Tuesday, August 24, 2010

There's a Melon in the Lilac Bush.

There's a melon growing in the lilac bush. It's about 6 or 7 feet up. I'm not even sure if it's a pumpkin or one of the melons I planted. I tried to wind it out and bring it safely back to the ground, before it rolls off and smashes in the neighbours side yard... but it was wound to well around the bush to do it and not lose it. The pixies and I laughed while poking at the vines with a big plastic hockey stick before giving up.

In other garden news... I pulled a PILE of green tomatoes off the vines. They are SO heavy with tomatoes of all different sizes, that even the cages aren't supporting them anymore. These guys are huge, and my big plan is to make some chutney with them - apples and raisins and other good things in there. I'll have to also get my canning books out, and see what it'll take to jar that concoction. There are just SO many. These are maybe a quarter of what's growing out there, although the rest are smaller.

And, the two pumpkins that were about the right size (small sugar pumpkins) turned orange some time over the weekend. I'm thinking about making tarts with them, but I might also just take out the yummy and freeze it until I can get around to doing that. I've never frozen fresh pumpking before, so again, I'll be getting out some books.

This vine, with the big pumpkin (the first one I found, in the middle of the dang yard.) has some powdery mildew going on, after the weeks of humidity we had. It also didn't help that they are right on the soft lush grass. As soon as this pumpkin is off, I'll be taking off these leaves, and hope the others have a chance to finish before they get it.

I pulled 4 more cucumbers out of the garden. There are 4 zucchini that I spotted that are ready to eat as a veggie (although I'm sure if I leave them for 2 more days, they'll be monstrous.)

Also, there were another handful of baby carrots (My sweetheart looked at them last night and said "Are they supposed to be THAT small?" Well, It's hard to tell from the tops how big they are, so I pulled a few 1" guys with the 4" guys. Whoops. Still, I'm proud. I didn't think they'd come up.

I've lost my little paper that had all the weights and amounts, to keep track of what the garden ended up being worth this year. I'm sure because this is the first year, I'll be at a loss, measuring the cost of setting it up, hours maintaining it, and the yield.

Still, It's meditative and rewarding for me to go out and see FOOD. Next year, I'm sure we'll break even :) Although I've got plans for more boxes next year....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Natural Facial Care Report

So, for the last 3 weeks, I've been using all natural products on my face. A natural face wash twice a day, a day cream, a night cream, and 3 times a week, a natural facial exfoliator. This was a big experiment. I've stayed away from lotions, used organic make up sparingly (once a month?) and my face was rough, from this treatment, for the last few years.

I have had horrific acne all my life. Not only those little annoying zits, but the big welty ones. And my skin is SLOW to heal. It was taking about 8 weeks for the red to go away from one zit. My neck breaks out. Just about every pore on my nose and chin was filled with blackhead. I also had some pretty terrific cancer on my face, that took 2 surgeries that totalled about 8 hours in and out of the chair and about 50 stitches.

(I blame the cancer all the creams, make up, acne cleansers and lotions, the cream hair removers, etc etc that I was using on my face. I was really piling the chemicals on for years.)

So, I was using a soapless cleanser once a day. I was NOT touching any creams. And my face was looking PRETTY rough. Black heads, scars, red, and with angry acne.

Two months ago, I ordered the Watkins facial care line. Because it's 100% natural. I waited until I was finished with my soapless cleanser before cracking them all, and experimenting on my face and neck. It's been 3 weeks now, and I have some things to report.

The cleansing cream is just that; A cream. I wasn't used to that. When I wash with it, my face and neck is left feeling soft. I was used to cleansers stripping my face of all oils, being literally squeeky. I was pretty convinced that this was going to break my face out.

The pore scrubber, I use about 3 times a week. I didn't want to over do it. My face had been normally RED, and I didn't want to make it worse. I would use it at night before bed. It smells really nice. The instructions didn't say whether it should be used before or after washing, so I was washing first, then scrubbing.

The Divine Day Cream and Nourishing Night Cream made me nervous. I'm so used to anything like this immediately breaking me out, and making me itch. But in the name of the experiement, I persevered.

The Day cream is light (for a cream) and has a light smell - although no added fragrance.

The Night cream has a bit of a stronger smell (Royal Jelly is listed as the main ingredient.) and this cream is thicker. Both creams go on very nicely.

So, after 3 weeks of doing this day and night, I took a good look at my face. I've had a few little white heads over the weeks, but NO big welty ones. The fine lines that I've been nursing (crows feet, under my eyes, and my "frown" marks above my eyes and on my chin.) are FAR less deep and all but dissapeared. (all but that dang frown line on my brow!) None of the products made my sensitive skin itch, break out, go red, or swell.

But, the most amazing thing of all is the quality of my skin! It's HEALING! I've gone from having a red face and neck, to some colour that is a light rose or peach hue. All the acne scars are fading fast - my neck was covered when I started, and they are all very nearly gone. And, the blackheads I used to have riddling my nose and chin have dissapeared about 80%. (Every pore in my nose had black heads... and now there are only a few here and there, and the pores are looking healed and closed.)

So, I'm happy to have found beauty products that are natural and aren't full of chemical. For so long, I couldn't use any of these things! It feels nice to spoil myself.

At the rate I'm using them (every day!) The cleanser should last about 2 months, as well as the pore scrubber. The day and night cream are going much further, and I estimate they will last about 4 months (I make sure my hands are clean when I dip them in the jar, and I've been keeping the jars in my room instead of the bathroom, so bathroom humidity won't ruin them. Natural products take a bit of extra care.)

The last thing about this experiement? I knew that Watkins would refund me fully if any of the products didn't work for me.

If you'd like to see a list of ingredients, Click Here

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ze Garden, continued. Today's Harvest.

Today, after hanging some towels on the line, I poked around the garden. I'm glad I did! I pulled 5 zucchini out of the boxes (I think they are too big, and will have to be used for breads. Plus, my children have all turned their nose up. What's up with that? Is it because it came from our back yard and not the pristine grocery store? Whut Evah. They are totally going to eat it, one way or another... I digress.)

There were also 3 cucumbers I pulled out.

The cherry tomatoes and Box Car Willie tomatoes are still green green green!

This is a small sugar pumpkin. I think some critters (racoons?) clawed at it a few weeks ago. I'm going to let it play out, and hope it hasn't ruined it. It's tripled in size since I initially found the scuffs, so I'm crossing my fingers. Because it will be perfect pie filling. There are a bunch of small melons that are only about 3 or 4" in diameter, so I'm hoping they finish before the cold comes!

The Beets leaves. They need me to harvest them again. The best way I've found to do them is to boil them like spinach... but I think I'm going to have to find more recipes.

So, these little teeny tiny carrots came out on a zucchini vine when I pulled it. I thought "Dang, I knew they were going to be mini, but that's just silly"... So, I poked around...
And a few of them were ready. This is how big they are supposed to be - but only the two were ready. I didn't plant that many - It's the first time I've tried carrots, and I really didn't know what to expect with them.

After the harvests I can get from these, I'm going to attempt to harvest seeds, too. I got the seeds from a heritage and organic certified farm in Ontario, so It would be super to save my own for next year. Tomato seeds are a bit like a science experiment, with fermenting the goo and all. eek. I've got some reading to do. I learned that to harvest cucumber seeds, I have to basically let one cucumber sit on the vine until it's tough and beyond being able to eat. This gives the vine the cue to stop production.

So, now I'm going to have to look up all the plants I've got and figure out what they all need.

Also, I'm thinking next year I'll either container garden, or build more boxes, so we can do some different foods in addition to what we're doing now.

This year has been a good "first" year of having a bigger garden. I know now what to do with the plants next year to make it work better. My brain spins and whirrs with ideas! Growing our own food makes me happy :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Train and John Mayer, August 11 2010 in Toronto. I was there, man.

Thanks to my good friend Mag, I had the BEST damn seat in the house. lol.

The center block of seats at the ACC (just after the pit), center seat, 3rd row in. In front of me was an empty seat (second row.) and in the first row, a LITTLE BOY. Who sat for most of the show. It was like Train and John Mayer were singing just for me, :)

Blessedly, Train did NOT do "Hey, Soul Sister." but about 10 (??) other songs, that I was surprised to know. Their show, and Pat Monahan (lead singer) has a flipping AWESOME voice. He did things with his voice that was just incredible (and made a joke at one point that we had all just had a "Prince" moment together.) A few of the songs I can remember them doing is Meet Virginia, Get To Me, Marry Me, ...

I had never seen John Mayer in concert. Mag has been making a convert out of me for years, and I was so glad I went! BOTH acts were "genuine." Really sang their songs, and well. Engaged the audience. Really great shows!

Here's some footage from close to where Mags was sitting. (from the actual night of our show.) The person who took this video was probably about 2 rows in front of Mag.

I sat alone, (Mag and Pauline were in the pit.) but I STILL had a fantastic time. My sweet Mom-In-Law was supposed to come with me, but she couldn't make it (circumstances beyond any control!) and then I couldn't find anyone to fill the seat! I didn't mind, though. The Universe took care of me, making sure I had a fantastic time with my fantastic view.

Would I do it again. Hellz yeah!

Mag made some T shirts for us to wear. You can find them HERE. They are her own design.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Farewell, Fabricland!!!

Our local Fabricland is closing. We live in a pretty small town, and aside from the little crafting isle at Walmart, and the small selection of art supplies at the toy store downtown, we're pretty much S.O.L. for supplies. I think the closest fabric supply is about an hour away, when it goes. From what I understand, the Mall won't renew the store's lease, and the store isn't sure it wants to reopen elsewhere in town.

Last night, my beloved sat out on the bench reading a book, while I browsed around the store. I DO have an AWFUL lot of fabric already, although the clearance sales were very tempting. I did however grab a handful of ribbon spools at .10 cents each (crafting size) and some groovy and cute button packs at 3 for .99 cents. I ALSO grabbed 2 "grab bags"... at $2 a bag. Look what I got!

A couple of glitter lip iron ons, and some heart ones too. I was pretty dang excited about those!

Some Random things. A skein of embroidery floss, an iron on applique hat, a bit of leather, belt buckle, and some connector things (that are mysterious to me. I'll have to figure out what they are.)

A pile of black thin elastic - about 3 or 4 metres of the stuff! and some hearted white elastic that look like they are for underwear.

Ribbon! 6 spools of the crafty type ribbon, a big spool of brown glittery ribbon, and all these packs of ribbon flowers!!!

About 2 meters of THIS STUFF. I think it is supposed to be for furniture. The stuff that dangles from chairs or curtains. It's thick and heavy. All I see, however, is doll hair.

I'm sad to see Fabricland go. Although I find most of my crafting supplies thrifted or scavenged (or have them gifted to me!) sometimes you just need a THING to finish a project. I'm hoping that having no more Fabricland in our town isn't going to make me an even BIGGER crafting pack-rat. Because, you know, you never know when you're going to NEED something and not be able to find it locally!!!

I"m going to need a big metal storage bin outside soon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

RainBlows and Soft Gangstas

Actually, I don't mind a rainy day. Just when it falls on Market day. My one day a week to "go to work" and today was a rain out. I had made a few extra critters for market, and after cleaning my sewing desk (and area) for over an hour looking for my plain black Safety Eyes (YAH!) I gave up, sat at my computer, and found a little bag of green ones! So, made a few more critters.

They look a little gansta here, don't they? Soft Squishy Cute gangsters.
You can just tell the Rabbit, to the right, is a Wise Guy. White kitty is front and center: "You talking to ME?"

This kitty above, I think is the Boss. Despite her cute cherry exterior, you can tell she's bad ass. "Where's my money??"

This little kitty is the youngest. I think she took a dive for her gang, because she's still wearing stripes. She looks a bit pensive.

This is probably what they'll look like in the police line up. "Ma'am, is the Soft Gangster that stole your heart here?"

Ah well. I'll work on the rest of their gang today, for next Sunday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Garden is PRODUCING!! The Kiddie pool is Full!

The Garden Boxes on April 21The Garden Boxes August 3!

It seems like so much of the veggies got ready over night! I had a poke through yesterday, after giving the boxes a good water. Picked 2 cucumbers (one of which was dinner last night. Tasted SO good, fresh from my own garden.)

The tomatoes are THERE, just green still. We've been eating the beet greens for weeks. There's a Zucchini that looks almost ready (and a pile of little guys that'll be ready in a few weeks.)

The pumpkins are taking over (yes, I know. That's what they do.) One of the vines has made very good friends with the lilac bush in the back yard.)

Between hanging out with my pixies, and running Little Scotia, Vintage Witch, and the Watkins business, it's been a very busy summer. I've only been going out to poke around the garden about once a week. I'm so excited how it's coming along, and I'm thinking it'll pay itself off in tomatoes alone. I'm already planning for next year!

My next step: harvesting and storing the seeds that have come from my own plants (which are all organic heritage plants.) If I save them successfully, do you think that people would buy them, or make trades with me?

Oh yes, and I think I'd like to try my hand at asparagus.

The kiddie pool is full! It's going to be a hot one, have a great day :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Make Crafts, Earn Cash, Have it All. I Love this Book.

I've had my Crafty Superstar: Make Crafts on the Side, Earn Extra Cash, and Basically Have It All
by Grace Dobush, for a few weeks now. I adore it. I adore the way it feels and looks, and ofcourse how all the info is all condensed and easy to read and follow. My crafting business has been booming, and I wanted to break into new territory with it. This book has great ideas and advice about shows, getting in shops on consignment, wholesaling, etc. Really fab resource.

I was crusing all the links she's got to other crafters blogs in the back of the book, and was admiring some of their websites. The more I looked, the more I thought "Jeepers, I really should do this."

I've had this blog floating around on it's own, and my etsy store floating around seperately, and market info floating around, and the throught of tying them all nicely together felt right. So, if you go to my two little websites, you'll see what I did. I used a free site (because I am technologically disinclined, and this site was drag and drop. Seriously.)

Little Scotia

I'm pretty happy with it. And I love that I can sell stuff right from the page, using PayPal. Makes me do some happy dancing. Woot!

Today, I'm going to get started on a new babushka doll pattern, and I desperately have to make some critters and monkeys. Yesterdays' market just about cleaned me out!!! Lots of toys found new homes yesterday :)

Happy Monday!