Tag Archives: inspiration

Pages – Kitchen Gardens of Australia

23 May

I have been looking for inspiration in the form of kitchen gardens. I have a client who is planning to renovate and create a conservatory kitchen which will open onto a kitchen garden space. While most of my research is done on the internet, I also spend a bit of time in the local library. There’s nothing like turning the pages of real books. I love the small sense of anticipation as you open the cover of a new book, hoping that it lives up to it’s promise delivered in the cover.

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I found this gem of a book today at the library. Kitchen Gardens of Australia by Kate Herd profiles 18 productive gardens throughout Australia. The profiles include plans, photos, interviews with the gardeners and hints and tips learnt from each garden.

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I love that the garden profiles tell the story of the garden and the gardeners as well as providing the more technical specifications. The photographs by Simon Griffiths are inspiring and showcase the gardens perfectly.

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I’ve only had a chance to have a quick
Look and to read one garden profile, but I already know that this is a book I would love to add to my library. There are so many lessons to learn from these gardens and design ideas to adapt into future garden designs.

Hint hint for Christmas Mr Perfect!!

Sam

Going to my happy place

20 May

Doesn’t everyone have a happy place?  The place that you go, whether it be a physical or more metaphorical, when you’re not really feeling the happy vibe.  When you want  to pick up those failing spirits, or when you just want a happiness boost.  Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go to your happy place.  I’m loving joining in the Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project, but thought I’d switch it around just a little this week.  I’ve concentrated my happiness sentences on the happy places that I visited this week.  In this instance the happy places are physical, though they definitely did have an emotional effect.

This is part three in the Happy Days in May series, you can check out part one here and part two here if you want to catch up on the happiness goodness, and with a couple more parts to come, it really has helped make a happy May around our place.

14 May 2012 – In all the party planning pandemonium I took the opportunity to visit Spotlight to collect some “essential” supplies for the party, I also managed to do a little bit of other looking too!

15 May 2012 – Headed over to Haberfield to catch up for coffee, great coffee, great company and lots of fun with the Daredevil and his new “friend” in the park.

16 May 2012 – Ordered balloons at the party shop – how can a party shop not be a happy place???

17 May 2012 – With Mr Perfect taking a day off work, I got to go to the supermarket alone!  Not normally an exceptionally happy place, but this time a tranquil haven of happiness without two munchkins sneaking contraband into the trolley or running away.

18 May 2012 – A trip over to Surry Hills with the Daredevil to see the doctor is a trip down childhood memory lane, plus a brush with fame as I park behind Hugo Weaving (mmmmm….)

19 May 2012 – We don’t have to travel far to find a happy place today as the party comes to our home – perfect people, weather and location!

20 May 2012 – A walk through The Rocks to get to Walsh Bay for the Sydney Writers Festival – inspiring talk and buzzing atmosphere, but more about that tomorrow!

I do have to admit that sometimes I do feel like my happy place is a little bit like this….

… though fortunately not very often!

Where was your happy place this week?

Sam

Drinking from the happy glass.

13 May

We have a happy glass in our house.  It is, of course a wine glass.  We were given it as an engagement present, and it came with a beer glass mate.  The base of the wine glass is engraved with “happy” and the beer glass with “engagement”.  Therefore it is my happy glass, and at the end of a long day designing or kid wrangling I do enjoy a sip or two from the happy glass.

As today is Mothers Day in Australia, I’m having a little drink from the happy glass to finish off the day.  I’m having a drop of a special wine.  Mr Perfect and I have a tradition for the respective parents days, we organise for a case of wine with personalised labels as our mothers and fathers day gifts.  The labels always feature the Drama Queen and Daredevil and we try and come up with a clever name for our special drop.  This year I’m drinking “More Trouble and Mischief”.  We have collected a great timeline of empty wine bottles (we’ve only kept one of each!).

I’m talking about happy glasses because today I’m doing my second instalment for Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project.  (You can see my first instalment here if you missed it last week).  What’s made you happy this week?

7 May 2012 – Bigger than expected tax return – big smiles all round.

8 May 2012 – Babycinos and magazines with my little Daredevil – could do this all day.

9 May 2012 – 12 months of blogging, so proud that I’ve stuck with it, grown and am still wanting more!

10 May 2012 – PJ day at home followed by Mothers’ Day afternoon tea at child care – according to the Drama Queen I have pink and purple eyes and her favourite thing to do with me is dance – I feel magical!

11 May 2012 – Happy dances as the Drama Queen is moved up a class in swimming lessons, it has taken a while, but she’s finally getting a little bit more confident in the water.

12 May 2012 – A sleep in followed by a boy free morning – chill in with my girl and a bit of Drawn Outdoors.

13 May 2012 – Running around the wildlife park pretending to be kangaroos, emus, tigers, eagles and crocodiles is too much fun, we were so good at being monkeys that the Cotton-topped Marmosets all came down to the window to watch us!

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the Mums out there, I’m off to have More Trouble and Mischief from the happy glass!

Sam

Have you been kind today?

12 May

Kindness generally doesn’t cost anything, but has a value beyond measure.  There is a burgeoning kindness movement starting to sweep across the globe.  Google “kindness” and you’ll find a whole heap of kindness movement websites and associations.  They tell you about being kind, it’s benefits, ways to be kind and all about world kindness day, and information about the activities they have organised.  These sites are great.  They are happy places and you leave them with a bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling, hoping that everyone will find their site and just implement one or two of the ideas.  My favourite idea for today is

Drop a few coins in an area where children play, where they can easily find them. Do you remember how excited you felt, when as a child you found a coin lying on the ground? – from Australian Kindness Movement

But now it has left me wondering whether our world has become so self absorbed that we need kindness associations and movements?  When I was young my sisters and I were taught to smile, because it not only makes you happy, but everyone else that sees it too.  A smile seems to me to be the general communication of kindness.  It is rare that a kind act isn’t accompanied by a smile.  I don’t think I see quite so many smiles out and about that I used to and I’m hoping that this isn’t a reflection on how much I’m smiling, I don’t think it is, at least I hope not!

I like to smile.  I like to smile at shop assistants, when I travelled in the UK, I made a game out of smiling at the shop assistants and telling them that I hoped they had a great day.  Sometimes I was greeted with a scared look – what’s this crazy Aussie chick trying?  Sometimes I got a surprised little smile.  And a couple of times they replied with “You’re the first person to say that to me today” and we had a bit of a chat, apparently it’s not all that common to be kind to shop assistants in London, other areas of the UK are different.  It was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and made a difference to somebodies day.

Do we treat our shop assistants, service professionals, tradesmen, waiters, teachers, nurses, insert appropriate occupation here, that poorly?  There are numerous stories of increasing stress levels in service occupations.  Hospitals and schools are full of signs asking people to be polite and non aggressive.  Have we become so focused on ourselves that we forget that we have an impact on others?  What in the world are we doing?

Kindness can’t be seen or measured, but if you make a choice to be kind, make the choice to give to the world what you want to receive, then we can create the kind of world we want to live in, but you need to start with yourself.

My challenge to you today is to be kind.  Smile more, worry less.  Say hello, ask how someone’s day has been.  Leave some loose change for the kids in the playground.  Make someone else smile.  Be kind to your family, your community, to the earth.  Maybe, just maybe, it will change your day, your experience, your environment.  If you’re not really up to getting out there, how about just be kind to your garden, not only will your plants love you, but the benefits will spread beyond your fence.  You can even be cyber kind.  Bloggers love getting comments and likes (hint, hint) it really makes us smile!!!

I’m starting by just laughing with the Drama Queen while she steals biscuits from the pantry, hiding behind a wall of open cupboard doors.  Then we might move on to some more hard core kindness I know the Drama Queen and Daredevil will be up for the game, Mr Perfect will warm up to the challenge too.  Maybe I’ll post something about what we did and how we went next week.

Sam

Woo Hoo! One year old today

9 May

One year ago I sat down at this computer desk, at a very similar looking but different computer and tapped out my first blog post.  Drawn Outdoors the blog was born!

I’m just a little bit proud of the achievements I have made in the last twelve months, they’re only relatively small in the bigger scheme of things, but most have been significant first steps into previously untested waters for me.  A bit of faith, a bit of inspiration and a lot of hard work, and I am well and truly on my way.  If I could have predicted the future, I would have thought that this blog would have started out like a burst of Sydney New Years Eve fireworks, and then kind of faded away in the haze of smoke that was left in its wake.  I wasn’t sure that I would still have things to blog about, how I would find inspiration and ideas, and even if anyone would read what I was writing.

Fortunately I was wrong.  My daily page views are steadily increasing each month, and I seem to be enjoying blogging more with each post that I write, this is my 88th post, so by the end of May I will be well and truly into triple digits.  I am constantly amazed that my most read post has had over 1,000 views, and that it was this one

What have I achieved, what happened this year and where to from here?? Is it time to make a new blogging year to do list, re-write some aims and objectives and set the bar just a little bit higher? Hell yeah!  It’s time to dream bigger, better and in every colour of the rainbow!

Drawn Outdoors’ first year saw births, deaths and marriages.  We had hospital stays and holidays, and an incredibly huge amount of rain!  At least the weather is my prevailing excuse for the lack of activity on the Drawn Outdoors courtyard.  Drawn Outdoors has attracted a few clients, I’ve dusted off the drawing board and designed some fabulous gardens, though still not ours!  As I said, baby steps, but at least when I prepare my tax return this year I’ll be able to show a very modest income!  Significantly I graduated from the Bizness Babes program, and blogged about it here.  Without these wonderful women and fantastic program I don’t think I would have had the nerve to start down this road.

As for the rainbow coloured dreams, as the Daredevil will be heading off for a day or two of childcare soon I’ll suddenly be presented with the luxury of time.  Time that will be used to grow my business, improve my blog and take the next step and start to develop my website.  With the extra time I’ll be able to start to market Drawn Outdoors and find clients rather than waiting for potential clients to find me.  And maybe, just maybe I’ll actually finish my business plan, rather than continually “improving” it!

I know that this year I’ll be taking bigger steps, confident strides, and there is a possibility you might even see some running and jumping, though dancing might be more my style.  Bigger things are in store, better things down the track.

Happy birthday Drawn Outdoors!  Thank you for reading, I hope I have informed and entertained.  At the very least I hope I have made you smile, think and feel inspired.  I hope you’re really starting to feel drawn outdoors!

Sam

Words and pictures – Roberto Burle Marx

7 May

I found this quote by Brazilian landscape architect and artist, Roberto Burle Marx,  and it reminded me of how much he inspired and shaped my design philosophy and opened my eyes to the creative potential of landscape architecture.

A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant – rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance – but it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself.

With landscape plans like this

Landscape Design for Saenz Pena Square

And constructed landscapes that look like this

Vargem Grande – photograph http://www.mraggett.co.uk

Cavanellas Residence – photograph http://www.mraggett.co.uk

His words take on a new meaning and a reassuringly creative way for landscape architects to look at their horticultural palette.

Sam

Happiness is…

6 May

This is my first blog post linking with Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project, and it couldn’t be better timed.  The Drama Queen has had a sad day.  She’s not sure why, but everything has been a bit of a challenge, and as she is prone to a bit of over dramatisation, we have seen some spectacular tantrums.  We sat down and had a girly chat tonight about happiness and how she was the only one who could decide if she was going to be happy.  When I told her that if it was up to me I would make every day a happy one for her, she informed me, with her infinite four year old wisdom, that not every day could be a happy one.  She went on to tell me that you had to have days that were sad, angry, happy, really really mad, and that some days would just be love.  She is a wise old soul in a very young body.

The idea of the Happy Days in May Project is that you choose a time each day and write a sentence about what has made you happy that day.  You can check out the project here, and it’s never too late to give it a go.  Here’s my first few days

1 May – Finally managed to get the tax documents to the accountant – Massive tick off the to do list and weight off the shoulders, Yay me!

2 May – Listened to a sparkling rendition of Happy Birthday sung by the Drama Queen to Nanna Mon – She was so happy to hear from us and have a good chat, I’m so lucky to still have such a wonderful grandmother

3 May – Chocolate cake – are there any two words that could make you happier??

4 May – The Daredevil is a super fish – he loves swimming, and Mr Perfect loves taking him – I love watching!

5 May – Love when family gets together, lunch, drinks, old family and new friend?  Happy that everyone is happy. (cryptic much?)

6 May – Sunshine, lollypops and rainbows everywhere, everything is wonderful when we’re together – had a really nice family afternoon in the sun and the park.

I doesn’t take much to keep me happy!  What made you happy this week?

Sam

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