The Trouble With Houseplants

Browsing Pinterest or Instagram we might all be mistaken into thinking that keeping houseplants green and healthy is a piece of cake. We know from personal experience it's not. But it doesn't stop us from trying to replicate those gorgeous urban jungles. So, just in case you've had your fair share of fatalities (we know we have) Dobbies Garden Centres is on hand with expert tips for the ultimate houseplant haven.

 Foliage from £4.99, Succulents from £1.99, Houseplant Pots from £5.99, Cactus Vase £16.99, Gold Geometric Lantern £7.99, Small Gold Metal Lantern £19.99, Greenhouse Candle Holder £16.99

Foliage from £4.99, Succulents from £1.99, Houseplant Pots from £5.99, Cactus Vase £16.99, Gold Geometric Lantern £7.99, Small Gold Metal Lantern £19.99, Greenhouse Candle Holder £16.99

  • Thirsty work…The common problem we find where people can go wrong is either under or over-watering. The type of plant you choose will effect how much water is needed. As a general rule for common houseplants compost should be kept moist but not wet, but specialist plants like orchids, succulents and cacti will need completely different conditions. It is always recommended to check plant labels and we also have lots of tips online and how to guides.
  • In the shade…Ideally they should be kept out of direct light. If you find that your indoor greens are still wilting even with regular watering, try rotating them every few days to avoid damage. Too little light will also stunt growth and damage plant health, so before choosing do some research into the different varieties available and how suitable they are for each room.
  • Style Match…Houseplants can have a huge impact on the overall styling of a room, from industrial modern cactus to leafy and luxurious ferns. The Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis) is a firm favourite and is really versatile as will look great in both a traditional and modern setting, plus it is the easiest of all the ferns to grow. A large bathroom with a window is ideal, as it offers higher humidity levels.
  • Recue remedy…To quickly revive a wilting plant that has been undernourished – often the case when returning from long holidays – place into a bucket of water or utility sink so that it is completely submerged. Allow to rest in the water for 30 minutes and then drain for another 30 minutes. Over-watered plants are usually droopy, if that is the case you are best to check the roots, drain and re-pot.
  • Natural health boost…Breathing life into your home, houseplants also have amazing health benefits. They have been shown to reduce cold related illnesses by more than 30% to their effect on increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust. Whilst adding an air of natural zen, they also reduce stress by contributing to lower blood pressure, prevent allergies, stop headaches, help sleep and more!
 Green Tea Light Holder £16.99, 6cm Succulents from £1.99, 15cm Succulents from £4.99, Matt Black Planter £6.99

Green Tea Light Holder £16.99, 6cm Succulents from £1.99, 15cm Succulents from £4.99, Matt Black Planter £6.99

For more top tips, advice, how to’s and more visit www.dobbies.com.

Summer Santorini Style

Nothing says summer in the Greek Isles quite like blue and white. Those sun-drenched white villages glistening below a deep blue sky. And then there's the white sandy beaches meeting the blue Mediterranean sea. Okay so we know Santorini doesn't have white sand beaches, but we're just painting a picture here. And trying to get you inspired to recreate some of that Aegean flavour at home.

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And where better than on the tabletop? 

Drawing on natural elements such as the sun and the sea, Brissi’s latest collection features a Mediterranean palette that beautifully reflects the vibrancy of sea blues and lush greens paired with clean, sun bleached whites and stone colours.

The collection’s organically shaped, glazed Amalfi dinnerware strikes the perfect balance between casual and elegant and is an obvious choice for a Santorini dining table. Linen tableware adds a light texture and provides the perfect neutral base to work from, allowing you to add pops of colour selectively. Created in a beautiful artisan, handmade style, the Elowen pitcher, available in tall and wide, perfectly embodies the subtle, unfinished charm of the Grecian aesthetic.

Creative Director, Arianna Brissi, said: “I have been waiting patiently to share this story with Brissi customers. Inspired by a love of the romantic and wonderful Mediterranean and its beautiful landscape, the Santoini summer story is organic and feminine.

It features a crisp white base, delicately layered with colour and is the perfect way to recreate the ambience of the Mediterranean. The beautifully styled photos feature a lush, overhanging centrepiece that recreates the feel of a charming Grecian taverna, bringing the outside in, something that we can all enjoy during the summer."

Stockists details from www.brissi.com

Christmas Decorations Inspiring Ideas

Christmas doesn’t have to be about glitter and glamour. Adopt a back to basics approach to the holidays this year with some home made decorations, some good old fashioned baking and some artful displays.

A cluster of metallic and dark green vases look even better for their simplicity. Spray paint a few twigs from the garden and just add a ribbon.

Baubles casually displayed on a brass tabletop will look even more eye-catching once the lights dim; allowing the warm colours to glow in candlelight.

Hand Made Wreath

You will need...

Thin twigs from the garden

Wire

White spray

Scissors

Paper

Glue Gun

Ribbon to hang the wreath

Pencil

Gather twigs from the garden and gently bend into a circle shape and secure with wire. Spray white. Using a leaf template, trace onto grey paper and cut out leaves. Attach the leaves onto the wreath with a glue gun. Layering as you go. When one side is done, repeat on the other side. Hang with ribbon.

Paper Tassles

You will need...

Crepe paper

Scissors

Ruler

Pencil

String to hang

Cut a sheet of crepe to 60cm to 25cm. Fold in half.  With the scissors cut strips of fringe, each about 1cm wide, leaving 5cm of uncut paper left at the folded edge. Open up the paper with fringing either side with a solid section in the middle. Start to roll the paper, using the solid centre. Be careful not to tangle the fringing. Then curl it on itself and twist over the string to secure.

 

Photographs by Andrew Boyd, styling by Claire Boyd. Taken from the Heart Home winter 2013 issue.

Decorate With Flowers

Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring show us this simple and fun step by step project, taken from their book Decorate with Flowers.

 Liberty Print Flower Pots

Flowers used in this project:

Dahlia

Japanese

Anemone

Cow Parsley

White Nigella

Garden Rose

Zinnia

Aster

Phlox

You will need:

Terracotta plant pot and tray, sponge brush, Mod Podge, cotton floral fabric (we used Liberty prints), scissors, white spray paint (optional), glass jars.

 Method:

1.     If your fabric is thin, you may want to spray paint your pot otherwise the orange might show through. Let it dry thoroughly. Cut your fabric to a size that can easily fit around your pot, leaving at least 10cm above the rim of the pot and enough to cover the bottom. Apply Mod Podge to a small area of the pot and press the fabric down, applying more to the fabric with your sponge brush as you go.

2.     Work in small areas, starting at the top rim and working down and around the pot in one direction. Apply Mod Podge to both the pot and the inner side of the fabric. Gently pull the fabric smooth as you go. Work quickly as the Mod Podge dries quite quickly.

3.     Once the surface is covered, with fabric, apply Mod Podge beneath the remaining fabric at the top and tuck it inside your pot. Repeat this process on the bottom of your pot, too. Apply Mod Podge all over the outer side of the fabric.

4.     Let your pot dry on a piece of plastic and then follow a similar process for the bottom tray. Use little jars to hold the water for your flowers in the pots.

Decorate with Flowers: Creative ideas for flowers and containers around the home by Holly Becker & Leslie Shewring. Published by Jacqui Small, £20.

Quick Fun DIY Projects In The House

Give your tired household items a new lease of life this spring by sprucing them up with a lick of paint.

 Season your rolling pins with a few primary colours in blocks or stripes.

 Add a few geometric patterns to your wooden spatulas for added relish.

 An Ikea stool takes on a new lease of life with a splash of citrus.

 Stripes of neon add a Caribbean flavour to wooden spoons.

Coasters with added piquancy.

What you will need:

·          Old household items or inexpensive new ones.

·          Masking tape and/or string depending on your design.

·          Art Deco neon paint (or spray paint for a large area).

·          Small artist's paintbrush.

·          Walnut oil wood finish.

·          Clear Shellac (food safe) wood treatment.

·          Small decorator's paint brush

 Step-by-step process:

1.        Lightly sand any utensils you wish to stain darker. You often find with inexpensive utensils that they are very light in colour.

2.        We stained all of the wooden spoons and spatulas three different shades – just add more layers for a darker finish. Stain to your preference using the walnut oil wood finish and the small decorator's brush. Leave to dry according to the instructions on the tin.

3.        Decide on your design and use masking tape to cover the areas you do not want to paint (or cover with string if you are spraying).

4.        Using the neon paints and the small artist's paintbrush. This allows you to get in the small places precisely. Do not paint any areas that will come into contact with food.

5.        Leave to dry and then repeat three times.

6.        Seal the whole item using clear Shellac wood treatment to stop it chipping or wearing. Leave to dry.

Photographs by Alex Oates, styling by Zoe Palmer. Taken from the March 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

A Simple and Stylish Easter Table

Easter is the one time of the year when it's better to keep the table decorations simple. There's nothing quite like a freshly starched white tablecloth, sparkling glasses, and a few sprigs of fragrant spring flowers. 

But that's not to say that you can't mark the season with a few artfully placed decorations...

At Heart Home we're quite fond of a few budding branches laden with delicately painted eggs. A pared down version of the Christmas tree if you like. We're also suckers for anything with a chicken or a bunny on it at this time of year. And we do like to get out the pastel coloured plates, light the candles, and leave the easter egg hunt to the children.

These little nests in a bowl are an easy way to decorate the table. Any pliable springs of foliage will do. Then add a bow, a few eggs and a little china rabbit. Simple.

All images are courtesy of Sainsbury's.

Christmas Decorating: The Simple Pleasures

The festive season is here and it’s time to deck the halls with boughs of holly; or perhaps just a scattering of simple, but beautiful lights and decorations. Here at Heart Home, we’ve taken this year’s festive inspiration from Scandinavia, showing you how a little of the right thing can go a long way.

Monochrome simplicity.

For those of you who love a truly pared-back look at Christmas, add a festive touch at the window with paper snowflakes and pompoms.

For the love of nature.

Christmas trees come in all shapes and sizes, in all types of materials and finishes. Faux trees are no longer in the guise of real trees, but unashamedly alternative takes on the real thing. How much nicer to bring out this beautifully tactile wooden tree each year and all you have to do is add some beautiful fairy light for a magical touch of sparkle.

Small is beautiful.

Add a fun feel with something as simple as a beautiful tree decoration hanging from a cupboard door. 

Brighten Up Your Day.

There’s no right or wrong way to hang lights and garlands, and you don’t even need a tree to dress. Lights are now pretty enough to hang as decorations in their own right- simply hang from hooks to adorn pictures on walls and brighten up dark corners.

Make a Date.

Treasured photos and memories should be on display all year round and not hidden away on the computer. Turn your favourite Instagram shots into a gift or calendar to hang in your office with this clean and simple design.

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In Touch With Tradition.

Create a truly traditional Gustavian feel at Christmas with a traditional style wreath hanging on a cupboard door or against a panelled wall.

It’s In The Bag.

Get creative and let your string lights tumble out of a paper bag.

A simple style.

Decorate with seasonal blooms such as hyacinths and amaryllis, simple white bulb strings and oversize paper decorations for a really dramatic less-is-more display.

A festive pop of red.

Warm up your Scandinavian-inspired festive setting with a real pop of colour and use occasional chairs to display decorations.

A Touch of Greenery.

If traditional garlands aren’t your thing, why not make your own ultra simple hanging displays with lengths of ivy at the window on hooks as they are, or intertwined with delicate fairy lights; so pretty, simple and effective.

Bring the outside in.

Flowers aren’t just for Spring. Fresh flowers make the prettiest decoration at any time of year, as well as adding a beautiful scent. These pale pink hyacinths and delicate paper whites are typical Christmas flowers.

The Writing’s On the Bauble.

Why not let the kids have a little fun and decorate chalkboard baubles to make their very own personal advent calendar.

Pole Dancing

Display an alternative advent calendar on a beautiful Scandinavian hanging pole and simply loop a garland in between.

Words and Styling by Caroline Davis, Photographs by James Balston. Photographed at Brixton East which is available to rent for shoots. http://www.brixtoneast.co.uk. For full credits go to the December 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

 

Easy Giftwrapping Ideas By Jane Means

A beautifully wrapped gift can become a special celebration in itself – whether you are giving a small, token house-warming present or a spectacular piece of jewellery to mark a significant birthday. When wrapping for special occasions, try something unexpected that will make the recipient feel extra special. For children, tie candy canes onto festive gifts; for adults, add a single glitzy decoration.

Try using a glitzy, potentially overpowering metallic of glitter ribbon, then counterbalance it with simple white or pale silver paper to tone it down and add glamour to the overall effect. Partnering similar colours lends a rich elegance to gifts and is a style favoured by luxury brands.

Rich tones and bold colours make an eye-catching statement, but really come together when you add a jewelled embellishment or sparkling decoration.

Maps, classic sports cars and sheet music may all be used to denote special hobbies on gifts for men.

Brown paper makes a great understated canvas and can be embellished with hand-writing or printed with a bespoke design. It’s earthy tones give a warm appearance, and natural elements look great tied on as decorations.

For many, buying and wrapping gifts for boys and men is a challenge. Men love presents that have a personalized or special signature element to them.

Introduce the favourite colours of your recipient in suitable decorations for a personal touch.

Pine cones, feathers and berries can be transformed into luxury embellishments by dusting them with metallic or glitter spray.

Many of us pick a theme at Christmas. The theme will often embrace the table setting, Christmas tree and door wreath as well as the wrapped gifts.

Bring a touch of opulence to ladies’ gifts. This may include tying in vintage brooches or jewels using a ribbon of luxury velvet for a spot of glamour. Hair trimmings and feathers look fantastic too, and can easily be picked up at flea markets and thrift stores.

Extract from Giftwrapped by Jane Means. Photographs by Simon Brow. Available from Jacqui Small, £20.

How To Style Your Brand By Fiona Humberstone

Possibly the most stylish and covetable brand bible available, for those making that entrepreneurial leap…

Fiona Humberstone’s beautifully designed coffee table book, ‘How To Style Your Brand’ is a one-of-a-kind design bible for business owners. Packed with more than 60 inspirational examples of some of the best brand identities for small businesses worldwide.

  Photography Matt Pereira

Photography Matt Pereira

Author, Speaker and Creative Catalyst, Fiona Humberstone has seen 15 years within the world of branding, styling brands, creating stunning websites and guiding those making that entrepreneurial leap with her acclaimed creative workshops.

  Photography Matt Pereira

Photography Matt Pereira

From finding a focus, creating an inspirational vision and unlocking the power of colour psychology, ‘How to Style Your Brand’  helps business owners understand the design details that will make their new or existing business irresistible.

Fiona explains the secrets behind using colour to create an emotive connection, how to use pattern and illustration, adding character and personality and how to carefully select typefaces that add a distinctive and international edge to designs. Drawing on her experience from developing hundreds of brand identities for companies worldwide, Fiona’s tried and tested framework gives clarity, confidence and creative know-how to help create brand identities that win business. In her own words, “Every entrepreneur deserves a brand identity that’ll help them stand out and win more work: this walks you through the process step by step.”

  Photography Matt Pereira

Photography Matt Pereira

Cover-How-to-Style-Your-Brand-Fiona-Humberstone.jpg

It's the perfect Christmas gift for all the entrepreneurs out there. Buy the book here!

A Crafty Workspace By Torie Jayne

Being well organised is the key to keeping your creative space tidy and inspiring. If your craft space becomes overwhelmingly cluttered, it can sap your creative energy. Dealing with a mess of tangled ribbons, loose buttons and scissors (that become invisible just when you need them) makes you lose valuable time…

Tips

  • A sturdy chair is crucial, and the more stylish it is, the better.
  • In addition to natural and overhead lighting, consider more focussed task lighting, which can be useful when it comes to small-scale projects.
  • Avoid carpet and rugs – flooring should ideally be suitable for sweeping.
  • Consider mobile storage so you can transport your materials easily.
  • Designate a space in your craft area for items typically used in every project like scissors, glue guns and tape, and keep that space tidy. Store these items in an easy-to-access area, such as in a drawer or on a grid system over your work table. Seldom-used supplies can be stored out of sight but should be clearly labelled so that you can always find what you need quickly. 
  • To get the most out of your crafting area, utilise all of the available space, whether it is over the door or even under a bed or table. You will be amazed at how much space you can create for storing your organised supplies.
  • Hanging fabric and other large scraps can be the most effective way to store them, as it is much easier to rifle though them this way than as piles of fabric in boxes or baskets.

Make your own storage shelves and use them to sort and tidy your supplies so they can be easily seen.

Neatly roll up your paper and store it in a waste paper bin or a washing basket for easy access.

Tidy away ribbon ends using wooden spools.

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Think of inventive storage solutions such as spice and wine racks.

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Use picture shelves to display inspirational images in full view.

Hang spare material on hooks, which can be personalised according to your style and brand.

An old mannequin does double duty looking pretty and storing lace scraps.

Craft Show and Sell by Torie Jayne is published by Search Press (rrp £12.99.) Taken from the September 2013 issue of Heart home magazine.

The Cocktail Hour

Now that we've established that 'staying in, is the new going out', it's time to ramp up the glam factor by re-introducing the cocktail hour into our lives. It's the perfect excuse for inviting over a friend or two, dressing up, and finding out if you prefer your martini's shaken or stirred.

A retro bar-cart will always set the scene and is the perfect excuse for displaying a few necessary accessories. A pretty tray will keep all of the smaller items neat and tidy and ice buckets, cut-glass decanters, and cocktail shakers can be picked up for a song on ebay. Don't forget a vase of fresh blooms or a bowl of lemons to add colour and vibrancy, and add to the sense of occasion.

Pineapple Martini

1 oz of Smirnoff Pineapple

2.5 fl oz pineapple juice

A dash of Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Liqueur (bottle shown in image)

A dash of pomegranate liqueur

Shake together the Smirnoff Pineapple, pineapple juice and the Curacao liqueur,  strain, and serve in a martini vase. Add the pomegranate liqueur (it will drop to the bottom of the glass) and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a twist of lime zest.

Credits:

Glass & Brass Drinks Tray from Zara Home

Jasper Conran Martini Glasses from Debenhams

Cocktail Shaker set from Debenhams

Drinks Trolley, get similar from Oliver Bonas, £350

Stylist: Aurélien Farjon. Photographer: Alex Edwards

 

Easter Styling Ideas

Spring is the perfect time of the year to inject some colour and fun into your home. You don’t have to go crazy painting walls and wallpapering the downstairs loo; instead introduce it in small bright bursts for an instant change.

Easter styling ideas

Annie Sloans chalk paints are fantastic to paint over any surface. It means you don’t have to spend hours sanding and priming. Look on her website for ‘how to’ instructions and videos. It’s a great product for up-cycling.

Easter styling ideas
Easter styling ideas

Why not get crafty and make your own basket for your bike. Ours was made by sewing four pieces of fabric together, roughly napkin size, then turning them inside out and attaching ribbon on the back to tie to the bike. You could also try making it with oilcloth for all weather conditions, plus you don’t need to worry about fraying edges.

Easter styling ideas

Cushions are a really easy and cheap way to add pops of colour to your home. You can really mix and match or just invest in one beautiful cushion that takes pride of place on your favourite chair or bed.

Easter Styling Ideas

Wallpaper does not have to go on walls in the traditional sense. These clouds would look great in a nursery or kid’s playroom. Wallpaper in between shelves; wallpaper a piece of furniture then varnish over the top; cover ugly books on a shelf with wallpaper; cover a wall with a collage of wallpaper samples… Look out for wallpapers designed AND produced in the UK; we particularly love the papers here by Miss Print.

Easter Styling Ideas

Tablecloths are another instant and fairly cheap way to add colour and print. Zara Home and Anthropologie are fantastic shops for bright and interesting tablecloths. If you can wash a fabric then you can hem it and turn it into a tablecloth. There are some amazing fabrics out there that may be too much for curtains but could  make a fantastic tablecloth.

Easter Styling Ideas

Washi or wasabi tapes are every stylist or designers favorite product at the moment. You can use it on walls to create images, names and numbers. Type it into Pinterest and see the huge variety of possibilities.

Easter Styling Ideas

Adding and mixing fun coloured and patterned china to your existing white china instantly adds colour to your home. One incredibly bowl on the table; or some beautiful patterned plates for breakfast or desserts. You can mix new and vintage and just buy one every so often. 

Easter Styling Ideas

Just have some fun with colour. The rules are, there are no rules!

Styling & words by Elkie Brown, taken from Spring Issue 2013 of Heart Home magazine.  Photography by Jon Day.

List of stockists can be found here.