Dad and I have all out competition organic versus spray and synthetic fertiliser. I have to concede he beats me with carrots hands down but I think I've got him on tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and garlic this year. He's been buying his in!! Enough of that or I might sound like I'm gloating and Mum tells me pride comes before a fall gillybean. Look forward to seeing how everyone else's gardens are going and arranging a few swaps.
This made my day though! A present from an extremely crafty cleaver friend.
Friend, what you don't know is that the skirt which you used for the spotty stockings use to belong to my Grandmother who was spot mad. I wanted to wear the skirt but it didn't suit me and I wanted to make something but wasn't inspired, so I let it go. This softy is especially special because with your busy life you made it for me and it has those spotty stockings which remind me of my very special Grandma. Thanks, it's just wonderful.X
In relation to my problem at work I can see that sometimes letting go can be the most rewarding thing to do.
I've been at home making a little progress on my cleaning and sewing. I saw the little dancing tutu over on Melissa's blog and decided that it would make a good rainy day activity. I think mine would have looked better with more tulle but it's pretty expensive in our local sewing shop. This one will probably be for my niece visiting over summer.
It did serve to inspire me though, so I ferreted through my fairy fabrics and settled on some shiny stuff for a skirt for PJ. Engrossed in sewing, I didn't notice she was due home from school so didn't get it put away before she spied it, so it won't be for Christmas. She can wear it for her school prize giving tomorrow night which I will miss as I will be fare welling the teen off to Adelaide. I may make her a bag for Christmas with the leftovers.
A new bag?
I never did get around to sorting out the aphids in the tunnel house, partly because I'm busy and partly because these guys need something to eat. This is a paper wasp hopefully she and her babies will gobble up lots of aphids and grubs. She might also eat the juvenile lady bug on the fennel flowers though, which would be a shame because they love to eat aphids. I feel so much better about letting mother nature sort out the pest control. If only she'd give us a bit of rain as well.
I'm letting alot of plants go to seed, the predatory insects are especially attracted to the umbelliferae family including parsnip,dill, fennel etc. They get really tall making the garden much more interesting and colourful too.
I was also a winner on Sally Anne's blog! I haven't won anything for a long time so it really made my day when I read I had won. It was meant to be because my daughter gets called "sweet pea" on the rare occasions that's she's not driving me nuts! I watched her sing solo at a performance for the old folks club on Friday. I was so nervous for her, but she was amazing. Huge credit needs to go to her wonderful teacher who nurtured the shy girl who didn't even want to go to school to a point where she'll sing on her own in front of an audience. What a treasure she is.
I Love how the garden looks in summer, it comes together to remind me of a patchwork quilt. These views are from the top of the kid's slide. I am disappointed that a new plum tree I bought seems to have silverleaf. From what I've read nothing can get rid of it and it spreads very easily. I'll be devastated if I have to start cutting trees out.
Mating stink bugs got squashed today with a satisfying crunch. I am not a Buddhist gardener! The aphids in the tunnel house will be dealt to tomorrow as soon as I decide weather it's better to make a garlic spray with the last of last years garlic or pyrethrum spray which has the disadvantage of killing ladybugs too, which we don't want. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
I LOVE Owen Bartlett pottery!!!! I can't afford it though. Kids to go to camp, birthdays, Christmas etc. One day though I shall have the spotty jug my heart desires. (Green below)
These country ladies took my fancy too. Not to buy, I'm one of these fair shoppers that goes around and says to myself "that's a good idea, I could make one of those" and never get around to it.
My bags looked better displayed at home, I can't quite get my stall to come together at the moment.
The last few weeks have been full on, I spring cleaned the house and had a garage sale on Saturday it didn't really go to plan though as the "red head" spent most of Friday night screaming, revealing at about 3 in the morning that his ear hurt. Suffering from sleep deprivation I decided to go ahead with the garage sale anyway as I couldn't stand the boxes of stuff around for another week. It went OK but I didn't set things out as nicely as I could have and packed up in a hurry to get the "red head" to the duty Dr. Ouch there goes half the profit. I'm glad the week's over, the "teen" goes to school camp tomorrow so I get three days break from being "so mean". His friends have been making some really stupid decisions lately and getting into trouble it's only been sheer luck that T has been away on the weekend's that they've got into mischief, so I have said they can come here and hang out instead of him going with them. Mean Eh!? I've always trusted him but that pack mentality is pretty strong, I'd rather know what he/they are up to at present. I hope I'm doing the right thing, L and I aren't quite in agreement about how to deal with it all but are just trying to keep him safe and out of trouble. I hope they're too worn out from kayaking and tramping to do anything silly at camp.
Absolutely no sewing or knitting happening in these parts, a wee bit of gardening. I have harvested the first zucchini from the garden and am using my spare moments to get little things like tying up tomatoes, mounding up potatoes, weeding and watering done in the garden. L's clothes drying rack is getting put to use to dry flowers for the garlic plaits. I think it will look cool as it fills up and will be great because I won't have to wobble on a stool when I hang things up.
Somewhere in blogland late one night I saw the suggestion to do entirely handmade Christmas gifts. I wouldn't be at all popular with my kids if I included them but for friends and family it would be do -able. Basil in the garden will be ready for pesto. Herbal ointment for others.On a dry day pick a loosely packed jar full of herb flowers, petals or leaves. Calendula is a great one to start with as it is a good all round skin healer and is very gentle. Comfrey leaves could also be chopped, but because they are quite moist can often promote mould. Lavender flowers are good, strip them off the stalk. Others I use are yarrow, chamomile, elderflower, rosemary, st john's wort, native manuka and kawa kawa. I'm not a qualified herbalist so will not recommend certain herbs for certain ailments but there are many books you can get from the library and make creams for eczema, dry skin, cuts, scrapes, bites, hemorrhoids,massage etc.
Here I'll show the method, it's called cold maceration. Once you've packed the dry petals cover them in oil of your choice (not nasty old salad and cooking oil made in china) I have used olive, almond and grape seed all of which have their own healing qualities and little odour. Avocado would probably be lovely too. Use a skewer to get all the air bubbles out by going down the side of the jar and squeezing the petals back a bit, you might see if you look closely in the picture. Do this until you can't see any more bubbles rising, it's really important as the air promotes mould. Fill the jar right to the top and put a lid on. Set aside in a dark place for four to six weeks. The oils or constituents in the plant that are soluble in oil will be absorbed into your carrier oil. Start with a wee jar first so if you do get some mould growth you don't have to chuck away heaps. My teacher would check hers weekly and just scrape off any mould growing, you could do that if any occurs but the perfectionist in me couldn't cope with that. Another thing to remember when gathering herbs for medicine is to be in a serene or appropriate state of mind. Don't do it when you're stressed or angry as these energy's may be imparted onto your medicine. Sing, smile, pray, visualise, meditate or whatever is appropriate to you.
Next step in six weeks you'll need some natural beeswax, try the beekeeper at the local farmers market or the health food shop. Alternatively you could use the oil as is for massage etc or in aqueous cream but I'll go into that further later.
Cherries, their sight a real delight. Hopefully these promise fruit just after Christmas, a wee bit of time for me to prepare to stop the birds stealing them all. This will be their third season in the ground and the first that I'll be allowing fruit. The first two years I pick flowers off all my fruit trees so they can put all their energy into putting down good strong roots.
Elderflower opening, a beautiful scent. Some of these will be for tea and herbal cream some left to grow into berries.
A splash of orange, Calendula in the flower garden. Many people are asking me to repeat a herbal cream making workshop I did last year. I thought I'd go through the steps here on my blog as well for future reference. So if you want to join in, initially you'll need to find a patch of Calendula, Comfrey, Lavender, Elderflower, Yarrow, Kawa Kawa, Manuka,Chammomile or any other herbs you have growing which are soothing for skin or have antiseptic qualities, there are heaps. Have on hand ready for a dry day some olive or almond oil a clean glass jar with lid and some wooden kebab sticks. I think a good time for collecting herbs for storage is when the moon is rising or full but since it's been so wet we'll just go for a good dry fine day. I'll keep you posted.
While I sewed for the festival the weeds grew thick and fast in the front garden so it looks more like a wild lawn with flowers in it at the moment than a cottage garden. Never mind I'm more into vege gardens anyway but it will need some attention I guess before all the weeds set seed. My sewing was worth it though, I got lots of nice comments at the festival and made some good sales. Lots of organically grown seedlings went to new homes too so I have alot more room to plant in the glasshouse now and a bit more time on my hands to get the garden set for summer. I had anticipated being alot less busy this week but it's not working out as planned either, I may need a holiday it's all becoming a bit of a slog. Roll on summer!
Fabric hunting is getting to be a huge challenge too I found 2 pieces in a small antique shop round the corner from where my Mum lives but I wouldn't want to buy at antique shop prices very often! The mushroom bit is from Spotlight the day after the festival, 20% off was too good to resist. I have a theory that the red cross ladies are getting all the yummy fabric before it goes out into the shop. I have been contemplating my career options in the last 6 months there are about half a dozen paths I'd bee keen to explore but nothing that I just know is right. Perhaps volunteering in the op shop would be a good way to contemplate?
A new baby whose brother and sister died in the yuckky weather is keeping PJ company.
A friend requested a skull and x bones t shirt for a new born. I'm so pleased with the result. Instead of sewing the t myself I found a few white singlets at the op shop in fantastic condition and attached the applique to them. I prefer the little brown kiwi at the top, that image has been in my head for a couple of months when I was given the scraps of brown cotton. I hope they wash and wear well, I think I might even make one of those for myself. I do hope everyone else who is on school holiday break at the moment is getting a few moments to sew, craft, garden or steal a few moments peace.
Spring has inspired me to make some different coloured bags I still haven't developed another pattern that I like as much as this one. I have quite a few ready to sell now but am putting off approaching outlets. It's mostly nerves but I don't know if I want to turn a hobby into a business.