Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our new deck (well deck roof)

We now have a new deck roof. We intend - although not sure - to now slowly build in the deck with odd windows picked up here and there. But it will be a slow process and one which we don't mind waiting for. It's just so lovely to go sit out there - the roof just makes it feel like a room!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fish pond

A weekend of gardening was enjoyed by all! We ordered to two cubic metres of forest mulch - which is really beautiful mulch - I don't know much about mulch but the colour and texture seem so rich and consistent. Anyway A knew what she was doing and we set up about landscaping around our Fish pond to help stop the weeds and plant some of the natives A has been bringing home from the nursery. We also took the opportunity to landscape a path down from our side gate to help stop the constant erosion taking place. It all looks wonderful.

Here's a full slide show of the work:

Friday, November 21, 2008


I picked up this little set of chairs from a recent garage sale. They are from the 1950s but painted an awful gold colour and had fluffy pink covers that just reminded me of one of those old toilet seats! - So I have painted them in spray paint white enamel and ordered some great outdoor fabric online from the US. Not a great reno - but they do the job in my never ending quest to add as many seating areas within out yard as possible. I will keep them slightly under cover - I don't think they are waterproof - just weather proof. The website I ordered the fabric off if you are in Australia and interested is: Fab Outdoor Fabrics dot com dot au

New plants

We are going to try out some new plants (bromeliads) that my mum has given us. The cold (ie frost and snow) aren't good for them - so I have tied them to moveable objects (ladder) and may move into the back shed during the really cold snaps, to see that helps. We are entering into Summer here soon, so hopefully no more frosts for a few months. The ladder that you can see in the photo is the other half of the long one we found buried in the back yard - the first half is happily hanging our pots in the kitchen :) Also in the background of this photo, behind the fish pond you can see some tortured willow I picked up off a pile from the community gardens in Katoomba. The tortured willow is so beautiful - but in Australia it's been declared a weed of national significance and so aren't great to have around. These are the types of dried branches you see in fancy white urns in gorgeous interior design mags. The branches are wonderfully curly. They look like they belong in a whimsical children's book.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Potatos -third lot of hay

And this is an updated pic of one of our Potato tubs. The third layer was added yesterday. It's growing at a tremendous rate - almost a cm a day I think.

Vege Patch mid Spring

I thought I would post a pic on the vege patch - we have been enjoying bountiful lettuce and rocket. Something is coming up which looks like a brocolli hybrid of some sort. - (towards the back of this pic). I pulled out the dregs today of the rocket and planted some new Lettuce, Spinach, Peas, Beans and Carrots.
Click here to see the evolution of our VEGE PATCH

Dried Lemon Balm

Here is the Lemon Balm - dried and being put into some tins. I intend to make various things out of this - will post my various failures and successes.

The first thing I am going to start is this :) check back for results :

Melissa Liqueur
Home made Lemon Balm Liqueur

2 ½ tsp dried lemon balm

sliced and scraped peel of ¼ lemon

a pinch of coriander

a pinch of cinnamon

2 peppermint leaves

1 cup vodka

½ cup sugar syrup

Place all the ingredients in a bottle and steep 3 weeks. Shake the jar daily during the steeping period. Strain and filter into a dark bottle, adding more sugar to taste. Mature for 2 months.

Sugar Syrup

1 cup white granulated sugar and ½ cup water

Bring to a boil, and stir until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Always cool before adding to alcohol mixture.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Moulin Rouge set instruction

Here is the photo I mentioned a couple of days ago - the set instruction for props in the film Moulin Rouge - written on our French doors. Cute hey?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Lost Seed

My new favourite website is called The Lost Seed (I have added the link to my favourite sites on the right). Based in Tasmania it specialises in the supply of heritage or heirloom seeds, that haven't been treated or messed about with in a commercial hybrid world. Some seeds come from hundreds of years of legacy handed down, from generation to generation in peoples backyards. It's such a wonderful ecological (not to mention romantic) way of growing herbs and vegetables that I have made the grand claim to A, that from now on I am only going to grow these seeds. Lets see how I go. !

Monday, October 27, 2008

after in the morning light

It was so lovely to come out to our new doors this morning being bathed in the morning easterly light that I wanted to post another photo. - You can easily see its not quite finished - paint work and trim still to do - and we are still undecided about finishing the sanding off or painting them black. Either way we will be varnishing and keeping a small square rectangle of the original door which shows the writing "garret 1" - a set instruction from the film Moulin Rouge. See photo.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

French doors - before

This weekend, with good weather forecast we took the opportunity to put in the french doors to our back deck. - This will now become our back door. They are very special doors for me, I bought them years ago from the auction they had for Moulin Rouge film (by Baz Lurhman), and these were used in Ewan McGregors 'garrett' room where he lived. If you watch the film - you can actually see them! I have taken them through several house moves and now they have found a home. The doors are a little shorter than normal, so the taller person may have to duck! We love them - A did most of the work. Happy Birthday A.

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

French doors - before

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

French doors 2 - after

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

French Doors - after

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blue Mountains Blue Tongue Lizard

Today while A & were soaking up the sun in our backyard, the dogs all took off at something together. After a quick investigation, it was revealed a local Blue Tongue Lizard had strayed a little too close to the dog's territory. With much excitement we all gathered around - A is a qualified expert in lizards and such things, proceeded to pick him up and calmed him down. He's likely from a local lizard family and A informs us that they stay in the one area their whole lifes. Probably knows our yards, and laneway better than we do. The Blue Mountains variety of Blue Tongue is beautiful. Known as a 'blotched blue tongue' due to the pink blotches on it's skin, it's the first one I have seen since moving up here. Our little 7 year old friend E has named him "Brian". So Brian was released, after much ooooing and aaaaring by me...and hopefully will go on to continue his blissful Blue Mountains life. You can read more here on this type of lizard.

Blue Mountains Blue Tongue Lizard

Lemon Balm and Honey biscuits

I made Lemon Balm and Honey biscuits today. Great recipe - although I needed to half it. I couldn't bring myself to use that much butter.

The Lemon Balm is of course from our recent surprise crop!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our friendly King Parrot family

We have a family of King Parrots who have turned up - I think wanting the yummy food that our predessors living here use to feed them every spring. We know this because they (the tenants) moved next door (!) and we see just how many local birds flock to their yard. Annoyingly it's mostly white cockatoos.

Also in our yard are a couple of crested pigeons, and beautiful galahs. The pink and grey can only work in nature - it's beautiful. Pink and grey else where just reminds me of bad faded grandmother fabric!

Lemon Balm drying

I have harvested some of the Lemon Balm which is overrunning one of our side gardens. It's now happily started it's drying process - hanging up in my studio window. It's lovely to see all the spring plants come up - which we had no part in planting. It's like a box of chocolates....etc. - Both A & I thought this was mint for a long time - not taking the time to actually pull a leaf off it and smell. Only recently we realised it's Lemon Balm - (thanks Mum) and so I have been busily reading up on what one can do with it. It's a fantastic herb - as long as you keep it under control. Here is a list of things I am planning.

1. Dry and put in tea, sachets, meals
2. Dry and make a fantastic sounding Lemon Balm Liquuer
3. Use fresh in meals
4. Use fresh and make Honey and Lemon Balm Biscuits
5. Make a fresh Lemon Balm tincture - to use for medicinal purposes - (it's great for stress, anxiety, PMS, calming herb)
6. Use fresh and make Monastic Melissa Spririts.

ps: Stuff thats interesting: It's scientific name is Melissa officinalis - Melissa is the greek word for honeybee - because of it's attraction to lemon balm. (good to know if i ever start my beekeeping).

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm crop


Distressing news. I went out to the chook pen this morning, as per my morning ritual, and counted four chooks, not five. Elusive, shy always hiding Silky had vanished. The extreme co-incidence of the fact that yesterday we let the chooks out of their pen (only for the second time) but this time with the dogs around, isn't lost on myself or A. All went well, the kelpie and labrador were keen, but not fierce and the sausage dog took no notice at all. Now I say extreme co-incidence as we herded them all back into the cage. I even counted the heads. A says that the question was asked where Silky was, and I said she's in there. Which I am sure she was. But this morning she is gone. So doubt has crept in. I have looked closely within the chook pen, and found a gap in the fence where she could easily have snuck out. The taste of freedom yesterday, so recent and yummy. A distressing, panicked call to A, who says that chooks have extreme homing instincts, and as long as the local roaming big black dog, or a fox hasn't got her, she could very easily end up back in the pen tonight.... or a least pushed up against it wanting to get in. There are no signs of white fluffy feathers anywhere. So our guess is she's gone for a wander. I too went for a wander around the streets and laneway looking for her. No sign. I wasn't sure how to look. I'm sure it falls on deaf ears, going "here chookchookchooky" It's very distracting. Who would have thought one could get attached to a chicken. I will update as soon as a conclusion is reached to her whereabouts.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Room from the other end

Here you can see the paint we have chosen for the walls - Dulux ECRU with ECRU 1/4 for the trim, and ceiling white for the, well, ceiling. - We are still undecided about what to do about the brick work in the fireplace. - We are painting it for now. The black paint is just "night sky" (aka Ebony). Pure black basically.

Room AFTER this weekend.!

Over the past week we have demolished the entire wall - leaving o

nly the framework. -and they were rough wood. So a trip to the hardware, one belt sander later and we had smooth enough wood to paint Black. It's coming along :) - Below you can see the before, and during photos.

Room under deconstruction!

Room before we moved in.

Vege patch - lettuce and rocket

The Veges are finally growing!

vege patch
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Silky - the new chook.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dragon Blue Egg Company Label

Exciting advances have been made with the Egg industry. I have created a label!
But first a sad story involving four scary chickens, one sad chicken and us. The saga of introducing Eggy into the fold continued for another week. (see last post) She was being picked on, but worse, after much investigation and experiment we discovered she was eating her own eggs. We are not sure if the eggs were so brittle that they broke upon laying - at which point she ate them, or that they were being eaten by the other chickens in revolt! Either way - unfortunately we had to return her to the produce store, no questions asked. We then went down to a local chook man in these parts and bought a Silky chicken. If you haven't seen these chickens, they are incredibly cute. I will post a photo shortly. She is being picked on as well - picked up and dragged by the neck. So A constructed a seperate little run for. Apparently if you keep a new chicken separate from the established clan for a week or so, then slowly introduce them - it works much better. Or get another companion for the new chook. In the meantime - I have created a label for our small free range eggs business - Dragon Blue Egg Compnay Just a bit of fun - but now that Blacky has started laying (as of today!) we will start to get too many eggs to eat - so give them away we must.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Potato Tub

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

DIY Potato tub

This weekend we planted two lots of seed potatoes. This is how we did it.
1. Created chicken wire around 4 wooden stakes.
2. Dug the bottom ground a little
3. Small layer of cow manure
4. Small layer of hay - create a hole.
5. Put potting mix in an lay 4 seed potatoes (seed potatos are the special kind for growing)
6. another layer of potting mix to cover - then pat down.
7. Final layer of hay and sprinkle of blood & bone and hay.

We are suppose to now wait until the shoots come up about 30cm then cover with hay again until more growth etc etc. Then when they flower - that's when the crop is ready!

In this photo you can also see the new fence we have put up (sticks from the near by bush and some wire) around our vege patch. I am trying to keep our dogs from enjoying the occasional romp!.

We also acquired a new chook this weekend - Eggy. She is not liked by the others and her first egg was destroyed in a scuffle. We wait in hope that they make friends. It's all quite distressing.!!

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Pond

The Pond is looking healthy. The fish are very happy swimming about. Today we planted some extra natives around the edges - slowly, slowly it's taking formation.

The Pond
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Some garage sale finds

Very exciting trip to a garage sale on Saturday eventuated with two coffee tables ($20 each) and an old green ladder ($10). Sad story of a guy whose wife had left him and the house he had built for them, and he was selling everything. Even the house! One of the coffee tables was made out of the top of an old pier from Manly Wharf in Sydney.

Rendering the Studio

I have spent the past two weekends testing rendering the wall of the studio with a product from Dulux called "full coat" and a colour called "Aviva".
Step one - spend quite a while wrestling trying to get the lid of the 10 ltr pot.
Step two - spend about 30seconds with the 'specially made' roller before giving up and getting a paint brush and trowel.
Step three - very slowly paint the render on. - If you do this quickly you will get a awful patchy look which will require a second coat. (thus the second picture in the slide show below). Patience and old clothes is key to this exercise.
Step four - decide after hours and hours of finishing it off that the rest of the walls will be done in plain cement render or not at all. :) But all frustration aside - A & I are very pleased with the finished look.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Two cotton reels (two of the three)

This green cotton reel is my favourite.

succulent garden

The start of the succulent garden is now in place. I am going to place it along a side fence which gets Northern sun most of the day. All these succulents are from clippings from my mum's own garden. One is from Hill End in NSW - from an arts residency I did there a few years ago. And all are sitting on one of those wooden cotton reels used to hose cables in construction. Which A nicked from her work.:) (actually 3!). I will also put some more pots on the ground along the fence as it expands.

Friday, September 5, 2008


This is something I have been keen on trying and this week I found this fabulous video posted on one of my fave blogs design*sponge. Check out this video. Isn't it inspiring?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Little coffee table

and now for the latest in exterior design! - The used chopping board coffee table. :)

Pond version 2

Yep. We re-did the pond. After a failed attempt at running the waterfall, we repositioned the big ironstone to the back and at a far greater angle. ( the water was mysteriously disappearing) - Lesson 63: Make sure the water isn't running back underneath the waterfall rock and out of the pond. We have taken out the middle fountain, and just left the waterfall outlet going. (well actually upon advise of my father we swapped them around and turned the pump on it's side. Works a treat.) We have also added some 'crazy paving' - weird term i know - but that's what it's called according to A. Made out of some beautiful offcut broken marble we picked up at a factory sale. Stay tuned for the the 'crazy paving' front path too! Everything is working beautifully and I have it running all day - while sitting in my studio. It's working as it should - relaxing me :). [if you are interested in the progress of this pond click here]

Sunday, August 24, 2008

the beginning of the fish pond

Yesterday I began the fish pond. I actually dug the hole and put the pond in last weekend but I needed to take it out and put fresh water in yesterday. - Bit of a tip for the newbie - don't leave a whole bunch of sludge at the bottom thinking it will disappear! You need to have the pond as clean as possible when you put the water in. So take two and that's what I did yesterday. The lovely A bought a whole bunch of sandstone and ironstone rocks from her work and will also collect more this week. So a trip to the pet shop later and we now have 4 gold fish and some acquatic plants. I placed a pump and fountain in the middle to test it out - it worked well. But we will now build up a little stone dome for the fountain to sit in and flow naturally over. Last night it went below freezing and I came out to check on the fish this morning - they were swimming under a full thick sheet of ice. But thankfully survived. And hopefully that's will be a rare frost before spring hits soon in a couple of weeks. A taste of it today - gorgeous sunny day - we have taken our three dogs down to the local community gardens for a walk.

our second araucana egg

This is our 2nd araucana egg - it actually is a little more bluey green than this photo suggests. I feel like a proud mum. Yesterday we checked the nest and there was Mrs Fatso laying and a couple of other chooks lined up. Unfortunately we only have one nesting box at the moment - plans to add more have been now sped up. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Orchard :)

This weekend we worked hard. (well not so much me - don't like digging too much!) It was all A. She created our vege patch, dug the lane down to the chook pen (which was about half a foot deep which we then filled in with roadbase) and this morning I planted the beginning of our Orchard :) Its all starting to take shape - it's organically evolving as opposed to us having a master plan. Once the path was in we saw that the perfect spot for the vege patch would be that corner, then after that was created, we thought to put the 3 citrus trees in the remaining small green patch leading from the shed. - Once these grow bigger this will create an almost separate garden area - which you will come across through that small gateway. Which I have plans to grow a little archway over. I can't believe what a difference all this is making already. The citrus trees we planted are: mandarin, lemon and kumquat.

Orchard :)
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Vege Patch

Vege Patch
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Larry, the path, the chookpen

Meet Larry. Our new dog. (A says that's a bit committed - we do have a week to "return" him). We found him through doggie rescue - an organisation in Sydney which rescues dogs left in the pound. Larry is a labrador (maybe cross with Golden Retriever), who we think is around 3. A big boy, a slow boy. But we think pretty happy. The kelpie and sausage dog are so far ok with him. The chooks too. Larry is hopefully going to be a more playful companion to our kelpie as the sausage dog is getting a bit old and not that interested in playing. Notice the path leading to the chook pen. NEW! as of today. Go A - who is a complete legend. The pile of dirt which Larry is getting familiar with is where the vege patch is going.

Larry and his new couch

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mrs Fatso - the layer.

our first egg

Our new chooks

Meet our two new chooks, which arrived this morning. Mrs Fatso (I have forgotten the breed - please check back for that). and the araucana - which doesn't have a name yet. I am excited about the araucana - as it is the layer of famous blue/green eggs. These two are apparently laying every couple of days already - so as soon as our first eggs arrive I will post some photos. (the old ford in the background of the photo is sitting rusting away in the neighbours backyard. I like it. - Reminds me of being in the country). Our two new chooks have lured Marmalade and Blacky out of their pen and into their run. However they have also enticed our kelpie to start barking. It's mainly Mrs Fatso's fault. She's big and a bit noisey. Not quite as placid and hospitipal as the first two. Marmalade and Blacky are sticking together, not hanging with the new peeps in town yet. Ignoring the barking, ignoring the new chooks. It's like West Side Story, with the two gangs checking each other out, staying far enough away to just observe.


Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Snow Time

It snowed on Sunday...a wonderful beautiful event - does anyone ever get tired of it. - There is nothing like snow floating down. A & I continued working in our yard through it..(clearing out our awning to move in our workshop tools - which is probably a whole other post). We were snugged up in several layers. It was great - freeing. This picture is of my lovely old theatre chairs which have traveled countries with me, towns with me, abodes with me. I woke up Monday morning and snow had contined to fall lightly during the night. It's not the snowy mountains, but a little bit of snow every year will be such a ethereal magical event to look forward to.

snow time
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View


The chooks have arrived. We picked them out last Saturday and brought them back up the mountain. Marmalade and Blacky are very placid - they didn't take flight or flap a single wing when our kelpie came up to bark and protest. A is suprised & relieved at how well kelpie is coping. The chooks took to their new chookpen like a duck to water, or a chook to a pen :)... The only small concern we had was t if they would suffer shock from the sudden drop in temperature. As it turned out the following day (Sunday) was the biggest and lets face it only true snow fall or the winter. We have put hay all around the pen - almost feels like we live on a farm! The chooks are about 2 or 3 weeks from point of lay - (that's chook speak for when they start to lay eggs). This weekend we are probably going to get two more. Stay tuned.

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

the Chook pen - almost done.

The chook house is almost done. Only gates and wire to be put in and then the chooks arrive. The windows you can see here are from a bunch I have been dragging from house move to house move for a few years. I bought about 25 of them for I think $30 from the Moulin Rouge movie auction after the film was complete. They were props for little french windows i guess . Inside is perspex not glass. - Quite useful for a chook pen! The true french doors from the same auction (the same ones that were for Ewen McGregors characters room) will be put into our house as the doors to the deck). More on that when it actually gets done.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chair restoration

Early this year I picked up a couple of mid century broken chairs in bits off the side of the road - in the annual clean up in Katoomba. Legs were off - the seats were off. I gathered all the parts to make up two whole chairs.

I am quite happy with the new look - basically put them back together - stripped them down, oiled them in my beloved Organoil and then reupholsted the black vinyl in gorgeous Amy Butler fabric from the US.
Total cost $12 for fabric. :)

Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View