Paper Bird

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I love making models. There, I’ve said it. I love making dolls, softies, play sets – I totally get miniature railway enthusiasts geekery, because I share it. My Dad’s love of making houses out of cardboard? Yep. Got that too. Oh and my son’s obsession with anything-scale-anything… I understand. We are cut from the same cloth.

I’m going with the flow and not fighting it. Last week I made a bird out of papier-mache and fell instantly in love with the process. So much so that I ordered some silk remnants to make more colourful birds. And because I was in a miniature-induced frenzy I bought some doll props in 1/12th scale. For no reason. With no purpose. And I’m not even sorry, because when I hold that teeny sewing machine in my hand I would defy the biggest smack head to be able to reach the same dizzying high. I mean, LOOK at it. And then, someone gave me this link. It was all over after that.

Hello, my name is Deborah and I’m a nerd.

c e l e b r a t e

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I have a winter birthday babe and a summer birthday babe, and they are like chalk and cheese. It’s easier, somehow, to celebrate in the summer months – just good food and a lot of football time. They’re easily pleased.

And I swear these swings around the sun are getting faster…. next year I will have a 13 and 16 year old in my house… two teenagers! Where did it all go. I know I’m not the only mama of a certain age feeling the pang of empty nest syndrome creeping up. I’d better go give them more squeezey hugs before I blink and they’ve flown.

Wishing a good start to your week!

In My Garden : Summer Solstice : 22 June

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The garden on 25th February this year, before Operation Get-Your-Act-Together commenced. And today:

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Notes to myself:

:: I need to lay cardboard and mulch in the strip of mud beside the path – I’m going to try to use those tarpaulin eternal shopping bags to grow garlic and leek in. It’s an experiment, but right now I’ve nothing to lose as that little bit of soil is being taken over by bramble.

:: The apple and plum trees need to be ruthlessly pruned this autumn.

:: Slugs – it’s ON. I hate killing things but y’all are taking my pacifism as a joke. I’m experimenting with home-made garlic spray and yeast traps this week to see if it helps save my kale.

:: And don’t think I’ve forgotten about YOU, aphids. Coffee; It’s coming your way.

:: Would like to grow more medicinal plants and more tomatoes next year.

:: Start the pepper and chilli plants off sooner next year. I mean it. No. Sooner than that.

:: That gum tree and conifer are going to have to be felled. We tried the ‘send the neighbour up the tree with a chainsaw’ last time. I’m opting for a professional, health-and-safety-is-cool, arborist this autumn.

:: I’m pretty sure the top of the garden could be put to better use. I have plans…. anyone with a free chicken run call me….

Inside : Outside

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The heat hit – like someone opened the oven door. Nothing brings relief. We’re showering a lot and trying to find the coolest place in the house. The garden is best enjoyed at night when temperatures fall to the low 20*s.

The jasmine is making sitting outside at iftar extra beautiful. We planted this after the Manchester bomb to remember the victims; it quickly became our ‘peace tree’ to remember all those affected by hate and violence. There is too much to feel over-whelmed by in this world; in my lowest moments I still believe in the power to plant seeds and add light to the world.

Inside, we are twinkling up the house as we work towards Eid. Such a small thing which makes my two boys grin from ear to ear.

I’m holding them a little tighter these days.

w e e k e n d i n g

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This weekend I hope to be doing some of the following…

:: I am sure at some point there will be gardening involved, but apart from that I have plans to scan some new work to get them in the shop next week (I will be removing some items from the shop too, to stop it going stale).

:: Perhaps juxtaposing my two favourite things by making art sitting in the garden! How relaxing would that be? Hayfever permitting….

:: It’s been a while since I made any 3D things – I put my foxy creations down a long while ago, and I’m feeling a little stitchy – so maybe a little play around with ideas there…

:: I have another mountain of things to donate to charity… I’m fluttering my eyelashes at people to help me shift it? Hopefully this weekend…

:: And we’re in the last ten days of Ramadan! And that means it’s twinkly light and tinsel time! Oh yes. I must take the time to decorate the house.

What are your plans for this weekend?

Small, But Mighty

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This week has all been about getting into the garden; filling in spaces that have nothing growing, adding mulch (oh the mulch!), chopping back hedges, making runs to the garden centre for one more bag of compost (and mulch) and coming back with another beauty that caught my eye – perusing the clearance aisle for things we can squirrel away into unused corners to see if they grow. It’s getting packed out there in our tiny space. And I don’t mind one bit.

For too long it has been a neglected space as I lived with one foot out of the house wanting to move away and move on. But this year I’ve embraced the ‘grow where you’re planted’ sentiment and thrown my lot in with both house and garden. And it fees good. It feels good to commit. And I’ve surprised myself with not only what a difference it makes in the quality of our surroundings, but in myself too. I am content. I am growing where I’ve been planted, and that’s plenty for me to be getting on with.

I’m already planning for the work ahead in the autumn – mainly tree pruning. I need to install an outdoors water tap which is a little beyond my expertise and comfort zone of experimentation, so plan B is being thought through. I have no idea if anything will grow – ants have a partial dislike for some of my things, slugs and earwigs have joined the party and I have more aphids and ladybirds than you can shake a stick at. So my reading is back to the books discarded in the library about companion planting and permaculture. It’s all good. I’m not expecting to feed the five thousand from my plot, and anything is a bonus.

This week we harvested the dwarf peas! A small batch, but a delight nonetheless. We ate them at the iftar table and after years of hating peas the youngest cannot believe how tasty peas are now! He ate the lot. Herbs are also being cut back hopefully to get some more growth out of them before autumn. They are currently dehydrating in the outside room. Not much, but a mighty start in the art of growing where you’ve been planted.

Daze and Nights

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Our Ramadan still pause has happened. We’re bang in the middle of some long days fasting and some sweet nights in the garden, catching our breath, exhaling, readying for another day of withholding. I’m blinkered right now; I keep my head down and plough on, and somewhere along the way I get to the other side. It’s a doozy. But having a green space to watch things grow, to sit and think and breath the cool night air is a real blessing. Those spring days of fevered working in the garden have paid off. The boys keep saying ‘thank you for making the garden so nice, Mum’. They’re good kids. And they love eating ice cream by a fire that’s for sure!

Sometimes, knowing where you want to be and what you want, makes the work obvious. And when you finally get to smell the roses (or the jasmine as the case may be), its just that little bit sweeter.

Playing Catch Up

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Some seeds are in! Woop! Not very many as I don’t have a big garden, but hopefully enough to get going before I start with some faster germinating things next month. Cabbage, kale, peas, tomato, and my kids will be delighted to know sprouts are in, as well as some flowers. No idea if anything will grow. No idea what I’m doing. But it’s fun.