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Make Fresh Mint Tea

Hey everyone, thanks so much for all your support following the sad news from last week. I’ve been happily surprised by the love and friendship throughout these hard time and I wanted to be soppy just for one second to thank you all with my heart :)

…and now getting back to what I wanted to share with you today, a real simple DIY on making fresh mint tea. One of my favourite green things and drinks!

making mint tea

Tea is one of my go to drinks, apart from orange juice and coffee. I love tea! I would consider mint/peppermint, oolong and green tea to be my favourite kinds. If you grow things or you’re looking to grow something super easy to take care of, I highly recommend mint or peppermint.

It’s a vicious hardy plant, so don’t grow it with other things, keep it to its own pot and just make sure that it gets plenty of water (it loves it) and a low-moderate amount of sunshine. 

making mint tea

What I like to do is pick plenty of mint leaves off the plant, wash it, let it dry and then when I’m in the mood - which is most of the time - use it to make mint tea. It’s not too empowering and you can taste how fresh the mint is, so it’s a really nice, delicate brew of tea. 

If you can, I recommend going to one of my favourite stores Daiso and picking up a 100-pack of ‘Filter Bag for Tea’, you won’t regret it! It’s the best thing to use with loose tea leaves: they’re little pouches for you to store your tea, fold it over to seal it and you’re done!

No more loose tea leaves swimming in your mug that you have to constantly filter with your mouth and spit out. I know that feeling, ick.

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And there you go, I’ve spilled my secret for keeping loose tea leaves at bay ;) Have a great Easter weekend my friends and go brew yourself some tea!


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06.04.2014

Hey guys, I’m back in Sydney after cutting our Tasmania trip short. It’s been an emotionally driven week, with sadness, relief and love all tangled up in one big lump.

Our short stint in Tasmania (3 days) was a nice super-mini break whilst it lasted. A day spent walking about in Launceston soon after we landed. We filled up our stomachs at a Thai place we found open near where we were staying and took a relaxing walk around the well-known Cataract Gorge.

Eventually heading back into the centre of the city, I checked my phone on a whim at a particular set of traffic lights. It’s at that point that I discovered that my grandpa had passed away only a few hours ago.

I’d never been in so much shock. Gareth asked where I wanted to go and I remember saying I wanted to continue walking about, towards Launceston City Park. There, we stumbled across the lusciously colourful John Hart Conservatory where I sat on a bench inside for some time, staring at a variety of vivid coleus. I sat there absorbing the silence and greenery all around me.

In my head, I recall going through a stream of different conversations with myself: about death, about the circle of life, about the memories I had whilst growing up with my grandpa. I couldn’t stop thinking and arguing with myself about how I should feel. Feeling happy that he no longer felt any suffering, feeling sad that I won’t get to hug or converse with him. It was a painful moment, but the nature calmed me down immensely. 

Logically, I knew that dwelling too much in the pool of sadness and grief wouldn’t make any difference to reality. There isn’t much point to spend too much time in that dark corner. I do however consider crying to be a part of the process, as a way to empty out all the sadness. This is a time when you should be crying.

Having the picturesque and peaceful Cradle Mountain and its leafy surrounds was more than I could have asked for, on the next day. This ended up being our final full day in Tasmania too. We trekked the Dove Lake Circuit trail for two hours and in mostly silence.

It was magical and so soothing. The fog kept moving in and out of the mountain, it was truly a sight to behold. One of the best, most personal moments of the walk was near the end: the empty boathouse in the foreground and a touch of fog covering one peak of the mountain tops in the distance. 

You did real good Cradle Mountain. Thank you for being there and being so quietly beautiful and pacifying for me during a time of pain. I’ll return in happier times and sear this moment and view in memory forever.

RIP Grandpa 06.04.2014

What’s Growing? March 2014

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Yay, it’s officially coming into Autumn now and the change has already started to show in the balcony garden.

All the summer harvest has been eaten and cleaned up, which has made way for more spare pots and room for the cold season. It’s the first time in some time that I haven’t had to go to Bunnings to purchase more soil, pots or container bags!

The big thing I took away in the previous month was to minimise. The garden really needed a bit of a stripping back. Too many pots and varieties was making it very difficult to keep everything in order. I’m happy to announce that over the past few weeks I did do exactly that, and you’ll see by the simplicity of photos featured that the garden is much smaller and basic. 

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I had previously jotted down a list of seeds to sow, which I did in early March and it’s looking great so far. Thanks sporadic heavy rainfall! You’ll see that the bok choy, red giant mustard, dinosaur kale and red russian kale seedlings has been growing well. 

The broad beans are doing even better, as you can see from the above photo. I’ve just staked them this morning - just in time before I head to Tasmania for seven days! I tried growing broad beans last year but to no avail, so here I go again for the second attempt. This time I’ve planted them in a larger sized pot so… fingers crossed?

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It was really important that I get the garden back into a tidy state too, I’d left a few things alone for too long. The rosebush in particular was looking very sickly and flower-less, so I cut it down by 50% a few weeks ago and check it out! Yay, new rosebuds!

The load of succulent cuttings I ordered from Attila’s Garden in Victoria arrived a short while ago and I’ve since planted them in various pots. It’s been probably around a month now? I checked them out today and I was so excited to notice the new growth! This always makes my heart sing as it means it’s doing well and not dying from shock, hurrah!

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March wasn’t much of a harvest month. Some pickings of basil here and there and one remnant eggplant. It was mostly a period of rejuvenation so I’m looking forward to the coming month, hopefully some greens soon.

It’s on my checklist for April to sow some more seeds (but not too many), like radish and beans to add to my collection of edibles. I’ve also begun to refrigerate some of my tulip bulbs, so I’ll start planting them out soon once they’re ready.

I’ve literally put two sets of reminders in my calendar for each tulip variety: the first date being refrigeration and the second for when to plant them. Having had such a successful experience last year, I’ve gone a bit wild this year and added several new varieties to my collection so here’s hoping for an amazing year of homegrown tulips! It’s my favourite flower, this is why I’m incredibly excited :)

The frangipani is going strong - see below. Check out the obvious growth between today and what it looked like just a month ago! I think it’s cool how you can count the number of new leaves grown.

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I have to admit that there’s a little bit of sadness in the garden: one of my earliest plants, the lavender, has died! I’m not sure what happened as it’s such a hardy plant and I haven’t treated it differently recently in any way so it’s been a real surprise :(

And with one death comes a new growth, I guess? I’ve been gifted a jacaranda tree seedling from a colleague. Look at it, it’s so quaint! This will be a bit of an experiment since I’ve never grown anything like this before. I’ll need to transplant it and hopefully it will grow into a bonsai. Clearly I can’t have a fully fledged jacaranda growing out of my balcony, ha!

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How’s your garden coming about? I really enjoy checking out other people’s gardens, so do share yours! And if you guys have any tips on growing jacarandas or broad beans, I’d appreciate hearing them.

What’s Growing? is a monthly post that tracks the progress of my balcony garden in Sydney, Australia. It’s also my contribution to The Garden Share Collective! Check out the wonderful gardens of all the members!

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Granny Square Cushion Cover Progress

crochet blanket

Wow, what a mouthful! So for those of you who aren’t acquainted with granny squares, they’re basically a square you crochet. You make a heap of them and then you can do so much with them, like make a scarf, a cardigan, a blanket, a hanging… the ideas are endless really!

Granny squares are typically the first things you try your hand at when you first begin to learn crochet. Probably something I should have done, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time so this might explain why I’ve recently gone so granny square crazy. I missed out on all the fun in the early days!

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In any case, since early last year I’ve been making these patterned squares. I picked five main colours and have been slowly making square after square until I had exactly 25. It took a little while, although honestly I find sewing the squares together takes just as long (such a drag).

My goal? Trying to make a big granny square cushion cover! Gareth has these seriously massive square cushions, and 5x5 granny squares fits them perfectly. So I’ve now got this big 5x5 granny square piece and it’s been in this state for least six months because I haven’t quite worked out how best to actually spin it into a cover. I want to make sure the cover can be taken off and washed.

But the thing is, I don’t want to make two lots of these because I only want one side of the cushion cover to be these granny squares and the back side to be plain. Originally, I started to crochet a backing but that started to get incredibly boring (continuous rows of double crochet in white is NOT fun in any way). So this pushed me back to square one: in a state of flux!

Perhaps a better idea might be to use some calico or white cotton to create the back, but then I’m not sure how I could integrate that with the crochet front, seam-wise… another idea I had was to possibly make a complete white fabric casing and then just sew the granny squares to the front by hand?

Argh, who knows! I’m calling for help now :(

If anyone has a better idea or just a tip that would help with this project, I would be so in your debt! For the moment, I’ll just leave it draped over my couch - at least it adds a touch of colour :)


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