Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Goodbye winter!

It's the first of spring tomorrow, hooray! Already the mornings are brightening and evenings are a fraction longer. I look forward to light and warmth, and the energy and motivation they bring me.

There are a few winter-only treats I enjoy...

:: coffee with a spoonful of milo stirred in
:: lovely cyclamen flowers
:: my cat snuggling in the bed at night
:: candlelight
:: sitting in full sunlight at lunchtime
:: wearing cozy knitted cardigans and knee high boots

But now it's time to bid those things farewell for another year, and look forward to the beauty of spring and the warmth of summer. Bring it on!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

August flowers

 There's not as much going on in the August flower garden as in previous months, which is why I've had to feature some flowering broccoli! Well, it's bright and cheerful and I'll take that anywhere I can find it in winter. I also have some early miniature daffodils - which survived and thrived after being buried in deep snowdrifts, twice - and some pretty pink flowering rosemary.

 On the 28th of August the first almond blossoms were out. I'll need to bust out the frost cloth. More hardy are the blue star flowers (triteleia) and the pansies, who are popping their little faces out all over the place.

Not too many indoor flower displays this month - but as I've mentioned before the hellebores last several weeks, and my indoor cyclamen have been delighting me since May. Not many days left of winter now... I'm counting down!

Monday, 22 August 2011


Tranquil Woman

Since it's winter and it's been snowy and cold, I've had to spend a lot of time indoors. In between reading, watching movies, and daydreaming about summer, I decided to make some ATCs. I thought I would make 12 in a similar colour scheme and then put them together in a frame.

Queen St John

ATCs (Artists Trading Cards) are small - only 64 x 80 mm - so they are nice and quick to finish. (Usually... sometimes I seem to be stuck for hours finding the perfect finishing touch.) This one has some of my favourite little vintage buttons.

Little House

There is a mix of collage, painting and drawing. It's been nice spending sunny afternoons working in my studio. I'm feeling the call of the outdoors though... it's only just over a month until daylight savings begins, yay!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

On my reading table - Garden Spells

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

How could I not love a book featuring a magic garden? In the small town of Bascom, everyone knows that if you eat an apple from the Waverleys' tree, it will show you a vision of the biggest thing to happen in your life. Claire Waverley is a caterer, creating wonderful dishes from the flowers in her garden, that affect the eater in curious ways. Claire's quiet life becomes a little more lively with the return of her sister Sydney, who has her own Waverley gift.

This is a beautiful book to read, full of quirky characters and imaginative descriptions. The magic is an everyday thing, it's not treated as anything unusual. The house and garden are sensitive, so when tensions rise flowers bloom at night, door handles shift from the left to the right, drinks freeze themselves... oh and did I mention the magic garden? I want a magic garden. The apple tree wants people to eat its visionary fruit, so it throws fruit or rolls them along the ground.

An easy and delightful read, perfect for snuggling in front of the fire with.

******** Edited 22 Jan 2012, to add to Holleygarden's Garden Book Review. **********

Monday, 15 August 2011

Weather watch

 More snow today. The newsreaders are trying to add excitement by calling it a "Perfect Storm" and a "Once in a Lifetime Event", but they've been unable to romanticize it for me. It just means cold fingers and wet feet and black ice on the road when I need to drive to work. I'm hoping it thaws and melts away as quickly as it did last time - three weeks ago - and then we really will have had enough snow to last at least 50 years.

On to more positive thoughts! I took a break from watching sleet blowing horizontally past the window to check on my seedlings, and was impressed at their progress. The orange cauliflower in particular are bursting forth, followed closely by the freckles lettuce. (Even the tiny seedlings have miniscule burgundy specks on the leaves - so cute!) The purple broccoli is also unfolding a bit more slowly, and I have noted movement in the sweet rocket and lavender areas too. The only slowpokes are the tomatoes, and I can't really say I blame them.

 Lui got a bit stir crazy this afternoon and went outside for a play. There was a lot of leaping, scuffing the snow, pouncing in holes, and mad dashes for shelter. I played with him for a bit, then came back inside for a coffee and a muffin and a book beside the fire.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Head start

My order from Kings Seeds arrived last week, just in time for the best sowing period this month (according to the moon). So I decided to sow a few things, even though it's early, just to see how they compare to the things I will sow later in the month. Usually I start sowing around the third week in August, which is still early, but fine if you have a glasshouse or sunny windowsill.

I was very restrained... I only sowed two kinds of tomato (Juliet and Brown Berry), lettuce (Freckles), cauliflower (purple and orange, and this will be my last sowing of brassicas until late summer), lavender (I got the dwarf variety, and I want to use it to edge borders and pathways asap), and sweet rocket (I don't know much about this one, but it is not edible and has sweetly scented flowers that bloom in spring and summer, so I thought I better get the seeds in asap).

I used my seedling potter to make some newspaper pots for the tomato seeds. The others went into plastic containers - one came from Bunnings on special with some tomato seeds, and the other came from the supermarket with yams in it - normally I never buy vegetables encased in plastic, but this time I knew the container would be as useful as the vege!

Then onto a sunny windowsill, which has become my little nursery. Two of the indoor cyclamens had little babies, to my intense delight as I've never had any luck trying to sow the seeds myself.

Over the next couple of months I'll be nurturing my little seeds - giving them water, moving them into the sunniest spot, and checking, checking every day for tiny changes.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Winter days

 Winter days are good for staying inside, snug in your little house. When the rain has stopped but the wind continues to howl a gale, put on a fire, light some candles, gather your blankets and settle in.

 I spent a bit of time fiddling with my blog template today. I chose a new background and colours... it seemed appropriate, since I spend a lot of time with my head in the clouds anyway. I also widened the layout so I can now display my photos in a larger size. I work hard in Photoshop to make each picture look its best, and it always annoyed me how small they had to be to fit in my template. If you want to change yours, this is a helpful tutorial. I still need to make a new header image, but I've had enough Photoshopping for one day.

 I found this sweet little house in a local op shop. A bargain at $4.00, and it supports the Cats Unloved charity, which I'm always happy to help. Best of all, you put a candle inside, and all the little windows glow. I'm already wondering how I can decorate this little house... some tiny flowerpots outside the front door, some little trees around, maybe some bunting...

Hope you're keeping snug and cozy. Today I noticed how bright it still was at 6pm... spring is almost on the horizon!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

July flowers

I'm a bit late with my July flowers post, but not due to lack of subject matter. There is still plenty of colour in the garden, to enjoy in the winter sunshine or pick and bring into the house.

Hellebores are my favourite vase flowers at the moment. When fresh-picked they wilt and droop in the vase, however they do straighten up over the next day or so. After that they last for weeks without much fading. 


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