Moving, spawning and digging in the garden

16 May

I’ve not had a lot of time to write over the past few months, as we have been busily at work with multiple projects. The major one (my latest pet project) being the growing of the second addition to our collection of offspring. Yes indeed, I have been with child, working, chasing Monkey (our first creation, now two and a half), packing and moving house, unpacking (which still remains an incomplete task) and finally bearing our second child (two weeks ago) who has been dubbed Puddleduck due to her affinity for peeing on mummy. Usually in the middle of the night. On my sheets.
Despite all these interesting life events, I have still managed to break out a few light tools and get to creating a few things, for as you know, a life without creating is a life not enjoyed.

Our new house is a proper house, not a two bedroom second floor apartment as we were living in before. My son is so grateful for a BACKYARD! Albeit, an unorthodox backyard featuring the “Cliff of Death”, a 2m drop encrusted with boulders which my son actually navigates quite gracefully. Might have to do something with this cliff.
We have had a challenging start despite the cliff, since the backyard as well as the rest of the house was slightly neglected by the former occupants. This has meant digging old pieces of plastic, metal and rope out of the very clayish soil before anything can really be done. But I am getting there, and started my backyard overhaul by building a few raised bed planters out of wood I recycled from around the property. The first of the three I am currently building is now at home outside the back door and houses my culinary herbs: basil, flat leaf and curly parsley, rosemary, mint and oregano. The second and largest is also complete and will house my winter crop of snowpeas, garlic and spinach. It’s a special bed for me, as I was still finishing it off when in labour with Puddleduck. The last bed which I am now finishing will be a garden dedicated specifically to chillies, something I’ve always wanted.

I am very excited to see the yard evolve over the next few months as I continue to build up a transformation plan! Can’t wait to post photos of the progression too!


Recycled Christmas!

29 Nov

The Christmas season is upon us again, and now that decorating time has arrive once more, my thoughts turn to Christmas 2009. My husband and I had just moved into a new house and were rather poor as I had just quit my job, so we decided to dub the celebrations a “recycled Christmas”. I got my hands busy and folded myself what seemed like hundreds of origami stars out of newspaper, then stringing them together to make a long garland. I also publicly embarrassed myself my husband at gatherings with friends by pilfering all used red or silver soda cans from the table and smuggling them home. From those I cut stars which were used to decorate the tree (a similar method can be found here). A tree skeleton (an elm branch, I think!) painted white served as our regal tree that year. It was the best Christmas!
Every year since I have craved another recycled Christmas, but now with the super prevalence of Pinterest and with Little Bug incubating in my tummy (and therefore the need to save the dollars), I feel it is the right time to revive the recycled Christmas! Let’s see what comes out this year.



Life update

5 Aug

Life gets so busy, and I haven’t managed to integrate my writing into it as I’d like… yet. Little Monkey is a whirlwind of activity, and my dishes are left undone for the majority of the day (week?). Yet I’ve got more than 14 projects swimming in my head right now, and each idea never ceases to split and multiply like a healthy amoeba. I never have a shortage of things I want to do!
I’ve managed to begin one or two of my projects, which I had hoped to write about (and I suppose I may still…):
A down light over my dark dining table, made from a hardware work lamp;
A shade for said light;
A bookshelf made from reclaimed wood;
A crochet quilt for Little Monkey…
but I think I must face that some ideas must be sacrificed so that my dishes can remain clean, family remain fed and in clean clothes and just some of my projects will be able to live on and be finished!

Palette planter box

11 Jun

Time has been tight lately, so there’s nothing like a bit of child labour in a kindergarten if you’re going to palm it off as an educational experience. Wink.
You may need to know that I work in a kindergarten (do not rock up at a local kindy and ask if you can use the services of their little workmen) and the kids had a blast.

I started with six old posts, a stack of palettes I had collected from the side of the road and no real carpentry skills except for the ability to make things up and use my imagination.

We began by hammering out the old nails. In our case it wasn’t too hard, but I’ve heard that some palettes are almost impossible to extract nails from. This left us with a good stack of boards. I did all the sawing, but my 3-4 year olds helped me pre-drill little holes (press the trigger on the drill) and then hammer nails into them. What troopers. We put together a whole planter box over the week!

The kind people at Bunnings donated their soil, mulch and seedlings, which we’ll be digging in today. And look what we have!


Illness and a happy garden

19 May

Our whole household has recently been down for the count, brought to our knees by our familiar winter time foe, the cold bug. Last year my small son was generous enough to carry home every stray virus he happened to come across. Unfortunately I thought that we would go unscathed this year, but evidently I was being a little optimistic.
While sickness is highly unpleasant for the regular person, for the tragically creative it seems it can be one of our greatest nemeses. So for me, being too beaten up by the cold to lift a hand to housework, ideas of crafts have been left swimming around in my head like distorted little pond fish. Let’s just say not all of my delusional craft ideas have been feasible, ie. getting root hormone gel on your hands doesn’t mean your index might start to sprout roots and that you can produce a cute little finger garden.
I’ve also taken to reading a LOT of Lucy Maud Montgomery, which is something that can really affect someone’s writing and normal patterns of speech. For reals… as LM Montgomery might not say.

I have been taking time to go out (between chapters in ‘Anne of Avonlea’) and tend to my balcony garden. It’s a nice little “outing”, just far enough outside to shake the feeling that my body may actually be fusing with the walls of my apartment.

My little plants seem to be doing well. Broccoli, carrot, lettuce, garlic and onions are all sprouting. Snow pea seedlings are looking fairly happy, as are the new strawberry plants. One thing that looks decidedly unhappy is the poor tiny little rose bush that I took from my Oma’s garden after she passed. I do not know much about rose bushes and so I hope the thing revives.
But as far as food producing things? They revive me and help me feel that to dream something into being isn’t too much of a hard task.

Monster art

30 Apr

I’ve seen crafters with a sense of humour incorporate a touch of whimsy in their pieces before; I’m thinking Dave Devries’ bizarre if not slightly grotesque artworks with his Monster Engine project.
This repurposing project by Chris McMahon & Thyrza Segal is slightly more lighthearted and a stroke of genius. I’ve always wondered who buys the icky old paintings that hang about in thrift stores. Now I know there’s another life waiting to escape from these apparently dull wall decorations. I’ll keep this in mind next time I feel like incorporating a touch of humour into a room. Inspired!


Cinnamon rolls

28 Apr

I love to bake. I always have aspirations of the fabulous things I could make, but you can only stuff so much onto one tiny plate before you end up with food decorating the floor. So to speak.
I’ve got one incredible friend who seems to be Wonder Mum. With three kids, she diligently makes soccer runs, dance appointments, play dates, cooks three or more square meals a day and bales frequently.
With one kid I am still in my pyjamas at 1:34pm on a weekend, having just drank my “morning coffee”.

This recipe posted by Love From the Oven may make baking a fresh cinnamon roll a little less complicated. Sure I may have to bake my own “Mother’s Day treat”, but I too may finally end up with trays of freshly baked sweets with enough time to also wash the dishes! I can’t wait to try it; let me know if you bake a batch.