Sunday, 30 October 2016


Well what do you know, a post after a long summer hiatus.

Lots has happened since, and I can fully appreciate how writing and self-reflection take a back burner  to so-called real life. (Real life, incidentally, also includes Netflix, Pinterest, and those stupidly addictive iPad games that I try to justify playing by calling it relaxation.) I don't particularly have an issue with being bored or alone with my thoughts, but getting them out in organized words seems to be particularly difficult. Just let me scoff at one more awful reclaimed palette wood DIY project first!

Have you ever been overwhelmed by wanting to do everything? For me, that is learning to be it all - a master gardener, a great cook, knitting whiz, financial independence guru, a better communicator, owner of really toned arms, etc. I realize how incredibly privileged this feeling is, given that my parents are refugees who never even had time to develop hobbies or interests or do recreation when they were my age... but now I'm caught in this really weird space of adulthood where I'm supposed to fulfill my responsibilities (job, emotional labor), and yet yearn for more than just that. I guess it's not a bad thing to keep growing.

I'm hoping to be less paralyzed by these thoughts in the future. Maybe my 30 year old brain will have a bit more clarity, balance, and a lot more "I do what I want!"

On a lighter note, we bought a house! It's definitely got a bad case of what not to wear (does that show still exist?), so we've been taking this opportunity to turn it into a home we can call our own. We're doing all of the renovations ourselves, so it's definitely been an adventure of sorts. Or at least now I know I'm glad I didn't become a drywaller. Updates to come soon! 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Rock n' roll crafting - pillowcase redo


So I've had the entire week off work, and had all of these incredibly ambitious plans to post almost daily about all the fascinating things (ha) I've been dabbling in... and have managed to write nothing until tonight. I guess getting started really is the hardest part!

Let's get back on track with a sewing project I recently completed; a friend of mine had an old pillowcase (that was originally a pair of PJ pants made by her in highschool home ec) that needed some refurbishing. After literally months of procrastination (that's the first step for all crafts), I came up with this:

left: new fabric; right: old pillowcase. I wanted something patterned (pattern mixing woooo) that wouldn't detract too much from the original fabric. Most of the pillowcase was getting worn out, so I only salvaged the front piece.

Adding a backing on the original piece of fabric for strength. Rawr!

Outer strips added to the middle piece. 
I used the old piece of fabric as a guide for the new strips on the outside. No measuring required. Also, I totally messed up and made the outer strips too big at first ; I ended up cutting off the excess after confirming with my friend that she didn't want a larger pillow... that's what happens when you're rockin' it out

Adding the back flappy thing

Pillowcase turned inside out (my favourite part!)

fin. Looking good next to the clicker.

I love sewing - I grew up watching my mom fashion all sorts of wares from her sewing machine (and occasionally would try to do it myself, but would gum up the machine threading real bad then give up.) Currently, however, I find myself without a proper sewing environment - the only working table I have is a bar height dining table (there is a middle thing where I put the pedal.) The ergonomic gods are never happy with me when this happens...

- HD

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Gardenin', gardenin'

I can't remember a time when I haven't gardened. As a kid, I helped my parents put in the vegetables each year and doted on the plants each day until they came to fruition. Not much has changed, except now I have my own garden to dote on. There's always a bit of heartache when things don't turn out (I'm looking at you, hybrid cucumbers that were eight dollars for five measly seeds), but such is life. Come mid-August when everything starts growing like crazy and the aphids decide to invade, I generally just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯   and that is that.

Anyway, I'll be posting a bunch of garden updates throughout summer, mostly about vegetables. (If I can't eat it, I can't be bothered! I'm sure that will eventually change though.) We live up in zone 3, so our growing season is pretty short. We had an unseasonably warm winter and spring due to El Niño, though, so I got wayyyyy too ambitious and started sowing some cool season veg (bok choy and radishes) on April 1st. 

The bok choy died a very early, miserable death, but most of the radishes survived. It was worth the few wasted seeds, I'd say!
Wee baby French radishes, harvested May 11.

My partner (we'll call him Randy, more on him later) and I also embarked on garden trellis version 2.0 this year. Last year, the internet quite poorly advised me that I could make a pole bean trellis out of sticks and twine - which ended up with the beans completely overtaking the poles (they didn't want to climb up the saggy twine) and toppling over the entire structure. I think this year's trellis will do alright:
Building materials: junk tree we cut down in the yard, chicken wire, plastic bottle rope (Randy made his own cutter.)

We didn't have a post hole digger, but we did get a pretty good workout that day!

It's a bit hard to see, but there are three sides to the structure and a canopy.

Fast forward a couple of months, and here we are! I'm super excited for the plants to start climbing up. Along the west end of the trellis (nearest the chain link fence) I've planted a couple of indeterminate tomatoes; along the length, pole beans; and finally there are some cucumbers on the other end. I've never trellised tomatoes or cucumbers before, but it seems to make sense... might as well make use of the vertical space:

Here are a few more pictures of what we've got growing:

Potatoes (red ones... Norland?), planted mid-April. Hoping to harvest a few early taters by July!

Speckled peas. We eat them as pea shoots rather than letting them pod - they grow quickly and are pretty pest-free.

Is kale passé yet? Whatever.


Bok choy. Basically food for bugs. Not a good ROI, in my opinion!

Poor sickly zucchini... 

Gai lan (it's basically Chinese broccoli, but better!)


Chile de Arbol pepper. Leaving the plastic on them until July or so - I'll be surprised if it gives me anything!

Buttercrunch lettuce.

Marigold's smell awful (kind of like really skunky weed) - maybe that's how it deters pests?

 Phew - that was a lot of plant talk. It'll probably be mostly visual updates from here on in!

Green thumbs unite,
 - HD

Monday, 30 May 2016

The first (and hopefully not last) post

Greetings, interwebs.
Welcome to my first attempt at a what people call a "blog" - I am fully aware than I'm about 15 years late to the game, but better late than never! I've created this space as a way to document and share my never-ending list of projects, hobbies and interests. And while I'd like streamline the content of this blog right off the bat (Should it be about perennial gardening? Frugal living? Beyonce?), it's probably best to let it evolve naturally. (Frugal perennial gardening while listening to the supreme being that is Beyonce.)

Thus, the Humble Dilettante is born. I am passionate about so many things, and profess to be an expert at none of it. (The perception of my conscious incompetence is likely attributed to several years of post-secondary education, and awareness about the four stages of competence.) Here is your official invitation to join me on my journey of amateurness! 

P.S. There will be cats. I promise.

- HD