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Friday, October 30, 2009

Bamboo Trellis

Every time I do some sort of crafty-ish thing, I think, I should do a tutorial for my blog!, but then I start taking photos, and planning steps and wonder who else on earth would even want to make the odd random things I do? Plus, nothing I've done is all that complicated. As if someone couldn't figure it out for themselves...but, I have come across pillow cover tutorials too, and it can't get much simpler than covering a, this may be completely ridiculous and silly and pointless and random, but here ya go...

This tutorial is for those who plant plants in small containers that need some structure in order to grow up, and not out.

Bamboo rods (about $6 for 6, I think, here in Oz)
Twine (about $10.00 for a million times more than you need)
Hand saw/power saw, whatever you feel more comfortable with
PVA glue or similar, optional
nails or screws, optional.

1. Mark & cut the bamboo horizontals to size. I have a 9" planter, and I allowed 2" overhang on either side of the verticals.

2. Optional step: Mark the profile of bamboo verticals onto the horizontals. I just did a rough half circle, the diameter of the verticals, which was about 1". No need to learn how to scribe anything properly. In fact, you don't even need to do this. I then used a belt sander to roughly round out those marks. You could use a hack saw, and roughly cut chunks out, maybe using sandpaper to smooth everything, but really, I only made these to fit tight because I had access to a huge mother belt sander, and it was easier than trying to clamp down a round rod of bamboo and use a jig saw (but you could also do that...but don't blame me when you cut your hand off)

3. Optional step: To secure the bamboo horizontals, you could easily nail or screw them to the verticals. I didn't do this, as my plant will surely not get that heavy. But, the twine will cover up a nail or screw nicely, so you might want to do this to make the twine wrapping that much easier. If you round out the horizontals, you could also place a nail or screw into the verticals to hang the horizontals on. That could be the easiest and quickest way to secure it.

4. Tie up your horizontals to the verticals with twine. I used a generous arm span length (like both arms outstretched from finger tips to finger tips +). I tried a few different ways to tie the horizontals, and I liked this way best: I started with a simple knot, and left a few inches excess. I held the knot to the back of the trellis, and began wrapping.

I wrapped 5 rounds on each sides of the intersections, and both diagonals.

On the last round, I tied a few more simple knots with the twine ends at the back of the trellis.

5. Once all intersections are wrapped in twine, cut off excess twine at the knots, and dab on a generous amount of glue to keep the knots secure, and to help keep the twine wrappings stay neatly in place. I used PVA wood glue and let it dry overnight.

6. Voila. Ram it into your planter, and then tie up your sorry little sprawling bougainvillea with some twine, and hope it starts to grow up, and not out :)

*Bamboo rods can be found at probably any home depot / canadian tire / bunnings type place, in the garden section.
*Twine is probably overkill in this instance (it came in a HUGE length, for 10 bucks, and when will I ever use twine again?). You might just be able to use any type of string, like the stuff to tie up old school parcels for the mail, depending on how strong you need it, and how much you want to spend. But twine found in the garden store will most likely last outside for a good length of time, and it looks good - nice and chunky.

** Edit: This thing is still going strong, and supporting a now large bougainvillea. It's now July 2011.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chicken & vegie sausage rolls

This is another recipe from that magazine I picked up from our local grocery store, Coles. You can download or view the PDF here. So many good recipes in that pdf, we've made a few so far. This was another great one. I made this weeks ago, before I began my calorie counting, but it might be ok for a more restricted diet if you buy the lower fat puff pastry sheets...I'll have to check.

Chicken & vegie sausage rolls

300g chicken mince
½ onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp sesame seeds

1 Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C fan (about 400°F). Line two baking
trays with non-stick baking paper. Place the mince, onion,
garlic, carrot, zucchini and hoisin sauce into a large bowl.
Season with salt and pepper, and use clean hands to
thoroughly combine.

2 On a clean board, cut one pastry sheet in half. Lay ¼ of
the mixture along the centre of each piece, and roll pastry
over to enclose. Repeat with second pastry sheet. Brush
rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cut each roll in half and place, seam side down, onto the
prepared trays. Bake for 25 mins, until golden brown.


Sunday, October 25, 2009


This is one of my favorite meals ever. I make it every so often, but since adding up all the nutrition info, I am going to be making it a lot more. For my calorie counting diet (and the limited knowledge I have), this is a good ratio of taste, fibre, feeling full, and calories.

1 pkg Chili seasoning (I use pre-packaged Old El Paso brand, or make my own, see below)
1 can baked beans, I love Heinz BBQ flavour (400g can)
1 can diced tomatoes (400g can)
1 can kidney beans, drained (420g can)
1 can chick peas, drained (400g can)
ground beef, cooked. (200-300g)
onion, diced
garlic, crushed

1. Fry up the ground beef, onion and garlic until done.
2. Meanwhile, start to heat up diced tomatoes, kidney beans, chick peas, baked beans and spices.
3. Add meat, and continue to heat over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Heat up as long as you want to, really, just don't burn it!
4. Serve and enjoy!

Sometimes we'll have tortilla chips to dip in the chili (but I can't for a while - the whole diet thing).

There are lots of chili seasoning mixture recipes online, but I like this one:

Chili Seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder (you may want to vary this, depending on how hot your chili powder is)
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tbsp seasoning salt
2 tsp ground cumin

Use about 1/2 of this mixture for the recipe above.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Apple Crisp...

...with strawberries!

This is one of my favorites ever. And the leftovers are so good too! I had mine with some vanilla flavoured yogurt. I added about 150g (1/2 cup?) of strawberries to this recipe too.

Here is the original recipe, and probably a lot of other good ones. I'm a fan of my Betty Crocker cookbooks, and it's nice to see at lot of those recipes online.

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cream or Ice cream, if desired

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.
2. Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
3. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with cream.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Once a week

I try for an entry at least once a week. Normally, that's no problem. I've had a busy week, and it's turning into another busy week, so it seems it has been a problem. I have like 4 entries in the pipeline, but either I haven't finished uploading photos, or I haven't finished typing everything out. Stay tuned, I will be back soon!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Copy Cat!

**update: Yippeeeee! They were shut down!**

Wow, I am really beginning to hate ETSY, and other forms of handmade selling which allow anonymous rip-offs to feel free to sell their stolen goods. Another person who I have been following in blogland, and whose patterns I LOVE, is being completely ripped off on ETSY (to see the first incident I came across, here is an old post).

Please, avoid JustPatternsForYou! They are selling patterns made by other obviously more creative folk who originally created these patterns either for free, or were designed to be used, and not re-sold by someone else! This is what is so sad about the internet and copyright issues. I'm so completely appalled that people will even do this. I can't imagine being so completely uncreative, and just wanting to jump onto the handmade bandwagon to make a quick buck. It's the antithesis of creativity.

I have never understood copy-cats. I remember the first time I really came across one. I was in grade 4, and this one girl copied everything her best friend did. Even then I thought it was weird. Well, she continued to do this, even as her friends changed all the way through to highschool. I couldn't stand to be near her. She screamed of needing approval. The desperation was sickening, and this is the same thing, but worse, since they are outright lying, and it's hard to see their try-hardness since you don't have their best friend to compare them to.

It makes me angry, as you might be able to tell ;P



I totally forgot to post these. We went to Noosa a few weeks ago to meet up with some family friends from Canada. Their son moved out here and married an Aussie, like me (except he married and girl, and I married a boy, teehee). Anyhow it was a beautiful afternoon, and I haven't been to Noosa in almost a year now, so it was such a nice treat for me.

Hubby and I are into vintage photos, and lately, I've been really diggin' the whole slide feel. I'm sure my parents generation will cringe when they look at these. Here I have a fairly decent digital SLR camera, and I am using photoshop to blur and discolour the photos. But I love the feel of them. And heck, I'm not too young to not have photos of me in slide format either, so I suppose these remind me of looking through old albums.

I'm not going to give away all my tricks, mainly because I'm sure there is a better way to get this look, and there is definitely more that can be done, like sun spots on the lens, and such, but basically to get this look, you just really need to up the red and blue levels, usually more red than blue. Then you can add things like a border, scratches and some blur. Landscape photos obviously work the best, since they are so timeless.