Tag Archives: Christmas

Wait! 5 ways to decorate with fairy lights all year round

6 Jan

As soon as the decorations come down on Twelfth Night it always seems to me that a previously homely house looks suddenly bare. It’s just too depressing! So whilst I don’t suggest we become strange Christmas people who never take down their tree and eat turkey 365 days of the year, I am going to wriggle free from the grip of superstition just a little by offering a few mildly rebellious ideas to enjoy the magical twinkle of fairy lights in your home, whatever the season. Will you join me?

Fairy lights over bed curtains

{via we Heart It}

four poster bed with fairy lights

{Photograph: Leela Cyd}

photographs clipped onto fairy lights

{via PB Teen}

Single string of fairy lights

{Photograph: Jeska Hearne}

workspace office with fairylights

{Photograph: Michelle Halford}

I’m also considering rebranding my Christmas wreath as “winter wreath” to avoid taking it down… or perhaps that’s a step to far?

Homemade Christmas wreath with a contemporary twist

18 Dec

Homemade Christmas wreath with eucalyptus DIY

Homemade Christmas door wreath contemporary foliage

{© Decorator’s Notebook}

I absolutely LOVE Christmas – not so much for the day itself but for those leading up to it. The little rituals mean so much to me: choosing the tree, making the cake, planning how I’ll decorate the table and waiting excitedly for everyone to arrive. And now this year I have a pretty homemade wreath on the door to greet them!

On Sunday Lou arranged a tasty lunch and a crafty afternoon for a handful of Westcountry bloggers and kindly invited me along as a newcomer to the group. My little network of blogging friends is one of the few things I do actually miss about London, so it was lovely to meet some kindred spirits in my new/old area. Xanthe from Ivory Flowers supplied us with a beautiful array of foliage and decorations to use and we had spent a relaxing afternoon chatting while binding clumps of earth-scented moss, lush pine, orange slices and dried flowers onto our wreaths. With such a fantastic array of ingredients to choose from it was fun seeing all the finished results… I opted for a bit of contemporary style using eucalyptus, cheerful billy buttons, cotton heads and cinnamon sticks.

Now every time I arrive home I have a reminder of a lovely afternoon and a special welcome for our Christmas visitors!

For more ideas, visit my fellow bloggers and admire the beautiful wreaths they created too: Lou at Littlegreenshed | Lottie at Oyster & Pearl | Cathy at Bristol Parenting Cafe | Kat at Housewife Confidential | Laura at Circle of Pine Trees | Natalie at Thistle Apples

Our gingerbread tags in Sunday Times Style!

17 Dec

Hope you’ve enjoyed having a go at your own gingerbread tags and garlands… I’ve just got my hands on the page in Sunday Times Style where they were featured so thought I’d pop it up here so you can have a look!

Decorator's Notebook in Sunday Times Style

Decorator's Notebook featured in Sunday Times Style

{© Sunday Times Style}

Homemade gingerbread gift tags & garlands

15 Dec

Welcome to everyone joining us today from Sunday Times Style – it’s lovely to have you here!

I was thrilled to be invited to put together an idea for their Christmas gift wrap feature this weekend. These edible gingerbread tags start giving before your gift has even been opened – a definite bonus! If you fancy trying these sweet little biscuits for yourself, here’s the recipe and instructions you’ll need:

Gingerbread gift tags Decorator's Notebook blog recipe

Decorator's Notebook gingerbread cookies recipe

Gingerbread gift tags for Sunday Times Style by Decorator's Notebook

Decorator's Notebook gingerbread garland

{Photographs © Decorator’s Notebook}

Gingerbread Biscuits

It took quite a bit of experimentation to work out the recipe for perfect gingerbread biscuits that hold their shape when baked and taste delicious too. Thank you to Emily at Maid of Gingerbread for the tips!

100g butter
100g soft brown sugar
3 tbs treacle
1 tbs golden syrup
140g plain flour
140g self raising flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mixed spice
 

1) Preheat the oven to 180°c / Gas 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2) Place the butter, treacle, syrup and sugar in a small pan and warm gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, sift the flour and spices into a mixing bowl.

3) Add the contents of the pan to the dry ingredients and mix well. Once combined, kneed gently to form a smooth, stiff ball of dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

4) Roll out the dough to 2mm thick on a floured surface and cut out the shapes using your favourite cutter. Use a straw to make two holes in the centre of each biscuit then transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used.

5) Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown. Keep a close eye on them as the cooking time will depend on the size of the cutter you used. Cool on a wire rack then store in an airtight container.

Makes about 32 biscuits

Gingerbread recipe Decorator's Notebook blog

[click the image above to enlarge and save]

gingerbread gift tags and garland recipe Decorator's Notebook

{Photographs and recipe © Decorator’s Notebook}

Once you’ve made your gingerbread men there’s a host of ways you can use them… tying them onto Christmas presents is just the start!

  • Thread a row along a length of pretty ribbon and hang along the mantlepiece (not too close to the fire!)
  • Make one hole in the top of the biscuits instead of two and pop them on your tree
  • Tie around napkins as an extra treat on the table
  • Get the kids decorating them with tubes of icing to give to their friends and teachers

Have fun and thank you for visiting our blog… you’ll find lots more Christmas craft and decorating ideas here and please do have a look at the Decorator’s Notebook Shop for gorgeous gifts to wrap inside your parcels and luxury ribbons for the perfect finishing touch!

Decorator's Notebook Shop www decoratorsnotebook.co.uk

Christmas wishes from Decorator’s Notebook x

25 Dec

vintage illustration Christmas party{via Jill Clark}

May your days be merry and bright!

All my love for a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2013

DN xxx

Free printable! 16 illustrated Christmas gift tags

17 Dec

It’s been brilliant having you all read my blog over the past year – it feels like last Christmas was only moments ago but so much has happened over the past year and 2013 is going to be the most exciting yet for Decorator’s Notebook. So to say thank you for reading I’ve been hard at work drawing a little present just for you!

free holiday gift tagsfree Christmas gift tagsdownloadable gift tags http://decoratorsnotebook.wordpress.com/{© Decorator’s Notebook / Photographs Joe John}

There are 16 different hand-drawn Christmas gift tag designs to print on any card you like. The PDF is free to download by clicking the link below… in return, please share an image and link via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest by hitting one of the buttons at the bottom of the post. If you have your own blog please feel free to share it there too, but please post a link to Decorator’s Notebook rather than the PDF itself.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST THEN CLICK TO DOWNLOAD PDF

Possibly the world’s most beautiful baubles

15 Dec

There have been a lot of white and natural Christmas decorations round here recently, so I wanted to share some slightly different today. Bollywood Christmas sells colourful handpainted papier mache baubles made in Kashmir. Each spring local artisans leave their villages and gather to choose the design they want to paint, then return a few months later with their delicately painted wares.

Indian papier mache baubles

This year’s designs are selling out fast, but if you’re quick you’ve still got a couple of days to place an order before Christmas and add an extra splash of colour to your tree!

15-minute make: mulled wine syrup

14 Dec

perfect mulled wine recipe

Here’s an odd quirk of mine – I really dislike wine (red, white, rose, sparkling – everything) but I love mulled wine. I’m not sure what that says about my taste buds, but it makes perfect sense to me! So, today’s 15-minute make is a gently-spiced mulled wine recipe that just tastes like Christmas… and makes your house smell like it too. There’s a little more to it than the regular teabag-in-a-pan method, but you end up with a lovely syrup base that can be bottled and used on another occasion. A bottle of this mulled wine syrup would make a nice last-minute homemade Christmas present too.

mulled wine syrup recipe

Mulled Wine Syrup 

Makes 12 servings

1 orange
1 lemon, peel only
150g golden caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, gently bashed
5 cloves
Pinch grated nutmeg
Splash of red wine
 
Add to…
2 bottles of fruity red wine
150ml ginger wine
Orange slices to garnish
 

1) Squeeze the juice from the orange and place in a large pan together with the orange shells, lemon peel, sugar and spices. Add a small glug of wine (just enough to cover the sugar) and heat gently  until the sugar has dissolved, stirring every now and again. Bring to the boil and bubble for 5-8 minutes until you have a thick syrup. At this stage you can leave the syrup to cool slightly then pour into a sterilised bottle. If you’re thirsty now, carry on…

2) Turn the heat down and add the red wine and ginger wine to the saucepan. Warm through gently, giving it a stir occasionally Have a taste and add a touch of sugar or lemon juice if you need it. Serve in heatproof glasses garnished with orange slices.

mulled wine ingredients{Photographs Hannah Queen / Recipe adapted from Felicity Cloake}

15-minute make: ribbon star tree decoration

7 Dec

So, here begins a new little mini series I’ll be visiting on Decorator’s Notebook from time to time. I love settling down to a day of solid crafting with only a box of materials, cake and tea for company as much as the next girl. But in reality, we all know that finding the time to be creative is hard. So in this post I’ll be collecting together stylish craft ideas that you can reasonably start and finish in the time it takes to drink a mug of earl grey.

homemade star Christmas decoration

{Crafts & Creativity}

To make this ribbon wrapped star Christmas decoration, simply bend a strip of wire into a basic star shape with a hook at the top, wrap with a length of ribbon and tie the loose ends in a bow. Visit Craft & Creativity blog for step-by-step instructions. Try Jane Means for a beautiful selection of seasonal ribbons or try it with jute string or striped baker’s twine for a more relaxed look. Your local hardware shop is the place to buy thick wire (pick up a pair of pliers at the same time to make it easier to bend into shape).

Let me know if you have a go at this and share a photo via Twitter @DecoratorsNotes or my brand new Facebook page.

Have a lovely weekend!

Homemade clay Christmas decorations

30 Nov

Last year I made these snowflake decorations from air drying clay – this easy to use material was a revelation to me, so I wanted to share another lovely idea with you.

{via DillyPad}

You can buy DAS air drying clay in art shops or from Amazon. To make these tree decorations you could simply roll out small sausages of clay, lay on a strip of cotton lace trim and go over with a rolling pin to impress the pattern. Make a hole in the top with a darning needle and then lay out to dry.

I’d love to know if you try them…

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