It's been a while since I've done any crafting but what better time than at Christmas? It's the perfect time of year to make cards, decorations and gifts for yourself and your family and friends. So it was perfect timing when Country Baskets got in touch - they supply craft products, floristry items, pottery, glassware and wedding products.
When they said they were sending me a hamper of craft products I was expecting a small cardboard box, but I actually got a larger wicker hamper tied together with ribbon - the hamper itself is available to buy on their website and I will definitely be reusing it. That is if I can figure out how to get it home on the train - I had it sent to work as I knew it would come while I was away, but wasn't expecting it to be this big!
Inside there was a whole selection of products; Country Baskets asked me to use any of them to make some kind of Christmas decoration, and said I could also use products that I already had at home or buy anything else I wanted to go with it. My craft supplies at home are more of the card making variety, and as we were in the middle of redecorating the spare room and having my parents visit (note to self - should have tried to finish one before having the other!) I didn't really have the time to dig out any other items I had, or to go and buy anything else. Besides, half the fun was seeing what I could make from the selection of items they sent me.
First I found a large box of Christmas tree baubles, which were very pretty and will look great on my tree. I did think about how I could incorporate them into a Christmas decoration and thought about making some kind of table decoration featuring the baubles, but in the end made something else (I was only allowed one decoration as an entry into the competition run by Country Baskets).
I was pleased to find this set of plain cardboard trinket boxes as I have seen them in other shops before; you can decorate them however you like so this is definitely something I will use.
Here we have a selection of smaller items including some white lace, some small silver baubles on bendy wire sticks, some pink petals, green buttons and white snowflakes.
I was also given a couple of squares of what appeared to be wood; I kept the green ribbon from the hamper itself in case I could use this as well. I'm a very thrifty crafter (read: hoarder)!
There were also a variety of fake flowers, leaves and winter berries all on long stems, which were fairly stiff but I realised could be bent. This immediately gave me an idea for what I wanted to make as my Christmas decoration: a wreath. I wanted it to look natural and rustic, and incorporate leaves, flowers and baubles.
I was also sent a packet that contained several thin silver strands and another pack with a long chain of little bells. Also in this picture on the far right you can see a giant clear plastic Christmas tree bauble, which you can open and put something inside. I think that's a great idea - you could put a picture or ornament made by your child inside and hang it on the tree, or fill it with tinsel and sequins, or even put a stocking filler gift inside and hang it on the tree, and see how long it takes your loved ones to find. In addition I was given a polystyrene star and a packet of small wooden stars. I wanted to spray these gold, and even bought some gold spray from Robert Dyas, and intended to hang them in the middle of my wreath, but by the time I had finished I realised there wasn't really the space and there was already too much going on in the wreath.
Helpfully, I was also given a selection of florists' wire in green and silver, plus some grey/silver string and some ribbon.
To make my wreath I took two of the largest fake flower stems - well, more like twigs, they were so thick - and bent them around, tying them together with green florist wire. I didn't think glue would hold it, and quite liked the rustic effect of the wire being slightly visible at the end.
Here you can see it starting to take shape.
I added some more pieces including some silver leaves which I wove in around the other flowers and twigs.
Finally I wove the chain of silver bells around the wreath. When you hang this outside the bells should tinkle in the breeze.
Here you can see the wreath hanging on my cupboard door, with the bells hanging down
You could also use this as a table decoration by placing the wreath on a silver cake board and placing some candles in the middle. If you are going to light the candles though, make sure they are standing in a holder such as a small glass candle plate.
Top tips for making your own Christmas decorations:
Lay everything out so you can see what craft products you have and something might inspire you that surprises you.
Group your products according to theme e.g glitter, rustic, wooden, colourful etc.
Sketch out your design on a piece of paper to see what it will look like, and so you know where to start.
But don't force yourself to stick to your sketch - if you see something you think will fit, or wonder 'how does it look if I place that here', go for it.
Make sure you have tools including scissors and glue or wire before you begin.
Have a purpose for your decoration in mind - do you want something you can hang on the tree, or a table decoration, or an outdoor wreath?
Make sure there are no sharp edges that would hurt and try to make sure your decoration isn't too fragile, you want to be able to use it year after year.
Thanks to Country Baskets for inviting me to enter their Festive Face Off and for supplying me with the craft hamper.