Sketch: Sophie and the rabbit

fan art for Sophie's World: Sophie sitting on a giant rabbit

I'm reading Sophie's World at the moment, by Jostein Gaarder. It's a story of a 14 year old girl who begins a mysterious correspondence course in philosophy. It tickles my interests, and I wish I'd found this book as a teenager. It would have given me more confidence seeing thoughts through and discussing them with people.

Last month, I learned about the 50 book pledge. This is interesting cos when you pledge to do something, you usually get some kind of adventure out of it, and I want to have reading adventures again. Only, I'm not reading 50 books over one year cos I'm slow and don't want to spend all my free time inside a book.

Instead, I'll read 20 books. This seems do-able. And because I'm reading more e-books now instead of paper books, I'll celebrate with fanart sketches rather than photos of book covers.

So here is a roughly drawn, no-face Sophie Amundsen sitting atop the philosophical rabbit.

Doing less

my poor warm cat

I have not been eating or sleeping well for the past week. It's been warm, and all I can think about is how I wish I were one of those hairless cats, so I could sleep all day but not have a fur coat.

It is most definitely summer.

Doing less has been odd and pleasant so far. I've not picked up new projects, but made an effort to plod along, approach my activities with restraint, and savour moments of mildly agitated boredom. I feel relaxed and daydreamy. I feel again some desires for things I had lost the taste for.

Today, I am excited about these things:

joey pouches - cut, hemmed, and pinned, ready for sewing

Finishing my joey pouches for Project Pouch. I'm only making handful, but I expect they'll get lots of contributions.

I feel good about being able to participate. It's been disappointing over the last few years to never have time or energy to get involved in community things. The number of times I've looked at the volunteering info for Cat Haven and Dogs' Home, daydreamed a little, then closed my browser knowing it would be impossible without wearing out completely... Boo. :(

So, being in a position to even consider making something for baby roos makes me quite happy. Even better is getting to make them from scrap fabric that survived the KonMari of my craft room. :) Yay, recycling!

my hideous, stinking, red futsal shoes

Football. Social Sundays and mixed Mondays are back on. I expect to be rubbish, after all the over-eating I did throughout Christmas and New Year. We've hardly cooked, so I'm feeling mighty unhealthy and full of junk food.

Very soon, I will unleash KonMari on my kitchen, so doing stuff in there doesn't feel like such a headache. I meant to yesterday - really! - but had a nap and went for a swim instead. Lalala~

I have been losing all the Fitbit challenges with my friends. Today, I will do my best to make 10k steps by the end of our 90min game.

a finished fence, two tired gents

Putting up a fence (last week). Yes, I'm still excited. I felt useful, active, and healthy. I felt the people we did it for were geuninely happy with it, and would love the finished product for at least 20 years.

And once we were done, I felt sad it was over. So many cool things and hilarious mistakes happened along the way. It got me thinking about life choices, and what might happen one day if we end up having our own mini-farm. I admire Georgina for learning as she goes, and doing it all by herself. I'm nowhere near as brave, but by playing with fences and chainsaws, I hope one day to be slightly closer to it.

I am looking forward to the next manual arts project, though I don't know what that will be. Of course, I must keep my promise about not getting manic, so I don't ruin it with exhaustion, so I am happy for the idea to be 'over there' for a while, until it pops up by itself.

My baby pumpkin at 23 days

baby pumpkin, 23 days

My little Cucurbita pepo at 23 days. He is getting close to harvest time, according to Gardenate. Not a bad size for a first pumpkin. Maybe if I add some worm poo to the garden bed, we can do a power run to the end of the month.

But I will wait until the vines wither. I wonder when that will happen, and what triggers it. Is it as easy as a "15-20 week" prediction on a seed packet? We shall see.

spot of powdery mildew on pumpkin leaf

We've had minor bouts of powdery mildew. It's sad to see white fuzzy spots suddenly appearing on leaves. But you can understand why this annoying fungus likes to make a home on them - rough and furry fibres, lots of surface area to nest in.

I'm not keen on chemicals in such a small garden. If we were talking about a large scale operation or intense infestation, sure. But for this tiny project, out came the milk.

milk spray in a bottle

Yeah, you heard me: milk spray.

I was skeptical. It sounded like a disgusting wives tale, like kissing toads if you want to get warts. But apparently it's a thing (pg. 31, 37), quite likely because:

  • milk residue leaves a physical barrier on the surface of the leaf,
  • milk alters the pH of the leaf surface, changing the conditions typically ideal for fungal growth, and
  • a protein in the milk has a destructive effect on the mildew's reproductive parts.

Interesting science!

It's still disgusting and it stinks, especially on a warm day. But only for a while. And the next day, the white spots were still visible, but faded.

pumpkin patch bukkake party

Happy new year!

cheerful donkey on a hill

One day, I'd like to be on such a long, enjoyable holiday where there'd be no need to measure time. But for now, out of the habit of adhering to calendars within a normal society, I consider the distinction between this year and last.

For all its difficult patches, rumination over life choices, visits from the black dog, insomnia, and weird allergies, 2014 was pretty OK. I'm feeling a bit accomplished; I managed to hit three of my four goals for 2014:

a native violet

Earned my Cert II in Horticulture and never want to study again. Though, I also said this after finishing my Writing diploma. Maybe study is a 4-yearly thing? Maybe by next World Cup, I will have a new reason to pay school to stress me out and eat all my time.

my crocheted gloves

Sold crocheted items in a shop, and I'm ever so grateful to Lucy In Disguise for helping me get exposure for my work. I also approached an overseas online store I admired for a very long time, but despite getting serious interest, I couldn't find it in me to follow through. Maybe timing wasn't right, or having been in love with them for so long made me overlook what was right for me now. In any case, I spent much time pondering what I love about craft and makery. I can't articulate it yet, but for the present, I really like small scale and local.

a homemade 1920s style dress

Crafted something significant, kind of. When I set this goal, I meant taking up woodwork and making furniture. Instead, I made a dress and wore it to a cocktail party. It's given me the confidence to consider making clothes instead of buying, though being in the midst of applying KonMari to my home makes me not want new clothes right now.

But I didn't forget about woodwork. Using leftovers from Niaal's various projects, I made a box. :)

my wooden box

my wooden box, upright

my wooden box, a poorly crafted corner

Over the last couple of years, I've been experimenting with goal setting. In 2013, I did one thing a month. I felt stagnant and ignorant, and found that many short-term projects in succession was ideal for expanding horizons quickly - no time to falter and doubt, just ship ship ship!

But I was fucking drained at the end of it. Setting fewer goals, last year, gave me more time to reflect on the journey and the broader life decisions connected to each.

I realise now I have particularly manic phases, where I get too excited about working towards a goal. I throw everything at it, then burn out. It invades every area of my life, turning recreation into work, and fun into slog. While a powerful fire for getting stuff done, it does a lot of damage if left untempered.

This year, I want to try and do less. In aiming for fewer things, I still felt like I did a lot, but having more unplanned stuff made life feel interesting and more free. So, fewer plans for 2015, and just one goal this time.

The only thing I didn't manage last year was doing something musical. I wanted to put together an EP, but never made the time. This seems like a nice almost-SMART target to aim for.

Just one thing should be easy, right? We shall see.

Happy new year, everyone. :) I hope good things come to you.

My creepy potato kingdom

potato sprout branches

Some potatoes in our cupboard sprouted, and I left them there for months cos I'm lazy. But look! They're cool and creepy now!

So in an ambiently lit bag is my potato sprout cave:

sprouted potatoes in a plastic bag 1

sprouted potatoes in a plastic bag 2

sprouted potatoes in a plastic bag 3

sprouted potatoes in a plastic bag 4

close-up of potato sprout branches

a horn of potato sprout

close up of bumpy potato sprout horn

I hope you enjoyed my creepy potato kingdom


Our pumpkin is pregnant!

a pregnant pumpkin

Yeahhhhhhh get it in ya!!

Last weekend, we spotted a young female flower looking ready to bloom, so on Tuesday, we got up early for some hot hand pumpkin action.

She smelled amazing, by the way. As soon as we stepped outdoors, I could smell a sweet pumpkin fragrance in the air. None of the articles and books said anything about this. What a delightful surprise! :)

We disrobed the healthiest looking male flower and gave the anther a good rub on the female's stigma. In, around, and in again. And left the anther in for good measure.

That evening, I gave her a prod, thinking I should remove the anther, but she was shut up tight.

The following morning, her ovary had grown from marble size to a ping pong ball. This morning, it was as big as a cricket ball, at 5 days old.

From here, it will be vital to look out for:

Hydration - lots of water for my thirsty plant.

Soil fertility - lots of Seasol, potash and vermicompost.

Powdery mildew - removing any infested plant parts as quickly as possible, and minding airflow between the leaves. And maybe a milk spray if I can find some unpasteurised milk.

Naturally, we are both very excited for delicious new baby. :)