29 June 2009

Planter in full bloom

The planter that I made and planted for my mum is looking really good. I used marigolds, nasturutium, scarlett runner, and there is a zucchini plant in the back.

And this is a baby bunny that was eating my spinach yesterday.

25 June 2009

Lemon Tree :(

My lemon tree isn't doing too well. The two biggest lemons only got this big before they fell off. And it's losing all its leaves. I am trying to buy a bigger pot to try transplanting it but they're all expensive and ugly. And I bought it some new fertilizer. I hope it gets better. Even if it never gives any lemons, the smell of its flowers is so nice in the living room.

Garden Update

The garden's getting full. Lots of stuff coming up. We've still mostly been eating lettuce and strawberries.
The romaine lettuce is doing great, we've been eating a lot from here too.And I've started some more various lettuces here.
The cabbage is coming along but I feel like it should be starting to get spherical by now...
Last year our big successes were potatoes and squash. This year we have one great potato patch.
But the big potato patch is mostly barren even though I planted it twice. And I put the squash this year by the side of the house but they don't seem to like it there so I've been planting more sqush everywhere we have room including the barren potato patch.
Here are the peas. Yesterday I added some snow peas to our curry.
The green beans are growing slowly but surely.
Our giant pumpkin for halloween is coming along.
We are very excited about our peach tree. We never thought we'd get peaches in the second year but there seem to be a few. I guess they still might not get big enough to be tasty.
The carrots have big tops. Today I did a bit of thinning and the carrots I pulled actually looked and tasted like carrots!I think the garlic is coming along well. I think I'm supposed to cut off and eat the tops around now, I'll have to look into that.And we have our first tiny baby zucchini showing up.Some of the tomato plants are getting flowers.

18 June 2009

Fish Soap dishes

Since homemade soap can get pretty soft and mushy, you're supposed to use a well draining soap dish with it. I do not have any soap dishes. So I started thinking about the coolest way to make soap dishes. This is what I came up with for the main bathroom.

I used my scroll saw. And I bought some stuff for waterproofing wood for outdoors so hopefully that will work and the wood won't get rotten or mildewy. I'm only sad that my beautiful creations are going to be covered up with bars of soap most of the time.

Baby Sweater

I finished the wrap around baby sweater I've been working on for ages. I made the ties using the slentre braiding that I learned from the Weavers and Spinners guild. So I just had to guess at the finished length of the ties and they turned out a bit long but they will be easy to shorten later if I decide to. I am looking forward to adding slentre braiding to knitting in something where I can use multi colour braids but I wanted to keep this one all white.

17 June 2009

Soap Batches 2 & 3

Eliza and I have been doing some more soap making. We're using a recipe that only uses Crisco as the oil so it's cheaper to make than the other recipe that used olive and soy oil. We will see what difference it makes when we finally get to use the finished products.

The first one we did we boiled some ginger in the water and then added loads of cinnamon. That's why it turned out so dark. We are so excited it actually smells like cinnamon. We just hope it doesn't turn your hands black.

For this one we used some essential oil. We chose orange essential oil and added paprika to give it the orange colour. We used a pringles container and a crisco container to get the round shapes.

14 June 2009

Squirrels and Strawberries

Every day we have been finding half eaten strawberries on the picnic table. We finally found the squirrel doing it. At least this time he is eating the half eaten ones he left there instead of picking new ones.


We have been enjoying eating from the garden the past couple weeks. We have been eating a lot of salads. And we usually get at least 2 strawberries a day which is perfect to grab after eating lunch or dinner in the garden. And I found the mint coming up so we had our first batch of mojitos which were great.

Waterloo Arts Festival

There was another free arts festival in Waterloo this weekend. It was in Waterloo Park. There were hands on activities, art for sale, and shows going on.

Here's Kevin in the tie I decorated for him.and here are some animals we saw on the way there

Bailey's Local Foods

Kevin and I have been talking for a while about increasing our grocery budget and trying to eat more local and organic food. We were watching a documentary that mentioned the average American uses more fossil fuels on food than on all their transportation and that did it for us. We are making the move.

The first step was joining our local food buying club, Bailey's Local Foods. It operates out of a church in uptown, just a 10 minute bike ride away. It was really fun ordering my food for the week on the computer. And then picking it up was pretty fun too.

Here's most of what we got this week. I'm especially excited about the 12 kg bags of oats and and flour I got though I haven't yet figured out how to store them. I'm also excited about the white carrots which we haven't tried yet.

We bought some organic mostly pasture fed ground beef to make some hamburger with while we have a roommate with a bbq. I don't usually like to buy meat. So we made hamburgers for the first time. That was not fun, it was actually really gross. They turned out tasty but were really moist, don't know what that means we did wrong.

And then we had some local organic asparagus with the creamy pasta I like to make. The creamy pasta recipe is here:

First Adventure in Soap Making


Eliza and I made some soap! We went to a soap making workshop last weekend and then we were ready to try it ourselves. We used a recipe that used olive and soybean oil. The lily of the valley infused oil definitely did not work and smelled like rotten flowers. We didn't want to spend money on essential oils while we are still learning so we thought we'd try to get a little scent out of adding lime zest. I don't think I can smell any lime zest but it added an interesting texture/look (except in the places where there's clumps of it in which case it looks pretty gross). And we added turmeric to give it a bit of a peachy colour.

It was pretty fun to make. It was really nice having 2 people especially when trying to get the oil and the lye mixture the same temperature.

The soap seems to have turned out alright. It is crumbly and I looked up that that indicates probably too little water. And it may result in a harsh soap. We can't actually use the soap for 4 weeks so we will see if it is too harsh then. If it is we can leave it longer or rebatch it. We are already planning what to try for our next batch of soap.

09 June 2009

Salad from the garden

Our salad plants are all doing well and today we had a really tasty salad with them. IT was a mix of our spinach, mesclun mix, and chives.

08 June 2009

Lily of the Valley essential oil

Today I made some lily of the valley essential oil using some of our big patch of lily of the valley. I hope it works! I wanted it for using in soap making which I want to try at the end of the week. I used these instructions:

Good sandwich bread recipe

My neighbours have lent me their copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, the book that my white crusty bread recipe comes from that I've been thinking of buying. Today I tried the whole wheat sandwich bread recipe from it and Kevin and I both think it is the best whole wheat bread we have ever tasted!
We ate it with avocado and chive sandwiches with chives from the garden. They were so good!

07 June 2009

spOtlight Arts Festival

This weekend was the free spOtlight Arts festival in Waterloo Region. On Saturday I went to a soapmaking workshop with mummy and Eliza. I hadn't realized what a big festival spOtlight was when I signed up for the soapmaking. When I found out I found some other stuff that I could do with Kevin today.

Soapmaking was fun. We watched a demonstration and Eliza and I definitely want to try it at home, seemed much easier than I had imagined.
And today Kevin and I went to a bit put on by the Weavers guild so we learned how to do slentre braiding, kumihimo (on the foam circles), god's eyes and needle felting.

And for lunch we went to a greek food festival.


We had a lovely picnic in Hillside Park with my family on Saturday. We had scouted out this picnic spot on one of our walks through the park. It is only a 15 minute walk from our house to this spot and it was so nice. Babbling brook right beside us and loads of wildflowers all around.
This is a family of ducks that wanted to greet me as we walked back home!Then in the evening we had a fire. It has been perfect weather for the backyard recently.