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!

{Party Planning} Decorations sneak peek

I’ve been steadily getting some handmade decorations done for Raf’s birthday party, but now I’m on school holidays for two weeks it’s go time! My holidays will be devoted to planning the party, making the decorations, deciding what food to make and how to decorate it… in other words, my idea of bliss =) Mikaela party planning decoratingSusan (JA’s mom) said last night she read somewhere that kids parties are the new weddings. The amount of time spent planning, decorating and deciding every little detail is on par, or even more than, some weddings. And I think that’s probably correct, for some people (like me). Mikaela party planning decoratingI love it! Bring it on!Mikaela party planning decorating

{Party Planning} Rafa’s 1st Birthday

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but I LOVE planning parties. I’ve re-capped birthdays past before, as well as documenting how much I love designing invitations, and how much I love baking and decorating for halloween! I also like to make birthdays a bit special for the doggies ;) I’m pretty much impossible to throw a party for, because I just take over and organise everything. I love it!

So you can imagine, having a kid is going to be fairly convenient for my party planning obsession in the future…

Right now I’m in the midst of planning Raf’s 1st Birthday Party, with an “Under the Sea” theme. I’ve almost finished designing the invitations, and am using pinterest to create a mood board, you can see a few of the fabulous ideas I’m collecting here, and more on my Pinterest Board.

Mikaela party planning birthday party

I’m pretty excited about it!! Stay tuned for more planning and DIY decorating =)

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??

Crafternoon Tea Party – Scrappy Framed Photos

Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Last weekend I hosted my second Crafternoon Tea Party of the year (read about January’s here).

I baked some Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing (yum), and of course had on hand the many varieties of teas I’ve been collecting. Susan brought Costco cookies (so yum!) and Clo brought White Tim Tams and choc-mint slices. We were on bikkie overload!
Mikaela Red velvet Cupcake

Once again, it was so fun! There’s something so fantastic about bringing creativity into people’s lives – people who think they are “uncreative” – and seeing what they come up with, once given the tools.
Mikaela Craft Supplies

We created a “Scrappy Framed Photo”. The instruction of this craft was minimal compared to the resin bangles, as all I had to do was show some examples of some scrapbooking I had done previously, and show everyone what was available to them and how it might be used. Then for the most part I wasn’t even there (off trying to print photos and feed the baby!), and what everyone came up with really delighted me!
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party

To thank my lovely gests for coming I made these little party favours, by cutting the cupcake shapes on my Cameo and popping some lollies and malteasers inside (though I was lazy and used sticky tape on the outside instead of glueing them!). So cute =)
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party

I already have ideas for next months Crafternoon Tea Party!

{Link Love} The month that was

Over at Creative Collective the lovely ladies are asking us to show our highlights from January.

“What was it that really got you excited this month? What inspired you? Did you start anything creative? Have you got any creative goals for February?”

My answer is, a dangerous new hobby.

Scrap booking.

*cue dun dun dun music here and visualise dollar signs sailing out the window*

It makes sense, I love photos/photography/snapshots, I like being crafty, and I’m a graphic designer. So a hobby that combines all three is calling to me. I’ve only just started my Project Life album, and still have to create a few more pages detailing what went on in January, but I’ve got a title page and I guess that’s a good start!

I’ve made a couple of notes in my diary about what I can put in it for January (having a blog helps, I can refer back to old posts when my memory fails me heh). So what did we do in January 2012? Rafa met his Great Grandma; We went to Sydney for the weekend, to the beach and Ikea; I hosted a Crafternoon Tea Party; I made a “Don’t Forget” Chalkboard; I went to the January Brown Owls catch up; We got Raf on a good sleeping and napping routine; I did my nails!; I participated in January Photo a Day; I went and had a Massage & Body Pamper session with mumsy & watched an amazing sunset afterwards; We went to Katie’s BBQ for Australia Day; and I seemed to do lots of shopping.

So I think my creative goal for February will be to just keep doing it! I plan to have 2 double page spreads per month, I guess that’s a page per week, but I’m not aiming to do it every week, just every month.

The sources of inspiration for this are Pinterest, Studio Calico, and Allison’s blog.

Do you do scrapbooking? Are you addicted?

Crafternoon Tea Party

Last weekend I invited some of my favourite people over to have an afternoon of playing ladies and a bit of crafting. I made scones and brownies, and put out Tim-Tams and Shortbread Creams, and had about 10 different varieties of Tea to choose from. We sat and chatted and played with the babies (Beck brought Lara), then I taught them how to make resin bangles and rings, which everyone loved and then got to take home their new jewellery. It was a really great afternoon!
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party
Mikaela Crafternoon Tea Party

Next time I think we will make some memory shadow boxes =)

DIY Chalkboard Don’t Forget List

Mikaela DIY Chalkboard Frame List

Over a few days last week I finally got around to doing something with a gold picture frame (op-shop find) I had lying around the house (forEVER). After the dog and husband had knocked it over several times and scared the bejeebus out of me, I decided I had to do something with it. Prompted by my Cameo acquisition and the fact hubs kept forgetting one item that he needed for the day (keys, phone, lunch, pass, wallet) and I kept forgetting the grocery bags, I put together a quick and easy “Don’t Forget” list board for the back of the front door.

This was a really quick and easy project, and I really really love how it turned out =)
Mikaela DIY Chalkboard Frame List

I spray painted the frame satin white, and for a bit of colour I stuck green striped washi tape around the inside ledge (a place for the chalk). I then painted a piece of thin mdf I had in the shed with a few coats of black chalkboard paint. I attached the mdf to the back of the frame using liquid nails (that stuff is awesome) and some gaffa tape for extra hold.
Mikaela DIY Chalkboard Frame List

To create the heading “Don’t Forget”, I used my brilliant Cameo cutting machine with some adhesive backed card stock. All I had to do was type out the words in the Cameo software, send the file to the machine, and it cut out the words for me! I peeled off the backing paper and voila, I have word stickers to use in my project. Of course you could use any scrapbooking supplies to do something similar without the fancy machine!
Mikaela DIY Chalkboard Frame List

I used a roll of double sided mounting tape ($2 from Top Bargain) to mount the board to the door, and that was that! I think it took me longer to find where I’d put my stash of chalk than to actually put the whole thing together =P
Mikaela DIY Chalkboard Frame List
Mikaela DIY Chalkboard Frame List
Mikaela DIY Chalkboard Frame List

Total cost for this project for me was $0, because I had everything lying around already, but if you were to start from scratch it would probably look something like this (and you would have lots of supplies left over):

Op-Shop frame – $5
Chalkboard Paint – $16
Paint brush – $4
Washi Tape – $4
Spray Paint – $8
Liquid Nails – $10
MDF board – $5
Card stock/letters – $2

New Crafty Toy & Project Life!

Because the Christmas Markets last month went so well for me, I treated myself to a brand-spanking-new Silhouette Cameo cutting machine.
Mikaela Silhouette Cameo

This thing is AMAZING. Think laser cutter, but for paper, cardboard, vinyl etc. It has a tiny blade, and will cut your designs from the computer. These are really popular among scrapbookers, but my main incentive to buy was the fact I could cut my designs from paper or fabric and apply to my bamboo or acrylic pieces.
Mikaela Silhouette Cameo

Little did I know how inspiring this thing would be, the moment I turned it on!

To give you an idea of just some of the things you could make with this machine, here are some examples from other people:
Mikaela silhouette cameo examples
1. Gift Wrapping – Callaloo Soup
2. & 3. Glass Etching, T-Shirt stencil – www.makeit-loveit.com
4.Kids party decorations – Happy Life Crafty Wife

But really, the possibilities seem endless!

I’m working on a quick little DIY project right now that I’ll post as soon as I’ve finished, something to help husband remember to take his phone, keys, wallet, lunch etc in the morning.

And of course my first test cut was the baby’s name ❤
Mikaela Silhouette Cameo
Which I will put in a frame and add to another house idea for the hallway!

So, along with the Cameo inspiring me, I’ve been following Allison Waken’s blog and really love what she’s been doing with her photos lately, collating them in a fun way as memories to keep. She is planning to do a scrapbook featuring something from every day of her family’s life this year! That’s probably a bit too full on for me, so I’ve decided to try and chronicle each month. I’ve bought the Project Life kit and protective sleeves (along with some generic sleeves) and plan to use the Cameo to cut out labels, shapes and words to use in the scrap book. Hopefully each month I will be able to share what I’ve put together for my own Project Life =)

Wish me luck!

DIY Handmade Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

On Christmas Eve I tried my hand at some salt dough ornaments, inspired by this picture on Pinterest. Suffice to say, mine didn’t turn out as nice as that! They are still cute though.

You only need 3 ingredients, salt, plain flour and warm water. Mix them all together to make a dough, roll it out, cut out some shapes and bake for a couple of hours on a low heat. Easy as that!
Mikaela Christmas Ornaments cutouts

I’m not sure why but mine didn’t turn out looking like gorgeous porcelain like the example. JA opened the oven and thought I was baking him some cookies, and they definitely turned out more cookie looking than ceramic looking.
Mikaela Christmas Ornaments baking

Mikaela Christmas Ornaments

I spray painted them white and added a bit of paper twine with red and green Christmassy beads.

Mikaela Christmas Ornaments

They turned out pretty cute (and quite “handmade” looking), but for a quick and easy Christmas craft I think they were a success =)