Monday, 30 September 2013

i think i'll eat some...

I don't think I've really blogged about our little pets. Unfortunately, it isn't a sweet little puppy (yet!!!), or a fluffy little kitten. It most definitely is not a bird!!
Look at those eyes...
Couldn't start with a yucky picture!!
It's worms. Hundreds of the writhing, slimy, wriggling things. We have a worm farm. 
It started off at school last year when our SOSE unit was about waste management, and our Science unit was about bugs. What else to do but make a DIY styrofoam box worm farm. It was more about keeping the worms alive-what living things need to survive, what they eat, how to treat them, similarities and differences with other bugs we studied, feeding them our food scraps and a bit of a sensory experience. We weren't using the castings or worm juice. At the end of the year I bought a proper worm farm from Bunnings, and brought them home. 

They are so easy to care for, and actually give back too! We have a container in the fridge that fills up amazingly quickly for two people who are away all day! At the moment our worms are eating lots of egg shells, banana peel, strawberry ends, kale stalks, as well as all of our general vegetable waste-peelings and ends-carrots, lettuce, zucchini, beans, potato and sweet potato. Basically any fruits and veggie that isn't too acidic-so no citrus, tomato, kiwi fruit, onion and the like.  We just chop them up so they are fairly small bits. 

I feed them every 2-3 days, burying the food a little to stop mice and flies and the like, and give them a bit of a water if the 'blanket' on top is feeling a bit dry. Any excess water drains though to the bottom, and I collect the tea to use on our veggies, herbs and citrus and chilli bushes for some extra nutrients, diluted to about 1:10. I try to alternate worm tea and seasol. 

I also used the worm castings (basically the soil and food waste they have chewed through) to mix in with potting mix when I plant, especially for our veggies and herbs. It also helps to bring the level of soil down in the farm (as you are constantly adding matter, and the worms are aerating the soil). 

I'd really recommend a worm farm-it was great for the kids I taught, it's a fantastic use for all of that food waste that you create (and it's shocking how much you go through). I also don't feel as bad about getting rid of a rubbery carrot buried in the fridge when I can feed it to the worms. 
Do you have a worm farm, or a compost bin? What happens with your food waste?
I'll post something pretty next!! Promise! :)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

christmas planning

Did you know that yesterday marked 3 months until Christmas?

We will be hosting our first Christmas this year, which is exciting and a bit nerve-wracking! L is a shift worker in the health field, and in addition to some early morning starts (4 o'clock wake up this morning), late night finishes (one shift finishes at 11pm), middle of the night call outs to work, and regular weekend work, they have to cover public holidays. He has last Christmas off, so he'll have to work at some stage over Christmas this year.

For Christmas 2011 I left him alone up here, and I felt awful, despite cooking him a ham and shortbread, and driving back early on Boxing Day, and the knowledge that I would have been alone on Christmas while he was at work.

We've had a tree the last few Christmases, but it's only been small. Our ornaments have been mostly glass, white, silver and a little gold, and I think I'll stick with that kind of theme again this year-I'm not massive on lots of red and green, and with our purple lounge room, kitchen and dining room, and blue exterior it will keep it from being a colour explosion!
Here are some of my inspiration ideas, mostly to DIY (which is the ONLY reason I'm already thinking of Christmas!!!)

Wall bunting:
link- a fun Sydney blog-this is her DIY take on tassel streamers
The next two are from the same etsy shop, but look easy enough to DIY
Table decorations:
diy glitter votives
contemporary  by The Happy Home Blog

DIY Yarn-wrapped letters, Mission: Merry, The Proper Pinwheel, Mantle Decor, Holiday Decor,Yarn Crafts, Christmas projects

Monday, 23 September 2013

wedding photos

I met with my photographer yesterday, and picked up our wedding photos. I am so happy with them-they are incredible! I don't think L or I wiped the smile off our face all day after seeing them. I loved our wedding! 
My favourite part of them-all 800-odd-is how there is barely a photo when we (and our guests!!) didn't have an enormous smile on our faces. 

It's going to be tough working out which ones to frame! A good problem to have though!!

If you are interested in seeing a few more let me know and I will email you a link to our photographer's blog post. 

I've also put some social media buttons in my side bar- come and check it out! My pinterest account is much more active than my instagram. Lots of DIY, and room and decor ideas. There is also a bit of teaching and special education stuff, but you can ignore those boards!

Friday, 20 September 2013

veggie pots

I mentioned here and here that we had planted some veggies in pots. 

Sometime soon we will build some raised garden bed, but for this season (unless we start quite soon!) we will grow them in pots. I'm actually really pleased we went ahead and planted in the pots, because after just a day or two, we moved the pots from their original location (where we were thinking of building the raised beds) to where they now sit. Their new spot gets a few extra hours of sun each day, so that will be where we make our raised bed. This side garden is just down a set of external stairs from our kitchen, so will be nice and close when it comes time to harvest.

We used a few bags of potting mix, and added extra goodies to it, including dynamic lifter, some kick along, and some worm castings, from our worm farm. We also used some Seasol to give them some extra nutrients. 

Probably should have worn gloves...
We planted some new basil, coriander, parsley and mint-we have grown these for years, but they were kind of at the end of their lives, so we started fresh. We use them all the time in cooking. 
We also chose to plant mixed lettuce and cos seedlings, as well as kale, tomatoes and capsicums. We figured they will be the most useful to us, and will grow well in pots. Hopefully next year we will be able to expand a bit more. 

Our lemon and lime trees already have baby fruits on them, and our chilli bush has lots of green chillies just waiting to ripen. Unfortunately, last year our chillies all were eaten by birds as they ripened, so we have hung some CDs this year, in the hope that the reflections will  scare them off. Will see how we go. 

Have you every tried a veggie patch? How did it go?

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

we have a gate

Thanks for the wedding love! I thought I would break it up a bit (while I wait for my professional photos) and get back to the side area we have been working on.

Our fence is finally finished-we have a gate!

 I'm actually really happy with how this area is coming along, especially because we still have quite a bit to do to it.


Despite the carpets of rocks down there it is feeling quite green at the moment, now that spring has definitely sprung.

Our next steps down here are 
-build some raised garden beds down near the bottom of the garden for some veggie patches
-hire a jackhammer to break up and remove the big rocks
-remove the small white rocks (we will use some to fill out the bottom of our garden beds to provide drainage, but might put an ad on gumtree giving them away if someone else removes them!!)
-lay grass
-plant out the gap between the rock retaining wall and the fence **see photo above

Currently our veggie patch is a pot setup, until we get around to building our beds. Most of the pots you see in the photos are fruit trees-a chilli bush, a lemon tree, a lime tree, and lots of smaller pots, but we were given a climbing jasmine, and L put in some eyelets and wires for it so it can grow. 

Here is a quick before, so you can really appreciate the difference down in this little area. I didn't even photograph this area in all of it's original glory-I must have been too horrified!

This is the closest we came to having a photo  of the green lamandra. It is also the only photo we have that shows the monstrous fig tree we had growing within meters of our house, and the neighbours'. We removed it within a week of getting the keys.  The below photo is when it was all dying off with the help of a considerable amount of roundup.
I'll leave you with one more after to remove that image from your memory! Have you been getting out into the garden lately??

Sunday, 15 September 2013

DIY lace bunting

Remember how I posted about about facing my sewing fears, and sewing lengths of lace bunting for reception decorations?
Here is a visual reminder:

The more I looked at it, the more I realised I wasn't entirely happy with how the ribbon was hanging-it kind of puckered a bit, and just didn't hang quite as well as I had hoped. What to do, what to do?

I unpicked it all, and started again! This time I researched it a bit more, and discovered biased binding was more appropriate. 18 meters of unpicking.... 

But.... it looked fantastic on the night, and I was much happier with it! You may even catch a back view of the bride... (excude the blurring of the faces...)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

shifts in thinking

Over the past few months I've made a few changes to simplify life, and especially how we eat. In a lot of ways it is a fairly natural progression, with one change leading to another, leading to another.

I love my job teaching in a Special School, but it can be physically and emotionally draining. It's full on, loud, there isn't any down time, and no matter how prepared I am things often happen that mean you are thinking on your feet.   I am passionate about my job and the kids I teach and I find it difficult to switch off, and not give 100%. Most of the kids in my class have autism, and when I'm not on top of things, the day can go downhill very quickly! I was getting to work by 7, and getting home after 6, and often spending part of my night laminating or cutting or velcroing resources.

I was exhausted, my skin was crazy, and I was relying on sugar hits to get me through the day (I lived for my 3 o'clock chocolate!!). I realised that my body couldn't keep going like that. Between this I was also planning a wedding, and trying to (slowly) renovate a house. I was staying up too late, and pressing snooze time and time again, I was too tired to exercise and luckily L enjoys cooking, because if I was living alone I would have been eating breakfast food for dinner every night. I actually made some mid year resolutions here in April, which was at the point when I realised that things had to change.

Some of the changes are fairly non-negotiable. I now make sure I move my body for half an hour each day. I go for a walk, I go to yoga, I do a Michelle Bridges DVD or yoga DVD at home. I often don't want to do it when I'm starting out, but once I get going, and especially once I'm finished I feel better for it. I've never actually regretted it. It's that funny thing where the more I exercise (and I'm not running marathons here...) the more energy I actually have. I sleep better and get that down time.

I've also changed my diet quite a bit. I try to eat only 'real' foods, and have cut out most processed foods from my diet. I've also cut most processed sugar from my diet-I still eat fruit and add a little honey and maple syrup at times. A by product of cutting most processed foods and processed sugars from my diet has meant that I've also cut my gluten intake considerably. I feel so good. I have so much more energy, my skin has cleared up so much, I just feel really good. I'm not strict. I definitely had cake at my wedding, and again at a friends' birthday last week, and I went out to dinner and had pasta through the week too, but I am much more conscious of what I am eating, and making sure that most of the time it is nourishing me. I'm not gluten free, I'm not sugar fee, I'm not vegetarian, I'm not raw, I'm not paleo, I'm not any of those things, but I am trying to make healthier choices around food. I've found and cooked some amazing recipes, and waited for L to say how good it was before telling him it was healthy. Breakfasts, dinners, cakes and desserts, that he now requests over the unhealthier alternative.

Well done for making it this far-why am I telling you all of this? I'm going to be making some changes to my blog, mostly it will remain the same, but I'm going to start sharing some of these recipes here along with the renovating, organising and decorating. I've also started a veggie patch to grow some of our ingredients, which will hopefully keep on expanding (as well as growing!), so I'll be sharing that with you too.

I still have more wedding posts for you. I still have more renovating and decorating posts for you in the works too. But I wanted you to know that I have had a shift in thinking and a shift in how we live in our blue house, and with that has comes some additions to this little blog.

Have any of you had any shifts in thinking lately?

DIY 3D guestbook alternative

While trawling websites, I also fell in love with guest book alternatives. We did have a beautiful wooden guestbook also, which was made by a fantastic Australian Etsy seller called Lorgie. A friend  took polaroids and people signed the book. But I also wanted something else-something that wouldn't get put away on a shelf.

I loved the idea of people signing jenga pieces (some very tense nights have been had over jenga in our house!), and thought it would have been really fun to play in years to come, and look over the messages. It was up there for a long time.

image of Wedding Whimsy

Similar to hanging tags on branches, but with a modern twist.

Mad-libs would have been funny to look back on, but as our wedding was a cocktail ceremony, people weren't going to be sitting at a table for long periods of time to fill them out. 
wedding guest book alternatives 1
There are just so many options out there, for whatever your interests or wedding theme or personal preference. 

Eventually, I went with a 3D Hearts frame. Simple, easy to DIY, and something we can have on display. 
I reused the punch from our  tea bag favours to punch the hearts, mostly in white, but a few in blue. 

I then used my rotary paper trimmer (usually used for cutting up my school laminated resources) to score the hearts down the centre, from point to point. 

Using Kikki-K adhesive dots on one half of each heart I stuck them down, alternating which side of the heart was stuck down. 

The hardest part was working out the spacing, and keeping it consistent. I think I made it as hard as possible, but I printed off two pieces of graph paper, and taped on across the top, and slid the other across as I got to each row. 


I found a shadow box frame at Typo (that place always seems to have whatever random thing I am looking for lately!) in a whitewashed finish, to place it in. We haven't hung it yet-we need a bit of an artwork plan...

I'm so happy with how it turned out!


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