Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In the garden, 2015

Things are growing again! Oh, yes they are. I started my seedlings in late March, and they are almost ready to go into the ground. We've been hitting some really high temps, but with the way the weather jumps around I really don't want to take any chances with frosty mornings. The May 24 weekend is usually when we get things planted in these parts. I did get an earlier start with the radishes, beets, and peas, which went into the ground a couple weeks ago.

I took notes on what worked really well in previous years, what didn't, what really wasn't worth growing when I only have so much space in the garden (like, carrots are really cheap at the grocery store and kind of a pain in the butt to grow. Broccoli and cauliflower can be more pricey depending on the week, but I definitely spent more on the seeds and watering the two heads of each that actually grew than I would have buying them at the store), and what I wanted to try.

So what's growing this year? So far, the usual annuals, and the bulbs I planted last fall that hadn't been dug out by squirrels. Our rhubarb is also ready to be picked, so we will be making crisp this weekend. In seedling form we have a few varieties of tomatoes, sweet peppers (yes, I am trying these again), a couple types of cucumber, zucchini, marigolds (I always plant these beside my tomatoes to keep the pests away), a couple types of flowers, and the rest of the veggies will go straight into the ground.

I planted a few new raspberry canes as some of the old ones really took a beating from Lola running in and out of the bushes. We also have some crazy weeds that strangle the bushes that are hard to keep a handle on because our neighbour in the back doesn't pull weeds and they keep coming through the fence. Hopefully the new canes take and we get some extra berries next year.

I also planted two top hat blueberry bushes in planters and am hoping that with some effort and care they will start producing next year or the one after. For now they are tiny, tiny.

Non-growing additions will be some play areas for Josh, although I guess those will grow in other ways as he gets older. More updates through the growing season!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Josh's sensory board

I've been pinning sensory boards on pinterest probably since before Josh was born. I loved the idea, and there were so many options out there; from gigantic walls in museums and sensory rooms to smaller boards made at home, and from extravagant and intricate designs to simple parts attached to a plain board. I knew I wanted to eventually make one for Josh, but kept putting it off because priorities. You know how it goes. When I finally did get around to it (more than a year later!), I chose my favourite elements from the boards I had liked and created my own with bits and pieces I had collected over time. I definitely went a bit overboard, but I am mostly happy with how it turned out, and more importantly, Josh likes it.

It took a few months to make, only because I mainly worked on it in 10-15 minute spurts when Josh was busy reading a book or playing with someone else. A lot of the attaching involved drilling or using a jig-saw, which couldn't be done while he was asleep. I'd run downstairs to switch a load of laundry and drill a few pilot holes. I'd grab the vacuum cleaner from the closet and screw in a light switch. That's basically how most projects are done!

What I ended up including on the board:

*ball tunnel (4-inch clear tubing, which was the hardest bit to find..check specialty vacuum shops for this stuff.. with caps on either end)
*texture circles (I thrifted a bag of these wood circles with different textured materials inside.. there were doubles of each so I think it may have been a matching game)
*wooden beads
*light switch
*door bell (doesn't actually work, just a button to push)
*push light
*spring door stopper
*four types of latches
*door knocker
*hook that is currently holding some plastic chain
*wooden doors on hinges with different types of knobs
*spinning gears
*square stick on tiles
*textured foam sheets
*mirrored stars
*rainbow velcro (I was planning to put pictures with velcro on the back that could be taken on and off as my friend Christie did on her son's board.. Christie, I swear you blogged yours, but I can't seem to find it)

Under the doors are pictures of our pets. These are just stuck on the board with hot glue, so I will switch them out every once in a while. Most likely when Josh rips them off, like he did with the washi board on the wood beads. Kid loves pulling stuff apart! What I didn't consider when putting the doors on is that you basically have to get down to the floor to see the middle picture since the doors are right at the bottom. Live and learn!

The ball run is by far the favourite part with everyone. There's just something really fun about putting a ball through a tube over and over. Josh is really into the pictures. His fine motor skills are also getting a workout, and he's a pro at flipping light switches on and off.

I won't lie, this project was pretty spendy, even with materials on hand and thrifted parts. It was also fairly time consuming. It doesn't have to be though. It can be as simple or complicated as you make it. I've gotten some really nice feedback from friends and family who have seen the board, but I've also gotten a couple "it must be nice to have all that time on your hands" comments. That stings, but what I think those people didn't realize was that I love to make things. In my down time I like to create, whether it's knitting, crafting, building, or trying something new. It's an outlet for me, just like running or baking is for someone else. We all have our things.

Here are a few of the boards I drew inspiration from: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day Wish List

I'm supposed to want a hand print made by my sweet baby bird, and if I'm lucky, a few extra hours of sleep, right? To be honest, I would love those things, but the consumerist in me has an amazon wishlist a mile long. Here are nine of my favourites for Mother's Day..

1. bkr silicone & glass momoheart water bottle in sheer white - I drink a lot of water. I like a cute bottle to put it in.
2. fresh tangerine heart ring - or any of their stacking rings... or pretty much anything fresh tangerine. I am loving their jewellery right now.
3. hello apparel I'm so tired mug - it's true.
4. free people drippy jersey dress - I could never justify spending this much on a jersey dress, but it is cute and looks crazy comfy. I'm embracing the comfort this spring/summer.
5. tula love noir woven wrap - what I really want is the structured carrier made from this wrap, but fat chance that will ever happen. Tula's are the new Bamboletta Dolls/Goodmama diapers of the mama world. Some of them sell for over $1000 on ebay. They are gorgeous, but I can't wrap my head around it. We've been wrapping with a girasol lately and have been loving it, and apparently I have a thing for hearts this year.
6. anne of green gables - my very favourite book forever and always, and how beautiful is this copy?
7. addi clicks - interchangeable needles would be amazing.
8. nike rosherun in floral - I missed the boat with these, but this mama needs new runners and how amazing are these? E-bay?
9.  cloverberry vintage pyrex - ok, now we're just getting silly.

On second thought, I will take those extra few hours of sleep. Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing mamas, mamas to be, mamas who have loved and lost, and those longing to be mamas! This has always been a bittersweet day for me, but this year it's a little more sweet.

Friday, May 8, 2015

what we've been up to lately..

This little bird loves to be outside. LOVES. I love that he does, even if I don't love the soaring temperatures we've been getting. I am an early Spring/Fall kind of gal.

I've been wanting to create little play spaces for Josh in our yard. I have such fond memories of playing in the garden growing up, and especially of my grandmother's garden with all the little hideaways. Our yard is much smaller and more open than hers, but there is still potential.

There are no built in tree stumps to use as stages, no paths up to the rocky driveway, or passages through the English style flower beds, and there is only one "secret path" (underneath the raspberry bushes when they're in full bloom), but we are creating play spaces with hideaways to inspire that creative outdoor play. Next week our swing set arrives (I had dreams of built in slides and tunnels - have you seen some of the amazing spaces on pinterest? I've pinned a bunch on my outdoor play board. This is the stuff of dreams, right here- but our yard is completely flat). I dedicated what used to be my bean patch, to a play area. There are a few tree stumps I collected last Fall (with hopes of finding a huge one to put in the middle..I actually found one, but couldn't lift it myself so it didn't work out), I planted an assortment of flowers from one of those butterfly garden kits, and I ordered an arbor to go over top, with plans to plant climbing beans. I'd love to add some sort of water table on our patio too. 

Next year he may be old enough for his own garden plot where he can choose what to grow. I had so much fun growing my own garden as a kid. I hope he has many happy memories of outdoor play as he grows. There is so much to do and explore, and I'm so excited I get to experience it with him. Seeing it all through his eyes is wonderful. This mama thing? Pretty damn awesome.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crafty Projects

Some projects I've been working on over the past several months..

A milo vest, after I ran out of limited edition yarn for the first milo I started..

A mustard yellow hat for the bird, and a new hat for the husband..

Sewing with knits (this is the flashback skinny tee by made by rae), which I need to do more of. I have some great fabrics ready.

Some projects for friends and family including the above and below..

And a few things for around the house too.

And currently there's a coiled crochet basket and a shawl in progress..

The baby bird has started a few projects of his own too..

We have started the fridge gallery of baby art. Love it! I think we are all caught up now!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Round Shelf

Have you seen these amazing shelves by Ferm Living?

(photo from ferm living)

I absolutely love the look. I love this shelf by Bride & Wolf even more as it has an open back.

photo from bride & wolf

As much as I don't mind paying for good design and quality, and as much as I like supporting smaller businesses and do whenever I can, we are strapped for cash and there was no way to justify paying over $200 for a shelf at the moment. I had the ferm living shelf on my wishlist for months, with an exact idea of where I would put the playroom with some of our smaller Ostheimer figures that Josh is not ready for yet.. but it was just not going to happen, so I started to think about how I could make my circle shelf dreams come true. I saw a few tutorials around pinterest using all types of materials, including cheese boxes, but none were as clean as I was hoping for. Finally, I came across a tutorial using embroidery hoops. Perfect!

I changed the design a bit to include three shelves, and eventually threw out the hot glue idea and used tiny finishing nails instead (pre-drilling holes so they wouldn't crack the wood). My embroidery hoops were also 20 inches in diameter instead of 14. I couldn't find embroidery hoops without wood blocks at the bottom holding them together, but I don't think they're that big of an eye sore. Of course I had to show you my wallpaper seams in the photo below. In person, they really aren't that visible.

The shelves are made with craft wood (which is flimsy, so if you want to put anything even slightly heavy on it you'll need to get thicker wood). I had planned on hot gluing the hoops together before adding the shelves, but there were only two hoops available at my local craft store and they were not even. Once the shelves were nailed in they did sit flush against each other. 

You can see the nails from the sides, but from the front they aren't visible. Basically, up close this project isn't nearly as lovely and clean as the originals, but I have a circle shelf and I love the way it looks in the space (except I may drill in that hanging loop instead of having it tied on)!

With the discount I used and the nails I had on hand, this project still ended up being about $30. Those hoops aren't cheap! Still, $30 is much more affordable for us right now.