Thursday, 26 April 2012

Pretty box frames

My living room walls are pretty bare so I have been looking around for inspiration and deciding what to hang on them. I will be sharing with you my choices very soon as we are finally finishing re-decorating our lounge / dining room with some new flooring as part of the "Wickes, my project".

What I love about the pretty box frames is the ease with which you can slide the glass up so you can change the contents as often as you like. I can't wait to hang them on the wall and play with the contents. I just need to remember to space the pretty box frames far enough apart so that I can slide the glass up!

Pretty box frames
Tools and materials

Pretty box frames, How-to step by step
Decorating my display box

Start by carefully sliding the glass panel out and put to one side. Then paint the entire box frame with a couple of coats of white paint and leave to dry. After measuring the inside back of the box frame, cut a piece of pretty paper to size. Carefully coat the inside of the back of the shelves with a thin coat of PVA glue. Immediately stick the cut piece of paper to the PVA glue and smooth down with your fingers to remove any air bubbles and leave to dry. Finish by coating the stuck piece of paper with a thin coat of PVA glue to give it a protective finish. Once completely dry, fill with your chosen objects and slide glass back into frame.

Display box
Filling display box

Perching bird

Deer in display box

Have a sweet day!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Balcony Gardener by Isabelle Palmer

The Balcony Gardener by Isabelle Palmer

This week I'm reviewing The Balcony Gardener by Isabelle Palmer, from illustrated lifestyle publishers Ryland Peters & Small and CICO Books. Isabelle Palmer has created a successful business from her ability to enliven any balcony, roof terrace or window sill with her inventive gardening ideas and is the founder of The Balcony Gardener, an innovative online boutique that I featured here on 'shops i love'. I chose to review this book as I love her gardening boutique.

The Balcony Gardener is a book about being creative with the outdoor space you have, be that a window sill, balcony or roof terrace. However confined, Isabelle shows you how to make the most of what you have in the open air of the country or the hub of a city.

The book is split into five main chapters, starting with "The Basics". In this chapter Isabelle outlines the basic techniques you need to start balcony gardening, starting with the essential kit you need, and moving on to choosing and preparing pots and planting containers for your outdoor space. There are also guides and tips on choosing colours, plus seasonal and aftercare of your plants.

The second chapter "Urban Spaces" is a well presented selection of Isabelle's interesting themes and decorative ideas you can draw on to create your own outdoor escape to sit back and relax in. One of the included ideas is the Country Garden, inspired by lush meadows and wild flowers, a pretty butterfly, bee window box and a rippling splashing water garden.

The third chapter "Creative Recycling" is, as the title suggests, about getting creative with a variety of different recycled containers from old cans to metal crates. Isabelle shows you how to plant and create a salad box in a vintage wooden crate, how to turn a birdcage into a planter, and an old pallet into a wall planter.

The fourth chapter "All Things Edible" is about growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs in a well thought out way. So for those that like delicious fruity drinks in the summer there is the stylish cocktail window box full of mint and strawberries. For the foodie there is the herb window box for fish, planted with curly-leaf parsley, lemon thyme and dill. Each window box idea also includes a helpful recipe.

The last chapter "Enjoying Your Balcony" is about doing exactly that! After mastering your outdoor planting it's time to add fun finishing touches like mood lighting and accessories, choose your garden furniture and make hanging votive candles. All of which Isabelle explains how to do.

The Balcony Gardener by Isabelle Palmer is a great hardback book full of great tips, ideas and inspiration to get you gardening. At a recommended price of £14.99, I think this hardback book is a good buy as it is has so many great tips for the first-time gardener and lots of inspiration for those who already have green fingers.

Some of my favourite shots:

Country garden

Salad box


Party garden

Please note that my opinions are my own and I am not paid for these reviews (apart from receiving a free book, of course!).

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bunny Art

My bunny print

A while back the lovely peeps at Hello Canvas offered to print a 24x32 inch canvas for free for me to review; all I needed to do was send them my favourite picture. It took me ages to decide what picture to send, but I eventually decided to design a print for my canvas that I could hang on the wall at Easter and give to my younger sister afterwards to hang in her new nursery as we both share a love of aqua! The nursery is not quite finished but as soon as it is I will be sure to share a photo of it with you.

Hello Canvas are specialist canvas printers and they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, lowest price guarantee and delver for free within one week! What's not to love?

I can't tell you how impressed and excited I got when it arrived. It was so perfect that I had to ring my sister right away and tell her. She immediately popped round and got really excited too. It was printed on high quality canvas using UV-protected inks and then hand stretched onto a 1.2" thick wooden frame, wrapped in environmentally friendly plastic and sent via UPS in a custom-made box. They were such a pleasant company to deal with and helpfully advised me that the light aqua color I had in the background of my print would look nicer if they carried this color to the edge of the canvas. They were right. Oh, and once I had sent my artwork the turn around was super fast! Both my sister and I are delighted! Thank you Hello Canvas.

Bunny art close up

Have a sweet day!


Saturday, 14 April 2012

3D easter egg and bunny

Hand-made 3D easter egg and bunny

Just before Easter the lovely peeps at Lékué sent me the 3D easter egg and bunny mould and a decopen. I filled my bunny and egg mould with white chocolate and then, using the decopen filled with white chocolate coloured blue, I drew a graffiti squiggle over the top; a great gift for my cute nephew Samuel who loves bunnies and puzzles!

3D easter egg and bunny
What you will need:

Lékué 3D easter egg and bunny mould

  1. Temper (melt) white chocolate
  2. Spoon chocolate into icing bottle or bag fitted with a small nozzle
  3. Squeeze chocolate into moulds
  4. Lightly tap moulds so chocolate lays flat and air bubbles are removed
  5. Stir blue chocolate food colouring a little at a time into the remaining white chocolate until you have desired colour. Stir well so colour is even
  6. Fill decopen with blue melted chocolate and carefully draw design onto filled moulds
  7. Lightly tap moulds so chocolate lays flat and air bubbles are removed
  8. Leave to set. Refrigerating speeds up this process and can make it easier to turn out
  9. Carefully release the eggs and bunny from the moulds
  10. Assemble egg and bunny

Lékué decopen

The decopen comes with two, four or six nozzles and can be used to decorate cakes and biscuits with messages, create ball, flower, rope and shell shapes; make toppings for your cupcakes and exquisite macaroons or profiteroles. I can't wait to use it again on my sweet treats!

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Easter

Easter table

Bunny jar

Easter cupcakes

My Easter Table

Easter cupcakes

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!


Friday, 6 April 2012

Hand-made chocolate carrots

Hand-made chocolate carrots by Torie Jayne

Last year I made pink chocolate carrots with green chocolate tops, but I found that a lot of the tops fell off! So this year I made peach carrots and painted the tops with edible green dusting powder. No breakages so far!

Chocolate carrots
What you will need:

Making chocolate carrots

  1. Temper (melt) white chocolate
  2. Stir in peach powdered food colouring a little at a time until you have desired colour. Stir well so colour is even
  3. Spoon chocolate into icing bottle or bag fitted with a small nozzle
  4. Squeeze chocolate into moulds
  5. Lightly tap moulds so chocolate lays flat and air bubbles are removed, and leave to set
  6. Turn out chocolate carrots
  7. With a damp brush, lightly paint the carrot tops with the green dusting powder

After posting about my bunny jars for Easter the other day, Bonnie Leigh from the blog Three o'clock on Tuesday suggested making mini ones using baby food jars. What a great idea! So I made some more bunny jars, this time using baby food jars and some very small bunnies I've had knocking about since last year which I bought from Acorn & Will.

Mini bunny jars
Mini bunny jars filled
Hand made chocolate carrots in mini bunny jar

Have a sweet day!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Bunny jars for Easter

I have moved to Torie

You can find me in craft tutorials...Bunny jars

Have a sweet day!