• Country craft

    Create a seasonal table arrangement

    by  • 23/10/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    Planning a bonfire night get-together? Let seasonal fruit take centre stage on an outdoor table with a beautiful display that also incorporates flowers and berried foliage.

    Begin by washing the apples you are going to use with warm soapy water, rinse, then place them in a large glass vase. Fill the vase with cold water to the desired level before carefully adding in a selection of flowers and foliage. The aim is to create an abundant seasonal display so include a colourful mix of fruit, flowers and berries. Remember to use firm stems as these will hold their shape better and last longer. Top up and refresh with water as necessary to extend the life of the display.

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    Craft an apple candle holder

    by  • 16/10/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    Perfectly proportioned for tealights, these seasonal candle holders are easily made by carving out the top of an apple.

    To make your candle holder, first place a tealight on top of the apple and draw around it. Remove the apple and carefully score around the circle shape with a craft knife, then press down and follow this cut line around to slice into the apple. Carve and remove the apple pulp with a corer or small spoon until the depth of the tealight is reached.

    Take a small brush and wipe around the inside of the cut area with a little lemon juice to prevent the apple from going brown, then push the tealight into the hole until the sides are completely concealed. Ensure that the base of the apple is stable before lighting the tealight.

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    Craft a crate stool

    by  • 02/10/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    Old wooden crates should never be parted with, there’s so many ways of repurposing them into rustic pieces for the home. We particularly love this upcycle idea for a sturdy stool, complete with a comfy padded seat made from sackcloth. For a beautiful aged look, give the crate a distressed paint finish using Annie Sloan chalk paint.

    To make the seat, measure the top of the crate and have a piece of 19mm MDF cut to fit at a hardware store. Place the MDF on top of two layers of wadding, then cut out its shape adding an extra 8cm all round. Pulling both layers of wadding taut, staple gun to the back of the MDF, taking care to make neat corners.

    To cover the underside of the MDF, cut a rectangle of sackcloth to fit and staple gun in place. For the top cover, place the board padded-side-down on the fabric and cut out the shape adding an extra 8cm all round. Pull the fabric taut and staple gun to the back as for the wadding. Trim the edges on the back and glue on an upholstery braid to cover the staples and edges.

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    Sew a rustic plant cachepot

    by  • 25/09/2016 • Country craft • 1 Comment


    Use little crop sacks to make simple cachepots to add a homespun country touch to unattractive plastic plant pots. Here’s how…

    Place your pot inside a sack and roll over a cuff to the desired depth for the height of your pot. We rolled the folded edge over again to give a neater finish. Remove the pot.

    Thread a bodkin (a large-eyed needle) with a length of narrow ribbon, or choose raffia or chunky wool for extra rustic texture. Leaving a tail to tie a knot or bow, sew the ribbon in and out evenly through the holes in the open weave of the fabric halfway down, around the sack, through both layers. Again leave a tail to tie. Place the pot in the sack, gather the ribbon ends together and tie them in a knot or bow. Trim the ends.

    Decorate small pots with scraps of hessian glued onto the pot and trimmed. Finish with a length of twine, doubled and tied in a bow.

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    Upcycle and stencil a hessian rug

    by  • 18/09/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    With muddy boot season drawing ever closer, we love this unique upcycle idea, transforming a durable and hardwearing hessian sack into a practical rug for well-trodden hallways. A touch of pretty country flair is easily added with a pretty paint stencilled decoration.

    Use a stitch unpicked to undo the side seams of the sack, then iron the fabric flat. Create a fringe along the two shorter edges by pulling out threads to fray the edges – our fringe measured 5cm. Make a 2cm hem along both long edges by machine stitching or using iron-on hemming tape. Iron once again before adding the stencilled decoration.

    Use masking tape to hold your stencil in position on the rug and, using a stencil brush, dab chalk paint onto the surface, taking care near the edges of the cut-out shape so the colour doesn’t run (it’s worth practising on scraps of similar fabric first). Untape the stencil, reposition and repeat if desired.

    We added a stripe border along the long edges by marking off with masking tape and painting along the edge of the tape. Leave to dry.

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    Make a framed hessian noticeboard

    by  • 11/09/2016 • Country craft, Uncategorized • 0 Comments


    Breathe new life into the humble hessian sack by upcycling it into a homespun noticeboard, a practical – and stylish – addition to rustic workspaces. Here’s how…

    Dismantle a picture frame, placing the backing board to one side. Paint the frame with two coats of chalk paint if desired. Place the backing board right side up on a table and completely cover the surface with cork tiles, trimming if necessary. Glue into place with strong all-purpose adhesive or use a glue gun and leave to dry. Iron a piece of hessian large enough to cover the board with an extra 3cm border. Place the board cork-side-down onto the hessian and pulling the fabric taut, staple gun to the back of the board, making sure the corners are neat. Secure the board in the frame with its original clips. Glue on a ribbon border if desired.

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    Stencil a vintage pail

    by  • 28/08/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    Try your hand at our thrifty summer projects, created from flea-market finds…

    Jazz up a doorstep with a vintage bucket, pail or pot featuring a simple stencil pattern. You can even ‘vintage up’ new metal pots with a white vinegar solution and wire wool!

    Begin by cleaning your pail with warm soapy water, then dry off completely (you don’t need to do this if you’ve used the white vinegar solution). Tape a stencil onto the surface of the pail with masking tape, taking care to cover the curved edges. With a brush, dab some paint onto the surface, being careful near the edges so the colour doesn’t run (using a thick paint will make this stage easier). Choose different colours, if desired, then, when finished, remove the template and allow the paint to dry. If the design looks too bold, rub back with a bit of sandpaper and blow away the dust. Style up lots of little pots or one large pot with your favourite blooms for the final flourish.

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    Upcycle drawers into vintage shelves

    by  • 21/08/2016 • Country craft • 1 Comment


    Try your hand at our thrifty summer projects, created from flea-market finds…

    These charming shelves are created using drawers from an old chest. Smart, stylish and beautifully vintage, they can be personalised to suit any interior scheme: simply line with complimentary wallpapers or paint in tonal hues.

    Clean the surfaces with a damp cloth and paint with a chalk paint (we used Paris Grey and Old White, £4.95 for 120ml from Annie Sloan), rubbing down the edges for a distressed look. Paint a lighter colour on in places with a dry brush for a more time-worn finish.

    The inside can be left bare, painted or backed with wallpaper. To do this, place the wallpaper down, face up, and position a drawer on top. Draw around the base, then cut and trim to fit the inside – it might take a while to make sure it fits correctly! Once you’re happy with the fit, fix in place with a self-adhesive spray, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

    To hang, hammer two D-rings on either side of the drawer near the top and thread with picture wire or string.

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    Create a chopping board sign

    by  • 14/08/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    Try your hand at our thrifty summer projects, created from flea-market finds…

    This week, we’re customising an old chopping board into a rustic welcome sign, complete with a sweet jam jar vase for posies of cottage garden flowers. Hang up on gates, benches or front doors, for a sweet country greeting.

    Start by washing and drying your items. Apply a coat of furniture paint to the board and allow to dry, before rubbing down until some of the wood shows through. Wipe off the dust, and then apply a layer of wax, following the maker’s instructions. To stencil, secure a template with masking tape to the front of the board and sponge or dab with paint gently. Remove and allow to dry.

    On the back, nail two picture D-rings at equal spacing at the top and thread with twine or rope. Turn the board to the front, position a picture frame hook towards the right midway down (for the jar) and hammer into place. Tie a cable around the neck of the jar, leaving it a bit loose to place over the picture hook. Hang and style with flowers and a little water.

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    Twist wire into pebble picture holders

    by  • 07/08/2016 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Ready_rt_Blooming Lovely 3Preserve happy holiday memories with this cute picture holder made using chunky pebbles picked up on your travels…

    Wearing protective gloves, take a length of garden wire (about 50cm) and wrap half of it around a large pebble as if tying a parcel, twisting the short end with the remaining half length to secure (see picture). Pull the top half of the wire taut then wrap the end down and around a piece of 2cm dowel or the handle of a large spoon. Wind it around about three times to make three loops, and twist the bottom end of the wire around the straight wire, pressing the looks together to make a tight clip for photos.

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