5 things: cute gardening accessories

Gardening is seriously my favourite. And what’s better than cute gardening accessories? The answer: not much.

Here are 5 things I’d love to have in my gardenΒ right now:

  1. Ingrid Starnes Bar Soap – $19.95 (buy it online from Alex & Corban)

Made with organic goat’s milk, shea butter and organic manuka honey this would be such a treat for gardening hands – and it doubles as a body soap as well – so perfect for that post garden shower!

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2. Redcurrent Natural Scissors – $19.50 (buy it from Redcurrent)

Although not technically for the garden, these wooden handled scissors would be perfect for cutting those herbs or any other gardening job that requires easy cutting (seed packets, twine etc.). I love the look of natural wood – and these add a Scandinavian touch to your gardening accessories that is very on trend.

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3. Sophie Conran Fork – $59.00 (buy it online from Father Rabbit)

These garden forks are so beautiful, Sophie Conran also has other gardening accessories in this range – like a trowel, secateur, potting sieve, hand rake and compost scoop. Made from waxed FSC Beechwood, brass and stainless steel, these tools are specifically and ergonomically designed for woman’s hands to help make gardening tasks easier and more pleasurable. Hence why the tines on the fork are shaped and sharpened.

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4. Watering Can – $135.00 (buy it online from Father Rabbit)

This is super clever! The handle is designed so that as the watering can gets emptier and emptier your hand slips further back down the handle, so that the can tips further forward – pouring out the last of the water. Genius! As it’s designed by Burgon & Ball it’s no surprise really!

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5. Herb Drying Rack – $19.95 (USD) (buy it online from Williams-Sonoma)

This is such a sweet herb drying rack – and would make drying those spring and summer herbs very easy with its circular design and included S hooks for hanging your herb bundles. Preserving your extra produce is the best way to make the most of your garden, so any that makes that task easier – and cuter – is a winner for me.

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Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub

Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub

You’ve all been there. You’ve had a great day out in the garden, and then you take off your gloves (if you wear them…) and somehow the dirt and smell from the soil and compost has made its way to your hands. The worst is the compost smell! And that really likes to linger. So my new favorite thing to use after after a day in the garden is my homemade Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub (made with homegrown lemons and rosemary!).

Homemade Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary

Method:

  1. Chop the rosemary and lemon zest, and then put all the ingredients in a bowl. I used chopped lemon zest, rather than grated lemon zest, but you can grate it if you prefer!
  2. Mix all the ingredients together, until combined and the rosemary and lemon is spread evenly throughout.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a jar or other container. I like to keep mine in the fridge!
  4. Β Then use the scrub on your hands, and rinse off after exfoliating.This scrub is my new favorite thing. The lemon smells amazing, and helps to clean your hands. The rosemary also smells wonderful, helps to improve circulation and helps to kill bacteria (perfect for post gardening!). The olive oil helps to moisturize and relieve itchy skin. And the sugar, is a great exfoliator!

I love that I know what is in the scrub, and that it makes my hands smell and feel amazing! Β If you have any other post gardening tips for keeping your hands looking and smelling nice, I would love to know!

Hanging Pictures with Bulldog Clips

Hanging Pictures with Bulldog Clips

Our home office is pretty much our “man cave” in our house. My husband is freelancing at the moment, so the home office is pretty much just his domain. Over the past few years, he has collected different flash prints that he didn’t want framed or damaged with pins, but he wanted hung. So we hung them using bulldog clips, which created a really cool look which tied in really well with the rest of the “modern man cave” look.

Tools needed

  • A hammer
  • Small nails
  • Bulldog clips
  • Blu-tak (or equivalent)
  • A pencil
  • A tape measure/ruler
  • Prints to hang

Heres how we did it:

1. Plan out where you want to put the prints by sticking them on the wall using your Blu-tak.Β This is the best time to play around with positioning. We didn’t want it to look perfect, just nicely balanced.

2. Mark out where you will put your nails.Β Once you have the positioning of your prints sorted, measure the distance between the hole for the nail in the bulldog clip, and the end of the bulldog clip. Then measure this distance up from the top, middle of your print, so that you get the spot where you will put your nail.

3. Hammer in your nails.Β Just do it. You’ve planned it out, you’ve measured it out. Now commit. I used small nails that weren’t super garish, and then banged them into the wall until their was about 5mm (or less) between the head of the nail and the wall. You don’t need the nail to poke out too much, but leave some space for the clip.

4. Hang up your prints.Β Clip the bulldog clip in the middle of the print, or on either side (if you are using two clips per print), and then hang up the bulldog clip on the nail. I adjusted ours a little bit once they were up so that they hung straight. And then stand back, and take in your masterpiece. πŸ™‚

How to build a TERRARIUM

Terrariums are such a cool way to to bring plants inside, but also get people who might not be so keen on gardening, doing a little gardening! The terrarium trend is really sweeping florists at the moment, but you could pay a lot for something that is so much fun and so easy to make! They make great gifts and cool weekend projects. So here is my guide on how to make a terrarium!
To create your terrarium masterpiece, you will need:
-a glass bowl or container (can have a lid or be open)
-potting mix
-stones
-sand (if using a closed container)
-moss (can be sheet moss but I used sphagnum moss)
-small plants or succulents
-little plastic toys or decorative things
Having little plants is an important part of growing a terrarium. Plants can be trimmed and pruned while growing, but you don’t want to have like a normal sized house plant being crammed into your small terrarium! You should be able to find small plants at your local garden centre or you can use succulents. But collect a variety of different colors and shapes. Having around two or three plants will be the most striking in your terrarium, but if you have a bigger one, then go crazy!
To begin with, make sure your container is clean and dry. You can use a recycled or repurposed container. But ensure it is cleaned with a mild soap and warm water first. Put a small layer of stones at the bottom. This will help with drainage, but also looks really nice. You can use any kind of stones that you like! Then on top of the stones, put your mixture of damp soil and sand (if you are using sand) and pat down gently.
Put the soil in carefully so as to keep the glass clean and not to mess up your pretty stones! Once your soil is in, just like as you do in the big garden create a small hole to put your plants in. Terrariums are about being creative, so just make it look however you want to! Once the plants are in pat the soil down firmly around the plant bases. I found that I needed to add a bit more soil, but you don’t need to if you don’t think you need to!
Once the your plants are in, put the moss down around the plants. This helps to maintain the moisture in the soil. As your terrarium grows the plants should be misted with water, rather than typical old fashioned water-can watering. If you terrarium has a lid, condensation will form on the sides of the glass. This creates a humid environment for the plants to grow in. If you are using succulents however, you may want to have an open terrarium as the conditions are better when they are open and the plants will have better lives! Sphagnum moss starts out browner when it is bought, but as it is kept moist, it changes to a green color which looks great in the environment.
The final stage of terrarium creation is putting in decorations. This stage can be skipped, but really anything can be put in. Shells, toys, beach glass. Whatever you like! We used dinosaurs, as this is the only way I could convince my husband to mini garden with me!

And voila! Your terrarium is complete! Keep an eye out for yellowing leaves, as this will mean something is wrong in your terrarium environment. If you have a closed terrarium, you won’t need to water the plants as frequently, but the terrarium will occasionally need to be aired out. Water plants gently with a mister or spray bottle and enjoy your beautiful creation!

Chores and Blackboards

Sometimes in life you need some friendly competition. I have found this especially to be true when it comes to chores. After a year of asking and then begging for my husband to do some chores (when he does them, he does a good job, he just has other priorities, like TV and 9gag) I think I have discovered a way to get him to do chores withoutΒ asking!
Yes! Without asking!
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All it has taken is a blackboard, some friendly competition and a sweet prize for the winner.
So here is how it works:
-The chores are listed as daily, weekly or monthly chores.
-The daily chores are worth 1 point, the weekly points worth 2, and the monthly worth 3.
-Daily and monthly chores are up for grabs for anyone, but weekly chores are divided equally between us (easier for him).
-Every chore that you do, earns a certain amount of points that you add to your weekly tally.
-At the end of the week, the winner gets a star.
-Then at the end of the month, the person with the most stars wins a prize! This prize could be a box of beer, a manicure, a massage etc. Something that is special that we wouldn’t normally do!

And I have put this amazing competition board up on the blackboard painted in our kitchen. Its amazing! The trick to these blackboards is wiping as much dry chalk of as possible, then using vinegar diluted in water to clean the remaining chalk off. Then when it comes to writing on it, wait until the board is completely dry, then using chalk that has been sharpened with a pencil sharpener, and wet with some water, write on the board. The chalk will go on dull, but then dry to be bright and vibrant! Its so much easier to use that way!

So may your house be cleaner and your chalkboards neater.

How to paint a door

I love my husband. More than anything in the world. But sometimes, you just have to do stuff yourself, because your husband is too busy/you’ve asked him many times, and its been months. And often times the tasks that we think we can’t do, are actually super easy! So here is a Wife 101 (or just independent woman) guide on how to paint a door!
To start with go to the hardware store and choose out some paint samples to take home, also while you are there, purchase a paintbrush that will work best for your door. Using some painters tape, cover up any bits that you don’t wanna paint, such as glass or metal embellishments. Before you paint, use a stick of some sort to stir the paint. Then paint some of the different colors of paint onto the door so that you can see what the colors will look like.
After the paint has dried, choose which color is your favorite, and then head back to the hardware store to buy a pot of the paint. Ask the person at the hardware store to make sure that you are buying the right sort of paint for your environment, such as getting a paint that works well outdoors as opposed to an indoor paint etc.
Set up
Before you do anything else, lay down some drop cloths, or old sheets that you can use to catch any paint that falls, or anything else that might damage your floor.
To begin painting your door, you need to start with essentially a blank canvas, or as close to it as possible. So use sand paper to get as much of the original paint of as possible. This will help your new paint to go on well. Using sand paper roughs up the door a bit as well, but for the best look, try to sand the door in one direction, as opposed to going crazy in all directions, but if you are using a finer sand paper, you can go crazy!
After the door is all sanded down, there is another preparation step. This involves taping up the door, so that you get paint only where you want it. Try to get the paint as close to whatever you are trying to protect, as well as trying to get it as neat as possible, so that you end up with clean lines, and not too much clean up work to do. If you do get paint where you don’t want it, you can always use a paint scraper to help tidy it up.
Now that your door is all ready, its time to get the paint all ready. Carefully open the tin up (on your drop cloth) as sometimes paint can go all over the place when you open a tin. Then, using a paint stirrer, or a stick, stir the paint really well. You will notice the color change, and perhaps the consistency. And this is why you need to stir it well!
And begin!
So now you are completely ready to start painting your door. Dip your paint brush in to the paint tin, and then wipe of a little bit of the paint by dragging the brush against the lip of the paint tin. This means that you won’t have too much paint on your brush at one time. Then, moving the brush in one direction, begin painting the door. It is important to move the brush in one direction, as this creates the best finish. Get more paint on your brush whenever you need it, and then keep painting the door until it is covered with one even coat.

When painting around the door handles or glass, go nice and slowly, as even though you’ve used tape to protect these details, some paint could still get on these things!


Apply a second coat!
Once you have done a full coat of paint, wait two hours (or follow the directions on tin), and then apply a second coat. Make sure that all the coats are even and that there are no drips in the paint.

And after the paint has completely dried, carefully remove the tape! And voila! You just painted your first door! The world is now yours! Go and conquer it!

My "Making Use of a Small Space" Garden

You’re not always going to be able to live at a house that has land for you to establish your vegetable garden presence. So sometimes you just have to get creative, and use whatever space you can. Although I do have space for a vegetable garden, I do also have my patio/kitchen garden that I love.
I love it because I can look at it all the time if I want. I can easily pop out and get some vegetables, pick a couple of herbs to add to dinner, or even just easily water and tend it (as my main veggie garden is up a little hill). There is something so beautiful and creative about turning any little space you have into a garden.
Have you heard of Guerilla Gardening?Β Google it. But basically, do it to your own place.
And I have some handy little tips to help you turn whatever dull, small, empty space into a thriving GARDEN.
Tip #1
Try to get some sunshine, (or light and warmth) onto your precious babies. This will help them to be the plants you dream they could be. Without getting technical, pretty much all plants need some light and warmth, so if you don’t have the real stuff, then fake it some how!
Tip #2
Use whatever you can to plant in. This isn’t really a tip, but I’m pretty much saying, you can make everything uniform in matching pots (very pretty), or you can mix and match whatever you have and whatever you can AFFORD. You may have heard the fancy term “repurposing”. Its very fashionable and you can do it! I use mixes of old planter boxes, big plastic pots, little pots that some seedlings came in, as well as glass jars, little buckets, empty soup cans. You name it. If you can put soil in it, you can grow something in it. Go wild. And have fun. Just make sure there is some drainage (holes in the bottom).
Tip #3
Nourish your plants. As you will be planting in boxes or pots, your plants don’t have the opportunity to gather nutrients from the surrounding soil as much as their counterparts out in the big wide world of the ground. This nourishment factor is so easy to over look, as we are so used to house plants, that you just water and leave, then water every so often. But your vegetables need your love. When you are planting your plants, use a really good quality organic soil or compost. As this will be the foundation for your plants long and healthy life. And make sure that they are being watered adequately, as often water can drain straight out the bottom of the plant, and not reach all the soil it needs to. And this leads to the next tip…
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Tip #4
Feed your plants! Plant food, compost, whatever you want! BUT JUST FEED YOUR PLANTS! There isn’t a lot of soil in those pots, and the plants need a lot of nutrients to grow! I like to use and organic (liquid) plant food, that I treat my plants to every one or two weeks depending on how well they are growing, or what they are (heavy fruiting plants need more than leafy plants). I grow strawberries on my patio, and I make sure that they get strawberry food (its a real thing!), as this helps them to grow, even in the small pots.
Tip #5
Plant things that you wouldn’t plant in your big garden. For example, in my kitchen garden, I grow wheatgrass, because it works better in a tray, and its good for it to be nice and easy on hand. Get creative and think outside the (planter) box.
Tip #6
Plant “cut and come again” plants. These are plants that you literally take a couple of leaves off, and then you can come back to them again later and take a few more leaves off. You don’t have to harvest the whole thing at once. In my small garden, I like to plant lettuces, spinach, kale and swiss chard, as they are fast growing, but they are also very handy and useful plants in terms of eating.
Tip #7
Have a few flowers in your small potted garden. Having some flowers will help to attract the good bugs, and may even help to keep the bad ones away (depending on what you plant). It is very important to make sure that your little garden (or big) is getting pollinated, and if no bees do it, make sure that you do it for the plant (depending on what plant it is!) because that is important in the growing stage for some plants!
Tip #8
Move your plants around. For two reasons. The first reason is to create companion planting. Putting some plants next to others is a good thing (for example tomatoes and basil), they enhance one anothers flavour while growing, whereas putting tomato and cabbage next to one another is bad and stunts growth. So move those babies around to get the best possible growing happening. Secondly, move them around to get the best sunshine for the plant. If you are like me, your planting area isn’t in the sun all the time, so move those babies around a couple of days a week so that they can soak up some nice rays. They will thank you for it in beautiful vegetables.
Tip #9
Start small, and increase. You don’t need to have 50 pots of varying varieties of vegetables the first day of your garden. I started with two pots, and slowly but surely I kept adding and collecting, and now I have many random containers, and some random plants. If you start small, its easier for you to manage, and make sure that those vegetables are getting the love they deserve. Add a few more to your collection every couple of weeks or so. This leads to the final tip…
Tip #10
You can increase the container size if you want. Say you planted a tomato plant in a small pot, but now it seems that it is just getting too big for that pot, well never fear, buy a slightly bigger (or much bigger if you are super keen) container, and just move your little friend into a bigger home. Plants will only grow until their roots can’t grow no more, so the bigger the space for roots, the bigger your plant will be. And once you’ve moved that plant into a bigger container, you have a spare container to start something else in. Its like the circle of life. Only different.
But most importantly HAVE FUN!! And remember, you are only limited by your imagination, so get out there are get creating your own little piece of vegetable paradise.