Monthly Archives: February 2012

My new herb garden


I know. Two posts in one weekend. But I have finished a project and felt the need to show off.

In my attempt to get more exercise I have been trying to do more gardening. It hasn’t really been helping because I get so hungry from all the gardening that I end up eating twice as much, but I figure I’ve got to be building some muscle which will do me good in the long run. Anyway, I’ve finally finished the bit I have been working on. I made a herb garden out the front of my house.

Here is a before and after shot.

It’s probably not as polished as it could be, but not bad considering I only started on Monday.
The pot in the middle is a lemon tree. The weird bits of bare dirt are where I left holes in the mulch for the seeds I planted to sprout.

A little bit melancholy


Not sure why. I am going to blame it on the rain. Yes, it is raining again here. It seems like it’s always raining of late, but I think after 10 years of drought I’ve just forgotten what a sub-tropical summer is all about.

I thinking I am starting to go a little stir crazy from too much time inside. I am trying to stay away from the shops so I don’t spend any money, and it is too rainy to do all the free outdoor stuff I had planned.

Though I did finally finish the quilt top I’ve been working on. I was struggling with it. Not just because it was so big but also because I wasn’t sure it was working. I’m still not sure that it does. I think that the background fabric might be a bit too busy for the blocks. Anyway, I forced myself to finish it this morning. Told myself once it was done I could spend the rest of the day on the couch reading. So, that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing, except for about an hour between rain storms when I went outside and dug in my garden. At least all the rain is making the ground soft.

Pictures of the quilt are below. It was really hard to get a decent shot of it because of the size. It took up nearly the entire floor of my sewing room. 




Words written – 2617 – trying not to worry whether they are any good or not.

BMI – No change. Have decided that I need to make more of an effort on this one. As always when you have given yourself a year to do something it’s always tempting to leave everything to the last-minute. To think that you’ll deal with it later after you’ve dealt with the myriad of small things that you have to deal with everyday. Some things you can do in a hurry, for example I could probably write all 50,000 words in the last 3 months if I wanted to, I’d have no life but it would be possible. I don’t think losing weight is one of those things. At least it wouldn’t be possible to do it and still be healthy. I think what I need to do is set myself some smaller, short-term goals. So I have set my self a 5 week, 5 kilo challenge. I am going to up the exercise to half an hour of gardening everyday after work and all my sweet stuff has been packed away in the freezer for emergencies only. And to make it interesting there is a prize at the end. If I do it I get to buy a Wii or a netbook. Probably a netbook . I thought the Wii might help with exercise but I imagine it will probably end up never getting used like the exercise DVDs I have. I know I am supposed to be saving money for my trip but I figure you have to celebrate small victories if you have them. 

Things made from blocks – slow progress being made towards a quilt top, plus some fabric I ordered arrived yesterday so I can finish the quilt top that one was meant for. 

Places I have never been before – 6

This morning I went to the Ipswich Sunday market. It’s quite a nice market, quite large, with a good mix of brick-a-brack, veggies and plants. There was a really nice soap stall. So I ended up buying soap and herbs and a really nice bowl. Then because I decided that I need to make a herb garden for my herbs to go in I ended up going to Bunnings afterwards and ended up spending far too much money on stuff I needed to make it, and a lemon tree to plant in a pot in the middle of it. (I know, I know – I’m meant to be saving for my holiday – life would be so much easier if I had any kind of impulse control).

I am off to try to get some sewing done before the sewing room gets too hot.

Ipswich Sunday Markets



Sewing – still working very slowly on a new top

BMI – no change

Novel – 1560 words

Places never been before – 5

I went to the Nerima Gardens this morning. It is a Japanese garden quite close to where I live. Very pleasant even if it was a little hot.

There are some pictures below.

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travel and worry


Ever since it started raining lots a couple of weeks ago I have had this insane worry about the structural integrity of my house. I have had to resist the urge to spend hours obsessively looking at stains on the walls and the ceilings trying to discover whether they are signs of damp. This is despite having had a building inspection less than a year ago and being told the roof was sound. And despite the fact that my house had a tenant in for 5 years before I bought it and it clearly hasn’t had a new paint job for probably a considerable amount of time before that. There are a fair few stains but you tend not to notice them until you go looking. Which leaves you wondering whether they are new or whether they have been there all along and I just haven’t noticed them.

I guess the real thing I have been worrying about is that if something goes seriously wrong I may need to come up with a significant amount of money to fix it, which was fine because I had a little bit of a nest egg. Had being the operative word, because today I went out and spent it on booking some travel. Well, half of some travel. In order to pay for the other half, not to mention travel insurance, visas, shots and expenses when I get there I am going to have to save every spare dollar I have between now and the 8 August. I may have to resort to eating baked beans on toast for dinner 3 times a week. Though that would probably help with my weight loss goal, so probably isn’t a bad thing.

I am trying to make a conscious decision not to worry about problems that may never happen and to focus instead on the incredible holiday that I am going to have. Six weeks away including my Aunt’s 60th birthday party, the Birmingham Festival of Quilts (I hope), Jordan (including a horse ride through Petra which I have wanted to see ever since I saw it in Indiana Jones) and Turkey.  I maybe able to knock off all 100 places I have never been before in one shot. Well worth a diet of baked beans for 6 months I think.

I have also started writing the novel. I have just over 800 words. Which is pretty atrocious but not bad considering I have just been working on it 15 minutes every morning. And I have another quilt almost cut out and ready to go, I just need to square up about 30 more 4 inch blocks. See picture below. Which includes a diagram of the quilt plan which is like a chain where the 4 inch blocks will be the squares.

I need a plan


Have certainly been getting a fair bit done this weekend, but have decided I need a plan, and a schedule. In short I need to get more organised. It’s all very well and good to say I am going to eat more healthily and get more exercise but unless I define what that is it’s going to be fairly hard to achieve. So my job for the week ahead is to come up with a plan. A plan for the healthy eating and a plan for writing and a schedule for how I am going to spend my time. I know that sounds a bit over the top, but it might just work. Having just two big goals last year actually made it easy to decide how I was going to spend my time. I read in the morning and I sewed all the rest of the time. Having 4 goals is harder to juggle. So if I can set some time which I know is time I should be working on goal A or goal B etc I might actually get more accomplished.

But I have made a bit of progress since yesterday. I visited 3 places I had never been before. I needed to go to the hardware store so instead of going to the local one I drove to the new Masters one a bit further away. They didn’t have a skirting board in the size I wanted so I had to go to the local one anyway but they did have a very nice selection of native plants and I bought two. Then I had lunch at Toscanis at Springfield,  a restaurant I hadn’t been to.

The third place I visited is slightly more in the spirit of the goal – I went to the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre. Now I have a nice stack of brochures about places to go near by, and a growing list of prospective visits including loads of information on nearby bush walks so I can knock off two goals at the same time.

I also managed to finish a quilt top this morning. I wasn’t sure at first whether the outer border went with the rest of it, and I thought it was too busy but it is growing on me.



I have been doing a fair bit of reading of late on the topic of happiness. The first was Addicted to Unhappiness by Martha Heineman Pieper and William J Pieper. It was rather interesting but I don’t know that addicted is the right word. Essentially what they were saying was that as children we expect the world to be perfect, and whatever we experience or feel as children we come to hold as the norm to be aspired to. So if we experience physical or emotional discomfort as children we seek that same discomfort as adults and that can often manifest itself as self-destructive behaviour like over-eating, excessive risk taking etc. While they made it clear that we shouldn’t blame our parents, as they did the best they knew how, they were fairly critical of conventional child rearing techniques.

I found it quite interesting because I was deaf as a child. I was deaf from some time after I started learning to talk when I was one till I had an operation when I was five or six. I don’t really remember much from then, but I have always wondered what effect it has had on me and whether some of the problems I have today with listening, paying attention and engaging with people stem from then. Maybe I am subconsciously seeking out that same childhood experience of deafness. It’s an interesting theory but I suppose the problem with the psychological is that it is almost impossible to prove.

The second book, which I haven’t finished yet, is called Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. Again the title is kind of misleading because it is not really about making yourself happy it is more about the way our brains work. It is an interesting mix of psychology and philosophy of mind. Gilbert is essentially arguing that, because of the kinds of brains we have, we can never know what is going to make our future self happy. That our brains don’t actually store as much information as we imagine that they do and when you remember you are actually only remembering one or two key things and the rest your brain imagines, filling the gaps to make the memory more real, and that when you think about what you should do next your brain is doing exactly the same thing – projecting. So we are often wrong about what we remember and about what we imagine. I think I need to finish the book before I make any conclusions about that one.

As for progress on goals

BMI  – no change

Words written – none

New places visited – none

Blocks made into things – some small progress towards a quilt top

DIY efforts – absolutely disastrous. I took the skirting board off in my lounge and found absolutely no reason why it might be sprouting dirt. I can’t take the pipe off the outside of the house because my screwdriver is too large to fit in the space between it and the air conditioner, when I put my curtains in the washing machine to wash they have started to dissolve and my can of carpet cleaner ran out after only doing half the carpet.

Positive thinking though. It is only just past 10 am on a Saturday. There is plenty of weekend left to make more progress.