Make a recycled Appliquéd picnic blanket.

This project was originally in Coast magazine.

Those who live on the Coast are probably more aware than most, of the changing seasons. The skies are overcast and dark, the sea becomes rough and the sea gulls soar and wheel on the updrafts. With this image in mind I have designed an appliqued blanket. I have kept with the dark almost monochrome, but with suggestions of seasonal colours. The method of making is very easy and the end result has a Hygge Scandinavian feel.

Finished blanket

         I made this blanket out of two old woolen blankets purchased in a charity shop. They are easy to come by and often thin enough to use as a double thickness. If you don’t want to use old woolen blankets buy 160 cm woolen fabric that is 160cm wide. You will need two pieces in two different colours.

         If using old blankets, clean by washing on a wool wash. You can dye them, as I did one of ours, in a washing machine. We dyed it Jeans blue. The blanket must be made out of wool or another natural fiber for the dye to take. If you dye a blanket in the machine it will felt a little. Once the blankets are washed dyed and dry, then cut them so they are the same size as one another.

What you need

Tracing paper or baking parchment

Pencil

Dressmaking pins

Dressmaking scissors

Paper scissors

2 x woolen blankets or 2 pieces of 160 x 160cm woolen fabric

Dylon Jeans Blue machine dye (optional)

Tapestry yarn or an odd ball of wool (we used pale blue)

Tapestry needle

How to make

Step 1

Find some copyright free images of flying seagulls on the internet, scan to enlarge and print them out. Draw onto tracing paper and cut out using paper scissors. Or just copy the bird shapes shown here.

Pin the paper seagull onto the darker blanket. Being very careful to keep the shape, cut out the gull. You will need to repeat this with the other gulls depending on how many you want.

Pin the darker blanket on top of the lighter one. Round each edge, pin one blanket onto the other. Pin round the gull shape holes.  Using running stitch, sew round the edge of each gull.

Make sure the blankets haven’t stretched. If they have cut away any overlaps. Using blanket stitch, 1cm deep x 1cm wide, sew one blanket onto the other all the way round the edge.

Quick and easy chair transformation.

The made over chair in Annie Sloan Antibes green
The before shot looks quite nice, but believe me, the chair was not in a good state.

Recently a friend was throwing out a very old wooden child’s chair. It had been left in a shed for the last fifteen years and the seat was lifting up from the frame and the paint was peeling.

To restore the situation and to make a suitable chair for my grandson, first of all we tacked the seat back onto the frame. 

Always wear a mask when sanding

Then my grandson and I sanded the chair.

Next we painted it with Annie Sloan pure chalk white , and once it was dry we painted it with Annie Sloan Antibes green paint. To finish off and give it a smooth finish, we gave it a coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint wax clear.

A happy boy sitting on his new chair

Up-cycle old books and children’s toys to create stylish book ends.

If you have some ‘time expired’ books such as out of date restaurant or travel guides or have a few charity shop finds why not create some book ends from them. Top with a child’s toy animal, sprayed with Rustoleum paint.

1

You will need

Rustoleum Neon Spray paint

Rustoleum Metallic spray paint

A few books (hard back are best) Make 2 piles of books and make sure that both piles are roughly the same height when on top of one another

Paint brush

Glue gun

2

Using PVA and a brush glue the pages together round the three sides of the book. Obviously the spine is left as it is. Once the edges are dry, Use the glue gun to stick one book on top of the next.

3

In a well ventilated space, spray the pile of books you have stuck together, with the neon  paint. Spray the plastic toy with the metallic paint and leave to dry.

4

Glue the sprayed animal, to the top one of the sprayed books. Repeat steps 1-4 with the second book end.

Upgrade your dining chairs

I was lucky enough to find a couple of mid century modern dining chairs on ebay, but the covers were dull as ditchwater and needed replacing. I found a great upholstery fabric at https://www.craftysewer.com/ that gives more than a nod to mid century. I loved the colours on the underside of the fabric so I have used it reverse side up.

You will need

Screw driver

Fabric

Stapler

Scissors

Tape measure

Step 1

Unscrew the seat from the frame.

Step 2

Place seat on fabric, and cut out the fabric including a 4in overlap.

Step 3

Staple on the fabric at each of the 4 corners, as shown in the picture.

Step 4

Fold and turn the edge fabric over each side of the chair and staple into position. Screw the newly covered seat back onto the chair.

Valentine Wreath

by Juliet Bawden photo by Antonia Attwood Styling assistant Elsa Collier

I have devised a simple heart shaped wreath for Valentines day. This is a one off for the day. If you want the wreath to last longer use fake flowers and leaves, or use a heart shaped florists oasis for the foundation and use fresh leaves and flowers as we have here. 

1.You will need

15cm Polystyrene heart from £2.20 from Hobby Craft

http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/polystyrene-heart-ring-15-cm/591593-1000

Roses pink

Eucalyptus leaves

Scissors

Glue dots

Dress makers pins

2. Using, inexpensive scissors, cut the heads off the roses. You do not want to ruin good dressmaking shears.

3 Pin the roses down their middles to the top inner edge of the heart shaped wreath.

4. Cut the eucalyptus leaves and glue dot them, so that they slightly overlap, around the heart. They should cover all the white polystyrene.

Orange Cake

Orange Cake by Juliet Bawden from  www.creativecolour.org

With a plethora of oranges in the shops at the moment, now is the time for this cake. It is made from whole oranges, ground almonds, eggs and sugar and is totally gluten free, no flour or butter in this recipe.

Everyone has a signature dish and this is mine. There are many variations of this recipe, some with fewer and some with more oranges and I even found one with the addition of olive oil. This is my recipe and I have been making it for over thirty years and believed it to be Armenian in origin, but sadly that is not the case.  You will find a version of this cake anywhere that  oranges are grown, including  southern Europe and the middle and near east. It is quite moist and pudding like in texture.

HINTS and TIPS

Because oranges vary so much in size it can be hard to judge the quantities. If the mixture seems too wet before you put it in the oven, stir in more ground almonds.

If the oranges are not organic, change the water after half an hour and bring to the boil again.

I often cook this cake in the evening and if it is not cooked through, after an hour and a half, I turn off the heat and leave it overnight to finish cooking  in the  oven.

YOU WILL NEED

4 (preferably organic) oranges

6 eggs

250g ground almonds

250g castor sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Flaked almonds

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

Spring form loose bottom cake tin 23cm wide

Food processor

Baking parchment

Mixing bowl

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Put the oranges in a saucepan, boil until soft, up to a couple of hours. Throw away the water and leave the oranges to cool. Turn on the oven to 160 degrees. Line the cake tin with baking parchment.

2. Cut the oranges into quarters and remove any pips and the pith from the middle. Put the quarters, including the peel, into the food processor, and blitz into a pulp. Pour the pulp into a bowl and put to one side. (you only need to do this if your food processor is a small one).

3. Break the eggs into the food processor, add the sugar, baking powder and ground almonds and blitz. Once finished, mix with the orange pulp.

4 Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and put in the oven for one hour. After an hour sprinkle the flaked almonds on top of the cake and put it back in the oven. If after another half an hour the cake is not cooked through, cover the top of the cake with baking parchment and check it regularly.

Fringe Lampshade

 Fringed Lamp Shade

Hessian, Fringing and all things textural are still going strong as an interior trend. So I thought I’d buy some fringing and upcycle an old lampshade. I am very pleased with the result.

You will need

Lamp Shade

Glue gun and glue sticks

Scissors

Roll of Hessian Fringing

1.Wrap the fringed hessian round the base of the shade and add an extra centimeter and then cut.

2. Stick the first band of fringing to the bottom of the lamp so the edge of the fringe is parallel to the edge of the lamp.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 sticking the fringing so it just touches the row below.  Do this until the lamp is covered in fringing.

4. Pull away the cord that holds the fringing together on all the rows and then put it on the lamp base.