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She'll teach me

The other day, Sprout and I set up a crystal growing experiment.* After the water evaporated from a shallow dish with Epsom salts, we observed the bits of string, wood, rock, cement, etc. to see which materials the crystals grew on the best.

Sprout: The crystals didn't like this metallic pipe cleaner.
Me: Yeah, they seem to prefer natural materials over synthetic ones, man-made things.
Sprout: Human-made, Mom. You don't know if a man or a woman made them.

Right you are, Sprout. :P

_______
We set up three different solutions: 1) Borax 2) Epsom salts, and 3) Borax and Epsom salts.  Both 1 and 2 grew crystals, but the mix of Borax and Epsom salt, tested both hot and cold, didn't "grow" anything and nothing has formed upon evaporation.

How does your garden grow

Not very well if it's not planted, that is for sure.

We had actually started planting back in, um, February, I think, but it was a bit here and there as we tried to build up enough compost to do a "lasagna bed."  Given that we don't receive much sunlight in our garden, our first efforts have left us a bit ho-hum and unmotivated.  But after I read barbarienne's post about what all she has been doing in the garden, I decided it was time we got serious.

So, we've bought planting soil to finish off the bed and we put in lots of seeds (even though I think you are supposed to use seedlings/transplants:

marigolds
3 types of radishes
beets
Russian kale (we prefer Tuscan but don't have any more seeds. I have some growing already and plan to let at least one plant bolt)
chives
basil
lemon balm
dill
okra
bell peppers
tomatillos

We also planted 3 pots of tomatoes, 2 of tomatillos, and 1 of basil to grow on the front balcony, and 8 pots of okra to transplant out front once they are big enough not to be mistaken for weeds by the gardener who sees to the communal area in front of our flat.

I didn't have a great success rate with corn and a zero success rate with jalapeños and chilis at our other place, so I'm going to germinate the corn first and use improvised seed trays for peppers tomorrow.

Snippet Sunday

As planned, I did mostly sewing these past two weeks. I sewed a cover for our kiddy pool.  It is one of those inflatable affairs that is over 2mx1.5m, so the cover had to be almost 3x2m.

I also made a mosquito net for our king-size bed, not an easy task moving all that netting about!  But I'm not finished with the stuff; I have to make a net "room" (3mX2.8mx1.8m) for our yard, otherwise flies and mosquitos make it too miserable to eat outside.  Man, how I wish we had stocked up on some mosquito nets when we lived in Mayotte. They were huge and, even better, CHEAP!  *sigh*

I'm a little over "big projects."

I did sew two newborn hats for Coquille's first day...plus a test-run hat that turned out the perfect size for Junebug's baby dolll. LOL

Next up I have to make a new "diaper" bag and repair the nursing pillow I made for when I had Junebug. I would like to sew something for an Egyptian friend who just gave birth, but I need to find some cute, quality fabric first. Not easy at the best of times and not something I feel like doing while hot, heavily pregnant, and car-less.

On the art front, I made some more color charts, more "targeted" ones, kind of like this. I also sketch cows. I suck at cows. Must sketch some more. Lazy me thinks I should just practice some "cartoony" cows since this book is not about cows. My more studious side thinks I shoud work on getting the real deal right first.

Anyone else want to share their creative endeavors from the past couple of weeks?

Does it get any weirder?

Today, I plugged my laptop into J's, as I do, to use it in target disk mode, when lo and behold, I saw that my screen was no longer dark and was flashing the drive image.  I went ahead and turned on J's and used it a bit in that mode, then disconnected the two laptops, and restarted mine solo. And ta da. It is working.

My theory was that I had a monitor problem. I guess I have some kind of short circuit thing happening. I may be back; I may not. But it would be great to be able to use my laptop as normal until the shop opens, at which time I'll see what caused the problem while I get them to upgrade it and repair my dvd/cd player.

Fingers crossed...

Sunday Snippet and other news

So, it wasn't an April Fool's joke that the repair shop would be open on April 1st, but it did not come to pass. Color me Not Surprised. Turns out they are still awaiting their acreditation from Apple, so who knows when they will be open for business. In the meantime, there is no alternative because the Doki shop was transfered here. The wait continues. To make matters more interesting, J's laptop has been on the fritz for at least a year now, and it seems to be getting even more fickle about turning on and staying on.

Healthwise, we are all doing better, even if this infernal cough is still making me miserable. Oh for a good night's sleep of no wheezing lungs and racking coughs.  Someday...

My bruises have greatly faded, and I feel no more aches from the scooter accident. I've started driving it again but not with Sprout. She has gone out with J, though, and yesterday, she declared she is no longer afraid of it.

On the creativity front, I've been making watercolor mixing charts and experimenting in general with my new paints. I don't have the energy for storyboarding work right now, so this sort of play is the perfect way for me to learn about my supplies without the stress of "producing something."


I began my 8th month on Thursday and have started going through baby clothes to see what we have for Coquille. Verdict: Not much in the newborn department. Only found two onesies for that age. But after the first few weeks Coquille won't be wearing much as temperatures soar.

I have other newborn stuff. But where? I thought I knew where we put it after the move but have yet to lay hands on it. Must continue looking. And I have a couple of things I want to sew. Those projects may be the focus for the next snippet.

"Mom, I'm not used to crash landings!"

Last week, Sprout and I were in an accident on the scooter.

It was my fault; for some reason, unknown and completely unrecallable, I accelerated when I was trying to brake to avoid hitting two cars who were closing the gap I was driving in.

I flipped over the front of the scooter, landing on my back, a mercy for a woman who is 7 months pregnant.  My right side was banged up from flying over--and breaking--the mirror, but I had no other big injuries. Sprout's bottom lip and chin were cut by the visor of her helment, and her left wrist was abraded, but the sweet love's first words were, "Momma, are you OK? Are you all right, Momma!?"

Many Egyptians came to our aid, offering help, water, comfort...even returning the two coins that had fallen from my pocket.

When Sprout finally calmed down enough, she told me that she is not used to crash landings. To which I fervently replied, neither am I and I hope we never have to get used to them. The baby was moving normally that night, and since I had no abnormal pains or anything suspicious, the doctor said all was well. I was a little nervous upon discovering a bruise just above my navel, but Coquille has been unfazed.

The next day, I was pretty sore, but Sprout seemed fine. She and Kainam got the full-fledged flu, though, and I got a nasty cough that insured this was one tiring week.  The kids still have fever today, but I hope we are all on the mend...

Still out of touch

J tried to take my laptop to the repair shop only to be told that they will be closed until April 1st.  The wait is obviously a pain, but the good news is that the shop will be opening a branch in Maadi, where we live. Now J won't have to drive to Doki, another part of Cairo, to drop off/pick up the laptop once it is repaired.  The wait continues.

Hope everyone is well.  I'm keeping busy taking care of my poor sick husband, runny-nosed boy, and making a little crocheted toy for Coquille.  The next 8 weeks are going to pass quickly.

Not that I've been around much

...but I'm going to disappear for an indeterminate amount of time as my laptop is hauled off for repairs and upgrades. I'm accessing it now in hard drive mode through J's laptop, so typing is not easy (he has azerty but it is over-riding it with my  qwerty). Typing blind, while possible, is not restful; sorry for dropping out of any convos I was involved in.

Hope to "see" you online again soon and not too much poorer in pocket.

Snippet Sunday on a Monday

Forgot to post yesterday.

I mostly spent last week making some belated Christmas gifts that will be given when we go to France this weekend.  I did sketch a few animals, notably dogs and cows, but haven't touched my larger storyboard as intended.  It is foldable, so I'll stick it in my sketchbook and take it on the trip.

it is going to be a busy two weeks, what with visiting family, scouting out houses, and simply taking time to enjoy nature, so I'm not going to be hard on myself if I don't make any progress on the story.

Revisiting the storyboard

In case anyone is curious about how the thumbnail sketches work for me and what kinds of things I'm looking at, beneath the cut are a few things that I've done/thought about since doing this storyboard.

A bit of wafflingCollapse )

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