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Making Christmas crackers from scratch

I’ve been filling my own crackers for years, after I finally got tired of sweeping the Christmas lunch table clear of unwanted (no matter how ‘luxury’) cracker gifts, but this year I decided to take it a step further and make the crackers from scratch. Even empty crackers cost nearly £1 each and although I often bought them for half that price in the new year sales, I thought there was an opportunity for a thrifty and unique craft project.


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zero waste party tins for children

Every year when Theo’s birthday approaches I worry a little about waste. I try to think about the kind of food we can cook at his party that won’t be nibbled and cast aside, I try (and nearly always fail) to think about how to keep a handle on incoming toys and for the last two years I have also attempted to do something close to zero waste party bags.


Some might say that the answer to party bags is simply not to have them, but I think it’s possible to do them in such a way that still gives pleasure without creating waste.

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10 minute charity shop metal letter makeover

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that our local charity shop had taken delivery of a load of illuminated metal letters which were originally priced as £20 each and had been discounted multiple times before being eventually priced up at £3.

I didn’t immediately purchase one as I wanted keen on the rusty industrial look of them, but a week or so later when I was back in the shop it occured to me that I could spray one and make it any colour I wanted. Typically most of what was left were the obscure letters like Q & Z, but at the bottom of the stack was an M… for Mansell!

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Spray chalk paint bunting tutorial

On Sunday I finished a four day stint at the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair at Alexandra Palace in London. I was working with Novasol Spray UK a brand you will previously have seem me collaborate with who sell (amongst other things) spray chalk paint. I stayed up in London for the whole four days in a great Air BnB flat in Muswell Hill that was a seven minute walk through the park from the venue. Lindsay my host was lovely and I found my first Air BnB experience vastly better to staying in a budget hotel. The room was quieter, the bed more comfortable and I had just the right amount of company at the end of the day when I wanted to download over a glass of wine!

During the show I ran three (sold out!) workshops showing how to use the chalk paint to make strings of wooden bunting. It was a relatively simple idea using pre-cut wooden shapes and masking off areas of the bunting with washi tape and stencils, but the workshop participants all put their own individual spin on the idea and some really brilliant creative lengths of bunting were produced.


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