Easter Flower Ideas

These brilliant ideas come from Catriona Summerhill at Homes & Gardens.

DAINTY EGGCUP DISPLAYS

Hollowed-out eggshells make naturally beautiful containers for the smallest of flower arrangements. Selecting blue hen’s eggs adds a pretty touch to this simple idea, which requires just a few hallmarks of spring, such as delightfully scented lily of the valley and tiny sprigs of blossom. The diminutive displays can be used to brighten any corner or as a lovely addition to the place settings at your table. Choosing eggcups with an Easter theme will add to the charm.

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STATEMENT PIECE

For those looking to bring character to their Easter celebrations, experiment by filling a vintage wire cage with a bed of moss, speckled quail’s eggs and a floral arrangement displayed in a ceramic bowl. This design can be easily customised with flowers to suit your decorating scheme, while the eggs can be replaced by chocolate ones for guests of all ages to enjoy.

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POTTED EASTER BULBS

No special flower arranging skills are needed to create a display of fresh potted blooms, so children can be easily involved in the project. Planting up a selection of spring bulbs, such as muscari and anemones, in attractive pots is a great way to make the season come alive indoors. The pots can also be tied with ribbon and presented as Easter gifts.

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SCULPTURAL DESIGN

For an eye-catching seasonal arrangement with a contemporary edge, glue stems of pussy willow around a plant pot and fill with a tightly packed assortment of coloured tulips so they are just visible above the top of the pot. To complete the display add thin branches of blossom, which will be held in place by the tulips, to give the arrangement height and introduce a modern, sculptural feel.

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TABLE DECORATION

If you fancy bringing a touch of whimsy to the dining table, why not try this artful display using a selection of freshly cut garden flowers. Choose blooms in soft, complementary hues, such as pale pink roses, deep pink astrantia major, miniature white narcissi, vibrant green viburnum and black and white anemones. Trim the stalks so the flowers sit happily in a selection of pretty eggcups and tiny vases, then intersperse with stems of pussy willow and foil wrapped chocolate eggs. Water daily for a long-lasting centrepiece.

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Armoire Makeover on a tiny budget

Slide1After my last cupboard makeover, I decided to start on another one.  I spotted this cupboard in a Charity shop which was a bargain at only £40.  The quality is great; it has veneered wood to the panels on the front, ball feet legs, a carved pediment, and has immaculate joinery inside.  I guess it to be around the 1930’s.  However it is very solid in colour, and some of the veneer was beginning to flake on the panels.  So I was happy to give it a makeover and not feel bad!

Ornate pediment

Ornate pediment

I am obsessed with ‘Snow Tree’ wallpaper by Colefax and Fowler at the moment, and decided to use the cream colour way on this Armoire.  I managed to source some on Ebay for £42, down from the usual £58.  I already had some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Olive, County Grey and Original leftover from other projects which suited the wallpaper’s colours.

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I painted all large areas of the Armoire except the front panels in Country Grey to start, and the detail mouldings in Olive.  At this point an issue came to light as the right hand door did not have beading on the inner left side, which would make wallpapering the panel neatly very tricky.  I popped down to the local DIY store and bought a piece of 180 degree fine wood moulding for £1.80, and with my craft knife I trimmed off the flat edge so it became a pure semi circle.  I then used my best friend, No More Nails, to stick the beading in place and painted it Olive.  Bingo!  Now I had a raised edge to abut the wallpaper so I had a neat edge.

I then added detail to the pediment, feet and any mouldings on the Armoire which were painted Olive, by dry brushing Country Grey very lightly on top.

Finally it was time to wallpaper. I started on the right panel, using wallpaper paste on the paper and letting it soak in for a good 10 minutes before pasting to the panel.  I fold the paper onto itself as well so the paste does not dry out when this soaking period takes place.  I then hung the paper, trimmed it to fit exactly into the space using a pair of sharp scissors, (I find craft knives always tear wet paper).  A damp sponge then smoothed it into place.

To paper the left hand panel, I mentally ignored the two pieces of beading that separate the wallpaper and trimmed the wallpaper so it smoothly flowed across the entire front.  Then  it looks like the paper actually runs below the beading.  I then left the paper to dry before the next steps.  Time for a coffee!

Time for a coffee break while the paint dries.

Time for a coffee break.

The wallpaper has a very distinctive background of dragged paint marks whereas my paint to the Armoire was solid, so I decided to emulate the effect on the front of the armoire edges to match.

IMG_1082On a plate I put a blob of Country Grey, and one of Original white and poured a little water on top of all.  Then using a rough and stiff paintbrush I gently painted lines in both colours on top of all the pale paintwork to the front of the Armoire, so it has paler and darker tones.  It is not a total match, but I think it compliments the piece better than a dead flat colour.

Finally I waxed the whole piece where paint had been applied with clear Annie Sloan wax plus buffed it to get a good sheen. I also applied a dead flat clear glaze to the wallpaper to protect it.

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Dragged brushwork to paint

Moulding on pediment highlighted with a lighter tone

Moulding on pediment highlighted with a lighter tone

The Final Armoire

The Final Armoire:  the wallpaper pattern runs smoothly across the front

Sadly I have nowhere for this beauty to go, which is why it is currently standing in my hallway .  I really do not want to let it go!   But for a total cost of £94 I am pretty pleased with the results and hope it inspires people to get creative with wallpapering furniture.

Moroccan Architecture and Design

I have just returned from Marrakesh, where I visited lots of places and became obsessed with the patterns used in their tiles and decorations.  Situated in Northern Africa, as one of the only three countries to have a coastline along both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Morocco is extremely diverse, with residents that are Arab, Berber, and many European and sub-Saharan African immigrants. The interior design that originates in Morocco reflects this diverse area, rich in cultural traditions and history. Characterized by intricate carvings, arched doorways, and colorful dyes it should come as no surprise that Moroccan interior design has become quite popular around the world.   The pigments all come from the area, and are mainly from crushed stones, these are widely sold in herbalist shops including the famous Majorelle blue.

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Tiles:

In the Palaces and Mosques, Zellige tiles are made featuring intricate carvings, inlaid tesserae and bright coloured hues.  The design tends to revolve around a 6 or 8 point motif with repeating patterns.  Even flower patterns are made from geometric smaller shapes.

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Painted Decoration:

Doors, lintels, ceilings and pretty much anywhere that is not tiles is hand painted.  Again, the repetitive 6 or 8 points are commnly used, but also flowers and natural forms.

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The craftmanship is amazing, and it takes many years for the artists to train in this ancient skill.  All of the photos in the post are of ancient tiles and paintings in the Bahia Palace and Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakesh, and their hues are as vivid now as when they were created.

Tassels by the hundreds – Passementerie in Marrakesh

I have just returned from a break in Marrakesh, one of my most favourite places, where I spent a few days wandering the souks and Medina and taking a lot of photographs of the Islamic and Moorish architecture.

By chance, I found the most wonderful shop buried deep in the Medina where they sell only tassels.  Every size, colour, type and style was catered for.  Materials were mainly silk but they had some very cool leather ones as well which I have not seen before.  The owner was lovely, and can make me some to my size specifications and ship them to me.

I usually only use tassels for either curtains or as key tassels, but these got me wondering what else they can be used for?  I found these ones used as lights which are quite different:

Here they are used behind picture frames: