Tropical Climate Gardening

Your guide to gardening in the tropics

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DIY Ideas





Christmas time in our family calls for allot of home-made treats, we use this time of year to try and slow down a little and do some grass roots activities with our children from cooking to Christmas crafts and of course whats a Christmas without a brew of home-made baileys.

I know its probably quite inapropirate  these days to associate alcohol with anything child related but in my family its been tradition Santa likes a little glass of baileys with a small bowl of strawberries under the tree on Christmas eve. My kids are quite young so as far as they are concerned I'm just making up a drink with cream and a few other ingredients, only mummy and daddy know the little secret. b2ap3_thumbnail_Baileys-1.jpg

There are so many recipes on the internet all with variations but I've made this one a few times now and absolutely loved it each time.  Its quite a traditional recipe I don't really go trying to alter it to much as I'm happy with the result but I'm sure there are some creative readers out there that might like to alter the ingredients or ratio's. 


1 Cup of fresh cream (not long life)

1 Can of sweetened condensed milk (full cream, why not)

1 Teaspoon of instant coffee

1 2/3 Cup Good quality Irish Whiskey

2-3 Tablespoons of chocolate syrup

1 Teaspoon of organic vanilla extract

1/2 Teaspoon of coconut extract ( I use this rather than the traditional almond extract)


Now blend all your ingredients in a blender for around 30-40 seconds and then bottle.







©Kylie Stephens- Lawn Ranger
in DIY Ideas 52373


DIY Sew A Bird





I've been saying I will add the DIY section to our site for months now so today is the day, I cant possibly celebrate Christmas without completing the task sadly. When I have an idea it will just stick in my head until it's complete, not so good for me but great for all you DIY people as I have loads of DIY stuff coming up in 2014.


Todays DIY will be these ever so cute and easy birds, I have been sewing these birds for the past two years for all sorts of occasions and every time I make one my children's eyes just light up.

Our business was part taking in a garden day in Darwin and silly me right in the peak of the dry season (our busiest time of year) thought of a DIY theme for our stand. My poor husband and I were up to midnight for weeks making all sorts of things from a large poly pipe rainbow, the hungry caterpillar, scarecrows and many more fun DIY projects. Anyway the show was a success and well worth it but in 2014 I will start planing in January not a6 weeks before the show.

Just a note on sewing, I am certainly not a professional in no shape or form, I can sew to get myself out of trouble that's about as far as I go so if your a novice this DIY project is for you.




  • You will need to print out the pattern, the pattern is not mine its one i found on the internet a few years ago, it can be modified for size if you wish.
  • Material, as its Christmas this time Ive chosen Christmas themed material.
  • Scissors
  • Marking pen or chalk
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine OR just a needle and thread- I use a machine only because its very quick, every time I make these I tend to make allot in the one hit so a machine suits me well.
  • Stuffing

 PDF of Pattern



Cut out the bird pattern then lay them on two pieces of contrasting material *Tip the most contrasting the better your bird will look. b2ap3_thumbnail_step-1.jpg

Trace around the bird pattern with chalk or a marker, when tracing around the side of the bird fold your fabric over so your cutting out two sides that are connected.



Cut out your bird.

Hope my picture helps where I said above fold the fabric for the bird sides, so your basically cutting two sides of the bird that is also connected so one piece.


 b2ap3_thumbnail_step-2-part-2.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_step-2-part-3.jpg

See here, when I finish cutting out my pattern I can then turn out my bird and it's one piece.


Align the belly in the middle of the bird so you can be sure the belly that you have cut out will work, I say this as I am a shocking one for getting to confident with my cutting and after my 10th bird they start looking shocking mainly due to the fact that I start not using my template.

Now pin one edge of your belly to the edge of the bird, once again  I say pin for a nice even bird, I don't tend to pin all the timb2ap3_thumbnail_part-3.jpge which comes down to practice. 


Using a 1/4 seam allowance, place the two pieces together using just a plain straight stitch but dont sew over the tail. 

Below you can see two ways of sewing the birds, sometimes i start at the tail, other times I'll start near the head. The more you make the more you will find which style will suit you best. 

  b2ap3_thumbnail_part-3--part-2.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_part-3--of-3.jpg


Now that you have sewn around the bird you should have something looking like this. Your bird should be wrong side showing and tail free from any stitch. Now trim any excess thread and seam allowance a little around the head so the beak comes out nice and sharp.



Turn you bird inside out so the right side of the fabric is shown.



Stuff your bird with filling from the tail end.




Now it's time to sew up your tail, straight stitch works well however  I like the scollop stitch my machine offers. Guess what? your done! How easy is that. Now make a whole heap and give out as gifts or glue a heap onto an old branch which is what i've done with allot of mine. When ever visitors come over my birds always get allot attention.


Finished Product



©Kylie Stephens
in DIY Ideas 55055