Monthly Archives: June 2011

K.I.S.S: Organising the Kitchen

I’m not a natural-born organiser. In my natural state I’m more of a seat-of-the-pantser, but I find that ridiculously frustrating and know that I do much better at life if I’m at least semi-organised.

So as part of the Great Experiment I’ve decided to put effort into organising my life, bit by bit.

Over the weekend I tackled the pesky drygoods cupboard. You know the one where you shove random bags of brown sugar, cocoa, flour and breadcrumbs in amongst bottles of food colouring, vanilla essence and loose sultanas that have fallen out of their box? Yeah, that cupboard.

It’s not rocket science, but I had a strategy in place to tackle it, and it meant a grand total of ten minutes (shopping time extra, but it doesn’t count because I went and had a coffee: bonus!) and I was done. And felt amazingly satisfied!

1. Listed everything I had stored in the cupboard
2. Figured out what sized container I needed to accommodate a full bag+
3. Armed with the list I went shopping for the containers I needed (what price is organisation? For me, $30! Thank you, Big W).
4.Transferred everything to its container and labelled each one. (OK, an admission, I haven’t actually done the labelling yet, but I will. Because it is very, very important……)

That’s it. Simple, I know. But even so I had put off doing this for ages because it felt like such a sucky way to spend my time. But now that it’s done, it really does make a difference. It’s easier to see what I have, what I need and what I have inadvertently bought 6 bags of (yes, you, desiccated coconut). Plus now I don’t have to dodge a cascade of cocoa every time I get something off the top shelf!

In The Garden: Getting Some Winter Colour Action

Winter is typically a time of the blahs in the garden, and most corners of our backyard would concur, but we do have a couple of bright spots, which I take a ridiculous amount of pleasure from. I go out and visit them every day, looking for new growth, new flowers, buds about the burst open with sweet colour. It does sound a bit silly, but it gives me hope and happiness in winter, the season that is most likely to see me feeling down.

Here are a few ideas for injecting some much needed life and colour into your garden over winter. Some are good for this year, others to keep in mind for next year.

My Hardenbergia ‘Edna Walling Snow White’ is starting to bloom, and it is so, so, so pretty. If you have a fence or a pergola you’d like to grow something on, these little gems are perfect. They’re native, they’re easy peasy to maintain and they will grow quite quickly – just provide a trellis or some wire from them to grow along. The flowers start in winter and continue through spring, and they are just super cute. I love having green walls in the backyard – it makes the space feel even bigger.

At the markets on Saturday I spotted a vendor selling potted ornamental kale and had to have one. They are everywhere these days, but with reason. The colours are gorgeous and they bloom in winter, which is what I’m after.

They grow well from seed, and you’ll need to plant them late summer/early autumn to get the blooms in winter. They like a sunny spot and will tolerate frost. (Apparently, the colder the weather the more colour you’ll get in the bloom). They’re perfect to plant in herb/ornamental beds as replacement plants over winter, when some of your herbs or perennials die off in the colder months. They also look gorgeous as a winter edge planting, maybe along a path?

Ah, my sweet peas. Progress is good but slow. They’ve been super easy to grow from seed, and just need a sunny, open position. I’m keeping an eye on them, to make sure they keep attaching to the supports as they get taller, and keep the water and seaweed solution up to them when I remember. They should bloom in another couple of months, and I will hopefully have vases and vases of beautiful fragrant blooms for a few months after.

Lastly, my kangaroo paws have started to bloom again. Some are summer flowering, but my Bush Gems start flowering in winter and last all the way through spring, which is wonderful. Juts pick one up from your local nursery, pop it in a pot or in the ground, add some slow-release low-phosphorous fertiliser every six months and water it occasionally and it’ll be great. They’re fairly hardy, but do enjoy a hard prune after flowering (cut them all the way back to the ground and make sure to keep the centre of the plant clear of dead leaves and debris). Cut the flowers to keep inside – they keep really well in a vase – and the plant will send up more and more in a show of gratitude. Win:win!

None of these are hard to grow, at all, otherwise I wouldn’t be growing them! They just give a bit of spark to the greyness that a garden can be in winter, so I love them by default. Let me know if you have any gems that you have in your garden. I’d love to hear about them!

Wonderful Weekend

Oh, Monday, you cruel mistress.

Today is a gorgeous bluebird day again though, which is lovely and most welcome. We had a fabulous weekend, where we actually managed to start and finish (can you imagine!?) a couple of little projects in the yard. The weather was so gorgeous it really felt like early spring, not the first month of winter, so we took it with both hands, thankyouverymuch.

Sparky raked up a bajillion leaves from the front and backyard, so I’ve got about ten bags of leaf mould on the go now, which is awesome.

Meanwhile I started and finished (!!!) a new little path in the backyard, that doubles as a garden edge. The new bed backs on to the new deck and we’ll soon be planting three ballerina (dwarf) apple trees, as well as a dwarf mandarin tree and a lime tree that is currently up the back and not getting enough sun to fruit. The soil needs a bit of work first, but I’m super excited to see some progress in the garden, finally! (Meanwhile the painting is still not finished, but no worries.)

We also spent a couple of hours down at the local craft/produce market on Saturday morning, where they now have a heap of really great second-hand stalls. I had to hold myself back from the vintage garden tools, but did spend the princely sum of $2 on these four orange 70s-ish tin cannisters. Fun, aren’t they?

Plus, there was many an hour spent in the backyard with my three delights. Two of them pint-sized and one Sparky-sized. Wonderful all-round!

I hope you had a productive weekend and soaked up the sun? xx

Happy-Making: Dirty Hands and Weekend Reads

(Blogger buggarised around and I only just saw that this post never made it up on Friday. So here it is… On Monday!!)

It’s been a funny old week, but it’s ending on a delightfully high note. Not only did Sparky and I start our new exercise routine this morning (waking at 5am six days a week to do either yoga/jog) and it felt goooood, but I’ve also been able to get my hands into the dirt and start working on our garden beds. It’s my favourite domestic thing to do and after an hour or two in the garden, I feel like I’ve been on holidays. Or am flush with that post-exercise endorphin rush.

Plus the sun is shining (it’s as windy as all get-out, but I’m not going to complain) and I got my new issue of frankie in the post today, just in time for the weekend! AND it’s chock-full of awesome things that people make. Win:win:win!

Bonus: Tonight, I’m making caramel popcorn! My teeth are aching with happiness (or is that sugar?) already.

I hope you all have wonderfully content weekends, and much happiness results. xx