Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mama's Little Babies Nature Inspired Jewellery

I just love the unique nature inspired jewellery in Mama's Little Babies store on Etsy.

If you are trying to find that little something for a nature lover or gardener in your life, these will light up their face and think you rather clever!

Click on the image below to make it interactive - redirecting you to Etsy.

Happy shopping, gardeners!

Nesting Box Chicken Jigsaw

Here's today's fun distraction!
Click on the image below to start.
It will save for you if you exit.
You can return anytime to continue your puzzle.

Have fun!

100 pieceNesting Box Chicken

Friday, March 29, 2013

Creative Meals for Kids

One of my favourite subjects is 'plate art' for kids because it helps fussy finicky eaters to eat healthy.

I just love the creativity of some people's foodie imaginations.

I'm definitely going to try some of these!

Check out these any many more on my Pinterest board: Lunch Box

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Espalier Garden Bed Project - Part 1

It's all taking shape!
My espalier garden bed project.

It is finally time to install my new garden bed. It has been a year in the planning. So in between cutting the curds and waxing the cheese wheels, organising the school gardening agenda and kid wrangling, we have made a start to our new garden.

Here's our work so far into the project...

Stage 1 - original

Stage 2 - plants removed and re-potted

Stage 3 - removal of old bricks and bed EXPANSION

Stage 4 - choosing the right bricks and layout

Stage 5 - removal of the invasive Kikuyu grass

Why I've chosen to plant an espalier.

Every summer I buy bags and bags of stone fruit, plums being like catnip to my children. No sooner is a new bag of plums in the fridge, the plastic bag is soon discarded on the bench due to being entirely consumed in a whirl-wind of ferocious snacking.

I'm all for the healthy eating habits, but I was becoming quite concerned about my kids' appetites increasing as they get nearer to teenage-hood. No longer will a loaf of bread last a few days, but be devoured within one afternoon after school to replace all that spent brain energy from learning.

I need more fruit trees! But how was I going to fit them into my garden design?
An espalier fruit tree was the perfect answer.
Let's just hope plums espalier well.

The garden bed project has managed to also solve another problem in my yard.

It has provided 'fill' down the other side of the shed. Where there was once a gaping chasm, there is now walking room and space for a potting table!!! (Oh joy!)

Fill almost complete. Gravel and gate next.

Our new espalier garden bed will have new fill to combat the invasion of the Kikuyu grass. As lovely as it is for a lawn, with its Australian summer durability, it really is a gardener's nightmare to weed out.


  • Finish off the 'fill' on side of shed.
  • Spread pea gravel.
  • Hang new gate to the side of the shed.
  • Start the concreting in the base of the new garden bed, and build up wall.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gardening Planting Guides for Australia

Whenever I want to know what I can plant this month I often find I madly flip through all my gardening magazines to find this month's planting guide. But having a handy chart is far more convenient to refer to.

This month I came upon the need to find a descent chart for our school garden planning group. Even if I am not there I know that my students and fellow teachers can easily see what is in season for the lesson. Companion planting is just as important to ensure a healthy flourishing crop.

I hope to publish my own flower and shrub guide here soon, for your convenience. So please check back soon.

But for your fruits and veggies, check these out.

Digger's Sow What When poster - This full colour poster displays over 60 commonly grown vegetables and herbs, including instructions for whether to sow into trays or direct in the ground, which months to sow, spacing between plants and in the row, growing days to harvest. Cool, warm and hot climate zones are covered with additional heat and cold zone maps helping you determine your exact growing area. In addition perhaps the most useful and unique cross reference information relates to the distinction of soil temperature. 59cm x 43cm. $15 for the public, $12 for members from Diggers.

Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion Planting Chart – provides month-by-month suggestions for growing an extensive range of seasonal vegetables across hot, temperate and cooler climates. This A1 poster is beautifully illustrated in the style of the Kitchen Garden Companion book. $20

Need something free to help you right now?

The Vegie Guide: Don't forget to also check out the Gardening Australia website interactive map.

If you know of any other good planting posters or online guides, please let me know.

Happy gardening!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Suburban Backyard Chicken Survey


Can you spare a moment to help me out with planning a new business idea?
If you live in an Australian city suburb and own chickens, I need your helpful feedback.

Please scroll down to take the questionnaire.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chillies Jigsaw

Click on the image below to start your jigsaw puzzle.

Remember, you can exit the game at any time and the game will automatically save it for you when you return!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe

Australians are an unusual bunch when it comes to cooking terminology.

We don't use a 'stick of butter' (113g), but measure in grams or cup size.
We don't have canned pumpkin, we use the real thing and cook it down. (Guess work)
We don't use Rape Seed Oil, but renamed it as Canola Oil because it doesn't sound so criminal.
And we when we say 'herbs', we pronounce it with a H.

Madness! I know!

And there is one more to add to this list that is so foreign to most Australians that I felt the need to share the recipe.

We may want to make those American Pumpkin Pies,
but what exactly is Pumpkin (Pie) Spice?

Here's the answer to solve that dilemma...

Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe

3 Tablespoons ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground Ginger
2 teaspoons ground Nutmeg
1½ teaspoons ground Allspice
1½ teaspoons Cloves

Did you notice the cute little jar?

I found this Anna Gare ceramic jar at General Trader ($9.95) here in Australia. The lid has an inner silicon seal to keep in the freshness. But I think that the loveliest part is the blackboard label that can be simply rubbed off with a damp cloth and renamed.

I loved my first jar so much that I went back later to purchase another.
Available in blue and red lids.

I can see so many uses for these jars; homemade mayonnaise, salad dressing, pastes and jams, not to mention spices. I bet you can think of more.

Ideal for anyone who is trying to get away from using plastic containers or needs to keep the contents in a dark place to prevent sunlight spoilage.