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.
Tape or string
Acrylic or poster paint
Spare sheet of paper to practice on
Brown wrapping paper
Lid of a food storage box
½ inch Paint brush
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.
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.
Leave the paper to dry and then wrap it round your parcel, tying it with stringand adding a bit of foliage as decoration.
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.
500g quinces chopped into roughly 1cm pieces
Wash the quinces and cut up into pieces
Place in a pan and barely cover with water.
Cover and cook until reduced to a pulp.
Pour through a sieve and weigh the liquid. (discard what is left in the sieve).To each 500g of liquid add 500g of sugar.
Cook over a low heat to dissolve the sugar.
Continue cooking until a thick consistency is obtained.
When a spoon is drawn across the base of the pan, it should leave a clean line.
Pour into prepared moulds. I used small glass pots used for ‘Gu’.
Make some fabric tops by cutting out circles with pinking shears.
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.
Following the makers instructions dye the velvet and leave to dry.
Saw off the edges of the bench so that there is no overhang.
Paint the bench black and leave to dry.
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.
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.
To give a neat edges to the corners, turn the corners under and iron on the webbing
Place the velvet over the wadding covered bench and staple the velvet into position on the underside.
To make the cushion. Cut an old duvet up so it is the size of the bench top.
Cut the rug into two pieces, the size of the bench top plus 1 cm all the way round.
Sew the old duvet round its edge to the wrong side of one piece of rug.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You will need
Flowers in lots of different colours and sizes
Using the florists tape pull it tight and bind it round the headband until all but the ends are covered.
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.
Finish by covering the last pieces of wire and the ends of the headband with more florists tape.
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.