how to create your own outdoor sanctuary

With all the stress and strain of everyday living, it's never a bad idea to have a place at home where you can just relax and unwind away from it all. An outdoor sanctuary is just one such place, and can be created by investing some time, effort and a bit of imagination


Add some seating
An outdoor seating area doesn’t need to take up a lot of space – indeed, the size of your verandah or backyard will influence this – but adding a couple of vintage chairs with brightly coloured cushions and throws can add atmosphere to your sanctuary like we've done to our verandah above


Natural materials like hardwood or the softer red cedar are stylish as well as rot- and weather-resistant for a permanent addition to the home. Cedar especially ages well and gives off that unmistakable fresh forest aroma when new. Not only does an outdoor seating area look great from inside the house, it’s also the perfect place to enjoy quiet time amid the natural beauty of your sanctuary


Larger backyards might even accommodate a large table where the family can eat in fine weather – it’s a great way for the whole clan to enjoy this private space





Build a walkway
An attractive walkway winding through your backyard creates a beautiful river-like effect can evoke a sense of relaxation. Adding features to the path such as paving, gravel, flower gardens, nightlights and hedges along it bring style and charm to the path. These features do take maintenance, however. Whether it be raking, replanting, watering or trimming, you’ll need to stay ahead of the growth to ensure the walkway stays neat and tidy, especially during the warmer months. A trip to the hardware store for the right tools will yield useful products such as a hedge trimmer to keep any hedging in check, some pruning shears for the flower garden and a rake for the walkway. Power tool manufacturers such as Ryobi have options that are light, relatively quiet, and are battery operated – perfect for maintaining your sanctuary. These sorts of tools will cut your maintenance time, giving you more opportunity to enjoy your creation




Alright at night
There’s no need to withdraw indoors when the sun goes down; sanctuaries can come into their own at night, too. Illuminating pathways, garden areas and the deck help to enhance the nocturnal beauty of this space. It’s important to carefully consider your lighting scheme to achieve an even distribution of light and prevent scary shadows. Low-energy lights such as LEDs are inexpensive to operate for long periods of time and easy to find in a variety of attractive designs, some of which you can install yourself.

Once you’ve completed your backyard sanctuary, you’ll have a place that is built by you, for you (and maybe the rest of the family). You’ll be able to get away from it all without having to leave the front gate

If you have some great ideas about creating a personalised quiet space in your backyard to escape the pressures of modern life, why not share some of them below?

DIY Christmas: our Christmas table with 3d aluminium trees


Hi everyone!! I can't believe Christmas is next week, eek! How are your preparations going? To be honest, I still haven't nearly completed my Christmas shopping and plan to strap on my shoulder pads to tackle the mall this evening. At least we have the house in order and table decorations made that I would love to share with you...


Recently we made a wreath from aluminium flashing (generally used as a building supply and available at the hardware). I love this product as it's inexpensive and you can cut it with scissors to form a variety of shapes. We made these cute 3D Christmas Trees from the aluminium sheeting and you can too! Here's the templates to download. Simply cut out and slide together. I don't mind it cut a little rough as it gives the tree some interest but make sure all sharp points are rounded

Aluminium 3d Christmas Tree diy

We love our Christmas accessories (the assortment of candles and glass votive holders, ceramic bird, chair, throw, tray and cushions). You purchase these items from Super Amart. By the way, they're having an awesome Boxing Day sale running from 24th December to 26th December !! The little blue robin looks beautiful sitting in chunky rock salt 


I'm sitting here writing this post stuffing my face with one of these fruit mince tarts. Oh, soooo good!! Here's Mum's recipe to make her famous Port soaked fruit mince tarts as shown below. Yum!

How are your Christmas decorations going? Are you running out of time too? Would love to see them! x Cate


nine diy Christmas gifts to make for under $20


Looking for some last minute Christmas gifts to make for friends and family? How about some Solid Perfume Lockets? If you don't have any lockets, you can use little glass jars like we've used in our Mint Coconut Lip Balm with printable labels


The kids would love an image of their pet on a pillow. See our version of a Pillow Pet


Plant colourful blooms into Teacup Planter Pots. Simply drill a hole in the bottom of the cup for drainage, add soil and plants. Too easy!


The simplest diy of all... Brooch or Button Magnets. Everyone will love these


Soy candles are an awesome gift! Make these in minutes using old teacups or seashells. They're going to love it


Add some feathers to a hair clip like our Guinea Feather Hair Clip or Jewelled Feather Hair Clip.


Or for a personal touch, how about making our Pina Colada Coconut and Lemon Scrub (smells divine!) or 
Mint and Green Tea Body Scrub?


Are you making any handmade gifts for Christmas? We would love to see what you make x Cate

Mum's port soaked Christmas fruit mince tarts recipe


Did someone say mince tarts? Or Port? Or Christmas?

This is the best recipe for fruit mince tarts. Ever. Totally delicious and one is more than enough (unless you're a total guts). Sure, soaking the fruit and nuts in an alcoholic liquid is important, but get the buttery pastry right and the you've got the best tart in the world. There I've said it, the Best in the World!

You lucky folks, here's Mum's recipe. I can taste them now. Her trademark tart is in the shape of a square but you can make them the traditional round shape too


{go make me} painted Christmas Tree mural diy


Do you have your Christmas tree up yet? I've love the idea of a painted Christmas tree mural as an alternative option to a regualr tree. Our daughter has decreed that we're going pastel this year, so a pastel blue tree it is with a touch of metallic. Our mural sits at our entry and is quite large but you can scale it down to suit 

I painted our mural in an afternoon and it's something that the kids can do too. If you don't paint within the lines, it doesn't matter. In fact, I think it looks better! We used an inexpensive Ikea curtain as a backdrop and blue and silver fabric paints. Here's the template to download


Painted Christmas Tree Mural

You will need:
Cyan Blue and Silver Textile Ink (ours are bought from Permaset Aqua)
Large semi-sheer curtain (ours is bought from Ikea)
Paint brushes
Template (image size is A0,  841mm X 1189mm)
Pencil, tape and scissors
7mm Dowel Rod(s) cut to width 
Removable hooks
Brooches (optional)

Download template and print pages A0 size (two in total) at Officeworks (or Kinkos if outside of Australia). Ours cost about $4 per page. Tape the two templates together

Iron curtain and lightly press a seam down the middle or use pins as a guide to centre. Place curtain over template and match centre lines. Lightly draw template onto curtain with a pencil

Starting at the top branch, paint solid metallic silver. Add 2 teaspoons of blue paint to silver pot until colour just changes to a slightly more blue. Stir to mix. Paint the second branch. Repeat with the other branches, adding blue to silver creating an ombre effect. Leave to dry

Cut off any length at the bottom if desired. I sewed a channel along bottom for the second rod but it's not necessary if you don't have a sewing machine. Gently iron curtain on the back taking care over the painted surface. Thread rods through top and bottom. Attach to wall using hooks

Optionally, I added some brooches (I have a lot!) as bauble bling. What do you think? I'm not so sure??