Unlock the Ultimate Valentine’s with a Noodle Flower Chandelier

Cosy up for a special treat or get friends together for a lazy dinner under a gorgeous flower chandelier! This is the most beautiful and worthwhile thing you have to try this summer.

LivingSpace Magazine_January 2019
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Romantic or not, whimsical lights and blooms floating in the air will make anyone feel special. Plus, this tutorial helps to repurpose old pool noodles. What’s not to love?

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You can also remove the flowers when they wilt and pack away the flower chandelier base in your outdoor storage space!

Here’s how to make a flower chandelier

how to make a noodle flower chandelier base

Difficulty: easy

Time: 30 minutes

You need:

  • 1 hula hoop
  • 2 pool noodles (the hollow kind)
  • Foliage and a few flower heads *
  • Garden scissors
  • Twine
  • 3 battery-operated fairy light strings **
  • S-hook
how to make a noodle flower chandelier for free

* Forage in your garden, in a nearby field or head to the nearest florist and ask them for the day’s offcuts.  You’ll either pay a small fee or nothing at all for beautiful foliage and blooms.

** Use your festive lights from December!

STEP 1:

how to make a noodle flower chandelier step one

Start with the pool noodle for your flower chandelier. Cut the noodles open length-wise, up to the hollow in the middle.

STEP 2:

how to make a noodle flower chandelier in easy steps

Fit the first pool noodle over the hula hoop by pushing it through the cut into the hollow in the centre. Measure the second pool noodle and cut off any excess before fitting it over the remaining open part of the hula hoop. The entire hula hoop should now be covered with the pool noodles. 

Twist some twine around the pool noodle to secure it, and tie with a knot when you’re done.

STEP 3:

Cut 3x1m pieces of twine. Divide the pool noodle base into three equal parts and then tie a piece of twine to each segment.

Knot the free ends roughly 50cm from the base, and attach the S-hook to the knot.

PRO TIP: Hang up the flower chandelier to make the last steps easier.

STEP 4:

how to make a flower chandelier with fairy lights and pool noodles

Twist the fairy light strings around the pool noodle base, taking care to keep it fairly loose. Secure each string’s battery pack on the inside of the wreath, in the middle of each of the three segments. This will help the wreath to hang level.

STEP 5:

how to make a flower chandelier_pool noodle hacks

Cover the pool noodle in foliage by sticking the branches behind the twine and fairy light cables. Once you’re happy with the greenery, add the flower heads at random, securing them in the same way as the leaves.  Then switch on the flower chandelier’s lights and admire your handiwork!

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All you need now is a Valentine’s Day menu! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Happy making!

Gift Idea: Make A Pretty Floral Frame Mirror

Ideas Magazine asked us if we could make something pretty for their Handmade Christmas edition, and so I scoured my Pinterest pages for ideas. I saw this gorgeous little floral frame mirror from Anthropology earlier this year and immediately fell in love with it. When I saw it again in my DIY project ideas folder, I knew it was the ideal project for the magazine! It’s the perfect gift for a special friend or something that you can make to adorn your home this festive season.

Anthropology metal flower mirror

 

How complicated: easy

How long: 5 hours

Make A Gorgeous Floral Frame Mirror

You will need:

  • Round mirror with fixing bracket at the back (we got ours from Mr Price Home)
  • Cardboard circle, about 2cm smaller than the mirror’s edge, and some Prestik
  • 1 roll craft metal
  • Spray adhesive
  • Flowers and leaves template
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Spray paint (we used Krylon Color Master in Rose Gold)
  • Embossing tool
  • Wood glue

 

STEP 1:

craft metal and spray adhesive

Create a double layer of craft metal by fixing two layers together with the spray adhesive. Allow to dry.

 

STEP 2:

craft metal and paper flower templates

Roughly cut the flowers and leaves from the template, leaving some space around the shapes. Then trace the shapes onto the craft metal using a pen. Use the same shapes several times – we cut out about 20 flower shapes, seven branches and five leaves.

 

STEP 3:

craft metal and thread cutters

Cut out the traced shapes on the metal sheet using a pair of scissors. Take care not to cut yourself on the sharp edges!

 

STEP 4:

craft metal and mirror spray paint

Fix the cardboard to the centre of the mirror with some Prestik. Then place all the metal shapes and the mirror on a covered surface, and spray with the spray paint. Allow to dry before finishing with a second coat.

 

STEP 5:

craft metal flowers

When the flowers are dry, use the embossing tool to shape the petals gently. Play around with bending the petals up or down to find the flower look you want.

 

STEP 6:

craft metal flowers on mirror

Arrange all the flowers and branches on the mirror. Once you’re happy with the arrangement, fix everything onto the mirror with the wood glue. Allow to dry overnight.

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever – For Mother’s Day

We all have our favourite recipes – the ones we know will never fail us.  Today’s recipe is one such staple: my Ultimate Go-To Chocolate Cake.  This recipe has been halved, doubled, cupcake-d, tray-baked or a combination of the lot.  The oil in it makes it incredibly moist, staying fresh for up to a week (honestly – try it!!!) and it has the added bonus of being egg and dairy free. This three-tiered naked beauty was made, on this occasion, for my lovely Mom’s 69th birthday.  Why don’t you give it a try for Mother’s Day?  Get as creative as you like with the decorations… please let me know how it turns out!

best chocolate cake

YOU WILL NEED

Equipment: An electric mixer/food processor, sieve, additional heat-proof bowl, cake tins as preferred*, greaseproof/baking paper, Bake Even strips**, plastic straws (if using flowers, to facilitate safe placement of flower stems)

 

INGREDIENTS

For the chocolate cake:

3 (4½) cups cake flour

4 (6) teaspoons baking powder

1 (1½) teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

150 (225) ml cocoa (the darkest you can find)

2 (3) cups sugar

Pinch of salt

2 (3) cups boiled water

1 (1½) cup oil

50 (75) ml vinegar

2 (3) teaspoons vanilla essence

best chocolate cake

Just enough vanilla frosting for the naked look:

200g butter, VERY soft but not melted

400g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

To finish:

Flowers or other decorations of your choice (we used begonia and eucalyptus)

 

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 180ÂşC and prepare your baking tins by lining with greaseproof paper (or cupcake wrappers if you’re opting for cupcakes and wrapping in Bake Even strips.

Instructions for the cake:

  • Sift & mix all the dry ingredients in your mixer bowl.
  • Combine all the wet ingredients in your heat-proof bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix on low until well combined.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared tins/cupcake wrappers, making sure they’re about equal depth.

Note: If you’re using different sized tins as I did, the cakes will obviously bake at different speeds.  I decided it would be less disruptive to the baking process to quickly add the smaller cakes to the oven mid-bake than it would be to test them and have to possibly put them back.  This worked well for me.

Baking times:

  • Put the largest tins in the oven first and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Once 25 minutes has passed, quickly add the smaller tins to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes.
  • After this time, check all by inserting a skewer or sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. If any of the cakes need a little longer, extend the bake by 5 minutes at a time until done.
  • Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Instructions for the frosting:

  • Combine all the ingredients in your electric mixer and mix very well. The more you beat the frosting, the lighter it will become!

To assemble:

  • Start by levelling cakes where necessary, then sandwiching the two large cakes with a little frosting.

  • Place a blob of frosting in the middle of the top tier and spread to cover an area roughly the size of the next cake, then position the mid-size tier.
  • Again, create an area of frosting roughly the size of the smallest tier and position your final cake on top.
  • Once all the tiers are assembled, proceed to apply a very thin coat of frosting all over. You may, like me, find this counter-intuitive… I’m so used to always trying to cover a cake impeccably.

  • Decorate to your liking.

If you choose to add flowers to your cake, here are a few tips!

best chocolate cake

  • Choose flowers that are safe to come into contact with food. Things like roses are perfect, or other edible flowers.
  • Just to be safe, use straws to keep the stems away from the cake. Burn the ends of the straws and pinch it to create a closed tube.
  • To ensure that the flowers stay fresh and pretty, decorate the cake just before serving.

best chocolate cake

best chocolate cake

best chocolate cake

Cook’s notes:

* I made the recipe up 1½ times (see quantities in brackets) and I used two 21cm cake tins, one 15cm cake tin and a 10cm tin. My large tins have loose bottoms, so I didn’t line their sides, but I seriously recommend lining the sides of any tin without a loose bottom.

** Bake Even strips help achieve level cakes with minimal doming.  If you don’t have proper Bake Even strips, you can use dampened tea towels or strips cut from old towels.  Simply fasten them around your tin with paper clips.  I actually did this for my two smaller pans as I only have two strips… it worked a charm!

*** For this “naked finish”, I used a simple vanilla frosting, but I’m including the chocolate frosting recipe for you anyway as that’s what I normally use.  The recipe, made up once, will make one tray-bake or a decent twin layered round cake using 21cm tins, or it yields 48 cupcakes.  To make enough chocolate frosting for a 2-tiered round cake, combine 400g butter (VERY soft but not melted), 800g icing sugar (sifted) and 80ml cocoa.  Mix very well as per vanilla frosting instructions above.

best chocolate cake

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

In full bloom this Mother’s Day

There is a very good reason why a bunch of fresh flowers is traditionally the gift of choice for mothers on Mother’s Day. It is because it is so sincere. Even more so if it was picked fresh from the garden by their loved ones. It’s simple and uncomplicated.

We have come across a few alternatives to the humble bunch of flowers to win over Moms hearts on this one special day dedicated to them. By putting a little thought into it, you can create something very personal that you won’t need to break the piggy bank open for.

Out of the box

Combining flowers with hexagon boxes are a great trendy gift idea and makes a lovely focal on a wall. Combine bright blooms from the garden with classic roses and air plants for a nice twist. This way the plants will remind Mom of this special day right throughout the year.

stylemepretty

Contain yourself

How many times have you received a few bunches of flowers and then ran out of vases? This is a common problem! Also because some flowers look better in a specific type of vase, like tulips for instance. They work best in a bell-shaped vase due to their ‘floppy’ nature. Why not be clever and make the vase a part of the gift?

You could also do the same if you give someone a cake. There are some exquisite cake stands on the market and it really is a well-considered gift. (Friends and family that read this post please take note!).

 

viewfrom5ft2

The Mother of all Blooms

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Ah, roses! Roses are still the ultimate floral gift for mom, whether it’s Mother’s Day roses, birthday roses, or just roses to say You Are Supermom (which moms don’t hear enough, let me tell you!!)  You can order amazing roses from Roses Only – their hand-picked blooms are from the mountains of exotic Ecuador – and they will deliver anywhere in the world. Make things extra special and dress them up for Mom with brown paper, string and a little bit of added foliage to make a gorgeous informal bouquet. But hurry up – the big day is only a few days away!

The Selv

Scent of a woman

Use eucalyptus branches to make a wreath, garland or a simple foliage bunch. It is not only super trendy, but it’s also refreshingly fragrant and will last longer that you ever anticipated!

For the wreath on the left, use a circular florist’s tray filled with oasis. For a simpler version, I would suggest you start by making a frame with a soft, bendy branch (willow or wattle will do!) that you can easily form into a circle. Tie it up with wire or twine and then start weaving your eucalyptus branches around it until you get the desired density. Finish it off with some roses on the side, secured with florist wire. This will dry well and still be beautiful!

instagram & apartmenttherapy & sfgirlbybay

From the herb garden

Chamomile flowers, lavender and rosemary are all lovely herbs that are readily available in most herb gardens. They make the most darling little bouquets and wreaths, or just bunch them together as an alternative to traditional flowers. The best part, is that Mom can use it in her cooking as well!

remainsimple & szinesotletek & clipzine

The gift of time

One thing all Mother’s want is to spend some quality time with their kids. Why not take her on a walk and pick some wild flowers along the way as a lovely memento of precious moments shared. Use the flowers as your centre piece on the breakfast table.

kateyoungdesign

Something different

Involve the entire family and make this sweet little triangle wreath. It’s such a refreshing new take on wreaths and has a bohemian feel to it that we love. It’s as simple as wiring three equal length stems together (bamboo sticks from your local nursery will also work well), and adding a few interesting leaves and branches to the right-hand corner. Secure the foliage with florist wire, add some string to the top of the wreath and hang it up for Mom to enjoy.

fallfordiy

Sense of occasion

Another great idea to involve the entire family, is to give each member a wreath to decorate and then hang it at different heights above the lunch table for the wow factor.

Add a few of Moms favorite color roses or berries from the garden for a pop of color if you don’t want to go all green.

brit.co & ruffledblog

The cherry blossom on top

A very clever little trick to impress Mom is to simply jazz up a shop bought cake with exquisite blooms from the garden and make it look like there was a food stylist involved in the process. It’s simply stunning and will tie in perfectly with your feminine, floral theme.

adventuresincooking

Happy upcoming Mother’s Day to all of you moms, aunts, grans and awesome women out there that get to experience the greatest gift of all in whatever way – MOTHERHOOD.

 

5 ways to make your flowers last longer

I work with flowers almost on a daily basis as it’s the quickest way to add life to a room. A single stemmed peony rose in the bathroom adds a whimsical touch and a colorful bunch of tulips in the living room gives a pop of color.

With all these lovely blooms around the house you want to make sure they last as long as possible and therefore I have found five very easy ways to ensure they keep fresher for longer.

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flickr.com stylemepretty.com

1.  Add sugar and a coin to the water

To make your flowers last longer, place 1 cube of sugar and 1 copper penny to the water in your vase. Then add the cut flowers to the vase and arrange them.

2. Add vodka to the water

Mix 1 tsp. (5 ml) of sugar and a few drops of vodka to the water in the vase.

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hearthandmade.co.uk tumblr.com

3.  Blend aspirin into the water

Crush an aspirin tablet. Fill the flowerpot with water. Add the aspirin tablet to the pot. Add the flowers.

4.  Maintain the stems

Ensure that the water in the flowerpot covers each stem. Trim the bottoms off any stems that have not been receiving water. Use sharp scissors, shears or a knife to trim the stems of the flowers. Trim the stems at a slant of 45 degrees. Refill the pot.

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stylemepretty.com

5.  Change the water

Replace the water every day to keep your flowers fresh. Trim the stems each time you change the water. Source: wikihow.com

My all time favorite flower quote “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck” Emma Goldman

Happy styling,

margaux 200px

10 ways to decorate with colour

Most of us are a little nervous when it comes to colour.

Except when you live in Durban that is! I have done a few shoots in this beautiful city in my career and have been blown away by the bold use of colour in their interiors. Truly refreshing.

I have found 10 easy ways to introduce colour in your home. Be bold, be brave and play a little! After all, it’s almost Spring!

1. Put your favorite crockery pieces on display

Mix and match old and new crockery pieces in open shelves to create a playful display – they are too pretty to be hidden in a cupboard anyway.

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Jelanieshop.com decor8blog.com

2. Painted furniture

Paint old chairs in bright happy colours and see how they come to life!

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brightbazaar

3. Create a gallery wall

Group some of your favorite art works (including the kids’ drawings) to create a gallery wall. Remember to consider your lighting carefully. You could even play with one or two colorful frames added to the mix to add some visual interest.

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entirelyeventfulday.com ohjoyblogs.com

4. Bright frames

I really like the yellow and grey trend at the moment. Why not buy or salvage old vintage frames and give them a loving coat of bright yellow and grey paint? It’s a cheap way of introducing color.

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brittanymakes.com Etsy.com

5. Wallpaper

Wallpaper is not readily available and as cheap as chips (or almost). Let your walls bloom with a fresh wallpaper sporting yellow blooms.

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countryliving.com theperfectpalette.com

6. Retro revival

Look for beautifully shaped furniture pieces and update them with either paint or simply by reupholstering the pillows. Combined with the right art work you have a sophisticated setting with a quirky retro twist.

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pinimg.com

7. Bright accessories

If you need to ease into the color thing – why not use colour in accessories surrounded by a crisp white canvas? This way you can always change it if you get overwhelmed or want to update according to the season.

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brightbazaarblog.com

8. Festive lanterns

Not only reserved for parties, try these playful lanterns available from your local Chinese shop as a focus point above a dining room table. Here the ‘power in numbers’ rule apply: group a few of them together to make a confident colour statement.

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anthologymag.com pinimg.com

9. Colour underfoot 

A rug can anchor a setting and you will be surprised at the difference it makes to a interior. It adds another layer and can be the perfect colourful accessory to a setting that needs a little something. Look out for modern and geometrical patterns as they are simply gorgeous.

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lonny.com stylyze.com

10. Scatters and blooms

It’s a well known fact that scatters and blooms are one of the least expensive items you can use to make a big difference in a room without breaking the bank.

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brightbazaarblog.com twolivecolorfully.com

Happy styling,

margaux 200px

Arum Lilies

For Germarie’s birthday, I gave her two bunches of Arum Lillies as this is one of her favorite flowers. Little did I know that it would spark off so much debate.

First of all there is the issue of the endangered Micro Frog and Arum Lilly Frog that after researched turned out to be a general misconception.

These frogs do not live and breed in the flower but only takes refuge there from time to time. Read the full story here on sanbi.org

The big issue is to not buy the flowers sold illegally by the side of the road but from a reputable source.

The second point of discussion was the symbolism behind the flower. I always thought it symbolizes death but it turns out that the Romans believed that it was a sign of lust and sexuality due to the shape of the flower. Read more about the symbolism of the flower at herb treat and taste blog

The Arum Lillie is such a beautiful and graphic flower. It can sit as a single stem in a vase or as a bunch and doesn’t need anything grouped with it to make a statement.

It’s also one the most photographed flowers and looks great in black and white.

I found a few visuals that I hope inspire.

Happy styling,

margaux 200px

Vintage art – dancer imitating the Arum.

Arum_7

Pinterest.com

Like most things, the Arum is at it’s prettiest in it’s natural habitat.

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 whenpigsfly

The Arum Lily frog.

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greenlimabeans.com

All white blooms with fresh green stems make lots of impact in a flower display.

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Pinterest.com stylemepretty.com

Bend the blooms in a rose bowl or try grouping the darker variety together against a light background to create a show shopper center piece.

Arum_6

bywordofmouth.co.za prudencedesigns

The flower has beautiful graphic lines.

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oz2k

Probably the most photographed flower in the world.

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Pinterest.com