Showing posts with label Domestic Goddess (Move over Martha). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Domestic Goddess (Move over Martha). Show all posts

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Indoor Plant

In the late 1980s NASA investigated the benefits of indoor plant usage as a pollution preventative solution for possible use in space stations. They were able to find several plant species that assisted in reducing pollutants in breathable air.  More recently, scientists have discovered that planting green walls and vertical gardens in urban areas, reduces the most toxic pollutants significantly.   I could keep on quoting and referencing different studies but I think that there really is no doubt now that surrounding ourselves in plants and greenery is of significant benefit to both our health and the environment.

Visitors to our house often comment on our indoor plants. Our house does have a bit of a 1970s boho vibe though, when indoor plants had their first heyday!  All the greenery inside the house looks so pretty and it just makes so much more sense economically to decorate a house with living plants. A growing plant should ideally last a lot longer than cut flowers.

The above photo was taken in our dining room.  I have a fiddle leaf fig in the corner  and monsteria growing in the Turkish canoe.  The canoe was originally home to all the Cymbidium orchids but the orchids have all been relocated to the garden and are currently part of a new garden bed I am creating out of an old wood sabot sailing boat.  More on that another day though! 

Fiddle leaf figs are super easy to take care of and are probably my favourite indoor plant.  My number one tip for taking care of them would be to wipe their leaves down every 6 weeks or so with milk.  I know it sounds crazy, but I remember seeing this tip years ago on Gardening Australia and it just works I promise you.  I have huge, over 10 feet tall plants inside the house and they look so healthy with fabulous  glossy green leaves. I literally fill a small container with milk,  I know someone will ask, so full cream ordinary milk.  I then dip an old rag into the milk and wipe the leaves down with the dampened cloth. Make sure each leaf is wiped clean of dust with the cloth.  You may need to get a fresh cloth every now and then depending upon the size of your fig.  Other tips for taking care of figs would be to only water once a week or so, allowing the roots to dry out between waterings.   If you need to re-pot, find a pot that is only a fraction bigger.  They get distressed if the new pot is significantly bigger than the old one.  

This photo is of our dining table.  Where I have Phalaenopsis Orchids and a Cyclamen that is somehow flowering in both white and fuschia!  Phalaenopsis are my second favourite house plant and I have many in the house.  They thrive on neglect.  I water them very infrequently and I only ever use the water left over from steaming vegetables.  I wait until it is cold and then give them all a splash of it.  It seems to work and mine flower regularly with multiple stems.  I also wipe their leaves down with a wet cloth once a month or so.  I have never fertilised them (apart from the old veggie water!) or re-potted them, so I can't offer any advice on either of those aspects of Phalaenopsis care!

In our entrance I have a Cymbidium Orchid.  These I have more difficulty getting to re-bloom.  I have resorted to selecting a new one each year and the old one is relegated outdoors to the garden.  The only thing I have observed over the years, is that moving them around the garden often precipitates a new flower stem!  

On the coffee table I have a little marble pot of succulents.  These thrive on neglect too.  I rarely water them, maybe if one of the boys leaves a water glass on the coffee table I might splash the remnants on top!

In the living room, I have the most spectacular Sansevieria.  I don't know what it's full name is unfortunately, but it is definitely part of the Sansevieria family and it is the most incredible looking plant.   It reminds me of seaweed drifting in the ebb and flow of the ocean, as there is a lovely fluidity to it's shape.  When we bought it the nursery staff  instructed us to be very conservative watering it.  I probably only water it 4 or 5 times a year!  I do wipe down it's leaves with a damp cloth regularly though. 

As you can see above I also have Peace Lilies in the living room.  They do like regular watering.  I empty the boys drink bottles into them after school everyday in a loose rotation.  Ensuring that each plant gets a top up of water fairly regularly.  The main thing with the lilies though I find is to pop them outside whenever it is raining.  This seems to keep them very happy.   If you do not have an outdoor area to put them to collect rain, I would just pop them under a cold shower every now and then!   

Any indoor plants I am missing that I should add to my always growing collection?  Any other tips?  I would love to hear from some other plant fans.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pantry organising....

I had an email from a lovely reader asking about our pantry and how I organise it!  Ah, if only you knew... I don't really.  R does most of the cooking Chez Pirate.  Yes, I have been blessed with a husband that is an amazing cook.  I know, very lucky.  Nevertheless, despite the fact that he is the cook, I am the chief shopper and cleaner, so I guess the pantry organisation does come down to me.  Pantry design though was all husband.

Anyway, for Kirsten (and anyone else that might be interested),  here is how the pantry is organised:

On the left hand side we put in floor to ceiling shelves.  It is hard to take a photo of them without a special lens but they are big and deep.  On the top shelves, which you can only access with the kitchen stool steps, I keep this sort of stuff:

I am sure you all understand why the paints et al are treated in the same manner as other dangerous good items like First Aid Kits and Chemicals.

Below the Dangerous Good items are mostly shelves full of dry goods and other miscellaneous kitchen items. The glad wrap, alfoil and plastic baggies live in an Ikea basket together.  

Shelves look mostly like this (a pretty shelf):

Or like this (not so pretty shelf):

On the other side of the pantry is my favourite bit, the appliance shelf , all the appliances used regularly are stored here:

In the drawers/cupboards below are:

R's coffee supplies.

Lunchbox bits and pieces.

More appliances!

So there you have it, that is how the pantry is organised and please don't think it always looks this.  I did a big tidy up before I took the photos!  Now, someone ask me about garage or wardrobe organisation or something to motivate me to tidy up elsewhere!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The kitchen

Husband has been requesting that I do a blog post about the kitchen.  Intrigued?  I was.  Apparently friends of his read the blog and wanted to see some photos of it.  Who are you anonymous readers that are friends? Identify yourselves!  The main reason I haven't posted photos of the kitchen already is that it is pretty much constantly in use.  Yes, the heart of the home it is.   So here are some photos of the kitchen that aren't perfectly styled because... well, you know how it is.  I have to actually use this room! 

The shelves in the island store the most frequently used cookbooks and bits of my enamelware collection.

Looking back from the dining table into the kitchen and the pantry beyond.

The island bench.  I  need to find some stools to go here and am leaning towards getting some basic bentwood ones but haven't found the perfect ones yet.  Also haven't hung any pendant lights as I can't decide what to do... I swing between hanging cane, industrial enamel style and various different vintage pendants....  what to do, what to do...

Love the porcelain sink and the mixer. It is one of my favourite parts of the kitchen.  Plus the view out these windows is stunning.

Looking into the pantry.

Appliance shelf in the pantry.  Little one has been into the muffins and left the tin sitting on the kitchen stool!  Busted!

Open shelves on the other side of the pantry.

Looking back into the dining room from the pantry.

Kitchen island from inside the kitchen.  Love the drawers underneath the stovetop.  Last kitchen we did we installed a big freestanding Ilve.  This one we did the separate stove/oven.  So pleased we made this decision in the end.  As it means that you can cook and still be involved in whatever is going on in the room and you don't have to bend down to get things out of the oven!  Both R and I love cooking and entertaining and this way you can be chef and still be part of the party, not stuck facing a wall!

Side view from kitchen to study nook. 

Awww, my assistant hard at work!  Big thanks to everyone for all the links and suggestions that you made regarding cushion making.  I will keep you posted! xx

Monday, May 21, 2012

Life lately...

Nicasso's latest masterpiece on display at the school art show.  Sold to Mummy for the princely sum of $20.  It is called  "Mr Peacock feather"

Money well spent I say, it will look fabulous hanging in our house!

Library bags that I have been busy whipping up for the school fair and would you believe... I made all of them in a week.  Considering I don't sew, this was no easy task!  I even lined them all.  My Grandma would have been so proud of me for this.  I copied the ones that she made me when I started school,  a long long time ago... in the 1970s (shudder) and that I still use to this day.

 Lastly, me modelling my lovely Mother's Day gift.  A gorgeous necklace from Dinosaur Designs, thank you my beautiful boys.

Now that the school fair is out of the way I kind of feel, for the first time in ages that I have a bit of spare time on my hands again.  Woohoo, and now that I am getting into sewing (so can't believe I just typed that) I am thinking of trying to make some cushions.  Is it hard... does anyone out there know how to make them?  I really want to learn as firstly lovely cushions are always super expensive and half the time the inserts are still polyester rubbish, grrrrr.  I would rather buy some decent feather inserts and make my own cushions from gorgeous fabrics if it isn't ridiculously hard.   Although, I do have to start planning the little one's 4th birthday party.  How can he be nearly 4 already?  I am going to have to stop calling him the Baby. Oh  no, does this mean I will have to change the blog title to Two Pirates.... they are hardly little anymore. Sob!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I love "green waste" collection week...

                    Almost as much as Council Clean Up!

Driving the Captain to school this morning, the boys in the back happily listening to Micheal Hordern's fabulous voice narrating Paddington. I was busy scanning the piles of green waste on the side of the road.  Occasionally I find some great cuttings and this morning I scored big time:

A pile of silver birch branches!

Well, a couple of piles!

I forced myself to keep on driving. As tempted as I was to squeeze the bundles in the back between the boys car seats.  (No room in the boot it is full of QF uniforms, manuals, bags and other Flight Attendant paraphernalia that I have to return to work.  Yes, I resigned... but that is a blog post for another day!)

Anyway, dropped the Captain at school.  Took the little one to swimming lessons, picked up some supplies for the morning... sushi for him, coffee for me and... hurray... the garbage truck hadn't done our street yet!  I squashed some into the boot and the rest into the Captain's car seat and the space between the seats. Hope Husband doesn't read this bit... or the people that service the car... 

Back to my find though,  just look at how lovely they are:

Now what to do with them?

Maybe this gorgeous hand made Christmas tree that I spotted last year here.

Not sure if I have the skills to make these.

or these, but they are gorgeous and I am keen to try.  Both images found here.

Now, this looks the best idea yet.  I will have to have a word with the husband about making me one of these! Found here

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My first quilting bee!

I recently received an email from one of the class parents saying that sewer's were needed.  I had a good laugh at "sewers" and then didn't offer to help.  I have very little sewing experience despite my mother and maternal grandmother's best efforts!  My grandmother used to make wedding dresses for people in her spare time, when she wasn't busy raising her six children and volunteering at the war memorial etc etc, she taught my Mum how to sew, knit, crochet and they both then tried to teach me.  Despite their best efforts it was mostly unsucessful unfortunately, I can just stitch a button back on and sort of know how to work a sewing machine.

 Another email was received not long after the first, desperately requesting assistance.  The school is hosting a Bollywood Ball  as a fundraising event and each class year are auctioning an item they have made to help raise some funds.  Every child in Lower First (the Captain's year) had decorated an elephant on a square of fabric.  The art teacher then suggested that perhaps some of the Lower First parents could make a quilt out of all the calico elephants squares.  Gorgeous idea, except not one of us had any quilting experience and only a couple actually had any real sewing skills.  Regardless, we were up for the challenge:

Elephants stitched in rows, with 4 cm strips of blue fabric between and the wadding ready to be stitched on.

One clever Mum embroidered this square.

The Captain's elephant!

Husband has had a good laugh at me hunched over the sewing machine for the past few days.  As he pointed out to me... the sewing maching has been in a box in the roof for the last 15 years.  Every move he has suggested that we pass it on to someone who might use it! Never I would cry, I have plans to make beautiful clothes for our children, library bags, cloth nappies, linen napkins, lovely cushion covers.  Grrr, he would mutter and curse at me under his breath as he moved the sewing machine into yet another roof cavity!

Last week as I was squinting in frustration at the little strips of blue obstinately refusing to come out at 4 cm despite having been pinned into place, I tried to recall the last time I had actually sewn anything.  After a bit of thought I vaguely remembered whipping myself up a french maid's costume to wear to the Mardi Gras party, way way back in my early university days.  Hmmm, definitely had been a while then!  Even though I only managed to stitich two rows of elephants together I loved the experience and am looking forward to trying my hand at some new projects!  Maybe a library bag?  Any suggestions for an almost novice?


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