• Country craft

    Announcing Country Homes & Interiors Christmas

    by  • 01/08/2016 • Country business, Country craft, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors ChristmasWe know it’s summer but we are so excited about our first-ever show we had to let you know about it now! Country Homes & Interiors Christmas is being held at beautiful Stonor Park, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on 25-27 November 2016.

    Set in marquees on the front lawns of this stunning stately home, this must-go-to experience will bring to life Country Homes & Interiors at our favourite time of year. Enjoy the beautifully decorated entrance filled with festive styling ideas. Shop for creative and crafted home and garden accessories, lifestyle buys and gifts. Meet exciting country businesses and their inspirational owners. Treat yourself and your friends to fabulous seasonal food and drink.

    Country Homes & Interiors is the home of modern country style and we are thrilled to be hosting this unique and boutique festive show. Pop it in your diary now and get ahead and order tickets here.

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    30 Country Style Icons: the butcher’s block

    by  • 31/07/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors is 30 this year! In celebration, we’ve picked 30 of our all-time favourite design classics that have stood the test of time, thanks to their real sense of history, craftsmanship and purpose, to share with you over the coming weeks.

    8The butcher’s block
    The heavy duty butcher’s block made a direct jump from the butcher’s shop into our homes and now offers an extra  workstation, either freestanding or as a fixed area of worktop. Both are topped with a super-tough cutting board made up of blocks of end-grain timber – usually teak, maple or walnut – that don’t blunt your knives. In the style stakes, it has easy country charm. Mobile units such as the one shown here (Padstow in Putty, £549, Marks & Spencer) work well in small or large kitchens, bringing extra workspace with additional storage when you need it, and tucking neatly away when out of use. Be sure to take care of the wooden top by refreshing it with a new coat of oil every few months.

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    Make fragrant swags

    by  • 31/07/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_CHI_AUG_CRAFT_LAVENDER _019One for country cooks, this hanging arrangement is a delightful way to enjoy, dry and store garden herbs. Hang it up in your kitchen and pick from it as and when you need. You can also add colour with edible flowers or scent with gathered spice bundles.

    We used thyme, sage, fresh and dried lavender, roses, rosemary and bay. Section each herb or flower grouping into small bundles of about 20cm long and tie with florist’s wire.

    Lay about 1m of rope flat on a table. Start with a sturdy-stalked herb or flower and lay the bunch at what will be the base of the swag, near one end of the rope. Tie onto the rope with florist’s twine. Gradually work along and up the rope, laying and tying herbs and flowers in alternate colour and variety.

    Cover any exposed stems with a bunch of herbs or flowers to keep the swag full. Finally, tie loose stems with twine and use the remaining rope to hang the arrangement.

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    Make sweet-smelling potpourri

    by  • 24/07/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_SUN CRAFTA seasonal reminder of what’s been grown in your garden, potpourri can be created to feature favourite scents, colourful flowers, or both!

    Cut flowers and herbs on a dry day; we used petals and small flower heads including lavender, rose, cornflower, marigold and chamomile. You can dry the plants in one of two ways; either space them out on a drying rack and store away from moisture or sunlight or place them in a microwave on a paper towel and ‘cook’ for just under a minute. Decant into a favourite bowl and scatter fresh lavender heads and rose petals on top to enjoy the scent straight away.

    Decant into little muslin bags to hang up in wardrobes or if giving as a gift, store in a sealed opaque jar to retain the colour and scent.

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    Tie a pretty posy

    by  • 17/07/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_HUGE ORIG PICFrom bridal bouquets to seasonal gifts, everyone loves a little bunch of flowers! These stems were specially picked for their scent and colour; fresh and dried lavender, rosemary, roses and mint…

    Cut the flowers, leaving stems long – on a dry sunny day to ensure blooms are open and any dew has evaporated. Remove leaves from the bottom two thirds of the stems.

    To begin your arrangement, hold a stem across your palm with the flower on top and lay another across on a slight diagonal. Repeat, gradually turning the posy as it builds up. Keep a tight hold, working near the top of the stem. Once a few stems are in place, tie with long string to keep them together, then work in more flowers and herbs a bit lower down to create a dome effect. Wrap the stems with twine and knot to secure, then tie with ribbon for added decoration.

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    Cut and tie scented smudge sticks

    by  • 10/07/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_SUN BLOGToday sees the first in our Cutting Garden Crafts series, where we show you how to make the most of summer blooms and heady herbs. Smudge sticks are a Pagan tradition; string-tied bundles of fragrant dried fauna believed to bring ‘good’ energy into the home…

    Pick herbs and flowers on a dry day and leave out by a sunny window for a few hours. We used dried lavender, roses and rosemary for colour and scent, plus sage for the outer layer. Cut and sort your plants to about the same length (8-10cm) for easy rolling – a little longer than the sage leaves is a good guide.

    Lay out a length of twine and place sage leaves along the top. Take a small bunch of foliage and flowers, place on the sage (as arranged on the picture above) and start to roll into bundles. When ready, wrap and tie bundles with the string. Place on a cake cooling rack to dry.

    Put sand in a fireproof bowl and place on a sturdy heatproof surface. Light the stick to create fragrant smoke, opening windows and doors to air the room (never leave lighted materials unattended).

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    Display and dry fragrant herbs

    by  • 03/07/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_craftBring the scents of summer into your home with this easy-to-make perfumed wreath. Not only does it smell divine, it looks lovely strung up in country rooms – particularly with rustic hessian ribbons woven through.

    Collect herbs early in the morning, just after the dew burns off, as this is when the oils are most potent. Leave long stems and group into even bundles. Tie with twine, then secure into place onto a wreath (we got ours from D Byford & Sons), hanging each bundle an equal distance apart. Hang the whole wreath with plaited twine or rope tied to four sides.

    Try adding scented oils to enhance the fragrance of herbs, flowers and fruit – blend different oils, such as orange and geranium for a summery scent, or lavender and lemongrass for an uplifting aroma.

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    Make a pocketed gardening pinny

    by  • 26/06/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_19Upcycle a pair of old jeans into a mini gardening pinny with handy pockets to keep tools and seeds to hand. Durable and hard-wearing, denim is the perfect material to use, paired with a natural selvedge-edged ribbon for fastening.

    Cut the back from the jeans, snipping along the inside of the side seams, under the pockets and under the waistband. Turn and pin under the bottom edge of the fabric taking a 1cm seam. Turn to the wrong side and using a selvedge-edged ribbon, wrong side facing up, pin with the same pins along the edge of the bottom hem so the ribbon just shows on the right side of the pinny. Sew the hem and ribbon in place.

    Hem both side edges of the pinny, taking a 1cm double seam. Press a long strip of selvedge-edged ribbon in half along its length. Fold over the top of the pinny, encasing the fabric and ensuring it is centrally positioned. Pin in place and sew. Finally, turn in the ends of the ribbon and sew a 1cm seam.

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    Craft a tool kit caddy

    by  • 19/06/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_01The green-fingered amongst you know the importance of organisation when it comes to helping things grow. No gardener should be without this stylish tool caddy, complete with handy storage tins for keeping scissors, seeds and other sowing essentials within arm’s reach at all times.

    To make, start by lightly sanding down a wooden caddy (we got ours from Ebay) and wiping the dust from all the surfaces. Apply two coats of paint, following manufacturer’s instructions. Hold a stencil in place with masking tape and apply paint with even brushstrokes. Once dry, buff the caddy with clear soft wax (we used Annie Sloan’s, £4.95 for 120ml).

    Clean and dry some food cans – we used the 400g size – and ensure any rough edges have been filed down with a metal file. Spray with a couple of coats of metal spray paint and allow to dry. Glue ribbon around the top outer edge of the cans to act as a decorative grip.

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    Craft spoon plant markers

    by  • 12/06/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_12Looking to add character to your kitchen garden? Draw inspiration from the plot-to-plate journey of culinary herbs by using vintage spoons as decorative plant labels.

    Print out your chosen herbs’ names sized to fit the spoons, leaving a small border around each word. Use a transfer medium such as Transcryl Transfer Medium (£18.79 for 250ml, Crafty Computer Paper); following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply three thin coats on top of each printed name to create a clear plastic-like film. When dry, remove the original printed paper by soaking in water and rubbing gently. Allow to dry, then attach to the spoons using the transfer medium as a glue (make sure the names are facing the right way up!). Finish by sealing with a further coat of transfer medium and allow to dry overnight before use.

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