Tag Archives: homemade

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

DIY: air drying clay Christmas tree decorations

13 Dec

I just love DAS clay… a couple of years ago I used it to make these simple clay tree decorations and this week we had a go at some more using different rubber stamps to create an embossed effect.

DAS clay Christmas tree decoration DIY LR

Air drying clay Christmas decorations LR

DAS clay snowflake Christmas tree decoration LR

{Decorator’s Notebook}

For those who haven’t used it before, DAS air-drying clay can be rolled and moulded like salt dough but dries to an off white ceramic finish. A big 1kg block costs under £5 from Amazon or local craft shops. We used about a third of  packet to make about 25 decorations.

Air Drying Clay Christmas Tree Decorations

1) Slice off about one third of a 1kg block of DAS air drying clay. Seal the remainder quickly in the packet as it soon dries out.

2) Roll out the clay to about 1.5mm thick on a smooth surface. Cut out shapes using a range of biscuit cutters – we chose snowflakes and hearts but anything festive will do… play around with the different ones you have cutting positive and negative shapes and various sizes.

3) Working quickly before the clay dries, emboss the decorations using rubber stamps or found materials like lace and hessian. Anything you can find with a pretty textures surface will work nicely.

4) Use the plastic casing of a biro to cut a small hanging hole in the top of each shape for hanging.

5) Leave until the clay is leather hard, then gently lift the decorations from your worksurface and transfer to a warm dry place to dry out. These are thin so will only take a few hours. They’ll harden up and lighten in colour when they’re dry.

6) Thread with twine or ribbon and they’re ready to hang on the tree!

These are really simple and certainly easy enough to try with the kids this weekend. Don’t forget to share the results with us on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest @DecoratorsNotes or on our Facebook page.

15-minute make: autumn wreath DIY

21 Oct

Autumn is the most beautiful and intriguing time to live in the countryside. It’s when I get my strongest cavegirl tendencies and I love gathering nuts, berries and mushrooms to cook and preserve. Inspired by the return of Nature in the Home this week I decided to get crafty with my autumn gatherings (instead of eating them!) and make something pretty to bring indoors.

autumn wreath DIY

1) Start off by making a base for your wreath. I took advantage of the heap of prunings in the garden and grabbed a handful of spiraea but there’s no science to this and any slim, flexible stems will do. Take a small bunch in your hands and bend them round into a ring, twisting the stems together as you do. At the top of your circle, cross the tops over and wind the loose ends back around the ring to create a basic wreath. Tuck in any escaped twigs. I left on some of the fresh leaves but snip them off if you want a longer-lasting decoration.

how to make a wreath at home

2) Get out and about and gather up some interesting autumn bits to decorate your wreath. Even if you live in the city you should be able to collect plenty of colourful leaves, pinecones and feathers in your local park.

autumn collection of natural objects

3) It’s completely freestyle from now on! The basic wreath can be adapted using whatever natural ingredients you can find. I set out to try and make this wreath with only natural elements (no wire or glue) as I always find it inhibitive to have to assemble materials before I get started. Instead, use the twisted stems of you wreath to weave in the decorations – there should be spots all around where you can tuck them in tightly.

fall wreath DIY

{Project and photos all Decorator’s Notebook blog}

That’s it! The best thing about this project is that each and every wreath is going to be different and the basic idea will work just as well in other seasons. Make your own Christmas wreath for the holidays by adding fircones, evergreen foliage and red berries or an easter wreath with lots of feathers and blossom. Mine hasn’t completely dried out yet, but I can’t see any reason why the twiggy wreath base wouldn’t last and be reusable again and again.

A hungry girl’s guide to chicken-keeping: part 1

5 Aug

You don’t need to be good at maths (and I’m not) to know that three chickens, one person at home and everyone else on holiday means an awful lot of these…

fresh free range eggs

Our three lovely chickies have been laying one egg each a day and even though I’ve been giving them to the neighbours… well, when there’s only one neighbour that doesn’t really help. So, I’ve been trying my best to find different things to do with them, my current favourite being an invention I am calling Garden Baked Eggs.

baked eggs

I’m calling it that because thanks to that one neighbour, we are lucky enough to have a constant supply of homegrown veggies in exchange for the eggs, so almost everything I threw into this came from either our garden or his.

ingredients for baked eggs

I’ll tell you what I put in by way of illustration, but everything apart from the eggs and some kind of cheese can be substituted depending on whatever you have to hand. That’s why this is such a good recipe!

Garden Baked Eggs

for each person

Two free range eggs

Small handful each of sliced courgette, mushrooms, broad beans and red pepper

Three slices of chorizo, roughly chopped

Feta cheese, cubed

Lots of chopped fresh herbs (I used chives and oregano)

Tablespoon red pesto

Salt and pepper

Knob of butter and drizzle of olive oil

1) Drizzle a little olive oil into a shallow individual baking dish and brush around the inside. Turn the oven on at about 180ºC / Gas Mark 4 and put another larger baking dish inside. Put the kettle on.

2) Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently saute the veggies with some salt and pepper until softened.

3) Pile the vegetables into the small dish then sprinkle over the chorizo and feta. Make two wells in the mixture and carefully break an egg into each one.

4) Dot the pesto on top, sprinkle with herbs and grind over more black pepper.

5) Place the small dish inside the larger one, then carefully pour boiling water into the big dish so it comes about halfway up the sides of the little one.

6) Cook in the oven until the top is golden and the eggs are as done as you like them – I like the yolk still a bit runny – so about 10-15 minutes.

baked eggs recipe close up

Yummy for lunch with salad and a big slice of crusty toast. Thanks girls!

grey free range hens{all Decorator’s Notebook}

15-minute make: twiggy plant markers

25 Jan

DIY herb makers made from twigs

Here’s a lemon squeezy little craft project for you to try out over the weekend. Spring is just around the corner so I’ll be adding a few green-fingered ideas over the coming months in celebration (anticipation).

Twig Plant Markers

Twigs about 20cm long and a little thicker than a pencil

Sharp craft knife and cutting mat

Alphabet stamps

Coloured ink pads or acrylic paint

1) Whittle one end of each stick into a point. At the other end, slice away the bark on one side of each twig, exposing about 6cm of the wood beneath.

2) Dab your alphabet stamps into the ink or paint being careful not to load the stamp too heavily. Stamp your chosen plant names onto the bare wood.

3) Leave to dry the pop into the pots. Standard craft ink isn’t waterproof so remove the markers before watering!

stick plant markers DIY

{both via Etsy}

15-minute make: pebble photo holder

11 Jan

pebble photo holder DIY craft idea{Danny Seo / Miki Duisterhof via Country Living}

When I was a child I was a bit of a magpie and my coat pockets were permanently filled with treasures I’d picked up and squirreled away… a grey feather, a scrap of ribbon, a patterned pebble or a shard of sea-smoothed glass. This simple craft idea takes moments and is one way to get part of your collection out on display.

Pebble Photo Holder

Nice smooth pebbles

Paper covered floristry wire

Pliers

1) Take a 20cm length of wire and wrap one end around the pebble. Twist to secure it tightly at the base.

2) Stand the remaining wire upright then twist the other end into a flattened spiral – the easiest way to do this is grip the end of the wire with pliers then wrap the next 3-4cm of wire tightly around them. Press with your fingers to flatten.

3) Pop a postcard, photo or polaroid into the top and voila! Experiment with different sized pebbles and lengths of wire to make a pleasing group.

Have a lovely weekend – wrap up warm!

Possibly the best mug ever

10 Dec

I love Toot as in Foot. Not only does it have one of the best blog names ever, author Jo always makes me laugh with her quirky tales and apparently fathomless vintage knowledge. If you’ve never seen a human jumble sale or you don’t yet know the weird and wonderful tale of Resusci Annie, you need to add this blog to your reading list.

homemade pottery mugs Toot as in Foot{Jo Waterhouse / Toot as in Foot}

I also think that Jo shares my compulsion to have a stab at new crafts… while I’ve been trying out screenprinting, she’s been playing around on the potters wheel. These wonderfully wobbly mugs are the fruits of her endeavours and they’re all so lovely I hope she won’t mind me sharing them. The one on the bottom right is captioned ‘possibly the worst mug ever’… and it’s absolutely my favourite.

Have you mastered any new skills during 2012 and what would you like to try in 2013?

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!

5 best simple Christmas centrepiece ideas

3 Dec

Decorating the table is one of my favourite Christmas day traditions, and my Mum and I always join forces to get it looking really special. This year I’ve been on the lookout for easy Christmas centrepiece ideas that have something a little bit different about them – here’s a selection of my favourites.

Christmas table centrepiece jar with floating candle{Better Homes & Gardens}

The great thing about this floating candle centrepiece is that you probably have all the things you need to make it at home already. Simply fill a Kilner jar two-thirds with water, wedge some offcuts of foliage into the bottom (this is a good use for those Christmas tree trimmings), add a handful of cranberries and finish with a floating candle. This would look even lovelier if you made up several different sized jars and dotted them down the centre of a long table, or along the mantlepiece.

white Christmas table ideas{Stylizimo}

Here’s another festive centrepiece that would work very nicely with a natural theme. Take a large shallow dish (this Moroccan metal bowl of mine would be ideal) and fill with compost, three hyacinth bulbs, moss and pinecones. After lunch is over, move it to the coffee table and enjoy the heady scent of hyacinths well into the new year.

Paper balls over Christmas table{The White Company}

If space is short, you’re better off making the most the space above the table and leaving room for all those serving dishes. Just hang tissue paper decorations and baubles from the ceiling using pretty ribbons. Try Papermash for a good selection of honeycomb decorations in Christmassy colours.

pine cone centrepiece Christmas{Nina Holst}

Here’s another easy idea from that clever Nina Holst. Grab a chunky pillar candle, wrap a strip of thick card around the base then attach pinecones using a glue gun. This is another centrepiece that’s going to work better with a collection of candles in different heights. Gather into a group if you have a round table or scatter down the length of a long table.

cookie star Christmas tree{Cox & Cox}

You’ll need to plan ahead a bit to bake this cookie Christmas tree, but you’ll end up with a centrepiece with major wow factor… and you can eat it afterwards! Lakeland sells the star shaped cookie cutters you need, along with a step-by-step instruction video and recipe.

Which of these appeals most to you?

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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