To Market To Market, Flower Market That Is!

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I finally managed a visit to the Sydney Flower Market recently. I say finally because it has been well over a year since my last visit and many, many months with grand intentions to visit. For me, visiting the Flower Market requires planning. It is an early morning (5.00am rise) , the market is on the opposite side of the city to me and if I’m going to go I am going to purchase, which requires Dave and I being home the following week (or 2) to enjoy all the gorgeous flower arrangements I dot around our home. And, inviting guests for dinner.

My Flower Market wing girl, mentioned in a previous post The Flower Markets as ‘Almost Married’ couldn’t make it this time so I was concerned that my lack of said wing girl would propel me into Saturday morning laziness. But I am happy to report, no laziness here my friends, I was ready for my early morning adventure. I climbed out of bed, popped on my winter warmer layers, heated up my IQS Rooibos Chai, grabbed my market basket and scooted off to the market.

You might think me a little nuts for rising at 5.00am in the middle of winter to go to the Flower Market but I thought it was all rather lovely. Very rarely do I venture out into winter mornings except when required to so this self propelled early rise was refreshing and exciting. There were not as many flower varieties (or stalls for that matter) at the market as there was when I visited in late spring and early Autumn the year before but there were still bounties of blooms – I certainly didn’t miss out. And because it is winter with less vendors, there were less people and that is a good thing.

Poppy_Pod

Poppy_Peach

Poppies

My tips for visiting the Flower Market:

Give yourself a budget…. it doesn’t matter what the budget is just have one. This was made easier with my second visit to the market, I had an idea what was available (of course this is seasonal), the volume of the flower bunches and the average prices being charged. My budget was $30, I spent $49 and I was completely fine with that. The extra $9 was for greenery which I thought essential to completing my arrangements – it was a quick last minute purchase.

Get there early…. the market opens at 5.00am and finishes at 11.00am. However, I suggest that you not rock up at reasonable o’clock because all the goodies will be gone. For me 7.00am is a late Flower Market arrival. 5.00am to 6.00am is perfect because remember, the Flower Market isn’t about just the flowers, it’s about the atmosphere. The sellers has already been up longer that you have so their enthusiasm is best experienced in the wee hours.

Take a basket… armfuls of flower bunches make it difficult to navigate through the market and pluck out perfectly formed blooms from shin high buckets. I have been popped in the head from an unexpected bunch of blooms on a number of occasions and while there are worse things to be popped with, a basket for your purchases is best.

Red_and_Yellow_Many

Green_Stuff

Red_and_Yellow

White_and_Pink

 

Roses

 

Arrangement_On_Radio#

So get out there, have fun, experiment with your flower arrangements, remember that your arrangements can evolve during the week or weeks – trim, chop, rearrange and try new vessels, not to mention move locations, think outside the floral square and enjoy.

Until next time.

Carmel

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Exotic Inspiration – Morocco

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When I was a little girl I wanted to be a fashion designer. In fact right through my teens up until I was about 21 I still wanted too. I’d design for myself formal dresses (school formal, debutante and maids dresses) and my very talented Mother would draw up a pattern and make them – super talented, beautifully crafted! I’m not sure why I didn’t enroll to study fashion straight out of school but it seemed that it wasn’t a path I consciously pursued, I pursued travel instead. Not such a bad compromise. It wasn’t until I traveled to Nepal and hiked to Everest Base Camp, met delightfully gorgeous Sherpa’s and began to look at the world a little differently that I decided that a career in fashion wasn’t for me. I’ll have you know however that I still adore Haute Couture and marvel at the art of fine designers such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta….. should I continue, no, you get the idea.

Haute_Couture_White

Why all this fashion talk you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. Recently I went to see Yves Saint Laurent at the cinema (yes, I recommend it) and I fell in love with the fashion design process all over again. I wont be quitting my day job but I do fancy getting my sketch book out to draw and see what I come up with. I’m not much of a sewer and operate best by creating patterns myself. It’s quite time consuming but I really enjoy the process of working it all out. The international runways need not be concerned!

The other aspect of the film that sparked my interested was vision of the blue house or Jardin Majorelle, the house that Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé bought in1980 in Marrakech, Morocco and restored. When I got home not only did I search pictures of YSL the early days but I looked for images of Jardin Majorelle which then took on a life of its own as I discovered more and more Moroccan and Marrakesh houses, gardens and courtyards. I have to admit, I’m falling in love with the tiled internal courtyards, and I think I ‘need’ one. They are beautiful, artistic, refreshing and some are centuries old.

This style of courtyard is called a Riad, an Arabic word for garden and many of the well known Riads will have this word featured in the name, for example Riad Farnatchi, Marrakech.

In some of the gardens and courtyards there appears to be so much going on within them, there are the tiles laid in an unimaginable array of patterns and colours, plants, usually green and sculptural and occasionally smaller flowers dotted about the space. Then there are the water features, the furniture, the draped fabrics, the pots, the carved doors and window frames. But, the order and considered placement of all of those elements creates a space that invites you to linger, relax in and forget about the busyness beyond the property walls.

These gardens have certainly sparked my imagination for travel and design and my list of gardens to visit, stay in and explore around the world has just gotten longer. I delight in the possibility of one day visiting and staying in one of these Riads, experiencing first hand the heat of the exterior and the coolness of the interior, the busyness of the Medina’s and the quiet of the courtyard, the sights and sounds of everything!

Marrakesh_Blue_Tiles

 

Marrakesh_Tiles_Water_Feature Marrakesh_Tiles_Pool Marrakesh_Internal_Courtyard Maroccan_Fountain

Studio and Pool Marrakesh_ShadowWhite_WallsGreen_Courtyard_TilesCarved_Timber_Door

Central_Water_FeatureHave you ever stayed in a Moroccan Riad? I’d love to hear about your experience so please leave a comment.

Until next time

Carmel

Images: Out And About Africa // Jesters Armed // Wit and Delight // Remodelista // Fauxology // Shortlife – Quotes // Remodelista // New World Economics // Gypset Travellers // Verdant Sanctuary

 

Botanical Illustrations

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I have a new interest or obsession, I’m not quite sure in which category it falls. But I have been quietly perusing the internet for botanical illustrations. As I am sure you can guess, getting my hands on an original is neigh impossible and would probably require me selling something and I can tell you now that’s not going to happen. But it hasn’t stopped me looking for runners up.

Lily Of The Valley

Lily Of The Valley

This interest was sparked by my recent poster purchases. I decided that the interior walls of our house needed a little bit more lovin’ than we have previously shown them, plus adorned walls make a house feel like a home, all warm, cozy and inviting. But rather than take the obvious and sensible route of enlarging and framing much loved travel, wedding, my life, his life, our life photographs I bought posters and paid a visit to the much sort after Scandinavian (you want it they’ve got it) store for the frames – perfect!

The Rose Of A Hundred Petals. Don't you just love the visiting butterfly.

The Rose Of A Hundred Petals. Don’t you just love the visiting butterfly.

Tulip with text, so gorgeous.

Tulip with text, so gorgeous.

I love my new posters and framing choice, they contribute character to our walls and to be honest I think myself quite clever for the interior decorating – just saying!

But back to the illustrations. Historically, Botanical Illustrations were used to document newly discovered plant species and would generally comprise of the plants defining features, for example; flower,inflorescence, fruit, leaves. They were beautiful drawings, highlighting the intricate details of plants and providing a source of identification for both Botanist and the amateur plant lover. The first recorded Botanical Illustrations were a collection of herbal plants contained in the Codex Vindobonensis or Juliana Anicia Codex dated at about 512AD. It was created for imperial Princess Juliana Anicia and now resides in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna Austria – Oh, another reason for travel!

Musa sapientum. It's not as dainty as some of  the others but I do love the drama of the black background.

Musa sapientum. It’s not as dainty as some of the others but I do love the drama of the black background.

The Codex Vindobonensis includes 383 botanical illustrations as well as sections on fishing and bird catching. The illustrations, generally speaking, were most likely completed by a selection of different artists with ranging skill levels. Whatever the skill level of those artists that completed older illustrations I think they are beautiful, fabulous and extraordinary all rolled into one.

Pink flowering Cactus, so cute and unsuspecting of spikes

Pink flowering Cactus, so cute and unsuspecting of spikes

Tillandsia tenufolia. Air plants are very popular at the moment

Tillandsia tenufolia. Air plants are very popular at the moment

A display of various Fern leafs. Love greenery.

A display of various Fern leafs. Love greenery.

I have a soft spot for Australian natives so please excuse me while I indulge! I know you’ll love these too.

Telopea speciosissima

Telopea speciosissima, the beautiful Waratah

Tecomanthe sp.

Tecomanthe sp., beautiful rich pink trumpet flowers

Pandorea pandorana, pretty flowering climber, pretty illustration

Pandorea pandorana, pretty flowering climber, pretty illustration

Eucalyptus robusta. The detail is fabulous, even including a bark section

Eucalyptus robusta. The detail is fabulous, even including a bark section

Eucalyptus macrocarpa. I love an illustration with script

Eucalyptus macrocarpa. I love an illustration with script

I have selected a number of illustrations that I particularly like and hope you do too. I like them for their quality, botanical detail, colour or the species depicted. I must say I would enjoy a section of wall in my house to be dedicated to the art of botanical illustration. But the search goes on, where should I start?

The simplicity of this drawing I find really magical and it includes script. FYI... available on Etsy (click on the image to shop)

I find the simplicity of this drawing really magical and the inclusion of script is perfect. Can you imagine it in a large timber frame hanging on a white wall in a room with plantation shutters? I can! FYI… available on Etsy (click on the image to shop)

 

Until next time

Carmel

 

If you’re interested in learning a little (or a lot more) about botanical illustration, viewing some gorgeous Australian native species or other Botancial Illustrations visit the links below:

http://www.anbg.gov.au/gallery/index.html

https://www.asba-art.org/about-botanical-art/history

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/pdfs/JAC.pdf

Images: Lily Of The Valley // The Rose Of A Hundred Petals

Tulip //Musa sapientum // Cactus // Tillandsia tenuifolia

Fern // Telopea speciosissima // Tecomanthe sp

Pandorea pandorana // Eucalyptus robusta

Eucalyptus macrocarpa // Linospadix monostachya

 

Neglected, Rejected, 2nd Hand Plants

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Even if you consider yourself as having the blackest of black thumbs I’d guess that you still enjoy a visit to your local garden center. Am I right? Of course I am. Just one step inside the boundary and boom, a world of botanical possibilities… inside, outside, hanging, snapping, a variety of plants for every occasion and situation. But, have you ventured to the dark side, to the section where no one goes, where death is looming and flowers are rare. That’s right the 2nd’s section, where plants go to die or if they’re really lucky (really, really, really lucky), given a ‘2nd’ chance.

Hardenbergia I

The leaves of the Hardenbergia violacea are one of my favourites, almost like Eucalyptus leaves.

A few years ago Dave ventured into the 2nd’s section during one of our garden center visits and low and behold he found the saddest pot of sticks you’re ever likely to see. This thing was in bad shape – no pictures sorry, I didn’t think it was worth it! Many of the leaders were severely damaged, the tendrils were long and becoming woody and there was barely a leaf to identify it as the Hardenbergia violacea that the tag suggested it was.

“No!”, was my response to Dave’s question of “should we get it, see if it comes good?”.

Hardenbergia IV

The flower buds starting to emerge.

Hardebergia V

Taken last year whilst flowering

As a garden designer I want the healthiest, happiest, strongest plants to go into my clients new gardens. As soon as the last bit of back fill is complete and watered in I want those little plants to thrive, to get their roots into the soil and go, go, go. The healthier and stronger the plant is before it goes into the ground the better chance you have of it growing into a healthy, lush mature plant with a good growth habit. So I repeat, no! I didn’t want that sad little plant that was quite rightly destined for the compost.

Hardebergia VI

The purple pea shaped flowers are divine. Yes?

Fast forward a few years and you wouldn’t believe it but that sad little pot of sticks has transformed itself into a fully fledged plant. I can’t believe it, I wish I’d taken a few pictures of it’s unexpected transformation as proof. It is looking healthy and strong, it has lush new foliage and I am happy to report that it is developing many a flower bud for its imminent bud burst. So exciting!

Hardenbergia III

And there it is hiding behind the Correa alba. The next step is to attach stainless steel wire to the fence so that the Hardenbergia can use its tendrils to climb up and decorate the fence.

Hardenbergia violacea is without a doubt one of my favourite Australian native plants. It’s so versatile, you can plant it so that it performs as a climber or as a ground cover or even as a little round bunch of leaves and flowers, although this requires more maintenance. The gorgeous purple, white or pale pink pea shaped flowers emerge in winter and usually stay through most of spring. There is also Happy Duo which flowers with both purple and white flowers on the one plant.

Dear little neglected pot of sticks, I appologise for doubting the possibility that you could resurrect yourself and become a ‘real’ plant!

So, next time you’re visiting your local garden center be sure to ask if they have a ‘neglected plant section’, you might find something that needs your love and attention. However, if there is no label or any other discernible feature to identify the ‘plant’ I’d probably give it a miss.

Until next time

Carmel

 

 

Autumn In The Gardens

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Last weekend Dave and I went for our annual visit to The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah. We packed everything we needed and by everything I mean scarves, hats and coats because usually it is pretty cold up there. I remember one year we barely made it out of the car and beyond the gift shop – I love a botanically inspired shop so that is a must under any circumstance! However, this year it was quite different, sure we still wore jackets while we wondered around the garden but we weren’t covering every potentially exposed bit of skin on our bodies. It was wonderful weather!

Together

I know, not the most sensible shoes for a walk around a garden, but what can I say, I love those shoes!

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is a cool climate garden focusing on southern hemisphere plants, some of which were in flower and looking rather spectacular. The other reason for a visit to the Blue Mountains, not just the garden is the autumn foliage. On the drive up Dave and I were mesmerised by the vibrancy of the autumn colour in the deciduous trees this year, claret, amber and every colour in between. Perhaps it was the abundant sunshine that was making it all look that little bit more showy.

Autumn At Mt Tomah

Autumn Trees

Water Fall

Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens

One of the views across to the ‘blue’ mountains

Feature

I love the little puff of Dianthus erinaceus in the rocks. I think the Botanic Gardens call this one Green Hedgehog and rightly so, it is super spiky

Autumn At Mt Tomah 2

Look at that crimson Protea flower 

Planting

Native Grass

This area is my favourite section of the garden

Grass Land

Still my favourite…

Protea 2

Protea

Pink Paper Daisy

It is well worth a visit and a lovely day out especially when lunch at Apple Bar is included in the schedule.

Our day out reminded us that it has been some time since we visited the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney so that has been put on the list. Maybe a picnic in the winter sun, because winter is just around the corner!

Until next time.

Carmel

 

Tibouchina

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Oh, my goodness me! If you haven’t noticed the bursts of purple around your neighbourhoods you must be getting about with your eyes closed. Open them up! The Tibouchinas are in flower and they are letting those that take notice know that this is their year. They are truly exceptional at the moment and I want one, please! Tibouchina

I don’t remember a time in Sydney since I have lived here (9 years… and counting) when they have been as vibrant and full of flower, even the straggly ones are contributing their fair share of purple to our landscape and I just love it.

The Tibouchina sp. (Melastomateae family) is native to south-east Brazil which demonstrates their ability to grow in a wide range of climatic environments in the Australian landscape. During the 60’s in Alstonville, northern New South Wales Tibouchina ‘Alstonville’ was selected by plants man Ken Dunstan as an ideal garden specimen, it was successfully marketed and is possibly still one of the most popular Tibouchinas available along with ‘Jules’ a compact variety.

Tibouchina In Flower

You can be forgiven for mistaking Tibouchina as an Australian native given it’s history and familiar name. During my childhood growing up in Northern New South Wales I too thought it originated from the rolling hills and dense rainforests surrounding Alstonville, especially since the village once celebrated this lovely tree with the Tibouchina Festival. Sadly the festival is no longer run but hopefully it will make a resurgence now that the town is bypassed and streets can be shut off for a day. But just because there is no festival doesn’t mean you can’t have your own little piece of Tibouchina and celebrate its magical show of Autumn flowers with your very own. Tibouchina Flowers A little bit more about Tibouchina’s…

Now is the ideal time to get to your local garden centre to pick out a Tibouchina for your garden. They are in flower so you’ll know exactly what your getting and the vibrancy of the purple in the flowers.

Tibouchinas ‘Alstonville’ is a large shrub or small tree and grows to 5 meters – depending on how it is maintained and pruned. It is ideal as a specimen or feature tree, or as a street tree (thank you Alstonville village for the gorgeousness that is your tree lined streets and pops of purple emerging from back gardens). If only I had a ‘real’ garden!

Tibouchina ‘Jules’ is a dwarf variety that grows to 1m. Jules is ideal for small gardens, planted in a border or used in pots (yes please, I’ll have some of that!) There are other varieties of Tibouchina available so ask when you get to your garden center.

Tibouchina are suited to most areas of Australia, however, they do not like frosts or cold mountain areas. Tibouchina like warm, sunny positions, just make sure you protect them from hash winds.

Plant your Tibouchina in acidic well drained soil. If the soil is not acid enough the leaves of your Tibouchina will burn and eventually die. To increase the acidity of the soil where you want to plant your Tibouchina or to correct soil where a Tibouchina already exists add sulphure and compost to the soil. The levels will change over time so be sure to check back to make sure that an ideal pH level has been reached.

Don’t forget to prune your Tibouchina… Ideally you are striving for a compact canopy of foliage and flowers with a nice habit. To achieve this, prune your Tibouchina back once after flowering and tip prune once in spring when the growing season starts. If you maintain this routine you will have a tree or shrub with dense, bushy growth.

Watering, yep you guessed it, one must participate in their garden if one would like their garden to flourish. Water your Tibouchina well during the growing season to promote healthy new growth and a spectacular show of Autumn flowers.

Tibouchina Flower

So, have you decided… Will it be a tree or a shrub for your garden? Either way I hope you enjoy the gorgeous spectacle that is the Tibouchina in flower. Tibouchina

Until next time.

Carmel

Garden – Paddington Reservoir

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This is my year of living, well… joyfully! And what better way to do that than to get out and about in this gorgeous habour side city and explore it. I found this quote (and fabulous picture) on Pinterest recently and it got me thinking about more than just going somewhere new each year, what about each month!

(source: pinterest.com)

(source: pinterest.com)

The picture implies packing your suitcase and ‘getting away’ and while I’ll certainly stick my hand up for a boarding pass to (almost) anywhere I realise that there is still so many wonderful places, sites and pop-ups to visit right here in Sydney. So, each month I shall go somewhere within this beautiful city that I have never been to before – maybe I’ll even go to two places, there are no rules!!!

So far there have been two firsts, I know, I’m all over this ‘exploring’ thing. One rainy Sunday after a rather large cooked breakfast Dave (husband and aka Mr Serendipity) and I were scratching our heads about what to do for the remainder of the day. My winning suggestion of a casual wander around the inner city suburb of Darlinghurst was a winner. It was perfect, we wandered, peered through fences, admired gorgeous buildings and manicured gardens and found ourselves on a guided tour of Elizabeth Bay House. If you like the old world charm of Sydney then pay a visit to Elizabeth Bay House and ask for a guided tour – the guides are excellent!

Darlinghurst Building

It’s like a little bit of NYC in inner city Sydney. Just gorgeous!

Elizabeth Bay House

The beauty that is the internal dome of Elizabeth Bay House.

The second adventure was a solo visit to Paddington Reservoir. I couldn’t believe I had never been there before and I suggest, if you are in the area you make some time to visit too.

Paddington Reservoir Entrance

Paddington Reservoir is located on Oxford St Paddington (NSW). It was built in two stages, the western chamber was completed in 1866 and the eastern chamber in 1877. It was used as a holding reservoir for water from Botany Swamps and the Nepean between 1859 and 1889. Yep 1889! That’s it, life as it was intended for the reservoir was cut short due to its inadequate elevation.

During the 1930’s Paddington would have been a pretty tough place to live.There was overcrowding and I imagine it would have been pretty unsanitary in places. At the time there was concern about residents health, especially the health of the children. The council, possibly under the influence of the Parks and Gardens movement provided access to the roof of the reservoir and in so doing, provided a space for the community to come together in the outdoors. This cemented its ‘forever use’ as an outdoor space.

Paddington Reservoir Residents

In 1990 part of the roof collapsed rendering the entire site unsafe and forced its closure. However, it was soon to be conserved, redeveloped and reinvented and in 2009 was officially opened as the gardens it is today. The front of the garden is very unassuming and if you didn’t know it was there you might walk right by. The garden is muli-layered and around every corner and at the end of every flight of stairs or ramp there is something to see. The iron work is exceptional and the preservation of the grey ironbark pillars and concrete wall and arches reminds us of the people that built this city in which so many live and love – even if it was at the wrong elevation, oops!

Paddington Reservoir Piller and Arch

I delighted in seeing so many people using the space. If you haven’t been I suggest you pack yourself some snacks, a book, maybe your favorite picnic blanket too, although if you’re lucky you might nab yourself one of the folding canvas chairs they have available to use – cute, yes?

Paddington Reservoir Pond Pillers

Paddington Reservoir Oxford St

Paddington Reservoir Old and New

Paddington Reservoir Pond

Paddington Reservoir Top

 

Paddington Reservoir Ramp

Paddington Reservoir Old

Paddington Reservoir Hanging Garden

Paddington Reservoir Hanging Arche

Paddington Reservoir Ground Feature

Paddington Reservoir Ginger

Paddington Reservoir Feature

Paddington Reservoir Entrance Stairs

Paddington Reservoir Concrete

Paddington Reservoir Arches

Paddington Reservoir

I hope that you have the chance to visit Paddington Reservoir Garden some day too!

Until next time

Carmel

Bush Walking – Fitzroy Falls

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I love to get out and away from the city, it’s a time for me to clear my head and breath in the fresh country air. Before the sentence has even been uttered, while it’s still a thought, an idea, I’ve cleared my diary of any city bound ‘stuff’ and written…Escape I’m not too fussy, I’ll take anything, Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, Shoalhaven, the ‘Mother land’. I just enjoy getting away from the busyness of the city, the lists of things I need to do and the expectations that I place on myself. When I escape, even just for an afternoon, I can leave all of that behind, recharge and tackle it when I return. The other aspect of ‘getting away’ is that it is most enjoyed when shared with a friend. Below are some pictures I took while bush walking near Fitzroy Falls in the Southern Highlands. In the lead up to our planned escape it had been raining in Sydney, most days were overcast and it was soggy under foot. The Southern Highlands, as the name suggests is at a higher elevation and can be bitterly cold on a supposed hot summers day in Sydney. We decided to forge ahead with our escape and with a 30% chance of rain it was looking pretty good. We drove through a rain patch that we thought was the 30% but there was still more to come once we arrived at Fitzroy Falls. But, it didn’t matter, we wrapped ourselves in Gortex, grabbed our packs and headed into the mist. It was beautiful, it looked like we were on the edge of the world, we could only see a few meters in front of us. But the further the walk the more the sky cleared until finally we got a perfect view of Fitzroy Falls. Misty Bush Raindrop The Cliff Edge Rain On Leaves Lichen On Branch Mountain Devil Lone Tree On the Cliff Edge Callistemon Fine Lichen On Branch The Valley Fitzroy Falls Magnificent Tree Trunk So, grab a friend, pack some snacks and possibly your raincoat and escape for a head clearing bush walk. You might surprise yourself, the problem you were thinking about over and over again may just sort itself out while you’re away. Until next time Carmel

Going Potty!

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I got a little crafty this week, finally. There is too much craft, art, sewing and creating to do and not a enough time to do it all, that’s what I say! There are some little ideas I have had for years, stored up in the ‘must create’ section of my brain, the part that yearns to be creative, use my hands, leave a trail of cotton in my wake and get paint where it shouldn’t be. But somehow I find it difficult to get around to doing them, I’m ‘busy’ doing other things, I can’t get to the store to buy the supplies or better still I’m at the store and forget what the supplies are that I need – hmmm, that’s a good one. Thank goodness for technology, it’s got me out of a few forgetful creative supply situations, but not always.

My sewing machine is fixed. Did you know that in order for your sewing machine to have health and longevity you must use it more often? Neither did I, but I do now and I have started quite the project. I have spent a reasonable amount of time on it already and all I’ve done is cut out 10cm x 10cm squares. In some areas of my life I am known to be incredibly patient however, cutting out 400 10cm x 10cm squares of pretty fabric is teaching me a thing or two about real patience!

But that is not the craft I want to share with you, it is far more painty and potty than that!

Paint Bush

One day this week I squeezed a little craft supply shopping in in between meetings – good for the soul, enhances productivity and gets you thinking about things other than your schedule (or levels, soil and plants in my case!). Thankfully I am sufficiently stocked with pretty coloured paints so all I needed to purchase were the terracotta pots. Oh, here we go! I want to make it clear that by no means have I exceeded any super crafting expectations, I have simply indulged a desire to paint terracotta pots with colours and patterns that I choose, yippee! You and I have seen this done countless numbers of times (thank you Pinterest) and how many of you have thought to yourself “I should do that”? Oh, I see you nodding your head, get out there and get paintingly potty people.

Terracotta Pots

What you’ll need;

Terracotta pot in any size and the matching size saucer (the saucer is optional and relies on the look you want to create) Pot $2.49 Saucer $1.98

Acrylic paint in any colours you choose (or whatever you have in your art box) About $3.00 to $5.00 depending on colour

Paint brush (goes without saying)

Newspaper or plastic to cover your work space

Props to dry upside down pots and saucers on (large vitamin bottles work well!)

And that’s it, this is all you need.

I gave each pot and saucer at least two coats of paint, ideally you’d use some sort of undercoat but I got straight into it with the ‘proper’ paints. Remember that patience thing, well…….. not here. Undercoat will you give you a much better finish but I have sacrificed quality for keeping the craft box to a minimum and besides I intend for the contents of the pot to be the eye catcher.

First Coat

I allowed each coat to dry before applying the next and once I had my two coats applied and dried I got creative with colours.

Drying Time

I decided to decorate one with a bright green stripe on the bottom of the pot and leave the saucer white and the other with silver polka dots (of course) and have a silver saucer.

When you’re painting your pots don’t forget to paint inside the rim of the pot. You want your pot to look finished once you have a plant in it and exposing the terracotta unintentionally will give it all away.

Painting the Rim

My favourite is the polka dots!

Green and Silver Pots

The next step is to fill the pots with loveliness. And by this I mean anything you want, it doesn’t have to be plants. With Easter just around the corner you can easily turn your ‘master piece’ into an Easter gift and fill it with chocolate eggs, then once your receiver has it they can use it however they choose. You could make a pretty Easter table center piece, fill it with Dodda Vine and pop in a candle (keep an eye on your candle and blow it out before it reaches the Dodda). You could even make it into a nest and fill it with your little found treasures for Autumn, just remember to paint the entire inside of your pot. The lovely thing about a pot that you paint is that you can choose to do whatever you like with it – be creative! If it doesn’t work or you don’t like it paint over it, as my husband says, “it’s not a lifetime commitment”.

Polka Dots

So go ahead and get potty, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it, you might even make a mess!

Pot in Pot

If you get a little potty with your paints I want to see it! Feel free to share your creations over on Serendipity Garden Designs Facebook page.

I still have so many ideas for painting pots but I am happy with my attempt this time round. I kept my costs to a minimum but still managed to create something that I can use in any way that I choose. And at the end of the day it is about creating and expressing ideas, even if they don’t turn out perfectly. Enjoy!

Until next time

Carmel

My Nest

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Last year I visited the fabulous Sydney Flower Market at Flemington. Oh, I love this place and I sure am due for another visit very soon. I bought lovely bunches of flowers which adorned my home for the following week/s, helped a friend choose flowers for her wedding and found myself the cutest little nest made from dried Dodda Vine.

Nest

Dodda Vine also has charming common names such as devil’s guts, devil’s hair, devil’s ringlet, hailweed, hairweed, hellbine, pull-down, strangleweed and witch’s hair. Anything with a common name containing devil, hell or weed makes you stop in your tracks. It comes from the Genus Cuscuta and is a parasite which means it attaches itself to another plant and literally sucks the life out of it draining the host plant of nutrients making it weak, vulnerable and eventually rendering it lifeless. I read a forum in which the author of the post wrote that she had received Dodda Vine on a bunch of flowers (not uncommon) and that it had started to produce roots. STOP! I had fresh Dodda Vine too but I didn’t see any roots being produced, thank goodness. If this is you don’t throw your Donna Vine in the bin, get yourself busy making nests, wreaths and all things doddery before it dries.

Anyway, back to my nest. It is the cutest thing and I originally bought it as an Easter decoration. I planned to put spotted chocolate eggs in it and use it as a table center peice for the Easter period. This didn’t happen because I was unable to find Fairtrade spotted chocolate eggs (better luck this year). I did however find the cutest little family of Fairtrade bunnies that happily made their home in the nest before being consumed.

Easter Nest

I have also used my nest for Autumn and Winter decorating but my favourite has been using it during spring and summer. Summer is without a doubt my favourite season, I love the smells of summer, from sunscreen and salt on a beach towel, to seafood on the beach with a glass of Riesling. I love warm evenings under the stars and diving into the salty water at the beach. I just can’t get enough of it. Over the years I have collected little bits of nature and this year has been no different, a shell here, a beautifully formed leaf there. But this year instead of my little found treasures, also called Polka Dots, being randomly placed around my home and eventually making their way to the garden, I have put them in my nest. So, cute!

Nest and Drift Wood

I have collected my finds on different adventures I have had during Spring and Summer and each piece reminds me of a place I visited and enjoyed or a beautiful day. There are leaves, gum nuts, Kangaroo Paw, feathers, drift wood, shells, dried pods and underneath a teeny tiny scattering of sand. It’s easy to do and I am sure some of you do forage when your out and about. Keeping your eyes peeled for little Polka Dot treasures encourages us to be mindful and present because if you’re distracted and rushing your eyes might just miss something worth capturing.

Nest On The Old Radio

Inside The Nest

Gum Nut in Nest

Nest Foliage

Nest With Draping Foliage

Feather In Nest

I foraged my little Polka Dots from the ground and I cut the Kangaroo Paw from my garden. I didn’t break branches, steal flowers or damage bushland in order to create this beautiful nest. It’s amazing what you can find when you walk with mindfulness.

Until next time.

Carmel