Summer bunting

With the Bank Holiday looming and summer parties in the pipeline, bunting is quick, easy and fun to make and adds instant jollity to any party-inside or out. My 9 year old Ethan really enjoys creative projects, and he loved making this.With simplicity always at the forefront of my mind, this is how I would recommend you go about making yours:

What You Need:

  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Squares of paper about 20cm x 20cm
  • A good length of wool or very thin ribbon
  • More coloured paper
  • Colouring pens


  1.  Fold the squares of paper diagonally in half to form a triangle.
  2.  Colour in or decorate the paper as you wish – both sides.  Anything goes –  a union jack, abstract pattern, collage. Alternatively, use wrapping paper or wallpaper so that you don’t have to decorate, just ensure that the paper isn’t too thick so that it can be folded with a crisp edge.
  3.  Slip the long fold of the triangle onto the length of wool or ribbon, so that the long fold of the triangle sits like a saddle over the length of wool or ribbon.
  4. Glue the two triangular sides together.
  5.  Continue to glue on more triangles, leaving a few centimeters between each one.
  6. Make sure that you have left enough wool or ribbon free at each end of the bunting to be able to fasten it securely.
  7. When the bunting is as long as you need it to be, hang it up and enjoy the instant impact! Have fun!

Easter basket

Alison and her little helper Ethan, show you how to make adorable Easter baskets…



Decorating with door knobs

Inspired by Alison’s latest blog post about her fascination with doors and door knobs, here are some crafty ideas on how to decorate with them…

Dresser handles

If you have a rather boring dresserbedside table or chest of drawers, simply unscrew the existing handles and replace them with some beautiful decorative ones. Mix and match for a truly striking look.

Decorative door knobs 3

Jewellery organiser

For an interesting way to store jewellery, take an old piece of wood and attached some door knobs at equal distance apart. Easy and effective!Decorative door knobs 4

Towel hooks

Make these the same way as you would the jewellery stand, just ensure that the door knobs are substantial enough to hold a weighty towel.

Decorative door knobs

Silvered Fruit

Silvered fruit

Silvered fruit looks absolutely wonderful when piled up on a cake stand and used  as a table centrepiece. It has an ethereal quality which always makes me think of the White Witch in Narnia! It couldn’t be simpler to do – just spray firm skinned fruit such as apples, oranges, lemons, pineapples etc with either craft spray (in which case the fruit becomes inedible and just a decoration), or with edible silver spray – available from specialist cake supplier and Amazon amongst others. Allow the fruit to dry and then simply pile on a plate. Looks amazing.

Pumpkin Invitations

These super quick invites will have your guests in the mood for Halloween in a jiffy!

What You Need:

Some orange craft card

  • A glue pen
  • Pencil
  • Black glitter glue
  • Scissors


  • Draw a pumpkin shape onto the orange card
  • Cut it out
  • Use the glue pen to draw round the edge of the pumpkin and to add any other markings you want
  • Sprinkle the black glitter onto the glue and then gently tap off


How to make a shoebox marble game

The summer holidays have arrived, so you might be looking for fun ways of entertaining your little ones. In this video, Alison and her helpers Eva and Ethan show you how to make a game from a humble shoebox. Not only can the kids help make it but also, once it’s finished, they’ll have something new to play with outside in the garden or inside on rainy days.

Picnic cutlery wraps

Picnic wraps

If you’re anything like me, then you believe that guests shouldn’t have to struggle without cutlery during picnics. If you tend to pack foods that can’t be eaten with your hands, then this clever craft project will allow you to present your family and friends with everything they need inside a beautiful cutlery wrap.

What You Need:

  • Scrapbook paper
  • Pinking shears or edging scissors
  • Double sided tape
  • Twine
  • Napkins


1. Take your chosen scrapbooking paper and cut to size (13.5 cm in height and 30 cm in width). Use pinking shears or edging scissors along the top edge of the rectangle.

2. Fold the paper into three (you should end up with three sections that are roughly 10 cm in width).

3. Apply double sided tape to the third that will be on the back of the wrap.

4. Remove the double sided backing and press down gently to make sure that it is stuck down.

5. Cut a 60cm length of twine, tie it around the wrap and secure on the front with a bow.

6. Insert a folded napkin and your cutlery. For a thoughtful touch, tuck some hand-picked garden flowers behind the twine – a small gesture that’ll go a long way.

Egg candles

Easter is a wonderfully uplifting time of year, regardless of your religious beliefs. All of a sudden the world seems brighter. All it takes is a few crocuses and daffodils to peep out from the still cold earth, a few warm rays to sun our faces and we know that summer is just around the corner.What always strikes me about Easter is that- unlike Christmas- there doesn’t seem to be a need to spend silly amounts of money. I associate Easter with simple pleasures: nature and the notion of new life. This is perhaps why eggs have come to be an enduring symbol of Easter.When I come to decorate the house at this time of year, I always put an emphasis on simple shapes and colours- never anything fussy or too involved. This also has the wonderful benefit of being quick and cost effective!Here is my favourite table-top idea, egg candles. Enjoy!

What You Need:

  • Box of eggs
  • Food colouring
  • Old candle
  • Pencil
  • Scissors


1. Simply boil an egg for ten minutes so that it is hard.

2. Once boiled, peel off the top half of the shell, leaving the other half the shell intact.

3. If you wish, dip this into a bowl of water with some food colouring to colour the shell.

4. When it is dry, sit it upright in an egg box.

5. Melt down an old candle and pull out the wick.

6. Tie one end of the wick to a pencil and rest the pencil across the top of the shell, so the wick hangs down into the bottom of the shell.

7. Pour the melted wax into the shell and leave to set.

8. Remove the pencil and trim the wick.

Honey oatmeal soap

Oatmeal soap

This delightful soap not only smells fantastic it is also great for exfoliating your hands, making it the perfect gift for gardeners. And, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, you could make a bar or two to thank your mum. Decorate with a few rose petals and some twine, and you’re good to go.

What You Need:

  • 1 ½ cups fine soap flakes
  • ½ cup of oatmeal
  • 4 tbsps honey, warmed
  • Bottle of rose essential oil
  • Fresh rose petals
  • Oatmeal flakes


1. In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of fine soap flakes with 3/4 cup of  water.

2. Add half a cup of oatmeal to this paste and mix well.

3. Add up to 4 tbsps of warmed honey  – you want to achieve a ‘putty like’ consistency.

4. Add 15 drops of rose oil.

5. Blend thoroughly and pour into moulds or form into soap balls.

6. Sprinkle some rose petals and oatmeal flakes on top and press in lightly.

7. Allow to dry overnight

8. Decorate with twine and sprinkle with some more rose petals.

A guide to artful scrapbooking

Just over a year ago, Alison decided to do something a bit different, and went back packing around the world with her family; Japan, Australia, New Zealand and America. As you can imagine, it was a feast of images and experiences, and she didn’t want to forget a moment of it.So, she suggested to her son Ethan that he keep a ticket stub diary of the journey. Over the four weeks they duly stuck in tickets, maps, sweet wrappers, even a slither of eucalyptus soap, and gradually built up a multi layered recollection of events. It was colourful, interesting and a genuine cultural snapshot of the places they visited.The best scrapbooks are mostly visual, complemented by succinct and insightful comment- they use a beautiful journal or photo album to take you on the journey and make you think.

Alison’s top tips for a great scrapbook:

* The layout should be 60 per cent visual and 40 per cent text.* Change the layout of each page and don’t make the arrangement too ordered – a sense of spontaneity is a good thing.* Inject humour amongst the serious stuff – include sweetie wrappers or drinks labels.* Don’t cram too much on a page – let it breathe.* Think of texture as well – people will be fingering the page – cloth, string, foil, they all help communicate the message.* Collage your cover and protect it with sticky backed plastic for a hard-wearing finish.

Valentine’s ice bucket

This is a particular favourite of mine – it takes just minutes to make and has real ‘wow’ factor.

What you need:

  • A bucket, the same size you intend the finished ice bucket to be
  • A clear plastic or glass vase, wide enough to hold a bottle of wine of champagne
  • Red flower heads
  • A decorative tray


1. Take a clear plastic or glass vase (wide enough to hold your bottle of wine) and place this inside the bucket. There must be about a 3cm gap between the vase and the bucket.

2. Push the fresh flower heads in between the vase and the bucket.

3. Pour water in between the vase and the bucket, roughly to the top of the vase.

4. Put in the freezer for an hour or so, then check and push the flower heads down further into the water if necessary and continue freezing until the water becomes solid ice.

5. Stand the bucket in hot water for a few seconds, invert and let the ice bucket slide out.

6. Return the ice bucket to the freezer until ready to use.

7. Put a bottle of champagne into the ice bucket and place a tray under the ice bucket to catch the drips