Thursday, January 26, 2012

Egyptian Lavender? It Exists??

Hello! As I mentioned last week, I've planted some of my seeds (but not all, since it's been so rainy, and I think Love would have a conniption fit if I did this indoors), have almost finished my herb jars, and was able to take photos of the mini lime babies that have popped up on the tree! I haven't been out to look in the last few days, so I hope they've been surviving the rain alright, but as of a few days ago, they were there, and CUUUTE!

So first things first: I finished the jars to the extent that I have been able to store the herbs in them and put them in the cupboard, but to be completely honest, I actually forgot all about making the labels! This is probably because I'm subconsiously afraid of how they will--or won't--turn out. Meh... I'll do it this weekend, and take pictures. Honest. 0:-)

I planted the seeds last Friday, so hopefully we will see some growth soon. I know that it takes a few weeks before they officially sprout, but I'm just so excited for them to grow up into little adult plants! I also treated myself to two types of lavender when I was at the nursery, getting more soil: French Lavender and, apparently, Egyptian Lavender. Go figure. ;) I was hoping to get some Bulgarian lavender, but these will work just fine, especially considering that now I know that there even IS such a thing as Egyptian Lavender!

Like I mentioned before, Mr. Lime seems to be doing well. Here is a post-blossom photo of a few of the little survivors, as of probably 5 days ago:

Anyway, this is it for now. I intend to finish the jars this weekend, as well as make some garden labels for all my newly-acquired plants. If I'm able to catch the sun, I'll even plant the rest of the seeds!

Have a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Being Productive

I GOT MY SEEDS THIS WEEK!!!! I'm so excited that I don't know what to do with myself! Of course, it would stand to reason that I should perhaps start by sticking them in some dirt and giving them a drink, but I don't actually have anything to plant them in right now, so I'll have to stop at the nursery after my ballet class tomorrow to get some new pots and soil.... heh. Can you imagine me carting around potting soil in pink Capezio tights? ;-P

Anyway, since it's the rainy season, I'm worried about Mr. Lime. Certainly, he benefits from the rain, and lately he has been much happier than during the dry season, but this week it got to the point where the tree actually suffered leaf-and-blossom drop! :( I read up on it, and apparently it will feel better once the weather stops being so drippy, but I just hope we will still get at least some pseudo-limes this year... not to mention that it's been so dreary, due to the rain clouds, that it's been dark by the time I get home from work so I can't even go outside to check on the poor thing. I'll make a visit tomorrow, though, once I'm thoroughly dirtied up from the above-mentioned potting soil, as I might actually have some daylight to burn.

In other news, I know that before, I said that soon I would be in the mood for Valentine's Day, but to tell the truth, my mind oftentimes skips holidays in favor of others. Last year I was ready for Valentine's Day during the Christmas season, and this year, all I want is a good feis on St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, those don't exactly happen in my neck of the woods. Hopefully, at least, I'll soon get my head out of the clover fields and back to the heart-shaped chocolate box, where it currently belongs! ;) I do have some adorable ideas for Valentine's Day decorations, and will hopefully be able to get started on those in the next week or two. First, however, come the potting of the seeds and, of course, the herb jar project I started this week.

Speaking of the herb jars, I've gotten the labels off successfully, and am currently trying to make the lids look decent and decide on what sort of labels to make. Since I don't have a printer, let alone specialized printing paper, my labels will be done completely by hand, and attached with something probably scarily similar to generic white school glue... not that I have any idea if this will even work. I'll let you know, though, and soon, as Love wants my project out of the living room! Hehehe!

Anyway, I'm off to work on my jars. I keep motivating myself with the notion that the sooner the jars are done, the sooner I can USE them, and that's the part I'm actually excited about. :)

Talk to you later! I'm off to be productive!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sewing, Raw Fooding, Herbing.

Hello, hello! I know I haven't posted now for, officially, over a week, but please don't hurt me! I haven't exactly been inspired until this weekend; last weekend was so hectic and this past week was a mess as well. Hopefully things will go much better this week, though! :)

I finally got to try out my Christmas sewing machine, and it is soooo cute! I'm going to have to get used to it, first, because I  haven't used a sewing machine in years, and second, because it's so small that there is no foot pedal, only a stop-go button. I feel now as though I need about 4 hands to operate it, but I can see how I will be using it with ease later. In case you are wondering, my first project with it was a pot holder, because I need more pot holders, they still function if they aren't pretty, and it's simple enough to start with a small square. x-P

This week I'm also going to be trying some raw recipes, I think. I was really into this idea before I got my appendix taken out, but you know how a catastrophe can put everything on a standstill. Anyway, we will see if it goes, and if I can actually commit to this sort of thing. I hope so, and I especially hope that my first foray into nut-butter-making won't be a complete and utter disaster! ;) Don't worry; I will definitely let you know what I end up trying! :)

Today I started "making" herb jars--and by that, I mean that I am currently soaking old jars that have interesting shapes, after which I will scrape off the glue remnants and THEN start making them pretty. Interesting stuff, eh? ;) I doubt I will actually get the project done tonight, as I went to a ballet class and am EXHAUSTED (it went amazingly well, by the way, and I'm quite smug about today's barre performance :-P ). However, I WILL let you in on my herb jar vision; check out these little lovelies:

Harry Potter herb jars from Cognizant Dreamer
Potion Ingredient Jar Set from She Creates Stuff
Harry Potter Magnet Set from Entertainment Earth
Glass Potion Jars from Cydney's Antiques

Of course, mine will be much more cooking herb-oriented, and not quite as macabre as the last three, but they're a good start! At least you know the general genre I'm going for. Also, just so you know, this is going to be my first real "I can't find it, so I'm making do" project that is posted here. That's actually the majority of my crafting and cooking, but up until now, I haven't really discussed it much in this location.

Anyway, it's 9:30 at night (oh, my!), and I'm exhausted (how embarassing). I'll be sure to post the jars, once they're wonderful and done!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The January of Cleansing

For the first time in my life, I think I understand what my mom meant when she said that she was ready to put Christmas away. It's not that we could ever get sick of it--there's not much that I like better than the Christmas season, and my mom is the same. However, considering that we celebrate from the first day of Advent (a few days after Thanksgiving) until Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas (January 6), and this year I got hoodwinked into being much more grown-up about the whole thing (added responsibilities at home, church, and work), the concept does make some sense. Today I was ready, instead of sad, to take down the tree and all the house's trimmings.

First of all, yes. I AM that person. I don't believe in Christmas being over on Boxing Day, or December 26 for you Americans. ;) I believe in Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas. :) Happily, I have somehow found a Love--of another religion, mind you--who feels the same, and you know what? It works for me. Who REALLY wants to take down a Christmas tree the day after, anyway? There's too much to play with, and too many yummy leftovers and stocking stuffers to gorge upon!

This leads me to WHY I am ready for a "cleanse." First of all, let's face it. It's HARD to clean around a Christmas tree! It's also a busy time of the year, which leads to less time in the house..... all in all, my house needs a good cleaning, I'm sick of the cat attacking the tree, and to be honest, now I'm ready for spring. Fortunately, I'm currently located in a climate where it's actually a good thing to be in the mood for spring in January. The dandelions have already started to bloom in my yard! It's crazy. I'm itching to get out there. (Still no word on my supposedly-shipped seeds, by the way.)

It's not just the house that needs cleaning out, however. I can't believe how much sugar I've consumed in the past few months, and when compared to how much healthy food I haven't been consuming, the number is practically horrifying. Now, I am definitely not someone who makes a New Year's resolution involving weight loss, diets, or food in general. I don't feel that restricting myself is going to do any good, and besides, to be honest, I don't need to diet. (Don't hurt me. ;-P ) However, I'm about done feeling like I'm stuffed to my ears in... how do I say it? PROCESSED "foods." It's time for a cleanse for my body, too.

I have never done a traditional cleanse, per say, but about a year and a half ago I actually started watching what I was eating, as well as how much of it was going into my body at a time, and this past summer I had a very near brush with raw veganism, before I had to go into the hospital for emergency surgery, which REALLY threw off everything--my eating patterns and habits, my yoga, and my exercise two-a-days I was doing at the time. I'm telling you, it takes a while to get into all of that, and I'm still not back to where I was before the surgery. Now, however, I'm starting to feel like it's time to check out the raw recipes again. :-D

The thing with "raw" is that I REALLY like to bake--as in, old-fashioned, yo-gramma-don't-make-it-so-good baking. I don't think I would ever actually want to be a raw vegan, but the food itself looks amazingly delicious, and when I took even baby steps in that direction, I couldn't believe how good I started feeling. It even enhanced my yoga and workouts in a way that did NOT involve calories. I repeat, however, I'm a little too old-fashioned in the kitchen to become a complete devotee. I'm more excited by the idea of my kitchen expertise and table being enhanced by raw foodism. During the summer, it was my personal goal to stay raw until dinner. I was getting good at it, too.

This means that I'm officially DONE with processed and junk food, especially sweets, for a while now. This doesn't mean that I will completely swear them off, not try the Mexican hot chocolate that Love and I bought recently, or not try out sweet raw vegan recipes that are actually packed with nutrients. It just means that, well, I kind of feel like I'm "over" junk food and really into "healthy" food. I already have my eye on a few raw recipes that look incredible! I'll definitely post what I try, and let you know what I think. :)

For a change of pace, what do YOU think? Could you ever do a raw diet? Do you know of some (simple for beginners with no special equipment) raw recipes that you think I should try? Let me know! :-D

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Beginnings of a Garden

Hello there! Happy Thursday! :) Guess what? My lime tree is now BLOSSOMING! Yep! Check it out:

It also has lots of new growth!

Today I went out with the cinnamon and the aphid annihilator to ensure that there weren't any new invaders. There was some new growth, which did have some of the little buggers attached, but I did away with them, as well as putting more cinnamon around the base. Overall, the tree is doing nicely. :) As you see above, the buds are now blossoming, and it's so exciting to think that I actually kept this tree alive for a full year, and now it's happy enough to adorn itself with Spring's finest! :)

I also have a few other little seedlings in my home right now, alongside a nice and fat aloe plant, and an avocado tree that supposedly will never bear fruit. (It might if I grew another next to it, but I'll save that for after my garden is established, when I have a spare avocado pit and nothing else to do.) It's not exactly a garden fit for a self-sustaining expert, but considering that plants don't normally do well with me, I'm pretty impressed with myself. :)

I tried trimming some of the branches of the huge flower bushes that were already in place when we came to live here, but those things are TOUGH! I'll have to get some serious pruning shears to deal with that mess.... those, and perhaps a man to do the work. B-) Also, I have plans for many more seedlings, but of course, I'm still waiting on the seeds that I ordered. Apparently there was some mistake with our order, so it was cancelled, so we had to order again. I have two packages waiting at the post office, so hopefully one of them contains my seeds. :)

Stay tuned, because soon, Epiphany will have passed, Christmas will be taken down (boohoo!), and I'll be brainstorming for Valentine's Day. :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Few Plans for 2012

Well, happy (late) new year! I'm sorry to say that I've not worked on anything that I can really post, but never fear! I'm sure most of us have gotten a "whole lot of nothing" done this week. ;) I CAN tell you, however, that I did get a Pinterest account, and am already getting excited for Valentine's Day! I'm not exactly sure why, but for some reason, Valentine's Day has always given me this perfect vision of sitting warm on the couch, next to your honey, sipping hot cocoa and watching snow drift fluffily from the sky. That isn't to say that I've ever experienced this picturesque situation, and there's no way it's happening this year where  I'm located, unless Love has a surprise trip planned to someplace--dare I say it?--EXOTICALLY snowy. ;)

All this aside, one good thing about living somewhere warm is that I can already start working on my garden--I have already noticed buds on my lime tree--its first buds ever, I should add--and with that, have already battled ants and aphids. ;) What I did was combine veggie oil and dish soap in a spray bottle, and copiously spritzed the little monsters on a cloudy day. (If you do this when sun is directly on the plant, it will scorch the little guy.) I then sprinkled enough cinnamon powder around the base of the tree to make it look as though it's surrounded by reddish-colored dirt. The cinnamon keeps the ants from getting close enough to the tree to climb up, and since ants farm aphids, it seemed to be the best course of action. I did this right after Christmas, and as of two days ago, the tree seems to be doing much better. Of course I'll keep checking it; the last thing I need is for something to have survived and started making babies on my tree.

Just as a side note, of course I've also started planning the rest of my garden, because right now, the entire thing looks mostly like a waste land, save for the aforementioned lime tree and a brand new patio. I'm already growing peppers and exotic vine fruit from seed, and have ordered plenty more seeds of different varieties. I'm hoping to get the yard looking decent enough to hold a Cinco de Mayo party this year, which means that Love and I have a little bit of work ahead of us! Wouldn't it be perfect to hold our first ever Cinco de Mayo party in a garden with it's first crop of limes just beginning? :)

For now, however, here are two photos of my lime tree's buds! I hope they actually last and produce something that at least looks like lime babies this year.

I have other things planned for 2012 as well, obviously, but for now, these are first and most important on the list. What do YOU have planned so far for 2012?