Tuesday, 26 August 2014

More Than Plants

Hi Everyone,

I'm a very lucky and thankful girl you know. Why? you ask. Because I have a husband that doesn't mind doing stuff for me in the garden. Now don't get me wrong Ross doesn't weed, do edges or dig very often (I do that) but he does keep the grass cut with the rider mower (actually he is more diligent about mowing than me) and with about an acre of garden and lawn that's a big help. I suppose I would be lucky enough if he only did the mowing (I have heard some husbands/partners don't even do that) but where I'm really lucky is he can make stuff for me.
If I see something, or have an idea for the garden I will float the idea past him to see if it's possible. Usually I have a fair idea about what is doable, or I have thought about it long enough that I know that it is. There is a discussion about exactly what I have in mind, he may add his two cents worth and then say "draw me a picture". This means that it can be added to the to do list. YAY!
The ideas aren't always totally clear in my head so drawing them can be a challenge and size can be hard to visualise particularly when something is going into a large undeveloped space. So far we have managed to get things right, sometimes with a few modifications along the way.
For this month's garden post, I thought I would raid my photo files and show you what my handy fella has done to help make our beautiful garden.
 The arbour on the left (#1) was the first garden feature Ross made for me and is the entrance into the rose garden aka "Penny's Garden". There are two "Penny Lane" roses growing on either side.
 The arbour on the right (#2) I call "Insta" arbour. Why? Well the story goes something like this.
Ross came in for lunch after mowing the lawn demanding we do something with THAT rose ("New Dawn", you can see it growing on the left of the arbour). He had been spiked once too often while he was on the rider mower, and enough was enough. I must admit he had been quite patient while I was deciding what sort of arbour I wanted to put there. After discussing it over lunch I agreed he could make one the same as #1. Being a man of action he went and bought the materials after lunch and by 5 o'clock that afternoon the arbour was in place. #1 had been bent around a concrete ring but we had since given it away so Ross improvised and used a tree stump in our neighbours paddock for #2 hence the slight flat spot near the top of the arbour which you probably hadn't even notice until now. Let's just call it character plus the rose should cover it up anyway
The arbour seat was made as a birthday present. I was my idea and provides a nice shady spot to sit in "Penny's Garden". It also has two "Penny Lane" roses planted either side. 
I like the look of timber but Ross likes to make stuff out of steel, won't rot, last forever, permanent steel. If I want anything made out of timber it has to be made of Redgum (for overseas readers that is a hardwood eucalypt that resists rotting) if it is going in the ground and Stringy Bark (another hardwood eucalypt) for above ground. Neither of these timbers can be easily bought at your local building supplies so what do you do? You cut your own, of course, if you have your own saw mill, which we do (Ross build that too) and access to some trees, which we do. I have to be really patient for these projects as milling timber doesn't happen every day and takes some planning.   
This long arbour leads to the back part of the garden that I'm currently trying to establish. I have wisterias planted on the four corners which will be trained over the top and climbing roses trained along the sides.
The idea for the arbour swing came from a scene in the film "Ten Things I Hate About You", and my adult kids, as you can see, still love swings (particularly Heidi), so why not? And make it a double because it's more fun to swing with a friend. I have 2 white 'Lamarque' climbing roses planted either side and look forward to them covering the sides and making it pretty. They have actually grown quite a bit since this photo was taken.

The gate arbour has only been completed recently. It has wisteria longissima planted on the left so that when it covers the top it will create a curtain of long flowers (the flowers can get up to a metre long) in the spring. It won't be this spring though, maybe next year.
The sunshine gate leads into our front paddock and allows vehicle access into the front garden. The aim is to cover the fence either side with a creeper or hedge.
Blue granite retaining wall on the top side of the pond aka 'The Froggery'. My friend Gabby came up with the name. The pond is a natural spring that we had dug out a bit (it's only knee deep) and I haven't been able to get rid of the weed in it but the frogs love it, so why fight it.
Some recycled fence posts form the retaining wall on the bottom side of the pond. Ross replaced a fence for a local farmer and was allowed to keep the old posts. I came up with this idea before they were attacked with the chainsaw for fire wood. Up until last year, when these two walls were done, the pond area was my least favourite part of the garden because it always looked untidy. Now it is one of my favourite spots even with the weeds.

This pathed area, complete with Ross milled timber fence, provides a nice eating area adjacent to the house.

I picked up an old cast iron bed from the local second shop and had Ross make this seat. The bed was already painted red so I decided to leave it. I think it makes a nice feature against the greenery. I'm still waiting for the other end of the bed to be converted.
This seat is chainsaw craved from one solid log of Redgum and was all Ross' idea, as a surprise for me.  
 This rock seat/bench was only completed last week and was another of Ross' ideas after seeing one somewhere. I had been wanting to put something here to close off the carport area a bit and this is perfect. I have since extended the garden along in front of it.
And the latest addition, only made this week. I thought it would nice to officially rename the pond so I got Ross to make this sign. He wrote with the welder on a piece of steel plate and I love the rustic look. You can see what I mean about the weeds. They look particularly bad this time of year.

So don't you agree I'm one lucky gal? I'm so grateful I can have my ideas made to order and don't have to settle for flimsy garden features. Everything is constructed to the "Rossbuilt" standard, strong and made to last, and at a fraction of the cost of buying them. He actually enjoys it, except if I get too picky but that's not very often, only when there's a communication breakdown and he hasn't read my mind very well. We have a couple of other projects in the pipeline that should be finished by the time we have our garden open for the annual Corryong & district "Garden Getabout" in November. I will tell you all about that another time.

I started preparing this post a couple of weeks ago when it was still really cold, and there wasn't much else happening in the garden, but we have had some beautiful weather lately and the spring flowers are starting to appear so I will be back soon with a more flowery garden post.
Thanks for popping by and until next time 
I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here or on Facebook 
You can follow me on
Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird


Monday, 18 August 2014

Craft Getaway Weekend

Hi Everyone,
I'm very happy and excited to let you know that bookings for the first Craft Getaway Weekend are now open, actually they have been open for a week now but I have been a bit busy this last week (seems to be my life story at the moment). As I mentioned last time it is a collaborative venture with my good friend Marita who owns a B&B, Marita's Place near Corryong in the beautiful Upper Murray region of NE Victoria. The weekend will run from Friday evening the 19th of September to Sunday afternoon the 21st so if you are interested or you have a friend/s who are interested pop over HERE for more information and to book. There is also a fantastic deal going if you book with a friend and numbers are limited to a maximum of 8 so it is best to get in early.
If that particular weekend doesn't suit, or you would like to organise a weekend for a group of friends (minimum 4) leave your name and contact details with Marita and we can organise something for you.

I thought I would tell you a bit about the craft part of the weekend but first of all I would like to thank those who took part in the survey, it was very helpful.
The winner of the giveaway was Kylie Harvey and as it happens she is a fellow blogger, Indigo and Quince, with some of the same interests as myself.
As a result of the survey I have decided, for the first Craft Getaway, we will have some fun with patchwork and another mystery craft.
My aim for the weekend is to have fun and keep it fairly flexible with a bit of structure and to cater for the beginner through to the more advanced.
NB. If you are a beginner, and you let me know before hand, I can supply the equipment for you to use on the weekend.

Introductions and show and tell.
There will be a patchwork project to make. This will be suitable for beginners but still fun for the more advanced.
Once the first project is completed you can choose between:
Another patchwork/sewing project
I will show you some easy time saving piecing techniques and you will have the opportunity explore your own creativity. This would be the ideal opportunity for you to bring along some of your own fabrics or scraps to play with. (If you are a beginner and don't have any fabrics yet they can be supplied for a small extra cost.)
You can bring along an unfinished project of your own to work on or get some help with it if you need it.
There will be a mystery craft to learn
You can continue working on the Saturday projects.

NB. Kits for all projects are supplied (included in the price) and are yours to keep whether you choose to do them on the weekend or not.

The weekend will be full of hints, tips and inspiration along with delicious food & fun so I hope you will join Marita and I for a great time.
If you have any questions about the craft or what you need to bring please use the 'Contact Me' form on the right and I am happy to answer any enquiries. Also, if you would like to organise a weekend more suitable to your needs please let me know about that too. Fingers crossed now for some bookings.

Thanks for popping by and until next time 
I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here or on Facebook 
You can follow me on
Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird


Sunday, 3 August 2014

What Would You Like To Do on a Craft Getaway Weekend?

Hi Everyone,
I'm a little bit excited, oh well maybe a lot. My friend Marita, who has recently opened a B&B, (Marita's Place) and I are getting together to offer Weekend Craft Getaways in the beautiful Upper Murray region of north east Victoria.
Marita will look after the accommodation, meals and bookings and if you head over to Marita's blog she has most of the details about cost and what is included. The craft program is yet to be finalised, that is my part of the deal. I have lots of ideas but am having trouble deciding exactly what to offer. What would people like to do or learn?
If you have been following this blog for a while you will be aware that I do lots of different crafts and I love them all, so the options are:

Very basic, beginner to intermediate, machine or paper piecing, small or large projects.
I specialise in strip piecing where possible and I'm constantly on the look out for new quick easier ways to get excellent results. And I don't necessarily follow 'the rules' of patchwork.

My preferred method for applique is using freezer paper but I can do needle turn or buttonhole.

Beginner to intermediate, plain to fancy, small or large projects. Reading patterns (written or charts).


Beginner to intermediate, plain or fancy, small project. Reading patterns.


Beginner cloth dolls and softies.

Beginner quilling (paper filigree) and 3D origami.

These are a few of the other crafts I could can offer and various basic crafts also. Or a combination of crafts.
As you can see there is lots to choose from, so I am hoping you will be able to help me by answering
What would you like to do on a Craft Getaway Weekend?
I have put together a little survey and it would be great if you could take a minute to pop over here  and answer just 7 questions. Feel free to add any ideas or comments (on the survey or here), the more input the better and I will be very grateful. Plus one lucky person who leaves their email address on the survey by August 10th will get a little crafty gift made by yours truly. (This is the first time I have done a survey like this so please let me know if there are any problems)
The first Craft Getaway Weekend is planned for 19th, 20th & 21st of September (Friday night arrival to Sunday afternoon) and bookings will open on the 10th of August. For the first getaway there is a discount for multiple bookings. We will be catering for small groups (4 to 8) so if you have a few friends that are interested we can tailor a program to your liking.
I will post details of the craft program (as will Marita) when I get the results of the survey. If you have any crafty (or like to be crafty) friends send them this way because I would like as much feedback as possible.

Thanks for popping by and until next time 
I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here, or you can also comment or follow me on Facebook 
or Instagram @oneearlybird