Sunday, 26 June 2016

When life gives you lemons

It was my son's 21st coming up and I was stuck for ideas for a party theme. Mid-winter in Auckland with not much colour around and being a male's party I couldn't get away with a 'pretty' look and lots of flowers. Also my canvas was a simple football club room with not much aesthetics to work with.

It so happened that a week before the party, I attended a soirée hosted by Un Deux Trois at which Stylist Fiona Hughes from Gatherum Collectif gave table styling tips. Fiona and her business partner, Jani Shepherd, create inviting occasion settings and displays of food that can regularly been seen in Taste Magazine and within the covers of Your Garden and Home magazine. So, who better to find out about table displays than from these two.

What I love about their style is that it's relaxed, but carefully considered. It's as if you have come across an occasion, mid-way through.  

These are some of the things I learnt.
  1. Use nature from your garden or neighbourhood in your displays. In winter use bare tree branches. Magnolias are beautiful.
  2. Consider what is seasonal and use local produce or plants to keep costs down.
  3. Be true to your theme.
  4. Provide height to your displays or consider suspending decorations from a height.
  5. Use your own collections (a perfect opportunity to dip into your hoarder cupboard!).
With these simple tips in mind, I came up with these ideas. 

The theme would be black, yellow and white. The clubs's colours are yellow and white so the colour scheme could fit in with the yellow buntings hanging from the ceiling.
  1. I used herbs from the garden - rosemary twigs on the food tables with leek flowers and small posies of herbs - flat leaf parsley and mint with a few calendula flowers for colour on the tables, each surrounded with snacks. 
  2. In addition, instead of buying bunches of flowers I bought some flowering seedlings - daisies and primulas and cheap clay pots and bases. The bases were used to hold dips and cheese.

  1. My lemon tree groaning with lemons, providing the additional colour, and worked well with the food, whole, sliced or segmented. 
  2. My cork collection created a festive addition. 

It's amazing how carefully perusing the garden, using what's in season and buying only a few props that can be re-used either in the kitchen or garden, can be so effective. 
Happy sustainable decorating. And if you find you have leftover food like we did, the Auckland City Mission would be glad to have what remains.

Claudia x

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Weaving a harakeke putiputi

There is therapy in weaving. Even weaving a single piece of harakeke (flax) helps to focus on one thing and not be distracted. This is what some of us did at our Matariki celebration at work last week. 

Matariki is the Māori New Year. It's a celebration after the harvest and when the  cluster of stars known as the Pleiades rises, normally near mid- winter. 

For some simple and clear instructions on how to weave a harakeke (flax) putiputi - rose, see this Youtube video

Would love to hear if you have tried weaving using flax or other plants and a Happy Matariki to you.

Claudia x

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Flower Crown workshop

On Saturday morning I attended a delightful workshop on how to make a floral crown with Anna Cunningham from 'Florrie's. Flowers. Always.' The workshop was set up on the stage of the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall and was launched at the Crafternoon Tea pop up market. We were so immersed in our activity that we weren't even aware of the bustling craft market being held on the hall floor below us. 

No sooner had we sat down and Anna had us twisting florists' wire around stems and taping them to the crown base, using floral tape. We were hooked immediately.

It took a little over an an hour to complete our floral crowns and was lovely to see the various colour and flower combinations. Working with flowers is such an uplifting activity and Anna's organised layout with everything we needed at hand, meant that each of us could leave at the end of the workshop with a completed crown. Creatively satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable! 

Anna is a mobile florist, but you can find her in St Heliers during the week, and online at her website  and on Facebook and Instagram @florriesflowersalways

My daughter was celebrating her 15th birthday and I managed to convince her to wear it briefly, but apparently not the coolest head gear for a 15 year old, so off it came. Very quickly. 

Perhaps it could make a beautiful floral cake decoration ...

Instructions for making a floral crown are published on Steller Stories:

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Two winners for #the_heart_series

We have two winners for May's photochallenge #the_heart_series on Instagram. 

The  winner of the Sandra Waine Printmaker print “Spreading Some Love” is  @mynameistince.

Sandra said, "The photo of the coffee bean heart – coffee certainly spreads a lot of love!  I love the simplicity of her composition and the strong contrasting palette, I can almost smell the coffee from here!" 

The Owl and Pussycat pillowcase set, was won by @underthekowhaitree_christall for her photo of the print “Love What You do……..” 

Sandra said "Within this lovely composition there are two things that are true to my heart, firstly Christall’s philosophy of “Do What You Love – Love What You Do” and that this print was created in an old letterpress studio (sounds amazing)."

From Sandra and I, congratulations to the winners, and we would both again like to thank everyone for their lovely, creative and stunning entries.  It has been an absolute pleasure!

Claudia and Sandra xo