Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Formula tin study organisers

A while ago I made a formula tin container to store my little's boy craft items in. So recently when we cleaned out our study, it gave me a great idea of how to organise all our textas, pens, paperclips and items on our desk.

Here is how to cover the formula tins with wrapping paper or wall paper. 
This time I made 3 that match.
I used a darker wallpaper and sprayed the inside with black paint. 
 I used them to store our permanent markers, coloured pens and highlighters. 
 We also added some black round holders from Office works and  a stapler.
Hope this inspires you!
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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Using wood ash around the house & in the vegetable garden

A lot of people have slow combustion stoves and open fires that produce a lot of wood ash which they would love to be able to recycle in the garden. Wood ash is the residue powder left after the combustion of wood, such as burning wood in a home fireplace.
It is used traditionally by gardeners as a good source of potash for domestic gardens. Ash from burning paper, leaves or coal is not especially useful and may even be harmful in the garden.
 
Stains on pavers: Hide stains on paving by sprinkling wood ash directly on the spot.

Slippery pavers: it only takes a little to remove the slipperiness from pavers.

Enrich compost: Before the organic compound get applied to soil, enhance its nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes as compost heaps tend to be rather acid. Don't overdo it - just sprinkle some on from time to time and turn it in. If you're composting leaves on their own to make a rich leaf mulch for the garden, sprinkle it in between layers to hasten the mulching process. This is especially good if you have oak leaves or pine needles in the heap.

Deter garden pests: Spread evenly around garden beds, ash repels slugs and snails. Just spread a low ring around individual plants to deter slugs and snails. They don't like the texture and won't crawl across it. Replenish it every few days, especially in wet weather, as rain will quickly leach away any nutrients that ash may contain.

Melt ice: It adds traction and de-ices without hurting soil or concrete underneath. Its alkaline nature makes ice melt, and then if the sun is out, the darkness of the ash creates heat, melting ice more and faster than regular ice melt.

Control pond algae: One tablespoon per 1,000 gallons adds enough potassium to strengthen other aquatic plants that compete with algae.  

Pump up tomatoes: For the calcium-loving plants, place 1/4 cup right in the hole when planting.

Clean glass fireplace doors: A damp sponge dipped in the dust scrubs away sooty residue. Mix with water to form a paste and use on the glass in your wood stove or fireplace.

Shine silver: A paste of ash and water makes a dandy nontoxic metal polisher. (I have not tried this, but it is said to work)

Lawn Fertilizer: Small amounts a good sprinkled on the lawn. Wood ash contains 10-25% calcium, 1-4% magnesium, 5-15% potassium and 1-3% phosphorus.

Fertilise stone fruit trees: sprinkle some around stone fruit trees and apples. If you have only a little potash, it should go to dessert apples, redcurrants and gooseberries first, then to cooking apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Plums, apricots, cherries and blackcurrants appreciate a regular sprinkle, but don’t need it so much. It’s also good for apples which suffer from 'bitter pit'.
 
Fertilise vegetables: Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, peas and beans (pods are a better weight and colour) and fruit all appreciate potash. Since large quantities of ash can increase alkali levels in your garden beds, it's recommended to test the soil pH levels before dumping buckets of ash in your yard.

Removes lime scale: In areas with hard water, lime scale builds up quickly on exterior windows. Instead of using a lime solvent to remove the scale, reach for the wood ash instead. Wood ash applied with a damp rag cuts through the scale and will bring back the shine to your windows.

Pear or Cherry Slugs: If you have pear or cherry slugs attacking the leaves of your fruiting or ornamental pear or cherry trees, throw some wood ash amongst the foliage every few days. The dry ash dehydrates the slugs and they quickly 'drop off the twig'. You can also try sprinkling ash in the row when you sow carrots and dusting it on turnips to keep carrot and turnip fly away.

Remember:
  • Keep ash dry before use.
  • Test your soil before spreading large amounts around. Small quantities are better in the garden than large quantities.
  • Because of its alkalinity, make sure that you keep any wood ash away from acid-loving plants. Keep it away from ground to be used for growing potatoes and don't let it near any seed potatoes.
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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Egg shell fertiliser powder

The next time you crack a few eggs to make breakfast or a baked good, don't toss away the shells. You can crush eggshells and add them directly to the soil in your garden. If you garden, the nutrients found in eggshells provide a source of fertilizer for your plants. Eggshells are primarily made out of calcium carbonate, as well as very small amounts of phosphorus, magnesium and sodium. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, when you use eggshells in your garden you don’t have to worry about going overboard. Keep in mind that eggshells alone won't provide adequate nutrition for plants.
 

 
Instructions for egg shell fertiliser powder:
 
1. After cooking your eggs gather up the broken eggshells. Wash and dry the shells to remove any egg residue. Then put them back into the carton and store it in a dry cool place (the top of the pantry). Collect shells for a month or until you have a few cartons worth, so that you have an adequate supply at planting time.
2. Place 6 shells into a food processor.
I add 500ml or 2 cups of water to help the blender mix it all up.
 Blend until a powder forms.
 
3. Once the first 6 eggshells are powder, add the next 6 shells into the blender.
 
Repeat the process until you have crushed all of your eggshells.
 
4. You may have a bit of froth on the top of the mixture from the egg white particles. When you drain the mixture, catch the liquid and froth in a container and use it as a liquid fertiliser for your plants.  
 
Pour the egg shell mixture into a sieve and let the water drain away.
 
5. Let it dry overnight and then you are ready!
 
6. Stir the powdered shells into the soil or potting mix just before planting. You can use up to five shells per plant. You can also sprinkle a handful of shells into the planting hole before you set a plant root ball in it.
 
Here are 2 photos of how to use the eggshell fertiliser before I watered it into the soil. One is around a tree and the other is my pumpkins in the vegetable patch.
 
I sprinkled it lightly all over my vegie patch. However do not add it to potatoes, blueberries and tomatoes as they like a lower pH soil level.

Plants need calcium to thrive. Calcium helps the plants develop a strong cellular structure. Calcium deficiency is visible in young plants, because the leaves are twisted or have black spots. An additional benefit of eggshells in the garden is that larger shells pieces help deter slugs. The sharp edges of the shells irritate the soft bodies of the slugs.
 
Egg concentrate for plants: While I don’t make the tea, I do use the water I cook eggs in for the garden. To make an eggshell fertilizer tea to use in your garden, boil a pot of water and add 10 clean and dry eggshells to it. For a stronger brew, add the up to 20 eggs shells. Let the shells sit in the water overnight and then strain the water. Pour the concentrate directly onto the soil to give plants a boost of calcium and potassium.

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Halloween flashing rainbow pumpkins

Here are some of the cheapest, but super effective spooky Halloween decorations for your house or party! They are about $1.00 from EBay. I got 10 for around our house. My little boy Joshua just loves them!
Features:
  • Great for any occasion or decorating need.
  • They can be used as a Tea Light on Tables
  • Flameless, smokeless, safe to use with children
  • No hot and dirty wax to deal with
  • Long lasting - can operate for 48 hours continuously
  • The Lights are available in 7 different auto-changing colours. Colours: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, White, Orange, Purple
 

 
♥ Lady Creativity

Friday, 25 October 2013

Growing Bluebells

 
 

 
A few months ago I went to my local market and bought about 30 bluebell bulbs. Here is how I planted them:
Outdoor gardens
  • Find a location where the soil drains well. Bluebells thrive in a variety of light conditions, from full sun to partial shade to dappled shade.
  • Dig holes and plant the bulbs with the pointy end facing up.
  • After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots will form in the autumn. Leaves and flowers will develop in the spring.
  • After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods.
  • By early to mid summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. The foliage may be removed at this point. Your bulbs will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
 
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