christmas wishlist 2014...presents I want to give

Lovely things to give to those you treasure this festive season.  I only ever give gifts I would love to receive myself (like the tray from H&M), or love myself (like the Community cookbook which is the best present I received all year).  Everything is under $50, hope this makes your shopping easier!

Brass tray from H&M (see the rest of the H&M styling on Stylizmo), Community cook book from Arthur Street Kitchen, citrus and cedar candle, silver cushion from West Elm, MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

Australian inspired Christmas...setting the table

Love this series of photos showing how the table setting progresses.  
See the detail of how to create the plate settings here, and construct and decorate the canopy here.
And all together now...The finished product just for fun, see the full post here.

Now that wasn't too hard...

australian inspired christmas christmas eucalyptus canopy

This is absolutely my favourite table setting ever!  It is so pretty to sit beneath, the light shimmering on the ornaments, the leaves smell fresh and eucalyptus minty, the hints of gold and humour with the Aussie animal decor (spot the pythons in the leaves).  
You can create your own Christmas canopy at home very easily.  Building and decorating the canopy took me about an hour and a half to do, not long for the gorgeous end effect.  This is worth giving a try!!!

You will need:

  • 4 bamboo poles (from local garden centre) cut to table size
  • string to tie canopy to ceiling hooks
  • 4 removable ceiling hooks (from local hardware store)
  • scissors
  • florist wire, I used silver because it disappears into the final arrangement
  • 3 bunches of eucalyptus leaves
  • 30 - 36 Christmas ornaments (mine are Vintermys from Ikea)

Step 1 - hang the bamboo structure
Cut the poles to roughly match the table dimensions.
Stick removable ceiling hook above each corner of the table.
Suspend bamboo from ceiling hook with string.  I positioned mine about 30cm above head height of a person seated so that the canopy decor won't hang into guests faces.

Step 2 - Attach the eucalyptus branches
Take individual eucalyptus branches and tie them to the bamboo pole with silver wire.
Arrange the branches so that they are partially supported by the bamboo but still hang down creating a soft feather effect.
I found it easier to suspend the poles first so that I could see the arrangement developing.

Step 3 - Add Christmas ornaments
I added ornaments as I was going along to get a sense of how I wanted it to look (see above)
Make sure to add ornaments in groups of 3 or 5 and hang them at different lengths so that the overall effect is loose and not over organised.

Colour choices
I wanted to create an Australian style Christmas, inspired by our Aussie animals, eucalyptus and the golden sunshine.  So I have chosen soft gold colours that are beautifully set off by the grey-green eucalyptus leaves.  It really feels like the sunshine dappling through bushland on a sunny day.  Its a lovely change from more traditional Christmas colours, much more suited to the summer celebrations of the southern hemisphere.

I picked up the gold again in the polka dot ribbons and sequins on the place settings, and of course my gold Aussie animals.  See the full diy for the place setting here.

Hope this inspires you to do something special and unexpected at your home this year.
See the full table setting post here.

Australian inspired Christmas...eucalyptus and golden sunshine

This Christmas I have been inspired by all things Aussie: eucalyptus, the golden sunshine of our summer Christmas season, and the native animals.  Don't get me wrong, I love a traditional Christmas too but in reality an Australian Christmas just isn't about a snowy woodland.  Its all about swimming, backyard cricket, sunshine, and prawns on the barbie.  
So this year my decor is all gold and eucalyptus, like the sunlight in the bush, with a few of our cute and feisty native animals thrown in.  

Just love how our black walls show off this display!
I spray painted a pack of Australian animals gold to decorate the plates.  They are so cute and have already been carried off by Miss J!

I suspended eucalyptus branches and Christmas decorations from an over head canopy, it creates a wonderful bushland like feel.  The eucalytus scent is heavenly, and the gold decorations catch the light and shimmer prettily.  The canopy was easy to do, I will show you how in a diy in a few days.

Across the center of the table I laid smaller branches of eucalyptus, adding a few candles and votives for extra light, and a few hidden animals.  I wrapped the left over ribbon and sequins loosely around the candles for extra shimmer.

I am just loving how this table looks and feels and I can't wait to share it with friends and family on Christmas day.  I have done lots of tutorials so that you can get this look to: how to do the plates, building the canopy, and decorating the table.  Pop back soon to see them all and have a fabulous festive season at your home.

teen girl gift guide 2014

Miss E is 12 and can be quite hard to pick pressies for, a little bit grown up, fun loving, guitar playing, and far cooler than her mother ever was at her age.  Thought I would share things she, or her friends, have loved this year.  A few ideas for your shopping list as we go into the festive season.

The Wildwood Chronicles books - its always lovely to get a set to get stuck into ggduring the holidays and Miss E has loved these.
Paint It - Cover It - Artstix nail polish
Bracelet from Pavement
Happy Lab Jelly Bean test tube set
Wild Thing Poster from Black
Sock Monkey iphone cover
Palm tree duffel bag from Pavement

castle rock herbst architects

On a net crawl looking for dream holiday homes I discovered Herbst Architects.  I adore their aesthetic, the spaces are comfortable, spacious, beautiful, but somehow modest and contained.  I love the materials they use, they way they capture the view, the use of built in furniture.  I could go on and on.  Today, with their kind permission, I am sharing Castle Rock House, built on yet another piece of gorgeous New Zealand coastline.  Its well worth following the links back and looking at their other work.

I love the view through the narrow window, and I love the idea of being able to sit up close to it. Just gorgeous.

The creation of living areas on both sides of the home is just genius.  The sea view side has the protected lounge area and the gorgeous covered area (above).  The other side (below) has another another covered area which opens out onto the kitchen.  This means whichever way the wind is blowing there is a sheltered outdoor space for living in, fabulous idea.   If you are anything like me you will spend hours looking at the plan below seeing just what I mean.  
I also love the details, like the sliding door which slides right off the deck in to a specially constructed frame (below left).  

I love how the structure sits into the landscape, the bedroom area offset from the living area, like a craggy outcrop at the top of the hill.  What a position!
All images posted with permission of Herbst Architects, photography by Patrick Reynolds.

Australian inspired Christmas setting...plate tutorial

This year I wanted to bring a little bit of Australia into our Christmas decor.  It seems to me that Christmas decor is all about Northern Hemisphere flora and fauna: deer, holly, snow, pine trees.  Its pretty, but I live in Australia, in the Southern Hemisphere where its sunny and warm at Christmas time.  So I decided to take inspiration from our animals and weather: golden sunshine, koala's and wombats, eucalyptus.  

The photos of the place setting show just how easy the plate setting is to put together.

  • Start with a gold charger and a white plate.
  • Fold a white napkin and tuck the ends under the plate.
  • Cute a length of polka dot ribbon and tie loosely around the plate and napkin.
  • Repeat with a length of gold sequins.
  • Add golden animal figurine.
  • Finally add leaves, here I have used an olive spring but for my final setting I plan to use eucalyptus.

Spraying the Aussie animals was easy to do.  I made a spraying cube out of an old box and applied several light gold sprays.  Turn the animals between the sprays to make sure the gold covers everywhere.

Watch this space to see the entire Australian Christmas concept, and I hope you are inspired to try something a little different at your house this year too.

Past Christmas post round up

I am very excited to share my Australian inspired Christmas setting with you this year.  I will be sharing the setting and all the how to tips so you can get the look too.  
Last years Christmas posts were fun too though so thought I would share them with you all again.  I was delighted when my gold polka dot and pomegranate Christmas setting was picked up by House Beautiful last year.  

Clockwise from top right:
Pomegranates and polka dot Christmas table
Home made Christmas Ice cream - you don't need an ice cream machine for this one
Pink and lime Christmas flowers
Button and butcher twine Christmas wrapping

This year will be a bit different, can't wait to share it, watch this space!

diy mosquito spray made from essential oils

Miss J and I get plagued by mozzies, we must have the sweet blood in the family.  We never go out in the summer evening, or to bed, without putting on lots and lots of bug spray.  They work but they smell as poisonous as they are, I am always hoping its just the mozzies they are poisoning.  So I was thrilled when the lovely Laura introduced me to a home made version based on essential oils and witchhazel.  It smells delicious and its all natural, and best yet it really seems to work.  See below for just how easy it is to make your own.

You will need:
  • Witchhazel - available from pharmacies
  • Eucalyptus lemon essentail oil - 60 drops
  • Other essential oils to taste - I used 20 drops each of orange, black pepper and lavender
  • Spray bottles - found these pretty ones on ebay

To make:
  • Decant the witchhazel into a large bottle.
  • Add 60 drops of Eucaplyptus lemon oil
  • Add other essential oils.  I added 20 of each and then adjusted until I was happy
  • Shake well to combine
  • Pour into spray bottles

Shake well before each use.  It certainly seems to work in Sydney although I wouldn't trust using 
just this in a malaria zone.