Five hands-on ways to get festive, according to some of the creative experts we’ve met this year
Over the last year we’ve spoken to plenty of crafty folk who use sustainable, resourceful and creative ways to spruce up their spaces, from foraging and floristry to needlework and tablescaping. So, when the time came to get the decs down from the loft, we thought why not ask our expert friends for a few pointers on getting crafty this Christmas? Interiors expert Lisa Dawson is on hand with some festive foraging ideas, wrapping icon Jane Means teaches us all a lesson in natural alternatives, and there are plenty more DIY ideas from more of our crafty friends. Hot glue guns at the ready…
That’s a wrap
If you’re looking for more sustainable alternatives to foil and glitter wrapping, there are a few crafty tricks that’ll have your gifts looking great with a lesser impact on the planet. And who better to ask for advice than Instagram’s queen of gift wrap, Jane Means? Here are her resourceful hacks for gifts that’ll look just as tempting under the tree.
“Used brown paper that’s already creased can still be reused,” she says. “Scrunch it into a tight ball and you’ll get an eye-catching crinkle effect. Or, make your own personalised paper by scrawling on it with a marker pen. Your friends and family will love it!”
She recommends giving gifts some natural decoration with twigs and foliage collected while out walking, tied on with twine or reusable ribbons. It’s all about making the most of what you already have. “Reuse paper tablecloths and napkins from parties,” suggests Jane. “They make great wrapping. Also, wallpaper remnants can make great gift bags and envelopes.” And if we need to buy new? “Opt for natural papers printed with vegetable ink (such as ours!). Try to avoid anything with foil, glitter or plastic coating, as it can’t be recycled.”
If, like us, you go a little mad for some all-natural piney smelling foliage scattered across mantels, tables and – just about anything – over the festive season, you may have already considered bringing the outdoors into your home this Christmas. But, because foraging for your own greenery can come with some cautionary obstacles (it’s prickly work, especially if you don’t get on with your neighbours), we’ve asked interiors expert and author of Resourceful Living, Lisa Dawson to give us some advice on how to successfully, festively forage.
“Decorating your home for the festive period doesn’t have to be an expensive task. Head to your garden or go foraging for greenery that you can use to decorate mantels or your hallway; eucalyptus or fir are perfect for this purpose and have the best Christmas scent! Use florist’s wire to attach and adorn with your favourite decorations from the loft and tah-dah! You can also use the excess branches from your Christmas tree, particularly the lower part of the back of the tree (because no-one is looking there anyway!); use secateurs to cut lengths that are ideal for creating wreaths or garlands – and don’t forget a good pair of gloves.”
The perfect wreath
There’s nothing like a full, festive wreath – brimming with foliage, berries and wintry adornments – to make your doorway look cosy and inviting at Christmastime. So, we asked Rosebie Morton, founder of The Real Flower Company, to give us her expert tips on making them from scratch.
“As with anything structural, the most important part of making a beautiful Christmas wreath is the base. I always advise starting with plenty of damp moss secured to a copper ring; it’s easiest to roll the moss into four sausage-shaped sections before wrapping them around the ring. This is what’s going to keep your wreath alive throughout the festive season, so be generous!
From there, you can start getting creative and building up the foliage – the fun part. Adding spruce creates a lovely lush, green effect and has all the natural scents of the season. Viburnum is also a beautiful addition to create a voluminous, wild-looking wreath. Start by feeding the pointed ends into the moss, being sure to work in one direction to create a well-rounded wreath.
Incorporate more foliage such as senecio, eucalyptus and berried ivy for additional scent and fullness, before finishing off with rosehips and pine cones for colour and texture. Remember, you can get creative here – think dried orange slices or delicate hypericum; forage from your garden or local green spots to make something unique. Mist the base regularly and your wreath will continue to thrive in the build-up to Christmas.”
Rockin’ around the tablescape
What could be more Christmassy than flickering candles, sparkling jewels and technicolour baubles? Something that homewares and jewellery brand Anna + Nina do oh-so-well. They’re the authority on colourful decs and one of our hush Loves brands, so this year we’ve asked them for their top tips on decorating your table. A picture-perfect tablescape can complete any Christmas spread – after all, who cares if the turkey’s a bit dry when your guests can’t keep their eyes off of that centrepiece…
“We love working with nature for the Christmas table. We always start with lots of greenery and berries for a centrepiece. You can go into your garden and find so many pieces; leaves, dried lemons, berries – we love it all.
It’s best to pick a theme for your table that matches your tablecloth and napkins, with a centrepiece that compliments it all – lots of candles is a must. We love using fabrics and bows, name cards and extra personal details that can act as party favours for your guests to take home with them!
An electric tree in the room is the best way to compliment your table setting – some easy ways to decorate are; mixing glass with fabrics, corded baubles, paper mache and hand-painted DIY decoration.”
Knit your average present
A few months ago we spoke to Loop London’s founder Susan Cropper about her haberdasher’s in East London and the benefits of picking up a knitted craft. In the spirit of crafting this Christmas, we thought we’d ask her for some easy patterns to try out over the festive season. A knitted gift can be a wonderful way to show someone how much you love them, and they’ll love you even more for giving it that extra handmade touch (holes included)!
“If you want to give your home a crafty feel this season, try out our crochet Mistletoe Garland. The garland looks beautiful strung across windows, a wall, or around the tree! You can also crochet just a few of the motifs and make them into brooches by placing a pin on the back. A great pattern that you can turn into all kinds of winter loveliness.
There is also enough time – if you’ve decked the halls and filled the stockings – to knit your nearest and dearest a cowl or a quick scarf using chunky weight wool such as Qing Big Merino Chunky or Rico Mega Wool. Whether it’s your first time picking up the knitting needles or you’re well versed in yarn, a scarf or cowl is a simple gift with loads of thought, and if you’re worried about mistakes – the more character the better!"