Sunday, 25 April 2010

Raised beds (.........or giant litter trays?)

Sorry I haven't been around here much.  I had nasty food poisoning last week and then I kind of lost my flow.....

But we are very proud of what we created this weekend.  And it really is a shoestring project (unlike some of my recent posts).  I'll even cost it out for you.

I mentioned here that we were going to build some raised beds, and eventually this weekend our plan came together.  The Queen of Clean had some free wood from work (packaging for electrical cabinets all the way from Minnesota) so there was no excuse.  We decided two rectangles would work best in our little plot (essentially as I couldn't commit to anything more elaborate) and went ahead and built them - one Friday evening and one Saturday morning.

I don't have any pictures of the building and painting as it all got a bit heated - I was accused of poor project management skills by my husband when I announced  Saturday lunchtime that they had to be painted cream (same colour as our playhouse), but I couldn't source any cream paint and was just popping out to get my haircut.  Poor project management skills, I ask you?! Needless to say it all came good in the end - I found cream paint in the fourth shop I visited (and now have nice hair).

We built the little path in between the beds from roof tiles that we found in a corner of our garden when we moved here.  This means we'll be able to access the beds even if the grass is wet.

And this afternoon we planted:

Mange Tout
Dwarf sweetcorn

.........and tried to persuade our kitties that we had not just built them two giant litter trays! Eugh - eventually resorted to green netting across the top, just until they get the message.

Here is a picture of the before (taken end of Feb I think) really was an eyesore this patch of the garden.  A huge heap of rubbish and a neglected apple tree.

And here is the now (complete with netting to discourage kitties). The other side of the beds we have put grass seed down as funds won't stretch to the shed I had planned for. 

As promised the cost for this project:-

Wood = Free
Soil - 9 x huge bags = £36 (could have sourced cheaper than the garden centre I'm sure but blame my poor project management skills!)
Cream paint = 2.5 litre can was £19.98 (but also got enough to repaint my playhouse so am costing this at £10)
Labour = Free (although I did have to make several cups of tea to keep Queen of Clean digging)
Roof tiles for path = Free
Fancy wooden plant labels = 10 for £1.98
Netting = £4.00

Total = £51.96

I must also admit I was extremely stupid and let the kids paint these beds without changing their clothes first, and lost some decent jeans and t-shirts in the process.  But will not include these in the cost tally above! 

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The finished result

I wanted to elaborate on the picture in the post below.  We had a real adventure on Saturday.  Yoyo and I, along with my parents went to see the Cinderella ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

I'm not sure if Yoyo was more excited about going to London on the train and the thought of a taxi ride, or the ballet itself.  She had spent most of Friday morning making a necklace for the occassion (that's what she's concentrating on my last post).  And here is the finished result.............

And, the ballet, well the ballet was magical.  Stuff of 6 year old girls (and 32 year old girls dreams).

Friday, 9 April 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} 

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Green (or perhaps Pink) Fingers

We planted these Ranunculus bulbs today - I soaked them in water overnight beforehand and they swelled up like this.  Yoyo refused to handle unless she wore gloves....nobody else would touch them.  The boys thought they looked like Dalek Sec's head (if you're not a Dr Who fan sorry if the reference confuses, but have a google, the boys are actually spot on).

So in theory at some point this summer these horrible little things will turn into these beauties.......

I shall wait with bated breath.

On another garden note - I saw a great new programme tonight, The Edible Garden.  Well worth catching on BBC iplayer if you didn't see it.  There is a book accompanying the series that looks interesting too The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It (note heavy hint to any of my family who read this and are stuck for birthday ideas ;-)!)

The programme is also giving away five free packets of seeds for anyone signing up via this link (mixed salad, courgette, basil, french beans, carrot). 

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

An action shot from Saturday afternoon - Yoyo on the Easter Egg Hunt.

I was impressed with the kids resourcefulness - once all of the eggs had been gathered they began 're-hiding' them......and then 're-finding' them. 

A never ending Easter Egg hunt of sorts....although those eggs were pretty unrecognisable by the end of the afternoon.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Encouraging the stories

There is something very emotional about seeing your children's writing, especially something they've created for themselves.  It kind of gets me every time, and I don't expect it.  Sometimes I can be going about my day and find a scrap of paper with a made up shopping list and it nearly brings a tear to my eye.  I think it's probably pride.

Yoyo is the biggest creator in this family - she is endlessly making up stories on random bits of paper, and sadly they often end up trodden on, torn to make another story or even worse in the recycling bin.  So in an attempt to keep these magnificent creations we made some books for her yesterday (inspired by a post on Angry Chicken's blog last year).

We used some old scrapbook paper for the covers and plain white paper for the inside and simply sewed through the middle with the sewing machine.  I didn't want her to feel overwhelmed with filling these so they are literally 2 pieces of folded paper inside (so a total of 8 pages).

She had huge fun choosing the papers for these - and I bit my tongue and let her choose from everything.  No hiding the 'good' stuff!  She was even imagining the story titles before we'd sewn the books up.

So now we have a place for those wonderful gems such as 'Tinkabell the Magic Dog'

Tinkabell was a dog she was helfy and has good be havy (behaviour)
She is a magic dog when she goes to the mond (mound)

I won't reveal the rest of the plot - it's still at the editing stage - but Tinkabell does grow wings and visit people in Heaven at night (should I be worried?)

This little activity has been a success (littlest one has also now joined in), wish I'd done this earlier as it was so quick to do - toughest part was finding the lead for the sewing machine.

Give it a go.................!


Happy Easter, however you will celebrate.....

We are off to Grandparents today for a meal and an Easter Egg Hunt.  There is much excitement here today both about the egg hunt and of course the new Dr Who series starting tonight.

The pics above are of my little Easter Egg tree - just a twig from the garden (admittedly a bit short for the vase!) with some crackle glazed wooden eggs on.  The twig was so small I needed to find another home for some surplus eggs so the sash window lock seemed like a good place.

The Easter flowers were a perk from work - last one to leave the office got the reception floral display on Thursday. Isn't the little wooden duck cute?

And, well rain seems to have stopped play on our raised bed plans I shared below, so we will turn our attention inside and start the mammoth task of painting these shelves. 


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