DIY Cement Coasters: Super Easy Tutorial

This post was first published in May 2016.

Something I’ve struggled to find is decent coasters for mugs or glasses (without spending a fortune). There are lots of standard options out there, but it’s good to have some pieces in your house that are not standard, pieces that say something about you. These cute DIY cement coasters are practical and rustic, but have a touch of glam. They’re easy to make and you can get creative with your own painted designs. Go on, give it a try!

cement coaster DIY-5

What you’ll need:

Template for mould – Download here
Cardboard, preferably with a shiny coating
Cement mix
Spray paint
Masking tape
Thin cork board or felt
Sandpaper (optional)

cement coaster DIY-10

Here’s How:

Start by printing and cutting out the template. Fold along the dotted lines and tape the hexagon mould closed using masking tape. Using a shiny card, such as the back of an old magazine, will allow the card to peel off the cement easily once it is dry.

Mix the cement with sand and water. I used a ratio of 1 part cement to 3 parts sand, with 1 part water plus a little extra to make a nice soft paste that will take the shape of the mould.

Add mixed cement into each mould to about 5mm and allow to dry for a few days. If the cement is too thin, it will be brittle and break easily. However, if thick enough it is durable, especially once the cork or felt is attached to the underside.

cement coaster DIY

Gently remove the mould once cement is dry. You can see below that normal cardboard can leave some paper residue where the cement was drying on the card. If this happens simply remove as much as you can and then use sandpaper to remove the rest. This is the side that will be the top of the coaster. You can also use sandpaper to give it a bit of a rougher texture on top and to smooth the bottom of the coaster. Be sure to brush all dust off the coaster after sanding it.

cement coaster DIY-2

Use masking tape to cover parts of the coaster that you do not want spray painted. Lightly spray, ensuring that all exposed cement is painted. Once the paint is fully dry, remove the masking tape.

cement coaster DIY-3

Use the cork template to cut hexagons, slightly smaller than the coasters, from the cork or felt. Glue the cork onto the underside of your cement coasters and they are ready to use!

cement coaster DIY-4

cement coaster DIY-8

Happy crafting!

Deborah Signature Featherly

For more creative inspiration, follow my Instagram at @Puresweetjoy or visit me at Pure Sweet Joy.

5 practical ways to create a powerful navy blue interior

While we’re still in the cold grasp of winter, spring is around the corner and this year, navy blue is making a BIG comeback in interior décor – but in quite an unexpected way. While navy blue is traditionally almost exclusively part of a nautical theme, this year it’s being paired with bright yellow, florals, leaves and lots of bling. Here’s look at 5 practical ways to create a powerful navy blue interior.

Simple and Stylish


Apartment Therapy

Navy makes a really powerful accent colour. Use it as your focal and keep everything else in the room in crisp white, black and natural wood. And don’t be a afraid to mix black and navy either – it can clearly be done very successfully.

Complimentary Touches


Centsational Girl

Create a striking gallery wall with a navy blue background. This room works extremely well because the large blue surface is broken up by the paintings and prints, and also because of the pops of yellow. The yellow in the carpet, painting and light fitting makes just enough of an impact to contrast with the deep blue without dominating it.

Deep Colonial



Tropical prints are very popular this year. This modern colonial setting combines it beautifully with dark wood, traditional black and white flooring and a dark navy wall to offset the bright green. This especially dark hue is also complemented by the profile detail on the wall, adding depth and interest. Make sure that you add some metal finishes to give it a glamorous touch and to break up large surfaces, like with this gold-framed mirror above the bed.

Fun Feature 


Hadley Court

If you are a bit weary of too much dark colour in a small area, combine a single blue surface with light and bright wall colour or wall paper. This door is cleverly painted in navy on the outside, but has a white finish on the interior of the home so if it becomes too heavy, you can simply close the door!

Dark & Dramatic 

haymes bloglovin


Another great way to combine blue with green is to go for a bold green furniture piece. This striking mid-century green velvet sofa sits proudly against the rich blue wall, and the scatter cushions have just enough blue in them to pull the whole look together. A lot of indoor plants further complete this dramatic look. And if you want to find out how to create this look in your own home, have a look at this Get The Look post!

Have fun with navy blue this coming spring – start planning now while we’re waiting for the warmer weather!

Germarie Signature Featherly


Easy DIY: from lowly ladder to super storage

Sometimes you really just need some extra storage, and this easy DIY turning a ladder to super storage will not only give that, it will also create a lovely focal point in your home!

ladder shelf DIY

So often, you end up with a wall or nook in your home that could really be a great storage or display area, but the cost of converting the area has so far prevented you from doing anything about it. The aim of Homeology is to inspire and empower, so I love to show you ways in which you can easily and cost-effectively achieve almost anything in your home. I have done so many projects here, from small face-lifts to whole-house conversions! This post is a project that Margaux and I did for Buco last year. You can click here for the full tutorial.

The brief was really quite simple: create cost-effective storage. And granted, turning a ladder into a shelving unit is nothing new. But by painting it in a new and fresh way, we’ve put a new spin on things.

All you need is a ladder – old or new, a few extra timber battens, wooden planks for the shelves and paint.


First, remove the hardware from one side of the ladder, using a chisel and hammer. The remaining arm will be enough to stabilise the shelf.


Next you will need to add the shelf supports: measure the height of the existing rungs and install a batten on the opposite side of the ladder at the corresponding height.


If your ladder has been made of treated wood, then you’ll first need to prime the ladder before painting it. I painted it in a deep charcoal after the primer had dried.


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I painted the shelves in varying colours of blue to create a graded effect. Starting with the lightest colour, I kept adding blue bit by bit until I got the darkest colour. Make sure that you mix enough paint because it’s difficult to get the same shade again if you didn’t!


Once they’ve dried, the shelves can then be screw-fixed to the supports from underneath.


Margaux styled it with some blue and red accessories and the result is just gorgeous.

IMG_5165 IMG_5188

So go on – turn that old broken ladder into something awesome!

Happy DIY-ing!

Germarie Signature Featherly


Indoor Camping – Winter Holiday Fun

We are in the middle of the winter holidays and the kids are getting a bit jumpy some days. And with questions like “what are we doing today?” having the possibility to send shivers down any mom’s spine, our Ideas Jar has been a great help so far.  Last year we went camping in the bush, so this year we decided to do the same – only it’s indoor camping in the playroom! And why not? Little ones have fairly short attention spans, so why drive for 2 days and set up camp in the middle of nowhere when you can do it right in your own home. The novelty will wear off in the same amount of time!

indoor camping kids winter activities

The tent is quite big and pretty much filled the entire room, but they loved the idea. Sleeping bags, mattresses and every pillow in their bedroom were quickly brought in to make it comfy.

indoor camping kids winter activities

And you can’t have a camp without a fire and marshmallows! A big treat that has since been requested daily.

teepee diy

If you don’t have a regular tent, then a teepee will work just as well. I made this teepee for the boys a couple of years ago, and it has been used in many different ways since then: as a reading nook, a play tent and an outdoor swinging tent! Originally I thought that securing it to the ceiling would be better, but I have since learned that anything hanging from the ceiling in my house is automatically classed as a swing. So that didn’t quite work out the way I had expected… But some bamboo secured with thick sash cord works just as well – and significantly reduces the risk of ceiling boards being ripped to pieces.

indoor camping kids winter activities

indoor camping kids winter holiday activities

This teepee swing was a project that I did at the end of last winter. It does require good weather, so put it up when the sun comes out!  There are of course loads of other things to do with the kids as well – have a look at these posts that we’ve put together over the years.

Why not play with Washi tape and make a mural?

Get crafty with some origami.

Make a race car circuit.

Have a tea party!

Make a winter herb garden.

Make rockets for your space cadets!

So now that you have all this inspiration for keeping busy, let the last part of the winter commence!

Germarie Signature Featherly



Winter Ideas Jar DIY

Do you ever find yourself knowing that you want to do something, but you just can’t come up with an idea? Add some children into the mix and maybe you want them to do something (so that you can do any of the things you need to do), but you just can’t think of what. Today’s winter ideas jar DIY is to help you sit down and think of a whole list of ideas in one go. That way, when you are desperate you can just pull an idea from the ideas jar and go with it!

Winter Ideas Jar for Children  Winter Ideas Jar for Children

The bonus is that you can also control what ideas go into the jar, but if you let the little ones choose from the ideas jar, they may feel like they got to pick.

What you need:

Glass jar
Ice-cream sticks
Paint brush
Craft paint in a selection of colours
Pen or marker
Glitter paint (optional)
Masking tape (optional)

Winter Ideas Jar for Children

To add a little extra excitement to the ideas jar, paint the inside of the jar with an acrylic glitter paint. This saves the glitter-absolutely-everywhere mess, but still gives it a shimmer. If you want a more glittery effect, allow the paint to dry and then do a second coat. If you can’t find glitter paint, you can always paint a thin layer of glue and then sprinkle glitter into the jar. You just need to be prepared to be sparkly for the rest of the day!

Winter Ideas Jar for Children

Paint the tips of your sticks in a few different colours. Each colour will become a category. For example, pink is for inside activities, grey for outdoor activities and blue for outings. Then on a rainy day, when you want to stay warm at home, you can simply tell your child to choose a pink stick.

Winter Ideas Jar for Children

Winter Ideas Jar for Children

You can categorise activities the way that suits you best and choose activities that are appropriate to your children’s hobbies and ages, but here are some simple examples to help you.

Inside activities

Write a story
Bake cupcakes
Make pizza
Watch a movie
Make a movie
Make up a dance
Do a makeover (make-up/ hair/ dress-up)
Make play dough
Make paper planes / Origami
Play a board game
Build a puzzle
Make a family tree
Play charades
Clean out clothes or toys to give away

Outdoor activities

Go for a walk
Build a tent
Plant/pick some flowers
Play mini golf in the garden
Play with bubbles
Ride a bicycle
Mini sports day (egg and spoon races, four square, sack races)
Treasure hunt
Fly a kite


Go to the park
Go for an ice-cream
Go for hot chocolate
Go to the cinema
Go ten pin bowling
Visit a museum
Go to a dance, pottery or cooking class
Have a picnic
Go to an indoor play centre

For a detailed list of activities happening around Cape Town these school holidays, click here.

Happy school holidays!

Winter Ideas Jar for Children

Winter ideas jar-7

Cozy Winter DIY: Stencilled Eye Pillowcase

Looking to spruce up your pillows a little? As winter begins to settle in, the warmth of a bed and duvet is a welcome treat. Why not add some simple details to make your bedroom a space that you want to spend time in, curled up with a good cup of coffee and your favourite book. Here’s a simple technique to make your own reusable stencils for a linen or pillowcase DIY. The exact same technique could be used for all sorts of DIYs around the house, tote bags and gifts. So get creative with it!

DIY pillowcase tutorial

What you need:
Fabric Paint
Craft Knife
Overhead transparencies / Acetate sheet (2xA4, 2xA3)
Spray adhesive

Eye Stencil Pillowcase DIY

DIY Pillowcase Tutorial

Print out the free template download and cut out your stencil using a craft knife. There is also a Silhouette Cut File included, if you have a Silhouette machine.

The template include 2 hand-drawn open eyes and 2 closed eyes. Cut the closed eyes from A4 and the open eyes from A3.

Eye Stencil Pillowcase DIY

Lightly coat the back of the stencil with spray adhesive and place it on your ironed pillowcase. Gently sponge your paint where needed and leave to dry.

Eye Stencil Pillowcase DIY

Eye Stencil Pillowcase DIY

Remove the stencil and iron on the reverse of the design to fix the paint. Repeat this process with the open eye on the other side of the pillowcase.

Eye Stencil Pillowcase DIY

DIY Pillowcase Tutorial

Happy sleeping, reading and cuddling!
Deborah Signature Featherly

For more creative inspiration, follow my Instagram at @Puresweetjoy or visit me at Pure Sweet Joy.

Welcome to the nursery! – a home tour

I often get requests from readers that they want to see what my home looks like, so today I would like to invite you into the nursery! My house has been featured a lot here on the blog as well as in the book, but to be honest it’s such a dynamic space that it doesn’t look the same for very long. The nursery used to be my eldest boy’s room, but now that the 4-year old and 6-year old are bunking I could convert that into their little brother’s nursery.

I wanted to keep things very simple, clean and light and had recently fallen in love with this very trendy minty green. So once I had that in mind, I had mint coming at me from every angle and had to stop myself from wanting to buy it all! I repurposed the curtains from a previous project, and found this very sweet little scatter from Mr Price Home and the super soft coral fleece blanket from Clicks. Perfect for winter nights!

home tour nursery

home tour nursery

You’ll notice that there isn’t a nursing chair in this room, and it’s only because from experience I knew that I’d be spending most of nights here for a few months at least. So vintage steel frame single bed from my hubby’s mom’s house it is: very comfortable and cozy, plus I can at least stretch out for some sleep should the moment present itself.

home tour nursery

The cot is a family heirloom. It was made by my grandfather in 1944, the year my dad was born. After him, his 3 brothers used it, then my 3 sisters and I. After that 2 of my nephews used it and now it’s been with me since my eldest was born 6 years ago. Quite a bit of history! My dad made the 2 little chairs as well – perfect for 2 curious little boys wanting to see what’s happening when Mommy bathes or changes their brother!

home tour nursery

I’ve never completely understood the use of a purpose-made changing table. This chest of drawers has a simple wooden tray on top – another piece of my dad’s handiwork – that fits the changing mat perfectly. Plenty of drawers also provide more than enough space for all baby’s goodies.

home tour nursery


I’m very proud of this little shelving unit. It was one of the last DIY projects that I did before Luc was born, and I absolutely adore it. Pine shelving, some ski rope and a copper pipe with brackets – that’s it!

home tour nursery

The wardrobes are the result of a paint project that I did last year – click here for the tutorial.  I think this was where the mint craze started! I was really amazed at how some paint and masking tape can completely transform a dull surface and let’s be honest, what is more boring than white melamine? And of course, no nursery is complete without a rocking horse!

nursery 11

These hooks from Mr Price Home are installed on the side of the wardrobe and are perfect for hanging towels and things after baby’s bath. And when he is older, it will be great for hanging bathrobes and back packs!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this peak into our home! I look forward to sharing some more rooms with you – please tell me in the comments which room you’d like to see next!

Germarie Signature Featherly

TREND#5: Retro vs Scandinavian

Oh my goodness, this is SUCH A TOUGH ONE! Retro has made a comeback in a big way in recent years and it’s fully trending at the moment. Interesting colour palettes, curvy lines, pastel kitchen ware – it’s all there. But what about my beloved, clean lined Scandinavian designs? White on white with layered textured, blonde wood and simple accents… let’s see who will win between Retro and Scandinavian!



Think teal and mustard, tapered legs, psychedelic patterns and peacocks. I have very vivid memories of 70’s prints adorning my grandmother’s home and have always loved the vibrant colours of the era. Here are a few ways that you can embrace the trends this year!



beautiful foundations

Shag pile carpet,  orange, mustard, slick wood and Saarinen-inspired chair: this room is a retro heaven!



real trends 2016

dreams and jeans

Dressers with tapered legs is the easiest way to introduce the trend into a room, and whether you buy new or vintage, there are plenty of these around.  Complement the look further with some tassel or bauble fringing on throws, lampshades and scatters and you’re good to go!



real trends 2016


Macramé, weaving, textile arts and more: if you want a bit of 70’s flavour in your décor, get your craft on! The colours have been slightly updated to bring the craft of wall hanging into the 2010’s, but the principles remain the same. This is a great way to get texture and colour into a room!



real trends 2016

lizard orchid

The colours of retro interiors tend to be bold and adventurous: olive and salmon, teal and mustard, orange and fern, and chocolate with everything. Get a 70’s vibe going by incorporating these colours into your interior, even if you don’t go for the overall look.



real trends 2016


Wallpaper from the 1970’s had that quintessential vibey pattern and the updated versions are just as cool. Introduce a few new colours and elements and you have a super trendy focal wall!



I am totally in love with Scandi design: it’s minimalist while being warm; simple and elegant. While I totally aim to have a Scandinavian-inspired interior, I find it hard to stick to only that. I have a few antiques and Oriental pieces that I can’t seem to let go of, and I also really love a colour pop and a dark wall every now and again which goes against the mostly-white theme of the style. But lucky for me, Scandinavian interiors are not all snow white: here are a few ways to incorporate it into your home.


real trends 2016

the ultralinx

So let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first: floor to ceiling in crisp white, minimal furniture and blonde wood, with accents of moody grey. The idea behind Scandinavian design is that it makes exquisitely designed pieces available to the masses, and then showcasing those pieces without clutter. Think Ikea, where beautiful pieces are designed and then mass-produced. So get your paint brush out, throw everything out except for the beautiful essentials and you’ll have this trend down!



real trends 2016

the ultralinx

Getting a bit warmer, this is a great way to remove the starkness from the style. Combine it with warm woods (still light though!) and some graphic elements to create a warm and welcoming room.



real trends 2016

the ultralinx

Taking the graphic theme further, throw in some strong black elements to create a beautiful contrast with the white. To complement the black, you can add a few items with darker wood, but keep the floors and walls light to allow as much lightness to the space as possible.



real trends 2016

If all of the white scares you, then opt to stick to the classic designs of the style: slick lines, bent wood, tapered legs and a few key designer pieces of the time. Famous designers from this time include Eero Saarinen (American, but originally from Finland),  Arne Jacobsen, Werner Panton and Finn Juhl to name only a few. And if the real thing doesn’t it your budget, opt for a well-made piece that follows the same style.


Looking at these photos, the 2 trends definitely have some similarities. But ultimately, there can be only 1.

Choose your favourite nature trend below!

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Instagram Photo Magnets DIY

There is something really special about having pictures up around the house. They act as a constant reminder of all the good memories shared with your loved ones. That being said, I am still really terrible about actually putting any photos up! After 3 years of marriage, we have just one picture printed! The closest I normally get to printing out photos is scrolling through the ones I have saved on my phone when I’m bored. Enough is enough! These easy Instagram Photo Magnets DIY are a good start for me to bring some special memories out into the open.

DIY Instagram Magnet-7

This is a surprisingly easy DIY and ends up looking extremely professional. With your friend’s Instagram photos being freely available to you, why not use some of their photos and make them a surprise Instagram Photo Magnets DIY gift?

You will need:

A selection of your favourite photographs

Adhesive magnet paper (*or printable magnet paper)

Craft knife

Metal Ruler

DIY Instagram Magnet


Select your favourite digital photographs and arrange them together in a collage for printing. I arranged mine, 2 photographs per 10x15cm print, using the collage feature on Picmonkey and then had them printed. If you have photographs that are already printed, you can also use them.

Carefully cut out the images and arrange them on the magnet paper.

DIY Instagram Magnet-2

Pull off the backing of the adhesive magnet paper and stick down your photographs. Allow a small gap between photographs, for cutting the magnets to size.

DIY Instagram Magnet-3

Again, using the craft knife, carefully cut along the edge of each photograph.
DIY Instagram Magnet-4

Now all that’s left to do is admire your handiwork and take a trip down memory lane!

DIY Instagram Magnet-6

*If you have printable magnet paper, all you need to do is arrange your photos onto a page the size of your printable magnet paper. You can do this in Word, Photoshop or an online collage site, such as Picmonkey. Print the photos onto the shiny white side of the printable magnet paper. Carefully cut around each photo with the craft knife and your magnets are ready to be displayed!

DIY Instagram Magnet-5

Hope you enjoyed the DIY!
Deborah Signature Featherly

For more on Deborah and her wonderful blog, Pure Sweet Joy, click here!

TREND #4: Florals or Leaves

Last year, black-ground florals (no, that’s not a typo!) made a comeback in a big way and this year the floral vibe is still very much with us. But leaf prints have also made a very strong case for themselves in the decor world over the last couple of years, with banana leaf and Delicious Monster being firm favourites.

So which one is your trend of choice this year – is it floral or luscious leaves? Do you prefer soft and feminine or bold and strong florals? Or does tropical rain forest prints get you all excited?



I remember my early days at Laura Ashley, where traditional florals were all the rage. At first, I didn’t care much for any of them, but by the time I left, I had fallen in love with quite a few! Fast forward 1.5 decades and florals are still with us, albeit in a much more contemporary form.



VT Wonen

Embrace the trend wholeheartedly and go for something bold! A beautifully busy floral print chair makes a statement in this rustic room. And while you’re at it don’t be afraid to complement it with other floral patterns – the more the merrier!



vt wonen

VT Wonen

Choose a pretty floral print to bring a soft and delicate feminine touch to any room. Combine it with a bolder print on a chair or occasional piece for a little bit of drama.




Italian Bark

Combining a traditional wallpaper with some clean, modern lines is a great way to update a look. This gorgeous wallpaper is based on an 19th century print, but because of the combination with crisp white finishes and slim black lines, it is perfectly on trend.




Lovely Clusters

If bold is not your thing, choose something small with a floral theme like a throw or scatter cushion. That way you’re also quite safe should the trend fade!




VT Wonen

Florals don’t always HAVE to be feminine either – this bedroom shows that grey scale prints and deep blue make for a beautifully bold room.





This gorgeous room with its eclectic mix of styles and era is being dominated by this breathtaking floral wallpaper – and why not? It works!



Big leaves, lots of green and tropical themes characterize this luscious trend. While green is certainly the predominant colour, let’s have a look at the different options:




Cactus may just be the new banana leaf! The informal style of this gorgeous wallpaper is great for a kids room or any other room in the home that does not take itself too seriously. Love this!




Hannah in the House

Using botanical prints is a wonderful way to give instant life to an industrial setting. Use liberally on accessories, prints and embrace green accents. Don’t forget actual plants – they are very much part of the trend!




Made By Lemon

This wall will make you feel like you’re living in a tropical paradise, even if you’re in the city. Accessorize with a subtle palette of moss-green, white, grey and black for an uber-cool room.




Sofie Boersting

Sometimes, all you need is a wall painted in soft green moss and some comfy scatters. Just gorgeous!


But, as with all trends in The Real Trends 2016, there can be only one.

Choose your favourite nature trend below!

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