Christmas Around My Home – the last post for 2014

Christmas, table setting, hessian, white, naturalWhat a wonderful year 2014 has been! I will be taking a blog break until the new year, but i wanted to quickly say thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me throughout 2014. When i look back over the past year, i can honestly say that i can not remember a time when i was happier. The fresh new start at our property, Melancholy Hill, certainly set the tone for the rest of the year. unique christmas tree ribbonThe guesthouse has been a smashing success this year and with a few bookings already for 2015, i know the next year will be the same. Messages of thanks and happiness fill my guest book at RedAgape Guesthouse and i am so pleased to be able to share the beauty of Millthorpe with others.
DAS air dry clayI have had so many new opportunities to further improve my photography, styling and writing over the last 12months. Thank you to those who have trusted me to produce good work, despite my lack of formal qualifications. The experience i have gained over the last year has been priceless.
gift wrappingI have so much gratitude for a year of reasonably good health….something i NEVER take for granted. I am also extremely grateful for the good health of all those i hold dear. I hope this continues in 2015.
Christmas, table setting, natural,This year i have finally been able to feel some resolution about losing my mother last year. I think of her everyday and I’m grateful for the pain because it makes me determined to fill every moment with as much happiness and joy as i can muster.
clay stars for christmasI have loved watching three very special people, my children, grow a little more into totally inspiring human beings. They are so kind, thoughtful, bright and pure. I wish Mum could see how they’ve grown. I am unbelievably proud of them and everything they do.
Marble, wood, Christmas, white clayI have crossed paths with so many like minded people this year, who have encouraged me to follow my dreams and believe in myself a little more. It is so refreshing to be surrounded by creative and inspiring people who want me to succeed. Thank you to those people – you know who you are. xoxox
Christmas, table setting, decorating, stylingI also want to say goodbye to Ruby. Our dog of 15yrs was diagnosed with cancer on Saturday and sadly we had to put her to sleep. There were lots of tears on Saturday but we are consoled by the fact she has lived a long life and isn’t suffering anymore. The last year she spent at Melancholy Hill was probably her happiest too.
Christmas outdoorsFinally, Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to my readers. I am looking forward with great anticipation to 2015 – i have so much planned!!!

DIY Christmas Wreath – Ribbon Poinsettias

christmas craft - poinsettia ribbons

Making your own Christmas wreath is a great craft project to help celebrate the festive season. This tutorial is for a christmas wreath made from ribbon poinsettias. These ribbon poinsettias are easy to make and look beautiful when made from glossy satin ribbon. Here’s what you will need –

  • satin ribbon – 5cm wide
  • floristry wire
  • scissors
  • a wreath base – of whatever material you like
  • a hot glue gun
  • embellishments – bells, bead (optional)

christmas craftFor each ribbon poinsettia you will need to cut three strips of ribbon approximately 15cm long. christmas craftCut the ends of the ribbon to form points – you will need to do this for both ends. christmas craftFold each strip of ribbon like a concertina: fold in half and then fold the outer edges in opposite directions. Your ribbon should look like a bow tie (see the image above)ribbon poinsettiasAs you fold each strip thread them onto a pin to hold them in place until you are ready to secure them with wire.
christmas craftTake a piece of wire, also 15cm long and fold over so it resembles a hair pin.
christmas craftPut the wire over the centre of the three strips of ribbon and twist a couple of times at the back to make it secure. You can now remove the pin.
ribbon poinsettiasCross over your wires – this is the hardest part. If you look at the image above you can see the wire is attached in three different directions: one straight across (the first step of attaching the wire) and two in diagonally opposite directions. To make your first diagonal, take one of the ends of the wire from the back, separate your ‘petals’ and take the wire up through one pair of divided petals and down through the opposite pair of divided petals. Take the second end of the wire from the back and repeat the same steps on the opposite side. With both wire ends now at the back, give them a final couple of twists to make your flower secure. You can now play with your petals until you have achieved a look that you are happy with. christmas craftIf you want to add beads or bells to the centre of your ribbon flower, simply add the embellishment at the wiring step.

christmas craftThe rest of the ribbon is completed in the same way as the plain ribbon flowers.
diy Christmas ribbon wreathI made a lot of ribbon flowers in a short amount of time – enough for two wreaths. It is up to you how you choose to attach your ribbon poinsettias to make a wreath. I added my ribbon flowers to a gold wire hoop using my hot gue gun. A similar method could be used regardless of what you choose for your wreath base.

DIY christmas wreathHere are my two Christmas wreaths hanging in our rumpus room.
DIY christmas wreathAnd there’s no reason you can’t make these in other colours and use them as gift toppers or hair bows. Join me on Instagram for other Christmas craft activities.

Paper Cone Wreath: Christmas Version

ideas for easy Christmas craftLast week I was invited to run a Christmas craft activity for some local carers in our community. Carers are people who look after a friend or family member that is sick, disabled, elderly or mentally ill and unable to cope without support. Most carers are unpaid, work very hard and deal with high levels of stress. They can be any age, come from all walks of life and varying cultures, but one thing they do have in common is that they need a break sometimes.

Vintage Sheet Music Paper Wreath

Paper Cone Wreath made from Vintage Sheet Music

I am extremely enthusiastic about using craft as a form of therapy and tag of lot of my Instagram posts this way – #craftastherapy As a few of you know, I turned to craft in a massive way during 2013 as my mother neared the end of her battle with brain cancer. For me, it was a way to shield myself from the stress when it was getting too much. I’ve always loved craft but #craftastherapy began for me with my first Paper Cone Wreath. You can find an updated tutorial here.

paper craft

Paper Craft – silhouette heart and Vintage Music Paper Cone Wreath

It seemed fitting that my first Carers Craft Group should start with a Christmas version of my paper cone wreath. The construction is identical to my standard wreath, but a gap is left in the centre to glue Christmas decorations. There are only three rounds, which makes it quicker and easier to construct. Christmas Wreath from paper cones

I am really happy with how they turned out and they all looked beautiful hung together in a cluster on this wall. christmas wreath from paper cones

Please come and join me on instagram and hashtag your craft projects as #craftastherapy I would really love to see any craft activities that you have created to help get you through difficult times.

7 Vignettes August

Craft

Girl Crush – Shani Nottingham from Rare Pear Studio

collage butterflies womanI’ve decided it is time to pay tribute to the wonderful woman in my life that not only encourage me creativity, but inspire me on a daily basis with their talent and generous natures. I am going to call this new series ‘Girl Crush’ and I’m kicking it off with Shani Nottingham from Rare Pear Studio.

australian artistI had been following Shani for a little while on Instagram, before I approached her about photographing her home for Central West Lifestyle Magazine. Her IG feed is a visual feast, bursting with creativity and colour, so I was confident her home would be equally as interesting, and i wasn’t disappointed!cosy reading nookShani is a collector, gatherer and curator. Her home is both warm and fascinating. Everywhere you look there is a conversation starter, which is why I spent 5hrs visiting her home…..we talked and talked and talked. It was astounding how much we had in common and I left that day knowing I had made a good friend.

collector coloured glassShani’s collects glass with a passion and it is displayed lovingly throughout her home, adding a rainbow of colour where ever you look. Her pottery collected from op shops and secondhand stores, sit proudly on display atop thrifted or gifted cupboards. There is an abundance of eclectic objects that you don’t expect to be grouped in one room, but it works, and you feel some understanding of how Shani thinks – like a little glimpse into how her mind works.

collection of german potteryKill that Man! The painting over the fireplace was a gift from her husband, before they were married,  and has been to every home they have lived in. It’s large, blue and proudly takes pride of place in the centre of the room.
pop art blueThis painted beauty is an original Rare Pear Studio piece, that ties in effortlessly with the rest of the room.
rare pear studio original artAnd she paints, draws, makes collages and excels in photography. So much talent wrapped up in one lady! She is allergic to mushrooms, but she is fascinated with them and has mastered capturing them in pencil, ink or paint.
mushrooms art on book pagesShe blogs at Rare Pear Studio Blogspot. There you can enjoy her varied and entertaining posts. Trust me, you won’t get bored. You can follow her Facebook page if you prefer.

nest drawingHer photography is unique and moving……subjects captured with so much care. You can follow her beautifully captured images on Instagram.
succulent photographyI must say though, it’s her collages that get me! Right in the heart! They are perfectly composed and visually intriguing, so much so that you can’t look away. This one is called Enchanted Forest. And some exciting news – Shani has just launched her website www.rarepearstudio.com.au Pop over for a visit, it’s definitely worth it. xo

paper collage forest art

3 Ways to make a Pegboard Christmas Tree

pegboard christmas tree ribbonThese pegboard Christmas tree ideas are great for anyone with limited space or just looking for an alternative to the typical store bought, fake green tree. These ideas are quick and simple to construct and because the pegboard sits flat on the floor or hung on the wall, it is a space saving alternative to having a large Christmas tree. And this means more room for presents! Yay! First up is my red ribbon tree -ribbon and pegboard xmas treeThese are so simple to put together. Using some pegboard hooks, mark out where you want the outline of your tree to go, and then run the ribbon around the hooks and let it fall in a lovely puddle at the bottom of the pegboard. pegboard chistmas ideasTo make your corners, place two hooks in opposite directions and thread the ribbon in a zig zag motion around them. unique christmas tree ribbonAnd there is no reason you can’t choose your own embellishment for the top of the tree. There are no hard and fast rules, so if you don’t want to use the traditional angel or star, find something else that appeals to you. I have used a red bird on my tree top.pegboard christmas decorFor my next tree i used a simple string of silver beads and a plain white star as the topper. You could also use tinsel, jute string or a garland of felt balls as an alternative. Nat at Little Puddles sells garlands in a variety of Christmas colours and they would be PERFECT for this project. My Christmas budget is at its limit, so i may have to wait until next year to give the garlands a go. pegboard ideas for christmaschristmas tree pegboardMy last pegboard tree is made from a string of coloured lights. My string of lights was quite long, so i managed to wrap it around the tree outline three times. unique christmas treeMake sure you buy lights that are on silver or clear wire, so that they blend in with the pegboard. pegboard chistmas treeI’ve decided to stick with a combination of the lights and silver balls. This way the tree looks pretty during the day as well as the evening when the lights are shining brightly. unique christmas decoratingPhotobomber Perry! Totally confused and unsettled by the constantly changing tree. What do you think? Would you consider a pegboard tree?

Pom Pom Christmas Tree

branches in a vintage bottleI really wish i could take the credit for this super easy and fun Christmas tree made from sticks and pom poms. Unfortunately, i can’t and i must give credit where credit is due.  I found the idea on interest here –

pom pom branches for christmas

Click the image for the link

All you need is some pom poms, branches or twigs, a vase and a hot glue gun. Too easy! stick christmas treepom pom christmas tree

For more Christmas craft and styling ideas you can visit my Christmas Pinterest Boardchristmas branches

 

Easy Christmas Craft – White Clay Tags

Marble, wood, Christmas, white clayIf you are looking for a cheap and easy Christmas craft project, these air dry, white clay tags are quick and fun to make. Like all of my favourite craft projects, these tags are simple, affordable and look great. All you need for this Christmas project is – DAS air dry clay (i bought mine from office works), christmas cookie cutters, a straw, a rolling pin and your choice of thread or ribbon to decorate them. DAS air dry clay christmas ornamentsI used some old X-ray films as a mat for rolling out the clay and drying the tags. They work well as the clay doesn’t stick to the surface and they clean up really easily. So, if you have some old X-ray film around, i can highly recommend using it as a mat for this project. clay ornaments and tagsOpen your packet of clay and break off about a third. I like to work with a third at a time because it’s easier to handle and the clay is less likely to dry out if you can work with it quickly. It will look a little grey initially, but don’t worry, once it is dry it will turn white. Roll out your clay until it is nice and smooth on both sides. You don’t want to see any lines or bumps in the clay, or your tags may crack and break as they dry. I like my tags to be about 1/2 a cm thick. Once you are happy that your surface is smooth, press the cookie cutter into the clay until it cuts all the way through. white clay ornaments christmasPush the straw into the clay, twist and pull out the centre, leaving a clean hole for you to thread your string or ribbon through later. DIY air dry clay ornamentsLeave them to dry for up to four days. As they dry you can see them turning a lighter and brighter shade of white. You will know when they are dry when there are no more grey patches left on either the front or the back of the tag. clay stars for christmasHere are some of my finished tags, threaded with jute string. Ribbon or bakers twine looks quite effective too. DIY clay tagsAnd don’t they look great hanging off our stick Christmas tree. My family and i made this tree from sticks that have fallen on our property. It was a great family bonding activity and I LOVE how it turned out. The clay tags compliment the rough sticks perfectly. DAS air dry clayThese tags can be used to decorate Christmas gifts too. The recipients name can be written on the clay once it is dry, or even stamped into the wet clay to leave an impression. whitechristmasaustralianstyleI will be making a batch of these every year to attach to gifts. I may even get a bit more adventurous next year with paint and stamping, but for this Christmas i’m loving the chalky, matt finish of the plain clay tags. It really is starting to look a lot like Christmas around my home. easy christmas craft

Christmas Styling – a natural table setting

Christmas, table setting, hessian, white, naturalThis is what Christmas will look like at my house this year. I am moving away from the bright and garish decorating that is usually associated with Christmas and creating a theme that is more in keeping with our contemporary home. I am adopting a little nordic style and blending it with a bit of Australia. There will be lots of white, minimal decorations and focus on Christmas shapes, rather than colour. Marble, wood, Christmas, white clay I LOVE that Christmas is a time when we can unapologetically decorate in excess, often in bad taste, but for our neutral coloured living, kitchen and dining, I wanted clean and simple decor. Don’t worry, I’ll be flooding my rumpus room with loud and glitzy decorations, all in the traditional red and green combo. Christmas styling, table setting A minimal and simple style of decorating style doesn’t necessarily mean boring. My Christmas table setting, while focusing on neutrals, maintains plenty of interest with the varying shapes and textures. The rustic hessian table runner provides some relief from the abundance of white and ties in nicely with our country setting. Christmas, table setting, natural, Using sticks from your backyard, antlers and blooms are a great way to bring nature indoors, especially if it’s hot outside. Including items from nature helps create a relaxing and down to earth vibe, as we often feel more at peace in natural settings. Christmas, table setting, decorating, styling The large white wooden star works well as a centre piece and makes the table look a little more Christmassy, as do the white deer ornaments. And do those antlers belong to Rudolph, shed after last Christmas perhaps? All I need now is some matching Bon Bons to complete the table.White, Christmas, table setting, styling So, what do you think of my neutral Christmas table setting? I love it!

My home is featured on Houzz Australia – comment to win!

houzz kitchen styling interiorsThe winner of this competition has now been chosen. Congrats to @justazed on winning a $50 voucher to Jumbled Online!!

 I’m totally flattered and grateful to be chosen to kick off Houzz Australia‘s newest series called At Home With… It is a fabulous concept created to showcase some of Australia’s best home and lifestyle bloggers and i was selected first! Chuffed! Houzz readers get a sneak peak into bloggers homes and find out what makes them tick.

houzz white wood kitchen One of the great things about this new series is a fun competition element that could win readers a $50 voucher to one of my favourite stores, Jumbled in Orange. It’s a bright and colourful homewares store that I visit often, usually to buy a craft or decorating book. They also have beautiful gifts and home decor items.

Remodeling and Home Design

Click on the “Featured on Houzz” button above and leave a comment after the interview to be in with a chance of winning. It’s easy to do and only takes two minutes. Please go and check it out. I’d really love one of my regular readers to win the voucher. :)  thank you!!

houzz modern bathroomhome office, decoratingcraft room, pegboard, organising

My home office and craft room tour

craft room, pegboard, organising Welcome to my clean and organised home office! I’m taking the photos now as i’ve just reorganised this room and i know that it won’t stay this way for long. I’m sure a lot of you can relate when i say that keeping a home office organised is difficult, especially when there is more than one person using the space. There are five people actively using our home office space, so it tends to get messy and becomes a bit of a dumping ground for junk. Our three kids use our home office for study and homework, my hubby for work and myself for craft and blogging, so it’s nice for it to be organised. That said, it rarely is…home office, stylish, mapsOur office isn’t a huge room, but I’ve managed to fit three designated working areas into the space without it feeling cluttered. In fact, after moving everything around and adding an extra desk, it actually feels bigger. I’m not sure how that happened, but Yay! :)home office, decorating The key to maximising the space is to be clever with storage and organisation. We are lucky that we have great built in storage that covers one wall of the room. Two thirds of that wall is a built-in cupboard and the last third is a handy little office nook, that you can see below. home office, organisingWe have two free standing desks on opposite walls, which means we have three designated working areas. I also added a couple of extra open shelved cupboards that fit nicely into what was previously an unused space. I store a lot of my craft items here. maps, office, styling And by adding lots of boxes and files for storage i was able to  really tidy up the room, so all i need now is for the kids to put things back where they belong. I know, wishful thinking! pegboard organsationpegboard craft roomThe final working area is my craft area. How great would it be to have an entire room JUST for creating! Ahhh, but it’s not to be, so i am very grateful for this little space. I really and truly tried to resist the pegboard trend, but i just couldn’t help myself. After completing my tufted bedhead using pegboard, I’m seeing so much potential for this affordable material. craft roomAnd golly gosh, a pegboard is so great for organising craft supplies. Do you know that you can buy proper pegboard hooks and clasps to help you get organised? I didn’t, but i do now. craft room organisationAnd finally, i filled my last corner with a big cane basket to hold all my rolls of paper and cellophane. I’ve thrown in a few of my Mollie Makes magazines here too. Boy, i love being organised! I hope you enjoyed the tour. Don’t forget that I’m on Instagram and Facebook if you’d like to join me. :)craft room office styling