Romancing the Home with Roses

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck." - Emma Goldman

Hello all! We're back with our newest installment of Romancing the Home, this week it's all about Roses! Who doesn't love roses? I can't imagine someone out there saying "oh, no, I' don't like roses..." Seriously? Impossible. It may not be your all time favorite flower, but there's just something about it, isn't there?

There's long stem, full head roses in a multitude of colors. There's short stem, loose types, like icebergs, which grace our gardens with flowers all year around! ...types you didn't even consider, like the ornamental cabbage rose, or massive peony roses, or the desert rose!

This is my story of how roses are a part of my everyday life, whether in textile, art or in nature (occasionally being bought and displayed in vases). I'm not ALL about roses, but I am MAD ABOUT ROSES!

As a cake artist, I often make cake with sugar roses, open, closed and desert (succulents). Just recently I did a champagne and rose cake for Ramona's (Ruffles & Rust) birthday. The cake featured hand painted roses, watercolor style with a large peach sugar rose off side on the cake. Recipe below:

Pink Champagne & Rose Cake:

2 1/4 cups Flour

1 1/8 cups Sugar (granulated)

3/4 cup Oil (pure sunflower)

3/4 cup Rose Champagne (don't do too cheap on this one)

5 Eggs (large, seperated)

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

3 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

Method: Cream your sugar, oil and egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Mix in your pink champagne. In a separate bowl, beat your eggs whites with half your baking powder until stiff. Sift your flour and remaining baking powder into the wet mix and combine. Gently fold in your egg whites to create a light fluffy cake batter. I split this into two 8" pans and get 4 layers when cooled and cut horizontally. (tip, for even layers, use two chopping board of the same heigh, about 2cm thick is nice and place your cake between them, using a long knife to cut through the cake, using the boards as your level.

Make a basic butter icing by beating 125g baking margerine or real butter if you can afford it, until light and fluffy. Then add 1 cup of icing and beat till light. Add your 1 tsp rose water and beat with another 1 cup of icing sugar. Then add 1/8 cup of milk and beat in another 1 cup of icing sugar. Should be 3 cups of icing total. Beat on high until light and fluffy.

To decorate, chop Turkish delight (I used Ramona's aunts homemade Turkish delight, about 1 1/2 cups) into small pieces. evenly spread icing onto 3 of the 4 cake layers and generously sprinkle Turkish delight across the surface. Stack the layers ending with a bare top, preferably with the pan side facing up. This will give you a naked cake that you can continue to ice (dirty ice would be roughly covering the cake in icing and then scarping most of it off, this seal the cake and allow for it to stand for longer without drying out. You can decorate with fresh rose, but bear in mind to never insert stems into your cake! it is always best when decorating food with flowers to wrap a small piece of foil around the cut stem to avoid any flower fluid to mess.


Whilst we're on the topic of things I've done for Ramona, let me tell you, she IS not mad about roses, she's bonkers! Having brought her total of roses she's planted in her garden up to almost 300 in the last 5 years she's been in her home! She has not only adorned her garden with roses of every type, size, color, scent etc, but she's brought them into her home through stunning wallpapers, fabrics and bespoke painted furniture. That's where I come in!

Made with love! Acrylic painted bathroom dresser, vintage roses!

This lovely dresser received some gold highlights once it got to Ramona's place, as well as a marble top and is now in the girl's (guest) bathroom.

Sometimes, when I have a little time to myself, which honestly, isn't as often as I'd prefer, I try to keep my skills sharp by drawing or painting, my fondest drawing technique being illustration. One day, I'll do botanical and maybe even teach myself proper watercolor. You see, in art school, we only really covered acrylic with gouache in design and basic oil techniques, which of course was the most chosen medium for master painters.

Illustrative drawing of an Iceberg Rose from my garden!

I love collecting art by other artists as well and have a large gallery wall in my sitting room with a lot of original pieced by some of my family. My uncle, Johan van den Berg (my father's brother, who passed away a few years back due to Cancer) was an accomplished artist of various mediums who's works hang in home all across Europe. I remember watching him paint the most magnificent lion out of tea and coffee when we were on holiday in Namibia when I was 10. I wonder if the influence was subliminal, my aunt, Elaine Roos, is also a wonderful artist and also not afraid of trying new techniques and mediums even today! My other Aunts on my dad's side have also tried their hands at watercolor and although I'm sad to say I don't own any, I'd love to. They're that good!

New to my collection of original art!

In my kitchen, which we worked extremely hard on renovating in the beginning of the year, I have stunning Toile fabric in some of the glass upper cabinets to hide the more unsightly kitchen things, it delights me every day and is definitely one of my favorite features of this new space! I used some leftover fabric to recover my pin board which gives me a visual reference to upcoming cake orders.

Other textiles in my home featuring roses include the headboard hubby and I made for our bed, cost a fraction of what s in stores and looks nothing like what is available in South Africa! Yes, Pinterest made me do it!

Our first quilting project.

My daughter's cot bedding is also made from the bedding my grandmother used to have on her guest beds that is very dear to me! From other scraps I made Bella's nappy hanger and she got the cutest hobby horse Ramona made for her daughter's unicorn party which I catered a cute unicorn cake and cupcakes for.

Last but not least are the roses I have in my garden! Icebergs of course, because they flower all year and are reasonably low maintenance. I do try from time to time, but I don't have the greenest of thumbs. I was very sad to loose two of my rose bushes earlier this year due to moving them when we installed our motorized driveway gate.

My garden roses!

That wraps up the tour of how roses are a part of my every day life! I can only hope that it inspires you to plant your own, DIY project yourself or simply treat yourself to a fresh bunch on your table! know, 'cos diamonds are a bit more expensive!

Don't forget to check in with the other ladies from Romancing the Home and see what they have to say about roses...

Liz @keepitfrench

Stacy @sawdustandhighheels

Ramona @rufflesandrust

See you next week for my take something yummy!

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