Monday, August 29, 2011

Window film

Frosted lower panels, clear upper panels.

Our old house is a little peculiar in that the boundaries of our property on two sides are the external walls of our house, but we aren't butted up against any other houses. On one side is the driveway we share with the matching house next door. On the other side, unfortunately, is the car park to the unit block that was built in the 1980s following the bulldozing of two more old houses like ours.

So our kitchen unit looks out onto a giant expanse of bitumen. To the right was quite a pretty herb garden tended by one of the unit block tenants, but that brought with it its own problems. Namely people tending to or hanging out in the garden, less than a foot away from where I was scrubbing dishes or preparing breakfast. It was weird. Plus sometimes if one of the neighbours wanted to have a chat with BCB they'd knock on the kitchen window if they saw either of us in the kitchen. Friendly, but... a touch intrusive. As a result we kept an ugly vinyl rollerblind down nearly all the time.

Window film is not very common in Australia, where most people have houses with fences, rather than apartment windows onto a solid brick wall, so it took me ages to think of it. But it's the perfect fix. I looked around online, and found most of the options were custom designs that were quite expensive. We ended up at Bunnings, where $30 bought us the only roll of privacy film left on the shelf.

Little rectangley-flowery shapes show up at night when the carpark lights are one. Pretty!

I wanted plain frosted, but had no choice but this kind of geometric floral. Luckily, I think I like it even better than plain. It was relatively easy to apply. I definitely recommend going heavy on the water/ dishwashing liquid spray. It made it a lot easier to move the film around to start with. Also I'd recommend checking on it a couple of hours after application. We found a couple of new air bubbles had developed, but the glue was still just tacky enough that we could squeeze them out still.

We caught a couple of bits of grit under the film, and have one crease in panel, but given that the windows are four square feet each, I think that's not bad. Took only an hour or so from measuring the windows to finish. Hopefully it will hold up okay, but so far I'm a massive fan. The sun can peek in our kitchen again, but not the neighbours.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

food from the garden

so many peas! We picked the same amount again two days later.

It's harvest time around here! The sugar snap peas are going crazy, the asparagus thinks it's Spring, and the lettuce and silverbeet is doing well. We picked all of this to take to a dinner party on Saturday. Wilted silverbeet with asparagus and peas (and homegrown lemon juice and purchased butter); and a salad of homegrown lettuce, grapefruit from dad's tree, pomegranate seeds and chestnuts.

I let the asparagus go for a bit long, I think.

Homegrown asparagus is definitely worth it, and ours are doing very well growing in pots!

A bowl of colourful lettuce.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Coffe table shopping in Melbourne

The Coffee Table of Blah, circa Christmas 2009. See the annoying raised edges?

I've been keeping half an eye out for a coffee table for, like ever. Ever since I moved in with BCB our coffee table is a hand-me-down with a broken leg that we superglued back together. It's not the ugliest thing in the world, but it's kind of cheap-looking and squat. More irritatingly, there are little ridges around the edges of the table top, which makes wiping it clean of dust and grit a nightmare. All the grot of an old house and two shedding dogs accumulates in the corners.

I have some specific needs. I want something made of quality materials, that will last in our hands or someone else's (this rules out Ikea. Soz, Ikea). That said, I want something that I'm not too afraid to get a little bit used. See references to table-grot above. It needs to be quite small, to fit on our small living room (this rules out almost every new coffee table - where are all the castles and palaces that must be Domayne's target market?), and for the same reason something that has a light and airy feeling would be good. The legs must not prevent free passage under the table. We have two dogs that play chasey round the room, and one of them will just plough into objects irrespective of whether he fits under or past them. Also for this reason, despite looking airy, the table must have a little bit of weight to it. A little bit of storage (shelf, drawers, whatever) would be awesome. Oh, and I'd like it a touch taller than the usual coffee table. At 40cm tall the current one is just at our-dogs'-nose-height, which makes it dangerous to leave tea and biscuits unguarded.

I am crazy for this rosewood coffee table from Twenty21, but it's already sold.

I'm think a mid-century-ish coffee table likely fits my long and exacting bill, but have not yet seen The One. In October I'm headed to Melbourne (in fact, I will be forth and back from That Rainy City quite a few times over the next couple of years), and it's occurred to me to spend the free weekend I have there searching for a coffee table.

I think I have Grandfather's Axe and Twenty21 on the list. Is there anywhere else I should be heading? And is it wrong to put a dark wood furniture on a jarrah floor?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

rose prunings


The last of the roses. These are actually the buds and flowers that were pruned off by my mama this afternoon when she cut the bushes back for their dormant time. I still get her to prune my roses, because I have no idea what I'm doing. The prunings look so wild and wintery on the kitchen table. And they smell good too. Camp David variety. Drought tolerant, generous with flowering, strongly perfumed, and the new growth comes through burgundy-coloured. Highly recommended.

Friday, August 05, 2011

crimson flowering broad beans

They're behind chookwire because SmallDog(TM) finds the raised bed manure irresistible.

When we were living at our old place, and we had no money to improve the sand that passed for soil, the only thing I successfully grew was broad beans. Down the path at the side of the house. Don't know what I did to make them work out (not much else did), but ever since then they've been a favourite.

When I saw that Diggers Club offered crimson flowering broad beans, I had to have a go. I bought a packet for our neighbours, for my mum, and for me. They're expensive - only 12 beans in a packet. And sadly, I didn't let my raised bed rest properly before I got all gung ho about my beans, and I burned the first nine in some undiluted chicken manure. Damn.

But I carefully planted out the remaining three beans, and have been rewarded with these amazing magenta coloured flowers. The plants are nowhere near as tall as the aquadulce variety I've previously grown. Mine are taller than mum's and the neighbour's (I obviously have a magic beanstalk touch. Just call me Jack). Unfortunately, they're a bit hidden behind some sugar snap peas that got a little bit out of control. Lucky I took this photo, to prove that they exist. Definitely pretty little things. And the number of flowers is amazing! If they all pod up we'll have a bumper crop.

Which is just as well, because given the price, I want to save some of this season's seed!

I've only just seen all the other beautiful coloured-flowering beans that Digger's Club have... I might have to find some space in the new bed for a painted lady, a sunset, or something scarlet.