May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flokati rugs for a nursery?

I've noticed quite a few flokati rugs being used in nurseries, and I must say I love their warm white luxuriousness.

All images via decorpad.

They're fairly inexpensive from Ikea and would break up the floorboards in our little room nicely. I'm wondering though how kid-friendly they actually are? I'm imagining food, playdough or something worse becoming squidged between those cloud-like fibers and end of story. We purchased one of those ultra-soft white sheepskins from Ikea some time ago for our dog to lie on, and frankly after a few washes it looks like roadkill. Has anyone had one of these rugs? and attempted to wash it?

Incidentally, if anyone is after a white sheepskin rug I saw them for sale even cheaper at behemoth Costco.

EDIT: On reading, Tom sent me this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

White Alpine Strawberries

A real treat right now in the garden is foraging for these little white alpine strawberries.

There isn't a lot of them, just enough for a little snack before I get on with a bit of pruning or whatever and they are DELICIOUS. One of the great things about them is that they manage to elude the critters, perhaps because they look unripe or smell unusual. Initially they do just look like small under-ripe strawberries but on closer inspection they are yellowish and yielding. Often described as 'pineapple' or 'sherbet' flavoured, they are a little zingy but still quite sweet and we think more grape flavoured than strawberry flavoured. I don't think Tom is really crazy about them, but that's ok - more for me :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

We're in the garden

Although plasterboarding was on the books for this weekend, we spent much of it at the nursery and in the garden making the most of the the mild temperatures and consistent rain we've been getting - great for transplanting and establishing new plants before the hot dry weather hits.

Working around the pre-existing palm trees in the back has been a bit of a challenge - their roots are thick and mean business. Initially we considered having them pulled out, but a tropical getaway in Mission Beach last year made us keen to retain them so we've been trialing and erroring our little piece of Melbourne-Queensland fusion ever since. This weekend Tom took on the heat, humidity and palm tree roots like a champion to make way for the arrival of a strelizia nicolai or Giant Bird or Paradise which we'd been eyeing off at the nursery for some time. Here's a photo of one I simply had to share despite the copyright warnings.


Some plants such as the ornamental ginger are thriving with almost zero care while others like the rhododendron need regular root-soaking or they flop under the competition. The New Zealand 'Renga Renga' lillies have been fantastic around the base of the palm trees, are so easy to divide and are flowering in profusion right now. Slugs and snails seem to be their only enemy so I spent some time yesterday on the hunt with a bucket of soapy water to drop them into. I've had pretty good success with beer traps in the past too but will hang out until someone leaves some cheap tinnies of Melbourne Bitter or something similar in the fridge. The snails aren't fussy.

The rest of the spring garden is booming so I gave the beds are good feed with buckets or worm wee, seaweed and fish emulsion. David Austin Comte de Champagne, fashionably late, has emerged beautifully,

and the apricot foxgloves are so so pretty. Such shame they are only short-lived annuals. Should I have sown more seed or will these self-seed? 

I've noticed weeding is getting harder as I start to expand around the middle. Tom installed this retractable hose to make things easier for me this summer.

I love love love it but will use it mindfully, I promise, and will be keeping my fingers crossed for all those hoping and praying for rain for their farms, animals and families in the hot months ahead.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Half way there

I can't believe we're already half way to our babies due date already. We had our 20 week scan last Thursday and although we decided to hold off on finding out the sex, it was still exciting and relieving to see the heart pumping away healthily and all the right numbers of fingers and toes.

On the home front, the nesting continues unabated although in our small house I'm finding I need to clear out twice the amount of stuff for everything that's coming in. I am more frustrated than ever with any kind of clutter and feel an overwhelming need to have everything clean, simple and organised in preparation for what I'm imagining will be chaos, at least to begin with With only 19 and a bit weeks left there is some pressure on getting the second ensuite finished, as we can't set up the nursery until it's done because of all the plaster dust and whatnot that inevitably fills the room.

This is what the nursery looks like now

and I think it will have to remain that way until at least the new year. In the mean time, here are a few more favourite childrens' room photos from my collection.

Isn't that pirate ship room unreal? Love it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Installing a bath

Okay, l'll keep this one quick and to the point. This was our first time installing a bath and after sifting through all kinds of advice this is what we did it. 

1. We started off by building a timber frame that supports the top lip of the bath all the way around. Because ours is a shower/bath it had to be inset into the wall studs a little to ensure the waterproofed gyprock sits on the inside of the bath lip to prevent leakage.

2. The acrylic bath we were using recommends supporting the base with either timber battens or mortar and  we decided to go with mortar. 

Tip: Don't use expanding foam - it eventually crumbles, and in many cases is voids the warranty!

 The installation instructions call for a minimum of 20mm of 4:1 sand cement mix. We used a basic mortar preparation from Bunnings, mixed it to a damp sand consistency in buckets and made 3 'sand castles' in the middle then squashed them together.

3. We lowered the bath in, squishing it into the mortar, then used a few timber off-cuts to prevent the mortar from spreading too much.

Tip: Don't fill the bath with water unless the instructions call for it - it can cause the base to lift and float above the set mortar once emptied, defeating the purpose.

 4. And yes, it's level, phew!

So the bath is in, not the grandest of baths, but still deeper and more comfortable than the one that was there before and it will be perfect for bathing kids. This weekend is quite busy but there should be time to get the electrics attended to, and perhaps pull up some of the slate floor which we've decided to be sensible about and remove. If anyone is after some free slate let me know :)