Make Waxed Cloth Food Wraps and give them away as presents.
Do away with all that plastic cling film and make something that really works By Juliet Bawden
Photographed by Antonia Attwood MA RCA
This project is very easy to do, it smells delicious and it works. I had been reading about food wrap for a while and was curious, when happenstance made me do something about it. My neighbour, who keeps bees in my garden, presented me with a large piece of beeswax. I knew just how I could use it. I read lots of posts on line about different methods and possible additives to create the cloth, but in the end decided to do the simplest thing, just use the bee’s wax unadulterated on the cloth. Please note if you choose a white or pale background fabric and use bee’s wax, the yellow colour will come through into the design. Personally I like this as a look as it gives it a home spun feel. I recently wrote a post on this subject on 91 Magazine blog. Since writing that I have been experimenting and found an even easier way to impregnate the cloth with wax and that is by ironing it in between two layers of baking parchment.
You will need
Closely woven cotton fabric, similar to a bed sheet in feel.
Wax – either grated, from a large block as this has been, or you can buy wax pellets on line.
Using pinking shears cut round the edge of the material. By using pinking shears you will not need to hem the fabric.
Using a cheese grater, grate the bees wax. Wax is tougher to grate than cheese and it will stick to the grater. The wax will come off the grater when it is washed.
Cut out 2 pieces of baking parchment larger than the piece of fabric. Place the fabric on top of one of the pieces of baking parchment and sprinkle the bee’s wax evenly on the fabric.
Place the other piece of baking parchment on top of the fabric and using a medium temperature, iron over the paper. You will see the wax melting and if the coverage isn’t even you can always lift the paper add more wax pieces and then recover with the paper before ironing again. Hang the fabric up to dry. Once the cloth is dry it will still feel slightly sticky and waxy but that is the nature of the beast.
As we are having such glorious weather I thought it would be fun to create some interesting storage jars for any seeds you have hanging around. I searched for small toy animals in a charity shop, where I found these wooden bunnies that I thought would be perfect for this project. I then discovered Rustoleum’s wonderful Universal paint that works on all surfaces, and doesn’t even need priming, and can be left outside. I thought that’s perfect for this project and so easy to do.
Using the universal paint, spray the toy and the lid of the jar in a bright primary colour.
Using the glue gun, stick the toy onto the center of the lid. Take the string out of the label and spray with blackboard paint. Leave to dry. Stick a binder reinforcement over the hole and re thread the string and then using chalk write the names of the seeds on the labels and tie round the jar.
I purchased a simple frame loom from a thrift shop but the similar can be found at Hobby Craft or Tiger or you can make your own using a picture frame and some nails. I displayed the hanging from a broken branch I found in the garden.
Plastic bags in a variety of colours
Cotton warp thread or string
Fat twig or thin branch for hanging
Cut the bag into strips 0.5cm wide. Knot the strips together so you have one long strip.
Thread the loom by tying on the thread at one side and then going backwards and forwards between the top end and the bottom end of the frame. It is important to maintain an even tension. Tie off the thread in the same way as you tied on the thread.
So that the weaving doesn’t fall out when you finish you will need to make a twisted header. Cut a piece of warp thread about two and a half times the width of the warp. Twist the thread round each warp thread in turn. As in the image.
When you get to the end of the warp return in the opposite direction push the threads down and tie off at the end.
Thread the plastic onto the shuttle and then starting in the middle of the warp take the shuttle under and over until you reach one end, then go back the other way.
As you work push down the weft to cover the warp. When you have made a stripe of one colour change to another.
To make tassels cut strips of plastic (blue)about 20cm long. Choose a middle section of the hanging and put the blue plastic behind two warp threads at the same time. Wrap one side round one thread and the other round the other , pull the threads through to the front of the hanging. Add as many of these as you like. Mine was so bunchy that when I hung it up I gave it a bit of a trim.
Weave another block of flat weaving. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to finish off.
Pull the ends off the loom and then thread onto the branch. Cut off the warp threads from the other end of the loom and knot them one to the next one.
Check that you are not creating a waist by pulling in the sides of the warp as you work.
Being very aware of all the plastic and rubbish that lands up on many of our beaches, and in our parks and roadsides, I thought I would come up with a project that could put some of that plastic to good use. The result is pom-poms created from plastic bags. I suggest you use and reuse the bags until they start to get holes. When they are finally of no further use, make pom-poms out of them.
need very little in the way of materials, just scissors, plastic bags,
cardboard and string or twine. You will also need something to draw round to
make a large circle with a smaller one in the centre.
Draw round a small saucer or a large roll of tape onto the card to create a circle. Use something like an eggcup and draw round it to make a circle in the center. Cut out the two cardboard shapes, with a hole in the centre. Cut the plastic bags into a long strip about 1cm wide.
one cardboard circle on top of the other and then start to wind the plastic
strips round the two circles as in the picture. Carry on until the whole of the
cardboard is covered. The more strips you add the fluffier the pom pom will be.
a piece of string or cord and put to one side. Holding the plastic covered
discs, insert the scissors between the two outer circles and start to cut. This
is the tricky bit as you don’t want to end up with a load of plastic on the
floor. When you have cut all the way round the outer ring insert the cord and
pull the two ends together, drawing together the pom pom at the same time. Tie
the string ends together.
We used our Pom poms to decorate a basket, but you could use them to decorate anything. Have fun creating crafting and recycling.
I loved this “Joseph” sweater, I bought it second hand when my daughter was a baby. I had worn it to death and washed and washed it. In the end it was so felted I got a very talented lady to knit me a new one and I made a cushion out of the original.
You will need
needle and wool
Old cushion pad
Using the seam un-picker, open up the side seams.
Cut two rectangles from the front and the back of the sweater, and with right sides facing, pin and then using a 1 cm seam allowance , sew them together round 3 sides. Leave what was the bottom of the sweater open, as they are neat edges.
Turn the cover through, insert the cushion pad, close with an over sew stitch.
With Christmas coming soon, now is the opportunity to shop local and support independent shops such as Will and Yates in Deal Kent.
Will & Yates Gallery + Homestore
104-106 High Street Deal Kent CT14 6EE
Tel 01404 374700 /07958 931 411 /email@example.com
When we first met many moons ago you were working in the Shaker Shop in London. How did this come about?
Shaker was my favorite shop in London. I became obsessed with the whole look and loved everything about it. Had I lived back in the 1750’s I am sure I would have become a Shaker sister. I filled my house with all things Shaker, peg rails, boxes in all sizes. It got to the point where I visited the Shaker villages in the USA. Then I started to work for the Shaker Shop in London.
Deal is very different from London. What made you move down to a small coastal town and away from London?
I lived in London since I was 18 and I had my family there. We always said once the kids left home we would move down to the coast. We visited many seaside towns but as soon as we visited Deal we knew it was the place that we wanted to live. It ticks all the boxes, it’s architecture, independent shops, Saturday market, great restaurants and a fast train to London.
What are its advantages and disadvantages?
I honestly can’t think of any disadvantages. Family and friends visit all the time- we always have a house full. The pace is obviously slower, but that is what I want. After a full time job and parent hood, the simpler things become more important- sitting on the beach, riding my bicycle, lunch with friends.
Have you always wanted to run your own shop and gallery?
Yes, I used to make my sister play shop with me. I loved using my till and giving out change.
How long have you had your shop/gallery in Deal?
We opened in October 2017
What have been the major challenges?
Keeping the stock fresh so that customers keep returning.
Is there much competition within the town?
There are a few independent shops, which is lovely, as we are all different.
Do you sell much on line?
Not yet but I intend to build up that side of the business.
Is it difficult to source original product?
Yes we are always on the look out for local artisans.
Jane I have known you for a long time I have written about your previous houses and I know you have a great eye. Have you had any kind of design training?
No, but I do live with creatives. My husband ran an Ad agency before we moved down here and my sons both work in creative industries.
Had you ever had any experience in running your own business before?
No I’ve always been employed.
How did you find your premises and why did you choose the sea front?
Caroline, my business partner, and I had been looking on the high street and then we walked past this on the sea front and saw it was up for rent. So we went and bought fish and chips and sat on the beach and discussed it for a very short time. So after the fish and chips we went back to the shop and said yes.
Tell me about how you met your business partner and about the different roles you hold within the business? We met on the beach and got talking and immediately made a connection.We bring different things to the business.Caroline is an artist and she studied painting at the RCA. She is more creative than me. I am the more practical one.
What would you say is your USP?
We sell a mixture of original art, much of it Caroline’s but other artists too, plus vintage and new home wares. I attend antique fairs, trade fairs and open studios. Sometimes I find people on instagram.
Do you run any events from the shop?
Yes every three months we hold an event such as a Christmas sales evening or an exhibition launch. We advertise this on social media and we do door drops and we have a mailing list.
Can you describe a typical day?
I shall describe a typical Saturday. I will go to the market and buy flowers for the shop. Deal has an excellent Saturday market. I will buy a sticky bun from the Swedish lady who has a stand there and coffee from Deal Roasters. I take everything to the shop and open up at 10am. Normally we are busy with lots of locals coming to see what we have that is new. I try to remember to ask how people have found us. Often recommendation and some find us on instagram. I close the shop at 5pm. Walk home and have a glass of wine.
On Sundays the customer base changes, there are more dog walkers who walk past and then come in to see what we are selling. Up to now we have been closed in the week but as the summer progresses and we become better known we will open from Thursday to Sunday.
One of the reasons I am interviewing successful women who are over fifty is that they have often had to take a career break, or had to slow down to deal with child care, illness and or aged parents. Have you ever had to deal with any of these of issues and did it impact on your creative life or business?
It was because of the children that I took a job as a school secretary. I needed to work, although it wasn’t particularly creative it meant that I didn’t have childcare issues and I could see my children after school and during their holidays.
Who or what inspires you?
Caroline my business partner inspires me. She has changed my life. Even though what I now have has been a long held dream, I am not sure that I would have done it by myself. I get on with the day-to-day stuff whilst she is painting. We make a good team.
From what part of your business do you get the most satisfaction?
I get a great kick when someone buys something I’ve chosen and when people say lovely things about the shop.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out today?
Do as much as you can yourself to save money. My husband, who is luckily very practical, fitted out the shop.
You do need financial security for rent, stock and to get set up. It will probably be a while before you can start making any income from it. I overlapped with my other job for eight months in order to get established. I’ve given up the other job now to concentrate on this.
What is next for the shop?
Caroline would like to expand into bigger premises. I am not sure yet and would like to get this a little more established before we do.
Since interviewing Jane, she and Caroline, have bitten the bullet and, moved into much larger premises on High Street Deal. The move has been a great success.
Crackers date back to the 1840’s. They were supposed to have been invented by a sweet manufacturer, Tom Smith, who came up with the idea as a way of promoting his bon-bon sweets, that were having a bit of a slump at the time.
My crackers have been designed with a coastal Christmas theme in mind, but you could create crackers for different events, such as a wedding, christening or birthday. For these designs I took photos of fabrics and sweet wrappers and enlarged them to create the scale I wanted. You could do this too, of even draw your own design on paper. There are lots of copyright free images to be found on the internet. You will need the design to fit onto an A4 piece of paper. I bought the cracker snaps on line, but everything else should be very easy to find. You can make paper hats from tissue paper and of course write your own jokes. The jokes can be created for different members of your family or particular friends. I put some tiny old fashioned Christmas decorations in my crackers. You could do the same or add balloons and sweets.
You will need
Piece of A4 Card for each cracker, Piece of A4 paper printed with a design, Cutting mat, Scalpel, Paper scissors, Clear tape, Double sided tape, Ruler, Pencil, Cracker snaps, Sweets, paper hats and tiny toys and decorations
Cut a strip off the card so that it measures 16cm x 29.7cm.
Lay the card horizontally, starting from the right hand side measure in from the edge 6cm both top and bottom of the card. Draw a line between the pencil dots. Repeat at 8cm and 10 cm in from the edge. Repeat on the left hand side of the card. Score and fold as shown in image.
Where the narrow folded edges are, mark out evenly spaced triangles. Make sure that there is a bridge between each triangle. Using the paper scissor cut out the triangles. Open out the card and you will have two rows of diamonds.
Roll the card horizontally to form a long narrow cracker shaped tube. Using sticky tape, attach one side onto the other. Cut the A4 paper into three strips 2 x 6cms wide and 1 x 9.5cm wide. Using double sided tape stick the paper onto the three sections of the card tube.
Push the cracker snap into the cracker, and secure it with a bit of tape to stop it falling out. Tie string or twine round one end of the cracker and then fill the cracker with sweets decorations toys etc or even your own jokes. Tie up the other end of the cracker.