Sunless Saturday

It was a rainy, cold, and wet day. So we stayed inside and tried to keep ourselves busy.

Paper

There are a few things in progress at the moment, but nothing that’s really complete. Hopefully that will come tomorrow.

There was one project that finally got a little shove into the finished folder…

The Bed

That’s one bed down, two more to go! Woo-hoo!

Another Birthday

March is a busy month for us. We have a birthday as we enter it, and another to celebrate as we prepare to leave it. In like a lion, out like a lamb, yes? Or maybe it’s more appropriately in like a one year old, out like a five year old.

Of course we started the day with the much anticipated birthday shirt. A sister-designed robot shirt, for the little guy who wants to grow up to be a robot. “But you can’t be a robot, Mama, so I’ll just have to be a robot builder.”

Birthday Shirt

Once again, the shirt was started and finished in the eleventh hour. This time, however, I had to admit a tiny bit of defeat. After sewing the felt number five crookedly for the sixth time, I gave up and used some iron-on fusing to get the job done. I will sew it on later today, but for now, a bit of rest while we enjoy the company of family who came in to visit for the day.

Another Angle

I still love how excited the kids gets to make and give and wear these shirts. It’s amazing what a bit of fabric markers, an old tshirt scrap, some creativity, a few stitches, and a whole lot of love can magic up!

Of course all that new shirt enthusiasm prompted the little ones still at home to get out theirs as well…
The Three Year Old Shirt

Baby Shirt

If you’d like to take a look at some other shirts, there’s the tutorial here, and the three year old’s here, and another three year old here, and our very first one here. Although I didn’t blog about them, pictures of the six and four year old shirts can be found with the tutorial.

And the day wouldn’t be complete without the special birthday cake request, although this time it was for S’mores Whoopie Pies, erm, I mean Gobs, which really were pretty tasty, although not so pretty. How could you possibly go wrong with Marshmallow Fluff  and Nutella filling? I’m pretty certain we’ll be making these again quite soon.

S'mores Whoopies

It was a lovely little family party to celebrate this little five year old guy. Just a perfect day.

“How does it feel to be five?” we asked him.

“It feels like I’m almost six.”

Happy Birthday, my almost six year old, but please don’t grow up so fast.

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Linking to these fine and fun DIY sites ::

==freckled laundry

The Bookshelves

A while ago, and I’m not saying exactly when, the Christmas villages that my Mom put up for us were finally taken off of my shelves and boxed up and put away.

All Empty

Which left them a bit, uh, empty and looking a bit uncared for, possibly dusty… Possibly.

That window seat is quite popular in our house; it’s almost everyone’s favorite place to sit. The good thing about it is that while you’re there taking in the view, watching the ships sailing past, you can’t actually see the shelves. Of course this means I was able to ignore them a bit longer than I should. We started filling the shelves up with random bits of things that couldn’t find their home, and I knew that unless I came up with something, they were bound to stay the catch-all place for little bits of junk that would drive me to distraction.

The thing is, I’m miserable at decorating. I’ve never had the knack for it like some people do. Although I’m comfortable creating color schemes and painting walls, it’s really hard work for me to pull objects together or even have a vision of where I want it all to go. I know when it’s not right or I don’t like it, but I’m not good at figuring out what I’d like better. If you’d ask me what my style is, I’d refer you to my friend Heather (Hi Heather!!), because I really don’t have any idea what it’s called. Maybe Too-Tired-To-Clean-Up-The-Legos Transitional? How about Post-Modernist Meets Dust-Bunny?

Here’s what I decided to do. Well, I say “decided” but really, this is a project that’s in progress… so maybe I should say “I’m deciding” since it’s all subject to change should I come up with a better idea. I know that I do not want something so busy that it detracts or competes with the view out the window. I don’t want it to be too littered with tchotckies, since I’m afraid that not only will it get too busy, but it will become a little-kids-with-curious-fingers magnet area. I think that I’d like to keep it simple and monochromatic, with bits of natural color and textural contrast thrown in here and there. I’d like to keep it calm and focused. I thought I could use some of the big (and small) glass containers I have lying around, as well as some of the stones we have from our local beaches (they’re beautiful… and free!) and see where that got me. With all that glass and all those rocks, I thought it might be nice to jump on the terrarium bandwagon as well.

So! All that thinking, and a little bit of gathering, now I have…

The left bookcase…Left Bookshelf

Terrarium

Terrarium Detail

Local Terrarium

Detail of the Local Terrarium

The right bookcase…Right Bookshelf

Tulips

Local Moss

I have no idea what all the plants in the big terrarium (which used to be a pretty awesome fish bowl) are, but they looked pretty nice at one of our local garden shops. I hope they all get along now that they have to play so closely together. The plant/moss in the little jars are hyper local terrariums, directly gathered from my backyard.

I only have the bottom sections of the shelves done so they’re both still pretty empty, but at least it’s a start, right? I need to rearrange a few things, get some more rocks and natural materials to work with, but now I have some idea of how to move forward.

What do you think?

 

Make Your Own

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I sometimes struggle with what to make the kids for lunch and dinner. There is only so many times in the week I’m willing to let them eat mac and cheese or cereal, although there is one of ours who would be happy to eat Cheerios for every meal of the day if we would allow it. Sometimes when I get a little desperate, we do a “make your own” themed meal. Today’s lunch was “make your own sandwiches.”

Make Your Own Sandwich

We used these itty bitty toasts that you find in the cheese section of the store, although you could use crackers just as easily. I cut up some turkey and cheddar into little squares that fit just about right.

Mini Sandwiches

Thank goodness they were a hit! Not only do we love “make your own” but anything “mini” also gets its fair share of enthusiasm. The yogurt and apples were meant to be “side dishes,” but both kids decided to try a little of both on their sandwiches followed by positive reviews. Not quite my favorite flavor profile, but hey… to each their own!

Stacker Sandwich

In keeping with the theme, I tried to “make my own” raised bed, but I’m afraid I did not get very far.

All Level

It might not be finished, but it is progressing. Baby steps. Or maybe—so as to bring about more enthusiasm—mini steps.

Hot Hot Hot

I honestly thought I would be resentful of all this nice Spring weather we’re having. After all, winter is my favorite season and we really had none to speak of this year. None. At. All. So when the forecast called for temps in the 80’s, I have to admit I felt a little conflicted. Would I be able to appreciate it, or would I feel a little sulky and stay in the cool dark basement with my little baby plants?

I shouldn’t have worried. As soon as that sun hit (and boy oh boy, did it ever!) off came the jackets, socks, and shoes, and outside we went. I had beds to plant, and beds to raise, and little giggles to share when our third born asked how much longer it would take until we could sleep on the beds we were preparing. We also had little fevers and coughs and sniffles to tend, a trip to the doctor thrown in for good measure, and an on-the-go baby who would not be contained or distracted from her very important exploratory missions that somehow always ended up in the radish patch eating dirt. Yes, we spent much time outdoors, but I didn’t get done nearly what I had imagined that I might. Including those doggone raised beds.

I have a trench though, so there’s that.

The Trench

And we took the rest of our kumquats and made some lovely water to keep us nicely hydrated, which is what you need when you’re out in the hot hot sun, digging trenches.

Sunny Kumquats

Refreshing Water

Tomorrow’s goals include finishing the raised bed, and finishing the raised bed, and oh, well probably finishing the raised bed.

I’m hoping I can focus. We’ll see how that goes.

The Garden :: A Tale of Compost

It’s a dirty topic, folks, but let’s discuss our feelings about compost.

I find it amazing gratifying that we can take scraps of food like this ::

Starts Like This

And make it into something that grows more food, like this ::

Ends Like This

These are pictures from our worm composter that we’ve had in or basement for a little over a year and a half. It took us a little bit to get our little wriggly ones up to speed and the “formula” of food scraps to paper ratio correct, but now that we have a good colony and we’re better at keeping them happy, we get great worm casting compost at the rate of one box every two months.

This past weekend I put three boxes full of compost into a bed behind our deck to plant peas, radishes, and some sorrel.

Three Bags Full

It was a little strange at first to not only think about composting in our house, but doing it with worms. Who has worms in their basement and is happy about it? We were both worried that it would smell and that we’d get worms everywhere. But honestly, those worries were misplaced. We have had an odor issue once or twice which was noticeable only when we lifted the lid. It was easy to fix by adding more dry matter, in our case, shredded paper, which has been great way to get rid of our private financial and medical paperwork from years ago that might have things like our social security number on it. I also throw in our used paper towels, which makes me feel a bit better about using them in the first place. It’s a habit I’d be happy to break—our reliance on paper towels—but that’s a project for another time.

I am happy to say that this particular experiment has gone well for us. We’re going to build a larger composter outdoors for our yard waste in the summer, but I think the worms do a great job with our kitchen scraps, so I plan on keeping them around for a while.

There won’t enough to fill the beds I’m frantically working on, but we have another solution in place for that.

Raised Beds

First step :: Build it.

(First and a Half Step :: Blog About Needing to Build It!)

Sunday Seedlings

I think this early Spring weather has gone to my head. I may have developed a slight obsession.

Seedling Light Stand

This, my friends, is close to 450 seed pots. After I got my first two trays planted, I realized I was going to need a bit more space for the seeds waiting for their turn under the lamps. Since Dad’s light table worked so well, I thought maybe I’d purchase another of the same, or pick one up from my local gardening store. The problem was, once I sat down and calculated how much space I would actually need, it was clear that one more light wouldn’t quite cut it. So I started looking into multi-level light stands, and completely balked at the price. $650? Are they serious? There was no way I was going to pay that amount of money for a light stand. So me and my friend Google, we went to find another solution. I saw a few made of PVC pipe, and then a few made of wood, which really weren’t such bad alternatives. Then I saw a post by someone who hung shop lights with S rings and chain from chrome wire shelving. BINGO! I already had two of those in the basement, even though mine were only 36″, not 48″. I don’t mind, and I haven’t heard a peep from the plants. Maybe next year I’ll budget for two 48″ inch shelving units so there’s no extra overhang, but for now, I’m happy with my little hack.

The tomatoes are looking a little less “leggy” and are starting to fill out a little now that I’ve lowered the lights a few inches (evidently I had them set a bit too high-the lights are only supposed to be two to four inches above the starts). Amazing how little time it takes those stalks to thicken up.

Baby Maters

And I’ve already had to transplant some cukes and zucchini, with more waiting until I pick up some more soil tomorrow.

Transplanted Cukes

Everyone seems pretty peachy keen with the new set-up.

Seedling Babies

I better hurry up and get my beds built! With the record breaking heat wave about to hit us this week, I think a few hours outside sounds just about right.

A Few Aprons

This year, as part of a fabulous cooking-themed Christmas gift from a dear friend, the kids received a few aprons that have been in near constant rotation.

“Do you want to help me make supper?” I ask.

“Oooohhh! Let me go get my apron!” I hear in stereo—actually it’s more like surround sound—a chorus of three little voices, fading while they run out to the pantry to take their aprons off the hook. We have three identical aprons, which to me means you grab the one closet to you and call it done, but obviously I’ve been out of the early playground set for too long because it is never that simple. Someone always grabs the wrong one, whining ensues and arguments break out, and almost without fail I have to swoop in with some good old fashioned negotiating skills.

My mom calls them threats.

Regardless, it was obvious that we needed some way of ID’ing one apron from the other, so out came the old t-shirts to cut up, the fabric markers, a bit of ribbon, some orange thread, and my sewing machine. Of course, only two were made, since one particular little gal was being a titch uncooperative. I’m sure hers will be coming along shortly, but for now these two will do just fine.

Personalized Aprons

I should hope we might be able to tell the difference now!

An Apron of Patterns

One full of patterns and hearts, evidently the ubiquitous shape of little first grade girls everywhere.

Daddy And Me Apron

And this one? “It’s a picture of Daddy and me hanging out upside down and having fun underneath all those other people. And dots.” Can’t argue with that!

Time to Work It

I sewed them with a quick buzz through the machine, purposefully overlapping the stitches… nothing fancy or precise about it at all. I am still quite intimidated by my sewing machine, so I’m afraid I really have very little idea of what I’m doing on that front. It works though; the jersey is stuck to that denim and won’t move which is all I needed.

Hard At Work

The kids love them, I think they’re cute, and I’m truly hoping we can now avoid those little squabbles and get right into the more important work of making my kitchen messy!