DIY: Tea Garden Décor

Last month, when I shared behind the scenes snippets and inspiration from a couple wedding photo shoots that I did, I had forgotten to show more DIY features. Since then, I have been occupied with unexpected freelance events and have taken some time off the blog to continue these new ventures. It's all very exciting and I will have to share more on that later. In the meantime, have a look at this craft to be inspired by.

Here, I am merging countryside style (one of my favourites) with a touch of modern sophistication in this garden-friendly DIY. 

Planters are perfect for adding depth and character to any home space and I have become quite fond of them more over the years. I particularly love planters because you can make them elaborate for special occasions, such as weddings, yet they can be simplified for minimalist living spaces and tailored for virtually every budget.


I designed these teacup and saucer planters that I fell in love with after giving several prepared styles that I created for the engaged couple. Afterwards, I created a few more for my personal space in the same colours, then in silver and white because I just couldn't get enough! The styles below are pieces that I added character to by personalising the saucers with wedding-inspired text—the gold paint really brought everything together, both rustic and with a tad bit of elegance.

Speaking of metallic and custom spaces here are some images from the teal and gold theme below but this time, I used matte acrylic paint, to emit chalky vintage vibes with the blended contemporary concept. View the tutorial below!

Materials

3-4 Ceramic teacup and saucer planters
1 can matte spray paint
4-6 sheets gold leaf
1 Can adhesive spray
2 Artist Sponges (1 large, 1 small to medium size)
1 Metallic paint pen (in gold)
1 Roll of masking tape/painter's tape
Plants: succulents or flowers 

Large newsprint or plastic working surface 
Latex gloves-(Optional)


Method: 

  1. On a plastic or paper lined spacious working surface in an open air environment, layout each teacup and saucer, dispersed evenly with at least 4cm-6cm or so apart in two rows horizontally (place all of the cups upside down with the bottom facing upward on one row, and all of the saucers on another row.) 
  2. After reading the directions on the paint bottle, spray each cup thoroughly in one coat of matte paint, covering all sides and outside handles. Spray a second coat of matte paint. Let dry. Repeat this step for all of the saucers. Let the cups and saucers completely dry before proceeding to step 3. 
  3. Apply gold leafing: To prepare your workspace, use washi tape or painters masking tape to section off your preferred design on each teacup. (I just taped off angular sections of each cup in a simple design where I wanted the gold leafing). This is to create a rustic and sparkled effect so make the taped off areas simple because the natural texture and design from the gold leaf will form. 
  4. Take out an artist sponge and the gold leaf adhesive. Set aside. (If you have a gold leaf kit, then follow instructions for that). With the sponge, apply adhesive or a thin layer of glue to the prepared area on the teacup where you want the gold leafing placed. Carefully take out one gold leaf square sheet at a time, and place the entire sheet on the teacup (where you have put the adhesive). Press firmly, then use the sponge to carefully wipe away gold leaf excess. After you have the desired effect, repeat these steps with each teacup. Set aside teacups to dry or spray a sealant to finish. 
  5. Use a metallic gold paint pen and write script or text on the saucers. Get crafty! I created simple loop designs on my teacups and saucers to bring the theme together. Next, add your plants: I used succulents, baby's breath, and small seedlings in my other teacup planters. I just re-potted the plants in the new teacup planters, then added river rocks. Get more of that inspiration here.


Note: *I did not use a sealant for the teacups because I wanted it to look worn and slightly rough with the gilded leaf effect. This can get messy, so stow away your favourite Celine Tee, instead just wear an old T-Shirt or a painting top for this project. For the spray paint, I used Rust-Oleum CHALKED matte finish.


What do you think of these fun teacup planters?  



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Vintage & Modern Wedding Décor


I have been waiting patiently to share this post with you. This is a special edition featuring some lovely details that I styled for Marry Me—their new range for weddings and event décor is full of charming pieces. The theme: a countryside Paris journey with minimal travel elements. I decided on a romantic and vintage theme that had a cosy tea time vibe and ladylike style. 

View the inspiration below, and see how I merged playful hues of pink, blush, green, and teal colours together and transformed them into a retro version of adult contemporary elegance. 

I used a modern Parisian setting with an outdoor concept for this tablescape, allowing every detail to shine through even down to the party favours. My surprise element was painting this Eiffel Tower cardboard cut-out, and designing a large floral arrangement centrepiece. I used a matte colour to paint all sides and created a gradated 3-dimensional sculptural table piece. 


Giving The Theme Character: 
Speaking of little swag bags, for this I included farmhouse vintage boxes filled with mixed savoury nuts and others were filled with sweet treats.  Another idea is to add themed candies—as you can see I used French lollipops and stored them in mason jars with eucalyptus leaves. This way the table is filled with edible little details that are conversation starters, yet everything still goes along with the ambience and colour story. The favour boxes emulated the vintage theme I used; they were illustrated with mason jars, flower images and lace elements. 



3 Ways To Add Minimal Accents In Minutes: 
Show your guests that you have the chops for hosting the party that you're throwing. Don't worry if your space is small. If you don't have a large budget, the perfect way to add decorations that don't look overdone is to use the following: 

  1. Fact: Balloons do not have to be symmetrical! There are times when it works best symmetrically but they certainly do not have to be. As previously discussed in this post, get creative with balloon styling. An alternative to the traditional: Do this by adding odd numbers of balloons on one side instead of decorating the space filled with bunches of balloons. You have seen in the past that I've used balloons many ways, including using them in clusters and creating art doodles. Go for it!  

  1. Create a garland: Using hanging garlands and buntings are wonderful ways to add to your décor but this doesn't mean that it has to reach across the entire space from wall to wall. Try using a garland on the table as a centrepiece or as I did here, as a focal point above the tablescape. By sectioning off smaller areas of a wall or backspace, you can create a much more intimate environment for guests, which makes it that much more special and inviting. I also added areas of our table with birch wood under the wisteria garland. Grab more garland inspiration in this DIY. 

  1. Handmade napkins: It's all about gold: After you choose which metals you want to use in your theme, don't be afraid to use both rose gold and gold colours. I made napkin rings by using burlap lace ribbon, then I used metal tags as the finishing touch, which resembled a luggage tag (remember, the blended and somewhat abstract theme was ... Vintage. Travel. Paris.) 

Now that I have given you plenty of ideas to chew on, I do hope that you are inspired by this post.


What do you think of this party theme and tablescape? 

The goods: Wedding Collection: Shop special occasion and wedding inspiration here. Some items in this post were provided by Marry Me. All opinions and content are honestly expressed and my own. 

*I will see you next week as I am travelling for business and then on a weekend holiday. I will catch up on your lovely blogs soon and will share more styling tips and bits of inspiration via Instagram.


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Guest Room Inspiration: A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Guest bedrooms can be the trickiest rooms of the house to decorate. You have so many tastes that you need to cater for. Your grandmother is not going to appreciate the same colour scheme as your best mate, yet you want them both to feel comfortable when they are staying with you.
Image source
If you have gone to a lot of effort to make your guests welcome, prepared a lovely meal and made sure that they were entertained, it is a shame to ruin it all by cramming them into an ugly spare room, constrained, or a room with packing cases and boxes of junk. When we have people stay with us, I typically make a small welcome hamper. It doesn't have to be loads of things, just little treats and practical items that I know they will love.
You cannot go wrong with white in your guest bedroom. It does not have as much use as other areas of the house so the fabrics will stay looking crisp and clean for longer. It gives a fresh, wholesome appearance that appeals across the generations. It also makes it incredibly easy to mix and match! You can buy some expensive quality items and mix them in with some second-hand store bargains.
White is a classic look and will not go out of fashion so once you have your guest bedroom set up it will last for years.

Choosing a guest bed

Obviously, a double bed is ideal but if you are pushed for space a single is fine or even a roll-away bed or futon is acceptable.  
Don’t skimp on the bedclothes, you want your guests to feel that they are welcome! The range at Plumeria Bay is ideal because it is such high-quality Egyptian cotton percale. Your guest bed linen will be luxuriously lightweight, crisp, yet soft and will be appreciated by your guests who will remember their stay for all the right reasons.

Curtains, carpets and finishing touches

The cheapest way to get lovely curtains or blinds is to make your own. Purchase fabric and simply hem a rectangular shape which is twice the width of your window. Then add the curtain tape at the top and hang them up. There are plenty of tutorials available that will give you loads of guidance and advice.
A white carpet is rarely practical, even in a guest room, so you could whitewash the floorboards instead for a shabby chic vibe. There are plenty of washes and stains to choose from and it only takes around a day to complete.
You can use white chalk paint to renovate old furniture and give it a new lease of life. It works very well on dressing tables and bedside tables but is also great for stools and chairs. Make some cushions from delicate fabrics to finish the look.
Glass vases with white flowers finish off a white guest bedroom perfectly. Buy some spray cans of gloss white paint and spray pretty flowers such as hydrangeas and roses. Allow them to dry for 24 hours and then arrange in a glass vase with some small white pebbles at the base.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you're entertaining soon!




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Foodie Tales and Summer Sides

Confession: I made a mess of things in the kitchen but in a good way! This time we’re getting down with mushrooms and it’s all about the stuffing. I used Colman's Mustard Prepared to bake these stuffed mushrooms, which can be a great additional side dish to any dinner party or outdoor gathering.

The prepared version of this mustard works well for grilling options, including burgers or hot dogs if that's your thing. However, when this mustard is cooked, it offers an even deeper taste and pungency to love. It has a nice bite that is satisfying and shakes you up enough to let you know that the flavour is there, even as a condiment. It's quite easy to use and add in dishes because it's prepared for you.
Although this is an entertaining-friendly finger food, I can't promise that you won't be a hot mess after eating or that you won’t shed a tear or two in the process—at least they will be foodie tears of joy! There's nothing like a good palate kicking to get the conversation going, or rather have your summer gathering bursting with tangy goodness as a starter course.

Make guests satisfied with extra hors d’oeuvres! I mean, filling bellies with happiness? Well, isn't that what matters in the end?

Ingredients:
25-30 Cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons Colman's Mustard Prepared
115g (4 oz.) fresh crab meat
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 ¼ teaspoon olive oil
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons dried chives, plus extra for garnish, chopped
25g (1/4 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground paprika
25g (1/2 cup) Japanese panko
3 tablespoons Gruyere cheese, shredded thin

Method:
For Prepping: Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or use a non-stick baking tray. Use a dry paper towel to clean mushrooms by gently wiping away dirt and loose pieces. (I also use a lightly damp paper towel with the dry paper towels for the pieces that need more wiping). Chop the stems off of mushrooms and dice them, set aside on a cutting board.
  1. Preheat oven to Bake at 350F/180C/Gas Mark #4. In a shallow container, pour in the olive oil. Dip the bottom of each cleaned mushroom into the olive oil, then place the mushrooms on the prepared baking tray. 
  2. In a small pan on medium heat, sauté butter, garlic, scallions, and stems of mushrooms until scallions are slightly opaque and the stems are softened. Add the cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Stir gently. Remove the pan from heat to cool. 
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add in the crab meat, Colman's Mustard Prepared, Parmesan cheese, paprika, chives, Old Bay seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Add in the cooked mushroom stems and scallion mixture. Stir gently until mixed evenly. 
  4. Use a melon scooper or a rounded spoon to fill the caps of each mushroom with the crab mixture, creating a large dome or ice cream scoop shape. In the same container used for the olive oil, add in the Japanese panko and swirl it around to allow the panko to soak up the leftover oil in the container. One by one, carefully roll the tops of the mushrooms in the panko.
  5. Next, place the mushrooms back on the baking tray, evenly dispersed. Add pinches of shredded Gruyere on tops of the mushrooms. Place in the oven and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until the top of mushroom filling is golden brown. Serve with an extra dollop of Colman's Mustard Prepared on the side and garnish with chives. 
*Note: If you don't have Panko, then you can use dried bread crumbs, use (56 g (½ cup).

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The goods: This post is sponsored by Colman's Mustard. As always, all opinions and content are honestly expressed and my own. #HotMessAround #Ad Original recipe by Madison. FASHION TALES BLOG

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The Wedding Sessions: Part Two

I am starting right off with some inspiration for you in this second edition of summer weddings and DIY décor. Check out the three sections below with a focus on styling tips and DIY accents. 
Core Décor: Centrepieces & Accents
Raise your hands if you love champagne? Right, I mean, bubbles in any form that is! Whether you fancy sipping on a glass of prosecco or merely blowing basic bubbles with these incredibly charming miniature bottles of champagne (seen below), I’ve got your back!

For any special occasion, especially if you don't have a limitless budget (yes, very few of us actually do), the addition of smaller scale items can make your celebration unique. Choose pieces that can be easily customised, which can add those "je ne sais quoi" details to love in your overall décor. And, if you already love miniatures as I do, then there are plentiful options for your choosing.
These miniature champagne bubbles are the perfect way to get your guests talking, plus they’re adorable for everyone to join in on the fun! I created a small "Bubble Bar," an area of the festivities to indulge in all things bubbly—add actual champagne as a bonus or dress up old bottles with personalised labelling to upgrade commercial bottles into custom takeaways. Guests can grab one of the minis before heading outside to partake in the perfect send off.


*These mini clothespins were great details for hanging the photos. I have also used these to create a photo tower or place cards. 


Lights, Camera, Environment!
Concept: Gather together some glass vases and mason jar lighting for late-afternoon and evening celebrations. Since this particular styling was focussed on travelling and retro styling, I used photos with string lights and various sets for the outdoors. Make sure that if you hang lights outside that they are indeed outdoor-friendly.

From vintage-style string lights to LED bulb sets, lights in any form can certainly help set the mood and tone of your occasion. I have said it before and I will say it again, invest in mason jars in different sizes. I just picked up some beautiful vintage mason jars in blue and amber over the weekend for an upcoming event.

I used a collection of two different LED sets because one of them were vintage styled lights, and I wanted the result to be both contemporary and retro (you will see more about that soon). It's always very exciting to see your vision come together and there will be more shared on the mason jars in the future.
 
For an inviting ambience and more rustic tabletop, I used both faux and natural wood pieces, including these wooden votive holders.

Party Invites & Devilish Details

I absolutely adore wax sealed letters, in fact, my family sends all of their party invites and Christmas cards with a family wax seal. The apple does not fall too far from the tree because I also love to send certain invites with a wax seal albeit for very special dinner parties. I only have a handful of seals but two that I like generally use is a heart seal, and this fleur-de-lys seal, you saw a glimpse of this here. Wax seals work perfectly for various occasions, not to mention what doesn't look great for engagements with gold wax. However, this doesn't only apply for wedding invites, try using a wax seal the next time you host a party or better yet, go on and send your parents some snail mail! 

Below is a handful of invites that I loved. From chalkboard inspired pieces to R.S.V.Ps with romantic opulence, there really is something out there for everyone. This bride and groom both adore lace details and traditional scripting, so I was inspired to incorporate some of those with colour options in the mood board that I presented to them.   


What do you think of these ideas? Would you have an outdoor wedding or indoor wedding?



For this countryside wedding, I used Jack Daniel's boxes to create a unique centrepiece. I actually used two of these because we used a long wooden dining table. It was a random concept that I had, initially, I was using the box to carry over items for the shoot, then I thought, why not actually use the box? I did and I really liked how everything turned out in the end.

I hope you were inspired! Stay tuned for more inspiration in the next volume as I continue to share some behind the scenes snippets.

The goods: Some items in this post features pieces provided by Oriental Trading. All content and opinions expressed are my own.





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How To Have A Stress-Free Christmas


The festive season is a special time of year when we come together to eat, drink and be merry. Unfortunately, the reality isn’t so idyllic. Once we leave home and have families of our own, the burden falls on us to buy the gifts, decorate the home, and host Christmas dinner. All of this comes with its own unique set of problems and stresses. Follow these steps to navigate the holidays and emerge happily and refreshed.

Make A Big List
Often anxiety occurs when things are whizzing around our head. Writing them down can help as it takes them out of your head and onto paper. So no more lying awake at night thinking about all the things you’ve forgotten.

If big lists feel too daunting, break this down into smaller manageable chunks and schedule tasks for specific days.

Delegate
You don’t have to do everything yourself, nor should you. If there are other people who could help, delegate tasks to them. It’s only fair that everyone mucks in. Even kids can do their part by helping with decorations, tidying, etc.


Take Time Out
As Christmas gets closer, it seems like there’s always something else to do. So, no matter how busy it gets, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Do the things that you enjoy such as:

  • Sitting back and enjoying the Christmas tree lights with a cup of Chai latte
  • Going to a carol concert
  • Going for a walk on a cold, bright morning
  • Having a lie in
  • Watching cheesy Christmas films
  • Meeting up with friends and going to a Christmas fair

Take Care

It’s also important to take care of yourself at this time of year. We all tend to overindulge a little. If you can’t enjoy a few treats at Christmas, when can you enjoy them? And as we come into contact with more people, we’re prone to winter bugs. Make sure you eat healthily in between treats and opt for foods that boost your immune system. Stay active, even if you don’t stick to your exercise regime religiously. A little is better than nothing at all.

When things escalate, and it becomes too much, try some simple meditation techniques to clear your mind and help you feel calmer.

Keep Out Of Family Feuds

In theory, it’s great to gather together your family and spend time together at Christmas. However, it isn’t without its problems. Old grudges rise to the surface and personalities clash, especially after a few drinks. Do your best to stay out of family arguments. There are several steps you can take to help with this.

  • Remove yourself from the situation by positioning yourself elsewhere
  • Steer conversations away from problematic subjects
  • If others try to draw you in, be firm and tell them that it’s not the time or place to discuss it
  • Make light of things if possible, and try to laugh it off

Christmas comes but once a year, and it only lasts a few days. Makes those days as merry and joyful as possible by taking steps to beat the stress.







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