Tag Archives: decor

Goal #49: Our housewarming party


Ah, now I know we are well and truly HOME! ūüôā

Ninja and I finally managed to arrange our housewarming party, two months after we’d moved into our new place. It took the format of a¬†tea party in the garden, because there was no way to squeeze 20-odd¬†visitors inside our little cottage! In answer to prayer¬†it was a gorgeous day out¬†‚Äď clear blue Joburg winter skies; windstill and sunny ‚Äď and so wonderful to have our dear friends gathering at our new address.

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Home at last



Hello there friends!

I’m back at last,¬†finding a new normal¬†with my Ninja and the fuzzies¬†in our brand new home. Thanks for your patience while I was away; I’ve missed reading your blogs and sending out some cyber scribbles of my own ūüėČ

Wow, what an adventure the past few weeks have been! Moving house¬†sure is messy, whether you do it all in one go or bit-by-bit over many weekends like we did. Towards the end we were sleeping on just a couch cushion on the floor,¬†with no furniture or appliances left¬†except a¬†tiny bar fridge that held only a few meals’ worth of groceries, and clocking hundreds of kilometres¬†driving back and forth between the two homes on weekends. Exhausting.

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101 goals for the next 1001 days


Note: In case you missed my previous posts relating to this new list of goals, you might like to first stop by here, here and here ūüôā Goals 1 through 47 are adapted from my previous list, and goals 48 through 101 are the most recent additions. Where I’ve been working on an old¬†goal but haven’t quite finished it yet, you’ll see the weird¬†numbers reflect where I’m at today as I begin the new list¬†(applies to goals 6, 9, 12, 16, 23, 26, 27, 30, 33, 34, 36, 40 and 47).

Enjoy! And let me know your thoughts…

Wood pennyfarthing

101 things in 1001 days

From 21 March 2014 to 16 December 2016

1. Read through the Bible in a year

2. Knit a couch throw with natural yarn

3. Get to my goal weight and/or goal size and maintain

4. Finish our wedding scrapbook

5. Go on 3 hikes

6. Go on 2 motorcycle rides

7. Work through Love Dare again

8. Get a pretty girly camera bag

9. Paint 4 artworks on canvas

10. Assemble an emergency kit

11. Visit a cave

12. Make a list of 48 things I’m grateful for

13. Complete a 1 000+ piece puzzle

14. Go on a rollercoaster

15. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor

16. Read 73 books and keep a list of them

17. Make a custom recipe book

18. Visit 5 different museums and/or monuments

19. Have a sleepover party

20. Go for a bicycle ride

21. Take 101 (poster-worthy) photos of my new pet rats

22. Grow a plant from a seed

23. Invite 5 different friends/couples over for a visit

24. Try 5 new cocktails

25. Write a letter to my favourite author

26. Apply henna 3 different times

27. Get 7 more hat badges

28. Navigate a maze

29. Use up a sheet of temporary tattoos

30. Write a list of 25 things I’ve already achieved in this lifetime

31. Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find

32. Take part in a colour run

33. Eat at 2 new restaurants

34. Take 10 photos of 10 different birds

35. Go to Gold Reef City

36. Celebrate 3 obscure holidays

37. Make a time capsule

38. Visit a bird of prey centre

39. Revisit our wedding venue

40. Watch 6 movies I’ve never seen starting with K, N, Q, U, X and Y

41. Read Pilgrim’s Progress in the old English

42. Revamp my lingerie collection

43. Enjoy another spa day with my best friend

44. Photograph 10 old buildings in South Africa

45. Play the lotto with numbers from a fortune cookie

46. Put away R10 for each completed task

47. Write 4 letters to 4 people who changed my life

48. Buy 5 music CDs for my collection

49. Throw a housewarming party

50. Plan my 30th birthday party

51. Buy 3 more legit Bollywood movies

52. Complete a one-month photo challenge

53. Celebrate our 10-year dating anni in a special way

54. Get a good pocket/handbag camera

55. Interact with a raptor

56. Make a classic ‚ÄėSunday roast‚Äô meal

57. Get 5 new movies for my collection

58. Ride in a hot air balloon

59. Donate blood

60. Do 5 random acts of kindness

61. Find 5 inspiring new blogs to follow

62. Investigate becoming an organ donor

63. Plant a tree

64. Plant a vegetable garden

65. Go to the Lion Park

66. Host a Christmas gathering

67. Go to a theatre show

68. Visit an animal sanctuary

69. Go berry picking at Just Darling farm

70. Visit Lindfield Victorian House

71. See a movie at Rosebank’s Ster Kinekor Cinema Prestige

72. Have a ‚Äėpretty boudoir‚Äô photoshoot for Ninja

73. Hire an old car and go for a drive

74. Celebrate Raksha Bandhan in some way

75. Do a SCAD dive

76. Try 5 different natural foods from Organic Emporium

77. Get new running shoes

78. Get glasses frames that suit me better

79. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bathroom

80. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bedroom

81. Make or buy 2 decor items for the lounge

82. Make or buy 2 decor items for the kitchen

83. Get more potted plants

84. Upgrade our medical aid plan

85. Hire or buy another camera lens

86. Pay off our building loan

87. Make my own vanilla extract

88. Visit an organic/farmers’ market

89. Get a new set of bed linen

90. Make my own air freshener

91. Make my own potpourri sachets

92. Make my own jelly sweets

93. Make 5 new desserts

94. Create a photo album of all our pets

95. Cook homemade soup in winter

96. Define my own smart fashion style

97. Define my own casual fashion style

98. Buy 3 completely new smart outfits

99. Buy 3 completely new casual outfits

100. Revamp my jewellery collection

101. Take at least one mini-break away with Ninja

Wonderfully wonky


Hello friends! How’ve you been? ūüôā

A bit of sun¬†lit up¬†my day today: I couldn’t resist buying my first two pieces of new home decor! I spied these two wonderfully wonky ceramic¬†bowls on¬†sale at Woolies¬†and had to snap them up.¬†They fit right in with my planned¬†colour themes, in this case for the lounge/living room area:

Wonky crockery

Wonky crockery

I like that they’re misshapen, especially for the lounge, because I want it to be a fun, informal area where guests feel at home. And what are the odds that the only colours available would be a perfect robin’s-egg blue and rusty orange?! Plus they were really cheap¬†on sale so I don’t feel bad for squeezing them into my budget.

The ideal marriage of form with function: eye-catching decorations that double as snack bowls for a party or hold-alls for odds and ends.

It’s a silly thing, but this little find¬†made my day! ūüėÄ

Goal #25: Design decor themes


The exciting thing about moving into a place we’re not renting is that I can finally put some effort into decorating my home ūüôā

Realising my dream of a fully decorated house, however, will be a slow process… For example, when we move into the cottage we’ll be stuck with the paint scheme (pretty though plain) that my parents have chosen.¬†This is to¬†save us the effort and expense of repainting when they eventually move into the cottage themselves. But at least (Lord willing) when we¬†take over the main house, I’ll finally be let loose with a paintbrush!

In the meatime, my decor ideas will be limited to all the finishing touches rather than the walls, carpets or tiles. I don’t mind, though. I can’t wait to start collecting stuff¬†ūüėÄ

To help me plan properly, I’ve laid out my ideas in what could¬†loosely be¬†called ‘mood boards’. They don’t have actual swatches of fabric or splashes of paint like proper mood boards would, but they do¬†group¬†colours and elements that will inspire my eventual purchases. (In creating these boards, I’ve also¬†accomplished Goal #25 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.)

I’ve put together¬†the¬†ideas on¬†black cardboard because it brings out the colours, but the actual palette I have to work with is: white ceilings, pink-white walls,¬†purply grey carpets, peachy-white tiles and purply grey doorframes. I’m hoping that that¬†base won’t clash monstrously with the colourful themes I have in mind ūüėõ

First off, the bathroom:

Bathroom: Lavender and lemon

Bathroom: Lavender and lemon

Our cottage bathroom is beautifully light and airy, with large windows that face both east and north out over the garden. That inspired my lavender and lemon colour scheme, to reflect the sunshine and the garden views.

To me, a bathroom also has two main functions: to relax and rejuvenate. The varied purples I’m grouping under ‘lavender’ will bring a sense of calm into the room, while the cheerful zesty lemon yellows should inspire and revitalise us. And of course purple and yellow are complementary colours, which means that when placed together they really make each other ‘pop’!

Although¬†my husband has generously said I can freely decorate the entire house except for his computer/hobby corner, I still don’t want to go overly feminine or floral. It’s important to me that the decor makes him feel relaxed and at home in the space too. So far he seems to like my ideas ūüôā

Next, we have the lounge (or living room as you may call it):

Lounge: Robin-egg and rust

Lounge: Robin-egg and rust

This is going to be a fun one to decorate! In the cottage our lounge area is very small, but I’m thinking of the¬†long term too ‚Äď these themes can also be carried over into the main house one day. So, for this family-oriented space I’ve picked a soft robin-egg blue and a striking rusty orange. Of course, my idea is not to get every item bang on¬†the exact same shade… so the blue includes a range of soft sea-blue and mint-green shades,¬†while the orange items will go from coral to rust to tangerine.

I’m hoping that even though the cottage lounge is small, it will be a welcoming and relaxing space for us and our family and friends. I also trust that the colour scheme I’ve chosen here will make it an area that feels both¬†warm in winter and cool in summer.

In case you’re wondering, in the cottage our open-plan¬†dining area is part of both the kitchen and the lounge. While I don’t expect the kitchen or¬†dining area¬†to have much of a colour scheme (I’m still waiting to see what my folks decide on), I do think I’ll introduce some of my wonderful ratty-themed items into those areas. That will make for an interesting welcome to the house, especially since the entrance door is in the kitchen and the ratties’ cage will be in the dining area ūüôā

And finally, the bedroom:

Bedroom: Charcoal and cherry

Bedroom: Charcoal and cherry

I’ve waited a long time to make a beautiful bedroom, so I look forward to this decorating job! Here I’ve chosen a base of charcoal grey to bring a manly and restful tone to the room. Then the feminine side will come in with light cherry-blossom pink, accentuated with splashes of sumptuous winey-cherry-red here and there. The feel of the room should be elegant, private, peaceful and sexy all at once. Hmm! ūüėÄ

In this room I can get away with a bit more emphasis on the floral¬†cherry-blossom motif, thanks to my Ninja’s interest in the Orient and especially Japan. It’s going to take some careful selecting to balance the minimalistic Japanese touches with the rich luxury of the boudoir accents, but it’ll be worth the effort, don’t you think?

Well, those are my ideas. It will probably be years before it all comes together like that (if ever!), but at least it gives me a shopping guide and something to work towards ūüôā

Do you have cool colour schemes and decor themes in your home?

Minnie Mouse party and cake decorations


One of my friends¬†enlisted my help for her daughters’ Minnie Mouse-themed birthday party this weekend. She made the cake and cupcakes, and I made the decor. It was only¬†my second time working with fondant icing since¬†the¬†ninja¬†cupcakes, and the first time I’d tried to decorate a whole cake with fondant. All in all, I’m pleased to say the results weren’t a total cake wreck! Plus, since my friend made all the goodies herself, I didn’t even¬†have to break my March goal of no baking¬†ūüėČ

Minnie Mouse cupcake toppers

Minnie Mouse cupcake toppers

The main theme colours were pink and red, but I¬†used a variety of colours and designs¬†(as usual, since¬†production-line kinda creativity isn’t really my style).

More Minnie Mouse cupcake toppers

More Minnie Mouse cupcake toppers

We had one large cake for the eldest birthday girl, a large cupcake for the little sister, and a number of normal cupcakes for the guests. My favourite part of the decor was definitely making the Minnie Mouse face for the large cake.

Minnie Mouse cake decoration

Minnie Mouse cake decoration

My methods may be those of a serious novice, but they worked.¬†I got the template for the face here, printed it out on normal paper and ‘traced’ around it with a knife¬†on the¬†rolled-out¬†white fondant. Then I cut out each section of the paper template and traced it onto the black, pink and red fondant. I added the finishing touches with edible ink.

When it came to covering the cake in icing, we decided on white and red with a pink strip, and black around the sides:

Cake under construction

The youngest daughter’s cupcake looked like this in the end:

Minnie Mouse mini cake

OK, I know it’s pretty plain, but to be fair… she’s only just turned one. I don’t think she would have appreciated anything more artistic: all she wanted was something to squelch in her hand and shove in her mouth¬†ūüėČ

As for the other cupcakes, we frosted them with pink butter icing and stuck a bow on each one.

Cupcakes: bright, beautiful, sweet AND fluffy!

Here are some pics from the final results on the day of the party…

Cake pops

Cake pops

I think these cake pops should count towards my Goal #42 ‚Äď Eat 5 things I’ve never tried before. They were chocolatey and chewy and yummy. I also¬†think we should have had a lighter hand when sprinkling on those dragees… they crunched so loudly when people bit into them that it sounded like horses munching on dry corncobs! Ow.

Minnie Mouse party

Minnie Mouse party

It was a scorching hot day, so unfortunately the poor fondant bows started to sag and melt…

Bye bye bows…

But the big cake made it to the end:

Minnie Mouse cake

Don’t you just love baking for¬†birthday parties? ūüėÄ

Valentine’s dinner decor for Goal #35


A few quick pics of the decor and table¬†layout I used for the Valentine’s dinner

The theme was red, white and silver… and yes, those are cake forks! They were for spearing the tempura fish and dipping the nuggets into the mayo. I couldn’t find the two-pronged forks I was looking for.

Each person got the following welcome gifts:¬†a heart-shaped chocolate, a miniature Valentine’s mug and a magnetic page marker with a Scripture verse¬†on it.

V-day 2I made the namecards with items I had on hand: coloured paper, craft scissors and craft stamps.

V-day 3Simple but sweet ūüôā It’s the little touches that make all the difference.

Hosting a Valentine’s dinner


Ninja and I don’t usually fuss over Valentine’s. In fact, I’ve only received one V-Day gift from my man in all the years I’ve known him: to celebrate our very first Valentine’s together in our first year of dating. I was warned then not to expect a repeat performance, ever. I don’t mind so much, really, because Ninja shows me he loves me in¬†dozens of¬†non-clich√©d, non-commercialised ways every¬†day ūüôā

But this year I wanted to celebrate Valentine’s with our closest friends, and use it as an excuse to cross off Goal #35 on my 101 things¬†in 1001 days list. I suppose I’ve technically met Goal #35 ‚Äď Host a dinner party ‚Äď several times already (such as here and here), but I hadn’t cooked for¬†four guests yet (the max our little dining table can accommodate!). So Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect opportunity to spoil my friends, complete a goal,¬†give a nod to the clich√©s and push my hostessing skills even further.

I’m pleased to say the evening was a great success ūüôā¬†Take a look at the mouthwatering¬†menu:

You might recognise the starters from the 7-course dinner I made for our anniversary last year. Once¬†the stuffed ‘pizza mushrooms’ were served, we all gobbled them up so quickly (gobbling doesn’t really suit a fancy dinner, I know, but that’s exactly¬†what we did) that I forgot to take a pic. Anyway, you can see the recipe and the results here¬†if you missed it the first time.

I also forgot to take a pic of the first part of the dessert: mixed berries with white chocolate shavings. I’m sure you can imagine it for yourself, though… the berries¬†I used were fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. If there weren’t so many other creamy items on the menu (mayo, sour cream, mousse etc), I would’ve melted the white choc and added a little cream and vanilla essence to pour over the¬†berries instead.¬†Yum!

I’ll post separately about the main meal and the mousse part of the dessert. As you’ll see, this wasn’t a particularly healthy dinner, but who wants skinny-this and low-fat-that on a romantic evening? Not I! ūüėČ

Make a ninja ‘dojo’ party decoration


The centrepiece for the table at Ninja’s ninja-themed party was the cardboard ‘dojo’ we made:

I can’t take credit for this one at all,¬†because…

  • the tip-off for the¬†idea¬†came from this lovely blog
  • the template and instructions¬†came from this helpful website
  • and the hard work of putting it together was done by my¬†Ninja himself!

I’m sure you’ll agree the results were great.¬†HP Activity Centre’s¬†template is supplied¬†in full colour, but we only have a b&w printer. Still, I think the greyscale actually worked better and made it look more suitable for an adult’s party rather than a kiddies’ one. I used small ‘love palms’ to resemble bamboo (I checked: real bamboo was ridiculously pricey!) and placed some small, smooth pebbles around the dojo to soften the effect.

How to make simple paper lanterns


To add to the decor at the ninja-themed party, I made some red and black paper lanterns. I’m sure just about everyone knows how to make these (I remember crafting this kind of thing as a schoolkid), but just for fun, here are the instructions anyway:

You’ll need:

  • A4 sheets of paper or card in your chosen colours
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape (cellotape)
  • Paper punches if desired

What to do:

1. Cut a thin strip off one narrow end of an A4 sheet. Reserve this strip for the handle.

2. Fold the remaining sheet in half lengthways, and cut into it at regular intervals as shown below.

3. If you want a plain lantern, fold the paper around as shown to make the lantern shape, and secure with sticky tape.

4. Before I completed Step 3, though, I punched out some star shapes with a small hand punch.

5. Then I secured it in a lantern shape with sticky tape and taped on the strip of paper as a handle.

The completed lantern should look like this: