Baby Quilt: signed, sealed and almost delivered…

 

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I sewed leaves on the back with important details. The leaf with her name I have not shown

I have finished the baby quilt and I am quite pleased with it. I have sent it by registered mail and it should arrive tomorrow! I’m excited to see what they think and I’m wanting to see her wrapped in the quilt. I bought a Gumnut Baby hat through Etsy and it matches perfectly. I have also purchased a Gumnut Baby Book to go with it too. I’m so excited…

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The photo doesn’t do justice to the colours in the quilt.

My nephew’s dad is my brother. Both his parents have passed away and I feel like it is part of my family duty to make up for the loss of these grandparents for the baby. I hope they would have been pleased with my efforts.

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The close up picture is a little better… but it is brighter than this

My nephew has a twin sister, so I have plenty of material left over for her first born too. Being twins I think it is fitting to have a matching quilt. I will put green material with hers so there will be a point of difference, but also that connection.

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This is the cute little Gumnut Babies hat. I have left the plastic on so it remains pristine for bub…

So now I’m itching to make another one. I just might get the “twin” quilt made. you never know when you might receive happy news…

🙂

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Moving on…

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A beautiful wattle near us

So ok it’s been “a while” since I posted anything… My life has been full and I haven’t A: had time and B: felt like I had anything very exciting to contribute to the blogging world. I was reading some other blogs and admiring their art, craft and produce. I thought I might add a few things I’ve been doing and some thoughts I’ve had.

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I love this bridge. We walk the dogs to this spot along the river

We have moved from the red dirt, salt lakes, blue,blue skies and salmon gums to a farming area. We moved in August when the fields were green and splashed here and there with that beautiful bright yellow of Canola crops. At first we didn’t have a house to move to, but I put out the “please find us something” vibe to the universe and my good old Aunty Bev found us a place. I know it was her because it’s in Beverley and she was named after the town… The house is a little small and we have had to cram our abundance of stuff into it. Perhaps the universe is telling me to downsize lady! I had been slowly ferreting out the unused, unnecessary and anything unwanted before our move, but it seems I have more work to do.

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The baby quilt, unfinished but not far from being ready. The colour is brighter in the flesh.

Before our move we had a week off work and took our “new” van up the coast with some friends of ours. Along the way we stopped overnight to visit a friend who we hadn’t seen in over 16 years. It was a lovely catch up, plenty to tell each other of the interceding years. The van worked fantastically! Our dogs loved it, they have their own lounge in the van. She’s an old girl but well built and has been looked after. It was nice to just pull up and wind the legs down, pull out the awning and sort out a couple of things inside. Only took us 10 minutes, me inside and my husband outside. Our old van was the wind up type with the pull out end. We had it down to a good half hour but now it’s so much quicker and we get to have a coldy sooner. Bonus! After this happy holiday we got the news that we were moving.

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Close up of some of the characters

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The photos are a bit blurry, still getting use to a new phone camera

I have finally set up my sewing room, just in time to make a baby quilt for my nephew’s first baby, a little girl. So beautiful… I bought some May Gibbs material a while ago, being a big fan of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and I have used this to make the quilt. I went with a simple 4 patch, 2 squares of the May Gibbs material and 2 plain: yellow and cream. When I started the quilt my little great niece hadn’t been born so these colours suited either sex. I am currently contemplating the quilting pattern for the edge. Once I have that sorted then it just needs binding. I think I will make some leaves for the back of the quilt to write her name etc on…

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The “darker pattern”

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I love making baby quilts. There is something whimsical and fun about them. They don’t take long either. It’s been about 3 weeks from selecting the materials, choosing a pattern to use, cutting, sewing and quilting. I’ve been going to work on and off as well. It’s nice to see a quilt come together and show it’s character. I found a Gumnut Baby beanie, online, to go with the quilt. I can’t wait see photos of her wrapped in the quilt with her little beanie on.

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The quilt squares in sets of 4

I have also been setting up a vege and herb garden. Some of my plants died in the move so I needed to replenish them, and some were in the ground so we left them for the next people to enjoy. I have a deck area in the new house and the plants seem to enjoy the aspect. My clever hubby has set up a watering system for me too, salvaged from our last garden. We put up a blind at one end to minimise some of the wind and create a bit of shade for the hot summer. I bought some self watering pots on a stand and they seem to be working well. Nothing beats cutting your own lettuce and herbs for a salad or to put in your sandwiches. I’m waiting on the strawberries and some tom thumb tomatoes.. yum! My husband had to leave the passionfruit vine behind so I’ve got one of those on the go too. Might be a while before he can pick some fruit, just as well the vine in Perth is producing some fruit for him.

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The self watering pots in a stand

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One bonus of our move is being closer to our family. We only have a 1 1/2 hour trip now, which is much better than the 8 hours we had before. Our eldest son has had some medical issues this year and being so far away was very stressful. I still lay awake at night worrying about him, but at least now I can jump in the car and see him and return home again if I wish to. We count our blessings when we can.

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Tomato and Basil

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Lime in the foreground, Rosemary behind

Well that about sums up our last few months.

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Snoopy taking time to smell the flowers

Christmas, Weddings, Parties, Anything….

Christmas was a quiet affair for me this year. We had our family Christmas lunch which rolled into dinner with the left overs. It was just us, the two boys and Tara this year. I still miss my father in law, Brian. He was always in good spirits at Christmas time. Boxing Day is traditionally the day we get together with all of my husbands family. Our kids are the eldest and with all 4 siblings having 2 children each it was always full of noise, fun and food. Christmas Day usually sees me running around getting the house ready for Boxing Day, but this year my fabulous sister in law decided to have it at theirs. I spent time drifting around feeling like I had forgotten to do something. We were having a late Boxing Day dinner as some of the kids have jobs on Boxing Day now. We have only had shops open on Boxing Day for about 3 years now and I don’t like it. Boxing Day was always a family day and now there is mass flocking to shops for sales. Do we really need more shopping?? Anyway I liked it more when it was “old fashioned” and the shops were closed. We had all but one child there, as she was overseas. We all had a lovely time catching up and the kids had fun razzing each other. I call them kids but they are mostly young adults now…. still be called kids in another 10yrs I think :). While at my sister in laws I felt the urge to keep trying to help, but really it was mostly done and I felt so relaxed! A lovely day surrounded by our family. Time soon raced on to New Years Eve. It is probably the quietest one we have had. Just my husband and I, sitting on the couch watching tv. We made it to midnight, a proud fact, and soon departed to bed. It seems the theme for this year is “Quiet and steady as we go.”

We flew to Melbourne to attend my nephew’s wedding. It was great to catch up with some more of my family. We stayed with one of my nieces and her husband. I have a lot in common with her and it is always fun when we catch up. I caught up with some more nieces, my nephew and my brother at the wedding. It was a lovely affair, made all the more poignant by the fact that my brother, the father of the groom, had passed away last year. His mum has also passed, so it was lovely to see him happy next to his new bride. I felt them in the room with us and know they would have been bursting with pride. I also got to stay with an elderly uncle of mine. He is a true gent and we always enjoy catching up with him.

I’m back at work now and it seems like a distant memory already….

Now must get down to planning our next trip 🙂

Twas the Night Before Xmas ……

Well here we are looking Xmas in the face again. It has been another quick year, and each one seems to fly by quicker than the next. Xmas seems to get me thinking back on the year, so once again I am reflecting back, learning lessons, counting blessings and feeling amazed at my good luck.

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Thanks to all you wonderful bloggers who have written some amazing blogs, they are the highlight of my week. And thank you for your kind words too. I’m not as prolific as you all are but it has been very gratifying to read all the lovely comments when I do get around to posting.

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I sincerely hope you and your families will have some special moments on Christmas Day. Keep safe where ever you are in this wonderful world of ours.

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I will be sitting around the pool with a cold glass in one hand and a book that I have been trying to finish in the other 🙂

Cheers!img_photogallery-largephotos-prospect_santa_by_the_pool_lg

China on my mind..

Ok so I had so many photos I thought I might post some more in a blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did being there.

A beautiful display and more stairs

A beautiful display and more stairs

The more animals on your roof the more important the building. This one was very important

The more animals on your roof the more important the building. This one was very important.

I loved the big red doors in China.

I loved the big red doors in China.

The South Gate at night in Xi'an.

The South Gate at night in Xi’an.

You can see the state of the warriors when they are unearthed. A lot of work goes into reconstructing them.

You can see the state of the warriors when they are unearthed. A lot of work goes into reconstructing them.

The Warriors had colour painted on them but after a short time of being exposed to the air it all faded. They are trying to work out a way of preserving the colours on the ones that haven’t been dug up yet.

Two of these were also unearthed. Made out of bronze it is quite spectacular up close.

Two of these were also unearthed. Made out of bronze it is quite spectacular up close.

This was one of 8 poles either side of a memorial. They changed colours and had many different looks, from bricks to flowers.

This was one of 8 poles either side of a memorial. They changed colours and had many different looks, from bricks (as above) to flowers.

The moat around the Xi'an Wall. You can see how smoggy it is.

The moat around the Xi’an Wall. You can see how smoggy it is.

This ladies job is to do the outlines on the lacquer pieces.

This ladies job is to do the outlines on the lacquer pieces.

This guy adds the colour.

This guy adds the colour.

I would have loved to bring this beautiful piece home, but it was over $1000....

I would have loved to bring this beautiful piece home, but it was over $1000….

Old buildings mixed with new.

Old buildings mixed with new.

Camels also feature in their artwork as they were vital to the Silk Road trade.

Camels also feature in their artwork as they were vital to the Silk Road trade.

The Pagoda at the Summer Palace. This is perched on a man made mountain.

The Pagoda at the Summer Palace. This is perched on a man made mountain.

When the Emperor decided to build the Summer Palace he wanted this Pagoda to sit on a mountain, beside a lake. He got his people to dig out a vast lake and used the soil to build the mountain.

Tea anyone?

Tea anyone?

This is a marble boat that the Emperor had built so he could sit and have tea with his concubines and admire the lake. It was also a symbol of his power.

The walkway at the Summer Palace.

The walkway at the Summer Palace.

This walkway connects one side of the palace to the other and is about 175 metres long… it is the Guinness Book of Records as the longest in the world.

There are paintings, by famous painters of the period, along the entire length.

There are paintings, by famous painters of the period, along the entire length.

This is the inside of one of the many little pagodas inserted into the walk along the way.

This is the inside of one of the many little pagodas inserted into the walk along the way.

Th Forbidden City

Th Forbidden City

You walk through the red wall into the Forbidden City. If you squint your eyes you can see the large picture of Chairman Mao. You walk in the front and come out the back. It is a vast area. I could have spent hours just wandering around looking.

The first courtyard.

The first courtyard.

This is the concubines area.  There are passage ways off to the left that led to living quarters.

This is the concubines area. There are passage ways off to the left that led to living quarters.

China's version of Hollywood :)

China’s version of Hollywood 🙂

The Yangtze Gold 7, our cruise ship.

The Yangtze Gold 7, our cruise ship.

Stairwell in the cruise ship

Stairwell in the cruise ship

One of the doors in the Locks.

One of the doors in the Locks.

We thought we would have a look at one of the lock doors opening, but it was so fascinating that we stayed for 3 of them. Once the doors are shut behind the boat it only took a few minutes to rapidly rise up 22 metres.

Our ship would end up at the top of that wall.

Our ship would end up at the top of that wall.

It was lovely to sit on the balcony and watch some beautiful scenery go by.

It was lovely to sit on the balcony and watch some beautiful scenery go by.

More scenery...

More scenery…

I love their architecture. Even a walkway is pretty

I love their architecture. Even a walkway is pretty

Building in Chongqing, where 33 million people call home.

Building in Chongqing, where 33 million people call home.

This is the outskirts of Chongqing. We photographed this the night before we birthed.

This is the outskirts of Chongqing. We photographed this the night before we birthed.

We thought this was a different city to Chongqing, but when we asked what it was called our tour guide said it was the outskirts of Chongqing. We sailed all night and birthed in the morning, so you can get an idea of just how huge that city is…

Oh no, not more bloody stairs!

Oh no, not more bloody stairs!

I would gladly go back and climb more stairs, just to see more of this amazing country.

 

 

 

Lady Bugs, Plastic Bottles and China!

Hello to the blog sphere!

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Bruce and I being introduced to the Warrior Clan

 

I am sitting inside, cowering from a 39 degree day. I’ve cleaned the house, washed the clothes and potted in the garden, so now I think it is the perfect time to sit on my derriere and put some photos and words into a new blog post.

The South Gate of the Xi'an City Wall.

The South Gate of the Xi’an City Wall.

On the 6th of October my husband and I boarded a plane to fly to Hong Kong. This was our stop over on the way to Xi’an, China. I have always had a fascination with China. I love to watch the movies, eat the food and admire the art of calligraphy. I have also read some wonderful fiction books based in China, back in the days of Emperors.

On the top of the Xi'an Wall

On the top of the Xi’an Wall

Anyway I digress, sorry. So we arrived in Xi’an in the afternoon of the 7th and were soon ferried to our hotel. We had 36 people in our group, and over the 14 days we got to know them very well, and what a lovely bunch they were.  The accommodation was great, like a junior suite, with separate lounge, bathroom and powder room. Plus a bar area in the lounge room. My husband is tall, 6’4 in the old measure, (for aussies), and was relieved to have a shower head high enough for him to get under.

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

In Xi’an they still have the wall and gates that protected the old city from attack. We got to walk on the top of this wall and it was great to see how huge it was and imagine what it was like back 1000 years or so… that’s the thing with China, they talk in thousands of years, mind blowing to an Aussie who only has barely 250 yrs of settlement history. At least we do have Aboriginal history, but it’s not as easy to see like in  China. Everywhere you look there are historic buildings mixing with modern.

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Side view of the same pit

Side view of the same pit. Those little black clusters on the other side are people walking down the sides

We also got to see the Terracotta Warriors, one of the things on the top of my to do list. You can’t imagine the scale of the area until you are actually standing in there looking at this vast building, full of ditches revealing what lay beneath the ground for 100’s of years. Was a highlight of my trip 🙂

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

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An Archer, fully restored

After Xi’an it was an overnight sleeper train to Beijing. We were in Beijing for 5 days and could have stayed longer! So much to see. The place is enormous, 22 million people live here. That is all of Australia in one city, just mind boggling. We went on the Wall, number 2 on my to do list, tick.  OMG the stairs… need I say more lol. In fact China is full of bloody stairs. By the end of our trip we were all saying on no not more stairs… no wonder they are all so fit.

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi'an. It changed several times and was very popular with the kids and adults

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi’an. It changed several times and was very popular with both tourists and locals

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Another change of scenery on the ceiling

We went to the Summer Palace, just beautiful, the Forbidden City, enormous, The Temple of Heaven, where we participated in a Thai Chi lesson, and went to the Olympic Park with the Bird’s Nest and Ice Cube buildings. So much to see….

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These were the first steps we encountered on the Wall, easy…

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog...

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog/smog…

After Beijing we then flew to Yichang to board a cruise ship and spend 5 days on the Yangtze River. We went through 5 locks that took us up 122 feet, that was quite an amazing thing to experience, very clever. Just think of Jurassic Park when you imagine the ginormous doors that opened at the end of each lock.  Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a water baby. I get sick in a spa, I know you can stop laughing now… anyway this part of the tour was a bit nerve wracking for me as I was petrified of being ill the whole way. I used some pressure point bands on my wrists and took a quell morning and night. I am relieved to say that I didn’t get sick! Not once, not even a little 😀

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

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I don’t know what that concubine is up to but she is about to feel the wrath of my fan… lol

Our trip finished in the city of Chongqing, where 32 million people reside… yes not a typo, 32 million. It was mind boggling to see row upon row of 30 story high buildings as far as the eye could see, in all directions. An amazing experience and one I could do again just so I could linger a little longer to see more …. Some of the group went on to Shanghai and we have had emails from them to say it is well worth a visit. So this is still on my to do list…

We purchased this trip through Scoupons at an amazing price. The travel agency was SNA and we were a little worried it would be cheap and not so cheerful but it wasn’t. The whole trip was excellent and, apart from the smog which can’t be controlled, was well worth the trip.

Some beautiful gardens in China

Some beautiful gardens in China

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Trying to look like I'm holding this large basket of flowers

Trying to look like I’m holding this large basket of flowers

Now it’s back to sleepy little old (Ha! only 150 years) Norseman, population now 803.  Just how I like it 🙂

 

The Thai Basil in it's bottle

The Thai Basil in it’s bottle

Mint in a bottle

Mint in a bottle

I could have done a separate blog on my plastic bottle recycling but I don’t think it would come out before 2015 (yikes that’s too soon already) so I’m throwing it in with China.

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

Passionfruit futures

Passionfruit futures

 

Unfortunately Norseman doesn’t do recycling. When I first got here it was the most disappointing thing about the town. It hurts me throw, what I know is recyclable, away. So in an effort to salvage some of our recyclable goods, I have been trying to use what I can for my little garden. I saw a terrific tip about cutting out a piece in the side of drink bottles and using them for plants. I like to drink sparkling water and as a result have some bottles… the first one I made has some Thai Basil in, I have had recipes with this in, so now I can happily go and pick some. Norseman is fairly remote and doesn’t always have what you need for recipes. The second one I have put some mint in. These popped up in my grass so I have repurposed them into a bottle garden. I also use egg cartons to grow seeds in. Once they get to a good size you can rip each little cell apart and bury it in the ground with the seedling.

Well hello there Mr Bug

Well hello there Mr Bug

When I was taking pictures of my bottles I spotted some little lady bugs and thought I would throw them in with the blog too. I am fortunate enough to have heaps of these crawling over our passionfruit vines. Hopefully munching naughty bugs for breakfast, lunch and tea 🙂 Wish they ate mozzies… and flies for that matter. They are in mega abundant supply this year.

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

I hope you enjoy my ramble through China and some gardening shares as well.

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Spring Fever

So all this talk about Spring has got me feeling like getting down and dirty… in the garden of course.

Not that I have an awful lot to do. Where I live is a bit remote so trying to build vege gardens is an expensive task. I also have the added problem of not knowing if we will still be here next year. So I have to weigh up if it’s worth the effort if I have to leave it behind for someone else’s enjoyment.

A happy collection surrounding one of the patio piers

A happy collection surrounding one of the patio piers

The nasturtium love this spot

The nasturtium love this spot

I have a lovely little patio, under the main roof. It is outside my dining area and is accessed through a sliding door. It is protected from the strong winds but gets the sun most of the day. This is great in winter but for summer I have to rethink how to arrange my pot plants.

The other pier with a collection of plants

The other pier with a collection of plants

I have two piers on the east side of the rectangular shaped patio. Between these my clever husband has put  4 rows of nylon clothesline wire for the passionfruit vine to grow across. This helps to soften the harsh morning sun and my husband loves passionfruit.  The rows go around the corner and along the north easterly side, again giving us some shade from the sun. It gives the patio a nice feeling of containment, without feeling boxed in. When we move on, someone else will be able to enjoy the passionfruit too.

This passionfruit vine is on the left pier as you look towards the patio from the back lawn.

This passionfruit vine is on the left pier as you look towards the patio from the back lawn.

We planted two vines and they are currently growing toward each other. We should get flowers soon 🙂

Along the edge of the patio I dug out a narrow garden bed and put in some citronella daisies (sorry Fran I lost the botanical name…) This was an attempt to stave off the mossies ( Mosquitos), but not sure it is working as we are still swarmed by them 😦 . I have never known a place for so many mossies! The nasturtiums popped up when I watered so are a gift from a previous tenant.

The other vine growing from the side of the house to meet at the corner pier.

The other vine growing from the side of the house to meet at the corner pier.

Most of my plants are in pots. I can then move them around, depending on the sun, and they can come with me when we move.

I have an eclectic assortment, from a rose bush to succulents, but they all make me smile. I recently purchased a little greenhouse from Bunnings, on one of our trips to Kalgoorlie, 2 hours away. I have put my little bonsai in there. I used to have two, but one died so now just one precious one left. I have a couple of little succulents and a variegated syngonium. This syngonium is a piece from my garden in Perth. I have had pieces of the original plant for many years and it has travelled with me and managed to survive. This always makes me feel at home. They are so easy to grow and propagate.

My lovely hybrid tea rose "Holtermann's Gold." I received this as a gift from my work mates when my mum passed away. It has gorgeous yellow roses and a lovely scent.

My lovely hybrid tea rose “Holtermann’s Gold.” I received this as a gift from my work mates when my mum passed away. It has gorgeous yellow roses and a lovely scent.

I grow herbs for my cooking: parsley, garlic chives, spring onions, basil, rosemary and other bits and bobs that come and go.

The spring onions love growing with the garlic chives

The spring onions love growing with the garlic chives

I have saved some seeds from my spring onions and have bought some seed raising mix, so that is my next job. I have an old wheelbarrow that I will use once the seeds are seedlings.

The old wheelbarrow for seedlings and an Aloe Vera.

The old wheelbarrow for seedlings and an Aloe Vera.

I have some egg cartons that I will use for the seed raising mix. I try to recycle things if I can.

The other wheelbarrow that has parsley, chives and some oregano that I thought was dead, but has revived

The other wheelbarrow that has parsley, chives and some oregano that I thought was dead, but has revived

The beauty of wheelbarrows is you can move them around too. I have managed to nurse these herbs through the frosts of winter. Hopefully they will flourish now.

I salvaged the wrought iron chairs from a friend. She was going to throw them out, but they are great for my pot plants

I salvaged the wrought iron chairs from a friend. She was going to throw them out, but they are great for my pot plants

The Ficus has also been with me on all my moves. The little green wheelie bin I use for storing all my gardening stuff. It’s very handy to use when weeding too.

My rosemary, always handy

My rosemary, always handy

It’s a beautiful day here. I have been reading the paper and doing the crossword puzzles. Such bliss on a Sunday. I hope you have had a lovely Sunday too. Better get those seeds sorted 🙂