Potato Printed Wrapping Paper

Print your own Christmas wrapping paper.

If you’ve been reading the press recently, you may have seen the headlines about how many Christmas wrapping papers are none recyclable. So we waste lots of resources on something we then cannot get rid or reuse. So apart from it being fun why not print your own Christmas wrapping paper and save the planet at the same time.

You will need

Cutting board

Kitchen knife

Tape or string

Acrylic or poster paint

Potatoes

Kitchen paper

Spare sheet of paper to practice on

Brown wrapping paper

Lid of a food storage box

½ inch Paint brush

Instructions

Step 1 

Using the kitchen knife cut the potato in half and then score and cut out your design from one half. Choose a simple design such as a star or a stylized Christmas tree.

Step 2

Press your potato onto to kitchen paper to get rid of the excess starch. Pour some paint onto the lid.Using a paint brush apply paint to the stamp you have just made. Try the design out on a piece of scrap paper. Print on the brown paper.

Step 3

Leave the paper to dry and then wrap it round your parcel, tying it with stringand adding a bit of foliage as decoration.

Quince Jelly fit for a Queen

I was recently given some enormous, if somewhat bruised, windfall quinces. So as a great lover of cheese I decided to make some quince jelly,  sometimes  known as quince cheese. Suffice to say as soon as I wanted to make the jelly I couldn’t find a recipe. Then I found buried amongst all my other cookery books a slim volume called   WI Book of Jams and other preserves written by Pat Hesketh and published in 1984.  It has over 100 recipes tried and tested by the women’s institute.

So I turn to the page for Quince Cheese, on the same and facing page were recipes for cumberland rum butter, apple butter, marrow orange cream and bramble cheese. Fruit butters are a softer consistency than cheeses and are usually spiced and should be hermetically sealed. They are usually served as a spread. Cheeses are cooked to a stiff consistency and set in small moulds so that they   can be turned out for serving and cut into wedges.

Quince Cheese 

500g quinces chopped into roughly 1cm pieces

500g sugar

water

Instructions 

  1. Wash the quinces and cut up into pieces
  2. Place in a pan and barely cover with water.
  3. Cover and cook until reduced to a pulp.
  4. Pour through a sieve and weigh the liquid. (discard what is left in the sieve).To each 500g of liquid add 500g of sugar.
  5. Cook over a low heat to dissolve the sugar.
  6. Continue cooking until a thick consistency is obtained.
  7. When a spoon is drawn across the base of the pan, it should leave a clean line.
  8. Pour into prepared moulds. I used small glass pots used for ‘Gu’.
  9. Make some fabric tops by cutting out circles with pinking shears.

Create a boho bench

Design by Juliet Bawden Photography Paul Craig

Today’s make is really an Ikea Hack of a Nornas Bench  transforming a rather dull nondescript softwood bench into an on trend vibrant padded seat/coffee table by being creative and painting, dying, and doing some sustainable up-cycling.

Boho Bench copy

 

You will need

Nornas Ikea Bench

2 meters thick wadding

Black paint

Paint brush

Korbond iron on hemming tape

Goldfish Orange machine dye Dylon 

Old velvet curtain

Old rug

Staple gun

Old duvet

Sewing machine and thread

Scissors

Saw

Iron and ironing board

Invisible marker pen Korbond

BohoBenchDetail

 

Instructions

Step-by-Step

  1. Following the makers instructions dye the velvet and leave to dry.
  2. Saw off the edges of the bench so that there is no overhang.
  3. Paint the bench black and leave to dry.
  4. Cut a double layer of wadding the size of the bench top, plus enough to drape over the edges. Cut away the corners and then staple the wadding to the underside of the bench.
  5. Press the velvet before using. Drape the velvet over the bench and leaving enough for a 2cm seam allowance, mark with a pen remove the fabric and then cut away the corners.
  6. To give a neat edges to the corners, turn the corners under and iron on the webbing
  7. Place the velvet over the wadding covered bench and staple the velvet into position on the underside.
  8. To make the cushion. Cut an old duvet up so it is the size of the bench top.
  9. Cut the rug into two pieces, the size of the bench top plus 1 cm all the way round.
  10. Sew the old duvet round its edge to the wrong side of one piece of rug.
  11. With right sides facing sew the piece of rug with the duvet attached to the other piece of rug. Sew round three and a half sides.
  12. Turn the cover through the correct way and then close the opening by over sewing.

 

Tips. I learnt this trick at art school, when I was stretching frames for printmaking. To get straight edges when stapling, start in the middle of one side and staple to the edge then do it with the other edge and then repeat with the opposite side and then do the other two sides in the same way.

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Sea Side Table lamp and Shade

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This easy to make lamp, is constructed from a cork topped glass jar, filled with sea washed glass, and an old sea chart to make the shade.

You will need

Step1

Ikea glass carafe with cork stopper (£2 from Ikea)

Sea washed glass

Craft knife

Pencil

Tape measure

Bottle lamp adapter (£4.99 from Ryness)

Lampshade kit with 20cm diameter (£8.33 from Dannells)

Old sailing chart or a piece of fabric 645mm x 220mm

Use of a Photo copier

Step2

Follow the kit instructions to make the lamp shade. From a practical point of view sailing charts are quite stiff. It is easier to copy the part of the chart that you like onto photo copy paper and use that to construct the shade.

Step3

Separate the glass into colours. When filling the carafe be gentle as you are using glass. I placed the dark green glass into the carafe first. I then added the pale green and finally the white glass. I filled up the carafe to the top allowing for the cork to still fit in.

Step4

Measure the center point of the cork stopper, and then start cutting away the cork. Keep trying the bottle lamp adapter in the hole, to make sure it fits. When it is a snug fit, put the stopper into the bottle and the adapter into the stopper. Fit the lamp over the top of the base and add a bulb.

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/tableware/jugs-carafes/ikea-365-carafe-with-stopper-clear-glass-cork-art-50351854/

https://www.ryness.co.uk/bottle-lamp-adaptor

https://www.dannells.com/20cm-drum-lampshade-making-kit-337-p.asp

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Recycled painted pots

If any of you  live with  dogs or cats and feed them  tinned food, you probably have a few empty tins lying around. I decided to recycle mine to hold some Heather and Cactus plants.

PaintedTins

You will need

Rustoleum chalk paint

clean empty tin

scouring pad

Paint brush

plastic box

Step1

Fill the plastic box with warm water and  remove the label from the tinStep2

Remove stubborn bits of  paper from the tin, using the scourer. Leave the tin to dry.

Step3.jpg

Load your brush with paint, apply to the rim of the tin.

For a spilled paint look, over load the brush and let the paint dribble.Step4

 

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Customized seed storage jars

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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.

You will need

Jars to store seeds

Universal paints in bright colours

Chalk board paint (optional)

Labels to write on

Glue gun and glue stick

Child’s toy

Step 1

Using the universal paint, spray the toy and the lid of the jar in a bright primary colour.

Step1

Step 2

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.

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Frida Kahlo inspired floral headdress

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The much anticipated ‘Frida Kahlo Making Herself Up‘ exhibition is starting  at the V&A in three days time. Here I show how to make a floral head dress in fifteen to twenty minutes. This headdress is constructed on a bought head band but if a more angelic look is your style you could add flowers to a wire halo. The first headdress is in Kahlo colours, rich and bold.

Step1

You will need

Flowers in lots of different colours and sizes

Florists wire

Headband

Florists tape

Scissors

Instructions

Using the florists tape pull it tight and bind it round the headband until all but the ends are covered.

Step2

Choose the flowers you are going to add, and cut them with a 7-8cm stem. Start with the larger flowers in the center and work outwards so the smaller flowers are on the sides  creating  a tiara effect. Starting in the center of the headband, wind florists wire round a stem and attach the flower to the band. Add the next flower in the same way covering the previous stem as you work outwards towards the edge of the band. Step3

Finish by covering the last pieces of wire and the ends of the headband with more florists tape.

Step4

The  21st of June it is the Swedish Midsummer, when the Swedes really celebrate. Traditionally it was considered to be a time of magic, and anything to do with nature was thought to have a special power. Gathering flowers to weave into wreaths and crowns was a way to harness nature’s magic to ensure good health throughout the year. Even though most people these days probably are unaware of the magical origins of the tradition, weaving crowns of flowers is still a major part of any Midsummer observance.

The headdress below has been inspired by those soft pastel hues so beloved by  Swedes.

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My daughter’s beau recently showed me a book on wreath making called Wreaths by Katie Smyth and Terri Chandler who together make up Worm London and so with flowers in mind, I shall be reviewing it soon on the blog.

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