Thursday, 30 January 2014

Bloggy amazing: Down to earth

I must admit I am a little bit obsessed with quite a large number of blogs at the moment. I really enjoy reading about how other people live and what makes them tick. This coupled with beautiful and interesting photos ensures I enjoy a blissful few minutes each day being inspired (or sometimes jealous really).

One local Sunshine Coast lady who has an amazing blog is called Rhonda Hetzel. Her blog, 'Down to earth' makes me want a more simple existence where I get real satisfaction from the actions I perform as opposed to what I buy/consume. With a few chickens thrown in too.

I was so inspired by her blog that I bought her book known by the same name (I just love the feeling of a good book in my hands). I want to try so many things from this blog/book (like making my own soap) so I will bring you the results of my trials and tribulations over the coming weeks (even if they are disastrous).

I really, truly, honestly recommend this amazing blog for ideas and guidance on saving and spending, housework, gardening and cooking. Rhonda is the first to acknowledge that not all her ideas are for everyone but she imparts to others what has worked for her in her own situation and hopefully people can use that experience to help find inspiration to live a more simple life.

Rhonda has certainly made me think twice about what I buy (although I could not resist a beautiful Monty Don book - more on that later). Anyway, please take the time to have a peak at Rhonda's blog and hopefully you can be inspired at least for a few minutes each day.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Garden fun

Well you have probably guessed from my previous posts that I am a little bit obsessed with gardening. I just love love love it. I find it a great way to relax and enjoy the sights, noises and smells around you.

I am a huge fan of visiting other people's gardens to get inspiration (I even visited a garden that had huge dinosaurs in a tropical setting - pretty scary). I also find it a really fun adventure. Most of the gardens I have visited have been in places I haven't been to before and are absolutely enormous. Believe me when I say that you can have a wonderful day out visiting some of these amazing gardens and everyone I have met has been so friendly and helpful with all my questions.

A great way to find gardens to visit is via Open Gardens Australia. They have a calendar of events in each state and you will find that most open gardens also have little stalls, food and other activities.

I really look forward to the big plant fair each year. There are so many wonderful stall holders with little treasures you probably have not seen before. And believe me when I say that it is not just limited to plants although the variety of plants you can find there is staggering.

It was at just one of these fairs that I was inspired to add garden ornaments to my own little garden.

I have added mushrooms, mice, chickens, old logs, stones, pots, a bird bath and a bird feeder (I am a little obsessed with trying to attract birds and bees to my garden).

Crazy eyed chicken

Look at my little bird feeder there above the Elderflower. The Noisy Miners are certainly loving the Coconut Ice Grevillea and the bees are loving those giant Elderflower blooms.

Some of the garden ornaments I have found have made there way into my home. One such thing are the mushrooms made by Woodrock Turning. I have linked to their Facebook page but you can also find them on Etsy. They are just so gosh darn cute.

I hope my little effort at garden fun has inspired you to maybe give it a go. Think of making a fairy garden for your little wee ones or adding some beautiful pot decorations for those with limited space. Or what about making a crazy character from collected branches. Just so much fun to play around with. Have fun!

Friday, 17 January 2014

More recycled furniture - Singer sewing machine

The very handy Luke and I recently bought a new BBQ. We decided on a little Weber Q but we were not sure what to put it on. We were not massive fans of the standard Weber stands, and other stands we found were just not our style.

I decided to have a look on Gumtree for an old Singer sewing machine stand. Now my parents do have a lovingly restored Singer sewing machine stand so maybe I had that in the back of my mind.

There have been a lot of different types of Singer sewing machines over the many years and this lovely blog has some beautiful illustrations and interesting information. Some are extremely rare. If you are lucky you can find a type that really suits your style and budget.

I was lucky enough to pick up one from a lovely gentleman for $50 and my awesome Dad helped me to pick it up. Now it was not in the best condition when we found it. It was in pieces and very rusty but completely salvageable.

Luke had to file off the rust first. He did this with a drill and a metal rasp type attachment. I promise I did give it a go but I just could not get the hang of it. This certainly took a few hours but the results were worth it. We could have arranged for an acid dip or the like but this way we got a real sense of achievement.

To avoid rust in the future and to return the stand to its former glory, we sprayed the stand with Kill Rust gloss black spray paint.

We made sure the stand was together before spray painting it so that the bolts were matched to the frame. We did need to source some new bolts but our second home (Masters) definitely helped out with this little task.

The other thing that we needed to source was a table top to put on top of the stand. Luke and I just love old rustic recycled timber so we headed to our local Big Red Shed. The lovely gentleman here pointed us in the direction of an old saw table. It was just so beautiful and all we did was cut it to size and give it some oil and that was that. Our new BBQ had a beautiful new home.

Simple sewing - hearts

I have been lucky enough to have had a few weeks holiday over this festive season and I decided to use some of my lovely holiday time to do a few simple sewing projects. Believe me when I say that I have been wanting to do some sewing for a long time - my newish sewing machine was covered in dust. I am sure the lovely Kirstie Allsop would have been most unhappy with my efforts so far (if you don't know who Kirstie Allsop is I highly recommend you do some googling as she is just fantastic).

Now I am definitely not the best sewer in the world so I decided to make some simple hearts as cute additions to my home.

I used this blog from Design Sponge as inspiration and for the great heart template. Don't be tempted to use another heart template (which I did try and failed miserably) as this template ensures the point in the middle of the heart is not too deep (a deep point does not work well in this project).

I followed the instructions on this blog minus the additional pocket and I chose to fill my hearts with rice and lovely smelling dried lavender (I just love love love the smell of lavender).

The other additional thing I did was to add a ribbon for hanging. Now I added ribbon in a loop on some hearts (first photo) and strands on others. I find the strands are a bit more flexible as you can tie them to anything.

This project was so much fun. You can choose any fabric you like and raid your stashes of ribbon and buttons to make great colour combinations. If you don't have ribbon or button jars then you can go to the stores and buy some or check out the op shops for vintage loveliness.

What a great gift this would make for anyone and one of my beautiful friends will be receiving a few shortly. Just think about your friends house looks like and the colours they love and go nuts. There really are endless possibilities. Have fun!