Burning Garden #Refuse

It can be a problem removing garden waste.You may not have adequate transport to take it to a recycling centre or tip. Perhaps you have to pay to have it collected or accepted by the recycling centre. Maybe you need help chopping or sawing large boughs so more cost.

It’s time to feel the burn! Are there regulations about bonfires in your area? Try an old oil drum. You may need to pay for delivery. To remove excess oil, have it cleaned out first before you buy it. Alternatively, turn it upside down for some time. You may need help carrying it. Make sure your waste is dry before burning.

Oil drum, well used

A well-used oil drum

To prevent smoke travelling to other areas, choose a windless time of day. We peep round the curtains and arise early if it’s still outside. Occasionally, we burn in early evening if the air is still. Position a full watering can or garden hose nearby. Place the oil drum on level ground away from overhanging branches. Fill it with your dry garden waste. Use a rod to push the waste away from one side. With gloved hands, light a fire lighter using a match stick. Drop this down space you made at the side. It’s easier and faster with two people. One collects the bundles of wood while the other feeds the fire. Leave a “fire break”  around the drum.

Remember the drum is very hot. Pour water over the final ashes. Check  on the oil drum after use. It takes some time to cool down.

Oil drum with ashes

All that’s left of a drum full of twigs and branches

Job done!



Freshen Up With #Paint

Improving the look of a room just needs some paint! Walls will sing with a coat of white paint from a roller. Faded rattan furniture looks shiny with varnish stain.

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Now for the cushions.

Dull cane furniture looks smart again with a can of spray paint.

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Ready for a coaster and a long cool drink.

Wrought iron chair and table legs are rubbed down with sand paper. Then a coat of metal paint brings back the gleam.

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In need of paint!

Just remembered! That old coffee table needs painting  with  varnish stain.

Go on. It’s cheaper than buying new!

Uses For Garden #Containers.

We buy a basket of trailing plants. Don’t leave the plants in one container. Divide them into three or four containers. As the season progresses and the plants grow, you will have more plants for your money. Mix slow-release fertiliser pellets and water retaining granules (vermiculite) with the plant medium in the container. Plants in containers dry out quickly. Water regularly.

If these plants are seasonal, keep the empty containers when the plants are finished. Replace them with evergreen cold-withstanding plants.

Use containers to add interest to a plain area such as a patio, by adding a riot of flowers suitable for the conditions of the site: sun, shade or partial shade. Hang containers from tree boughs to add summer colour, once blossom has faded. A group of containers is more eye-catching, especially with the same plants. Brighten up a dark wall with white flowers. A view of white flowers looks particularly effective as light fades.

Hanging baskets, white

White flowers stand out in low light.

Easy #Fancy Dress

Does your heart sink when you have to wear fancy dress? Some people love it. They may have an assortment of outfits, have the ability to throw some pieces together and end up with a convincing outfit or even make an outfit themselves. The last resort is to hire an outfit.

A quick, cheap and simple  way is to buy or make a mask. Just an eye mask will do. If possible, find a suitable outfit from your wardrobe to match the colour of the mask. Depending on the invitation, choose formal or informal, smart or casual, daytime or evening clothes or conform to a theme.

Fancy dress-mask and scarf

Fancy dress mask and scarf

The finishing touch is an optional scarf: toning, contrasting or matching. This makes the mask more stylish. For a woman, this could be long, flowing and wrapped around the elastic of the mask. The two ends of the scarf can fall beside your face. On a man this may look pirate like if the scarf is short at the sides. When you try on the outfit it will evolve. Give yourself time to look in the mirror and make adjustments. You might change the scarf for another, change your footwear or add an item of clothing such as a waistcoat. Eventually, you will have your outfit, based only on a simple mask.

You will be admired for your ingenuity. Call yourself whatever you like!

Tips For Sun #Damage

Living in a sunny country means cars don’t rust, there are no frosty windows to scrape clean before driving, plants don’t die from cold temperatures and outside temperatures are never bitter.

However, the sun can be an enemy. All kinds of materials can be damaged including our own skin. Now we all know how to prevent skin problems.

Precautions for the home and garden include using tinted windows, drawing curtains during the day in bedrooms to keep furniture from bleaching and lining curtains with special sun resistant lining. To prevent fraying of sofas which catch the sun, place a throw over the top of them. Hang picture prints away from sunlight or they turn blue. If possible, keep rugs away from windows before they fade. Stowaway sun lounger mattresses until needed as the sunshine will shred them. Choose light coloured garden furnishings like patio umbrellas to hide bleaching. Dry washing in shade.

If it’s too late and the damage is done, make use of some items. Keep old pillowcases and patch damaged curtain lining with them. Torn sun mattresses make good dog bed bases. Dye faded clothes and curtains a darker shade in the washing machine.

If all else fails, just move somewhere cooler!

How To #Move Forward

I bought my second sewing machine as a teenager. It served me well. I was able to make most of my clothes and some for family and friends. My clothes were original, made to last, as I used french seams and lining, plus being economical. All my paper patterns, including that of my wedding dress, are stored in our nearly empty attic. As yet, I have to find a home for over thirty paper patterns. Some of the designs have been updated and used again, such as flared trousers but others, like my PVC raincoat with geometric shapes, I wouldn’t wish to try again!

Over the last year, I have completely sorted our possessions. Every time I climbed the ladder into the attic to locate an item, I brought down something to discard. All over our home, unused or dated items have been taken to the charity shops, given away or thrown in the bin. However, my sewing machine has only just gone.

My trusty old ewing machine

My trusty old sewing machine

It was replaced by a third lighter, more automatic model. For a while, I kept both of them. Making a bed cover for a friend using the smooth, more advanced machine, persuaded me to part with the old one. I kept the original thread and bobbin box but the machine was disposed of for me. I felt pleased that I had moved on from my comfort blanket, rather than clinging to a possession from my formative years.

My smooth, light new sewing machine

My smooth, light new sewing machine

Uses for Your Tree #Seeds

We great danes, Stellar and Venus, like to snuffle. We want to chew seed thingys. Someone sweeps them away. We see the round black seed thingys from the tall straight tree with prickly leaves. They had labra something dogs when she planted it. That was before us. Sort of grass comes from the round seeds. She pulls it up.


The black palm seeds have fallen from their cases.

The big, wide trees drop lots of seeds now. They blow about in the wind. Once they dropped on the table  below. She was pushing a brush along. She left some to stick on the picture.

Seeds, Ficus

The green Ficus seeds are unripe, the reddish-brown  ones are ripe and the light  brown ones are old.

Ah, my favourite, the big round seed thingys from the smelly trees with furry leaves. They drop and they are shut like a small ball. Then they go woody and open up. Out fall the seeds. I want to chew the empty box.

Fir cones, Cyprus

Abundant fir cones on Cypress trees

Me-Frequently, I find self-sown palm seeds near the palm tree. If I potted up the seedlings I could have a nursery of palm trees in various stages of growth. They make an attractive present in a pot.

The Ficus seeds make good ground cover, replacing terracotta clay balls. However, some do sprout. They are soft and so easily threaded to make fun jewellery.

Empty pine seed boxes make pretty indoor arrangements. Place them in an unused fireplace or spray them silver or any colour you require, depending on the season or celebration.