Thursday, October 18, 2012

I buy things at Op Shops, Things I don't need.

Occasionally, I buy things at Op Shops, and by occasionally, I mean that it's an illness I have.

I came across these a few weeks ago, at my local St Vinnies.  Four bright coffee cups with a stainless steel bracket handle. They are not anything special, but I like the simple design and I am a sucker for bold primary colours at the moment, esspecially to brighten up the black and white kitchen. They were $3 for the set and I HAD TO HAVE THEM. 

There is just a small problem... and that is that I already have more tea cups and coffee mugs than I know what to do with. Also, I mainly drink coffee but sweet baby Oprah knows that I need a cup bigger than these wee little guys.

Meanwhile, there is currently a great deal of construction going on in our street, which is filled with post baby boom and ex housing commission, the kind of dwelling that is not quite old enough to be attractive in a vintage or historical sense, but too old and expensive ridden to knock down and rebuild, but is sold off at a reasonable first home buyers price. 
Adding to this, Our Street is also adjoining a ridiculously expensive, unbelievably, ridiculously good looking street.  The part of the immediate neighbourhood, that we lower Socio- economic plebs from our end of the street, refer to with a thumb gesture, as... the Rich bit.  (Who now hold the sole blame for my butter Cup Fucking Yellowback fence by the way......fuckers, them and the stupid generic, matching fencing council policy.)

We like to think it makes our street, ALMOST cool, by association, 
It Isn’t... Not. YET.... But our fences are now all joining and matching... so cant be too long... 

There are the views...  

All of these things combined; made this place we are in a fairly attractive choice for our first home. It also made it a very attractive choice for a lot of other enthusiastic first home buyers.

I love to see our street blooming and changing. Houses are being painted and spring gardens are popping up everywhere. Like us, our neighbours are doing little things at a time, slowly but surely, savings dependant.
I love that in a weekend our street can completely change, fresh paint here and new windows there.
However, when all houses are being renovated in "the first home owner, I can’t afford to do too many things at once" kind of way, there is the unavoidable, ugly, in-between stage... 

The caterpillar, skip bin, construction piled, dead grass neglect that comes from waiting and saving for the next improvement, Rows of cocoons, knowing that although a shit ugly shade of muddy and brown right now, they potentially contain beautiful butterflies that lie in wait to emerge. One by one they do, spurring the rest of us on.

But what to do in the meantime?

You screen that shit out!! That's what you do!!! 

It’s very similar to putting a blanket over the folding on your lounge chair... Out of sight out of mind. 

Unfortunately I don’t have the budget for any grand scale bamboo type screening project or even for Jamie Durries’ Big W brand feature pots sadly.

But I did have a rather annoying dirt pile that was smack bang in the middle of the view from my kitchen window, meaning that I am now currently pleased with 3/4 of the view from my kitchen window, It is getting there, but can be a little depressing to look at day in and out for going on fifteen months now.

Luckily, I went to Vinnies, & found those cups.... 

I filled said cups 1/4 with the leftover gravel, Ms three packed half a green bag with when we visited the set of Wolverine, (or Xmen or whatever the fuck it was, MY APOLOGIES MR SUPERHERO FORUM!! I GOOGLE MYSELF TOO MAN, AND I HAVE FEELINGS!! I ALSO, CLEARLY DON'T KNOW MY MARVEL COMIC MOVIES AS WELL AS YOU DO!!!.. Comic fanatics are brutal, and witty!!) anyway the gravel is for drainage.

 (They are sacred wolverine rocks according to Ms three, but she does not need half a green bag full) 

Then, I filled to the top with a cheap generic potting mix. (I used Coles brand, you use whatever you want)

I filled some with seeds that I found stuck to an old issue of Jerks Backyard that my mum gave me and some with immature herb and vegetable seedlings that I had cluster's of, grown in clear plastic cups left over from a recent gathering. 

clear plastic cups make fantastic mini window sill, green houses. Especially the very large ones, when filled to about a third with potting mix on a thin layer of cotton buds soaked in very hot water before you add the potting mix.

 I also filled a few other things I had laying around. An old white teapot with a crack in it and a grey blue ceramic jug and an old tin sand bucket that I am currently successfully growing broccoli on my kitchen window sill in.

The Result?

One less visible dirt pile, and I now have Mystery spring flowers courtesy of Don Jerk, Coriander, basil, rosemary, parsley and broccoli right where they are needed in the kitchen and I am not constantly reminded that I am living amongst rows of cocoons.
Total cost of the project was around $10 including seeds, & I still have plenty of seeds left over. 
You are not limited to cups, although I have a window sill in a pink and white little girls room that is crying out for three, vintage, pastel coloured tea cups to be filled with white spring flowers as we speak. 

I will add them to my list of things to look out for whilst op shopping.

If and when your plants outgrow the cup, I have been scooping them out with a desert spoon and bordering my raised garden beds with herbs.
Slowly. But... Slowly.

& Now I know winter is done with me.

Emma xx

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