Make Gigantic Garden Dominoes in 7 Simple Steps 

This latest project for Ideas Magazine is a treat for mom or dad! Capitalise on game-time with garden dominoes! Make more memories with family and friends with a game for all ages.  Get the kids to help make the colourful dots of these fun-size dominoes. So, whether it’s for Mother’s day or Father’s day have fun!

The May/June 2019 issue of Ideas Magazine

Here’s how to make garden dominoes

Difficulty: easy

Time: 2 hours

You will need:

For the Dominoes

  • 2x 69x22x2.4m Pine PAR (cut into 28x 140mm sections)
  • Kid-safe Paint (3-6 different colours) *
  • Clear sealer (we used Armour from Granny B’s) *

For the box

  • 1x 90x22x1.8m Pine PAR
  • 12x 40mm Wood Screws

You will also need:

  • Jigsaw
  • Drill with 3mm wood drill bit
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper
  • Ruler
  • Small Paint Roller
  • Small Circular Sponge (10mm in diameter)

* Granny B supplied the Old Fashioned Chalk paint and Armour Sealer for this project.


garden dominoes diy

Measure and mark 28 sections of 140mm and one 580mm section on the 69x22x2.4m pine battens. Then measure two 580mm and two 110mm lengths on the 90x22x1.8m pine battens. Cut the wood into these sections then lightly sand the edge s.


oversized garden dominoes

Finish the garden dominoes first. Measure 70mm and make a pencil line across each 140mm piece. Paint a thin stripe on top of the pencil line. To ensure a straight line, dip a ruler’s edge into the paint and lightly press it onto the measured mark.


oversized dominoes diy

Mark the domino’s dots with a pencil then make dots with the small circular sponge. Dip the sponge into paint and test your dots on paper before dotting the wood pieces.


Use a small roller and paint the sides or reverse of a few dominoes in different colours. Set aside to dry and move on to the domino box.


Measure 10mm from each corner of the 110mm pieces and mark the spot with a pencil dot. Then measure and dot 10mm high and 50mm deep from the left and right edges of the two wider 580mm pieces. Drill pilot holes halfway into the wood where you’ve made dots.  


oversized garden dominoes step by step

Let the narrow 580mm plank lay flat on your workbench. Then place the two wider 580mm planks (on their sides) on either side of the narrow plank to form a u-shape. Put a line of wood glue on the u-shape edge then cover with a 110mm piece and clamp them together.

Screw in four screws, one for each corner, into small sides of the box first. Then screw in two screws into either side of the box’s length.


garden dominoes

Use a paint roller to paint the outer edge of the domino box. Once dry, apply a clear sealant to the box and the dominoes. 2-3 coats are ideal for outdoor use.

TIPS for making garden dominoes

  • Save time and have your wood cut at the hardware store.
  • Use scrap wood between the clamp’s feet and the pine to avoid damaging the wood.
  • Use clear water- and heat resistant sealer that is non-yellowing like Armour from Granny B’s Old Fashioned Paint.

Don’t forget to treat your mum with Mother’s day cake!

Happy Making!

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


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)



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)



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!

Pressing Flowers: An Easy DIY Gift for Mother’s Day

Mothers Day is around the corner, and every year, we try to come up with An Easy DIY Gift for Mother’s Day – something a little different for mom that doesn’s cost much and that the kids can make as well. This year, we chose simple pressed flowers, arrange in a mandala-shape: it’s pretty and different and great fun to make!

How To Make A Pressed Flower Mandala For Mom This Mother’s Day

You will need:

  • A variety of flowers and leaves (we even used thinly-sliced grapes!)
  • Spray glue
  • Picture frame with two pieces of equally-sized glass*
  • Spray Paint (we used Aerolac Postbox Red and Signal Green)



Carefully place the flowers and leaves on some tissue paper, and then place some heavy books on top to press them. You can leave them for three days or so to ensure that they are nice and flat.



Remove the glass from the frames and spray the frames in the colour of your choice. Apply a second coat if necessary, and allow to dry.



Using the flowers, create your design on one of the panes of glass. Once you are happy with it, you are ready to stick it down!



Clean the glass, and then apply a layer of spray-on glue to one of the panes. Carefully but quickly, recreate your pattern by placing the pressed flowers on the glass. You will most likely not be able to lift up the flowers once you’ve placed them down, so you’ll have to work quickly! If the glue gets too dry, you can just apply some more – it won’t damage the flowers that you’ve already placed down.



When you pattern is done, place the second pane of glass over the first, and carefully place them inside the frame.


* I revamped old frames for this project. If you have two frames in the same size, you can use the two pieces of glass with 1 of the frames. Alternatively, have a piece of glass cut to the same size as the glass in the frame.


As simple as that! You can really play around with pattern based on what flowers and leaves you have. We hope that you’ll try this project with the kids for mom or granny this year – and send us your artwork, we’d love to see!


Happy Mothers 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.


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!).



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.


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.


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. & 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.


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.