How to: Get fake dressed.

You know what I’m talking about. You need bread/milk/wine badly. No time or desire to dress properly. That takes effort. And anyway you want to shower nicely later when you can, so what’s the point getting dressed now? It’s early, but not quite early enough to risk pyjamas for the mission. Or maybe it’s actually late and you’re already undressed for the day and no way are you putting your bra back on. No. Fucking. Way. So what do you do?

You get fake dressed.

This is a lot easier in winter. A good coat can make pretend dressing a breeze. However, summer time yields the footwear advantage: thongs and other slip-ons. You get extra points for these because you don’t have to bend to put them on. It’s all about minimal effort for maximum effect. And the effect we are after is: “nothing to see here”.

Essential to the fake-dressing kit.
Essential to the fake-dressing kit.

This morning I got faked dressed to drop Glenn off at work, with the idea that afterwards G and I could do some super quick Lego shopping. The Lego shopping would enable me to have a lovely proper shower later as G would then stop driving me crazy asking me about the desired Lego item and be blissfully preoccupied for a time while he put it together.

So this was the fake outfit: hair left as is but could possibly pass as purposely tousled ‘bed hair’ if you didn’t look too closely and see that it was completely flat on one side from being laid on and ever so slightly dandruffy. Hooded and (crucially) zipped coat covered no bra no undies ensemble of very old and holey (not holy. Holey) singlet and leggings that I slept in. No socks. Resisted the delicious lure of Uggs and slipped feet into elastic sided ankle boots. This feels very weird with no socks. That’s ok. If you do this, you’re passable. You can now leave the house and get the chocolate, I mean milk, without being actually dressed. Carry a large bag. It looks more convincing. Walk fast.

Admittedly, fake dressing is made easier for me by the fact that in winter I tend to sleep in tank tops and bad track pants. Like many people, I change into this outfit as soon as I get home. If it’s warmish I can just add a hoodie and thongs to be fake dressed. And then maybe someone might be fooled into thinking my messy/greasy hair is due to a sweaty workout. And that I’m fresh out of a hard core Bikram yoga class and not just fresh out of Kit Kats and making the dash for more.

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I told my friend Rosebud that I was writing about this and she said that fake dressing for her is leaving the house in the track pants she slept in with the addition of “blush and mascara and a lovely scarf”. Blush? Her theory is that people will think that if she’s gone to the trouble of putting blusher on then surely she has applied the same sort of effort to the rest of her person. Admirable logic. I imagine people scanning her, Terminator-style, up and down when she’s in line at the checkout. Their gaze comes to rest on the blusher. Conclusion: this person is fully dressed. Move along.

We agreed that you can’t get fake dressed in patterned pyjamas.  That’s not fake dressing. That’s just going out in your pyjamas. Unless you actually rolled the pyjamas up above your knees and concealed them under a thick dress or coat. But that’s a bit too much effort which is completely against the rules of fake dressing. It’s not done. It’s also actually just a tad crazy. Which we’re clearly not.

You can't fake dress in pyjamas. The deer would give you away immediately.
You can’t fake dress in pyjamas. The deer would give you away immediately.

 

 

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How to: Make a canvas storage bag

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Mess glorious mess. I’d like to pretend our home is as neat and tidy as our Instagram photos, but we all know that’s a big fat lie. We do however have the amount of stuff shown in this picture and then some. And then some more. This canvas storage bag helps keep it in check and looks pretty good while it’s at it.

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To make this approximately 32.5 cm square x 50cm high storage bag, you will need:

Primed artist canvas
Fabric for appliqué
Scissors
Pinking shears
Pins
Pencil
Sewing machine
Matching thread
Tape measure or ruler
A 15cm bowl or other round object to use as a template

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Measure out and cut a long rectangle 130cm long by 50cm high and a 32.5 by 32.5cm square.

Trace a circle using the bowl or other template on your appliqué fabric and carefully cut out.

Measure along the rectangle about 49cm and 20cm high and make a small pencil mark. This should be roughly the centre of what will be the front of the bag. Pin your circle to the canvas, adjusting the alignment if you need to and sew.

Pin the bottom edge of the rectangle along the edges of square until it meets itself. Pin the ends of the rectangle together.

Stitch down along the ends of the rectangle down to the square to form the side seam, then stitch along the bottom seam.

Trim the side seam with the pinking shears before turning the bag right side out. Roll over the top edge to form a double fold at your preferred height. Fill with stuff.

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How to: Make a Driftwood Christmas Garland

Festive christmas styling
Christmas styling

This Driftwood Christmas Garland is a simple, elegant decoration included in my Last Minute Christmas Styling ideas for TasMagazine. Here’s how to put together your own…

You’ll need:
2 Star shaped cookie cutters
2 bundles Copper embroidery thread
1 A3 sheet copper cardboard
Needle
Scissors
Ruler
Strong beading thread
4 Pine cones with stems (preferably sun bleached like your driftwood)
A mix of gold beads with matt finish and clear deep green shaped beads
A medium sized piece of driftwood
Sage coloured flat knitting thread

Using found objects and everyday cookie cutters
Using found objects and everyday cookie cutters

Cookie cutter decorations
Wind the copper thread around the sides of the cookie cutter, twisting the thread as you go so it unwinds and lays flat against the cutter. Continue until the whole cutter is covered and tie off the thread. Tie beading thread in a length suitable for your hanging. Repeat for the second star.

Before and after
After and before
Wrap the thread around the cookie cutter
Wrap the thread around the cookie cutter
Completely wrap the cookie cutter until it has a new finish
Completely wrap the cookie cutter until it has a new finish

Paper flowers
Cut the copper cardboard into strips 2cm x 29.7cm (the short length of an A3 sheet). Fold the ends of a strip to meet in the middle. Pierce through the 4 layers of card about a cm off the folded end and thread onto the needle. Keep adding the folded pieces of card onto the needle until you have 7 strips of card (all folded) and then pull the thread through and tie in a knot. Cut the thread off, leaving enough attached to the flower so you can hang it. Fan out the folds until you have a looped circle. Repeat for the rest of the paper strips, each flower will have 7 strips.

Fold the paper strip over
Fold the paper strip over
Thread the folds onto the needle
Thread the folds onto the needle
Fan the folded paper out into the flower shape
Fan the folded paper out into the flower shape

Pine cones
Cut a length of beading thread long enough to suit the hanging length. Tie off one end of the beading thread to the stem of the pine cone. Thread on the first bead and loop it back through to hold it in position down close the pine cone steam. I’ve chosen a semi-random pattern to place my bead in, so add the next beads as you like, remembering to loop back through the first bead after the gaps. Repeat for the remaining pine cones.

Driftwood
Wind the sage thread around sections of driftwood. Tie off each section so the knot is hidden to the back of the branch.

Assembly
You’ll need two hanging points to hang your garland from. Tie 2 lengths of beading thread to each end of your drift wood to suit the distance of the hanging points.

Lay your driftwood on the floor as though it would against the wall. Arrange the decorations in position then tie off to the driftwood, looping the beading thread so the decorations can be repositioned once hung up.

Carefully lift the driftwood with the decorations attached and tie off to your hanging points on the wall. Adjust the positioning of each decoration and when you’re happy with them, tie off and trim the excess thread.

Space the shapes out to suit your driftwood
Space the shapes out to suit your driftwood
Hange the shapes at different lengths
Hang the shapes at different lengths
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When you wish upon a star…

 

Last minute Christmas styling – Featured in TasWeekend Magazine!

Pip's Christmas styling in TasWeekend
Last minute Christmas styling in TasWeekend

I’ve been a little in denial, but it’s well and truly Christmas time. I’m back at my Interior Architecture position, and now with two small children and my own children’s accessory business to manage, Christmas this year has had to be organized on the run.  I love to make sure I’ve selected decor that can be set up the night before and a menu easily prepped ahead of time, leaving me a moment to hang about with Dave and the girls before the excitement of the big day begins. If you missed getting your hands on a copy of TasWeekend Magazine to read about my concepts for last minute Christmas styling in Sally Glaetzer’s article – here’s the low down…

Simple succulents make for an exquisite Christmas centrepiece – Photo by Sam Rosewarne (courtesy of TasMagazine)

Table Styling
Metallics are stunning either as the table feature or accent pieces. I’m especially in love with the metallic paired with soft pastels. For this table setting I’ve brought together classic décor and dinnerware I have at home, with a couple of key feature items.

Classic white damask table cloth layered with a soft grey linen table runner and deep  grey cloth napkins. White dinner plates dressed with a succulent bouquet. Antique silver and bone cutlery and elegant vintage champagne glasses. Keeping it simple but beautiful works for me like including this living wreath as a statement centrepiece. The wreath is created from succulents by Botanical’s Kate Sice and accent table pieces including geometric wire decorations and candles in copper holders from Deb at Grey and Felt.

Christmas Decorations
Found objects and papers are fantastic for creating your own Christmas decorations with. Sparkly metallic papers and card can be used to make simple yet striking ornaments and brighten the soft weathered timbers which add that warmth and texture to any room. This driftwood Christmas wall hanging is an elegant way of using found objects from our local beach with the house hold cookie cutter and some craft supplies. Make your own with the details in my How: to make a driftwood Christmas wall hanging.

Festive christmas styling
Festive christmas styling
Gentle pastels with a hint of metallics make a stunning combination for Christmas decorations Photo by Same Rosewarne (courtesy of TasWeekend)

 

Another contemporary take on the traditonal decorations is Botanical's artichoke and holly wreath. Photo credit Sam Rosewarne
Another contemporary take on the traditonal decorations is Botanical’s artichoke and holly wreath. Photo credit Sam Rosewarne (courtesy of TasWeekend)

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Living Wreath supplied by:
Botanical | 139 Macquarie St Hobart Tasmania | T: +61 03 6223 4445 | enquiry@botanicalhobart.com.au

Copper holders supplied by:
Grey and Felt | 169 Sandy Bay Rd Hobart Tasmania | T: +61 03 6224 9929 | greyandfelt@internode.on.net

Christmas Stockings supplied by:
Pipla | pipla.bigcartel.com | piplastudio@gmail.com | Instagram piplastudio

How to: Make a rose piñata

Birthdays were always really, really special occasions for us growing up. From the moment we woke up, Mum would have made sure our day was filled with fun birthday celebrations – an awesome cake, delicious food (of course), games, decorations and sparkle, and always with lots of friends and family.

After a go with the blind fold, let them swing at it with both eyes open!
Trust me. The little kids don’t need the blind fold.
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And the goodies begin to fall!

Now that I have my own children, I realise how much effort that must have taken her every year coming up with new party ideas for the three of us, let alone pulling off everything that goes with a party. But these fond memories encourage me to think creatively about creating the same wondrous experiences for our girls.

Being a designer, concocting up decorations and pretty food isn’t so hard, but suitable party games for 1-10 year olds has had me stumped. Thankfully after a couple of unsuccessful pass the parcel attempts at Bubby’s first and second birthdays (big tears), I’ve cottoned onto the piñata craze. It’s awesome. The kids get to bash something and everybody gets some goodies. Last year I bought one, but there are only limited designs readily available here and after something to fit in with a yellow rose theme for Boo’s first birthday, I decided to create my own.

A rose piñata

Even though small children love to wave the piñata stick around, they don’t really have enough force to make more than a dent. So the trick with this piñata is to use just enough tape and glue to keep everything in place (with a little extra on the bottom to hold the weight of the fillings), but not so much they can’t break it apart.

You will need:

Thick cardboard with a corrugated centre
Yellow crepe paper
Yellow tissue paper
White tissue paper
Scissors
Sticky tape
Glue
Wool or string

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Old boxes work perfectly for this!

Draw 2 large circles approximately 50cm diameter and a 12cm x 45cm rectangle on your cardboard and cut out neatly. Poke 2 holes through one circle near the top and thread through your wool or string leaving enough to hang it up securely on the party day.

Make a couple of holes and thread through your wool. Before you start covering it...
Make a couple of holes and thread through your wool. Before you start covering it…

Roll the rectangular strip into a tight roll to give it some curl. Starting from just above the underside of the circle (but not the very bottom), tape the strip along the edge of 1 cardboard circle, forming the strip to the curve as you go. Remember to use only just enough tape to keep it in place, with extra to the bottom half to help carry the weight of the goodies that will go inside the piñata when its finished. There will be a gap between the ends of the strip – this so you can fill the piñata after is decorated. Tape the second circle the top side of the strip to form a shallow cylinder.

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Even though small children love to wave the piñata stick around, they rarely have enough force to make more than a dent. So the trick with this piñata is to use just enough tape and glue to keep everything in place, but not so much they can’t break it apart.

Cut a 12cm wide x 65cm strip of crepe paper and glue over the piñata sides leaving 5cm flaps either end to cover the opening. When complete you can tuck these in and cover up where you’ve snuck the treats in.

Leave some overhang eitherside of the opening.
Leave some overhang eitherside of the opening.
Tuck the flaps up once the pinata is filled with goodies.
Tuck the flaps up once the pinata is filled with goodies.

While still folded up, cut the remaining crepe paper into 5cm strips. Make 3cm deep by just under a cm wide cuts in each of bundle – these will unravel to form the fringe. Unwrap the first bundle part way and glue the top half of the fringe in a strip across the bottom of the back circle. Let it over hang the circle, you’ll trim this later. Glue next strip so that the fringe of the top covers the solid section of the one underneath and so on.

Unfold the cut crepe paper strips into a delicate fringe.
Unfold the cut crepe paper strips into a delicate fringe.
Glue the strips on so the fringe covers the solid half of the one underneath.
Glue the strips on so the fringe covers the solid half of the one underneath.

When the strips get to where the top of the opening is on the side, glue the start of the next strip to the front circle, and wrap over the sides, then glue to the back circle, wrap over the other side and glue the other end to the front circle. Keep covering sides and back face with fringe until the whole back face is covered. Trim the bottom fringes to the shape of the circle.

Wrap the fringe over the sides.
Wrap the fringe over the sides.
Cover the back and sides with the fringe strips.
Cover the back and sides with the fringe strips.

Cut out a petal shape in the white tissue paper that is large enough to overhang the circle. You’ll need 24 white petals. Starting from the top, lightly glue 8 petals down leaving a gap between each. Glue the remaining 16 over each petal so you have a layer of 3 petals. The aim is to stick the petals on, but letting the tissue paper petals look like they’re layered and not flat.

Layer the petals.
Layer the petals.

Cut out a similar petal shape in the yellow tissue paper, again large enough to overhang the circle. You’ll need 16 petals. Glue 8 of these in a similar fashion spacing them between the white ones. Lightly glue the rest over the top.

Cut out a smaller petal shape in the yellow tissue paper, with one pointed end. You’ll need 16 petals. Fold these in half lengthways to form a crease. Fold a petal in half and apply glue to one side, then press a second folded petal on top. Unfold the petals to form an upside down paper aeroplane shape. Repeat until you have 8 of these. Glue these in position between the yellow petals, making sure the pointed ends meet in the centre.

Glue the petals together like an upside down plane.
Glue the petals together like an upside down plane.
Glue the petals in position between the yellow petals, making sure the pointed ends meet in the centre.
Fill it up!
Fill it up!

Fill the piñata with awesome goodies – this year I stuck with a couple of types of chocolate in yellow wrappers and yellow sherbet, but you can mix it up a bith with small trinkets like stamps and rubbers. Tuck the flaps back up to hide the opening. Hang the piñata securely off a strong tree branch, or as we do off our pinned down swing set. Handing over a big stick or bit of timber dowel, blind fold the big kids and be prepared to have a round where you just let the little ones have a swing at it with both eyes open. Trust me. The little kids don’t need the blind fold.

And the best bit for me, was after finding out I’d made the piñata , the sweetest little guest whispered to me that she thought it was a bought – because it had tassels and all!

Ready to party!
Ready to party!
Hit big Bubby!
Hit big Bubby!

How to: Make succulent canvas pot covers

We’re hosting a little luncheon this weekend to welcome Baby Boo to the family.  I’m including some potted succulents as part of the decor and making these canvas pot-covers to tart up the plain terracotta pots.

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Canvas pot holder

What you’ll need:

  • Primed artist canvas
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint pallette
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Dressmakers pins
  • Pencil
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Tape measure
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Tools of the trade

First measure your pot. Wrap a tape measure around the widest part of your pot and check the measurement you’re taking will mean the pot will slip in and out easily.

Using your scissors cut out the length of canvas to suit your pots with an extra 6cm on the sides for overhang and 6cm to the overall height.

Paint your design onto the primed surface and leave to dry. I chose to paint gold patterns to fit in with the luncheon’s colour scheme.

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Paint your canvas and let it dry

Fold the canvas over in half so the fold is up along one side and pin in place. Mark the canvas where the angles need to go with a light pencil before stitching along the bottom and sides as shown with the dashed line below. Carefully trim the top and stitched side with the pinking shears.

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Sew along the dashed lines

Turn the canvas inside out and fold over the top edge. Pop in your pot plant and adjust the turned over edge to suit the pot height. Arrange the canvas to suit and you have new sculpture like pots.

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Pop your plants in and voila!

Want to see more Projects?

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How to: Tart up a shadow box

We’re looking forward to the day we can move Baby Boo into sharing with Bubby in her room. I’ll admit that it’s mostly so we can selfishly reclaim the study/guestroom and not have to sneak in while Boo’s asleep to grab the bottle of wine we’d forgotten to get out earlier. But we’re not there yet so in the meantime I’ve been slowly setting Bubby’s room up to suit both girls.

I remember having to share a room growing up with Lex and how my bed on the bottom bunk was the only space that felt like it was my own and wanted to create something special for Bubby to claim as hers. Like most little kids, the concept of sharing is often begrudging and whilst at the moment Bubby can pretty much play with whatever she pleases, it’s not always going to be the case. So I’m using these little shadow boxes to install a place above her bed that Bubby can display some of her pride and joy belongings – and away from Baby Boo’s curious little hands.

box doll

What you’ll need:

  • Plywood shadowboxes
  • Stain & Varnish
  • Paintbrush or rag
  • Fabric
  • Heat’n’Bond adhesive
  • Stiff cardboard
  • Metal ruler
  • Rotary blade & cutting mat
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Felt balls
  • Braided beading thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • Nails/hooks suitable for your wall lining

House Shadow Boxes

boxes

I purchased my shadow boxes pre-assembled from the lovely Kate at Little Dwellings. The natural ply finish they come in is great, but wasn’t suitable with the existing décor in Bubby’s room and I wanted to personalise them by changing their colour and adding a fabric finish to the back face of the boxes.

I chose a Wattyl combined stain and varnish in ‘Walnut’ to co-ordinate with the darkish timber frame of a large artwork and Bubby’s bedside table, a vintage Coogans shelving unit that I’d stripped off, stained and painted some years ago for our old kitchen.

First up, read the instructions on the back of your chosen tin of stain. I used a brush to apply the stain/varnish, but had a few bubbles on the inside face of the boxes so rubbed the stain in with a rag, then brushed the top coat on. I used two coats in total to stop the colour of the light ply from coming through the darker tint and left to dry for about an hour in between.

To make a template for the fabric backing, trace around the shadow boxes on a piece of butchers paper then draw on the thickness of shadow box edge. Using the metal ruler and rotary blade, cut out the shape on the inside of the double lines then see how it fits inside the box. Trim the template to fit snugly inside the box.

Use the template to cut the shapes for the cardboard and Heat’n’Bond. Lay the Heat’n’Bond rough face down on the cardboard and use a warm iron to adhere it to the cardboard for a couple of seconds. Be careful not to overheat the adhesive as it can loose its ‘stick’. Peel the backing off the adhesive and lay the fabric over the top. I chose to use a delicate Japanese gold lamé fabric to give a bit of shimmer against the dark timber, but the lame fabric is quite thin and the adhesive can come through onto the iron and then spread over the fabric so I laid a sheet of baking paper over the fabric before ironing for 4-6 seconds. Make sure all the fabric is stuck down right to the edges, but again move quickly to avoid overheating. With fabric face down, use the rotary cutter and ruler to trim the fabric against the edge of the cardboard shape. Insert into the shadow boxes. I’ve left mine so I can take them out if I change my mind later, but if they don’t stand up use a bit of double sided tape to keep them in place.

Felt Garland

balls front

I came across these felt balls amongst some art supplies my mum gave me, but if you feel so inclined you can follow my sparkle blog’s very easy step by step instruction on making them from scratch. These are also the instructions I used to make my garland. I used braided bead thread on a thin needle to string together the balls and to secure the ends, I double backed the thread through the last balls and tied in a small knot.

Whilst I can and like to use a hammer, getting the three boxes hung up in a row and evenly spread isn’t my specialty so Builder Dave came to the rescue and quickly did a nice tidy job for me. But artfully draping the garland was definitely all me.

boxes installed 1balls top

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