Catching up

The last six months have been a bit busy around here, without much actual gardening happening. At the moment I am on uni study week (part of the busy – I started studying again), and impatiently checking my garden to see if any of the seeds we have planted recently have sprouted.

I’m not having much luck with the seed growing lately, and I’m not sure why. Too much water, too little water, or maybe roots growing into the garden from nearby trees. We’re growing strawberries, passionfruit and herbs well, just waiting on peas, beans, snow peas, pak choy and carrots to sprout if they will. I think the pay choy will do okay, not sure on the others – between birds lurking to eat seeds, wind blowing mulch over tiny plants and torrential rains, there’s not much happening there.

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What I actually did for the advent calendar

I ended up buying a wooden kit advent calendar, and decorated it with my little assistant. He was very patient during the process although he did wander off before we were done.

There are little drawers to fill things with. The bigger ones are big enough for a small car, but the highlight for him has been him daily vitamin. Apparently it is far more exciting when out of a tiny box. I also picked an activity for us to do each day and that has worked really well to keep me on track for getting ready for Christmas.

Today was wrapping presents. A few days ago was making cards. Other activities were to decorate the Christmas tree, buy a special new decoration, and watch a Christmas movie (he asked to watch Paw Patrol instead). I’d forgotten about some of the activities so it’s been a surprise for me as well. I’m really glad that I went to the effort of doing it this year.

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Advent calendars

Browsing back tonight to find a book review that I wrote (Last Child in the Woods) I also stumbled upon another post that was good timing for this part of the year – Cute ideas for Advent calendars.

I wrote this two years ago, looking forward to a time when my little person would be able to look ahead and anticipate things and we could go on adventures together. Time to look at the links and plan what I’m going to do for an advent calendar this year!

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Sewing and plodding along

Hello! That was an unexpected break. It turns out that babies who don’t like to sleep don’t leave a lot of mental energy for anything non-essential.

Also a bush turkey destroyed my garden. Yes! All my carefully planted seeds and nurtured plants were gone in an afternoon because a bush turkey decided that my garden beds were the perfect place to build a nest. He tried to build a nest in one and took the vegetation out of the others to build his nest up. In the end I covered up the garden bed with planks of wood and removed all the dug up plants and mulch, and raked up all the fallen leaves from the yard and got rid of everything that tempted him, and he left. Then it was summer, which is not a time to grow things here, and I’m only getting back into gardening now.

But that wasn’t the point of this post. That was sewing. I saw this post online recently – 5 minute baby and toddler leggings – and decided to give it a go today. It worked! I had to fiddle with the ankle part a bit more to cut out excess fabric from the front and back, but it looked great. Until… I decided to iron the fabric before I did the waist to make sure I got it even and perfect. It turns out that the socks were a polyester blend, not cotton like I thought. I worked that out once the iron had  melted a huge big hole in them. So then I had no leggings and a iron I needed to clean, so I took a break for lunch and to sulk.

After lunch I cleaned the iron, then made a skirt using this tutorial which worked well – I think. I’m not really sure that I like the skirt. I’ve had the material for a long time, I bought it years ago to use on a bag and had some left over, so it might just be that I’m sick of looking at it, or maybe it is the way the skirt drapes, or something. I think it might need some ribbon at the hem to jazz it up. The baby liked it though when I showed her in the mirror, kicking her feeties and laughing.

Then I tried the 5 minute leggings using the socks again, with my last pair of spare knee length socks that I no longer wear. I even managed to match up all the stripes and they look quite nice. Baby declined to try them on, so I’m not sure if they fit her yet, but they look very nice, and it turns out that when you don’t have to stop and clean your iron, they really only do take 5 minutes to make.

When I do manage to make things, people often comment on them and ask where I got them from, and then say that they wish they could sew and make things. They don’t seem to believe me when I say that they could. I make a lot of mistakes. Things take me a very long time unless it’s something that I’ve made recently. I’ve been known to sew the legs together when making pants. Or cut things out the wrong way. I was just wondering earlier if I should give up on this sewing thing, since it didn’t seem to be happening for me today. It’s hard to enjoy a hobby when you don’t seem to be any good at it. But then the leggings came together and I remembered why I enjoy it, it’s nice to create something cute and useful. And then I can say proudly, yes, I made these. Even if it did take me five goes to get it right.

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Purple bean picking

Glorious mess

Glorious mess

This is the result of our seed planting a few months ago – to fill in an afternoon, I pulled out all the out of date seeds and showed the toddler how to plant them. Then we waited. And waited. And eventually some plants sprouted. Then I waited some more to find out what they were – mostly pak choy, some basil, some beans.

The Purple King beans are now at the stage to start picking. Every few days we lift up the bean plants which have woven themselves into the flowering pak choy and look to find the beans. The purple makes them stand out and easy to spot. It’s a simple activity that we both get enjoyment out of. I’m hoping to raise a gardener and getting him involved and interested this early will hopefully pay off in the future.

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Please excuse the break

I’ve been in a newborn baby fog the last few weeks. A few days after my last post, our second baby arrived, in a quick uncomplicated labour. It couldn’t have been more different from the first time.

She is, so far, a snuggly relaxed baby. None of us are getting enough sleep, we are adjusting to being a family of four (plus two cats – six?), and the days are going quickly in a sleep deprived haze. She is nearly three weeks old, time is flying by.

Blogging will come back when my brain emerges from this fog. Soon.

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Friday Night Meatballs

I read this article on Friday Night Meatballs yesterday, and from sharing the link on facebook, many friends seem to enjoy the idea too. The author writes that they decided to connect with their community of family and friends by hosting an open invitation dinner every Friday night – meatballs and pasta, so nothing fancy, but a nice dinner that would get everyone together and connecting with each other.

This is the quote from their first Facebook post about it:

So here’s what Joe and I have decided to do, in my 33rd year, to make our lives happier: we are instituting a new tradition we call Friday Night Meatballs. Starting next Friday, we’re cooking up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs every Friday night and sitting down at the dining room table as a family—along with anyone else who’d like to join us. Friends, neighbors, relatives, clients, Facebook friends who’d like to hang out in real life, travelers passing through: you are welcome at our table. We’ll just ask folks to let us know by Thursday night so we know how many meatballs to make. You can bring something, but you don’t have to. Kids, vegetarians, gluten-free types, etc. will all be taken care of. The house will be messy. There might be card and/or board games. There might be good Scotch. You might be asked to read picture books. You might make new friends. We’ll just have to find out. This is our little attempt to spend more time with our village. You’re invited.

That sounds good to me. Our friends are a little more spread out around our city, and I can see how it could seem like an effort to drive across town to our house, but once we’re back on our feet after baby two arrives (39 weeks pregnant is probably not the time to start a new endeavour), we’ll give it a go and see what happens. Maybe a monthly catch up. The kids can run around and eat (or not), adults can catch up over a meal and see what we’ve all been up to lately, and we’ll reconnect with people we don’t get to see often enough.

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