Friday, 30 September 2016

Today we took the kids and my mum on a picnic, in the rain, to a local state forest.  It was a lovely outing and a very yum collection of food!

Of course, we had an ulterior motive ;-) – we were there to collect fire wood – legally of course!  We printed off the firewood collection map and set out on our adventure – and we were all surprised at how easily we found our trailer-load of wood – yay!

Michael was on the chain saw while the rest of us gathered and we now have about half of what we think we will use next winter – so this has the whole summer to dry out.  And yes, we will stack it properly – just as soon as Michael builds the wood shed.

What an amazing few days of hard yakka we have had!  Don’t you just love school holidays for the extra help around the yard?  We do J.

I decided that this holidays the kids would help each day for at least 1 hour in the yard (lucky them, it is for pocket money!) and together, we have achieved a much needed make-over of the orchard.

It is weeded (only where necessary, the rest can compost down where it is – we aint silly!):

Just imagine the before – all that grass pretty much right up to the trees – they sure did need some love.

Today, they got it with a lovely thick layer of mulch:

We are very lucky that our local council mulches up all the garden prunings that are dumped at the tip, lets them compost a while, then anyone can pick it up for free!  Our garden loves it!  And so do we – we’ve been lucky that on the other occasions we have got the mulch, they loaded it with their huge front end loader…today, Michael didn’t have such luck and forked it all in by hand…isn’t he a sweetie?  J

We still need to finish off the other trees, and then add in some of our own home-made compost and some seaweed brew for nutrients – but the trees are well on their way for settling in for summer J
Oh, better put the retic back for that!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Update on the tulips.

Yes, I will take a photo on pretty much every opportunity, I don’t want to miss recording my first ever home grown tulips!

And did you notice, that back right one?  It has turned the same pink all over as the rest – instead of the mostly white it was – gorgeous!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Another item we have “updated” for our lounge room make-over is a pottery vase for the re-vamped coffee table (will show you the coffee table soon J).

This is the inspiration vase that Kristine designed into the photo:

Don’t you just love it?  Trendy but not over the top.  Just perfect I think.

It looks to me like it is made with the concrete look – but I very much doubt that I would find it, so I didn’t bother and set out instead to find something in the same shape and use it somehow!

So, you can imagine how pleased I was to find this mission brown vase at the op shop!!

And I knew I could easy paint it – because Kristine has this tutorial on her blog J!

So, the above photo was after I sanded it and gave it a bit of a rinse.  I had to use a rougher wet-and-dry sandpaper than I thought and I was a slightly concerned when I could hear the glaze crackling while it dried in the sun.  But all good, no cracking of the actual pottery.

Now, those of you who have read this blog for a while will know that I don’t claim to be very patient…and spray painting looks best with a patient hand…so the spraying was down to my wonderful Honey.  He used an etch and prime spray paint –  a dull, thickish grey for rust prevention on metal.  It seems to have stuck well on the ceramic and looks fantastic!

And I got him to leave a small wisp of the brown showing on the neck – a little bit of contrast to tie in with the darker wood tones of the room…that was my thought anyway…

The op shop also yielded that spray of genuine fake eucalyptus leaf.  I was always only going to have foliage in the vase, so this is pretty much perfect.

I wish I could show the vase to you in real life, the matt finish is just gorgeous.  And since it cost $7, I will not freak out too much having it on the coffee table with kids running around J.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The tulips are coming along J.

And the bees are buzzing J

I so love having flowers in the garden.  We added another two lavenders this last week – gifts for me – how lucky am I?

And it was perennial planting time according to the moon calendar, so they were good to go in the ground.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

So, just what have we achieved in our lounge room make-over so far?  Well the fireplace has been the main thing and it is just gorgeous!

Then we (well read that as I requested Michael to do…) made the very pretty dark grey side table you see in the front left of the photo – this one:

I draughted up a quick plan after I measured our lounge and worked out rough dimensions from there, then Michael drew it up on some ply we had around, and after a few tweaks cut it out and assembled it.  Then it was simply some filler, sanding and painting J.

I painted it with Rustoleum “Chalked” paint in Charcoal.  This is the first time I have ever used chalk paint and I was very interested to see how it went on and turned out.  I was very impressed by how thick it covered the wood, though that also meant it took quite a lot of paint to cover it too – about a ¼ of a tin for this small table – approx. $10 worth of paint.

While it was drying, it turned pretty chalky-looking which I was hoping wouldn’t quite be the final finish…

…which it wasn’t.  The chalkiness went away and left a lovely, true charcoal colour.  I did add on clear wax (as is recommended for harder wearing chalked painted pieces) – you can see the difference between the waxed part of the bar and the un-waxed below.  The paint had left quite  deep-ish brush strokes (this is normal) but they were a little strong to run your hand over (for me anyway, for this piece).  Again, I put the wax on quite a bit thicker than I expected but it certainly did change it and I think it looks great!

You probably want to see it in our room? 

Warning – really bad photo – but here it is J.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

I have been keeping a little secret from my blog – not because it is a secret, but because it is a surprise for you all!  A great, big FUN surprise!!

Well that is how it is making me feel anyway, so I know you will join in J.

A couple of months ago, I emailed one of my favourite bloggers, Kristine from The Painted Hive (who shows her gorgeous home interiors and furniture make-overs on her blog) and asked if she could help me with working out what to put where in our lounge room.  I was truly stuck because I liked way too many things and had acquired way too many differing things and was just overwhelmed with knowing what I actually wanted…

Anyway, the secret surprise can’t be a secret anymore because there is this fantastic post on Kristine’s blog J.

This is the gorgeous room idea she (and I) worked on and I just love it!

We are working on getting our lounge room to look like Kristine’s render – it is so much fun to see it coming together – but the best part is knowing already, before we make side tables and cushion covers and buy a few things, that I will LOVE IT ALL! 

There shouldn’t be stress in making your house your home, but when you are as overwhelmed as I was with that gorgeous, but large, white wall and eclectic furniture that just wasn’t working, it has been well worth it to get this wonderful clarification.  Now, don’t you go thinking it was easy for Kristine, if you know me well you know I can write essays about what passes through my brain, and she may or may not have been the recipient of that and more!!!

Hmm, looking at it now, I wonder if she can work some magic in keeping it as tidy in real life?  LOL J.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

What a great weekend! 

We have been cooking up and eating a feast in our place :-).

Easy fruit cake slice; apple cinnamon muffins; and almond ginger cookies for munchies on the go.

Salted, crispy skin salmon with a brown butter and dill sauce on Friday night - with baby potatoes and carrots; and asparagus and broccolini from our garden.

BBQ chicken kebab skewers on Saturday night - with herby rice; fried sweet potato slices; and a simple garden salad.  Finished with a double chocolate cheesecake!

Then a few more snacks too - honey spiced almonds and a savoury toasted batch.

Yep, plenty of yum - and mostly courtesy of the eldest two :-).  We love having our big girl home - and not just for her cooking!!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Spring has sprung!  And I sure love that!!

Plum blossoms,

Nectarine blossoms,

And the first sunflower of the season J!

Someone forgot to tell a chook though…

What is with the tiny egg???

Oh, well, spring has sprung, so hakuna matata J!