Friday 24 May 2013

Corners of my home - hot pink for winter

 I wanted to change things up a bit for winter with some warm throws, cushions and a pop of colour. I thought that if I kept throws and cushions neutral yet luxurious - wool, cable knit, etc then I could use grey and hot pink for the accent colours. I haven't really got any of those luxurious knits yet but I made a start on the hot pink! I found some great yarn at Spotlight on special, $4.00 for a really big ball. It was great until I actually started working with it and then I realised why it was so cheap... it was really splitty and not very well spun. However I persevered, mostly because I didn't want to go yarn shopping again (it was quite hard to find just the right colour!) and made the crochet bunting. It was just simple dc all the way so I managed to make the yarn do what I wanted.

I also used it to cross stitch onto this woven fabric. I'm quite happy with how this cushion turned out and it was very quick and easy.

I'm liking the hot pink accents in here now. It really brightens the room up and I sure need that in winter! It almost makes staying inside not that bad.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

On my reading table - Sweet Peas For Summer

Sweet Peas For Summer - how to create a garden in a year by Laetitia Maklouf.

This book is the story of the author's first backyard garden, and how she got it dug and blooming within a year. Having gardened for a decade in pots and on balconies, she had a strong idea of what she wanted in her garden so was able to get stuck in right away. One of her first projects was sowing sweet pea seeds to have flowers for summer.

The book is divided into seasons with a new chapter for each month.  Each chapter starts with a brief write-up of Laetitia's garden that month, then it has a list of tasks to do in your own garden. Then there are various projects, plantings and plant profiles, each illustrated with a gorgeous photo.

Although the book is aimed at beginner gardeners and I'm well past the beginner stage, I still found a lot to like. The easy, chatty style of writing is fun to read and the photos are beautiful. There are lots of projects which inspired me and interesting tidbits of information.

I enjoyed seeing photos of Laetitias garden, and my only quibble would be that there aren't many pictures of the garden as a whole. I would have also liked a garden plan or sketch to give me an idea of where things were in relation to each other.

Having said that, I enjoyed the chatty, friendly style of writing - pretty much like a blog in book form. While I may not be a beginner any more I still enjoy reading about how other people do things, and of course there is always something new to learn. I think everyone from beginners to experienced gardeners will find something to like here.

Isn't this bowl of hellebores lovely? Can't wait for mine to bloom so I can do this! (I'm also going to pin a flower in my hair and plant sarcococca and hang baskets from my apple tree, as soon as it is big enough.)

I'm linking this post to HolleyGarden's monthly book review meme. She has a great archive of book reviews here now, so do take a look!

Monday 20 May 2013

Orange and damp

 Two words summed up my garden today - orange and damp! We had drizzle all weekend and the moisture has really soaked into everything. That's a good thing, after the dry summer. I also think brick and terracotta look their best when slightly damp. The colour is much richer than the dry pinkness you get in summer. So from that point of view, I'm happy for damp autumn days.

 There's quite a bit of weeding to do but since the soil is so soggy I didn't touch it. What a great excuse, right? It probably wasn't too wet to sweep up the leaves, but I left them alone just in case.

 A tapestry of ground covers here, surrounding my lovely lonicera ball in a terracotta long tom.

Orange leaves against a turquoise sky. A classic autumn colour combo that you just can't beat.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Project Life

 This year I decided to get started on a photo album. I wanted to have some way of displaying my photos in seasonal order, and when I came across mentions of Project Life online I realised that was the way to go. Project Life is a scrapbooking system, where you have album pages divided into pockets to hold photos. You can do a little bit of scrapbooking or journalling if you want, but basically the idea is to shove the photo in quickly and be done! I like this way of doing it because personally I find a lot of scrapbook page layouts a bit over the top, and in particular I don't want to start doing something complicated and then spend the rest of the year feeling guilty because I haven't kept up with it.

 The first page inside is a half spread. I wasn't sure what to put here and then I remembered my monthly flowers collage. In Photoshop I cropped it into six 4x6 parts. It didn't print too badly considering the original collage was sized for the web... I guess photo printing has improved a lot over the years!

This is my first spread for January. It's worked out so far that I have two double page spreads for each month. I'm not worried about putting the pictures in chronologically, but I am trying to keep a consistent colour scheme across each spread. We'll see how that goes, but it was easy for January... there was a lot of pink this month! If I didn't have enough photos for all the slots I used patterned paper in a matching colour.

 My photo sleeves aren't the official Project Life ones, but they are the same style. I chose the ones which have four 4x6 inch horizontal photos, and four 3x4 inch vertical photos. It's a good universal size for photo printing - I use Photoshop to put two 3x4 pictures together on a 4x6 size canvas, then cut the photo in half once it's printed. I don't print at home because I don't have a good enough printer, and it's just as easy to go to one of the instant photo places at the mall.

In the March spread I felt that the photos needed to be tied together a bit more. I put corners cut from pink patterned paper over the corners of some of the photos. Then I did a bit of journalling. I was going to stay away from that but some of the photos needed captioning, plus the slots which were just patterned paper were looking a bit bare.

 So, journalling it is, and I'm happy with that. You think you will remember what's going on in all the pictures but that won't be the case in a few years. I better go back and caption some of January's pics too.

 That's my photo album! I really like it - it's like my blog but more tangible. I need to get on and finish April's pages now.

 Are you doing Project Life, or any sort of photo album?

Wednesday 15 May 2013

May flowers

I can't really complain about our autumn weather this year. There have been a few light frosts and some cool days, a bit of rain and wind. But still we are getting nice sunshine, decent daytime temperatures and even some warm balmy days. The flower garden is carrying on.

Roses are mostly finished but there are still a few buds here and there. The chrysanthemums have lost their brassy early autumn sheen and become frilly and pink-hued. There are still a few dahlias to pick for a last bouquet, and stems of penstemon to mix in with them. A hollyhock has surprised me with some late repeat flowers, and the same can be said of my raspberry bush - a second cropping in autumn, yum. The last bloom on the outdoor cyclamen is close to the first blooms of the rosebud primroses, which will hopefully carry on through the next few months.

So there's still plenty of interest in my flower garden in late autumn. How is your garden doing this month? I'm linking up to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day as usual.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Autumn potager

The weather during April was mellow and golden. Autumn slid gently into view. We've had some chilly nights (and one frost so far, to welcome May) but there were plenty of warm weekends last month. I have pulled out the corn and tomatoes since this picture was taken, but the zucchini, peppers and chillis are still hanging on. The runner beans are done but I'm letting them die down naturally so they resprout next year.

In the centre beds rosemary balls add structure. Chives are still lining the paths and the time is probably about right to divide them before winter. I have calendula all around the outer beds lining the circle brick paths, so they should flower all through the cooler months and provide interest along with the rosemary.

I'm very pleased at the size of the leeks this year. This is due to planting some good sized seedlings just after Christmas. On the left are some smaller leeks that I planted a month or so later.

Brassica seedlings are protected with plastic bottle cloches. I've planted red sprouting broccoli, purple   cauliflower and orange cauliflower. This bed also has rainbow silver beet and spring onions.

So the winter garden is all set. How is your patch this autumn/spring?


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