Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Cream Can Herb Garden of the Crop

What?! February only has 28 days? Lucky there is a Pinterest project I prepared earlier and can blog about pretty much at the 11th hour as to meet my monthly quota.

This is a DIY project almost of two halves. I did need a herb garden 'solution', but I more needed a solution to the fact that I'd just bought an antique cream can that my husband was not going to be happy about.

The cream can was only outside the antique store my work was located above about 20 minutes before I snaffled it without a second thought how one might get a 18 kilo rusty cream can home, what my husband would think, or even, what I was going to do with it.

Long blog cut short, getting it home involved trying to lift it for 20 metre bursts looking like it was all very easy and no problem to people walking the other way before letting go and collapsing over it puffing for a minute rest before doing it again. That only got me so far. Then I started to literally roll it down Cuba Mall like an idiot. Firstly, it's super loud on brick paving and attracted more attention. Secondly, it's not perfectly round, so hard to control.

So finally, I took it on the bus - a FULL bus, naturally - sitting on one seat with my trusty giant rusty cream can on the seat next to me. No one was going to dare question it.

So, voila, it was home. Then what? Obviously the miracle inspiration of turning it into a herb garden, thus meaning aforementioned husband could not complain (as much).



OVERALL - 10/10. Perfect! Yum and pretty.

The genius here is that of course the cream can is not filled with soil. That is a) gross, b) too heavy, c) not possible because of the multiple rust holes. But lucky me, the top of the cream can is just the same size as a bucket, so a black Bunnings bucket is snugly fit inside with rocks and sand in the bottom (all important drainage), then the soil, then the plants. Basil, mint, chives, and thyme, all doing well. The mint is clearly making a desperate attempt to escape, but I'm not taking it personally.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

A huge Fantail of Pinterest

Happy 2014! Predictably, one of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more regularly - once per month - and here I am scrambling together one on the 25th of January. Oh well, a base for improvement.

This is a little project I did a few months ago for my mother in law's birthday.  She loves fantail birds, and when I passed by a pop up craft shop with a cute little fantail photo holder string I was super keen to get it for her birthday the following week.  But being the great daughter in law that I am, I had already spent over the reasonable birthday gift allowance on something else, so I was dismayed to find the holder was $36.

$36? Not that extortionate, but it was just nice ribbon with felt cut out birds, embellished with above average stitching on the tail and glued onto mini pegs just like the ones I have heaps of at home for no reason...surely I could give that a go?

So I did.




OVERALL - 10/10. Boom!

I'm pretty sure it's true that mums like homemade gifts better than store bought ones. Or at least, they will pretend to super convincingly. This project was really easy, completed within the golden 3 hour timeframe that after which I will become crabby, not care, and just go out and buy something.  Even my terrible stitching skills were good enough, and the item hangs proudly in a prime position of Janis' lounge, Or at least, she remember to pull it out before we come over.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Twas the night before the night before Christmas....

When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse

Someone had tried hard
To copy a photo from a site
But failed to come even close
Even though she worked long into past nights

With the best of intentions
She bought metres and metres of paper
Cut it to fit, and taped
Then got sick of the whole damn caper

And with 75% of the project complete
She took this photo so at least someone would benefit
Even though she knew this project
Wouldn't bestow her any credit

So here you go followers
Enjoy and smile
'Cause after that all money and time went to waste
There should be something at least worthwhile



OVERALL - 0/10

Let me break this down for you into some simple bullet points.
  • Do not use wrapping paper. Use wallpaper. Proper, thick wallpaper, with proper thick wallpaper glue.
  • That means, you must own the stairs. Do not be renting the stairs.
  • Do not try and do it in gold, even if gold is your favourite colour, when the stairs are pretty much gold.
  • Make sure you get enough paper to do the whole job from the beginning. If you run out of paper, and then you cannot find any more of that paper even though you've been to all the Farmers stores, you will have to use another colour and you will look stupid.
  • Think carefully about spending money on this. If you aren't sure, go out and buy a dress. It will last longer, and not potentially trip someone up on the stairs.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

'Tis the season for Pinterest crafts ...

This blog entry is a special shout out to my home girl Libby, who I know has been on the edge of her seat waiting patiently for a Christmas project - and I have tried not to disappoint. I've had a few projects on the go recently which is well in keeping with my enthusiasm vis a vis inability to finish anything, and I can tell already that there will be some good fodder for blogging over the next few weeks.

First up though, something that seemed so easy I couldn't screw it up. Wreaths are a Christmas staple, but in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere December (arguable here in Wellington, but anyway ...), wreaths are really expensive and are largely left for the domain of shopping malls and large office receptions that can afford them.

So imagine my excitement when I saw this simple photo wreath on Pintrest! Of course! And so I raced to for 19c prints.



OVERALL - 6/10. Stylist required for the photo.

Bonus points if you realised that - SURPRISE - I didn't just copy the photo, I tried to be cutesy and get all my pics printed in black and white, bar a handful that were predominantly red and I thought might look like red baubles. They don't. That is mostly because the 'baubles' are to o big compared to the overall wreath. And the bow is too small. But luckily, the baubles don't detract too much I don't think.

The main things are that the bottom left quarter needs to move out a little, and I needed to style the shot better with a casually placed candle and vase of flowers. Fixable and superficial.

Heaps of love to Libby and to everyone reading this preparing for Christmas - hope you get time out to enjoy all your efforts. And do them for yourself as much as anyone else.

Monday, 22 July 2013

A palletable idea

There is only one thing I love more than lanterns, and that is pallets (erroneously named 'crates' I note in previous blog posts.What an amateur).  In fact, I've already used the much better puns for other pallet related blog posts. Living on a wharf, it is very hard for me to walk past all those cute, derelict pallets each day and not carry them home to sit in a sad heap taking up most of our lounge, even though I already did that in Auckland and they're still there, taking up half the garden shed with no plan in sight.

So one day when I was walking home past the youth court for some reason, you can imagine my unbridled joy when I walked past a MINI pallet, 1/16th the size of the normal size, literally lying in a gutter.  Was it really unwanted? Or was someone coming to pick it up.  I looked around, but nobody seemed to want to claim the gift from above so I snaffled it - hey, it's not like I haven't already carried a coffee table, A-frame, lantern stands and a giant cream can to Waterloo Quay, so why not a pallet? So I did.

And there it sat, on a ledge seemingly made just for the pallet, for weeks - until I came up with a plan for it. And so - that's right - it's not me copying Pinterest, but everyone else woefully trying to copy my example:



OVERALL - 7/10

Nice try, everyone else. But essentially you've just got a both with wrapping paper ready to fall out all over the place. Just look how tidy my paper is kept, even after the roll has been started. Oh yeah.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Light of my life

I love lanterns. I love rice paper lanterns, I love string lanterns, I love ye olde antique lanterns in heavy metal and glass contraptions, I love those crazy Thai-style lanterns that float off into the sky and cause no end of environmental damage when they land in rural areas hours later and are eaten by cows.

It is no surprise then, that when I saw freestanding internal lantern holders like these from Pinterest below in a store in Auckland I got very excited. But just when I was ready to fork out however much they cost, the 17 year old shop assistant said she couldn't find the price in the computer and hence, couldn't sell them to me (so hard to get good help to do your sunny Sunday shift these days) ... which was probably just as well, because how would I have got them to Auckland?

Well anyway, that was her (boss') loss, because weeks later I saw the same lanterns in Living & Giving in Wellington, on sale, and those chumps were dumb enough to sell the lantern stand separate from the lantern itself. I suppose they thought that would make the set seem cheaper or something, but surely people would buy both together? Nope!  I cleaned them out of their stands for a grand total of $60 (forcing my poor friend Clara to help me walk down busy Lambton Quay with 1m stands) and left them with a bunch of lanterns, ready to combine two of the greatest Pinterest memes together:



OVERALL - 10/10

Lo! Behold the trinity of Pinterest projects - the cream can with white plant cascading like cream, the lantern with mason jar candle holder, and the suitcase side table. And it's not just a straight out purchase - in order to make the mason (pickle) jar hangable, I did have to DIY some fencing wire from Bunnings and use special wire bending pliery things to create a safe hook. Yay! These might be my favourite yet.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Ready, steady, chook!

Firstly, sorry about the title.  A prize of a postcard from Wellington goes to the person who comes up with a better chicken pun - thanks. [editor's note: I now don't apologise for the title, which is the winning pun from the aforementioned competition - thank you Amy, a wet wellington postcard is winging it's way to you]  Very few of these posts have been about Pinteresting food, for two reasons - 1. several of my friends have real food blogs, like GOOD ones, and why would I set myself up for that kind of comparison, and 2. because my cooking skills are 31 years behind everyone else's (due to my chef father not letting me near the kitchen, and then not cooking for anyone until I got married, and then the year after that marriage when I actually lived with my husband. Long story.) But, I have been trying hard to grow my repertoire from avocado on cruskits to at least ten actual dishes, so I have been using Pinterest to suggest meals and give them a go.  Yesterday, I had the craziest hankering for oranges right around 3pm, shopping for dinner time. I can't really explain why that was, but I Pinterested it and found a recipe I liked the look of:



OVERALL - 9/10

'Mom's Orange Curry Chicken"? Firstly, its "Mum's".  Secondly, what's that first ingredient, "2 1/2 lbs of  broiler-fryer chickens"? I don't understand the question and I won't respond.  That's where you lost me, recipe, and where I started to freestyle.  And you know how dangerous that is. But still, based on the photograph, I'm going to guess mine was a whole heap better - so good, in fact, I'm going to post the recipe below, and that is definitely a world first - me suggesting that other people try make food I made. This is a whole new world.


1. Heat oven to 3/4 of the way the knob will turn. That always seems like a good amount - not too greedy.

2. Cut 500g discount chicken thighs from New World into thumb sized pieces, do not mistake for your thumb.

3. Sprinkle chicken with curry powder to cover and a little salt on both sides and rub into meat.  Also sprinkle with mysterious "orange petal powder" your husband has in his Mexican shelf. Sounds legit.

4.  Arrange in your greased cooking dish or tagine bottom half.

5. Combine 2 cup orange juice, 3/4 cup honey, 5 tbs sweet marmalade (genius!), 3 tbs mustard and 1 tbs cinnamon (that's my patented secret ingredient!) in saucepan; simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Pour over chicken and bake for 30 minutes.

7. Turn chicken, add orange slices cut as cartwheels and continue baking another 20-30 minutes or until richly browned. If sauce is reducing too much, add 1/2 cup water to pan and stir.

8. Whoops! By now your rice should be ready. Go back to step 6 and turn on rice cooker and start cooking enough rice for 2 people.