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Vertical Gardens- The Sky’s The Limit

These days, the current trend in housing sees more people enjoying apartment living; with no lawns to mow and fewer rooms to keep clean and tidy. Where they are in a house, (at least in homes around me) so often we witness the original homes being bull dozed to the ground, and monstrous mansions built in place with little or no garden or yard left. This means that if you are at all interested in gardening or producing your own food, you must get creative.

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Image: Brilliant Besser Block stackable garden, Apartment Therapy

Vertical gardens are an innovative way to optimise the space you have by building your garden UPWARDS! Essentially it is a new take on an old technique, instead of simply using a trellis, we now utilise all sorts of products to create these gardens.There are certainly specialty products available now that can make creating your vertical garden pretty straight forward and simple; a combination of wired frames and pots, but there are plenty of other options too.

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Image: Bunning, Ready to go vertical garden kit

The great thing about this resurgence in popularity of the humble vertical garden is people have started thinking about new ways to do it, and with that has come a rise in ‘upcycling’ concepts. Plastic soft drink or milk bottles can be used, along with reused wooden pallets to create unique upright structures to plant your garden within.

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Vertical Garden Using Plastic Milk Bottles.  This would be a great thing to do at school - maybe give each child a couple of seeds and see what grows?:
Image via 1001 Gardens, Coach House Crafting
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Image: ZelfMaak Ideetjes

 

Vertical gardens are a unique way to disguise unattractive areas- in our case, we recently attached a vertical garden to the outside of our pool filter box which was previously covered in a dark bamboo fencing which looked visually very heavy. These gardens can also be used to draw your attention to a particular area as is the case with green wall creations on premier hotels or office blocks, both inside and out.

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Image: Outdoor Design
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Image via Tournesol Site Works, The living wall at the Singapore Institute of Technology & Education – images courtesy of Victor Tan, Elmich

This is not a garden solution for someone who is after something low maintenance. As you are creating the garden beds upwards, they tend to be fairly shallow or small areas that are filled with soil, and therefore are unable to hold large quantities of water. This means they require regularly watering or irrigation systems, and of course need to be appropriate plants for this situation.

Vertical gardens can use almost any plant you like provided you provide them with appropriate conditions, however for the most interesting affects, consider using a combination of climbing plants, and plants that are naturally pendulous as well as plants that provide bulk.

Here are some of my suggestions to get your vertical garden, or green wall looking really interesting; sedum and other succulents, bromeliads or other air plants which require little soil, ferns, Chain of hearts, Silver Falls (below), Colius (below).

Alternatively, you can use your vertical garden to harvest your own herbs and vegetables. I suggest lettuce varieties would be useful in most homes, as well as tomatoes if you have the room for a trellis, or other support. Beans are quick to harvest so are interesting to grow if you have young ones in the house as they can quickly see progress :-)

 

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So whether you are short on space, or simply want to create an interesting display somewhere you have a blank wall, vertical gardens are a beautiful, effective way to bring your space to life, quite literally!

Fwf x

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Trentham Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding | Photography by Pierre Curry

Pretty but Poisonous- Flowers To Avoid in D.I.Y Cake making

Yesterday I had a customer ring and enquire on the availability of a couple of flowers for an upcoming party she has in a few weeks. One was lavender, which is readily available at the moment, but the other was Frangipani. Given that we are in the throes of winter, Frangipani are not commercially available. Having said that, there may indeed be a random tree in your street with a few token blooms, and interstate or international suppliers may indeed also have them available- but at what cost and what quality?

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Image: How To- Garden

After further discussion, and having suggested other scented flowers or even the possibility of using artificial Frangipani, I discovered the actually the lady had intended to use the Frangipani as decoration on and around the cake. Wowzers! What worries me most about this situation is that had she been able to get them from a neighbour down the street, she may well have used them, had my price not been comparable (to free!)

But this is where industry professionals are an invaluable resource. Frangipani (or Plumeria) are related to the Oleander Plant, both of which possess a poisonous milky sap, similar to that of the Euphorbia family. A cut on any part of the Frangipani tree will exude a milky, sticky sap, which is poisonous to both humans and animals. That said, Frangipani are not an appropriate choice for decoration of food products unless they are prepared appropriately. Simply placing the blooms on the cake with no barrier would be insufficient in terms of protecting the food from possible contamination from the sap.

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Image: What Com Flowers

A trained florist can wire and parafilm (tape) each bloom for you so that you are able to use the Frangipani effectively on food products. This is fiddly, and will cost you a little, but it is certainly worth the investment I think.

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Image: Maui Wedding Cakes

Other poisonous blooms include, but are not limited to:

  • Daffodils
  • Pointsettia
  • Johnquils
  • Azaleas
  • Calla Lily
  • Hyacinth
  • Lantana
  • Oleander
  • Wisteria
  • Rhododendron
  • Mistletoe
  • Holly
  • Foxglove
  • Hydrangea
  • Lily of the Valley
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Image: Bay
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Image: Sarah Sexy Plants

 

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Terrys Fabrics

Now fear not, eating a small quantity of most of these blooms will not likely result in death, but larger quantities might. Most of these flowers if ingested will give a severe case of diahorrea, vomiting, headaches and cramps. It is just something that you should be mindful of if you are considering D.I.Y-ing for your next party or soirée.

As a general rule, it is not recommended that flowers that are grown for florists are used directly on a cake in any case, poisonous or not. This is simply because they may have been sprayed with chemical, fumigated  or dipped in products like ‘Round Up’ so that they cannot be struck and grown from a cutting (in the case of imported products that may be harmful to Australia’s unique environment).

Flowers that have been grown for a florists commercial use, should firstly be cut, then wired to create an artificial stem, then taped using a plastic tape film to prevent any transfer of plant material to the cake.

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Style Me Pretty
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Image: Moncheri Bridals
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Image: Mod Wedding

Cake pieces do tend to be fiddly as a result of all this time consuming work, and therefore can be costly but really, it is a small price to pay to ensure you keep all your guests safe.

After all your hard work party planning, you don’t want one of your guests, or yourself to fall ill….that would really be the icing on the cake!

Fwf x

 

 

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Memories- Unique Ideas to Pay Tribute to Loved Ones.

REMEMBER

Death is nothing at all,

I have only slipped into the next room.

I am I, and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used,

Put no difference into your tone.

Laugh as we always laughed

at the jokes we enjoyed together.

Smile

Think of me

Give thanks for my Life.

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Image: Bergen Designs

A colleague and I were chatting a few weeks ago, after we had both lost someone. Funerals, and memorials vary widely depending on the kind of affair the deceased had organised, or how the family decides to honour their loved one, they even vary depending on whether they passed unexpectedly, or whether it had been a long battle to the end. Some people find the restrictions of a funeral hard on their own journey of grief, and want to find another way they can honour the person who has passed.

I recently went to a funeral which lacked any formality. The deceased had actually wanted there to be no ceremony- but his wife couldn’t bear the idea of that, so went for a super simple affair with very few attendees. There were no readings, no eulogies, no picture slideshows, just 8 carefully selected musical tracks which played in the background as guests arrived and when the last song had played, everyone simply got up and went to the club for drink together.

Perhaps not everyone needs to have people say nice things about them, and pretend that they were faultless and a saint throughout their life, but for me, talking about the good old times is really all part of the grieving process, and I missed that in this particular case. In fact, I found the silence overwhelming. Being alone with my own thoughts was deafening, and it made me more emotional than if there had been speeches and readings to focus upon.

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Image: Empress of Dirt

You may also feel compelled to honour the deceased in your own special way, personally and privately, or in a way that others can share in. For example, I found this simple idea (above) which I thought could be easily adapted to include loved ones names and significant dates in even the smallest of gardens. You can then add stones when needed without sacrificing more space in your garden, which is suitable for our small urban living spaces.

My friend and I had been talking about the idea of starting a special memorial garden, or section in your garden where you can honour people who have passed. This could work particularly well for school or community groups where people are able to congregate in a public area. In fact, that’s exactly what a one local school has recently done. After losing two staff members in a short period after long battles with cancer, they set about creating a memorial space. The teacher’s classes were encouraged to choose the plant and be involved in the planting and maintenance and again, this garden needn’t get any bigger. Choose appropriate sized plants or you could even include small plaques to an established garden bed.

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Image: Joe Maui Blogspot

You will often find that these days, families ask that no flowers be sent to the funeral. Aside from the cost involved in paying tribute to someone this way, often so many pieces are given on the one day, and it is impossible to enjoy them all at once. They are either left at the service, or it is up to friends and family to transport them back to the family home. You can obviously choose to send something directly to the home, and if this is something you wish to do, be guided by your florist who will certainly suggest sending something that is self contained.

Another idea is to stagger the deliveries of sympathy flowers to the home. This can be organised directly with the local florist so that the family is not overwhelmed in the first few days only to be left with a house full of arrangements dying at the same time. This way the family can enjoy fresh flowers for weeks or months, and can appreciate them individually.

Whilst it is not customary to provide a ‘gift’ or favour to funeral guests, how cute is this idea of giving guests a packet of a favourite flower/herb/wildflower, or forget-me-nots to take home and plant at home. It is certainly perfect for an avid gardener, and adds an extra personal touch to the service.

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Image: Botanical Paperworks

 

Well, there are some ideas for you to think over. For all your sympathy flower needs, head here.

Perhaps you have recently lost someone special like me, and don’t want to feel like they have been forgotten….

Forever in your heart, never forgotten.

Fwf x

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That’s a Wrap

For us creative types, Christmas wrapping can become just another avenue in which we can express ourselves. Rather than be limited by the variety of papers available at your local department store, with a little extra effort, your presents can look too good to unwrap! And lets be honest, there is nothing more enticing than a beautifully wrapped and decorated present taunting you from underneath the tree…..

It is important that you decide on a style or a theme, and stick with it. This will cut down on costs as you will not need to purchase too many variables. Now that is not to say that there cannot be variations within this,  so this allows you to make each present look individual and unique, BUT when they all sit together, they look like they belong together. This way the presents will look more finished and cohesive.

I personally am a little behind schedule with my Christmas shopping. Stupidly, I thought I may be able to squeeze in some shopping on my half hour break each day I worked in the shop, but I tried that once, last Sunday, and will not attempt it again! The last Mr Potatohead was sitting there on the shelf, and feeling accomplished, I grabbed it, thrilled that third time was the charm, and I finally had what I was looking for, but unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. As I made my way to the counter I could see that the remainder of my break (all 25 mins of it) would be used waiting in the horrendous lines….that is, if it didn’t take even longer.

This obviously puts a bit of a delay on my wrapping as well, because lets face it, you have to have your presents first, but, in the meantime, I have got my wrapping ingredients and materials ready and waiting.

Today the kids also got involved and have created their own ‘range’ of wrapping paper. We do this every year and use it for the presents for their little friends. It is a nice way for them to get involved, and keep them occupied whilst I am being creative too.

Here I’ll show you some of my favourite wrapping ideas this year,  that will take your presents from ordinary, to extraordinary.

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Image: Etsy

I love using both brown craft paper and brown card as it just seems to fit with a simpler, more handmade and organic feel. By simply gluing paper lace doilies onto cards, tags or paper, you can add a delicate, decorative, vintage feel in seconds.

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Image: Design Rulz

Again featuring brown craft or brown butchers paper, with simple twine, these presents are understated and elegant. I love adding spruce, holly, or pine to the gifts for an extra bit of festivity. Why not experiment with pinecones, or cinnamon sticks for a more earthy look. Or what about seashells if you are going for a beach feel?

Simple ink stamps can add personal touches, like Christmas greetings, or the gift recipients name. You can change the colour of the twine to suit your theme. These days coloured twines are available as well as natural jute.

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Image thanks to Going Home to Roost via PInterest

Want something different to the brown paper? Why not try black? Choose white textas or pencils to personalise each gift with a series of greetings and drawings. For something different choose silver or gold ink pens, or add splashes of colour!

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Image: 33 Shades of Green
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Image thanks to Our Fifth House via C.R.A.F.T

Try using a basic brown wrap  for all your gifts and then accessorise and personalise by adding a strip of a colourful paper, or fabric around the centre. This can then be personalised further by adding monogrammed gift tags and coordinating ribbons. I love the layered effect as it makes it look more intricate. It is a simple way of making it look like you have made a really special effort.

Why not try using hessian strips with frayed edges, and gingham ribbon- SUPER CUTE!

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Image: Mommo Design

Got some time on you hands or some handy craft assistants? You’ll need brown butchers paper, chocolate card, white dot stickers, a red marker and a black marker. With these tools and your time and patience, you can turn ordinary brown covered boxes into crazy reindeer companions.

With only 2 weeks to go til Christmas and with so much still left to do, we best get busy!

If you are time poor and need some last minute pressies ordered and delivered, check out our Christmas range.

Fwf x

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Creating a Christmas Theme- “Seas and Greetings”

Each and every year, those powers that be create irresistible colour schemes that differ enough from the previous year, that you almost have to throw everything away and start afresh.

Thankfully things have been made at affordable prices as well, and are not made in the same quality that they used to be, so you don’t feel quite so bad….

Still every year, my husband is flabbergasted that again,  I have decorations, and bits and bobs in the trolley- things I can only assume he thinks are unnecessary.

Given that Australia is just one huge island, it seems fitting to many that their Christmas has a decidedly ‘beachy’ feel. And why not? We do after all have a hot and balmy Christmas, void of snowflakes, and snowmen, and many more images so often associated with a great (Northern) white Christmas.

Whilst away recently, I found a gorgeous starfish in a home wares store and I guess that is where my inspiration for this themed piece began. Initially, I had hoped to find enough driftwood to create the display, but unfortunately, had no luck.

I created a beach inspired Christmas tree, with space-poor families with small children in mind. Like us, many young families live in apartments, so giving up floor space is hard when it is such a valuable commodity. And, anyone with young children knows that a traditional Christmas tree with all those sparkly things at toddler height spells disaster.

Creating something like this is fun, and relatively quick and easy, and it can easily be tailored to match any colour scheme.

What you will need:

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3 x 1.2m lenths of raw pine (I chose varying widths to give a greater visual weight at the base)

A hand saw

Sandpaper

Ruler, pencil and rubber

Tape measure

String/jute/nylon twine

Selection of decorations

 

What to do:

1. Start by measuring out the lengths of each of the pieces along the wood. I chose to increase the lengths of each layer by 5cm so I measured out 20cm, 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm, 45cm, 50cm and 55cm.

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2. Use the hand saw to cut the lengths required.

3. Lightly sand the edges of the wood to remove any rough surfaces and rub out any pencil marks you made.

4. Lay the pieces out on a flat surface to get an idea of how it will look, spacing the pieces out to see how large you should make the intervals.

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5. Begin by lying the largest piece of wood over your string on one end, with equal amounts of the lose string either side. Tie a double knot on one end of the largest piece. Do the same on the other side of the same piece of wood.

6. Measure the distance you wish to have between each piece and knot both pieces of string together at each end so that the next piece isn’t able to drop down out of place.WP_20151117_12_47_08_Pro

7. Repeat step 5 and 6 until you have secured all pieces of wood. If your string runs out, simply tie another piece of sting on and continue.

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8. Add a large loop to the top to be able to attach to a hook. Add your star or centrepiece to the top.
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9. Decorate!

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Christmas theming can be a whole lot of fun when you get to personalise it, so for an extra special touch, I added wooden initials for each of our names to finish it off :-)

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Choose other items for your home that coordinate with your chosen colours and further strengthen you theme. I have found this fantastic table setting that matches this weeks theme, as well as some awesome accessories.

There is no limit to the possibilities!

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Image Coastal Vintage via Pinterest
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Image Glamour Drops via Pinterest

 

Stay tuned for more decorating ideas and Christmas themes in the coming weeks.

Fwf x

 

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Two generation family looking at a house for sale

Getting your house ready for Inspection

Everyone knows the saying  ‘You only have one chance to make a first impression’ and this is certainly true when putting your house on the market. I think it is fairly safe to say that most people don’t live in their homes the same way as they would present their home for sale.

Anyone with a family like me, knows that there is stuff everywhere. All. The. Time. I walk through the door and step over a pile sitting at the entrance, I slip over blocks, and I know that every parent out there knows my pain, when I say Lego and bare feet are not best friends.

I feel like we live in a constant state of a ‘work in progress’. I am always halfway through cleaning, halfway through getting things into storage- just this feeling that I have never quite got there. I suspect I am not alone in this either.

We have recently been house hunting and looking at the way homes are presented for sale is quite the art.

Sure, everyone knows that it is nice to have fresh flowers in the home, but sometimes they don’t know what to use, or where to place them for maximum effect. And, at the end of the day, a vaseful of flowers in a room with WAY TOO MUCH going on is not going to have the desired effect. We think there are four main areas to pay attention to when getting your home ready for inspection:

1. DECLUTTER

Every house has a kettle, toaster, mobile charger, coffee machine. But when it comes to selling your place, you need to emphasise the clean, clear open space by removing these items, leaving the potential buyers to visualise their own items there. This allows the eye to gaze evenly across all surfaces without interruption. Imagine just how much bench space you can see know. You get it? Same goes with the bathroom and every other room in the house. Don’t display items that only provide distraction and mess.

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BEFORE

 

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AFTER- decluttered

2. DEPERSONALISE

As silly as this sounds, you need to remove too many personal trinkets and photographs, essentially removing yourself and your family, leaving the home as a blank canvas so that potential buyers can ‘insert’ themselves. Now, I know that I said remove it all, but I don’t quite mean that, you don’t want to take it way too far the other way and make the space seem sterile. Just minimise your personal items; a couple of carefully placed photos is fine, just scale it back.

The fridge in particular can make your kitchen look messy, particularly if there is an excess of pictures, coupons, and magnets on its doors. Remove all items from your fridge doors for a clean uncluttered look.

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Keep bench tops clean and clear and remove ‘junk’ from your fridge doors. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make an improvement.

3. DEODOUR

You’ve probably heard that baking cookies or freshly brewed coffee before a house inspection helps potential buyers imagine the space as a home but the principle covers more than just that. Open the windows and invite fresh air in! You want your home to appear fresh, clean and clear. If the space feels stuffy, it can be a real turn off. Even large spaces that feel ‘stuffy’ and stagnant can feel claustrophobic and small.

Scented candles are a great way to add fragrance to your home. But beware, fragrance should not be used simply to mask unpleasant, unwanted smells- try to clean and deodourise first before adding anything else to the mix. If you have pets, remove all pet paraphernalia, deodourise with a neutraliser and then work up from there. When you are used to living with a pet you can be unaware of the smell that comes with your furry little friend, so get someone to come over and tell you honestly how your place is smelling.

4. ACCESSORISE

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Accessorise with colours from your existing colour scheme

Fresh flowers can liven up any room. There is nothing better than bringing a little of the outside in and accenting the best features of the space. But I think it goes without saying that if you have not achieved step 1, 2 and 3, then 4 is not going to save you.

There is no sense in adding a vase of flowers to an already cluttered room. It just adds to the chaos, and that really isn’t the point is it?

Try choosing a block colour of seasonal flowers that complements the existing colour scheme. Avoid cheap mixed bunches picked up from the service station or the supermarket- it tends to look just that. Cheap. And again, really defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place.

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Image: Full Screen Photos

Make sure you keep the water clean by changing it every couple of days. Flowers should smell nice, and dirty, smelly water is a real turn off.

Put an arty book or magazine lying on the coffee table, it’s a nice detail, and do have fresh towels hanging in the bathroom and fresh tea towels in the kitchen — colour-coordinated, of course.

BUT be careful that your home does not appear too ‘staged’. It is easy to get carried away and make your life disappear from the building in an attempt to provide a blank canvas to prospects. You should certainly go to some effort in cleaning and clearing the space of distractions, but remember you also want to show prospects that this is indeed a home, somewhere they can live and be happy.

Good Luck!

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Image from : http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/25-ways-to-put-springtime-flowers-on-the-table/

More than just a Feast for the Eyes

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘You eat with your eyes’ or heard something being described as looking ‘Good enough to eat’? All the time right?

Anyone who has ever seen a sloppy mess of non descript terracotta/brown/grey casserole, knows only too well, that even before a spoonful of the dish has softly grazed across your lips, you have decided that it isn’t going to taste any good. Right? Well if you can manage to get passed the appearance, some dishes can pleasantly surprise you. So often is the case, particularly with these hearty winter one pot wonders, the aesthetic can leave a lot to be desired.

Now take a second to imagine a gorgeous little peak of light and fluffy cake, topped with softly whipped buttercream and topped with vibrant blooms, lightly covered in a dusting of icing sugar. Mouth watering? Stomach rumbling? Race you!

Image: Lushome

There would be no stopping me get at that cake! And why? Because it looks so darned good.

Presentation is key, and on trend right now, is the use of edible flowers to take dishes to a whole new level.

When Any Bloom Will Not Do…

“Edible Flowers” are blooms that can safely be consumed. They are fresh, organically grown and vary from season to season. Flowers that are intended to be eaten should be grown in an environment that is not exposed to harmful pesticides. Therefore, flowers should not simply be purchased from your florist as they have been sprayed with chemicals that are not suitable for human consumption.

That said, this new need for pesticide free flowers, has resulted in a new industry and new business opportunities popping up. Flowerdale is one company that specialises in the production of edible flowers, leading the industry in raising food safety standards within the hydroponics food industry. Furthermore, the company works closely with the end user to ensure they are supplying what modern tastes demands. Offering an assortment of flowers, edible foliages, shoots, microgreens, sprouts, petite vegetables, salad greens as well as herbs.

Whilst edible flowers have been used for centuries, and across many cuisines and cultures (think Middle Eastern Turkish Delight), they have seen a renewed popularity in the last few years and are being used in a variety of applications. The modern take on this ancient idea focuses on the simplicity of the presentation and the delicacies in flavour.

Many flowers that are technically edible can be far from palatable. With their powerful and unique flavors, textures and colors, edible flowers have gained popularity as a creative and innovative ingredient for the culinary world; from salads, to main courses, desserts and drinks. For best flavor, flowers should be fresh; wilted and faded flowers, and the unopened buds of most species, can be distasteful, often bitter. Right now, the trend seems to focus on fresh blooms, however the classic preparation of edible blooms involved crystallising them. This would add some sweetness to the bloom.

Wonder what a rose petal tastes like? Exactly how it smells! The more fragrant the rose, the more fragrant the taste when you eat them! The essence permeates the petal, leaving the soft rose fragrance lingering in your mouth.

Crystallising flowers

Want to Do It Yourself?

The Old Fashioned Way: Sugared Roses on TheHistoryKitchen.com #history #vintage #recipes
Image: Tori Avey
Image: Mummy Pages
Image: Meadowsweet Flowers

Recipe from FOOD

Ingredients;

  • 20 -50 fresh rose petals
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • baking paper

Method;

  1. Use a fork to lightly beat the egg white and use the paint brush to ensure all surfaces of the petal is then covered. Use the tweezers to hold the petal.
  2. Then dust the petal evenly with the sugar, place on the baking parchment/greaseproof paper so they are not touching and leave to dry in a warm room.
  3. It will take approx 2 hours to dry.
  4. Store them in an airtight tin, in between greasepoof paper for up to 3-4 months.

 

Showcasing the trend to use edible blooms as well as the understated simplicity being embraced in modern day weddings, a new style of wedding cake is emerging and fast gaining popularity, the Naked Cake. The cake is layered and filled, and then simply ‘masked’ with the thinnest layer of icing to lightly coat the top and perimeter and even out the shape of the design. I’m a HUGE fan!

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Triple Lemon Cake with Edible Flowers
Image: Buttered Side Up

The image below is where the idea for this whole blog began…. Un-birthday‘s “The Floral Faux Pav”- a delicious example of a modern take on a classic, together with the power of the flower! The woman behind this masterpiece walked away from her corporate career to start building a life of passion, knowing that if she kept pursuing the ‘idea of success’ and ticking all the boxes that came along the way, she would know in her heart that she had in fact taken the easy way out. She dreamed of the day where she would bake and create.

And create she does. Her take on the way a cake should look is incredible.

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Image: Unbirthday

And another example of her brilliance:

 

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Image: Unbirthday

Remember edible blooms can be used as garnishes or be incorporated into more savoury dishes as well.

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Image: Erin Nudi

But before we get too side tracked with rabbit food, continue perusing these sweet treats below….

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Image: Fine Dining Lovers
Image: BRIT+CO

How beautiful is this cake? To me, it looks like a trillion tiny butterflies have landed. Amazing

Image: Lushome

So that is it for another week. Wipe you mouth, and clean the drool off the keyboard….

Fwf x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Lushome

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Koke wha tha? Kokedama.

Kokedama, in English, literally means “moss ball”. Essentially the plant root base is removed from the pot and kept intact, surrounded in a mud cake of wet Akadama soil and Keto (peat), then wrapped in moss and all held together with wire or nylon, string or twine. This is how the ornamental plant continues to grow. Sometimes known as the poor man’s bonsai, Kokedama orginated in Japan, where the balls were displayed on alter-like platforms, before they gained popularity in the Netherlands, then the US and worldwide.

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DIY instructions via Clemmo’s

Want to give it a try? Watch a brief video in DIY kokedama via Better Homes and Gardens here.

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A variety of Images featuring the ‘Hangman’ and a gorgeous assortment of kokedama in different settings: Zowieso

Like most houseplants, kokedama are not in a huge quantity of soil, and therefore need regular water. A kokedama is a style of presenting and keeping a plant, but does not change the way the plant should be cared for. This means that if the plant normally requires a lot of light, it still does, and similarly if it requires filtered light or a shaded position, this is no different when it has been made into a Kokedama. Thirsty plants will require more frequent watering, and plants that prefer a more arid environment can do with less fluid.

Check out the pictures we have here to help inspire you! You can try to create one of these yourselves, (with the help of Clemmo’s or BHG DIY instructions above) or ask Emmra, our resident Botanical Creations Director! He loves getting his hands dirty and making special pieces that set Florist with Flowers apart from the rest! Our team continually aims to raise the bar, stocking a range of houseplants in unique containers, perfect for home or special gifts.

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Mister Moss is renowned for his kokedama. This one was found on Design Milk and is a fine example of his work. Love the coloured twine

 

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Pretty Poppies fashioned into a stunning string garden via My Desy

 

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Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Kokedama via Indoor Gardening Tips

 

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Succulents are popular plants as they are low maintenance, and therefore are ideal for Kokedama. Image via Pinterest
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What beautiful way to display an orchid! Divine! More a traditional style of kokedama (placed, not hung) Image: Flickr

 

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Gorgeous display of kokedama found on A Cultivated Nest

 

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String Gardens via Turbulences Deco

 

But why stop there? Suspend several moss balls at varying heights to create an eye catching display that is unique. Or like, Fedor Van der Valk of the Netherlands, take it one step further by suspending his bound botanicals from pulleys. Generally acknowledged as the king of contemporary kokedama, Van der Valk calls his creations “string gardens”, and they have caught everyone’s quirkier side.

The Hangman: Fedor Van der Valk in his studio via The Telegraph (UK)

So what do you think? Love them? Hate them? Want to make one for every person in the world that you know for Christmas????

Regardless of whether you are a fan or not, you have to admit that these days it seems a glorious plant alone is just not enough.  They want plants miniature, enclosed or  hanging….or manipulated and altered in some way. They like special and unique presentations whether it be a pretty pot, uniquely shaped terrarium or wrapped in neon string!

Well, you know what they say……you have to give the punters what they want…..

Fwf x

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Hoppy Easter from ours to yours
Image: New evolution designs

Having a Hoppy Easter

January. Fresh starts, new beginnings. The start of a brand new year. The door has barely closed on the year before and Easter eggs start filling the shelves, along with dozens of delicious hot cross buns. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hot cross buns and Chocolate for that matter, but I KNOW I am not alone when I say, are you kidding me?

Christmas decorations are barely away, and night shift store men are dragging out pallets of eggs, carrot shaped chocolates, appropriately printed drinking mugs, egg cups etc…And lets face it, everyone is in on it, everyone wants a piece of the pie don’t they? Kids clothing with catching little phrases like “Hoppy Easter” are printed, and we place the item in our trolley fully aware of the fact that the kid will wear it once, if we are lucky. Or maybe that’s just me. Sigh.

I can’t be the only one who gets carried away with it all: all the things I don’t need, but that I want, or want to give my kids…..and somewhere in the fuss do we forget that Easter is another time we can actually take time out and spend it with our loved ones. Religious or not, the public holidays give us all the opportunity to get together and celebrate, and for that reason, we thought we would look at a few D.I.Y craft and decorating ideas that you may find interesting this Easter. Whether you are simply making your house look for festive or want to do some craft with the kiddies, hopefully there is something here for you.

Jelly Blossoms

You could use apple blossom, cherry blossom, or naked magnolia branches in this arrangement, which is easily created by hot gluing jelly beans to the branches.

Hot glue jelly beans to tree branches for an adorable "Easter Tree". Love this colourful idea, even for when it's not Easter!
I love this idea for a s subtle Easter addition to your home. Check out full instructions on how to create this at : Crafty Sisters

 

Chocolate Bunny Centrepiece

OMG- could it get any better? A glorious centrepiece that you can devour at the meals end…if it survives. Select different sized bunnies and use a selection of white, milk and dark chocolate to add interest to this centrepiece. For a more authentic Australian arrangement you could choose to use a Bilby instead.

Chocolate Bunnies Centerpiece - 40 Beautiful DIY Easter Centerpieces to Dress Up Your Dinner Table
What a gorgeous way to create a eye catching (and edible) display for your guests to admire, and devour! Image: D.I.Y’n’Crafts

Floral centrepieces

Make your usual floral centrepiece uniquely Easter themed by first filling the vase with coloured eggs. By placing a smaller vase within a larger vase, you can keep the water seperate and therefore avoid contamination. No sense in sacrificing something perfectly delicious….. The image here shows plain dyed eggs, but you could just as easily use chocolate eggs or sugar coasted almonds which come in soft pastel tones.

Sweet 15 Decorations | 26 Creative Easter Egg Decorations and Ideas for Spring Table Decor
Creating your own table centrepiece is easy and effective with two vases. Image: Lus Home

 

Birdcage Design:

Incorporate eggs within a nest in a birdcage for a unique table setting with vintage flair.  It is a different spin on traditional Easter eggs and bunnies by tying in the birdcage and bird decor and using a pastel colour palette.

Birdcage Centerpiece - 40 Beautiful DIY Easter Centerpieces to Dress Up Your Dinner Table
Birdcages and Eggs make a gorgeous display with a Vintage flair Image: Better Homes and Gardens

 

Easter Egg tree

This is a simply yet eye catching display using paper covered eggs available at most dollar stores. I have picked up a pack similar to this for just $2.50 at The Reject Shop. This display uses straight pussy willow branches however don’t limit yourself: you could just as easily use quirky pieces of drift wood and create a mobile version of this or magnolia branches would work just aswell.

Easter Tree Centerpiece - 40 Beautiful DIY Easter Centerpieces to Dress Up Your Dinner Table
Image: Martha Stewart

If you are anything like me, time is quickly getting away from you. To me, it is unbelievable that we are fast approaching the fourth month of the year, so, hop to it, before you know it, the eggs will be half price, and the wreaths, angels, and puddings will be out again.

Happy Easter to you all, here’s hopping we all have a quiet, restful and enjoyable time with our family and friends

Fwf x

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New Beginnings- Bringing health, wealth and properity to your life in 2015 with Fresh Flowers

So last week as we rung in the New Year we looked at the positive influence a living plant can have on your living space. This week we turn our attention to fresh cut flowers. Maybe last year wasn’t all that you had hoped it would be. Well, some believe that Feng Shui is the way to encourage what life is lacking and fresh flowers can play a vital role.

Fresh flowers are of course the best way to bring a strong healing energy to your home, but with our ever changing environment and wayward seasons, sourcing certain fresh flowers just isn’t possible all year round. By choosing floral images, fabrics or even high quality silks you can still work within Feng Shui also. It comes as no surprise that the flowers used most widely through Chinese art: Peonies, Lotus, Chrysanthemums, Cherry Blossoms, and Orchids, are also flowers that feature most prominently throughout Feng Shui as the Philosophy originates in China. The Philosophy was originally used to orientate buildings in an auspiscious manner by building or creating in an area with good Qi (ch’i), but is also used a way of harmonising everyone within their environment. When thinking about this in your immediate environment (your home), it is important to think about what it is you want (or need) to encourage to flourish there. Is it health? Love/Romance? Job opportunities or career growth? Spiritual growth?

Here are a brief list of some flowers are their Feng Shui applications:

Cherry Blossom;

Cherry Blossoms all over my backyard!!
Image: Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot

All of the blossoming fruit trees (Cherry, peach, apple, etc) have been known to have the energy of new beginnings, flourishing before the fruit season and with just a hint of what is yet to come. They bring with it a sense of freshness and innocence, and thus the cherry blossom is often used as a symbol of love and marriage.

Peonies:

Mint julep cups make elegant vases (and a nice foil for holding pens and scissors on your desk, too) via Julie Blanner's blog Coordinately Yours
Image: Julie Blanner

Peonies are one of the most sought after flowers for weddings in the Western word and with their awesome appearance and delicious scent, the peony has long been used in feng shui as a cure for love & romance. This especially applies to pink peonies over any other shade. Peonies are available for such a short season in Australia’s late Spring/Early summer, so this is one case where a picture, or silk arrangement may be required.

Lotus:

Lotus Beautiful gorgeous pretty flowers. Everything about this sacred plant is beautiful, leaves, pods, flowers, stems.
Image: Flowers. Garden. Love via Tumbler

The lotus flower symbolises the ultimate perfection as its purity is untouched by its muddy origins. Every part of the lotus is used within Chinese medicine from its roots to petals and for this reason, the lotus is the symbol for a healthy and harmonious home.

Narcissus:

Narcissus perennials,  common names include daffodil & jonquil white yellow
Image: via Flickr

In Chinese culture the narcissus flower is believed to encourage one’s career to flourish. It is often used as a feng shui career cure, believed to help one get properly recognised for his/her hard work- Phew! Interestingly the white Narcissus is used more frequently than the yellow in Feng Shui applications.

Orchids:

Ruby Leopard Slipper Orchid. I hope this is real and not photoshopped.
Image: Sussle- Knowledge worth Sharing

The orchid is a classic feng shui symbol of fertility. With its natural symmetry, it has also become a symbol for our quest for perfection in any areas of one’s life.

Feeling inspired by all that Mother Nature has provided? Florist with Flowers sources a vast array of seasonal blooms from local, interstate and overseas suppliers giving you a great choice of quality blooms throughout the year. In store now we have fresh: orchids, roses, chryssies, hydrangea, dahlias, bouvardia, lilies and much, much more! Come check out our fresh flower display and our gorgeous indoor plants and start the change you want to see in your life NOW!

Til next time,

Fwf x

 

 

 

 

 

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