Filtering by Tag: backyard transformation

Week 29: Creative Challenge 52

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been cooking up a storm in Oxford this week. She's also been working on her travel photography and she has some gorgeous photos to share.

But first, to food...

Trishs Honey Onions
Trishs UK Photos

Trish and Richard have spent a few days in Braunston in the UK, overseeing the refurbishment of their narrowboat, Patience. They're staying in Southfield Cottage, with its picturesque environs and stylish interior. When they arrived at the cottage, they discovered an unexpected gift - a jar of Southfield honey, and Trish was determined to put the honey to good use. She started by serving it with Greek yoghurt and chopped almonds for breakfast. She then created a wonderful caramelised onion side dish using honey and a combination of herbs that she found in the cottage garden. Trish finished her honey extravaganza with a honey and lemon posset. I'm salivating at the thought! To see more details and poach the recipes (pardon the pun), visit Trish's fabulous food blog here. I'll race you to the caramelised onion recipe.

Here are a few of the photos Trish has taken this past week. Anyone for a trip to the UK?

Trishs UK Photos

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been experimenting with a new creation this week. He's been looking for a while now at some 'table-cloth stuff' in the local hardware store, and wondering what uses he could come up with for it. He finally bit the bullet and bought a metre this week for $5 (he does adore a bargain), then delved into the garage of horrors for inspiration.

He came across this battered old lampshade, found (you guessed it) in the gutter, and decided that it would be a good match, since it's ordinary to begin with and the flower plastic stuff is pretty vile too.

Kanens lampshade makeover

Now that he's sewed the plastic on, however, he actually loves it - mostly at night, when it casts a beautiful light, but also during the day when the shine of the plastic catches the light and looks like something your grandmother kept in the good room and never took the dust cover off.

Due to his initial scepticism, he says he did a truly shocking job with the sewing and measuring, but now that he likes the result, he's going to gild the lily in the coming week to conceal his haste and slop.

Kanens lamp makeover

It's absolutely gorgeous now. I wonder how he'll improve it. Glitter? Sequins? An inner sole trim? The mind boggles.

Keryn Clark

Keryns backyard

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has had her dreaded cement box front and foremost in her mind this week. The lone frangipani now has some company and some of the more offensive decorations have been removed - the hanging baskets full of dead basil that just added to the despair of the place, for example. The baskets will be pressed into service later, but this week Keryn planted cordelines that were suffering from air conditioning damage in the shop. She's also called someone in to give her a quote on boxing the water tanks and putting up an undercover pergola on the deck.

Keryns backyard

 After much soul searching, Keryn has decided to go tropical with her backyard space, as she doesn't want to spend a fortune on it. Also, she has a friend who is cleaning out his garden, and he's donating lots of tropical freebies so why not go with that? The plan is to create a tropical jungle. Keryn says you need a lot of imagination to see this, but she has a vision in her head, inspired by a post in Gardinista. If a tropical garden works in a tiny London backyard, Keryn reasons, why not the tropics?

Vintage vase

Keryn has been busy this week. She's also painted some more green walls - this time a delicate sage. The contrast to the existing darker green was to accommodate a beautiful art deco vintage vase her sister gave her.

Finally, if the Gold Coast didn't know that Keryn and Remy had arrived, they certainly do now. Keryn has advertised on a billboard, buying slots for April and September. While the poster was put together by a graphic artist, it was designed by Keryn using the photos she took of a bunch of roses she picked in Perth some time in November. The Perth roses are now a firm feature of their Gold Coast flower shop. Lovely!

Bloom in Design

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, is happy to report that her daughter Rachel's wedding was a wonderful and joyous event, in spite of the rain that fell in Sydney over Easter, Rachel and Cameron are now happily married, and Telena has enjoyed the celebrations with family and friends.

Rachels wedding

In the midst of final wedding preparations, Telena managed to find time to create these eye-catching and unusual neck pieces using the felted beads that she made in previous weeks. How on earth did she manage it? Impressive stuff.

Telenas felt jewellery

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett decided to try his hand at some more music this week, and also aimed for something a bit more melodic and accessible. He feels that he's onto something with this short piece.

Scarlet Bennett

My mum is going abroad at the end of June and I wanted to make her a new piece to take with her, to brighten up her travel wardrobe. Sticking with the vintage theme I embarked upon last week, I created a large pendant using sky blue mountain jade to remind her of the Australian sky (she may not see much blue sky in Europe, even in early summer!), and it's turned out beautifully.

The great thing about a piece like this is its versatility. You can wear it out in the evening or with jeans and a jacket during the day to dress up a casual outfit. The perfect reminder of a sunny Aussie day for those slightly homesick moments.

Blue Mountain Jade pendant

Week 2: Urban Farming

Every gardener needs a Labradoodle in their wheelbarrow. It adds so much joy to the whole gardening experience.

Every gardener needs a Labradoodle in their wheelbarrow. It adds so much joy to the whole gardening experience.

There's been a flurry of impressive activity in our urban farm this week. With seeds germinating left, right and centre, and some beds we created last year donated to Hannah to support her recent interest in growing flowers, we've been under pressure to create new beds to house the plants that are bursting out of their propagation trays.

This week we've planted out sugar snap peas, kale, silver beet and garlic chives. I've also potted on some chillies that I'm going to continue bringing indoors at night until the risk of frost has passed. Although I committed to growing from seed wherever possible, chillies have been an exception to this principle because it's not warm enough in Canberra for them to germinate using the basic means (and knowledge) at my disposal.

But the real work this week has been on developing our infrastructure to enable us to produce food year round on our suburban plot.

The empty bed on the left of the photo was the first to go in.

The empty bed on the left of the photo was the first to go in.

The big central bed was next.

The big central bed was next.

The side bed full of soil with a weed blocking path

The side bed full of soil with a weed blocking path

Our local newsagent gave us a huge pile of unwanted newspapers and the fine young man at the counter climbed into the skip to fish them all out for us. He said he'd done the same thing for his mother last year when he helped her replace the lawn in her back yard with vegetable beds. Every mother should be fortunate enough to have such a son. In any case, we put thick layers of newspaper at the bottom of the new beds, spraying with water to stop the newspaper from blowing away, and then we filled the beds with soil. If you've ever done this yourself, you'll know that carting soil is not the most enjoyable part of the process. Hearty thanks to Hannah and Henry for all the work at the end of shovels and wheelbarrow.

We've got more infrastructure to put in over the coming weeks to maximise our flower growing space, but our vegetable infrastructure is now officially complete. Short of filling in the pool, we've used every possible square metre and we're really excited about our expanded food growing capacity.

Finished new vegetable beds - an awesome weekend backyard blitz.

Finished new vegetable beds - an awesome weekend backyard blitz.

This week's garden flower arrangements. Thanks to  Georgia Bennett  for the two arrangements on the left.

This week's garden flower arrangements. Thanks to Georgia Bennett for the two arrangements on the left.