Painting update 3

Well first and foremost the painting is mostly finished, a vast improvement on the chipped and mouldy mess I had before, now I can lie in the bath and look at a ceiling not full of mould during my only quiet, unhassled minutes (half hour) of the day. I'm dying to accessorise now but don't want to spend a fortune so will have to be patient as usually exactly what I need turns up at a garage sale or in a box from a "fabulous Aunt". I did splash out on a new shower curtain today and the room is taking on a distinct black and white theme. I need to do something with the floor as well. The black and white checkered lino of my youth is occupying my thoughts at the moment.

I read back on some of my recent posts thinking some of them sound a little vague or random but actually that is quite what I'm like. Sometimes I have something quite interesting to share and other times it's a real waffle. Anyway I'm very unsettled without all the kids and my good friend and fellow mischief maker is also away so I'm all out of whack. I tried to sew tonight too but that felt all unco. (a word my brother's used to describe me as a child, short for unco-ordinated and generally hilarious) as well, I think there are too many things that I need/want to do that I don't know where to start. Procrastinating always works well on these occasions so I made sushi for tea and then later scoffed strawberries and cream, boiled up some bread and butter pickles and a batch of tomato soup in between reading my favorite bloggers most recent posts thinking "my goodness"! if the northerners are ordering seeds for spring I better be preserving more and gathering firewood.

To clarify about the teen and co. "The big bang theory" is an American show on TV about these nerdy guys who kind of talk computers while being very awkward about girls and like star wars and computer games. On Wednesday nights when it comes on we get yelled at "shut up, this is my programme". I think the character most like my teen is called Sheldon. So the teen and co. sound like that when they bike to our place with lap tops on backs, hook them up with their Ethernet cables and then talk "forward slash semi colon?" sentences followed by "Unreal tournament, Halo and Ghost recon" whatever that means. Oh and "did you see Get Smart?" They didn't even know it was a TV show when I was growing up.

Back to me, all dazed and confused,trying to decide what to do to feel like I'm living life to the fullest. For the last 15 years I've had a baby every third or 4th year so as my wee red goes on three and a half I think I'm experiencing a bit of, for want of a better cliche "mid life crisis". I've been asked by a shop in Wellington to supply some kids clothes, tossed around the idea of studying full or part time, flipping from herbal studies, Early childhood to Visual Arts degree, or staying home to be the sacrificial stay at home Mum. I'm not good at decisions and none of my ideas are screaming THIS IS IT so I may be set to be blogging about teens and skateys, thrifting and bags for another year, I don't know. A very laborious decision maker am I! My apologies for my atrocious punctuation maybe I better start with form 2 English before I do anything. As I prepare to post this I wait for "Nightline" to tell me the traits of people born in this the Chinese year of the OX, perhaps it will enlighten me as to why I'm a procrastinating, waffly, flip floppy, sewer, gardener, mother, wifey, sister, daughter, teacher, friend, blogger.

So apparently we're Strong leaders, Hard workers and demanding. Yep that fits me quite well sometimes too.


Seed saving

I ended up with a house full of teenage boys today, I decided to look busy so I could keep an eye on them. Though I don't know what I was worried about, have you seen "the big bang theory"? Well it's like that here except 15 year olds.

It was a flaming hot day so the superhero and I collected some seeds while trying to ignore how many STINK BUGS are ravaging my garden.

The red couldn't keep his fingers out so instead of fight it I embraced it. We counted pea seeds and described what they felt like, discussed bigger and smaller and then put them all into packets.

The rest of the time he drove the big boys nuts. I cannot imagine what life will be like when he is 15, I wonder if I'll still feel like having house fulls of noisy teens!
The other day I found some old video of when the teen was 4, we had a georgous new baby in the house ( Cluck, cluck) and for teen life revolved around a Thomas the tank Engine train set while the only technology in the house was a TV for which we had to pay a licence fee for and an old ATARI game. How quickly times change! And I only looked 21 or so, My God!



Actually I don't give the teen enough credit, he's brilliant at doing the dishes, even gives his Granny a hard time that she doesn't do them properly. We joke that he'll be the one when he goes flatting that makes the dish washing roster, getting on every body's case when the job isn't done properly. When we ask what he wants for birthday/Christmas he says "dishwasher" seriously!

Kitchen is on the painting list for next year.

Painting update 2

One of the nicest features of our little old house is the lilac windows in the bedrooms and bathroom. They're jolly fiddly to sand around though, you'd think I'd have quite good fine motor skills but they don't seem to work on this sort of thing. I admire people who renovate their houses especially scraping off years of paint to reveal real wood. It takes alot of energy and elbow grease, I think I may have lost weight or toned up some muscles I didn't know I had at least. Thank goodness I'm onto painting now.

The red head has been surprisingly good, the teen is babysitting with alot of complaining, even though all he's done is put DVDs on for Red to watch while Teen plays games, I think they've eaten cheese on toast every day which is all the teen is interested in making. (Note to self, more cooking lessons) Never mind the paintings gotta be easier right? Have to admit it's not my thing at all!

Am so GRATEFUL to at least have my own home though and want to put some effort into maintaining it. Mum reckons it's going to look like a hospital room all white, but I got a cheap deal on paint so white it will be.

Am missing being in my garden.


Bags and skirts

I had to have a break from the bathroom today. L worked hard before he went on holiday to replace the rotten wood and I feel like I've been working hard but not getting far. I don't enjoy sanding but quite like scraping big flakes of paint off. I was one of those irritating children who couldn't resist picking at a bit of peeling paint. Anyway, day off. The red head (3 and a half now) just wouldn't stay out of mischief all day. He did quite alot of pruning to my tomato plants while I was loading some new items in my shop . They are some of my absolute favorites which I've made over the last few months.


How to plait garlic

As promised this is how I plait my garlic. I have photographed the technique without flowers because it's easier to see but if you want flowers just plait them in with the bulbs, or substitute a bulb for a bunch of flowers.
It's like doing hair in a french plait.
Tie three large bulbs together and lay them in front of you as pictured. I find it easier when the stalks are still green but they must have been dried in the sun for at least 3 or 4 days so the plait doesn't rot.Next find a bulb which sort of snugly fits in the middle, lay it's stalk on the middle stalk.Snuggle the next bulb in on the left, you will plait it's stalk and the left stalk over the middle ones. They then become the left stalks and the previous left ones are now in the middle.Snuggle one in on the right and cross the two right stalks over the middle ones as before.Find another one to snuggle in the middle and repeat the process to make the plait as long as you like. I use smaller and smaller bulbs as I move up.
When you have added as many garlic as you want plait the stalks and tie the top. It is now ready to hang and use. Many people plait their garlic, feel free to link to this post. I would hope that any learning or perfecting their technique from me would respect that I sell my original garlic plaits locally (motueka and surrounds) to help provide for my family.


Painting update

Found rotten wood, quite alot.
Sulking, need a handyman.
Off swimming.


Janurary slipping away

I have taken the photos for my garlic plait tutorial, problem is the teenager has gone and decided to get a social life and the technology has gone and done something unexpected so I can't upload my photos. What were we thinking when we bought him a scooter?
It's alright really, he's with his cousins and one of my" fabulous Aunts". She has her granddaughter staying and her own later in life baby is around the (terrible/fabulous) teens age. They play tennis and go off to the beach all day while eating copious amounts of corn chips and junk. Extended families are so awesome, make sure you utilise them if you have them. We've also done our fair share of overnight stays during the holidays, not much family but friends bringing the total of kids on some nights up to 7. Dinner is made in a soup pot or roasting pan on those occasions and I'm getting quite good at massive bacon and egg pies with herbs and zucchini. L is home on annual leave for a month, so at least I'm getting some reprieve.
I'm celebrating a whole year as a part time solo Mum of four and am doing a wicked job if I do say so myself. Goodness knows how four kids survived infancy actually as last year I killed two Kefir bugs, a passion fruit vine, a tree tomato and two old rabbits. Thankfully for me the wonderful wet coast Sandra has sent me some more Kefir which is thriving and I am on the "Gillybean lazy diet" consisting of Kefir/blueberry/raspberry/banana smoothies,no coffee, less red meat and cheese, more sushi and no exercise (yet), diet.

The Pokororo fair was great! A chance to catch up on many of my old valley friends while selling a bit of garlic and sewing, I also came home with some lovely culinary lavender, 6lb of blueberries and some award winning essential oil. The cover has been on my sewing machine since then while I do my annual school holiday declutter and painting which I LOATHE! This year it's the bathroom and it's just going to be WHITE. As long as it gets rid of the peeling paint and mould I'll be happy.
L is off on holiday to his family next week with two of the kids so I hope I can get it finished, a bit of a summer social life in the evenings to top off the painting would be nice too.

I've updated my "Self sufficiency project" list and would like to introduce my good friend Melissa who is joining the awesome list of Kiwi bloggers.

Teen will be home soon to help with computer and babysitting.

Scraping horrible paint tomorrow!!

Come visiting and give me an excuse to stop work and make coffee!!!


garden notes Jan

Quick word before the fair. This week has been all about garlic!! I'm sick of it. Yesterday my attention span was about 20 minutes before I had to get up and do something else. The big plait is seed for planting in winter it's very heavy but I probably haven't saved quite enough yet.All going well this week I will show how I plait garlic. Here they are waiting for me to put tags on. The Pokororo Fair is on tomorrow I'm cringing at the thought of windy weather as there is nothing worse at the fairs than holding onto a gazebo all day. Hopefully the fore casted rain will hold off even though I want it for my garden. As you can imagine there are big gaps in the garden that need to be filled now the garlic is out. Better get the winter brassicas, beans and lettuces in quick!


Apparently I'm Weird

According to teenage son I'm weird. He bought some friends home after a party. They feasted in the garden but didn't come inside. I peeked out the window to see them eating all my heirloom "Alderman tall climbing" peas which I was saving for seed. (never mind) So later I asked him why he didn't bring them in to say hi and got told I am weird, for the following reasons:
I was cooking a ham bone for soup, no one not weird eats soup ya know.
I was wearing a purple apron with black and white flowers on it, aprons just aren't cool they're weird.
I have a sewing machine in my lounge room, duuhhhh.
There is garlic everywhere.
I ask kids questions!
The best one though is because I'm skinny! no one else's Mum is. That totally cracked me up because I'm not!
It's kinda cool to be weird. I was much more weird when he was little cos no one else I knew made clothes or knitted for their kids, so with him at least I get to be the young, weird (I think I'm cool) Mum.
With the red head I'm a bit of a Nana, cos everyone else with a three year old is sewing, knitting, growing and downshifting.
Weird stuff I've done today: Just flipped when I found these tiny bits of fabric, perfect for bags.
( Excuse photo, still having trouble)


Midsummer Holidays

When we were little it was haymaking and shearing the sheep that kept us at home during the Christmas holidays, now it's the garlic and fruit. I don't mind really, our holiday town is full to the brim so I haven't been anywhere near town or to the beach for at least a week. Another reason I don't have to go far is that much of our extended family head back here for Christmas and New Year so I don't need to go far to catch up with my cousins and their growing broods. My kids are loving the time with family, they went water skiing at Kina beach the other day and have played paintball today. The red head is at a bit of a loss though when the big kids head off he's usually left at home and I'm pretty boring to spend time with. See what I mean below:

All that garlic needs cleaning and plaiting, while the fruit is being chucked in the freezer so I can get myself sorted for the markets. Say Hi if you are out at the Pokororo Fair next weekend. Hopefully I'll be the one smiling behind loads of garlic plaits and beautiful bags. (Faking that I'm not about to topple over in the heat or from sleep deprivation) :)