Thursday, 9 October 2014

Guest Post: HOW TO TRANSFORM PLANT POTS

A step-by-step guide with best-selling needlecraft author and YouTube sensation Debbie Shore

By Shaun Wheatcroft, RedShed Writer
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Plant pots can sometimes look very plain and boring, especially in comparison to the beautiful flowers we often keep inside them. Thanks to this RedShed step-by-step video with craft expert Debbie Shore, you can turn old plant pots into colorful storage pots for around the home with easy to follow tips.
By using simple things that you may already have around the home, such as ribbon, rope, buttons and clothes, you can transform plain plant pots into fantastic storage solutions.

Through this video Debbie shows you how simple it really is, even something the children can get involved with. For more inspiration from Debbie visit the Arts & Crafts section of the RedShed blog.

Blogger Tricks

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Landscaping 101: Getting the Garden of Your Dreams on a Budget (GUEST POST)



About the author: 

Maya Pugh is a stay-at-home mom who considers her garden to be her own version of ‘heaven on earth’. When not tinkering with her plants, she is a freelance writer and an avid blogger. She loves to write about home gardening tips and trick, d.i.y. Home improvement and beautification, and other home creative stuffs.   A zealous fan of nature, she is currently saving for a Eurotrip with her husband Aleksander and their two kids. While she calls Brisbane home, you can easily get in touch with her via email or G+.


***

If you think you have to spend thousands to have that garden you have always envisioned, think again!

While traditional thinking dictates you need to spend a fortune on landscaping, it’s reassuring to know you can actually spend just a fraction of the expected amount and still have a space you can consider ideal.

Get the most bang for your buck by keeping the following helpful tips in mind.   

Plants
Obviously, much of the visual appeal of your garden can be credited to your plants.

In line with this, you need to choose well. Opt for plants that will complement the overall theme you have in mind.

Since shrubs, trees, soil and perennials can get downright expensive; it would be wise to purchase them late in the season. This is usually the time when retailers want to dispose of them.

In addition, you can look into getting a few plants that will help layer down the dull areas in your garden. You may also rely on potted varieties to instantly freshen up any bald spot.

Bricks
When it comes to designing your backyard, creativity is always a key component. 

For instance, if you are looking into designing your pathway, consider using bricks.

Fortunately, nowadays, you can easily get cheap ones from demolition sites.  For starters, you can align them side by side, forming some sort of path wave or you can use them as a brick planter and any other designs you can think of.

Soil
Understandably, healthy soil is considered a fundamental element of most gardens. 

That being said, it will work to your advantage to ensure you have healthy soil to work with. Know the kind you currently have so you will have an idea what to do in case it needs some boost.

Also, to further save on costs, look into incorporating old bird cages and window frames into your backyard designs.

In addition, unused tires can also be painted and transformed into a garden art to add more charm and personality to your space.

Compost
The plants in your garden will thrive more given the right nutrients.

While purchasing mulch and fertilizers is something you can easily resort to, it is reassuring to know you have other options when money is tight.

For instance, you can try composting as a sound alternative to buying fertilizers. With the help of yard waste and food scraps, you can easily produce compost for your garden.

In addition, you need to make sure you are aware of composting basics, so your plants can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

Maintenance
For many homeowners, this is often the tricky part.

While challenging, however, coming up with a maintenance system that works is actually feasible. You just have to ensure you take all possible expenses into account. For instance, if you have a large lawn and you don’t think you have the time to attend to mowing on a regular basis, make it a point to include mowing fee into your maintenance expenses.

In addition, seeking the help of turf suppliers when it comes to garden supplies and the like will go a long way towards ensuring you will get what you need without having to go beyond your budget.

A garden you can be proud of does not have to cost you much. With patience, ingenuity and a little creativeness thrown in, you can look forward to enjoying your dream garden without having to spend a fortune.  




Thursday, 18 September 2014

We Have Adopted

A two month old lamb
Photo taken on 13/5/13
An orphan lamb. We welcomed her shortly after hearing her story. First her mother has passed away, then her twin sister. She needed some individual care and a place where she could access to appropriate food and care easily. She needed someone to take care of her and provide some individual attention, love and care for a few months, until she could be strong enough to live amongst other animals without the requirement of individual care as much. We have never looked after a lamb before, but we knew we would do our best to help her gain strength, be loved and cared for until she can survive in a farm by herself along with older sheep with some limited individual care. Therefore, we took the plunge and happily opened our doors to her. Well, 'The Girls' (our beautiful chickens) opened their doors to her. She is now sharing their home, which has definitely enough room for even more chickens or lambs. The girls go into their coop at nights while the lamb stays in the pen. During the day, they are all left free.

The girls: Isa brown chickens

The two photos below were taken when she first arrived at her new home greeted very warmly by Mr. and Miss Junior. This was two nights ago. It is believed that she is currently 6-8 weeks old.
Lamb


This photo was taken yesterday. Her first day at her new home. She can hardly walk. She is extremely weak. She finds it hard to stand up. We are planning on massaging her knees with some olive oil tonight. We did some online search and also asked for some professional advice on what to feed her. It was advised that she had some milk (formula milk for lambs) to boost her immune system as well as gain some strength. We bought her some milk and bought a bottle too but unfortunately, there was not much luck in feeding her any of it. She definitely didn't appreciate it.
Lamb

The last photo here is from today, her second day with us. For the first time in my life, I tried to bottle-feed an animal. Even though my kids never had bottles, it felt so natural to say things like "C'mon Mummy, it is good for you. C'mon, you can do it, just try to suck it a bit. Good girl". Even Mr. Junior was trying to encourage her, saying 'good job little girl'.  I feel like mothering her. Unfortunately, not very successfully at this stage though. She refused to drink any milk today as well. She slowly chews on some hay and fresh grass and we are planning to see whether she may be ready for pellets tonight. We are all excitedly awaiting the day when she can start walking properly and even jump around with a cheerful 'baaaa'.
Our little lamb

Note: This post was written and left in the drafts folder last year but I didn't have the courage or the motivation to publish it until now. Unfortunately, even after getting some professional help, she did not make it more than a few more days with us. It shook us a bit as a family but it is life. Rest in peace Little Girl! 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Food Design (10)

Puppy themed food/dish design
Source
It has been a while since I had shared with you some food/dish designs the last time. Here is another very cute and clever design I have found for you.





Friday, 22 August 2014

Guest Post: A Step-by-Step Guide to Installing a New Pendant Light Fixture

Installing a new pendant light can be as easy as removing an old fixture and installing a new one. There are two issues that can help make your installation easier. First, with the exclusion of large heavy chandeliers, most pendant lights are lightweight and fine for a standard ceiling box. This makes them easier to handle or to momentarily suspend from a ceiling box with a DIY wire hook. Additionally, with the exclusion of most track lights, pendant lights usually hang from a canopy. This gives you the opportunity to support your fixture on your ladder or an interim hook, leaving your hands free to adjust the electrical and mechanical linkages.


Tutorial: DIY pendant light installation



How To Install a New Pendant Light Fixture


Remember to make sure that the power is turned-off at your home’s circuit box. Place a covering over the switch to make sure that it won’t be turned back on while you’re working. Keep a circuit tester near to make certain that the power is off before touching any electrical wiring.


Step 1: Remove the Existing Fixture


Remove the existing fixture. If you have a ceiling fan, be sure to take away the blades from the fan first. Loosen the screws while holding the fan still. Lightly pull the fixture away from the mounting bracket. Carefully remove the wire nuts from the wires, separate the fixture, and take out the mounting bracket.


Step 2: Affix the Mounting Bracket


To suspend your new pendant light, affix the new mounting bracket to the junction box. Most of the time, older mounting brackets use screws from the bottom; however, the newer versions have open bolts on the base that are topped with a cap nut.


Step 3: Affix the Wires


Affix the wires to the new pendant light following the manufacturer’s directions. This is normally white-to-white, black-to-black, and ground-to-ground.


Step 4: Firmly Fix the Connections


Firmly fix the connections with wire nuts, and then affix the bare ground wire to the green ground screw on the mounting bracket. On a number of fixtures, the neutral wire may be black with a white stripe. Slip the new pendant lamp over the bolts in the mounting bracket, and then fasten the mounting cap nuts.


Don’t forget to put the light bulbs in last; however, wash your hands first. This will help give your light bulbs a longer lifespan. Now you can climb down from your ladder and marvel at your work. Whether you’ve installed it as part of a living room remodel, or just because, we’re sure you’ll be seeing your room in a whole new, better light.


Check this YouTube video for a visual step-by-step guide.


Tim Smith writes for Modernize.
Photo by Chris Patrick Interiors.

Friday, 11 July 2014

TUTORIAL: French Knots



See the red love heart on top in the first picture below? Well, just that little love heart was formed with 77 French knots, so, let me warn you, working with French knots is something that needs patience and it needs a good amount of it. However, it is somewhat satisfactory and addictive too.

Here, I will be taking you through how to make French knots with baby steps, in case you are totally unfamiliar with it. However, firstly, I would like to share some brief information on this particular type of stitching.

French knots are a type of knotted stitches and are a basic element of embroidery. They are also classified as 'detached stitches'. 

Now, lets move onto the step-by-step instructions. 

1. Thread your needle. Make sure there is a knot at the end of your thread/embroidery floss.
Step 1: Thread your needle
Step 1
2. From the back of the fabric, put the needle all the way through the front of the fabric. 
Step 2: Pulling needle up through fabric to the front
Step 2
Step 2 (b): Needle is at the front.


3. With the needle-free hand, hold the end of the thread while gently pulling the thread up to cause some tension or a firm grip.

4. Wrap the thread around your needle twice (depending on how thick your thread is or how big you would like your knots to be, this number can vary. The more wraps, the bigger knots).
Steps 3 & 4: Wrap your thread around your needle twice with a firm grip
Steps 3 & 4
5. While still holding the thread with the needle-free hand with a firm grip, pull the needle back through the fabric to the back of it from right next to where it came up from. I like to use the same side for my knots. For example, I generally push the needle down, say from the right or left side of the original hole for each knot. 
Note: Do not let go of the firm grip until all the thread is at the back, forming a small knot at the front.
Step 5: Bring the needle back down the fabric while still holding the thread firmly
Step 5
Keep repeating until you form enough amount of French knots for your project.
Ta dah! Here is your first French knot!
French knots tutorial by Home of Homemade Treasures

Repeat instructions 1 to 5 to make as many French knots as you like for your project.

Tutorial: french knots

French knots tutorial

French knots tutorial by MADE BY Y

What you can make with this technique is endless. I hope this tutorial inspires you to come up with your original designs and unique projects. Below are some of my designs for MADE BY Y. Enjoy!

French knots bib and reversible shoes set by MADE BY Y


A personalised bib with French knots by MADE BY Y

A colourful bib by MADE BY Y

Bunny apron by MADE BY Y

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sight/Oxford Words

My son started school this year and he is now officially a 'Preppie'. He is currently enjoying the first week of his second school term holiday. I must admit, I do look forward to school holidays even though a part of me gets a bit anxious. It has only been a few days and so far so good. 

Both my son and I love routines. We both adapt a new routine whenever our current one is broken and we feel the urge for it. A part of our routine since he started school is that he has some 'concentrated work' time pretty much everyday. One part of our routine these days is that he practices the 'sight/Oxford words' list that was given to us by his school. 

At our school, it is the school's aim that Prep students learn the first 100 words out of a total of 307 words by the end of their first year of schooling. If they go beyond it, it is a bonus and they try to work at their level with those students too.  They give a list of 10 words each week once the previous set of 10 words is tested and the student has achieved it. The words are chosen not necessarily on the basis of simplicity but rather how often they are used in daily life and in books here in Australia. 

With the sight words, in case you are not familiar with it, it is different to 'reading' or 'sounding out' a word. Sight words are the words that students are expected to know as soon as they see. They are tested on the basis of whether the children can read/tell the word within 4 seconds of seeing the word, without hesitating, without making an effort to work out the word. Each set of 10 words is colour coded and parents and children are encouraged to practice the words with their children on a regular basis, using various strategies and games such as flash cards, go fish, matching games, snap, etc. 

If you would like a head start or are simply interested in some extra work for your child in English, here is the full list of 307 sight/Oxford words that my son's school uses.  

Enjoy your time with your little one(s).