ChChChanges

There once was a girl who decided on a whim to stop procrastinating and just do it already – she joined a gym, found a buddy and started working out anywhere from 3-5 days per week. Probably 4 on average plus walks with a giant and a small dog.

That girl is me.

My gym buddy told me to look forward to significant results in about 6 months.  I persevered.

I have increased my weights and I haven’t given up, but results… minimal.  Stronger yes. Weight change – no.  Inches change – barely.

I’ve struggled a bit with it. Strong positive self-image or not, come on – it’s frustrating.  But I’ve basically come to terms that I am a healthier person and even if I can’t see physical changes, they’re happening in there somewhere.

Then it happened.  I discovered a change.  A tangible and significant change. 

 FORE!

The Boy and I have been golfing 3 times this year so far (The Boy has been many more times – but I’m a fair weather golfer).  I haven’t taken any further lessons or maintained any kind of skill level over the winter and yet, I’m now shooting about 10 strokes less than last year.

10 strokes. 

That’s muscles baby.

That’s changes.

 

And that’s worth it.

Urban Gardening – Pots + Plot

The Boy and I had an AWESOME long weekend.  One of the big plusses of this summer – no weddings.  Don’t get me wrong. I love a good wedding.  I have happily attended all of the weddings we’ve been invited to.  We’ve gone to events, and strongly support the “what goes around comes around” mantra (in life and in weddings).  When it was our turn – we appreciated each and every person who took the time out of their weekend to come and celebrate with us. But I think we can all agree – when almost every weekend of your summer is scheduled by either a friend’s wedding or wedding related event – it gets a bit much.  That was our summer last summer… we have been rewarded with no weddings this summer. What goes around comes around.  I’m a bit disappointed – I do love a good wedding, but mostly it’s just awesome to get to live by our own schedule.

And that brings us to the first long weekend and the official kick off of summer – Victoria Day.  She was a beauty. We golfed, we golfed again, we had dinner with the siblings, and we planted our garden.

That's some nice dirt.

This year we’ve got not only 9 pots, but a plot that we lovingly plowed and tilled. We’ve added A LOT of dirt and manure to try and turn our concrete rocky patch to a high yield local urban farm.

The ability to grow on land instead of a pot gives us a couple of bonus – mostly in terms of squash. Squash and melons grow along the ground.  A few years ago the Boy and I learned – they don’t grow so well in a pot.  Fingers crossed.

So what do we have?

16 pepper plants

8 broccoli

4 eggplant

4 red cabbage

a row of carrots (from seed)

1 fairytale pumpkin

1 sugar baby watermelon

Green and Yellow Zucchini  (seed)

6 tomatoes – 3 varieties – 2 in pots, 4 in ground

green beans (seed)

garlic (seed)

potatoes (seed – in ground and I think we’ll use the potato bag as well)

onions (seed)

basil x 2 varieties

parsley

corriander

thyme

oregano

rosemary

chives

We looked for butternut squash or acorn squash but couldn’t find either… next year.  We also had the BRILLIANT idea that we should plant beets – because they’re so delicious.  That thought was about 2 hours too late…  Next year.

Our plot is about 15’x 10′ according to the Boy.  According to me – 12’x8’…. but who’s counting.  We have a couple of new challenges with in ground planting.

  1. We have 3 Walnut trees that are behind our garden.  This is mildly concerning since a lot of plants won’t grow near a Walnut tree.
  2. We have 3 Walnut trees and a bunch of other trees around our garden.  One word – shade. Versus four words – Vegetables like full sun.
  3. Our backyard is North facing.
  4. We have animals.  While Gordon is on a leash when she’s in the back, the neighbours dog and the neighbourhood foxes, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels are not.
  5. Rain. Yesterday it POURED.  Turns out the drainage of our little plot – not the greatest.

In regards to all of these concerns we say – meh.  Our urban farming philosophy has always been, if it works, it works; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

The Boy is blissfully optimistic.  Optimistic but was out in the rain last night trying to improve the drainage.

If it works, we’ll have enough veggies for the entire neighbourhood. All at once.

Hopefully the Boy is right – but I’m also hoping our best harvest isn’t left to the neighbourhood animals when we’re away in the summer.

Fingers crossed.

marigolds are good tomato partners

What are you growing this year?

Learning to sew – the tale of the drawstring bag

Sista and I have successfully completed our first sewing project.  A drawstring bag.  It was a bit of a gong show, but we’ve lived and learned and now I can share the secrets with you.

 

  1. When embarking on your first sewing project since your 13 year old horrible attempt at a pillow made from scraps in the High School Home Ec room – it’s important to have a mantra.  Sista and I agree, the best mantra in this case is – “It’s just a drawstring bag.”  This will get you through all the trials and tribulations to come.
  2. When you go to the fabric store, be prepared for short tempers and generally unhelpful staff.  Someone actually yelled at me.  It was not related to the drawstring bag, but if it was I would have said “Lady, relax.  It’s just a drawstring bag”
  3. It’s important to read the instructions.  Also, determining if you are reading centimeters but thinking inches is key as well.
  4.  A “Fat Quarter” is a piece of fabric that is about 50x56cm
  5. A Half Metre is a piece of fabric that is about 50x100cm.
  6. Here’s a handy diagram to demonstrate – A Fat Quarter is not a half-metre. Fat-Quarter-explanation
  7. Not even close. 
  8. When you have had it with the unfriendly staff, wrong fabric, and generally hideous options head to the city, find a local SMALL fabric store and browse there.  This will go much better. 
  9. Get some cord – for the drawstring.  As I learned – you should check to see if the length of cord that you have purchased is whole or sneakily cut and taped together with masking tape that happens to blend in.  You will notice that one side of the drawstring is significantly longer than the other… this is not a camera trick or the result of pulling it closed.  Sure the cut was roughly in the middle… roughly is the key word there.
  10. Choose a fabric, treat it (i.e. wash it) and cut out as per the instructions.
  11. It will quickly become apparent if you are a good straight cutter – as per Sista, or a terrible crooked cutter as per moi.
  12. Don’t worry – it’s just a drawstring bag.
  13. Make your marks to fit the drawstring
  14. Sew up some sides
  15. Iron.  No one likes a wrinkled drawstring bag – but if you forget this part don’t worry because it’s just a drawstring bag.
  16. Feed the drawstring through
  17. Voila.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect drawstring bag
You now have a perfect drawstring bag… or you don’t in which case – don’t worry at least you tried.
My drawstring bag was intended to be Gordon’s travel bag but since I’ve made it she hasn’t really done any travelling.  Alas, earwax.  Drawstring bags also make great knitting project bags.  Not to ruin the surprise or anything but I’m predicting drawstring bags for everyone this Christmas!
Sista and I have finished our sewing class and I’ll write a couple more posts about our other two projects, a zippered pouch (which is basically a pillow case) and a skirt.  Oh the skirt.  You think I had problems with a simple drawsting bag – just wait.  Just wait.

30 While I’m 30 – or 31

First things first – I didn’t finish my list.  Is anyone surprised really?  I doubt it.

I did okay. Probably better than I thought I would truth be told.

  1. Take Gordon for 30 walks – little Gordon and I didn’t make it to 30.  We both blame Mother Nature.  Snow in late April?! Come on! What we did do is get back to a daily walk schedule.  Puppy is happy and so am I.
  2. 1 week moratorium on Starbucks I made it more than 1 week, 10 days in fact… but then I had training.  And turning 1 week into 3 all went to hell.
  3. 2 week moratorium on Starbucks – HA! The Boy and I agreed that this really isn’t the worst vice.  I had one yesterday for my free birthday drink… it wasn’t very good.  Whenever that happens I think I should just cut it out for good… but then the 2 o’clock sleepies kick in and I’m screwed.  Meh.
  4. Finish the ottoman
  5. Make a jewelry solution – I have the solution AND I have actually purchased part of the materials…  I still have not made it.
  6. Unpack my backpack (the last “real” box from our move) – the backpack is full of jewelry… see #5.
  7. Organize purses/purge for easier rotation
  8. Build a desk – HA! It might be changing to build a sewing table… we’ll see!
  9. Clean/organize office – Everyone needs a disaster room right?
  10. Take wedding dress to be cleaned
  11. Update resume – there are some jobs that have been posted, so this actually is going to happen this weekend.
  12. Take a long walk on the Tom Taylor Trail with my camera – Didn’t take the camera but we did go on a birthday walk.  It’s a lovely trail and we’ll definitely be back.
  13. Organize photos on new computer
  14. Frame canvases from Sista I’m picking them up from the framer today – I’ll post a picture when we hang them this weekend. They definitely deserve their own post.
  15. Decorate bathroom
  16. Go to a spin class – still thinking about it.
  17. Set up a regular RRSP contribution plan – I’m pretty sure this makes me an adult.
  18. Have Kristyn, John and Logan for dinner – or bring dinner to them – We split dinner and had it at Kristyn and John’s so that little Logan could go to bed.  Turns out he’s not interested in missing the party no matter where he is – so everyone had a great night! :)
  19. Organize knitting patterns
  20. Finish Tanis sweater
  21. Finish cowl
  22. Finish baby girl sweater
  23. Stencil bedroom
  24. Clean hall closet
  25. Surprise The Boy with a present
  26. Clean and shelf paper linen closet
  27. Vacuum and clean both cars – What is it that they say about good intentions?
  28. Plan a front garden
  29. Get kitchen table and chairs
  30. Make cupcakes – just because.

13/30… that’s not great but not bad.  I’m thinking about the year ahead and contemplating another list.  I like lists.  They ground me.  I never get through them, mostly because I move on to a new list before the first one is done.  Alas earwax.

As for the knitting on the list – I haven’t finished what I wanted to… because in my head those things are done so I have moved on to other things (are you seeing the theme).  But I did finish a pair of converse boots for a baby shower I went to recently.  They might have been shown up by a GORGEOUS stuffed hand knit elephant that was opened shortly afterward – but I still think they’re cute.

If you’re a knitter and looking for an easy baby gift I highly recommend them.  If you’re not a knitter you should either become one or befriend one and sweet talk them into making them for you.  I suggest flowers or chocolate…. or yarn, yarn would definitely work.

Yes I did take this picture while wrapping the gift in the car 2 minutes before going into the party.  What's your point

And finally, the Boy restrained himself from eating 1/4 of an ice cream cake that was left over in one sitting and instead had a normal size piece on Monday night and saved a piece for each of us for my birthday.  He gave it to me and said “This is better than any birthday gift I could ever give you.  I saved you some cake. That’s love because it was REALLY hard not to eat it.” So thanks buddy.  You’re right… that is true love.

New Resolve – For Real this Time

Tomorrow at 6:36 pm I turn 31.

31.

I was out with BFF Kristyn the other day and she had Logan 1.0 on her hip and I thought “Kristyn’s a mom!” When did this happen?! Am I old?

Yes.  Yes is the answer.

The Boy and I had a playoff party this weekend.  The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the playoffs for the first time in 9 years.  To Leaf’s fans, this is significant.  So we had a party to celebrate.  The Boy played golf, we made dinner, we watched the game, beverages and merriment was had by all and by 10:17 everyone had gone home. And I thought… “When did this happen?  I think we’re old!”

Yes.  Yes we are.

I’m completely fine with turning another year older. I’m very happy with my life with the Boy and Gordon, in our little house, for our little family.

But one thing I’m not happy with is the lack of documentation that I have of my last year. Let’s face it – lacklustre doesn’t even BEGIN to describe my commitment to blogging in the last year and a half or so.

A few of the blogs I follow have been either tailoring back their commitments to blogging or signing off completely. To be honest, I’ve considered it.

My family routinely gives me a hard time about the lack of blogging. But then something happened the other day…. a friend said – “I always loved reading your blog – but you haven’t been writing lately” and that’s when I realized – more than my mom reads this blog.

I’ve decided that this year, 31, is going to be awesome.  And there will be a time in my life when I will want to look back on it and see what we were up to our little family of the Boy and Gordon and I. No I’m not pregnant.

So I’m back with new resolve.  I don’t think I’ll get back to a daily writing schedule… but I am aiming for 3 days a week.

Some house updates, some food updates, some knitting updates and of course… Gordon.  And the Boy.  He’s had some good lines lately.

So if there’s anyone out there still – thanks for sticking around. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring a smile to your day.

Mmm Chocolate