Upcycling a Security Door to a Pot Plant Hanger Garden Feature

When my family first heard these words from me “don’t throw it out as I will use it for something”, they were concerned.

Concerned that perhaps I’ll become a hoarder.  However this isn’t their concern today.  Now when I mention my intentions for saving ‘junk’ there is total support.

Why the change? I have ensured that they have witnessed numerous finished projects – giving them comfort and confidence that ‘junk’ won’t be filling our home.

It is another reminder that ‘doing’ rather than ‘talking’ is more influential.

Several months ago I removed a broken security screen door, from an unused section of our verandah.  You may recall I renovated and decorated this area to become a children’s cubby play space. The removed security screen door was to become a future upcycling project – which I have just completed.

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I have painted it racing car red, secured it to the outside of our house (adjacent to the kid’s cubby space). Small ‘S hooks’ have been added so old, unused tea cups can hang.

Soon I’ll drill small drainage holes in the cups, fill with soil and plant herbs, flowers or succulents – anything my heart desires.  I will of course share photos when plants are growing.

I am in two minds regarding the design of the cups.  Should I paint them all silver or leave them in situ?

Photograph Sunday – Rainy Outside Play Days

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We have had a couple of rainy days this week (great for the garden). This photograph was captured on one of those rainy days.

With a raincoat on but no boots, she plays with her toys and bikes outside.  Wonder what she is thinking?  It appears she is questioning the existence of rain or perhaps why she is getting wet.

On a another note, all the toys and bikes in this photo where picked up from the side of the road – destined for the tip. Now they again give joy to children.

Have a great weekend everyone!

DIY Bean and Peas Climbing Trellis

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This post is not a ‘how to build’ instructional guide on building your own trellis.  I am no expert.

This was my first attempt of building a climbing frame from tree branches that had blown down in storms. I just decided to give it a go. The string is unbleached and organic so hence will break down in time in the garden.

Is it toddler proof? Not really up to a grade 4 or 5 toddler destruction storm but should be OK for the winds we regularly get around here.

Underneath my home made trellis, our Little One and I planted more snow peas.

Thinking it may become a statuette feature in the garden when covered in snow peas.  I’ll post photos in a couple of weeks.

Happy gardening :)

My Favourite and Easy Way to Save Tomato Seeds

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Simple and effective are adjectives that describe my gardening preferred style.  I am not retired.  I have a business and I am a Mum to an active toddler.  Even though I am passionate about sustainable living, it needs to also be time effective.  Hence why I mostly opt for easy and effective solutions.

Hence saving food seeds to plant for next season, needs to be quick. So this is what I do for saving tomato seeds:

* Slice tomatoes in half (or quarters for larger tomatoes) and squirt the seeds onto paper towels.
* Try to evenly spread the seeds around with your finger.
* Allow the seeds to completely dry onto the paper towels.
* Fold up each paper towel to fit into a small clean recycled jar. Store safely.
* Make sure the jar is labeled with what seeds are inside.
* Next season take the paper towels out of the jars.  With scissors cut small sections off the towel – only having a couple of seeds on each section.
* Plant each section of seeds into your prepared garden bed.

I also find this method easier for planting and allocating space between plants.   If more than one seed germinates from each section, I then just thin out the plants (choose the healthiest looking plant and remove the rest from that section).

* NOTE You need to make sure your tomato seeds come from open pollinated or heirloom tomatoes.  Don’t try this with grocery store purchased tomatoes.  Otherwise you might get a great bushy plant with no tomatoes.

Pretty easy hey!?!

Another Toddler Inspired Embarrassing Moment with Stickers

Today our Little One and I are going to a Wiggles Concert.  Have you heard of the Wiggles?  Apparently they are Australia’s highest paid musical band – an International children’s entertainment act.

I am a little excited (ok very excited).

It will be good to get out and about.  As it has been raining these last couple of days, we have been playing outside with our rain coats and inside creating art – with stickers, colourful paper and crayons.

Two days ago, our Little One thought it would be fun to put colourful paper and stickers on Mummy’s face.  The problem with this game is that it doesn’t take long for one’s sensory receptors on the face, to ‘forget’ the stickers are there.  Hence why I answered the door, to sign for a parcel, looking like this.

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Immediately I understood why the courier was smirking at me.  I’m grateful that this sticker episode wasn’t as embarrassing as the last one.

Hope this puts a smile on your face today.

What Happened When I Added Roasted Mango to My Pumpkin Soup?

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One of the surprising benefits of reducing food waste, is stumbling across unusual flavour combinations.

Last week I decided to cook up lots of roasted pumpkin soup, with pumpkins straight from our veggie patch.

“What would roasted mango taste like in the soup” I pondered as I pulled out mushy mangos from the fridge. Committed to using the mangos in the spirit of reducing fruit waste, I put them into my soup.

Roasted Pumpkin and Mango Soup (gluten & dairy free and vegan)

* One large pumpkin (around 1-2 kilograms)
* Three carrots
* Two mangos
* Four cloves of garlic
* 1/2 cup of pine nuts
* Vegetable stock (make sure it is vegan)
* Dairy free cream cheese (can buy from Coles or Woolworths in Australia)
* Salt and pepper
* Chives

* Remove skin and seeds from pumpkins and mango.  Cut up and place onto an oven tray.
* Cut up carrots and add to oven tray too.
* Peel garlic cloves and add to oven tray too. Sprinkle the pine nuts over everything on the oven tray.
* Sprinkle with oil (I use rice bran oil) and then season with salt. Cook in a 200 degrees C oven for 45 minutes (you might want to turn everything half way through).
* Place everything including any juices into a food processor.  Mix well.
* Add mixture to a large saucepan.  Stir in 600 ml of vegetable stock or less if you prefer a thicker soup. Stir in dairy free cream cheese (to your own taste).
* Season with pepper for taste.
* Pour soup into serving bowls then sprinkle with chives (or any fresh herbs of your choice).

The result?

I was surprised that roasted mango would compliment pumpkin.  I really enjoyed the flavour.  My carnivore husband and toddler ate it too – which is always a bonus!

Have You Ever Seen Blood Red Nasturtium Flowers?

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Over the weekend I saw nasturtium flowers that were blood red. Most people, like myself have only seen yellow or orange nasturtium flowers – hence why I was excited to see such a rare variety.

With permission from the property’s owners, I took a handful of seeds home.

Why grow nasturtium? 

*  They are the easiest flowers to grow
*  Flowers, leaves and seeds are edible
*  Nasturtium will bring in beneficial insects into your garden

These new nasturtium seeds are now planted around our raised garden beds.

Fingers crossed.