Category Archives: DIY

Arranging Flowers

I typically buy a bunch of flowers every week.  They brighten up a room instantly and the fragrance is just an added bonus. Buying a ready arranged bunch, can set you back a fare bit so I opt for seasonal blooms from the local grocer or fruit barn and arrange them myself.

Below is my ‘how to’ guide to ensure your beautiful blooms have longevity….

1. As soon as you get your flowers home, trim a small amount off each stem and put them in water.
2. When you’re ready to arrange, start by removing leaves that will sit below water level (this will stop rotting, and keep your arrangement lasting longer)

3. Once you’ve removed the low leaves, cut and set aside any flowers or foliage stems that are too short or sit too low on another stem.  These can be used for a smaller arrangement.
4. Measure one flower stem in the vase – cut for size. As a guide, the stem should hit the bottom corner of the vase.
5. Cut all remaining stems roughly the same length.
6. Start with your centre flower and slowly add flowers and stems constantly turning your arrangement ensuring a round shape is maintained.

7. Continue until you’ve used all your flowers and foliage and you are happy with how the bunch looks.
8. Tie the bunch together and cut any stems that appear longer.

9. Now arrange any of your shorter off-cuts in a similar manner.

10. In each vessel/vase put a small amount of sugar (for nutrients), a few drops of bleach or hydrogen peroxide (to kill any bacteria/bugs) and fill the vase with room temperature water (If the water is too cold, it will shock the flowers/stems).

11. Change the water ever  4-5 days or when it begin to look mirky.

Holiday DIY

In early December, I remembered my Christmas tree and ornaments were sitting at the back of my in-laws garage in amongst other ‘not so important stuff’.  The idea of rummaging through boxes sent me into an anti-Christmas tizzy.

Not wanting to be a complete Grinch, I decided on a simple solution – a small real tree and making a few of my own ornaments. Armed with oven-bake clay (I picked mine up from Spotlight), cookie cutters, a rolling pin and yarn, Christmas was saved!

On some grease proof paper, roll out the clay to a thickness of 6mm (1/4 in). Use your cookie cutter to cut out shapes. If you are using smaller cookie cutters like myself, you may need to use a cotton tip to help gently ease the clay out of the cutter. Re-roll the leftover clay and cut more shapes out.

Roll out the remainder of the clay into a thin sausage like shape. Cut into small chunks and roll into small balls. Use a skewer or tooth pick (be conscious you’ll need to thread ribbon through this hole) to turn each ball into a bead.

Use the skewer to also place a hole in each ornament. Place the ornaments on a lined baking tray and pop your tray into a pre-heated oven for 15minutes at 130°C (275°F).

Allow the ornaments to completely cool. Once the ornaments a cool enough to handle, start threading. I made a garland as well as individual gift tags and Christmas ornaments.

 

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Green Thumb Not Required

I love having fresh flowers and greenery in my home. But even with a family of enthusiastic gardeners, I’ve never really had a green thumb.  Over recent years, I’ve made the conscious effort to ‘improve’, driven purely by the increasing costs associated with replacing pot plants every few months.

The simplest and cheapest lesson I learnt? rooting plants in water – a trick mum taught me after seeing her swapping cuttings with a neighbour.  So what exactly is it? Simply put, it’s growing plants, from a cutting, in water.  The best part? It truly is very easy – these plants are almost impossible to kill, they’re low maintenance and it doesn’t have to cost a thing!

The things to know:

  • Not all plants will respond well to rooting in water. I have found that climbers such as Ivy and philodendron work best, and herbs (basil and sage in particular) have worked well for me too
  • Snip the plant an inch or two below a leaf (apparently this is the ‘growth zone’)
  • Ensure the roots can get sun – use clear vessels only
  • Ensure no leaves are submerged in water – you don’t want rot
  • Don’t completely forget about your plants – check water levels every few months depending on your vessel size

 

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DIY Artwork

My Art; Birds of a feather stick together artwork (feather ring artwork),  Beautiful Changes (tarnished copper artwork)

Growing up, Sundays were reserved for family time. We would attend Sunday morning mass, then the extended family would congregate at my parent’s house over a big antipasto brunch. As soon as the tables were cleared, we would start preparing for an even bigger lunch – either a roast or BBQ.

All this preparing and eating of food inevitably resulted in a food coma, with the entire family falling asleep on the sofa or in bed. Me, on the other hand found it extremely difficult to waste the daylight and would find ways of entertaining myself for hours…. drawing, stitching, painting or glueing, it was always art or craft based.

Many years on, art and craft is something I still enjoy… and my bower bird nature of collecting oddities or shiny objects still puzzles the husband. Not because he doesn’t like the result, on the contrary, but because he doesn’t ‘see’ how these items can be used. Below is one such example.

Want to create your own art? What you’ll need;

  • Hot glue gun
  • Pencil
  • Tweezers
  • Canvas or Water colour paper (because they have a beautiful texture)
  • Odds and ends you’ve collected – Feathers, copper plates, beads, wrapping paper squares, broken tiles, bottle tops, wooden sticks, shells etc. Note: I like to keep the look uniformed, so I use one type of material at any time. The results often look more polished.
  • Frame with an internal mat.

Instructions;

  • Use the mat from inside your frame as a guide for your textured paper. Then simply play around with patterns, shapes and layered forms until you find a design you like.
  • Use a pencil to place dots as a guide for placement.
  • One by one glue each item onto the paper using tweezers. Ensure you do not put too much glue on the back (unless you like a raised effect) and that you don’t push too hard as the glue will come out on the sides.

Frame

  • Once the artwork is dry, sign and date your work and frame it. Voila! Easy DIY artwork.
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Egg Hunt

The holidays are always a pretty big deal in my family, particularly those of religious significance. My parents were born and raised in Eastern Europe so traditions are strong and generally hold a lot of meaning.  On Good Friday many of these traditions are put to practice, but none more fun that the banter around the table whilst dyeing Easter eggs together. There are a few traditional techniques (I’ll Instagram a pic) however we all like to bring new ideas to the table….

Below are just a few cute Ideas I’ve come across on my easter egg inspiration hunt:

Easter Egg Inspo

1. colourmepretty 2. Joyeverafter 3.DreamyWhites 4.papernstitch 5.Stylecaster 6.lovelyindeed 7.Obviouslysweet 8. Mom me

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Scrubbing Up – Coconut & Sweet Citrus Scrub

A few months ago, I was given a beautiful salt scrub by a girlfriend. It was moisturising, smelt divine and had the perfect level of exfoliation … in no time I was scratching the bottom of the jar. For the next few weeks I went on a little mission to find a replacement scrub, but all I found was overpriced scrubs ($45 for a small jar!? – really?) or scrubs that smelt like bathroom sprays. I decided I needed to make my own…

What you’ll need?

  • 1 Cup of Solid Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 2 Cups Epsom or Sea Salts
  • Essential Oil of your choice (I used a Sweet Orange & Jasmine Oil)
  • Citrus rind of your choice (I used lemon) – optional
  • Jars for storage

Instructions:

  1. Place the solid coconut oil, epsom salts and 5 drops of essential oils into a bowl and mix.
  2. Peel rind from your choice of citrus and mix in bowl. For a bigger citrus hit, fine grate the rind and combine well into your mixture.
  3. Transfer the mixture into an airtight container – top with more citrus peels.

Tips:

  • For a gentler scrub replace the salts for sugar.
  • The rule of coconut oil to salt/sugar is 1:2.
  • Don’t like coconut oil? replace it with grapeseed, almond, olive or jojoba oil.
  • Add a ribbon and tag for a beautiful and useful homemade gift.

 

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Getting Creative

It’s no surprise to anyone that knows me well, that I’ve always had a thing for arts & crafts. I would spend endless hours drawing, cutting, pasting and painting from the moment I could pick up a pencil all the way through to high school and beyond. Most of the time, my artfulness came from not being able to find exactly what I was looking for…invitations, centre pieces and art to fill that big empty space on the wall. Other times it comes as a therapeutic release. Below is my latest therapeutic DIY project…

1. Create a unique grid/shape using painters removable tape…
 
2. When you are happy with the shapes you’ve created, fill in the gaps with your desired design using paint or a liquid pen. I used a fine liquid gold pen to draw directional lines. I find you have more control with a pen.

3. Once you’ve completed your design, slowly remove the painters tape.

4. To create some depth to the art, apply a foil glue on the desired areas…wait for the area to dry tacky and then apply the gold foil by rubbing the foil shiny side up. Slowly remove the foil and you are left with the below effect.

The final result is below. All I need now is a beautiful white mounted mat and dark frame…

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Wrap it up

There is something to be said about receiving a beautifully wrapped gift. For me, the level of detail and care taken in wrapping a gift is just another expression of my love (yes, sounds mawkishly sentimental but true). Each year, I’ll take the time to source pretty paper and decorative extras just to excite/ show my loved ones just how much they mean to me…

Christmas WrappingPaper and Decorative kit purchased from David Jones

Need some wrapping Inspo? Below are some of my favourite finds…

holiday wrapping

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

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Valentine

Valentine’s Day is one of those days you either love or hate. I’ve never been a huge fan (the pressure of giving or receiving – yikes) but the notion of stopping to smell the roses is often a timely reminder for many -particularly our male counterparts (sorry, not speaking for all men) who forget that relationships need nurturing and maintenance.

So with this thought in mind…below are a few Valentines’ ideas that I love without the big price tags.

Date Jar

Colour coded (indicating cost of exercise) date night ideas. Created by Mrs Green of Found at Life In The Green House

30 Questions

30 questions to get to know each-other better, created by Jessi from Cherishing Hopes & Dreams blog (Click through for the whole list of questions)

How to Gift it?  Print, cut and pop into a jar. Over dinner take turns to pull out a question.  Add: A bottle of wine, a gourmet pizza and a large rug – Makes for a perfect night!

Desserts

Certainly the way to my heart…White Chocolate Custard & Strawberry Crepes via Taste.com.au Crepes

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DIY Wardrobe Audit

It’s that time again… DIY Wardrobe Audit. I am a HUGE advocate of doing this every 6 months and well if you keep on top of it [your wardrobe that is] it should be a quick and painless experience. My problem… if you do this for a living, you tend to conveniently forget.

Okay three things before you start:

  1. Colour & Body Shape: I really highly recommend you have your colour and body shape analysis done before you audit your wardrobe. Not only will it help you understand why you only use 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time, but it will also help explain why you bought these items to begin with.
  2. Time share: How do you spend your average week? Break your entire week down by hours. How many hours are at work? At the gym? Lounging at home? Out at dinner? Etc. If you are like most people and spend close to 40 – 50% of your time at work (obviously excluding sleep time) that is what you need to allocate to your wardrobe in space and in budget.
  3. Know your style: Be true to you. What are you drawn to all the time? Get inspiration from magazines, blogs etc. This will help you be ruthless when auditing begins.

STAGE 1: CLUTTER CLEAN UP

  1. Create 5 piles: Keep, Attention, Sell/Giveaway, Bin-it, Unsure.
  2. Pack away clothing that is not in season. Trust me, it will be easier and you’ll be in the right frame of mind prior to the seasons changing.
  3. Put the remainder of your wardrobe content on your bed in groups of: Tops, Bottoms, Undergarments, Accessories etc
  4. Begin with your clothing piles, followed by undergarments and lastly accessories.
  5. Try each item on and based on your reaction or lack thereof; put the items into one of the 5 piles.

KEEP:

  • Love it – I look amazing on
  • It’s a basic – I wear it all the time
  • The shape, fit and proportions should be perfect on you. It should fit your personality, is comfortable and looks fresh (modern)

ATTENTION:

  • Love it – BUT it’s missing a button, needs to be hemmed, dry cleaned etc
  • Love It – BUT nothing in my wardrobe goes with it
  • It’s a great basic – BUT it could look better with a nip and tuck or colour change.

SELL OR GIVEAWAY:

  • Not-so-perfect clone – 10 pairs of black pants anyone?
  • Colour and print is wrong
  • Doesn’t Fit – Too big or too small
  • Doesn’t Fit right – not for my shape
  • So Passé – My gran would love it!
  • Old Trend – So over neon people
  • Doesn’t suit my personality
  • Doesn’t suit my lifestyle
  • Haven’t worn it in last 2 years.

BIN – IT:

  • Item is DEAD – Holes, rips, its changed colour, the elastic has gone.

Note: If an item is ‘road kill’ it’s often because you loved it and wore it to death My advice: take a quick snap on your phone to help identify a future replacement OR if it’s your dream item, take it to a tailor to replicate.

UNSURE:

  • Like item – BUT can’t remember last time I wore it. Put a peg on the items tag. If in 6 months the peg is still on the item, you haven’t worn it and won’t. If the peg has been removed (because you’ve worn it) it has a place in your wardrobe.

STAGE 2: ORGANISING

What you’ll need:

  • Hangers (preferably the same) no wire hangers!
  • Clear Boxes
  • Draw Dividers
  • Book ends (to hold up clutches/bags)

Sort Hanging Section: Organise your wardrobe by Type and Colour eg group all trousers together and then sort by colour lightest to darkest.

Sort Shelves: delicate items or items that can stretch, should never be hung. Sort these items on shelves where they can been seen. Organise by type and colour. Put bulkier items or less frequently used item down the bottom.

Sort Draws: Underwear, Gym, lounge clothing and bulky items are best in draws.

Pack & Stack Clear Containers: Scarves, belts, hats, socks and undergarments (boob-tubes, spanx, hosiery) are things I like to packed and stack in clear boxes.

STAGE 3: FILLING IN THE GAPS – future post!

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