Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas Tchotchkes

I love Christmas. 

I love the food, I love wrapping gifts, I love silly carols, I love ultra tacky house lights, I love putting up the Christmas tree and I especially love the ornaments.

These two vintage Christmas ornaments were from a small collection passed down to me from my grandmother. I still remember hanging them on her small tree as a kid.

I love buying ornaments on overseas travels (they're small souvenirs that get used at least once a year). This  Mexican mama is from our Playa Del Carmen.

And a pinocchio from Venice!

And a fluffy owl from Richmond in Tasmania.

This one is a lovely new addition - a gift from Germany from a very thoughtful friend.

And a gift from last year with a favourite line.

Let your heart be light -- Merry Christmas everyone!!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Impatience and Hydrangeas

I cheated. I bought the worlds biggest hydrangea bush on the weekend. 

I've been watering and caring for my little mail order seedlings all autumn and they've barely grown. And my two transplants from last year are not doing so great either. So when I spotted this gigantic beauty in the nursery at Capalaba Produce where I was meant to be fetching chicken feed - I gave in to all notions of being patient and just bit the bullet and bought it.

And I knew exactly where to put it - this ratty looking garden bed gets morning sun and afternoon shade which suits hydrangeas perfectly.

Mr Tchotchke loves lending a hand in the garden

Wa - lah! Who doesn't love a before and after shot? I topped up the bed with lots of organic sugarcane mulch to help it retain moisture.

It's so fluffy! I'm sorely tempted to lop off a few blooms to bring inside. I think I'll give it a few days to settle in.

At first I felt a bit guilty for giving in to temptation and not sticking it out with my seedlings - plus it was the single most expensive plant I've ever purchased. But I figured it could be an early Christmas pressie to myself - and it was just as much as a few bunches of flowers and would provide me with far more enjoyment. Let's hope I can keep it alive until next year!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Everytime I use chia seeds I think of the chia pet ad at the beginning of Wayne's World. Ch-ch-ch-chia! Just me?

I made these yummy pink grapefruit and organic yoghurt cups for dessert last night.

And I sprinkled crunchola and chia seeds over the top for extra texture.

Since I've been sprinkling chia seeds on everything recently - this caught my eye in Bunnings a few weeks ago.

Don't you love the tagline - Kids love them!

It's done pretty well in the veggie patch so far - it's popped out these blue flower heads which google tells me will then form into seed heads - for my first chia seed harvest!


Monday, 21 November 2011

Summer already?

We're still a few weeks early - but it feels like summer is already here.

What's new in the garden? We've finally got some passionfruit growing.

We planted the vine almost two years ago and its sustained a few possum attacks but it just kept bouncing back. I love the passionfruit flowers - they're so crazy looking.

I've had a runty little hydrangea on this transplant.

And corn! That's a first too.

And our cauliflower is staring to do something. I think its trying to make a cauliflower. But who really knows. Its been in the patch since the beginning of winter not doing terribly much but I've left it there because it looks pretty impressive.

I always thought it was a winter vegetable - but it seems these summer days is getting it hot under the collar.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Total Besties 4 Eva

Charlotte and Henrietta are such a funny pair. 

They're joined at the hip 24/7. If Charlotte catches a grasshopper, Henrietta is over straight away. If I'm feeding Henrietta sunflower seeds, Charlotte wants some too. Most of the time Dr Octopus is still over the other side of the yard, totally oblivious to it all.

But this is the first time I've witnessed this.

I guess the chickens that lay together, stay together.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Bunnies of the Apple Isle

Pet bunnies are illegal in the fair state of Queensland. Mr Tchotchke once made the mistake of asking about this at a pet shop and was harshly chastised by the shopkeeper with the reasoning "they destroy infrastructure!"

So that may have something to do with why I'm so enamoured with them. You know - you always want what you can't have. I don't know if I'd move to Tasmania just for the bunnies, but they seem to have more than enough to go around.

We saw this little guy in the side yard of a house in Swansea on the east coast. Very Peter Rabbit no?

Here's Mr T staring down a cooped up junior detective on the front lawn of the Swansea Police station!

Here's a city dwelling bunny back down in Hobart.

And me chasing after him. Yah I'm really subtle.

And this relaxed chap was in the gardens at Cascade Brewery. One too many pale ales I suspect.

Ah bunnies - the forbidden fruit.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I Want a Tasmanian Garden

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth - I've just been to Tasmania. But its okay - they have abundant gardens, gobsmacking galleries and bunnies-a-plenty (but more on that later).

This amazing creeping rose was at the Governors House in Hobart. We jumped a fence looking to get to the botanical gardens and realised later they were private grounds. Whoops - sorry gov.

This is from a front yard in Richmond. Not sure what the flower is - like a hydrangea but half the size?

Here are a few pics from my travels.

These amazing houses are in Battery Point

Would you believe these gardens are at the Cascade Brewery? Beer and gardens together at last.

Beautiful blooms aside - it's good to be home.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Missoni Accomplished

I've always loved colour - and maximalism - in both fashion and homewares, so it's no surprise I'm a big Missoni fan. 

I've been slowly building a little collection of towels and scarves over the years, so I almost wet my pants when I heard about their collaboration with Target in the US.

Of course I wasn't the only one - with their pop up store during New York fashion week being cleared out in an hour, the online sale crashing their website, and items appearing on eBay for astronomical prices.

How gorgeous is Margherita Missoni in their TV ad?

Anyway, despite some serious delays and a bit of a PR disaster (their social media team took a beating on twitter), my online order went through, and with the help of Parcel It On my package arrived today! (Target US don't ship to Australia - and Parcel It On are a package forwarding service that I've used before and can highly recommend!)

That's a lots of zig-zags! (ps - it's not all for me)

My verdict - the towels seem like surprisingly good quality - the cosmetic bags not so much. My favourite was a little zig zag knit dress - as soon as I put it on I had to do a little go-go dance - it's so 60's! I won't be wearing it head to toe like in the ad- mm well not outside the house at least.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Oh Deery Me - Suburban Deer in Minnippi Parklands

Yes the deer puns were flying thick and fast today.

I'd heard rumours of wild deer living in Minnippi Parklands for years but had always presumed they were urban legends, having never met anyone who had sighted them first hand. Until my London-dwelling friend was taking a stroll last week and came across one wandering aimlessly across the sports fields.

So we set out yesterday afternoon at dusk with high hopes and my superzoom camera... we were hunting for tracks and wandering through the bush for about an hour without finding so much as a gecko, but then on our way back to the carpark Mr T spotted this guy. (girl?)

Pretty amazing hey?

I even managed to get some video footage. Please excuse Mr T's narration - I suppose wild animals beg for a bit of David Attenborough.

Apparently there are up to 30 wild deer living in the parklands - and have even been known to roam the nearby streets! Where did they all come from? No ideer. (sorry couldn't resist).

Thursday, 20 October 2011

You Have Good Soil!

I often find myself blaming the soil when a plant in our veggie plot doesn't do well "oh we don't have very good soil, there are big chunks of clay, the builders dumped cruddy soil there, blah blah blah."

I know - boo hoo. It's too late to dig it all up and start again so I just do my best adding compost (all that dirty straw from the chicken coop goes into the compost heap), mulching, watering with worm juice and seasol, and chucking out the big clay clods when I come across them.

But I read something encouraging this week.

I've had Organic: Don Burke's Guide to Growing Organic Food for a little while, but like all good books  - its seems to reveal something new with revisit.

In his chapter on soil preparation - he notes that you can't buy great soil in Australia - that soils sold by nurseries are alluvial silts (which according to old Donny fail to develop proper soil structure and won't allow roots enough oxygen to breathe).

My fave bit was:

"Your own soil is good. It is the best soil that you can ever get. Work that soil up with compost, manures, gypsum etc and it will be perfect. So many people say that their soil is no good because it is clay. Clay soils are amongst the best soils in the world! Never let any of your soil leave your property. It is pure gold."

Good old Don. So - no more blaming the soil. Which I guess leaves the rest up to me...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A Ripe Mulberry

I've always had a soft spot for the English luxury house Mulberry (I share my surname with one of their gorgeous satchels and often fancy it was named after me) but now I'm developing a thing for the actual berries too.

After reading this post over on Mud Pie I was hungry to sample the fruits of my own tree. It had been covered in berries for weeks but they were all green - so last week at the first sight of one turning red I plucked it from the tree and hungrily gobbled it up. It was tangy and bitter and not quite ripe. I hastily googled how long it takes for mulberries to ripen - and discovered than unripe berries are hallucinogenic. Great. I panicked for a second but thankfully I didn't spend the rest of the evening in a psychedelic stupor.

So I was a little more patient for this second berry and actually waited for it to turn black. 

Doesn't it look divine? So plump and glossy! I'm happy to report it's flavour was a huge improvement from the first under-ripe mulberry.

Apparently mulberries aren't commonly available in stores because they're so delicate and would get bruised in the packing and transportation processes. Although a part of me thinks that the farmers just never have enough to sell - the berries simply get plucked off the tree and eaten straight away!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Perfect Petals

After the flower failure in my last post it's nice to have some more successful blooms to display. (Although I've decided that roses must be like pancakes - the first one is always a dud).

The below gerbera was a gift last year that I repotted into the below teacup saucer-pot. It promptly shrivelled up and died, and got taken over by various weeds. I'd like to think it was some innate inner gardening know-how that guided me to nurse it back to life - but I simply left it to its own devices over the past few months - and shazam! Up popped these two lovelies.

In other garden news these amaryllis (spent a while googling red trumpet flower bulb to figure out what they were called) have sprung up again - they were quite the surprise last year.

Are you noticing a trend? Why is it all the neglected plants seem to flower beautifully and the ones I dote on behave like spoilt brats?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Hey Jude (The Obscure) Why So Glum?

My new David Austin rose (and first attempt into the world of rose growing) - the curiously named Jude the Obscure -  has been going well so far -  progressing from a depressing bare rooted stick to a lovely leafy bush much faster than I expected (8 weeks!)

It's even popped out a promising bud, which has grown into a tennis ball sized bloom that I've been excitedly monitoring each day. I took this photo this morning.

So when I arrived home this afternoon - a mere 10 hours later - to find the lovely bloom looking like this....

... I was a little disheartened. It was pretty warm today so I'm hoping that it was just having a little sulk. I gave it a good drink this afternoon so fingers crossed she comes good tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

For Sale -More Vintage Goodies

I'm having another little eBay sale - check out these vintage goodies for sale hereherehere and here.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

First Tomato of the Summer

Yes I know that technically it's still Spring - but if you were in Brisbane this last weekend you'd swear it was Summer too.

I picked my first tomato this weekend - remember these little seedlings? They're now fully fledged bushes with a respectable amount of growing tomatoes.

This ones a Zebra black (it was stripier before it ripened). I'm looking forward to gobbling it up.
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