Monday, 30 May 2011

How to Construct a Worm Bin...

Mum was lucky enough to find a can o' worms style worm bin in the charity shop for £6, we used to have one of these ages ago, it was a slightly different style and all the worms dies in it :(  But we have gained much composty knowledge since that tragedy and felt ready for another try.  I was put in charge of setting up the wormery, and I decided I didn't need or want to buy any of the expensive extras off the website.  Luckily you can download the instructions from the wiggly wigglers website (link above), I didn't really have anything the instructions asked for, so I improvised, and so far it seems to be working! 

The instructions say to take the circle of cardboard from the packaging and use it to line the base, I didn't have the packaging, so I used some old cardboard, easy peasy.  Then you're meant to add a rehydrated coir block and some compost worms bought from the website.  Luckily, we already have compost worms (we took the survivors from the first can o worms tragedy and out them in our normal compost bin, where they have reproduced on an epic scale) so we dug them out, along with some of the compost and some confused woodlice, and used them instead of new worms/coir combo.  Then I added a layer of kitchen scraps and some bits of cardboard for a good greens to browns mix.  The instructions ask for a moisture mat (which costs a fiver) or says you can use newspaper as an alternative, you can guess which option I went for.  Then you put the lid on and wait for the worms to eat through the kitchen scraps, before adding more.  When the first layer is full, you add a second, then a third.  then you empty the nice compost out of the first layer, and add it to the top, where you continue adding your kitchen scraps in a lovely cycle of composting! 

It lives right next to the back door at the new house, we take our kitchen scraps with us each time we visit (we haven't moved in yet, but the worms have!).

Do you have a worm composter?  Any tips for not killing the worms would be much appreciated!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Mr Blue Tit...

Here's a photo of Mr Blue Tit, who lives in the bird box in our new garden, he has a family of chirpy chicks who you can hear cheeping for food if you sit quietly for long enough...

We also have baby blackbirds, sparrows, robins and pigeons hopping about all over the place!  Do you have baby birdy friends in your garden?

Saturday, 28 May 2011

New Garden Progress...

Lots and lots of things are growing in our new garden, it's very exciting..last week we cleared the very last bit of garden, the bottom corner where we're going to grow more veggies, had a giant bonfire and dug over all the soil to make it nice...we're going to add some manure and compost, have a final weed (we have buttercups all over this garden...nightmare!) then get our leeks and some kale and cabbages in there..

Here's the bottom of the garden before...

And after...

We need to sort out the bit at the very back, that's behind that spikey tree, but the tree is too spikey, we will cut it down in autumn and then make it all tidy.  Eventually the spikey tree spot might be where we put a chicken coop and have some chuckies!  Eeeeexciting!

This bed has broad beans (they're supposed to be dwarf, but I don't think any one's told them that!) and onions.  In between the beans are rows of spinach and beetroot.

The bees seem to be enjoying the bean flowers - they buzz loudly as you walk past!

We have zillions of gooseberries, next year we'll get rid of most of the bushes, but this year we'll have to think of lots of creative gooseberry uses because neither of us are keen on them!  we also have loads of damsons, I'm going to dry some in my dehydrator and mum's going to make jam!  We must remember to make damson vodka too, it's totally delicious!

 We also have lots of pretty flowers!

How do your garden's grow? 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Things I Love (almost on) Thursday...

This week I heart...

* making a notebook * new CDs arriving * a nice boy picking up my bike helmet when I dropped it * reading 'The Dragonfly Pool' by Eva Ibbotson * job interviews * blue skies and white clouds * tidy garage * tidy and polished bedroom * green bike oil  *listening to Eddi Reader, Norah Jones and Lily Allen * chips * blogger coming back * reinstating a stripey ikea rug in my room  *talking about growing veg with a nice boy in wilkinsons  * Dr Who * Eurovision - especially the gnome hat wearing, fairy unicycling entry! * rag rugging * planting kale and parsley, courgettes, mini sweetcorn, nasturtiums, calendula and marigolds  *watching Practical Magic * eating my first home grown spinach * tiger bread * getting good books from the library * buying 70s curtains and bedsheets * bouncy clean hair * my best friends beautiful wedding photos (she got married in Brazil, where she lives, I couldn't go, but she had a beautiful day!) * little blue tit in the nest box * baby robins and sparrows and blackbirds in the garden * Glee * big bonfire to burn all the garden wood * whizzing downhill on my bike * having a good driving lesson and my instructor saying I did good manoeuvres * hedgehogs * squirrels * frogs and newts * gardening in the sunshine *

What do you love this week?  Hope you're having a lovely one! xxx

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Library Love...Thrifty Chic, No and Me, The Dragonfly Pool...

This month I've started going to a different library, which is nearer where I's not as inspiring as my old library and it doesn't have as much stock, so I'm finding it hard to find anything I want to read, my choices this month have come from the teenage and children's section (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it would be nice to have some interesting looking adult fiction too!)  My new library is having a make over soon, so hopefully I'll find better books in it then!

Thrifty Chic -
I got this book mainly to look at the pretty pictures!  It doesn't really tell you anything new, but it's a very pretty book and has some nice projects in the back, especially a lampshade made from stringing buttons onto an empty wire lampshade frame...I'm going to try that one day!

No and Me - Delphine De Vigan -
I really loved this book, it's about a French teenage girl who meets another French teenage girl, who is homeless.  It's about the effect they have on each other's lives...tis very good...I'd recommend reading this one!

The Dragonfly Pool - Eva Ibbotson -
This book is about a crazy boarding school in 1930s Devon and the children and teachers that live there.  They go on a school trip abroad and meet a prince and I can't tell you any more than that of I'll give the plot away!  This is the sort of book I would have loved to have read when I was a child, but I still loved reading it as an adult anyway!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Home Made Recycled Note Books...

So, I had a big clear out of the wardrobes in the garage (yes, we have wardrobes in our garage, because we had the garage converted into a granny flat and my grandparents used to live there..we never did get out of the habit of calling it the garage...).  I went from having 9 boxes of stuff in there to 6, and along with having lots of things to donate I also got rid of a rather massive pile of paper from my teaching days.  I put this in the recycling, but had second thoughts, because I knew most of the paper was unused worksheets and had only been printed or written on on one side, I knew they could be reused for something, so I rescued them. 

I used this tutorial on Instructables and made the paper into a notebook!  I didn't use the measurements she gave though, I just folded my sheets of A4 paper in half, cut along the crease, folded those pieces in half and stacked them together to make the signatures, then measured a piece of card big enough to hold it all in afterwards. 

I used a coco pops box for the cover and some old cotton thread to do the binding.  Even though this is the first book I've ever made it only took about an hour, including cutting and folding the paper, and I was watching TV too!

Have you ever made your own notebook?  How did you do it?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Memory Jug. Inspiration.

I saw this picture while browsing on ebay and fell in love with it! This is called a memory jug, and is an american folk art idea, I've googled it a bit, but not found out too much, becuase I can't focus on reading stuff when I really want to start making one. I have all sorts of bits and bobs from my childhood that I was going to throw out, but not anymore! I just need to wait until the kitchen and bathroom get tiled in mums new house, then I can nick some grout and I'll be away! Until then I'm gathering my treasures and finding the perfect pot to cover (I'm thinking maybe a jam jar, but it needs to be the perfect shaped jam jar!) Have you ever seen one of these before? Aren't they awesome!?

Memory Jugs Inspiration

Memory Jugs Inspiration secondhandsusie.blogspot.comMemory Jugs Inspiration

My 'exotic' houseplants...

After reading a chapter in Alys Fowler's 'The Thrifty Gardener' about growing houseplants from seeds around your kitchen, I was inspired.  I have an avocado pip waiting to sprout, a peanut and a maple tree!

The maple tree was a 'grow your own tree in a can' type gift that was in my Christmas stocking. Only I don't really have anywhere to put a maple tree, so I'm going to experiment with making it into a bonsai tree!  I'm especially proud of my peanut, it's about my 4th attempt to get one to grow, rather than go mouldy and die!

The avocado pip is in this cool little vase, which used to hold a hyacinth bulb, it's just the right size...otherwise you can use a shot glass or put some toothpicks into the pip and use them to prop it up in a glass or jar with a wider mouth.

Do you have any exciting houseplants??

Sunday, 8 May 2011

New Garden Again...

After a short gardening break (after hurting my back a lot...I couldn't move, very scary!) I'm back in the new garden...all the veggies we planted are happy in their new homes and we've planted lots of new stuff too...

In this picture you can see the rhubarb, courgette and some tiny pak choi plants too!

In the first bed you can see a row of spring onions, just out of shot there's a pumpkin too (he's called Pierre the Pumpkin and was brought back from France by one of my mum's friends).  In the middle bed are beetroot, broad beans, spinach and onions.  You can also see our bird scarers - garden canes with video tape tied round it, which is shiny and rustle-y in the breeze and seem to be keeping the birds away.  In the end bed are potatoes that we hope will grow soon, and lots of broccoli.   

This is the herb garden, which is nice and useful near the kitchen.  See that yellow and green shrub in the corner against the green fence, that used to be all over the wire mesh before my mother showed it who's boss!  Now there are peas and sweet peas growing up the mesh, and lots of lovely herbs in front.

How are your gardens?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Mavis the Maybug...

Last night, after some investigation and research in Mums British wildlife book, I realised the very noisy insect that was flying at our windows was a May bug! I'd never seen one before. I've decided to call him Mavis. Doesn't he has magnificent antlers?

Things I Love Thursday...

This week I lurve...

* the 2 baby blackbirds and 2 baby sparrows hopping around our garden * Royal Wedding excitement * taking a short cut down an alley to get to mums new house and realising it cuts through loads and loads of allotments * watching William and Kate: The Movie * hedgehog on the lawn * Watching Dr Who (bit scary!) * dancing round to British Sea Power * singing Les. Mis. songs really loud * pink sunset * pink candles * watching Pretty in Pink * playing Beatles songs on the guitar * talking to mum on the phone * filling the pond nice and full so the fishies and froggies can breathe * watching Hope Springs, Easy A and Catfish * reading Phillip Pullman - The Broken Bridge * getting over the first bump on my rag rug * sleeping under my crochet blanket * beautiful purple and yellow flowers * eating a Fry's Peppermint Creme bar * happy Fluffy snail in a clean tank with lettuce and biscuit to eat * bidding on CDs and DMs on ebay * Mummy coming home * William and Kate mug * planting lots of veggies * Next doors cat at the new house lying down on the back of mums legs and trying to have a cheeky snooze while she was digging in the new garden * lovely phone call with Luke *

What do you *heart* this week?

Monday, 2 May 2011

Cottage Garden...

Our garden is really pretty and full of flowers this time of year, and as this is our last year in this house we're making sure we really enjoy it, this is the cottage garden-ish part of our garden, it's full of lots of flowers and it buzzes when you walk past it so I guess that means the bees like it too!

Hope you're having beautiful, blossomy days, where ever you are!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Rag Rug Progress and a How To Video.

So, when I posted last time about my rag rug a couple of people asked how it was made, so I thought I'd make a how to make rag rug video to show you.

I hope it's clear, I'm not sure if I explained some things properly, so if it's confusing let me know and I'll have another go. Also sorry for the out of focus bits, my camera wasn't friends with taking a video close up, this was my 3rd attempt and it's still not how I'd like it to be...sigh...

My camera ran out of battery before I finished showing you everything, so here are some extra photos of my rug so far.

Rag rug how to video, using a rag rugger tool to make a rag rug.

Rag rug how to video, using a rag rugger tool to make a rag rug.