Welcome to my newest craze! These gorgeous bundles of woolly joy are sure to cheer up even the darkest of wintry days… and I currently have them almost everywhere! My newest obsession began as I wanted to have a colourful pompom garland strung up in our window, where our alternative Christmas tree is planned to go (more on that next week, I promise). I loved the idea of bright pops of colour contrasted against the painted white of the window frames.
I toyed with the idea of cutting out two cardboard doughnuts for my pompoms and making them as I did when I was at school, but after spending half an hour wading through the recycling box trying to find just the right thickness of card, I was suddenly, enormously sold on the idea of PomPom Makers.
Using these, I can make uniform, secure pompoms in minutes… which is perfect if you have a long garland of twenty or thirty pompoms to finish! I found that by wrapping the yarn tightly and winding until there was no more space gave the best results.
Using white yarn and a wool needle, I threaded each pompom so that they were evenly spaced. At each end, I made a loop so that the garland could be easily attached.
Every time I look up and see the colour in the window, it makes me smile. I’ve also heaped white pompoms of two different sizes into a bowl, to look like snowballs… and I’m debating whether to fill a mason jar with pink and white pompoms to resemble marshmallows. However, I think I might just buy marshmallows – they’re better in hot chocolate!
Some years, I hanker after the glossy, luxury Christmas cards on offer in the shops. However, every other year or so, I want nothing more than to sit cosily by the fire in the late afternoons and make cards that are much more personal. Obviously this notion appeals hugely to my craft-loving, stationary-obsessed self!
Usually, my self-made cards involve some sort of stamping. I love the way that an image can be repeated using different colours to build up a big picture. I also love script and typography, so any stamps that have interesting lettering are first on my list.
This was my first attempt at using clear stamps on an acrylic block and I must say, this method had me hooked! Not only could I vary the position of the icons on the block, I could clearly see where I was stamping, so my final results were much more accurate than when I have used wood block stamps in the past.
Although I went a bit crazy when ordering my ink pads, I generally used the blues, reds, greens and purples the most. I also used my Ali Edwards word stamps to print words on the inside of my cards… such as MAGIC, BEST and SUPER. I plan to add handwritten messages to incorporate the words… like ‘we hope your Christmas is PERFECT!’
When it comes to Christmas cards, do you have particular favourites that you buy each year? Or do you have a special recipe for handmade cards?
I am starting to bring some of the succulents further inside, towards the warmth, as the weather turns colder and wetter. The slugs are beginning to stir again and would like nothing more than to graze on the juicy petals of an echeveria.
It’s always a bit of a juggling act when the plants come inside. Some have more specific light and warmth requirements than others and as I only have limited windows that face west or south, Mr D-F often finds himself waking up to the sight of a large palm or some other frondy-leaved plant waving around in the window by his head… he doesn’t even question it any more!
We have family and friends staying over Christmas and the guest bedroom window has an excellent success rate for keeping succulents happy over winter. I didn’t want our visitors to feel as if they were living in a jungle for the Christmas period, but instead that the plants were an intentional addition to the room’s decor!
After collecting together some white ceramic pots and painting terracotta planters in various shades of Farrow & Ball, I set upon them with a permanent marker pen (I used a sharpie pen with a medium thickness nib). I have seen pots with sweet little expressions on the internet and wanted my plants to have their own personalities as well.
When it came to re-potting the succulents I used an equal mix of cacti soil, perlite and sand. Each pot also had a nice layer of stones placed into the bottom, to aid drainage.
They look like a little succulent family now and will hopefully entertain our friends while they are all roomies over the holidays!
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The clocks turning back at the weekend rather took me by surprise this year. We’ve had such a mild Autumn so far that I haven’t really mentally prepared myself for the onset of long nights, log fires and woolly socks! … Continue reading →
To celebrate the warm springtime weather we’ve been having… I had a go at making some new bee houses.
These little hole-filled boxes provide safe sites for lots of insects, especially solitary bee species, who love to lay their eggs in the pre-drilled tunnels.
Using some spare wood, I drilled holes using a 7mm drill bit to about 6 cm in depth. I fixed a small bracket to the back, so that they could be securely hung outside.
In order that they looked extra smart, I painted the sides and a border in Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon. I took care not to get paint anywhere near the holes, as although this paint is very low in fumes and nasty bits, I didn’t want to take any chances.
As soon as I start to see little leafy/muddy stoppers in the end of the holes, I’ll know that the bees have started laying their eggs.
If you want to know more about these bees and their habits, have a read here…
I posted this DIY way back in 2012, but in the meantime, I made one for last year’s Mother’s Day (to give to my Mum) and it went down a treat.
If you fancy making something unique and creative for your gift… here is the how-to…
Take initial measurements and cut some plywood and beading/edging to the correct size that you would like. I wanted my finished board to end up at about 2 foot by 14 inches.
Paint both sides with 2 coats of a suitable primer/undercoat – I used normal white matt emulsion as it gives a nice even finish. Leave any bits that are to be glued, unpainted.
Once dry, paint the back of the plywood and the edging strips with a suitably stunning colour. I chose Blackened, No.2011 by Farrow and Ball. Paint the face of the blackboard (the other side of the plywood) with blackboard paint. Most places like Homebase and B&Q sell it. Again, I needed 2 coats of both paints.
Once dry, glue it all together and fasten it to the wall, either with a lovely bit of rope (in which case, you may need to drill two holes at the top) or screw it into the wall in the four corners. I chose this way as I didn’t want it to wobble as I wrote.
I have been waiting to write this post, for what seems like ages. A friend of mine had a tired looking Jade plant, which she wanted to find a new home for. I was sure that I could repot it, … Continue reading →