Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

It is our tradition that, on the first day of Advent, we put up the Christmas tree. We have just spent several hectic hours doing this and what fun!

We insist that this is a family event. Christmas music playing on the CD.

DH gets the boxes from the roof. Then we unwrap and unwrap-each one greeted as if it is an old friend, and indeed some of them are very old.

The tree has a pair of baby shoes from DD and DS and we always have fun thinking of them once being THAT small! There are the ones DD made in Brownies, and the ones we made together with cookie cutters. There are the slightly munted and the very special.

Collections of angels, musical instruments, Father Christmases (no Santa here!) , stars, nativities, etc. Some of them I have made special trips to find (Rick's place in the blue mountains!) and lots were found in op shops.

There is lots of laughter and good natured ribbing -especially of me and my Christmas collection.

Taking pride of place this year my home-made Christmas Tree skirt and the Angel quilt I made recently (see earlier blogs).

Some people get stressed at Christmas, and some people are lonely and some are struggling with old hurts and new losses. I hope that they can find some joy in the simple things and the old traditions.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Makeup for gardens -and food too

We have been mulching all week.
We purchased some lovely black mulch made mostly of pine and compost, from the people at Gardeners Direct. This forms a clumping mat which nicely shades the soil, supresses weeds and conserves moisture. We call it 'makeup for gardens' because it makes a poor garden look well-cared for, and the black colour really shows off the plants that are there. Our front garden is almost recovered from the changes we have made lately.

We also bought a huge bag of lupin mulch from Gardeners Direct.
Now this is different! Loose, smells wonderful and is magic for plants. Holds lots of moisture and feeds the plants with lovely nitrogen. You can almost see the plants grow the minute you use it.
Does not last as long as the black stuff, but is great for vegetables, roses and fruit trees.

I have combined the two mulches in the veggie patch out the back -the black makes a little path to keep my feet clean when I go to tend it or to pick something, but the lupin mulch feeds the veggies. Since I put this on last week, the beans have started to flower.

We have added a cape gooseberry to the garden and a passionfruit. We are thinking of long-term fruits as well as the vegetables we have now. We have limes, lemons, grapefruit and mandarins now, but only the limes and the lemons are big enough to fruit regularly. I hope this season we will get some of the other citrus.

My tomatoes are growing and the zucchini in the wicking bed is doing well.
We are still harvesting celery and silverbeet daily. I pulled out the first lettuces of the season which were going to seed, and the new ones are just about ready to pick again.

It feels great to be providing these fresh things for the family. The other interesting effect is that there is more room in the fridge, because the food I used to keep there is now in the garden until just before I need it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Christmas Tree skirt I made!

Well, I must say I had fun doing this. I did not have a pattern (as usual) but I used what I had around pretty much.
The excitement came when my trusty sewing machine died -what a time to go on the blink!
It is now in the sewing shop for repairs, so thank goodness my lovely SIL loaned me her 35 year old Elna. This is still a lovely machine and I was so grateful to my SIL because otherwise my craft week would have ended rather abruptly.

Still 2 days of my holiday leave to go, so I might get something else done.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas inspiration

I have a week on leave from work, so I am getting down to some crafty stuff for Christmas.
I find the Rick Rutherford book "Country Christmas at Wroxton" a real inspiration.

So today I am working on a Christmas Tree skirt.
Have done the applique, now it is time to tackle the quilting. Feeling a little nervous about the binding, because it will be the first circular item I have made.

I have some other ideas from Rick's book too. I am thinking of adding a Christmas stocking to my Raggedy Ann doll, with the words "I've been good!" embroidered on it.
I plan to make a couple of rustic looking choristers.

How much will I get done? That is the question, but I must say I am enjoying it very much.