Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More everyday stuff

Baby hollyhocks sheltering beside the eggplants.

Baby sweet peas. (Sorry...these photos belong further down. I'm having trouble getting my photos to move around. Cutting and pasting doesn't work and clicking and dragging will only move them a centimetre at a time if I am lucky. Any suggestions gratefully received. I also can't get the spaces to appear between paragraphs. They are there when I write the post but disappear when I publish it. Editing does not fix the problem and yesterday I went into my format settings thing and thought I fixed it, but no. As someone who writes for a living, this is driving me completely nuts!!!!!)

Nothing earth shattering going on at our place - just the same old same old. Sometimes that is lovely, but sometimes it seems a bit like ground hog day. But how can you possibly complain about life's ordinariness when you see what has happened in Japan? So.....I am thankful that my little world is safe and ordinary and full of normality and love as well as dishes, children with mouth ulcers (is there a virus going around or something?), doggy doo doo to pick up from the backyard. You get the picture.

So here are a few scenes from our ordinary life in the quiet suburbs.

My big girl wanted to make a little garden on the weekend so transplanted some sun jewels into a shallow pot and decorated it with pretty stones and a little pond. Her friend made one too. I love to see them with their hands in the dirt ( the potting mix). My little girl just played in the soil and made a fine mess in the carport. (It was too hot and sunny to do this on the grass).

I've been neglecting my garden for months. My poor old lavender bush was surrounded by weeds and one of my no-dig vege patches was completely overwhelmed by weeds and is now a vege garden no more. So I headed to the beautiful garden shop at Carseldine on the weekend with the girls and bought some flower seedlings. I do love growing veges but have been hankering for flowers. I have hardly any at the moment and cannot survive a minute longer without them. All I have at present is the occasional hydrangea flower and some sun jewels. I have always LOVED sweet peas but have never had the right spot for them. So this year I am determined to grow them in the vege patch against the fence. The nursery only had medium height and little bijou ones when I really want the standard tall ones that go right up the fence but I couldn't go home without them so bought a punnet of the medium height ones and some lime to dig into the soil to make it sweet pea friendly. I also saw some hollyhock seedlings. I have never grown them but I love them and couldn't resist so I have just planted them next to our raging eggplants and have my fingers crossed that they will get enough sun and goodness to grow and flower for me. I saw several earthworms in the soil so that's a good sign. It never ceases to amaze me that when you put layers of newspaper, compost and sugar cane mulch in layers that it turns into beautiful dark rich composty soil. What a miracle!

My little girl has been exceptionally good lately at amusing herself for hours on end, just pottering in her room or in the playroom. Mixing up all the toys and packing them into various containers. Such a big job to sort them out again later but never mind. This week she got into the dress up box very quietly and then suddenly found me and announced that she was a pirate. Funny creature, she is.

Kipper made us laugh this week. We have an old bathmat next to the fireplace where he is sometimes allowed to sit and be with us in the evenings before he goes to bed in the laundry. When we let him inside and say "mat", he trots to it and sits down. If he's tired he lies down and will have a sleep or just watch what we are doing. Because I had been vacuuming and mopping I had put his mat in the wash and one of the girls' little TV couches was sitting in his "mat" spot. Suddenly we realised Kipper had parked his bottom on what he thought was his lovely new comfy mat! I think he has a very worried look on his face.

Hope all is well in your worlds.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baking, sewing, loving

After a few weeks of resting up after the thyroid surgery thing, I am starting to feel like myself again. The swelling around my throat has gone down a lot and I have finally got enough energy to get back into normal life a little. Having some extra time on my hands has been a real gift. After not touching my sewing machine for months, I decided to do some quilting. I wanted to make a quilt for a much loved friend and found the leftover fabric my sister gave me after making me a surprise wedding quilt. It has lovely pictures of herbs on it and I have always really loved it. With some help from the wonderful Claudia at Quilt Essentials, I picked out some colours that matched in well and started cutting out big squares. I want this quilt to be beautiful but nice and easy. I couldn't wait to start playing with those beautiful squares of fabric. Here's a sneak preview.

I was going to put in a few blue and purple squares but they didn't look right, so I'm saving the contrasting colours for the borders. I want the finished quilt to be like having a little garden inside.

Because I hadn't quilted for so long, I felt really rusty so I tried making a table mat first, using some of my rainbow baby quilt stash. I thought I'd be brave and try triangles, again with some timely advice from Claudia. She showed me how to place two squares right side together, draw a pencil line from corner to corner and then a line a quarter of an inch on either side of the first line. Then you stitch up the two outer lines and then cut up the middle line and, hey presto, you have two half triangle squares. (I think that is what they are called). That part was easy and so was stitching them together. Then I sewed on the binding, thinking I was mitring the corners properly, but somehow the corners went out of whack and now they don't match up properly. I guess I'll stick to right angles for a bit longer. I also am having trouble with joining the two ends of the binding together using the method where you poke one end into the other and then sew along the edge. My binding always ends up too bulky and looks like a snake which has swallowed a mouse. (See the little bulge in the middle part of the binding at the top?) Melissa, Queen of Quilting, - if you read this and have any hints for me, that would be great. But, I loved making it and quilting rainbows always makes me so happy.

Apart from some sewing, I was inspired by this post at Beck's Dandelion blog to try my hand again at muffins. I have tried once or twice before but they didn't turn out so well. Yesterday, the little girl and I made strawberry and chocolate chip muffins for us and gluten free banana and choc chip muffins for the coeliac Daddy. We had a lovely time cooking together and my girl loves to say "check...check...check" when I read out the ingredients. Doesn't she have a funny grown up look on her face?

Yummo! They were so good, I made another batch today. Thanks Beck!

On Sunday nights we try and keep up our tradition of a family game after dinner. Last time, "Rhino Rampage" was chosen and it was really lovely to sit together with the TV off and play a game. I'm looking forward to the day when we can move onto Scrabble. My big girl can play but my little girl can only spell one word - L...O...V....E - thanks to the Hi 5 song.

In the meantime, "Rhino Rampage" is fine.

My big girl is finally getting her two front teeth. A tiny bit crooked but still beautiful!

So.... a lovely week of healing, sewing, baking, playing and loving.