A few months ago we took delivery of some new dining chairs. These were delivered on a massive wooden pallet and while I was signing for the delivery I was already planning in my head to make some little shelves using the timber slats! It came as no surprise to my husband when he was warned to leave it up the side of the house for me as I am always recycling or upcycling something/anything!
I firstly gave the boards a light sand then a couple of dry brush coats of Johnstone’s Satinwood paint that had been leftover from painting all our hall woodwork white. The first little shelf for under the stairs was simply two slats screwed into an IKEA bracket that was already there.
Next I wanted a pegrail opposite the shelf (not for coats but for seasonal styling aka faffing) so I marked out where I would position one slat as a little shelf above the pegs and marked where to drill and insert wooden dowels. Then I joined the two other boards together using a little metal plate.
I stuck the dowels in with a tiny blob of gorilla wood glue and slotted the shelf into place…. Next i screwed in these vintage black hooks equally spaced along the rail and that’s it!
Let the faffing commence!
Love Joanna X
These little hanging lanterns are the perfect Christmas craft for adults and children alike, only take a half an hour to make and would make a pretty but very affordable teacher gift. All you need is a jam jar, ball of jute string, scissors and a tealight or little bunch of seasonal greenery!
Start by taking a piece of string and measure from the top of the jar down underneath and back up to the top of the jar at the other side….then multiply this length by 10. Cut eight pieces of jute string to this length. Separate into 2 lots of 4 then set them across each other as in pic below.
Arrange these pieces into a lanyard knot as seen below.
Separate each piece of string out into a wheel shape and start by attaching each piece to its neighbour by tying a knot, work your way all around the wheel and once you have knotted each piece, start again, staggering the knots as seen below ..
Every so often, pop your jar in the centre to ensure the knots are close enough together to be a snug fit to the jar when you lift it.
Lastly, secure the string tightly around the top of your jar by tying the final knots and either twist or plait the remaining string into a length suitable for hanging the lantern.
Pop in some seasonal greenery if you are going to use it as a hanging vase or tealight for a lantern…I find it’s just such an easy and satisfying little piece to make!
Love Joanna X
Tis the season and this year as in previous years I am gathering the girls together for a cosy relaxed festive lunch here at home that will undoubtedly last long into the afternoon and most probably until the husbands and kids start texting to ask what’s for tea! To say it’s been an extremely difficult year for me losing Mum and dealing with some other personal circumstances would be nothing short of an understatement; my sister Louise lives in Northern Ireland and although we are fiercely close that Irish Sea sometimes just gets in our way! I simply could not have managed to get through these times without the immediate physical presence and amazing support of my mum in law and girlfriends here at home so I find the Christmas season of reflection and goodwill is the perfect time to say a massive thankyou by hosting a little lunch. The girls expect nothing less from me than a themed table setting and for my decor this year I’m turning to nature for twigs & branches, pine cones collected from the lane outside my house and some freshly cut eucalyptus from the garden – For everything else, Party Pieces is my go to shop! These Festive Holly and Candy Cane ranges complement each other beautifully and for what I have in mind, they’re perfect!
The candy stripe straws and treat bags – which I will use for a little shortbread biscuit match in perfectly to the cute candy cane bunting – I strung this along the piano last week much to my husband’s horror 🙈 and added some simplistic seasonal chic by tying the Pine Berries Christmas pick around a plain wooden hoop using a red satin bow. I’m sure you all agree they look fab propped against the piano and even Ryan is warming to the decor now!
This year more than ever it’s been so lovely to have those who are always here for me through thick and thin, no questions asked, no matter what and who understand that sometimes all you need is for them to be there – thanks girls, for the many hours spent talking together drinking gallons of tea and coffee! You know who you are and I treasure you all.
Mum always made such a thing of Christmas and Louise and I have so many magical memories and photos to treasure forever. We have both continued on many little family traditions with our own families and are now enjoying making our own memories with them – life must go on and although I can’t say I am looking forward to my first Christmas without Mum, I know that when I put up my decorations and trees this weekend with my boys around me the coloured tree lights we use for the kitchen tree will take me right back to my own childhood memories of decorating the tree in the downstairs lounge with Mum. We used to blow up coloured balloons and pop them onto the tree with the tinsel and lights; there were always chocolate treats on the tree too! Its these precious little things that you remember forever and that help to keep all the fond memories alive. Missing Mum so so much just now that I can hardly bear it but they say time is a healer and this is another of those most difficult “firsts” we are all facing without her. Family is everything! I treasure mine always; no matter what and take nothing for granted.
Thinking of all who have had a difficult year or who have perhaps lost a loved one too since last Christmas.
Thanks for reading,
Much Love, Joanna X
Also, many thanks to the team at Party Pieces for providing the lovely items for my little get together. X
I first met Sharelle earlier this year when she made an appointment to discuss her wedding reception requirements with me. Two of her future sisters in law had recommended me as I had styled their weddings in the past. In our meeting Sharelle explained that she and her fiancé Graeme had booked an intimate wedding for just the two of them in Las Vegas with a reception being held back home in Scotland at The Gailes Hotel meaning all their family and friends could look forward to celebrating with them.
This gorgeous wedding chapel is part of the MGM Grand Hotel where the couple were staying in Las Vegas and is where they were married, a live video link ensuring that parents and siblings could watch their vows being taken live.
Various photo locations were chosen by Sharelle and Graeme for their photos around Las Vegas at the Venetian, Paris, and Bellagio. Finishing with a window view of the Bellagio fountains they then had their wedding meal at the Eiffel tower restaurant. The photos are just stunning!
Sharelle definitely had the right idea as she got to wear her exquisite wedding gown twice, both at home and abroad – it was part of the Signature Collection from Wed2b – Graeme hired his kilt from Slaters Menswear and again wore it to both celebrations.
As a surprise for Sharelle, just a few weeks before they were due to fly to Vegas, Graeme’s sister Emily sent me a message to ask if I could style a little afternoon tea in the form of a chic hen party; this was for Graeme’s mum Dianne to host in her home as a lovely way to welcome Sharelle and her mum to the Dunlop family. As pretty pink tea parties are so my thing, I was thrilled; I used some pastel pink vintage china together with various Team Bride pieces from Party Pieces – Dianne baked all the food which I heard was such a hit with all the guests that they each went home with a box of goodies!
For the evening reception at The Gailes Hotel, Sharelle chose simply elegant pieces with a vintage feel and pastel colours; the lace lanterns echoing the lace of her stunning wedding gown. To enable a soft touch of Vegas was with them on the evening, I made some table name cards with Vegas hotel names of their choice. The guests were all treated to a video of the wedding in Vegas on the big screen then the speeches were heard before a fabulous evening of dancing and celebrating was had by all. Family photos were taken by Monument Photos who was also the photographer of choice for the past weddings in Graeme’s family I had styled.
I would just like to thank Sharelle and Graeme for choosing Vintage Venues to style their wedding and wish them all the best in their future as the newest Mr & Mrs Dunlop.
Much Love, Joanna X
Venue (away) MGM Grand
Venue (home) The Gailes Hotel
Sharelle’s Gown The Signature Collection at Wed2b
Graeme’s Kilt Slaters Menswear
Photographer (home) Monument Photos
Sharelle’s Makeup https://www.facebook.com/ellisdewhurstmakeupartist/
I absolutely love seasonal decor; my most favourite time being late Autumn and Winter… I always turn to nature first for my decor pieces and love a little forage down the lane right outside our house for twigs, acorns, ivy and of course the all time favourite – pine cones!
Every year since we moved in I have collected these pine cones from the 200yr old spruce trees in the lane as when the boys were little I always took a stand at the village Christmas Fayre held in their school. I crafted lots of pieces such as hanging tealight holders, Cath Kidston fabric pouches for paper tissues, sweetie jars and bath salt jars etc…However, my best sellers every year without fail were my organza bags of pine cones tied with a large red gingham bow. I collected, washed, dried the cones out in the oven then oiled them with Christmas Spice festive oils.
This year however I have taken a different approach to preparing the cones as I have a winter wedding to style using some and thought the paler colour could be good with the other pieces I’m using. My friend Sarah suggested I try bleaching them (thanks Sarah, it worked! ) Here’s how I did it and the results are fab!
Using 1 part household thick bleach to 2 parts cold water I filled the basin with the cones and covered with the bleach mix… This should be left for 12-24 hours.
The cones will close up when the water soaks into them but once you take them out to dry (I pop mine on egg boxes on top of the radiators for a couple of days) they will open out again.
My style at home especially at Christmas is quite Nordic and these paler cones are perfect popped around the home in baskets, on wreaths, buntings, as place name holders… The possibilities are endless and all for the price of a bottle of bleach.
(I recommend wearing gloves and an apron and also popping a tea towel under your basin when working with bleach)
Happy foraging and styling.
Love Joanna X
225 ml water
3 oz butter
100g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 drop of rosewater
Icing sugar and pink food colouring
Melt the butter in a large pan, once melted add the water and bring through the boil. Remove from boil and immediately stir in the plain flour until it comes away from the edges of the pan as a silky dough.
Transfer the mix to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly before using an electric handmixer to add in gradually the two beaten eggs.
Using a piping bag with no nozzle, pipe out lengths of around 6cm onto a greased baking tray.
Bake into oven at 180 deg fan oven for around 12 mins – take out and check and if they need longer do them for a minute at a time checking along the way.
Leave to completely cool on a wire rack then fill with piped double cream and water icing made using a drop of rosewater, icing sugar and pink food colouring.
I was delighted recently to be invited along to meet with the lovely Sharron & Brian who run Ayrshire’s latest exclusive wedding venue. The stunning venue itself is literally a few fields away from my home and I’m really looking forward to working with the team on a few projects soon. The venue provides beautiful limewash chiavari chairs teamed with rustic tables and in a venue like this less is most definitely so much more; just the simple addition of some of our rustic pieces and twinkly fairy lights could work well for the tables together with perhaps our hanging jars as pew ends. Meanwhile here are a few photos I took on my visit of this stunning local rustic laid-back venue which I know is going to be such a huge hit with couples looking to tie the knot soon…but if you fancy having your wedding here, best be quick to view it as it’s so exclusive there are only 18 dates available per year!
Follow this link to the IG page for Waterpark Barn Weddings to keep up to date with all their news.
Thanks for reading,
Love Joanna X