Friday, 27 June 2014

DIY Fresh Flower Light

I found this brilliant DIY project yesterday while I was planning how I'm going to decorate my area in the Anthropologie tent at Port Eliot in a few weeks time.  This slightly distracted me for about three hours and I wanted to share it in case you were feeling creative too this weekend.

The post is written by Brittni Mehlhoff, the editor and founder of the wondrous Paper & Stitch website. 

Here’s how you can make your own fresh flower pendant light…


Flower Breakdown:


Additional Materials:

  • Large wire basket with a hole at the top that your light kit will fit through
  • Light kit/pendant cord like this one from IKEA + lightbulb
  • Floral tape + Floral Wire (I used two gauges – one thin and one thick/ heavy duty)
  • Scissors + Wire cutters (optional – for the thicker gauge wire)


Before you get started, let’s talk about flower care… For dahlias: They are sensitive to dirty water, so if you’re keeping them in a vase or bucket for a prolonged period, just make sure to re-cut and replace the water daily. For mini-callas: These only need 1 to 1.5″ of water (too much water is actually not good for callas – it can make the stems turn mushy too quickly). For everything else: Cut at least 1″ off each stem and place in 3-4″ of room temperature water. Let everything hydrate for at least 3-4 hours before you start working with them.
Okay, now let’s get started… There are a lot of pictures below to walk you through this one, but the basics are pretty easy…

DIY // flower pendant light with

First things first, flip your basket over so the bottom is facing up. This is the framework for your pendant lampshade. Now you’re ready to begin. You’ll want to start with the greenery (like Green Pittisporum) as your base. Cut off descent size sprigs (6-10 inches) from a larger branch and begin attaching them to the wire basket with floral wire. You can also weave some of the pieces in and out of the basket for extra security. For heavy stems or branches, use the heavy gauge wire. Start weaving some of the other greenery into the frame at this time as well (like Viburnum berries). Once the basket has been decently covered with the greenery all the way around (you don’t have to fill in every hole because there are plenty of flowers still to add – this is just the start), start adding a few filler flowers, like wax flowers for example, to fill in some of the gaps. Secure with wire just as you did with the greenery. You can also add some sprigs of dusty miller around the base at this time.

Now that the lampshade is starting to fill out a little bit more, it’s time to start adding the really cool flowers, like mini calla lilies, dahlias, and purple veronica. Cut the stems fairly short (leave about 5-6 inches on the stem) and start weaving them into the shade, securing with wire as you go). Before securing flowers in certain spots, I would just kind of push the stem through the basket and then step back to see if it looked good. If you’re happy with it, secure it with wire, if not, move it to another spot and look at it from a distance before securing it with wire.
Once the bulk of the main flowers have been added, you can add some of the smaller fillers to round everything out. The thistle, berries, and scabiosa pods are perfect for this part. And you can cut the stems down to 5-6 inches before adding them, just like the others. Note: If you need to cover any additional areas but find you have run out of flowers, add additional greenery like dusty miller a couple of leaves at a time to fill in holes that have gone unnoticed (I wouldn’t recommend adding a whole stem at once – that’s a lot of leaves).
Once you’re happy with the arrangement, it’s time to add the light kit. As luck would have it, my light fit perfectly into the hole at the top of the wire basket. Then I screwed in the bottom piece of the light kit from underneath and it was perfectly secure. Add a lightbulb and you are ready to shine some light on your fresh flower masterpiece.

DIY flower pendant project

DIY flower pendant light (close up)

diy flower pendant light


And to answer the lighting question that you are probably wondering about it… Yes! It does light up. I had it on for about an hour and a half and it was completely fine. The wire basket that I used for the base was large enough that the flowers were not really disturbed by the heat. But just to be on the safe side, I wouldn’t leave this on when it’s unattended.
Here are a couple of photos of what it looks like with the light on…

flower pendant light with

diy flower lampshade

On the table…There were lots of petals and leaves left on the table when we finished up, so I decided to leave it just as it was (newspaper and all),  and add an old scarf as a table runner. I also had some extra dusty miller left over, so I cut the stems really short and added them to a low profile bowl with some water and added a few scabiosa pods for a super simple tables cape.

flower pendant light

dahlias + calla lilies pendant light DIY

fresh flower lampshade DIY

For more genius ideas have a look at

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Poppy Fields

Two separate friends called me up the other day to tell me about these 'incredible fields full of poppies' that I had to go and see. We're not talking about the wafer thin red ones that line the roadsides but full on, real, spiky stemmed, buy-in-a-flower-shop type, lilac ones.  Driving the cubs to school yesterday morning I nearly drove into a tree when I looked up to see it was snowing in the fields to my left.  And then I remembered the Poppy story.  
So with no Cubs in tow, left to my own Cluedo-esq devices I went to track them down.  It didn't take a lot of detective work and two minutes later I'd found a gap in the fence and was waist deep in more poppies than I've ever seen in my life.  

It sadly turns out that it's actually a massive crop of morphine poppies - Papaver Somniferum - and not a ginormous pick your own poppy field.  Morphine's usually imported from Turkey, Tasmania and Spain but as a way of cutting costs and dealing with our growing demand for it, pharmaceutical companies are now paying UK farmers to grow it for them here. 

Now I know that they're owned by big old pharmaceutical companies the idea of slipping in with my secateurs makes me feel slightly uneasy.  I'm thinking moonlight stroll/ balaclava / camo gear might be the only way of getting my hands on a nice big bunch.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

English Summer Wedding Flowers

Hattie with the boot full of flowers

Last weekend my mama and I did the flowers for one of my best friend's wedding.  She's a jeweller and wanted us to use lots of bright jewel coloured flowers so we filled the church with garden picked peonies, sweet peas, delphiniums, daisies foxgloves and my fave lime green alchemila to stick to her theme.
Here are our creations from inside the church and also the brides and bridesmaids posies...

Brides bouquet


contemplating our creations

table arrangement at the back of the church

the beautiful bride

foxgloves in zinc planters for outside the church

Monday, 9 June 2014

When Liberty and Chinti Collide

I know it's not classic cashmere buying time but I think you might want to make an exception just this once.   Liberty have teamed up with the heavenly Chinti and Parker once and again and unsurprisingly they've come up with a small but perfectly formed collection of complete visions.  I'm actually more in love with the t.shirt than the cashmeres which will be music to Chaz's ears.  But obviously given the opportunity I'd be snapping them all up in every size, in a mega-flash.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Interview with Ned of Not Another Bill

I wanted to share this fab interview about my brother Ned, the genius behind Not Another Bill.

Take a tour of the Not Another Bill studio

for blog 3
Not Another Bill was set up by Ned Corbett-Winder, who, in 2011, made it his mission to surprise and delight people by sending them gifts by post every month and introducing them to great artists, designers and brands in the process (yes, it’s possibly the happiest brand philosophy we’ve ever heard too). Ned invited us in for a snoop around the N.A.B. studio, where we discovered a healthy collection of one-off design pieces and stacks of beautifully packaged surprises.
How would you describe your studio style?
Eclectic magpie’s nest meets scandinavian concept store with a sprinkle of cardboard box factory.

Who or what is your inspiration?

Inspiration is a hard question to pin down it’s root or exact sources. Our ethos is about providing joy through the mail, and introducing our subscribers to great artist, designers and brands.
Who would be your dream collaborator? 

We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some of our favorite brands so far but we’d have to say Paul Smith or even Liberty’s would be up there with our dream collaborations.
What do you wish you’d created, designed or invented?
Funnily enough I used to believe I was going to be an inventor when I grew up; I used to come up with ingenious ideas for things around the house. I thought I struck gold when I came up with the idea of a silent dog toy. The toy still made the squeaky noise dogs love but the valve was customized so that it sounded at a higher frequency that humans couldn’t hear. Annoyingly, an American company beat me to the patent and they are now sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere.

We hear you’re a Sunbury Antiques Market regular. Do you have any tips for how to find a beautiful bargain?

Sunbury is a great market and I’d count myself as a regular. But I can’t help but feel that a real bargain is becoming increasingly harder to find, as prices have slowly been on the rise along with it’s popularity. The saying about the early bird catching the Sunbury market bargain worm would still be the best piece of advice.
What is your most treasured personal item? 
I have magpie-like hoarding tendencies and seem to collect a lot of these such items. My most treasured though would have to either be my Uniform Wares watch from my wife, or a giant slingshot made for me by artist Chris Jarratt.
Do you have any secret skills or party tricks? 

I can tell the weight and postage price of any item by simply looking at it.
What’s your idea/definition of ‘comfy’?

A sleeper train on a Friday evening down to Cornwall when there is howling a gale outside your cabin. Or my new pair of Nike Stefan Janoski air max trainers.

To see the interview in it's full glory go to