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Archive for the ‘green living’ Category

The first order of business today is to tell you that Grosgrain has a fabulous new giveaway going on at the moment. Click here: GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY to check out the work of this very talented – and incredibly generous – woman.

We had a lovely playdate today with some old friends and some new ones. Pip declared recently that she wanted to see strangers so that we could make some new friends! We had a great time. The children played really well together and there were no tears, which is always good. By the end of playdate they had played cars, dolls, dress-up, had a snack and performed a little dance show for the moms, so I think it was a success!

I sewed up a mini storm this week, trying to get samples made to show my friends so I hope to be able to post pictures over the weekend. I made a little apron, bib, frilled half apron with pockets, small bag and a skirt. I also spent an unfeasibly long time cutting out pieces for a bag I am making for a friend. I will start sewing it together tomorrow. I am going to take my time, as I do not want to have to cut it all out again if I mess up!

It has been very windy here for the last couple of days, but it died down this afternoon and me and the girls were able to get outside for a couple of hours. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and the neighbours’ dog didn’t bark at us. The girls played quite contentedly in the sandbox and let me get on with tidying up the garden after months of winter neglect. I love, love, love being in the garden, digging, planting, planning new beds and working out where the crops need to be rotated to this year. I keep a garden journal so I can keep track of what we have planted where. One day we hope to be a little more organized about it, beyond the planting¬† and growing stages! We tend to get a bit lax around harvest time and I am guilty of leaving things in buckets on occasion! I think I might invest in a hod with a mesh bottom so that I can wash the dirt off outside, rather than filling my kitchen sink with soil.

We grow rhubarb, raspberries, grapes, strawberries, herbs, peas, runner beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions and sometimes potatoes. We also have 3 young apple trees and 3 lovely cherry trees. I would really like to try sweet potatoes this year, too. There are so many things we would like to try! I spent a lot of time last year trying to protect the garden from the ravages of a toddler. We even contemplated fencing it to keep her from eating everything before it go chance to grow to a decent size. The perimeter of the back garden is fenced to keep the deer out, but little Milly was just as destructive! At least she was eating her greens! Poor Brian hardly gets a look in when it come to strawberries, raspberries and peas.

As for flower beds, I think I have almost run out of places to add new ones. My husband will not tolerate me cutting beds into the middle of his lawn, so I stick to the fenceline. I have one stretch left, but we can’t quite decide what to do with it. We fancy the idea of growing some bamboo, if we can find one suitable that will not become too rampant and upset the neighbours at the top of the garden. We need to build a new shed, too, as well as some compost bins, so I don’t think we’ll be getting bored any time soon. Brian was laid off and finished work last week and has been going non-stop on projects around the house. I think he will be glad to find a new job so he can have a rest!

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Last night’s run was really good, so I am motivated and enjoying it again! I managed 2.6 miles, so am getting closer to my goal of being able to run 3.1 miles (5km). Once I can do it comfortably on the treadmill I will attempt to do it outside, which I know will be quite different.

I made another bag this week for a custom order. The original bag I made for this order did not work out as I had hoped, but this one is great. It is an across the body bag with 2 outside pockets and several inside pockets for cell phone, pens, notebook etc and a key clip. It makes a great weekender bag and is really comfortable to carry.

Custom across the body bag

Milly’s 2nd birthday is coming up and I am working on a few things for her. I have started a “Happy Birthday Milly” banner, well, to be accurate, I have made a “Milly” banner. I will work on the “Happy Birthday” part soon!

part 1 of the birthday bannerI finally got my mending basket out of the closet today and am going to work on clearing it out tonight while we watch a film. Now I know where all my winter tights have gone! Pip was happy to find her favourite skirt, so I promised to fix it for her.

We have ordered a new, more efficient front-loading washer dryer pair, which I am very excited about. We have been saving up and looking around and thought we had finally made a decision, then stopped in one more place and found a different set that will work out in our space. We should get them in a week or so, so we are going to get the old ones out and paint the space this weekend. Unfortunately, our dishwasher also gave up the ghost last week, so we have had to replace that too. It is going to be a busy weekend!

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Merry Christmas one and all! I hope you have a wonderful day. We are all set now and just have to wait a few short hours until the girls wake up and realize what day it is! Should be a lot of fun.

The general plan for the day will be to open the stockings, have breakfast, prepare the veggies for Christmas dinner, then go back upstairs to open presents. There are only 5 of us here this year, so it will be a bit quieter than in the past, but I think the girls will make up the difference in noise level! They are 4 1/2 and nearly 2, so really fantastic ages for experiencing the magic of Christmas.

Dinner this year, as every year that I have been in charge (!), will be roast chicken, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots, sprouts, bacon wrapped sausages, rosemary scented gravy, sage and onion stuffing, Yorkshire Puddings and homemade cranberry sauce. The sage, rosemary etc come from our herb garden, but it is currently under nearly 3 feet of snow, far across the garden, so I am not sure we will be using it this year! For dessert we will be having a Ballard family favourite, banoffee pie. This is utterly divine: a digestive biscuit base, topped with a layer of smooth caramel, then a layer of sliced banana and finished with a layer of espresso cream. It might not sound that great if, like me, you don’t like bananas or coffee, but trust me, it is completely fabulous!

I have also made mince pies and cherry pies, so we will not be going hungry!

I have been “lucky” that I haven’t had to wrap much, partly because we didn’t overdo it, but also because I made fabric gift bags last year and am using them again this year. If you have never tried this approach to gift-wrapping, I heartily recommend it. Not only is it good for the environment, as you don’t end up with piles of rubbish that can’t be recycled due to the high ink content, it saves so much time and money. Any Christmas fabric I see in the sales will be turned into a batch of bags for next year. I even used pillowcases for larger items this year and tied them with a big ribbon bow.

I will have to post pics of my new apron later, as I really must get to bed.

Happy feasting and Merry Christmas!

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