Our DIY vegetable garden

I guess most gardens are probably classified as DIY, aren’t they?!

Well, I decided to build a small 1.2m sq in May of last year, to plant vegetables and fruits in time for the current summer.

Getting my handy-girl on. Manny and Bob would be proud

After a few false starts (buying treated wood at first, then correcting the choice with hard wood pails) I built the structure all by myself (proud! ps, corded electric drills work WAY better than cordless ones whose battery never charges properly) and using the giant fat Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander, I prepared the soil and got the bed ready.

Next birthday present please somebody

Annnnnnd 7 months later HOLY WOW! We have been rewarded with humungous zucchinis and the juiciest, best tasting tomatos ever.

A small selection of our tomatoes, at last count we had about one billion

People keep asking me what I’m doing to yield such good results, and the answer is “nothing”! So far, we’ve been lucky to avoid any caterpillars or birds or snails trying to eat anything, and all I do is give it a good water every few days if it hasn’t rained. Lucky or what?!

Thank you garden!Yummm #nofilterFirst crop!

I planned spaghetti for dinner tonight, and forgot to check if we had any zucchinis before I went to the shops, so I got one just in case. I came home, and picked these two beauties right off the vine. Makes the shop bought zucchini look pathetic really!

Store bought at the bottom, home grown at the top. I think we can officially say the vege garden is a success.

This is my crop of tomatos from today:
And tomatoes aplenty

I also made a quick bruschetta for an entree from the mini romas, on top of some store bought garlic bread, and oh. my. It was super delicious.

Best bruschetta ever

I’m definitely going to make a bigger garden for next summer!

{De-cluttering} Linen Cupboard

Wow, 3 weeks until I go back to work.


Where did the last 9 months go??

I had a massive list of things I really wanted to do around the house and garden while I was off, and I’m sad to say I got hardly any of it done at all! Today though, was the day for the linen cupboard. I tackled those towels and sheets with both hands, and though it took me all day (I have no idea why), I finished it! It’s done!
Mikaela house decluttering linen cupboard
Mikaela house decluttering linen cupboard
Mikaela house decluttering linen cupboard
Linen cupboard: tick. Hurrah.

Celebrate the small victories ;)

My Vegetable Garden – Part 1

Today I *finally* got the structure started for our Vege Garden! I feel a big sense of achievement here, because the area has been sitting there getting more jungley by the day, for about 2 years now… And today I managed to weed it, move a wood sleeper to create the fourth wall base, put 3 star pickets on the correct place, and placed the wooden garden edging stuff around to create the walls.

I now need some more metal stakes to secure the walls in place, some hessian for the sides, and then, over the next few months, I will be building the perfect garden bed for planting things such as tomatos, zucchinis and beans =)

I’ll be following the sage advice of Stephanie Alexander:

So good to make a start!

Do you have a vege garden at home??

Open Garden & Inspiration

Mum and I visited a lovely open garden inCanberra on the weekend. It was owned by an older retired couple, who have lived there for 43 years! So they have about 40 years on me and my garden, but I was still so envious. The style of their garden was not totally on par with mine, but I’ve taken away several things to use as inspiration for when I can finally get outside and get things happening in my own garden.
I want slate (?) stepping stones with gravel and mondo grass outside the back door to the left, leading up to the vegetable garden.
I love the look of small trees in big pots! I think this would be a great way to continue the japanese maple theme from the front yard into the back, as a dividing marker between the future undercover pergola and the grassed area.
The use of mirrors on garden cabinets (instead of a cluttered shed) will reflect greenery and add depth, not sure where though…
Our front landing is quite a big area, and ferns would grow quite well there I think (sheltered).
Again, love the mondo grass here. I am also planning on putting a large pot to make a small water feature out the front, with water lilies and other water plants.
I loved the extra touches in the garden, and we could definitely have some hanging plants or a fernery type area under the future pergola, to bring some greenery to the space.
The solid garden edging definitely made the garden look really neat and tidy, where as our front garden looks a bit bedraggled with it’s hodge-podge edging, and it’s hard to whipper-snipper the grass properly. Something like this (in this colour to match the future new colourbond roof) would work really well along the front.
I really like this mass of succulents!! I’m not sure where we could have something similar, I’d have to research a bit more the ideal conditions for this type of succulent.
Somewhere to sit! Always important ;)
I’d like to plant more medium sized bushes along the front garden, with smaller flowering plants in front of them. Hopefully I can find a range of plants that flower at different times of the year so there’s a bit of colour all year round.

My plans are many and varied, I wish it could all happen in the blink of an eye!

Living Room Design Reveal {before & after}

My living room was finally tidy enough to take pictures of for the reveal!

We got rid of our 4 seater chaise lounge and 2 seater blue couch, and replaced them with a beautiful chocolate brown leather 3 seater lounge. We painted the walls white (from cream) and got new white double roller blinds (from heavy pink drapes and massive matching pink pelmets) installed, and I love love love the new look. It is so much lighter and brighter, bigger and more spacious. I had to really resist buying more furniture to fill the space (I had my eye on some ikea bookcases for under one of the windows), but I’m so glad I restrained myself, as I love the empty floor space. It’s de-cluttering on a large scale!
Mikaela living room These photos make me realise the floor is far too dark, but I did already know that when we get the floating floors I do want them quite a bit lighter, more a cherry oak (? I am totally making that name up).
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela alessi bowl Living Room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room
Mikaela living room


Tell me what you think! =)

Skinny Front Garden

In December it was quite cool and rainy here in Canberra, so I took the opportunity to be outside and work in the garden, tidying up the front yard and creating the Skinny Front Garden bed to “fence off” the front corner of our block.

The area I wanted to use for the garden is very hard clay soil, so I decided to build a raised garden bed, like I did for the circular garden. I ordered sleepers and soil from Canberra Sand and Gravel, and used the wood-chips from the big old tree we had to cut down as mulch. It was a bit of a challenge to hammer the garden stakes into the ground (to hold the frame together) and I’ve still got a bit of a way to go with all of them, but that was the most difficult part of the whole garden bed! Once I had the frame in place (one end being a branch from the old tree also), I filled it with new garden soil, planted the new plants, and topped it off with a nice thick layer of mulch. I gave them a good watering, and in the weeks that followed it also rained a lot (thanks, Mother Nature!), so they’re well on their way to becoming established.
Mikaela landscaping garden

I tend to forget what species of plant I’ve used in previous gardening, which makes it difficult to go and buy another when I find one that’s hardy enough to cope with having me as an owner! Luckily Santa brought me this cute Garden Journal, which has some good info about different kinds of plants, but also space to write and little pockets to keep the plant tags! Very handy =)
Mikaela landscaping garden journal

And lastly I’ve got some photos to show how much the plants in my circle garden have been growing, though these photos make me realise I really need to plan in advance and take better photos in better light for the blog (ie, not in the middle of a blistering hot sunny day, and focus on the garden so you can actually see stuff, instead of being distracted by the bricks of the house in the background!). If you look carefully though, you can see the Gum Tree on the left has grown enormously, in only 18 months it’s just about quadrupled in size!
Mikaela landscaping garden

January To-Do List

I have 6 months before I go back to work. I want to get a LOT of stuff done around the house before that happens, so I need to get a wriggle on.

Here’s my list that I want to get done this month!

  • Paint Bathroom cornice and ceiling (and post final bathroom reveal)
  • Buy new TV cabinet
  • Get quotes for Living Room blinds
  • Weed pavers (left area)
  • Put all weeds and branches etc in trashpak
  • Pull weeds from big front garden bed
  • Paint timber sides of skinny front garden bed
  • Transfer soil & wood chips to big front garden bed
  • Plant new plants in big front garden bed
  • Get blinds installed in Living Room
  • Move BBQ
  • Set up pot plant light out the back

Ok that’s probably enough for this month!

Our Christmas Tree! 2011

This year I cut down my own tree! And it’s AMAZING, even if I say so myself =)

I went to Christmas Tree Keng, a property out past the Tulip Farm on the Highway to Sydney that grow radiata pines specifically for Christmas! They hand prune their trees to be the perfect shape, and you can cut them yourself so they are super fresh. Any tree costs $48 no matter what size (cheaper than the Belco Markets!)… Can you tell I loved my experience? I’ll be going here every year from now on =)

So on the 1st of December out I went, and surveyed the options.
Mikaela Christmas Tree Farm

This baby was about 1.5m tall (perfect to put on top of our dining table), and was nice and close to the path (I was wearing thongs and there was long grass, perfect for snakes!). So down she went!
Mikaela Christmas Tree
And she fit nicely into the back of my car alongside the pram =P

It took me three days to finish the decorating (babies are time consuming), and 2 weeks to blog about it, but it’s up and I’m very happy =D
Mikaela Christmas Tree Decorating

Happy Holidays everyone!
Mikaela Christmas Tree Decorating

{BATHROOM RENOVATION} Update with progress photos!

So we have now been without a working shower for around 17 days (who’s counting?), and it will be another 7-10 days until the shower screen goes in. Luckily, with besties and in-laws and parentals living so close, we are not that stinky, and have been bathing regularly =P As of today though, the silicon is dry, and we have the go ahead to turn on the taps again! So, screenless, I will be having a shower tomorrow, with our fancy now shower head pumping out hot steamy goodness onto my shoulders (it’s a 3 star water-saver, not great, but not too horrible, just have to keep the showers short!), and probably also onto every other surface in the room and out into the hallway…

Here are some progress photos of the job so far (I LOVE my tradies, they have all been excellent, and big props go to long time friend Robbie for organising everything for me):

Mikaela Bathroom Renovation Cleanout

Mikaela Bathroom Renovation Demolition

Of course when it came to waiting for the shower cement base to set, Bella was not very helpful:
Mikaela Bathroom Renovation

Mikaela Bathroom Renovation Tiling

And what we’re up to as of today (but I’ve now swept it out a bit):
Mikaela Bathroom Renovation  Fitout

Can’t wait for the mirror cabinets to go in so I can put all the junk back away! =)

{BATHROOM RENO} All systems are go!

After a long long wait (almost 2 years since my last post about it!), buying all the parts, finding the right people and saving enough money, our bathroom renovation is finally under way! As I type this from my mum & dad’s place, my friend Rob is at our place de-tiling, patching and whatever else needs doing to prep the room for it’s makeover. He came around last night and bashed a few good holes in the wall, so there was no turning back from there!

I’ll post some progress photos over the next couple of days, but this is the bathroom in it’s “before” state:

Small Bathroom Renovation

I can’t wait for it to be done, it’s going to be so fantastic! =D