Monday, April 28, 2014

Very Special DIY Mothers Day Gift Inspiration for 2014

Mothers Day is fast approaching and what a lovely excuse to create something really personal for that special woman who gave you so many cuddles, made you so many sandwiches and spent so many nights of her life being kept awake by you (and probably still does). Here are some ideas for a creative gift giving this Mothers Day.

Emma xxx

Make your mum a special card and fill it with beautiful words. 

You can check out my DIY sewn card tutorial here and implement the Mothers Day image of your choice. Sometimes words speak much louder than physical gifts, and its a good chance to say thank you and I love you to your mother-dearest.

Create a Photobook Online

I use Snapfish to do mine as the upload process is easy and they have some really fun backgrounds and layouts to work with. You basically drag your favourite photos into little boxes and can add text if you wish. I make my photos look extra snazzy first by editing them with Picmonkey (you can use some of the features for free) but Snapfish also has a really basic editor. You can have the hardcopy posted to your loved one or opt to pick up from Kmart.

Put Together A Hamper

Is your mum a gardener? A foodie? A baker? or does she need a little pampering? This gorgeous gardening hamper was featured at Elizabeth Anne Designs and created for less than $40. I love to source local foodie goodies (it helps that I live in the Byron Bay area) such as coffee, chocolate, chutneys and wines and pop them in a basket; but I think what most mums really deserve is a pamper package - think face mask, body oil, bath salts, loofa and candle. You could even go that step further and make your own bath treats. 

Ditch The Kids/Pamper Session

Grandmothers definitely want to spend Mothers day with the grandkids right? So leave them to it and run away for a day long pamper session and a bottle of sparkling. Just kidding. Ditch the kids with someone else and take your mum out for a pamper session and lunch. Theres nothing quite like mother/daughter bonding while wrapped in mud while someone scrapes the dead skin off your feet. Bliss.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm Dreaming of A White Bedroom

I am well and truly pregnant again and my hormones have really started to kick in.

With my first pregnancy, I think my husband was surprised that I didn't turn into a screaming psycho or a blabbering mess (although I remember fogging up my sunnies hearing live "flutes of the andes" type music at a local market???!!!) but what happens to me he dreads just as much - I'm a renovator.

I decided the other day that I needed an all white, simple, scandi inspired bedroom. The fact that I've got three uni assignments due in the next two weeks, that I'm looking after a two year old while hubby works long hours, am trying to keep up with this blog, have caught a change-of-seasons cold, am not getting much sleep, oh yeah, and that I'm four months pregnant and should be getting as much rest as possible with all of the above doesn't factor into the equation. Hormones and logic are total strangers.

I'm not quite ready to reveal but there will be some good before and after posts along with some pretty cool DIY tutorials in the pipeline. You see? I've killed two birds with one stone by creating some fresh content for you guys while keeping my hormones happy. Logical, isn't it.

Here is some of my inspiration....

Emma xxx

simple scandi inspired white and black bedroom with messy crumpled linen bed
via Coco Lapine Design

scandi inspired white bedroom with cross blanket
via The Design Files

scandi inspired white bedroom
Via Bonjour Cherie

black and white photo floor vignette with leather jacket
via Hello Frankie

gorgeous linen textiles - greys and whites in bedroom
via My Ideal Home

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Autumn Vegetable Gardening in Coastal Northern NSW

Autumn Vegetable Gardening in Coastal Northern NSW - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog

It finally feels like autumn has arrived in Northern NSW (only a month and a bit late!). I love this time of year - crisp, fresh air that still has a warmth to it that makes the days oh so dreamy and perfect for gardening.

We let the beds go towards the end of summer. Intense sun, either torrential rain and humidity or (like this summer) not enough rain, hoards of green grasshoppers, and sandy soils are not favourable for tender veggies and so we pull out most of what has grown over spring, tops the beds up with manure, compost and mulch and let them sit. I find we an grow a lot of 'summer' vegetables up here through our mild autumn and winter with more luck than in the warmer months so this is the time we really go for it.

My hubby always says that plants are like people - they need the same things we do in order to flourish - a healthy and happy environment, food, water, sunlight and love. Leave any of these out and they may survive, but they risk getting sick with viruses or attacked by bugs or they just don't grow to their full potential - just like us.  It's a great analogy to remember when nurturing your outdoor space.

Autumn Vegetable Gardening in Coastal Northern NSW - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog1. Preparation - setting up the environment

You know the saying - preparation
certainly is the key to a happy garden! With sandy soils like ours I prefer to go with the no-dig method of layering cow manure, compost and a topping of sugar cane mulch on existing beds. Sand acts like a filter - eventually all the goodies get sifted through until you end up with sand at the top again, especially if you are digging the good stuff in. By laying on top, you slow this process down and eventually end up with a more humus rich soil full of wriggling worms and less backache. The sandy base provides excellent drainage and is much easier to work with than clay or rocky soils. I like to prepare mine at least a month before planting to let is settle, however this doesn't often occur and I usually plant straight in. Pick a spot that gets full sun - most veggies need a full days worth to thrive.

2. Choosing The Right Plants

Autumn Vegetable Gardening in Coastal Northern NSW - Chamomile and Peppermint BlogThe best advice I can give for which vegies to grow is to plant the ones you eat! Having a fresh supply of yumminess is great inspiration for cooking healthy meals and you will emerge daily to see what is ready for harvest and base tonights meals around what is in supply. Some of the fastest and easiest to grow veggies include beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, silverbeet, spring onions and herbs. Experimenting is great fun though and there are some really cool unusual varieties of your good old traditional veggies available these days. I prefer to buy seedlings over seeds as I don't have much luck (patience) tending to seeds and you are usually a few weeks ahead. Try your local nursery, bunnings or big w and see what is in season. Trial an error is the only real way to tell what will grow in your garden so give it all a go and you will know for the next year. I have NEVER had any luck with carrots :( and after years of trying in several gardens have resigned to the fact that they are just not for me. When planting think of how you would like your garden to look - are you more of a "rows and tallest to shortest" person (i.e. hubby) or a "freeform wild-meadow flowers and veggies all in one bed" person (i.e. me) - this is your chance to get creative and personalise your space (hence why hubby and I have separate designated areas of the garden). Make sure your plants are well mulched but still have room to breath (airflow is important to avoid fungal diseases) and water in immediately. A drink with a seaweed liquid fertiliser after planting will encourage root growth and set them up for a happy life.

Autumn Vegetable Gardening in Coastal Northern NSW - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog

3. TLC

Most veggies love full sun and a daily watering. The only ones I can think of that don't mind partial shade are spinach, coriander and mint (I'm sure there are others but these are probably the most common) and you can tuck these into an area where they will be partially shaded by some of the bigger plants. When it comes to food, they love manure which should have been laid down in your beds in the beginning to feed them slowly from the roots up. I also aim for a weekly feed with an organic liquid fertiliser such as fish or seaweed emulsion (or a combination of the two!). Steer clear of powered or liquid chemical fertilisers on edible plants as they contain a lot of nasties and one of the bonuses of growing your own is that you can grow organic without the price tag that come with buying organic. Organic fertiliser pellets and dry blood and bone type mixes and also great food, just be careful to sprinkle them on the soil around your plants as they can burn if they come in direct contact. Get to know what is happening your garden by taking a look at everything everyday or every other day. You will see what needs staking, or harvesting, or what is being attacked by caterpillars and your garden will feel cared for. There is some amazing stuff out there on the net about plants that are spoken to, or sung to, or played music to and how they positively respond so go nuts and give your neighbors something to talk about (from memory I think heavy metal has the opposite response so opt for Mozart over Metallica! or on second thoughts just water and feed like normal people).

4. Pest Control

Autumn Vegetable Gardening in Coastal Northern NSW - Chamomile and Peppermint BlogEven the healthiest gardens will get the odd attack of bugs or diseases. The most common I experience in this area are those little green grasshoppers in summer which I do not have a remedy for (they usually go away as it cools down. I have heard that homemade garlic/chilli spray might work so if anyone has a recipe let me know), little green caterpillars in autumn winter that are laid by the white cabbage moths and particularly love your winter cruciferous veggies such as cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower which I pick off by hand (and throw into the neighbours garden) and those large 28-spotted lady bugs that eat holes into the leaves of my tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants which I also also pick off by hand and leave in a jar of water in the garden to warn off their fellow bug friends (why I can kill these but not the caterpillars I do not know!).  I stay away from chemicals at all costs and go for the good old methods of pest control. It may be slower, but you do get to know your garden this way and feel a sense of pride in playing protector. Encouraging predatory bugs such a spiders, whitefly and lady beetles (the good kind) is an awesome way to keep he nasty bugs down. If we get a lot of rain things like my zucchinis, pumpkins and cucumbers will often get a cloudy looking fungal on the leaves however this is usually towards the end so I just pull them out and start again.

5. Harvesting  

Autumn Vegetable Gardening in Coastal Northern NSW - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog

This is the best bit - enjoying the fruits of your labour! (literally). Here is where you impress your friends with delectable dinners that would make even Jamie Oliver swoon, give you surplus to friends or trade for other veggies (or baked goods as is the case with a good friend of mine) or even try your hand at chutneys and jams (see my cumquat, lavender and vanilla bean jam tutorial here) .

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up

Ok, so I haven't been doing much in the way of creative pursuits and DIY lately.

I have, however, woken up with a brilliant thought for a project this morning that will be in the works (that has absolutely nothing to do with pallets). You will have to stay tuned!

For now, here's a round-up of some of the brilliant things people have done with old packing pallets for a little inspiration.

 Emma xxx

Pallet Reclaimed Daybed - The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog
Home Decor Obsession

Beer Wine Rack - The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog
The Whoot

Simple Low Pallet Bed - The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog
Apartment Therapy

Reclaimed wooden bed head headboard - The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog

Whitewashed Coffee Table on Castors - The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog
Chamomile and Peppermint

Pallet Planter Garden - The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog
One Hundred Dollars a Month

Small Toilet Room Revamp with Reclaimed wood - The Lazy DIY'er - Pallet Furniture Round-up - Chamomile and Peppermint Blog
Mandy Jean Chic