Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year Resolutions

I hate making New Year's Resolutions. All those unrealistic plans to strive for the perfect lifestyle and behaviours which would need a personality transplant and half a dozen extra hours in the day to achieve. Ultimately, most people end up feeling worse because they are failures in their own minds a week or two into the new year because their resolutions have gone awry. I reckon that is worse for you than not making any in the first place as the 1st of Jan is nothing but a date just like any of the other 364days. On this basis I don't normally make any.

This year, however, I am breaking with my personal tradition and going to make some life enhancing resolutions. These are undemanding and fun resolutions with no negative consequences if I dont achieve them so in my book they are good to go.

1. I am going to 'Go Beading' more often: For quite some time, and particularly over the past two years or so, I have barely touched my jewellery making. I have bought new sparklies and toys to encourage and motivate myself but done little more than move them around the house. This just makes me feel worse as I have lots of untouched materials.

I have made a couple of gifts for special friends to mark an occasion but nothing for myself, or just for fun. I was often just to exhausted to get the stuff out, didn't have the concentration or motivation or just felt too guilty to be beading when there were boxes to be emptied and other work to be done that was overwhelming me. The boxes are lessening ever so slightly and there is always something productive to be done but time to relax, to create and to achieve something I am proud of is also important and should have a place on the priority list.

2. I am going to learn some new craft skills: Time to channel my inner Kirstie Allsopp, I think. I treated myself to some needle felting tools and supplies a couple of days ago. I saw this craft on one of the Homemade programmes a while ago and thought it looked interesting.

I don't know why as I hate the feeling of felt and boiled wool! Also, my work scuffed 'housewife hands' have all the texture and allure of the rough side of velcro right now so catch on fabrics. However, there was something about dry needle felting that just appealed. So why not give it a go? I might even be able to do something with/recycle the beautiful purple wool jacket that I destroyed by washing on a cottons wash with biological power. So annoyed with myself, as I loved that jacket. However, I hadn't been concentrating as I was just trying to get through all the washing so I slung it in last thing at night on a timed wash then nearly cried when I saw what it had been reduced to the next morning.

I am even telling myself that the cost of the tools and felt can come from the spare coinage that I have come across as I've been unpacking boxes. I just need to get it into the little plastic change bags and stagger off to the bank.

Similarly, craftwise I am going to have another crack at paracord bracelets, try using the mini Kumihimo wheel that I bought on my last trip down south and use up the wools and papercraft stuff that I have gathered over the years. I may also get the tapestries that I completed 20yrs ago blocked and completed into cushions tho' this is a wish list item rather than a definite.

3. I am going to create and enjoy a kitchen garden: My garden is a jungle with grass worthy of a visit from a tv company doing a nature programme.This spring is an opportunity to do something productive with the outdoor space that I have and I've always wanted to be able to 'pop out' to the garden to gather some herbs or veg for dinner. I sat up till the wee hours on  the night of the 1st/2nd Jan while everyone else slept and started drawing up plans for what I could do and scouring the internet for suppliers and advice.

I have a very long, south facing garden which has a lot of areas of shade. To be fair the grass seems to be a decent quality one and doesn't grow too high unlike the patches that have been seeded at a later point by the last owner. The grass is very mossy, is host to a veritable army of slugs and snails and has been totally waterlogged in the six months I've been here due to the constant rain. In fact the only thing that has changed as we have moved from summer, to autumn to winter has been the temperature of the rain! With this in mind I can imagine gardening in the ground will be a hard slog of digging to prep the ground and any harvest will be at the mercy of the marauding slugs and snails. A neighbour has raised beds, but again, this looks like a lot of work. I don't want to dig the lawn up, realise my kitchen garden is too much work then have to re-grass it and have it look like a very bad patchwork effort. I also know that I am very time poor and that this is not going to change anytime soon. So a demanding, labour intensive garden which sucks my energy instead of replacing it doesn't fit with my 'Good Life' vision.

I browsed around and potato planters and bags seemed to be a good, if potentially costly, alternative to digging for victory! Similarly, using lots of pots and planters saves the digging and potential for a plant to run riot and can be easily changed. Plants too can be costly unless you grow from seeds which might also be a faff. So I made some decisions:
  • it must be a low maintenance, low cost and manageable kitchen garden close to the house
  • it must raise my spirits, enthuse and encourage me
  • the produce should be something I will enjoy eating and be a bit unusual as there is no point in spending 3mths growing something that I can pick up easily from Sainsburys
  • the projected harvest should be tailored to what can be eaten or shared without waste
I sat and read and thought about what would work. Planters on the patio are clearly, for me, the way to go as this is nearest to the house and gets the best sun. I also though the potato planter bags looked very like my significant pile of IKEA blue bags and on googling it seems these will work if you put drainage holes in the bottom- winner, free planters with handles! This will augment my plant pots that I already have so I should only need the soil and plants/seeds which will keep costs reasonable.

I'm still drawing up my list of what I want to grow but potatoes are definitely on the list as apparently home grown taste wonderful. Romescue and some coloured caulis sound fun, as do pink blueberries, white strawberries, chillies, tomatillos, cucamelon, herbs, lavenders and butterhead, rocket and lambs lettuce.

I'm going to start small, stage the planting and give it a whirl.

1 comment:

  1. Having your kitchen garden close to the house makes a lot of sense, and planter pots may be easier for keeping the snails and slugs away, as long as they don't accumulate under the pots.


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