Monday, February 27, 2017

green love.

oops, seems as though i missed my weekly posting last week... trying to post on a tuesday isn't working sooooo well for me at the moment, we seem to be getting up later and later in the mornings, and tuesday is now mother's group meet up day.
so important for the sanity to be able to chat out baby issues with fellow mummas whose babes are around the same age and stage as ag.
anywho, i'll give mondays a bit of a go for the next little while he he.

today i thought i'd give you a little update on what's growing in the garden... with VERY little input from myself to be honest. i sprinkle a bit of water around every now and again (as does mum thankfully, otherwise i'm sure everything would've perished by now!) but i haven't really planted anything new for a VERY long time... everything seems to be thriving though and we're getting little bit and pieces of food here and there which is ace!

bb and i picked up this finger lime tree in the months before ag came along (feels like a life time ago he he) and i didn't have high hopes for it to be honest...

a teeny finger lime growing on the equally teeny tree

it's thwarted all my expectations though, with a beautiful show of flowers, and a few little weeny fruits too! we'll see if they actually grow into anything edible he he.

the corner where the finger lime is growing, with all my other pots, is looking pretty happy too...

collection of pots with all manner of plants growing in them.

what a collection!
the fig is growing great guns and will need re-potting in no time. and the raspberries? well! i've had a few little nibbles from it. delicious!
there are a few roses amongst the edibles too, and they're occasionally putting on a beautiful show which is always a delight!
and the two avocados i recently moved from the windowsill to out here seem to be enjoying the outside life, phew! must remember to keep an eye on them when it gets a bit cooler though... i've heard they're not fond of frosty times.

just next door to the pot collection above, is this little pocket of greens...

spinach, kale and rocket

a rainbow spinach plant, a couple of holey kale plants (thanks for that caterpillars) and a rocket plant. here's hoping the caterpillars leave them well enough alone to let us get a few feeds off it ourselves!

we've popped some nets on a couple of the strawberry plants in the hope of getting to eat a few... but for the most part the birds are too clever...

they get a pretty good feed from them too, as the strawberry plants are EVERYWHERE he he. here are a couple more on the herb garden near the cockatoo aviary...

basil, chives and sage thriving along in a planter box, with strawberry plants in hanging baskets off the front and sides

i've got a plan to paint up some little rocks as strawberries to try and dissuade the birds... will let you know how that goes he he.
in the mean time, we have PLENTY of herbs to munch on! check out the sage and basil. both are SO much happier since moving into this planter box when we moved out here, they were originally in little pots when we lived in melbourne. happy herbs!

and to pair with that gorgeous fresh basil, tomatoes!

tomato plant growing up and through the mandarin tree

like last season, we missed the boat on planting tomatoes, but not to worry as they came on all by themselves once again he he.
i'm particularly proud of this one, not only did it self seed, but it's sprouted itself right under the mandarin tree, and is using it as a trellis.
the mandarin tree is by far our tallest citrus tree, topping about 3 metres or so i think... and you'd better believe that tomato plant is growing right up and out the top!

there are a couple of other that have popped up in and around the veggie garden too, so here's hoping we get a good little supply from them all.

now i'd best drag myself home, i popped out to a cafe to write this up, but i'd best be off and get to dealing with the mammoth supply of zucchini that we've been collecting from the single plant we're growing. what would we do if there were multiple?!

zucchini slice and brownie and fritters coming up!

what's growing in your patch at the moment? any suggestions for zucchini gluts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

progress report.

seeing as how we are EXACTLY halfway through the month, i thought i'd best write up a little update on how my february plans were coming along...

completed pair of vanilla socks in dream in colour everlasting sock heavy 9ply sock in 'morning glory'

the socks for my brother are done!
i was tossing up whether to put them aside for the month of february to focus on my knit-a-long projects, but they were SO close to being done it didn't feel right to leave them... so i powered through them instead!
i got to give them to him over the weekend and naturally couldn't wait to snap a picture of them on. they even fit quite well thankfully!
the fit calculation on the pattern is second to none, both pairs have yielded supremely well-fitted socks.

might have to knit myself up a pair sooner rather than later...

but before i do, there are a couple of other projects i need to be working on...

approximately 3 inches into the leg of a pair of jozi socks

including this pair of socks!
they're knitting up quite a bit slower than i'd anticipated, particularly after zooming through the aforementioned pair for my bro... 2 and a half weeks thank you very much!
the twisted rib is definitely a bit time consuming, but i am LOVING the way the yarn is knitting up, it is gorgeous and just. so. lush!
plus, the finished product will be really well fitted on the leg with all that ribbing too!

project number two is coming along a wee bit quicker though...

two thirds of a textured shawl on the go

and it's almost a complete opposite of the socks. where the socks are tight and firm, this shawl is open and drapey. it's lovely to have two contrasting projects on the go simultaneously to be honest.

i'm up to the slow growing part of shawl knitting though... where you have so many stitches it takes QUITE a while to get a row done, but i'm trying to get a good few rows done every day to keep it ticking over. and it's certainly coming along nicely!

i'm not sure how i feel about the colour however, not sure i'm really a cream girl... it might just end up in the dye pot. we'll see!

are you knitting-a-long in the kanga kiwi kal too?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

taking stock.

pair of calves, white and grey in colour the last light on a night last week green tea and matty's socks taking a dip with ag to cool down after a hot day a bit ol' bowl of wonton soup. delicious plums from the tree, preserved in jars for winter.

taking a minute or two to take stock with pip to fill you in on what's been going on around here.

making - a shawl, and socks, and too many plans.
cooking - quite a bit actually... after a quick stocktake of our freezer, we realised we had a fortnight's wort of food in there. lots of home cooked meals for us!
drinking - way too much soft drink. must cut back really... it's just so delicious and is also a nice caffeine hit (i'm not a coffee drinker...)
reading - too few books. need to put the barefoot investor on hold at the library after a recommendation from some friends yesterday, and to work my way through the pile on my bedside table too!
trawling - gumtree. always. currently looking for a wardrobe for ag. we're moving him into our bedroom in the next few weeks and need somewhere to keep all his duds. which reminds me, i had plans for a house tour, perhaps that can be next weeks post!
wanting - to spend a little bit less time reading rubbish on my phone. might be time for a little social media detox again perhaps...
looking - into a few different ways to bring in some cash... and stay home with the baby. bb is too! so nice all being home together and hopefully we can keep making it work.
deciding - on what to do for the weekend. a few family members are coming down this way so should be nice to catch up!
wishing - teleporters existed already. or self driving cars were mainstream... i like to visit friends in town, but it is a BIG drive!
enjoying - ag being almost 5 months. he's so delightful and for the moment, almost exactly where i left him.
waiting - on the washing machine to finish. washing is pretty neverending hey?
liking - that even though the summer veggie patch is pretty pathetic, we're still getting a few bits and pieces on the daily.
wondering - what the future holds... not sure why though, things will happen the way they will happen.
loving - having so much freedom. my days are pretty much whatever i'd like them to be... with a cute tag-a-long to boot.
pondering - which cast on to use for the socks i'm intending to cast on tonight, i want them to be nice and stretchy to fit over my heel and ankle nicely... these ones fit me really well, and are easy to get on and off, but do you think i noted down what cast on i used? nope! fool!
listening - to ag chat while he plays with his toys next to me. delightful!
considering - making some baby clothes... have you ever? any recommendations?
buying - way too much food while i'm out and about. need to be more prepared to save our dollars for more important things!
watching - call the midwife. feeling recovered enough from birth to be able to watch it now he he.
hoping - the dishes get done while i'm out later this afternoon... one must always have hope.
marvelling - at how much has changed in our lives in the past year. this time last year, we were 9-10 weeks pregnant, and only vaguely contemplating
cringing - at what's going on in the states at the moment. and feeling grateful we're so very far away!
needing - to streeeetch. our dining chairs are not the most comfortable to sit and type on he he.
questioning - our needs, constantly. particularly when the wanties hit.
smelling - veggie curry. or what's left of it after i finished eating my lunch. delicious!
wearing - jeans and a jumper. in february. go figure.
noticing - how much dirt is on the floor. i think i could happily vacuum everyday, except that i hate vacuuming.
knowing - ag won't be almost exactly where i leave him for much longer. in the time it's taken me to write this much, he's done a 180 on his play mat...
thinking - about dinner. the thoughts of food are constant. i've only just finished lunch!
admiring - zero wasters... slow steps nicole, slow steps.
getting - a bit annoyed at myself for continually forgetting to drink water. it's really important.
bookmarking - yoga videos, chocolate pudding recipes, baby onesie patterns. all of the things really.
disliking - poosplosions. just when you think you're safe, bam!
opening - and shutting the pantry door. nope, still no chocolate in there.
closing - the lid on the washing basket. if i can't see you, you're not there dirty washing.
feeling - a bit itchy about all of the things that are lying around here in the kitchen... 10 minute tidy up is imminent!
hearing - the wind picking up. this weather man...
celebrating - a birthday on the weekend hopefully, with the family that are coming to visit, looking forward to it!
pretending - the baby isn't still in his pyjamas at almost 2 in the afternoon... he is. no shame.
embracing - slooooooow tuesdays after big mondays he he. pyjamas and all.

what have you been up to recently? care to take stock too? there's a blank list over on pip's post!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

kanga kiwi kal.

before i get into the full details of what i'm planning to cast on for the kanga kiwi kal (an awesome knit-a-long organised by the fab folks over at wool gathering) i guess i'd better share what's been on my needles recently...

jo torr's vanilla socks knitted in circus tonic handmade 'magpie lark' on jubilee sock for bb

the pair of socks i started for bb before ag was born are finally done! i cast them on using this vanilla sock pattern, hoping they'd be the perfect project for my sleep-deprived, hormone-addled brain and they certainly were!

i won't lie though, i'm incredibly pleased to see the back of them as they were getting a wee bit monotonous... not that i was sick of the gorgeous yarn, or the pattern for that matter as the very next thing i cast on was ANOTHER pair of the same socks!

jo torr's vanilla socks knitted in dream in color 'morning glory' on everlasting heavy 9ply sock for my brother

this pair is for my little brother, promised to him in his christmas card...
i got him to take a gander at my sock yarn stash to see what took his fancy, and he chose a cake of dream in color everlasting heavy 9ply sock in 'morning glory' which reminds me a little bit of a mermaids tail.
it's a beautiful colour and is knitting up like a dream... and i've been fairly committed to getting them done a lot quicker than his jumper, they've only been on the needles for a couple of weeks!
i've been knitting on them pretty exclusively as i was hoping to get them done by the first of february to give my attention wholly and solely to my knit-a-long projects... that obviously hasn't quite come off... but i do still have today to knit as much as i can, before casting on for my two planned projects starts tomorrow!

speaking of which... perhaps i should share my plans!

a cake of miss click clack 'the darkness of kelly's blues' on merri creek sock on a project bag, needles at the ready

this gorgeous skein of miss click clack is destined to become a pair of jozi socks. i think the pattern will show off the variegated yarn splendidly, and i can't wait to get them on my feet!

and because i don't seem to know my own limitations... i've chosen a second project for the knit-a-long too!

a ball of alpaca yarn lady 'undyed' super suri spring on a project bag, needles at the ready

this sumptuous ball of soft and squishy alpaca is going to be knit up into a textured shawl.

both projects are for little ol' me and i am champing at the bit to get started on each of them after quite a few months of relatively simple knitting.

wish me luck!!

are you joining in with the kanga kiwi kal too?
there are some great prizes up for grabs and the rules are super simple; your project (or projects!) must feature an australian or new zealand yarn AND pattern and be started and completed in the month of february. easy! won't you come and join in the fun?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

sleep tips.

the sunset view from our bedroom window, over the water tanki have a confession to make, baby ag, he's a pretty good sleeper... and by good sleeper i mean, he wakes every 3-4 hours for a feed. unless he doesn't... sometimes it's more often, sometimes less. just like a baby he he.
that hasn't stopped me not getting decent amounts of sleep though... oh no. there has been many a time when i just could. not. get. to. sleep.
infuriating!

i've tried and tested many a solution though, and these are what have worked for me. fingers crossed they might bring you some relief too!

mindset - the more frustrated i got with myself for not getting to sleep, the harder it was to actually get to sleep. my mantra was 'i am resting' no matter how sleep deprived i was, and how much i desperately wanted to get to sleep, even resting, lying there with my eyes shut was better than faffing about folding washing and such.
this didn't necessarily stop my mind from racing though, worrying about every. single. little. thing. the thoughts i had in these sleepless moments were RIDICULOUS!

enter meditation - running through some mindfulness exercises while i was lying there resting definitely helped quiet my mind down. sometimes. sometimes it didn't, but whatever happened, i was resting. much better for me than housework.

keeping warm - i realised after a few sleepless nights, i was waking myself up completely whenever i would get up to feed ag because i would allow myself to cool down so much. my neck and shoulders were exposed in the maternity singlets i was wearing and my bare feet were freezing on our painted concrete floors. cardigans and knitted socks were my saviours, keeping me toasty while i was up and about and allowing me to settle back into sleep a little easier once ag was fed and asleep again.

keep off the screens - sometimes, i'll conk out to sleep watching something on tv or my laptop, when i'm tired. when my brain wants to be awake though, when it's racing and it's 3am, the moving pictures and sounds will do nothing but stimulate me! even looking at my phone will generally send me down a rabbit hole of reading things i don't need to, most likely adding to the worries i'm feeling rather than alleviating them.
the only exception i give myself to this is if i'm going to listen to a meditation track on my phone, or listen to some white noise if there's a noise that's bugging me.

brain dump - if there was something my mind just WOULDN'T let go of, i would write it down and then action it the next day. it might've been to send a message to someone about something specific, or something i was curious about and wanted to google, even something i'd just remembered we needed to grab next time we were grocery shopping. whatever it was, it could wait, i needed to be resting.

trust in your partner - this was probably the one that was the hardest for me to reconcile... and the most ridiculous. bb is such a great dad, and me second guessing his decisions when it came to ag was silly. he's way better at settling ag than i ever will be, because there's only so much milk the boy can drink, even when it's all that he wants just because he can smell it on me! and his patience with ag when he's really upset, well it's second to none. the heartbreaking cries, the ones i'm physiologically unable to ignore, that fill my eyes with tears, well bb can deal with them a whooooole lot better than me! thusly so, when bb is on duty, i shut the door or i put headphones in if i need to, to get the time to myself that i might be in desperate need of.

ok, so this might be a bit of a rambly little list, but it's what helped me get through those first few tough months of new motherhood... hopefully it might help someone else too!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

stash diving.

one of my 2017 goals, is to knit through my stash of sock yarn.
over the weekend just gone, i thought i'd better dig it all out of my stash, currently housed in the bottom layer of my fancy secondhand ikea trolley, to get a handle on just what i'd set myself up for for the year...

a collection of yarns to be knit into socks, in assorted colours and fibre compositions

um, well that'd be seven pairs of socks just there! i most certainly have my work cut out for me!
particularly when this isn't taking into account...

leftover bits and pieces from previous projects, not quite enough to make pairs... or is there?

all of the leftover bits and bobs from other projects! not quite enough to make a pair of socks by themselves... but together, they're sure to make some splendid scrappy, stripy socks. and no doubt more than just one pair!

i think this lot will have me well and truly set up for knitting for the ENTIRE year! a strange feeling, knowing i really don't need to buy any yarn... though truth be told, it would seem that i haven't NEEDED to buy any for a while. this is only the fingering-weight sock yarns, you'd better believe there's quite a few other areas to my stash. oh my!

a pair a month, not too much to ask right?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

around here.

cushion made from a freefoem patchwork panel featuring snippets of hand printed fabrics cushion made with ink and spindle fabric panel featuring navy blue kangaroo paws screen printed onto an oatmeal coloured linen a pair of buttons holding the above patchwork cushion closed. the right one featuring an imprint of a feather matching a feather motif in the patchwork small bowl of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries book stack of 'simplicious' by sarah wilson, lunchlady magazine issue 5, 'grown and gathered' by matt and lentil, 'down to earth' and 'the simple home' by rhonda hetzel a pair of vanilla socks, knitted for my husband using the two-at-a-time method using circus tonic handmade yarn in colourway 'magpie lark'

current happenings...

i hit up one of the many vintage bazaars in town yesterday with my mother in law and picked up some much needed summer-y and breastfeeding friendly pre-loved clothes. including this beautiful french chiffon number. i'm in love!

the reading pile beside the bed doesn't seem to be getting any smaller, but certainly has a theme... simple living and food abounds!

a wee bit of sewing has been happening... some cushion covers that i had been meaning to make, for oh, close to an eternity have FINALLY come to fruition! the patchwork one was put together at the craft sessions circa 2013, and the ink and spindle piece was from then too i think. both were backed with some calico i had in my stash (some perhaps bought for this purpose, or maybe leftover from the wedding bags? and one piece was actually used as wrapping for a christmas gift i received the year before last) and finished with buttons from my button box. the button on the right worked perfectly with my patchwork cover, with an imprinted leaf, very similar to the one i block-printed and used as my starting piece.
the perfect stash busting project!

there's also been a little bit of picking for breakfasts from the garden... i got fed up with sharing the blueberries with the birds (and by sharing i mean, never getting any) and netted the living daylights out of the bush. while i was at it, the strawberry plants next door got a covering too and i've been enjoying the spoils for breakfast every few days for the last week or so. and the raspberries, well *touches all the wooden surfaces* the birds haven't cottoned onto their location yet... so nice to know EXACTLY where my berries are coming from!

and a fair bit of progress has been made on these socks for bb. the heels are both turned and i feel like i'm on the homestretch! i'm getting a wee bit weary with them, but i'm also grateful for the slow and simple nature of them. i always know what i'm doing when i pick them up!

and that about sums it up... well there's the normal life stuff too, catching up with friends, eating, sleeping, keeping the house looking nice and ALL of the baby goings on, snuggles and crying and giggles and dirty nappies.
it's a happy, messy and tiring time he he.

ps. i'm hoping to make tuesday my blogging day every week. check back next tuesday and every following tuesday for different bits and pieces; greenery updates, crafting, probably baby toes every now and again, and maybe, when i'm feeling brave enough, a birth story...