Is it possible to start a business with £100?

Well I did, and now I’m blogging about it, not here because this is a craft blog, but here…

It’s on going!!

Edgy wedding button holes

The groom loved the idea of shot gun cartridge button holes. It was an idea I’d seen on Pinterest many moons ago. When you have a destination wedding ,fresh flowers are tricky to arrange so I used artificial roses. I pushed oasis into the empty shotgun cartridge. I wound rough twine around it which would secure it (with the aid of a pin to the suit lapel). Then I added the flower and greenery and finished it off with a smart bow.

This type of button hole was very popular with the lads!



Diy bridal bouquet

1. Using a selection of cotton lawn, linen, raw silk etc in various shades of cream and ivory I started forming flowers in my hand and then securing with some rather large stitches to anchor the shape.

bouquet 1

2.I used a kitchen whisk as the base!!! It seemed the right shape with a little pulling to round it a bit. I covered all of it in florist tape.

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3. I made a huge selection of the flowers and with my trusty glue gun started to secure them to the whisk. Who’d have thought!!

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4. Here you can see the almost completed whisk.

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5.I used the glue gun again to secure the satin ribbon I wound around the handle.

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6.Here’s a close up of the lovely sentiment ribbon I used for the final bit of trimming….it dangled down from the handle.

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7. And here comes the bride! My lovely daughter. She called her bouquet  ‘my whisk’ all day and she loved it.


Opportunity Knocks!

Well, sometimes things just come up and surprise you, don’t they? The last month has been a bit like that for me. I decided to start going to a networking group at the beginning of the year to open my opportunities which always seemed to be connected to Christmas. And this month I decided to start Tweeting! I have nearly 100 followers and have had a number of surprising offers. Would I be a guest blogger for a magazine , would I write an article on why I started my business for an e- magazine? A number of feature editors are using me. Well four before the end of September. So things are definitely opening up but where will they lead me? Actually, I have no idea! It will be interesting to see and fun to learn along the way.

Pretty door handle decor.

Mostly you wouldn’t think of decorating your door knobs would you but suddenly inspiration sprang!!! I used paper covered wire to form the hearts and glue gunned the flowers on. I tweeted it and it got picked up by Cloth magazine who are featuring it in their July 3rd issue. What luck!!


How adorable are these flowers?

I’ve had these teeny bottles for a while but not come up with an idea for them. Since putting them all along my mantelpiece I’m going to go MAD with them at the festival-style party we have coming up. Every window sill will be adorned. The beauty of them is you can just put one flower/ piece of grass/ leaf in each bottle. Daisies, buttercups….even a dandelion will look cute!


Garden decorations

I saw this idea ages ago and decide to try and recreate it for myself. First I tried it with string…it didn’t work out for some reason. Then I bought some very cheap yarn. I dunked it in PVA and then draped it around the balloon gradually criss-crossing it as much as possible. It seemed better to do this in three layers. It dried overnight and then I painted it with glow  in the dark paint. When this was dry,  I made a small slit in the balloon so that it deflated slowly. You can remove it carefully through a gap in the yarn.

Lastly I put it in the garden where it will absorb the daylight and glow at night.

I plan to make 5 and hand them in a group to brighten a dark corner of the garden at a party we have coming up soon!



Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea! Chelsea! How I love thee! A colourful, breath taking world of inspiration. Favourite part? Check out the photograph…as I first walked past this exhibit I thought it was a haberdashery shop (which obviously caught my eye). At closer inspection the whole exhibit was made from flower heads. Amazing! It does remind me that stashed away I have some rather beautiful blowsy flowery ribbon. I feel like getting creative!

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Vietnamese crafts

WOW! How lucky was I to go to Vietnam recently? I fell in love with the place and it’s people. They were welcoming and kind and friendly.

I visited various areas and the traditional Vietnamese hats were everywhere and actually worn by everyone in the sun. The only place you should buy one though is Hue….the hats are slightly different there. You can see the lady making it on the frame and she stitches all around it by hand. In Hue only, though, when you hold the hat up to the light you can see a Vietnamese poem and the pictures that belong to an old  legend. The Hue hats are known as Poets hats. If you passed them on a market stall you’d never know the secret inside. We paid 2 US dollars and actually managed to get them all the way home.

Vietnam HatVietnam Hats2Vietnam Hats3

Vintage Fripperies

I’ve been fiddling around this weekend. I decided that if I’m wrapping vintage-style at the forthcoming events, people will ask how I made/ where I got certain items…like the adornments on the gifts. So, I’ve made extra…which can be bought. I had some really old scrabble letters and had fun making them into names and sentiments on luggage tags…I have yet to change the string for ribbon. The other thing I did was make some sort of envelopes and glued flowers in…these are really good for putting on a card or topping off a gift. If there’s enough interest in these I could do a tutorial on how they were made.


Vintage Fripperies

The second vintage event!

My second vintage event is run by Sarah Cook, of Beauty Box events. She is working with the Robin James Aveda salon in House of Fraser, Cabots Circus, Bristol. I will be doing a series of mini demonstrations, all vintage style. They will be at 2.30/ 3.30/ 4.30pm. I hope to see as many of you there as possible. It’s going to be fun!

Vintage Events

I will be at two vintage events in one weekend. The first, on Friday17 May is at the Grosvenor Casino in Bristol. This may soundlike an unlikely venue but just come along and check it out. You will be surprised! There will be a few stall holders offering a variety of vintage inspired products, plus a nail technician and a hair sylist to transform you into a 1940’s beauty! I will be there doing mini vintage style gift wrapping demonstrations. Your ticket price can include afternoon tea and bubbly. See you there!

The Amazings

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks. Have you ever heard of The Amazings? I’m excited to say that I’ve just become one of them! If you go to their website you’ll see what they’re all about. Being truly inspired individuals they’ve decided to not only run a selection of  workshops but to have downloadable ones. That’s forward thinking, if you ask me. You can be anywhere in the world and have a workshop now…what fun! These are early days and filming is only just starting .My turn will be around June sometime but I will be keeping you up to date.

I think anyone who takes the trouble to read my blog is amazing. So, from one Amazing to another amazing…..

PS I’m the one with the capital letter …OBVIOUSLY!

‘Made In Paper’magazine

What a perfect title for my new favourite magazine! I’ve just bought their launch edition and loved it. It’s apparently made by the same people as ‘Molly Makes’ which is also lovely but I prefer ‘Made in Paper’. Go on …treat yourselves!

Miss V Designs

I absolutely love these designs from Miss V


Mother’s Day

I’ve spent a lovely morning with lovely people at the lovely Berwick Lodge in Bristol! We did a pre lunch gift wrapping workshop. It was a bit of a race to get through everything but everyone did really well and should be proud of what they achieved. The chef had baked some biscuits and brownies. They were popped into a box which we wrapped and then trimmed up with netting and a handmade rose. Each rose turned out slightly differently but all of them were gorgeous.

it was just great to see all the Mums and daughters having fun together and I’d like to do something like this again next year for Mother’s Day. Well done all of you!



Gorgeous Easter/spring tutorial.
1. Have a really big omelette today! When you crack the eggs, try and keep the break nearer one end. Wash the eggs very gently. I managed by putting a little washing up liquid on my finger and swirling gently inside the egg and rinsing with warm water. Don’t try and dry them; they are fragile. Leave them to air dry. (You could eat the omelette at this point!) When they’re dry paint each of them a lovely different colour. I always have matchpots for this purpose. Leave to dry.

2. Trim the base of an egg box, I specifically bought eggs in a nice coloured box. It wouldn’t look as good with the pulpy coloured ones. Put the dry, painted eggs in, in an order which pleases you.


3. Put tiny flowers and leaves in. I used pieces from some artificial ones I had, but you could add a little water and use fresh ones. The secret is not to overfill…one flower per egg is plenty. How sweet is that???



Pantone colour report for spring

Yep! the folk at Pantone have given their predictions colourwise for the spring.It’s quite subdued and soft with a couple of pops of colour with monaco blue, vibrant orange and poppy red. the softer shades are sofe emerald, grayed jade, dusk blue, alloy, sunflower, linen, and tidal foam. For most of us these shades are fairly self-explanatory but if you need help go to and look at the pantone spring 2013 colour report. Get some inspiration not only  for your  gift wrapping but possibly your interior design and fashion. 

Getting Married?

I’m feeling very excited about my new workshops. They are for brides-to-be who want to add the personal touch to their special day. They can come with the mums, the hens, the bridesmaids and learn the techniques to add the frou- frou touches. Check on ‘workshops’ for fuller details.

I can’t wait to get started. The idea has initially grown from the things I’m creating for my own daughter’s wedding. She lives and works in Australia and only wanted a simple, small, unfussy affair back in England. Nevertheless, she still wanted the personal touches so it didn’t feel like a mass market wedding!

I’ll be sharing some of the ideas we’re using at her wedding nearer the time…can’t spoil her surprises.

Have you been to a wedding where they had fun or beautiful extras they’d made themselves…I’d love you to share.

Getting married?

I’m so excited about the new Gift Frippery D.I.Y. wedding workshops that I’m about to start. my inspiration was my daughter who lives in Australia but is having a very small family wedding in Gretna Green. She still wants the little creative touches that personalise any wedding and make it special rather than a mass market affair!

So, my workshop will be a hands on approach to dressing the table, creating favours and confetti cones, trimming up the room and wrapping the thank you gifts beautifully.

It’ll will be great fun meeting the bride and whoever she brings…perhaps the hens…the bridesmaids or the Mums?

So whilst it’s all about the personal touches ,it is inevitably the budget saving option too. Win-win!


I’ve become completely addicted to Pinterest. What a great way of appreciating different people’s skills and eye for colours, views, ideas, gadgets, humour, homes…you name it and it’s someone’s passion! You can click on the Pinterest button on this website and be transported instantly to my own Pinterest boards.

Perhaps you have your own. If you do, p[lease share!

Sample post #2

Nulla at nulla justo, eget luctus tortor. Nulla facilisi. Duis aliquet egestas purus in blandit. Curabitur vulputate, ligula lacinia scelerisque tempor, lacus lacus ornare ante, ac egestas est urna sit amet arcu. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Sed molestie augue sit amet leo consequat posuere. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin vel ante a orci tempus eleifend ut et magna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus luctus urna sed urna ultricies ac tempor dui sagittis. In condimentum facilisis porta. Sed nec diam eu diam mattis viverra. Nulla fringilla, orci ac euismod semper, magna diam porttitor mauris, quis sollicitudin sapien justo in libero. Vestibulum mollis mauris enim. Morbi euismod magna ac lorem rutrum elementum. Donec viverra auctor lobortis. Pellentesque eu est a nulla placerat dignissim. Morbi a.

Nulla at nulla justo, eget luctus tortor. Nulla facilisi. Duis aliquet egestas purus in blandit. Curabitur vulputate, ligula lacinia scelerisque tempor, lacus lacus ornare ante, ac egestas est urna sit amet arcu. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Sed molestie augue sit amet leo consequat posuere. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin vel ante a orci tempus eleifend ut et magna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus luctus urna sed urna ultricies ac tempor dui sagittis. In condimentum facilisis porta. Sed nec diam eu diam mattis viverra. Nulla fringilla, orci ac euismod semper, magna diam porttitor mauris, quis sollicitudin sapien justo in libero. Vestibulum mollis mauris enim. Morbi euismod magna ac lorem rutrum elementum. Donec viverra auctor lobortis. Pellentesque eu est a nulla placerat dignissim. Morbi a.

A Sample Acoustic Post

Vivamus hendrerit arcu sed erat molestie vehicula. Sed auctor neque eu tellus rhoncus ut eleifend nibh porttitor. Ut in nulla enim. Phasellus molestie magna non est bibendum non venenatis nisl tempor. Suspendisse dictum feugiat nisl ut dapibus. Mauris iaculis porttitor posuere. Praesent id metus massa, ut blandit odio. Proin quis tortor orci. Etiam at risus et justo dignissim congue. Donec congue lacinia dui, a porttitor lectus condimentum laoreet. Nunc eu ullamcorper orci. Quisque eget odio ac lectus vestibulum faucibus eget in metus. In pellentesque faucibus vestibulum. Nulla at nulla justo, eget luctus tortor. Nulla facilisi. Duis aliquet egestas purus in blandit. Curabitur vulputate, ligula lacinia scelerisque tempor, lacus lacus ornare ante, ac egestas est urna sit amet arcu. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent.

Gift Wrapping Idea

My friend Jane chose the tiniest piece of jewellery as a birthday present the other day. This is how I’ve wrapped it. a very simple but pretty way of wrapping something tiny.

1. Take a cardboard tube and if need be cut it down a bit, to size. select some beautiful paper…this is great for using up gorgeous odds and ends of paper that you couldn’t bring yourself to throw away. Cut the paper to size.

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2.Line the pater up carefully, put the glue on (I used Pritt stick)  and start rolling the tube along the length of the wrapping paper. Leave to dry.

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3.Gently press the of the tube inwards so they meet in the middle. This isn’t as difficult as it looks. This creates a closure to your tube and needs to be done at each end.

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Paper feathers

Choose some brightly coloured wrapping paper (I have also done this with paper from an old book and sheets of music) to create these feathers and use them to trim up a gift. Make them by following the steps below:

1.Two pieces of paper, cut to size. Mine were about 16cm long and 7cm wide. Splosh some PVA onto the reverse side of one of the pieces and lay some paper covered wire on. I’ve also used a piece of garden wire or a pipe cleaner in the past.

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2. Smooth the second piece of paper over the top, so that everything you see (on both sides) is lovely brightly coloured paper. Leave to dry for a few hours . I actually left mine overnight.

3. Cut a feather shape when completely dry.

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4. Feather down the both sides making small snips.

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5.Ruffle up the snipped sides until you’re happy with the effect and shape the leaf by gently  bending the body of it where the wire is inside. on one of my leaves I attached a length of paper covered wire to the stem and created the spirals by winding it around a pencil. Very easy, very pretty!

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Velvet birds

Well, it has to be said, fripperies are never far from my mind. So, whilst shopping with my friend, Jane, we stumbled upon a 60% off sale. It seemed too good to be true..had to take a look. It was in a small shop called Vanilla Gifts in Bristol. The longer I stayed in there…the more I found! Dangerous! The owner was really helpful…by leaving us to it! You know what I mean, when you just want to browse and there’s some over-eager assistant…I hate that. I know the photo isn’t brilliant but I wanted to show you the purple velvet bird. (That makes it sound a bit 1970’s, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s more regal.) They were originally £5.25 (expensive!) Then marked down by 60%. I was already interested and decided to have five. The owner asked what I was planning to do with them because everytime she was at the till they sort of flew into her face…well the ribbons  moved around..the birds didn’t fly but they were suspended…and she’d  come to hate them. She did me a deal of £1.50 each if I bought them all! I’m now giving houseroom to 16 purple velvet birds. I was going to stick one onto Jane’s birthday present next week but she chose a tiny silver necklace so the bird isn’t probably going to work unless…….



I literally woke up this morning and it looks like Christmas from my window. There’s a few people trying to get to work by foot but hardly any cars. There’s that beautiful HUSH in my world today, that you only get when thick snow absorbs sound. It’s still snowing now. But, having had all my plans changed today, I know exactly what I plan to do.

I’ve recently purchased a vintage 1950’s sledge/sleigh. I’ll be wrapping up a stack of presents to sit atop the sledge and then I’ll try and take some photographs of it. I’ll have genuine Christmas photos ready for next year…who’d have thought it?

winter decoration

We’re all at the same stage…just taking the Christmas decorations down…finding out how dusty the shelf is underneath!!! Suddenly, whilst the house looks nicely polished again, it’s kind of bare too. So, I like to have some sort of winter decoration that lasts a bit longer.

In my garden I planted a twisted hazel (16 years ago) Now it’s grown so big I can hack bits out of it each year. (I’m imagining horrified shrieks from real gardeners!!) But, all in the name of crafts, that’s what I do and it seems to thrive. The amazing, beautiful twisted shapes of the branches are art installations in themselves, but for winter decoration I add a flock of robins. It looks really sweet and draws lots of comments. At night the lights throw interesting shadows of the twigs up onto the pale walls behind it.


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athena networking Bristol

Well, today was the day when I went along to my first networking event. what’s the worst that could happen? I could go, have a decent lunch and come back home!

As it happened, I really enjoyed my two hours with a lovely, lively, inspiring group of women. The meeting was quite controlled (in a good way) with all objectives acheived. Then the desert and coffee time becomes a free for all (a polite one) where you take a wander and chat to everyone and anyone. What I  liked, is that people really seem to be there to help you. Lots of people talked to me with loads of ideas for me, and contacts they could make on my behalf (even TV!) 

I’ve come away feeling slightly guilty that  maybe I didn’t help other people enough. I’m thinking I might join so I’m going to have to try harder next time.

artists mannequins

This was an idea I had this winter. We had these artists mannequins knocking around the house , so I gathered them up and had them on a window sill next to my computer for most of the year. There’s something very appealing about them. There’s also something very funny about them because everyone feels the need to alter their position in some way…so when I look at them it’s as if they’ve taken on a life of their own!

This year, I decided to line them up on my mantlepiece and make them look as if they were laden down with gifts, carrier bags, rolls of wrapping paper. I’m going to do it again next year but I need a few more mannequins so I’ve got a crowd of them marching right across. Sometimes you need numbers for IMPACT!


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Louise Lovell Jewellery

Louise’s jewellery is worth a look ( I was bought one of her necklaces a couple of years ago for my birthday. I absolutely love it. Louise works with vintage fabrics, tiny buttons and crystals, old photographs and postcards…is it any wonder I love her style! She also loves gardens and flowers. In fact the only difference between us ,reading that description, is she’s called Louise and I’m not and I think she might be American!


Just remembered…on the sale bargain front…I also bought packets and packets of snowflake cutters (reduced in Waitrose) . My idea was using them to decorate small food hampers. I think we might be wrapping small food hampers in my workshops  next Christmas!

January sales

I seem to have so much in the way of fripperies that I really need to clear up, re-sort, and take stock. That’s what any sensible person would do. In the event, I went to return some things in the Jauary sales and ended up buying more!!

The Christmas cards were a bargain and I completely ran out last year…so, justified. The jumper with the red sausage dog on with a bow around his neck? …less justified. A couple of packs of chocolate brown baubles which would look gorgeous on someone’s gift…sometime…ridiculous. The tiny pop up paper spheres from Wilkinsons (I bought about 15 ( 4 in a box) at 90p each),  and the red and white bell wreaths ,also from  Wilkinsons,which were £16 but reduced to £3 (so I bought 4). I’m so delighted with the Wilkinsons stash and there’s enough of everything to use in my workshops.

See? I’m getting excited about next Christmas already! 

Natural decorations

How kind am I??? I’ve been thinking of the birds but also, selfishly, I want to look out of my windows and see my trees looking festive! Garlands of gorgeous jewel coloured berries adorning bare trees….fabulous!
So, here we go.

You need cranberries (fresh), a bodkin, a cocktail stick, plain popcorn etc.

Thread the bodkin with wire (mine was paper covered wire) and start threading the cranberries. Space them out to look more garland- like. You could intersperse them with natural nuts (in shells) and plain popcorn.
If your bodkin struggles to go through the nut shells then pierce the shells first with something slightly bigger, like a cocktail stick ,and then the needle will pass through easily.


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Hostess gift!

This is such an easy little treat to make. First, gather your ingredients…spoons (I used disposable wooden ones because I’m giving them away.) Good quality chocolate (Green and Blacks in my case), shimmer sugar and popping candy.

Dip the spoons into melted chocolate, lay onto greaseproof paper, and quickly sprinkle the popping candy and shimmer sugar on top. They don’t take long to set so you need to work quickly. (You could use mini marshmallows if you have a hot chocolate loving friend.) When completely set, put six into a cellophane bag. (My bags came from Waitrose and are designed for foodie gifts)

I made wired twist ties with washi tape and wire. They matched the tags (also decorated with washi tape)

Everyone I have given these to has loved them!


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Happy New Year. Welcome to 2013! Well, that’s what I say. Some people will consider that having a ’13’ in the year will be unlucky but I’m fine with it. January usually has a deathly hush over it regarding any gift wrapping opportunities (work-wise). However, I’m really looking forward to speaking at a local (Bristol) Athena networking meeting on the 9th January.I’ve never belonged to a networking group before because a gift wrapping guru doesn’t actually fit the usual mold.My instinct tells me this group could be a refreshing and inspirational crowd…will report back!

Clifton Life

Thank you to Clifton Life for advertising the fact that gift wrapping is an all year round activity! I love that they put a photo of a gift I wrapped for my lovely German  friend, Vera.

Holly’s lightbulb moment!

My friend Holly had such a good idea. Get an old lightbulb…make it prettier and hang it up. You could hang these from trees for a summer party or from bare branches indoors. I love it!


French Style Bouquet Garni

I love going to France. My particular corner is the South West in a tiny village nestled between vineyards. Most villagers grow their own fruit and vegetables on their allotments. It’s a sociable activity and brings the tiny community together in the cool of the early morning before the relentless heat of the day  begins and they retreat behind the shutters of their medieval homes.

I try and buy mostly from the local markets but, even in supermarkets the bouquet garni differ from what’s available at home. Fresh herbs in a bundle look so much more appealing than the ‘dust in a teabag’ style in supermarkets.

With this in mind, I decided to make my own. I have bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and thyme all growing in my garden so I trimmed the plants back and started creating!

First of all lay the bay leaf down (choose the biggest) and then layer the other herbs onto it. Then folding the bay leaf around the herbs bind it with string. (The string needs to be from a Kitchen shop so that it’s suitable for the job….it will eventually be going into your stock/ soup etc). I’m letting mine dry slowly on the kitchen table. I’m loving the fresh herb aroma which I’m treated to each time I walk through the kitchen!

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I’ve just spent a wonderful morning at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield near Bristol. I was running a demonstration/workshop with 14 very lovely and enthusiastic ladies with the help of ,Lyn, a N.T. volunteer.We had a great time and I answered lots of questions about awkward shaped gift wrapping. I may well be doing another workshop there sometime next year so look out for that on the website.

Got an awkward shaped gift to wrap? Leave a comment and let me help.

Clifton Life magazine and the Daily Mirror and Woman and Home!

Well, well, well! Word of Gift Frippery is gradually creeping along the grapevine. Clifton Life  magazine are giving G.F. a little mention in their next edition. The Daily Mirror are including my top tips for Christmas wrapping. can’t tell you the exact date but it’s around now…end of Nov/beginning Dec.

My son and I are also being featured in Woman and Home. They were looking for families where the children had left home but then come back again. They’re using quite a nice photo of us but I realised too late that I still had my ready readers sat on the top of my head!!! My husband pointed out that that was my usual look!

How to make mulled wine sachets

Every year I make mulled wine sachets. It’s a lovely pre-Christmas tradition for me. I usually make plenty so I have a few to give away in cellophane gift bags (lovely hostess/host gift) , a few to tie onto a bottles  of red wine with the recipe (great last minute gift) and some for me to actually use myself with three left over to attach to my kitchen wreath!

So, how do I make it? I’ve used the same recipe for a very long time and I’m not entirely sure where it came from.

Put the following in a bowl:splintered cinnamon sticks, juniper berries ,cardomon pods, dried orange zest. Mix it all together.

I put one teaspoonful of the mixture onto squares of muslin. Scoop the muslin up into a swoosh and tie with kitchen string.

Write the recipe and either roll it into a little scroll with a red ribbon around it or use a luggage tag.

1 mulled wine sachet

juice of an orange

2 bottles of red wine

water (to taste!)

2 teaspoonfuls white sugar

Some people add brandy etc but I don’t. Heat through gently and do not let it boil. I actually use my slow cooker to make mulled wine…it’s always hot whatever time people arrive, and the whole house smells Christmassy and welcoming. Enjoy!

In reply to Holly Go Lightly’s question…

As you live in a hot climate can I suggest indoor decorations. A kitchen wreath not only smells wonderfully aromatic ,it’s also very easy to make.

Bend some twigs into a circle and secure with fine wire. Layer some garden greenery onto it quite thickly and secure with wire. I then attached small bunches of fresh herbs…bay, thyme ,rosemary etc. I attached them with red and white ribbon. I made my own mulled wine sachets (I’ll detail this in a future post.) They were in white muslin and tied with red ribbon. This is a great decorative item to hang in your kitchen a few days before Christmas,but  to be sure it won’t dry out too quickly you could give a little spritz of water.

Another simple idea along similar lines is to bunch greenery from your garden and hang it from a door knob with festive ribbons.

I have in the past got a cheap box of very red apples. I’ve positioned them all over the earth in the pots ,by my front door, that contain small bay trees. It looks fabulous and makes you feel cheery. Gradually the birds discover it, as I planned, and start eating the apples. It’s a win win situation!

How to wrap an awkward shaped gift!

I’m always being asked this same question. The trouble is everyone’s choice of  gift is different with different awkward bits and different shapes.If people ask me this at a workshop, I’m usually able to help/give suggestions etc.

So, to any of you reading this, I can only say think about flexible wrapping or find a box to put it in! The box option is obviously straightforward. Flexible wrapping could be cellophane ,perhaps with coloured tissue paper within to obscure the contents. Alternatively, hunt around the house for some fabric and knot it decoratively at the top. If you choose natural fabric, such as calico. hessian, linen etc you should tuck some some fresh ivy and aromatic  herbs in to the knot on the day you give the gift.

I hope that helps some of you…you’re going to be busy wrapping over the next few weeks! Feel free to ask me questions.


Craftseller magazine interviewed me in July and have just written a feature on Gift Frippery! So exciting to see ourselves in there and it will hopefully encourage more people to get ‘wrapped up’ for Christmas!

The Simple Things

I just bought my first copy of The Simple Things magazine. I adore it. Beautiful photographs. Everything I plan to do in my Tyntesfield Workshop could have been from these pages (except it wasn’t).

Pleated White Ribbon for Gift Frippery wrapping.

This is such a simple idea. I’d been given a load of quite wide satin ribbon a couple of years ago. I’ve used a lot of it up just as it is but fancied trying something new. Gradually pleat it by ruffling it under bit by bit and stitch it in place. It makes a bit of a ruffle that can wrap around presents. I decided to go one step further and pop some tiny flowers on it too. (Never one to hold back!) What do you think? These gifts are actually going all the way to Japan.


Make your own decorative gift tape

If you like to wrap in plain colours it’s always great to spruce things up with a bit of decorative tape. Even better if you can make the decorative tape yourself and not spend a fortune.

All you need is odd lengths of wrapping paper and double sided tape (the sort with a layer of waxy paper.)

Stick double sided tape down one side of the wrapping paper.

Trim paper very close to the edge of the tape.

Keep the waxy layer in place until you come to use it.

Use on cards, tags, around gift bags or presents.


A project in SW France

This is such a simple idea. I have a tiny village house in SW France. I’ve had it for about 10 years but still haven’t finished furnishing it. I want it to be very simple and rustic. It’s like an on going project where I buy things as I happen upon them. I already had this old printer’s drawer. My godson once gave me a heart shaped stone and it became the start of an annual search for such things when we’re lazing by the river. Costs nothing! Looks lovely!




How to wrap a soft gift in B&Q wallpaper!

You can’t get much softer than a silk scarf. However that is the gift I’ve chosen for a friend. The scarf is folded and then wrapped in tissue. I decided to fashion an ‘envelope’ from wallpaper. This is again particularly nice one with birds on, from B&Q. Keeping with the natural rustic bird  on a twig theme I used raffia rather than ribbon to create the bow.

Finally ..the tag. It’s a plain brown luggage tag. I cut out some twigs and a flower and a bird from the spare wallpaper and arranged it on the tag. I used Pritt stick to keep it in place. I finished off by using a few of the tiniest artificial  orange flowers from a much bigger pom pom type of flower. I glue gunned them on top of the wallpaper flower on the tag for a rather special 3D effect.

I rather love it. My inspiration?????

The mess on my craft room table!


Are you creative???

Time tells us it’s a good thing to be in touch with the RIGHT side of the brain…the creative side in that it tells the left side of you what to do. I took a ‘test’ on

Some of the answers are worded a bit oddly if you’re English but it’s fun to do it. Take a coffee break and take the test…no cheating. I loved the way everuything was explained at the end…learnt something!

It’s been so long!!

Apologies for not blogging for a while. I’ve been in the process of building a new website as you’ll see. I’ll be back up to speed really soon!

Handmade rosettes with Gift Frippery

I love rosettes. Maybe it’s an association with winning something as a child perhaps? Who knows? They also strike me as rather 1950’s. So, I wanted to revisit that when I wrapped a friend’s 21st birthday present. I like to use them instead of a bow for a change, and this particular young lady loves things with a vintage Cath Kidston feel to them.

So here we go…

1. Take some pretty flowery paper and cut a few circles and then repeat this using plain white card. I used an egg cup as my template.

2. Cut across a roll of crepe paper so you have a very long strip about 6 centimetres wide. Fold the strip in half so that it is still 6 cms but half the length. On this double layer , keeping the edges neatly together, do running stitch all the way along one side only. Gather gently to create a ruffle.

3.Form the ruffle into a circle and stick (I used Pritt stick) one of the pieces of card over the centre. This should keep the ruffle in position. Turn it over, and fix some brightly coloured tape on so that it hangs down to the required length. Clash your colours to keep the 1950’s vibe. (i thought tape rather than ribbon looked funkier) Next, stick another circle of card over the centre of your rosette. Over this piece of card you’ll stick your flowery circle.

4. Gradually, and gently, work your way around the ruffle slightly seperating the two layers of the ruffle so it looks even more like a ballerina’s tutu.

5. Well, if you’ve managed it once…do a few more! Then you’ll have a stash for future gifts or blank cards. This is, after all, a very inexpensive trimming and a great way to use up scraps from beautiful paper.


Gift Frippery handmade linen ribbon

I’ve been meaning to this experiment with this linen for a long time……and at the weekend I did!
A few years ago I picked up some vintage linen sheets from a French market. I’d been hoarding them until recently knowing some craft project or the other would spring to mind.

I tore the linen into strips along the length of the sheet making the ribbons, therefore, as long as possible. At this point I needed to fray the edges a bit to help get the vintage look

Then came the colouring/ dyeing. Some I left natural, some I dyed in tea, and some (much to SOMEONE’S HORROR) in red wine! I also had an interesting effect using chopped up hyacinth flowers. The colour in the water when the flowers are warmed in it is very very pale until you add some lemon juice.I added salt to fix the colour.
I rinsed them through very quickly and left them to dry.
The following day, I pulled off any extra loose threads and started my printing. Here’s the various sentiments I tried

Cleanse tone moisturise
rose lily violet
happily ever after

and then for homemade foodie gifts

salt and pepper
bake boil roast coddle poach

etc etc
FYI…I left the linen strips in the dye for varying lengths of time, some of them overnight. It all depends on the depth of colour you want. I didn’t want mine too dark because I was rubber stamping the words on plus I wanted a faded vintage look.
I’d love to hear any suggestions from you ………Image

Gift Frippery and the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration

Last night was great fun. i had been asked to do a Gift Frippery demonstration for Chew Stoke W.I. ( a ladies group) As it was very near the Queen’s Jubilee they had that as their theme for the evening.
One lady, Val, had decorated the hall with bunting (which she had made!) although you’d expect nothing less from a W.I. member….I’m sure you’ve all seen ‘Calendar Girls’. Whilst they held the business part of the evening, we were served sparkling wine and served some food with a British flavour. Cucumber sandwiches, scotch eggs etc.
All attendees had been asked to wear a posh frock and tiara. And EVERY SINGLE PERSON DID! Unbeknown to them, I’d been asked to choose my favourite to win a prize so I was scanning the room from the off.
Then it was time for me to do some gift wrapping for them. I loved the fact that when I did my ‘crossover wrap’ a lady at the front recreated it with her napkin( union jack pattern of course) so that she wouldn’t forget how to do it when she got home!!!

So down to the nitty gritty. Who won and why.

I liked Penny, who had MADE her tiara (a lady after my own heart) and it had various pictures of the Queen featured on the front of it.

I also liked Val, who was highly co ordinated in a black and pink ankle length dress, with a pink wrap. She topped this off with a tiara which she had customised with a pink heart (although she later told me it was to cover up a 21 that was on it!)

The winner though had slipped into the room quietly and regally. She was very graceful and modest. She had a small tiara (probably real diamonds!!) BUT the one thing that made her stand out from anyone else was that she’d created a cross body sash. I wouldn’t have thought of doing that…and clearly no one else did either. She was also astonished to have won… true royalty would be of course.

So my winner for the evening was Sheila!

So if you fancy a creative group I can heartily recommend the Chew Stoke W.I.

The long awaited ‘how to’ for the fire lighters has finally been organised..I hope you haven’t been getting too chilly waiting! Here goes…

  1. Put a little bit of tumble drier lint into the base of the egg box. If you don’t have any a little piece of felt or a tiny piece of any old sweater (natural wool) will do.

2. Add a bay leaf. This can be fresh or dried.

       3. Add your other spices. I used juniper berries and cinnamon.


      4. If you want to, you can add candle wick or string to make it easier to light.


     5. I melted my wax in a glass bowl in a slow cooker.(I bought the wax from an extremely helpful lady, also called Amanda, at  The melting will take quite a while. Carefully ladle the melted wax over spices and lint etc and nestle your fir cone on the top.


     6. When the wax has set break the egg boxes carefully into individual sections by hand, and then trim any excess parts with scissors.


     7. I popped my fire lighters into a cellophane bag and trimmed it with natural raffia and a luggage tag. Onto the tag  I stamped ‘home made’. Mine are now ready to give to my friend I’m visiting this weekend.

She’s going to  LOVE them!!

Kimono Fabric notebooks

I decided to make some tiny notebooks. I stitched the pages onto some recycled cardboard then covered the outer cardboard with the kimono fabric.
The final touch was adding the ribbon which I secured on the folded edge with a smidge of glue. Nothing clever or difficult then, just a little patience! How sweet do they look???

Wonderful Kimono Fabric

I found this wonderful site They make the most beautiful handmade shoes from vintage Japanese kimono fabric. They need to be seen to be believed! I managed to buy a few sample packs from them. The pieces are small and not always regular.

Shower caps

When I was in Vegas recently with my friend, Mary, she gave me a really good tip. Wrap your outdoor shoes in a shower cap before tucking them in your inspired! There must be a million uses for hotel shower caps. Do you know any????

Gift Frippery homemade fire lighters.

It’s freezing! Snow is forecast tonight. I can’t move around very quickly to warm up because I’m on crutches ,awaiting a knee operation. Thank goodness I’m a craft lover and can entertain myself.
Anyway, I’ve just lit a real fire using the firelighters I made the other day. Wondering how I did that? Luckily it’s all been documented, so I’ll be able to share it with you. It’s very easy but you do need to collect a few things before you start…unless like me you have a mountain of ‘stuff” squirrelled away. You will need some small fir/pine cones, egg boxes and wax (old candles would do). I’ll give you a week or so to do this and then I’ll post the instructions. In the meantime, I hope you’re as warm as me!

Gift Frippery ribbon flowers

I was playing with these ribbons.I bought them from  I’ve got them in lots of soft muted shades, they’re just  too gorgeous to resist. I sewed a little row of running stitch along one side of the ribbon and then gently gathered it. I then rolled the ribbon gently in on itself and then stitched through to hold it in the flower shape. They all turned out slightly differently but I think that adds to their charm.I stamped a sentiment onto one of the ribbons wishing the recipient a very happy day. I’ll use them on a gift tag or to adorn a present. Now, whose birthday is coming up next?????