DIY Ombre Pot: Hibiscus in the House!

Some of you might know that I have family living in Malaysia, which is suddenly relevant because May’s Plant of the Month at The Joy of Plants was the Hibiscus, Malaysia’s national flower!

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The Hibiscus flower always reminds me of hotter, sunnier climes; aren’t Hawaiian shirts typically covered in the flower, for example? And I’m pretty sure hibiscus drinks/cocktails were invented in the tropics (by the way, there is a recipe for hibiscus tea on the website, and it looks YUM. Did you know that the flower is full of vitamin C and can lower blood pressure? Well, now you do!).

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It’s only fitting then, now summer is upon us, that we spend some time admiring the hibiscus plant and showing it off in our homes. Here’s a DIY for a dip-dye flower pot! Enjoy.

What you need:

  • Hibiscus (in a pot)
  • Glass tank, vase or a bucket
  • Coat hanger with clamps (the kind for clipping trousers with)
  • Tin that will fit the plant
  • Piece of cotton fabric, preferably washed so that it doesn’t shrink
  • Pot to mix the glue with water
  • Textile dye
  • Salt to add to the dye (so it will set)
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Rubber gloves

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Fill the tank vase with dye according to the instructions. Cut the fabric to the width of the tin. Hang the longer side of the fabric on the coat hanger.

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Put the rubber gloves on and lower the bottom half of the fabric into the dye. Take the fabric out after 1 minute and then lower the fabric a bit further into the dye. After 5 minutes take the fabric out of the dye again and then lower it even further into the dye. You do this until the whole fabric is coloured in stages. Tip: attach the hanger to a string hanging from something, so that you don’t have to hold the fabric the whole time.

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Let the coloured fabric dry. Then mix the glue with the water in the pot. Cover the whole tin with the glue mixture and stick the fabric to the tin. Make sure that the end of the fabric is glued securely so that it can’t come loose.

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Your dip dye pot is now ready! Now all you have to do is put your Hibiscus in it. It will look best if the edge of the plastic plant pot is at the same height as the edge of the tin. You could put stones, or something else in the bottom of the tin to fill it up to right height.

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Images and DIY courtesy of The Joy of Plants

Why You Should Have Plants at Home…

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If, like us, you live a hectic life, we have the solution for some regular, fuss-free destressing: House plants!

Having potted flowers at home is the simplest way of bringing some zen and green indoors, especially if you live in an urban environment. We have found our flat to be more energised since The Joy of Plants kindly gave us a new yucca (funny story, see here!) and now, these beautiful Royal Pelargonium pots. It’s lovely having some of that wonderful, healing nature at home (and in the middle of busy London) – and it’s a bonus that the Perlargonium flowers are so colourful!

Here are some top tips for caring for the Royal Pelargonium:

1. Keep the plant in a light place

2. Water it regularly, directly into the pot and not on the plant itself (we found these to be fairly thirsty plants!)

3. If you remove dead flowers, the plant will continue to grow new ones

4. After it has flowered in your home, the plant is happy to be placed outside and will add some colour to your balcony or window box until late autumn

5. In the winter, place it in a cool room and give the plant limited water

Have fun!

 

For more, visit The Joy of Plants

http://www.thejoyofplants.co.uk

 

Images/styling: Courage & Dash

Love & Roses When You Least Expect It

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I’m really not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I have never celebrated it (except once in school when I was nominated Captain of the Lonely Hearts Club), and have never wanted to.

Today, however, my husband unexpectedly gave me a Valentine’s Card. And actually, it was really moving, and I nearly teared up (I won’t share the contents, quick sick-in-mouth inducing, I imagine!). So I think the thing about Valentine’s Day  is probably the contrived-ness of it all, and how forced it often feels – if it was spontaneous and heart-felt, and if the retailers would stop telling us we need to spend lots of money for it to be a special day, it might actually be a rather lovely affair after all.

Which reminds us of this cute video here which is another project by the Flower Council of Holland (the same guys behind the initiation that led to us getting a new yucca), of a sweet little Wall-E like drone dropping rose stalks randomly. So cute. The Flower Council kindly surprised us with some beautiful roses to style, as part of their Valentine’s Day Campaign (thank you!). We had fun playing with these gorgeous, deep red flowers – their thorny, woody stems are such a contrast to the soft velvety bloom of petals. I could definitely get used to receiving surprise cards and flowers all year round!

We hope wherever you are, and however you chose to celebrate February 14, 2015, you had a lovely time and managed to share some love and be loved.

 

Images and styling: Courage & Dash

 

Weekend Styling with Flowers

Last weekend, I finally managed to give up my Saturday lie-in (I’m usually at my desk by 6.30am during the week) for a wander to the New Covent Garden Flower Market in Vauxhall. I used to visit quite a lot a few years ago, travelling across London from Islington at the crack of dawn; it really baffles me why I can’t seem to make the effort nowadays, given that I live locally…IMG_7224

In case you haven’t heard of the market, it is a wholesale market that caters to the floristry industry. Wedding planners and most of the city’s florists get their supplies from the market, and because it’s also open to the general public, people like me also tend to find their way there, either to shop or just to look at the vast selection of flowers/plants. Beside the flower market is a fruit and vegetable market (I’ve never been) which is similar. The market is open from 4am to 10am, Mon to Sat. However, given that it is a wholesale market, most of the trade is complete by 4am… Anything after tends to be considered late! Don’t let the early hours put you off though – there are still plenty of stalls open at 8 or 9am on a Saturday.

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Whilst you do get better value for money buying your flowers at the Flower Market, the downside is that you do have to buy them in larger than average sizes, so be prepared – they can get quite heavy! For £10, I got a massive bouquet of tulips, about 6 large bunches in total (I filled quite a few vases and jars!), which I thought was great. You can also bargain if you fancy it – I didn’t as I wasn’t buying that much. Also, it might help to have an idea of the arrangements you are making beforehand, especially if you are like me and love flowers generally and have very little self-control. Once, I left the market laden with enough blooms for a mini wedding (I exaggerate, but you get the picture) – it ended up costing more than I would have wanted and I had to make up so many bouquets/vases.

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The tulips I purchased were the most beautiful tulips I have ever had. They were so blousy and bright, with crinkly petals that looked so different to the usual ones (they reminded me of peonies). They were also very easy to style and dot around the flat to inject some colour into the space.

I really do love flowers and don’t have them around the house as much as I would like to. Of course, one doesn’t have to go to the flower market just for some fresh flowers – there’s always your nearest supermarket or florist. If you like learning about different plants and discovering new blooms, the Flower Market is the place to visit – naturally, the colour scheme and scent of the place evolves season to season, which is great.

New Covent Garden Market, London, SW8 5BH | http://www.newcoventgardenmarket.com
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 4am to 10am
Nearest Station: Vauxhall Tube Station/Vauxhall mainline (South-west Trains)

 

Images: Courage & Dash

 

Tallulah Rose is coming to London!

Hurrah! Ever since I first laid eyes on Tallulah Rose Flower School during the Chelsea Flower Show series here, I have been wanting to go on a taster day or full workshop session. Alas, time and distance get in the way. However, we are pleased to tell you know the lovely Rachel Wardley is taking Tallulah Rose Flower School to us here in London, on October 14th/15th (Tuesday/Wednesday)! Hurrah!

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The course will be held in a lovely loft-type conversion warehouse space, called Brixton East. Over the two days, you will learn detailed theory behind constructing floral arrangements (including on balance, scale, form, detail, proportion, etc.), try your hand at putting your new-found knowledge into practise. Rachel is incredibly kind and very knowledgeable – you will be in very good hands!

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What’s more, on day 2, luxury florist Philippa Craddock (described as ‘the must-know florist’ by Condé Nast Brides) will be stopping by to share her experiences with you and talk through the business side of things. Excited yet? You should be!

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Here are the details; it sounds like a real treat, and no excuses now it’s in London! Let us know if you do go!

Date: Tuesday 14th – Wednesday 15th October

Time : 10.00 – 17.00 each day

Location: Brixton East, 100 Barrington Road, London, SW9 7JF 

Cost: £1600 per person* Full payment required with booking. 

To reserve your place, simply email hello@tallulahroseflowers.com and the Flower School will arrange the rest.

*Included in the course fee are all fresh floral materials, floristry equipment, vessels used in your floral designs, breakfast, lunch and light refreshments for the full two days.

 

Images: Tallulah Rose and Philippa Craddock

 

Real Homes: Inside the home of a photographer… Cristina Colli

Cristina Colli‘s photography is simply breath-taking. We find ourselves suddenly noticing that our mouths have been hanging open in awe every time we see her pictures. They are full of vigour, as if the image is the last thing your mind registered before you turned away and found another distraction. Brilliant.

Naturally, we were incredibly curious about the home of such a talented photography with a keen eye for composition, colour and lighting. We amused ourselves with speculations about her home: would it be entirely opposite to her style of photography and be broody and moody? Would it be ultra modern and sleek, showcasing a much more sophisticated and chic edge that her photos hint at? Or what if she lived in a Hello Kitty Palace type abode?? Eek! (Nothing wrong with a Hello Kitty Palace-style home, btw. Whatever floats your boat!)

Today we get to lay all those curiosities to rest, as we pop round Cristina’s and visit her airy, minimalist home. We want to discuss it all with you but shall control ourselves and let you have a chance to see her home first!

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“I’m a still life stylist and photographer specialising in commercial, editorial, and floral photography. I also sell prints of some of my vignettes as wall art. On my Instagram account, I share an iPhone still life, mainly of flowers, every morning from Monday to Saturday, to wish all my followers a happy day 🙂

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“I love white interiors, airy and uncluttered, clean lines, and a mix of contemporary and vintage furniture. I also like to have some wooden pieces, like our antique dining chairs, or the reclaimed wood coffee table, to add warmth and texture.

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“I use colours as accents. Having a white “base”, so to speak, makes it very easy to change the mood of an interior. Changing cushions and throws can make a room look completely different, and it’s an easy way to revamp a space.

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“I’d love to have a whitewashed wooden floor throughout the house, but we are renting so we had to make do with the existing carpet and slate tiles (Courage & Dash: we feel your pain!!). I have a background in interior design, and I guess that helped me decorate the house even though I was limited in what I could do.

“We asked permission to paint the rooms white (it was a yellowish dark magnolia before). The living area is flooded with light, and the white walls bounce the light off and make the interiors look even more luminous and airy.

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“I chose off-white linen for the curtains, and a mix of cotton and linen for the sofa and daybed. We fell in love with the large painting in the sitting area. It’s from a local artist, and I think that it makes a big statement and has become the focal point of the area.

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“I love flowers, and I always make a point to have flowers and plants in the house. From December to March I have hyacinths and other bulbs dotted around the house, and soon I’ll move my jasmine and thyme from the garden to the sunny windowsill, beside the aloe vera, to protect them from frost.

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“I painted two French wine boxes with Annie Sloan clam paint, and turned them into shelving units. I change the arrangements quite often, depending on the mood. At the moment I have my collection of vintage bottles on display, some crystals, feathers, shells and pebbles.

“The lilac display cabinet is another vintage find. I wanted to paint it white, but my husband insisted that I chose a colour instead…He knows that at some stage I will paint it white tough, it’s just a matter of time 😉

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C_Colli_Home_5177“I love reading so there are plenty of books in the house, but I try to keep everything hidden in cabinets and cupboards when I can, to make the interior calm and serene.

“Our bedroom is very simple and uncluttered, and has a tranquil feel. The willow heart above the bed is from a local craftsman, and the felted bird garland is from another local artist. I like the smell of lavender, and the hanging tube vase is perfect to hold a bunch of this fragrant, soothing herb.

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“In the dining area I have a display of some of my photographs. They’re taped to the wall with washi tape, that doesn’t ruin the paint, and I like changing the prints depending on my mood.

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“I’d love to have a fireplace or log burner beneath the big piece of art in our living! It would make the space so much cosier…for now, I content myself with lighting lots of candles on the coffee table at night!”

Cristina lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and two cats.

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Ahhhh. Dreamy, white-washed, smears of colour… It’s not always easy to change a rented home into something so personal and stylish (don’t you think Cristina’s home looks like it came out of a magazine??), but this home ticks all the right boxes! The white palate really opens up the living space, showing off the flowers and vintage finds that Cristina has dotted around her home.

Are you inspired? Do you have a home that is set up in a similar fashion, or completely differently? What did you like best about her style?

For more of Cristina’s photography, visit her at http://www.cristinacolli.com/.

 

Images: Cristina Colli

Stylephiles: 3 Tips for Displaying Your Books

We had a terrible case of the Monday Blues today 😦 But what really cheered us up were these beautiful photos by Merve Bayar of @bibliophie90. We found Merve as we were featuring Emily Quinton’s home, and thought we’d share our top tips on displaying your book collection, and get Merve to show you  what it looks like in practice. You can use these tips on a coffee table or your desk or wherever you have piles of books…

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If your home is anything like Courage & Dash HQ, it will feature stacks upon book shelves upon stacks of books. There’s very little better than the smell and feel of a good old book (we love the Kindle too, but the book… ahhhh…)!

So, Tip 1) While it might make sense to alphabetise or use the Dewey Decimal System for organising your books, when displaying them, you might want to group them according to colour. Do you have a colour of the moment? Or some flowers that you already have on show? Those are good starting points to get your first group of books going. Merve had some lovely pink roses, and she thought a minty green would be perfect with the roses.

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Tip 2) Think of clever ways to blend the books with the flowers – rose bookmark? Why not! Book stack with flowers interspersed? Sure! Feel free to use individual stems, or clusters of flowers. You can go for a casual yet elegant look by pairing blooms with your favourite texts. Pair colours or go for a myriad of shades. It will look like you’ve been out reading under a tree and picked some flowers on the way in!

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Tip 3) Add stems in containers – use jam jars, bud vases, tea cups, etc. – glass tends to add a touch of glamour. Steer yourself away from the comfort of the vase – if you want some inspiration, take a look at a guest post we did here where we shared some ideas on styling flowers with everyday containers.

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There you have it, a stylishly arranged desk or coffee table, showing off pretty colours and flowers that will brighten up your room!

Thanks Merve – for more of her beautiful pictures, visit her on instagram @bibliophile90.

 

Images: Merve Bayar