DIY wallpaper – it is surprisingly easy!


When we moved into our new house I had a million different ideas about how I wanted to decorate. After hours spent on Pinterest and Houzz I knew that I didn’t just want painted walls. Plus, as we are not planning on moving for a long time I don’t have to make the house palatable to future buyers. After much debating, I decided on wallpaper for our bedroom.

It then took quite a while for Pete and I to find a wallpaper that wasn’t too “girlie” and we finally decided on the tree design wallpaper. There are different types of wallpaper available. We chose a non-woven textile wallpaper which is easy to hang and to remove. The instructions below are for this type of wallpaper.

Then we had to figure out how to get it up. After chatting to the very helpful people in our local wallpaper store and much googling we found out that putting up wallpaper is surprisingly easy. But the one thing we couldn’t find advice on was wallpapering around the picture rail. In the end we decided to start at the ceiling and to cut the paper at the picture rail line and then begin again immediately under the picture rail. That is, we didn’t cut out an amount of paper corresponding to the size of the picture rail. If you have a different style of pattern, this may not work for you but in our case we decided it was the easiest option and it looked good.

My brother helped Pete to hang the wallpaper and they were both cursing me when the got to the small grate and realised that they had to cut out a small box from that particular piece of paper. In doing this, I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to measure twice (or three times) and cut once!

So, don’t be nervous and go forth and wallpaper. We loved our wallpaper so much we used some of the leftover paper to wallpaper a section of wall in our living room!

What you need…

  • wallpaper
  • wallpaper glue (get this at your local wallpaper store or hardware)
  • bucket with lid
  • whisk
  • paint roller
  • paint tray
  • wallpaper brush
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • Stanley knife

The how to…

  1. Before you start wallpapering make sure that you have filled any cracks and sealed porous surfaces and finished your painting. Also make sure that your walls are clean and dry._MG_3534
  2. Mix your glue with water in your bucket according to the directions on your packet. Use your whisk to really mix it well and remove any powdery lumps. Put the lid on your bucket and walk away for at least 4 hours but if you can leave it for 24 hours do, as it gets more sticky over time. (As a side note, we used the left over glue from our bedroom on our living room wall 3 weeks later and it was still good. Not sure of the protocols on this but it worked for us)._MG_3548 _MG_3550
  3. Use a plumb line (or tie a weight to a string) and mark a straight line in the middle of the wall with your pencil. On advice from our wallpaper store we started in the middle of the wall and worked towards either side. This ensures that the uneven wall joints do not skew your wallpaper and that the pattern remains straight.
  4. Measure the height of your walls and cut an appropriate length of wallpaper using a very sharp Stanley knife. REMEMBER to check the pattern repeat on your wallpaper and allow both this and an additional 10 centimetres to each length. It is much better to waste a little bit on each length than to cut a length that is too short to hang. Note: you will need to change the blade on your Stanley knife on a regular basis to ensure it doesn’t tear your wallpaper._MG_3551 _MG_3556
  5. Pour your glue into a paint tray and using your paint roller roll your glue onto your wall next to your plumb line. Ensure that there are no big lumps.
  6. Line the edge of your wallpaper up with your plumb line. We then found it easiest to begin at the ceiling and to smooth your wallpaper onto the glue._MG_3557
  7. Using your wallpaper brush, brush your wallpaper in an X pattern to remove any air bubbles. Also check the edges of your wallpaper to make sure they are stuck down.
  8. Trim the wallpaper at the ceiling and floor (or skirting board) using a ruler and Stanley knife._MG_3559
  9. Repeat 4-8 above working your way towards the edge. Make sure that for each piece of wallpaper you hang you line up the pattern appropriately and that you line the edges up perfectly. Spending a few extra seconds doing this will ensure a better end product.
  10. When we got to the outer pieces of wallpaper, we found it easiest to trim the width of the paper, while still allowing for plenty of overhang (about 10 centimetres). You then use a sharp Stanley knife (and a very steady hand) to cut down the wall joins.
  11. If you have a grate, like we did, measure (at least twice) the height and width of the grate and the distance from the ceiling and edge of previous piece of wallpaper. Then mark a box on your cut piece of wallpaper at the appropriate spot. Remember to check where the pattern lines up and consider this in your measurement. Then cut an X shape through the box starting in each corner. When you hang your wallpaper the grate will pop through this opening. You will then need to use a Stanley knife and ruler to trim the overhanging triangles of wallpaper (see photos)._MG_3563 _MG_3564 _MG_3573
  12. Sit back and gaze admiringly at your wallpaper with a beer or glass of wine! Job well done._MG_3586 _MG_3966

PS – Quite obviously we still need to change our carpets and curtains. This house is a work in progress!!

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Propagating succulents – by accident

A while ago, I posted about upcycling some hanging pots that we found in our garden – see here. The original pots were filled with succulents that I emptied out and replanted. I was a little rough in the process and a few bits and pieces broke off my succulents. I ignored them.

Then, a few weeks ago, Mae was playing in the garden with me, and being an observant two year old she noticed something that I hadn’t. “What are these little plants?” she asked me.

Lo and behold – I had accidentally propagated some succulents!

I have now planted them up in some little pots. I will let you know if they grow. I am kind of following this advice from Elise Blaha Cripe.

I hope they do grow as I have grand plans for a vertical garden to hang around our spa…

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Making fabric button earrings

Last week, after living in our new place since April, I finally cleaned up and sorted out my jewellery boxes (yes, there are more than one!). In doing this, I found that I had quite a few pairs of earrings where one was missing, that is, it really wasn’t a “pair” of earrings and needed to be tossed out. But then I felt like I needed more – I have a weird need for a lot of jewellery!_MG_3972

Rather than buy anything new, I decided to make some fabric button earrings. It was so fun, I ended up making 9 pairs and then 5 pairs of fabric covered hair ties for Mae and it only took a couple of hours.

Last Christmas, I made a heap of these to give out as gifts to Mae’s child care educators and for christmas presents. Such a fun, easy and mesmerising activity to do.

To make fabric button earrings/hair ties you need to buy a self-cover button tool which you can easily get online or at your local craft shop. I bought three – two different sizes for earrings and a larger one for the hair ties.

What you need:

  • self-cover button tool
  • fabric
  • buttons (they come in two parts – the round front and the back which is either flat or has a little hook on it depending on what you want to use it for – also easily available online)
  • glue (I used a brand called E6000)
  • scissors
  • something round you can trace around in the different sizes you want
  • Hair ties or earring poles and backs_MG_3969

The how to…

  1. Cut a circle of fabric that is slightly larger than the biggest piece of your button tool (normally the white or clear part). Cut a second circle, the same size and with the same fabric pattern._MG_3983
  2. Lay your fabric in the bottom part of your button tool (the clear part), you may need to push it into place with the front part of the tool (normally blue or red). Then push in the round part of your silver button in the same way._MG_3984
  3. Pull the edges of your fabric over the button, then add the button backing and using the top part of your button tool (the blue part) push the button backing into place._MG_3974
  4. Remove your button and ensure that all fabric is neatly caught between the two layers of your button.
  5. Either tie on an elastic hair tie, or add a dob of glue and stick your earring pole to the flat silver side of the button and leave to dry._MG_3970 _MG_3981
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
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Cheat’s tutu


Mae is obsessed with dress ups at the moment. She is always asking if we want to play dress ups with her. And I know at child care she loves to try on the range of dress ups – and in particular loves the purple tutu that they have. So last week, I found myself at the fabric shop asking for help in choosing tulle for a tutu. Given I am not a girly girl, this is the last thing I could ever imagine myself making!

As the tutu was just for Mae to play with, I went with the EASIEST possible tutu making process, based on the advice of the lovely ladies at the fabric shop.

Even better – the tutu involved two items – tulle and elastic and NO sewing. I put the whole thing together in about 15 minutes… whoop whoop.

Mae loved it – and that is the most important thing.

What you need…

  • Tulle – I made mine 30 cm long so I bought 120cm of 150cm cm wide light purple and 60 cm of 150 cm wide dark purple tulle.
  • Elastic – I bought the one with holes in it – see pictures below._MG_3925

The how to…

  1. Fold your tulle so that it is 30 cm wide (i.e. the light purple tulle above will be folded in half, then in half again).
  2. Cut your tulle so that one end is open (the other end is “closed” – that is, it remains folded).
  3. Cut your tulle into 10cm wide strips (each strip will be 10cm x 60 cm).
  4. Cut your elastic so that it is 5 cm longer than your child’s waist.
  5. Starting about 5 cm in from one end, take each strip and thread it through a hole in your elastic, tying the piece of tulle in half. I did mine with one colour on each of three rows. When you get 5 cm from the other end, fold the elastic ends over each other with an overlap of about 2.5cm. Use the tulle through the holes in the elastic to join the two ends together._MG_3931 _MG_3938 _MG_3940
  6. That’s it! _MG_3941




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Mural redo – a “hanging” garden


When we bought our new house it came with a very “special” mural beside the spa. This mural has caused much controversy. Is it cute? Is it hideous? Is it by someone famous (it does have a signature…)? Should we keep it?

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I have been wanting to paint over it since we got here and on the weekend, that is just what we did. And it looks so much better!

We painted over the mural in grey (with some left over paint we had in the garage). We were lucky that when we were tidying up our very over grown garden we also found a couple of staghorn ferns and so we decided to hang these on the wall._MG_3893

The next step will be to build a vertical garden (like this one) and hang it between the ferns, but this is a longer term project. Another long term project is to paint over all of the yellow paint in our backyard (and actually on our house!) in a much more modern colour.

What a difference a couple of small changes can make – doesn’t it look so much better? And so much more modern?!

And it really didn’t take that long… or really doesn’t need the instructions below but what the hell, it is my practice to always provide a “how to”!

What you need…

  • paint (and painting things like paintbrushes and painting tape)
  • staghorn ferns and something to hang them on (we used the existing wooden backing)
  • semi-circle nails
  • fishing wire
  • picture hangers

The how to…

  1. Wash down the wall to be painted and tape up anything you want to protect. Go nuts with your paint and quickly paint the wall where you want to hang your plants. You will probably need to do two coats._MG_3895
  2. Hammer in two semi-circular nails onto the top of each piece of wooden backing supporting your ferns._MG_3910
  3. Space your picture hangers where you would like them. Thread some fishing wire through the semi-circular nails to make a hanging device (we doubled up the threads, just in case)._MG_3906
  4. Hang your ferns and stand back and enjoy the more modern look!_MG_3913


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A winter forest

A few weeks ago, Pete and I had a childless weekend away in Lorne, Victoria. It was fabulous. We didn’t want to come home!

While there, we went up into the bush behind Lorne where I spotted these leaves, hanging on grimly through the cold cold days…

Such an amazing sight._MG_3837

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New York Baked Cheesecake

I made my second ever cheesecake this week. Probably not the healthiest thing to make when you have no visitors coming and you know that the three of you will need to eat it, but it was delicious!


I was flicking through my Delicious – 5 of the Best cookbook looking for meals to make during the week. When, hurrah, it opened itself to the cheesecake section. And once I saw the cheesecakes, I couldn’t help but make one!

The second time around, making a cheesecake seemed so much easier. I am not sure if it is because I have become a better baker or if it is because the recipe was quick and easy (I suspect the latter) but this time round it was a breeze. This cheesecake also had a much better base than the one I made when I first started Little Ivy Blog (see here).

Pete apologises for the look of the cocoa on the top of the cheesecake, he didn’t realise I would be taking photos to post so just smashed some on. Doesn’t change the taste!

What you need…

  • 200g nice biscuits
  • 75g unsalted butter (melted)
  • 800g cream cheese
  • 190 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 300ml sour cream
  • cocoa powder to dust

The how to…

1) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease a springform pan. Then put two layers of foil around your springform pan. This is because the cheesecake will go in a water bath and it stops the water from leaching into the cake._MG_3868

2) Put your biscuits into a food processor and whiz until crushed. Pour into a bowl with the butter and mix well, then press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of your pan._MG_3870

3) Add the cream cheese, 170g sugar, eggs, yolk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and the lemon juice to the food processor and whiz until combined. You might want to let your cream cheese soften a bit before you do this step – I didn’t but I wished that I had!

4) Once the cream cheese mixture is smooth, pour it on top of the biscuit base in your pan._MG_3873

5) Place your pan in a large dish and make a water bath (filling the large pan with boiling water reaching about half way up the side of your pan). Bake for about 1 hour.

6) Beat together the sour cream, 20g sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until smooth and then pour it over your cake. Return your cake to the oven and bake for 10 minutes._MG_3874

7) Leave your cake to cool, then refrigerate for about 3-4 hours. When you are ready to serve, dust the top with your cocoa powder – Yum. (PS. we couldn’t wait for it to cool completely in the fridge and it was also pretty yummy warm!)._MG_3878 _MG_3879

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