell it through Amazon.com using your blog and website as marketing then you can have a profit that is more like 45%. Happy to share more details if you wish.

  8. A little acknowledgement for you, over on my blog.

  9. I was asked to set up links specifically for deepening the pantry and preparing for emergencies.

    I have added your blog and the Frugal Green blog to those links. Especially since I believe it is much more important to learn to live a different way than just to store food.

    Keep up the great work of teaching others. :)

  10. CB, the instructions are in the comments above. It's one of the easiest projects you'll ever knit. I use my knitted dishcloths every day as dishcloths. They outlast the disposable dishcloths and do a very good job cleaning up. You should try doing some as a knitting lesson. You can try out different stitches or a combination of stitches and in the end, you've got a practical item to use in the home.

    Harriet, when I was a working person, I did some publishing and found it to be quite tedious, especially the proof reading. I have a good agent in New York with an excellent reputation and I'm sure I'll be able to rely on them throughout the entire process. I can still sell my book through my blog and Amazon but I'll have professional people along the way to advise and guide me.

    Thanks Brenda, I'll be over later to have a look.

  11. love the scarf it looks yummy

    our measures so far have been interesting
    including thinking we had a major water leak somewhere on the property...we dont, ive come to the conclusion that dh read the meter wrong on the very first day of reading!
    so far our water consumption has stayed within the 125 l per day per person gauge that i used to work on in brisbane during the high restrictions, its a little less than our allowance would be...today our changes come in, im looking forward to seeing what people do to reduce water usage.
    the electricity i think our usage is higher than i would like, so im going to think today about ways to change that.
    thanks for the challenge

  12. Well funnily enough, about the dishcloths that are 'too nice, I just gave one I recently knitted to a friend as its her last day at work today and I gave it to her as a leaving present. She said its too nice to use to wash down worktops or do the dishes, so she's planning on having it on display somewhere. I tried to tell her, like you said Rhonda, that they're the best cloths you'll ever use and will far outlast anything you'll buy in the shops.

    Still, she was chuffed to bits with it :-)

    It was Debbie's waffle-weave pattern. Pretty, but time-consuming and a little bit confusing!!

    Rhonda, what happened with your red bag you were knitting? I only ask because I'm doing one in purple at the mo on round needles, and is similar in that I'm making it up as I go along and did a couple of rows of that 'holes effect' like your Ascot scarf was done in. Anyway, I'm not so sure it was meant to be a bag now, as it is developing, I think, into a snood. And I know my Mum loves snoods in the winter, so instead of knitting her a bag I think it will change purpose to being a snood!

    Great post again Rhonda, good luck with the book proposal.



  13. You and Hanno seem to have a similar relationship to ours (Josh and I). He helps with the garden and the laundry without being asked. I help him in the shop or fencing without being asked. We work together easily and happily.

    What a blessing to have a happy marriage, you know?


  14. That is a beautiful scarf! I love the color. I'm so happy to hear Lion is making organic cotton yarn!

  15. fifi, I'm still working on the red bag but it's slow going. It's become a side project for me now because I made something else for the person I was making it for. I wanted more of a string bag look but I've gone too far now to undo it so I'm still experimenting. I'll photograph it when I finish. Good luck with yours.

    Allie, that Lion's organic cotton colour is Pistachio.

  16. I love that pretty scarf. I'm also an author and I know what you are going thru. Keep it up and I will visit often.

  17. Oh I'm so pleased to hear about your book. How exciting!

    The scarf is simply beautiful. I wish you lived closer and could teach me to knit!

  18. I haven't been to visit for about a month - illness and a lot of "catch-up" have stopped me coming. This afternoon I have read through everything I have missed. Last week, I started reading the meters and have started closely monitoring our usage of gas and electricity. We don't have a water meter so we can't monitor that but just try to be very careful with our use. I find it amazing that |I started doing this at the same time as you all here without knowing that you were too. I've also just finished knitting a scarf for a friend for Christmas. I found the yarn in a charity shop and immediately thought of my friend because it is just the sort of colour she loves. I hope she likes the pattern I chose.

    We are trying to live more simply and use less of everything in order to save money but also because we want to reduce our impact on the environment. Thank you for all the encouragement you give.

  19. This is unrelated but I don't see a way to send you email directly. I'm thinking about putting money aside in order to buy a food dehydrator for next year. I'd love to hear from you and your readers about the pro's and con's of food drying and using the food later, vs. other methods of preserving. I know they use a lot of electricity, but I live in a humid climate, so an electric device would be needed. Thanks!



I welcome readers' comments. However, this blog never publishes business links or advertisements. If you're operating a business and want to leave your link here, I will delete your comment .

Blogger Template by pipdig