I've had my first foray into concrete!! For ages I've thought it would be fun to make mosaic stepping stones with concrete and tiles for the garden. I was recently given an old craft book that had a huge section on just this kind of project, as well as a box of old tiles and marbles, so I thought I'd give it a go with the kids. I found some 'white concrete' at Bunnings, and couldn't resist supplementing my supply of tiles with some pretty glass ones. One thing I have learned when working with concrete and children - one on one is best!
Anyway, we had a go and so far Emma, Madeline and myself have made stepping stones. Jasmine is keen to get going with hers, and Lucy, well, she couldn't care less but I will do one with her too!
I can't say I'm an expert on concrete by any stretch - our first go was a little soggy, second probably a little dry, but I think I'm getting the hang of it! It's actually very easy - you just make up the concrete according to the packet directions (make sure it's not quick set concrete), pour into a mould (anything with slopey sides - the potplant saucer was great) that you've painted with dishwashing detergent. Then simply push your tiles/mosaic items into the concrete, and when you're happy leave it to dry for about a week, spraying with water every day. The stepping stones came very easily out of their moulds, and after a scrub with an old washing up brush came up a treat! We are all very happy with our masterpieces.
Our stepping stones are now in place in the driveway (so not really stepping stones that take you anywhere - although the kids like to use them as stepping stones of course!) but they make me glad when I walk past - which is every day!
Another thing that has been making me glad of late is the garden! I've never been very good with plants, and almost all of my previous half hearted attempts to grow things have ended in sadness. But, this year, as I've reconciled myself to being around at home more and trying to take things a little more slowly, I'm gradually being converted to the wonder of gardening. I seem to gain a completely disproportionate amount of joy from the sweat peas that I have managed to grow FROM SEEDS!! They are positioned so I can see them out of the kitchen window, and I like to have a little visit with them every day. They are just beautiful!
We've also been enjoying lavender, pansies, roses and lots of cactus type things which are almost impossible to kill!! I have successfully struck daisy cuttings from my mum's garden which is nothing short of miraculous, and we have herbs growing like crazy. We've eaten all the peas, broccolini and lots of lettuce from the vegie patch, and I'm feeling hopeful about having lots of tomatoes and maybe even some cucumbers, strawberries and corn! Check me out! I'm also trying to strike some lavender and rosemary, but haven't had much luck so far. We'll see how this lot goes.
Beautiful sweat peas - slow to start but taken off now!
So there we go - I may have caught the gardening bug. I'm cautious because the frying heat of summer may defeat me yet, but I'll give it a go!
And we got to have our first extended family outdoor dinner last week - Lucy got to have her own Coke....
I've also been busy reorganing our crazy garage to create an art space so we can easily do messy stuff and not have it in the house. I recently inherited a large amount of craft supplies from my mum's work, and it is now all at home in the new 'art room' ready to be used by some keen little crafters. Already we have had lots of drawing and some painting happening - I am looking forward to doing some big murals and some Christmas stuff soon too. I started Christmas shopping today, and find myself strangely keen about it all this year!!