Making Simple Festive Door Wreaths in 6 Steps

Ivy festive door wreath by A Howse

Ivy festive door wreath by A Howse

In order to spread warm greetings of the season to anyone who passed by or visited over the holidays, no stylish front door could be seen without a festive door wreath this season.

Festive teal and gol bow wreath ready to deliver

Festive teal and gol bow wreath ready to deliver

I wanted to make my own Christmas wreaths by hand this winter and also incorporate foliage from the garden we have been very grateful for this year.

In the spirit of 'keep calm and carry on crafting' I wanted to make my own Christmas wreaths by hand this winter and also incorporate foliage from the garden I am very grateful for this year. In the end I made a few with different coloured embellishments so I had enough to share.

Wreath making step 1 garden base

Wreath making step 1 garden base

1. I started with a circular rattan grapevine wreath base from Hobbycraft to outline the basic size.

2. Then I twisted around the twiggy base some bunches of pretty dried sedum flowers that were dried out naturally in the garden. I chose them as they have delicate sprigs of flowers that hold a good shape.

Festive wreath making step 2

Festive wreath making step 2

3. Next I gave them a quick light spray with some old gold spray paint I already had in my supplies from another project. It is a good idea to use any spray paint in the garden.

Ivy and sedum wreath in garden

Ivy and sedum wreath in garden

4. After extensive foliage foraging I discovered that we did not have any holly anywhere on the property or fields nearby. However we did have several little ivy bushes that were doing very well in all the rain that we had in December. Therefore I made two wreaths topped with ivy wound around the sedum and rattan base and secured with cotton knitting wool ties in a few places around the circumference.

Festive wreath making step 3

Festive wreath making step 3

5. Using scraps of material I have saved from dressmaking I hand sewed some bows to add interest. These were simply constructed by hemming rectangles of silky cloth and adding a gathering stitch up the middle to form the bow shape.
Festive wreath with pink bows ready to deliver

Festive wreath with pink bows ready to deliver

6. A small gold leaf decorated 3D printed boat was added to each wreath as a nod to our nautical location but you could use any baubles or small toys and paint and add gold leaf easily with a little PVA glue. Gold leaf is available in Hobbycraft or any good art suppliers.

Orange stars festive wreath

Orange stars festive wreath

This orange stars wreath contains lots of texture from pine cones. This natural accessory is decorated with stars made out of an old printed canvas picture I have repurposed. Emerald green ribbon and white cotton knitting wool ties make it a cheerful festive treat that was quite happy to be hung outside.

For more hanging treats for your home see our Create Display online shop on Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay
 

Hobbycraft, Christmas Wreaths and Garlands, 8 January 2021

https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/christmas/christmas-decorations/christmas-wreaths-and-garlands

 

12th night update: making 3D star rainbow Christmas cards

It is 12th night today which is a day in the Christian Christmas calendar that traditionally we take down our holiday decorations. So I thought I would show you my handmade offerings as you may want to take all year to think about in advance what greetings to send to your friends, family, neighbours, suppliers and colleagues.

At the end of 2020 with everything that the virus and the lockdowns have brought into all of our lives we decided that gold stars all round was definitely in order. So I opened up my TinkerCAD software and designed a five pointed 3 dimensional star with heart shaped cut outs on each point and an extra hole for stringing up.

sheet of gold PLA filament 3D printed stars

sheet of gold PLA filament 3D printed stars

We started up our AnyCubic Predator 3D printer and printed several sheets of identical stars using the print driver program to load the TinkerCAD design. Each star has a surrounding border which is snapped off before attaching to the card. The gold coloured filament is made from PLA which is made from entirely natural substances such as maize and sugar cane and it is non-toxic.

I also wanted to share the amazing rainbow I photographed in Chichester harbour this winter. The rainbow has been a symbol of hope since the 1st lockdown and I have enjoyed sharing my rainbow images with people this year. My solution was to print a batch of small copies of the colourful harbour pictures with my HP colour printer. I then used crayons in a variety of bright hues to frame the uplifting picture with hand drawn clouds and landscape with lots of texture.

3D printed gold stars on multicoloured heart card

3D printed gold stars on multicoloured heart card

My X-acto craft knife allowed me to create some freestyle shapes and cut out a cloud section that I then pasted on the inside of the cards. For maximum impact when the cards were displayed on a flat surface I decorated the 'backside' of the card with my joyful rainbows and the design then flowed onto some tartan, bauble and dove prints on the 'front' page of the medium sized cards. The festive card stock I had in my supplies already and I wanted to use them even though they had a few different basic designs on them already. This was because we were in a lockdown and I am reusing everything I can when it come to my materials so nothing is wasted.

Handmade Xmas cards by A Howse ready to post

Handmade Xmas cards by A Howse ready to post

I used silky ribbon 'cut offs' to make hanging loops that attached to round holes I punched with my hole punch. The stars can be saved for next year and hung as a separate tree decoration in the future. Some tiny extra gold foil stars added a final shiny embellishment to these cheerful postal tokens.

Inside I stamped the white pages with snowflakes, more stars, a reindeer with a sleigh, an elaborate 'love from' emblem and a swirly merry Christmas and happy new year message. I used gold, red and blue inks from Hobbycraft.

We were pleased with our batch of handmade cards this year and they brightened up a few living rooms this season. They were handed out and sent in a fairly fast and hectic way as usual. The last international and national posting dates dictate the deadline for the project every December so thank you for your patience if I have forgotten any one in my rush to the post office. It is worth noting that I needed to purchase large stamps as the width of the cards with the attached stars was around 8 millimetres deep, once the pieces were popped in the envelopes.

Detail of rainbow Xmas card by A Howse

Detail of rainbow Xmas card by A Howse

It was fun to work together as a team and introduce the 3D printing element and I look forward to more 2D and 3D combined projects in 2021. I hope this post inspires you to make some cards in advance this year. I love receiving handmade cards and had several this year which were so gratefully received and they generated much needed jolly vibes and they were enjoyed by all. Card making is a great activity to do in lockdown and making your own cards can be very theraputic for all ages and also save some money in your household budget too.

 

To see more handmade items in our online shop visit us at

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay

(1) Hobbycraft art and craft suppliers, 6 January 2021 https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/

From Simple to Extraordinary: Create Display’s Favourite Christmas Trees of 2020

Xmas Tree in Sitting Room with Whitewashed Brick Feature

Xmas Tree in Sitting Room with Whitewashed Brick Feature

Putting up the Christmas tree has brought great joy to millions of people this winter. A symbol of the light shining through the darkness and a connection to childhood memories of Christmas with our families, turning on the lights gave us a special extra boost this year.

 

By the time we get to New Year most of us have seen our fair share of real and simulated fir trees in all their glittering varieties, both large and small. I would like to share with you some of my favourites from this year from my (not very far in lockdown) travels around the Solent coastline in the south of England.

This elegant sitting room tree is framed by a limewashed brick wall feature and has a traditional look with a twist. The Asda reusable simulated tree is a bargain at just £35. It has been decorated with gold feathers and golden lights and a glitter star which was just a few pounds from Wilkinsons. The crimson baubles are vintage glass.

'Hybrid' Yucca Xmas Tree in Musical Sitting Room

'Hybrid' Yucca Xmas Tree in Musical Sitting Room

We have named this tree a 'hybrid'. A 5 foot yucca tree sits in a wide grey ceramic pot from Ikea and provides the base for this fun interpretation of a festive topiary centrepiece. Two small artificial trees from originally from Waitrose are brought out and repurposed to join with the jolly giant shrub in becoming a glorious green display that celebrates the season. The trees are sat in a John Lewis pineapple basket and some green tinsel adds some twinkling interest. There are two gold stars on this tree and a selection of blue and white rechargeable battery lights from Robert Dyas. The teal baubles are vintage glass and the wool figures are gifts from Denmark.

Recycled Artist Tracey Graham Xmas tree

Recycled Artist Tracey Graham Xmas tree

We like this alternative seasonal installation by Tracey Graham which comprises of a tall green cone of 600 recycled bottles. They look great lit up by fairy lights too. This is the second year I have seen this display in Chichester so the recycled artwork has given joy to many people and is a reminder to conserve, reuse and rethink in order to help conserve the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Rotary Club Xmas tree Market Cross Chichester

Rotary Club Xmas tree Market Cross Chichester

One enormous decorated fir tree sponsored by the local Rotary Club is also a regular fixture at the medieval Market Cross in Chichester, West Sussex. It looks wonderful set against the stone architecture with the cathedral behind it.

Lobster pot Xmas tree, Emsworth Hampshire

Lobster pot Xmas tree, Emsworth Hampshire

In Emsworth in Hampshire a fabulous nautical feature sits at the edge of the harbour complete with gold tinsel and gold, red and green baubles. It is cleverly made out of old lobster pots and is a hit with the residents of this idyllic fishing village. Also lifting the spirits in this close knit community this year, is a small Christmas tree sitting in a dinghy in the middle of the Mill Pond.

AH at Langstone Farmhouse pub, Hampshire

AH at Langstone Farmhouse pub, Hampshire

Just a day before the last lockdown we were lucky enough to find an nearly empty pub at lunchtime further along the coast towards Portsmouth Harbour. The large carvery restaurant Langbrook Farm had pulled out all the stops to furnish the capacious dining rooms with an impressive array of Christmas embellishments. We found a room to ourselves to enjoy some refreshments that came complete with its own North Pole grotto.

Christmas tree in Arundel West Sussex

Christmas tree in Arundel West Sussex

We are fortunate in our area to have some stunning waterside walks and many historic streets. A massive Christmas tree in the centre of Arundel is just perfect simply adorned with white strings of lights and set against the Georgian and Tudor four storey buildings. Similarly the tree at Bosham Walk Arts and Crafts Centre looks splendid and welcoming with sparkly lights. This classic fir is located in front of the cafe's bunting that hangs from the beams of this 100 year old establishment, that used to be a boat building business that could be easily found right by the shore.

Bright baubels on commercial building in Westminster London

Bright baubels on commercial building in Westminster London

We are rooting for commercial life to get back to a new normal as soon as it is practical to do so safely. It will be super to marvel at the festive city decorations which we will hopefully be able to do again by the end of next year. It may all look a little different but we can all look forward to the special experience of 'seeing the lights' and enjoying the delightful windows in London and other major cities in the UK and beyond in December 2021.

Thank goodness its New Year! Best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and creative 2021 from Create Display.
 

Asda Xmas Trees

https://direct.asda.com/george/GLP-DEP-XMAS,default,pg.html

Wilkinson Xmas Decorations

https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/christmas/c/1301

Ikea Plant Pots

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/cat/indoor-plant-pots-10778/

John Lewis Basket Bags

https://www.johnlewis.com/browse/women/handbags-bags-purses/straw/_/N-fjgZ1z0prh5

Robert Dyas Christmas Lights

https://www.robertdyas.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=lights+christmas

Rotary Club Chichester

https://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/homepage.php?ClubID=1443

Langbrook Farm

https://www.farmhouseinns.co.uk/pubs/hampshire/langbrook-farm/

Bosham Walk Art and Craft Centre

https://www.bosham-walk.co.uk/about-us/

 

Garden Studio Curtains Upcycling Project in 5 Steps

Garden Stdio Eyelet Curtain

Garden Stdio Eyelet Curtain

Create Display garden studio curtains
Garden Studio sample board by A Howse

Garden Studio sample board by A Howse

Step 1: Designing the scheme for the garden studio

For this garden studio project I wanted to visually bring the garden into the interior of the new textile and craft workroom.

The colours in this wallpaper which is Dahlia Parade in pink grapefruit by Laura Ashley perfectly capture the relaxed vibe and shades of the garden I wanted to introduce into my new space. I used the rolls of quality wall coverings I had already purchased as a starting point for my scheme. I will incorporate the floral print into the design through accessories in the creative outdoor office in the form of covering storage boxes and stationary files.

Garden Studio Elevation Drdawing by A Howse

Garden Studio Elevation Drawing by A Howse

Step 2: Locating the materials for the soft furnisihngs

In my stash of fabrics I already had a large pair of traditional style curtains with a ruffle top heading that featured a coordinating 'trailing flower' pattern in cool deep pinky reds, bold greens, icy pink, white and a cream background. I bought this pair second hand a few years ago but I think originally they were purchased from Blendworth fabrics in Denmead in Hampshire and there is a link to the Blendworth website below.

Step 3: Constructing the fabric panels

Dhalia Parade in Pink Grapefruit by Laura Ashley

Dhalia Parade in Pink Grapefruit by Laura Ashley

The only problem was that they were very wide and no where near long enough to fit the 2 meter by 2 meter patio doors in the freshly finished study. So I took a large pair of scissors and carefully cut off the gathered tops and set about creating big 'portrait' rectangles of fine thick cotton instead of 'landscape' shaped drapes. I ironed all the edges with small flat hems.

Using bed to layout fabric while painting Garden Studio

Using bed to layout fabric while painting Garden Studio

So that the unique curtains look attractive from the outside and the inside I added deep borders of unusual patterned fabric I had previously purchased from Hobbycraft to some plain Ikea panelled curtains I had saved from a previous project. This cute orchard of trees themed cotton is contemporary and definitely gives the 'home near the park' feel I am after.

Blendworth and Hobbycraft fabrics with Ikea Eyelet Curtains

Blendworth and Hobbycraft fabrics with Ikea Eyelet Curtains

Hobbycraft actually only stock a limited supply of mostly dressmaking fabric on the roll so when I saw this quirky design I knew I had got lucky. A much wider selection of unique contemporary soft furnishing fabrics is available at the independently owned store the Eternal Maker in Chichester, West Sussex and their details are also below.

In order to swiftly invent more a modern looking window treatment I then attached my pretty long floral pieces to a plain pair of Ikea eyelet curtains You can buy a similar Ikea pair for around £25 and I have attached a link below. I used my trusty vintage Husqvarna to sew neat pressed edges around all the sides of each curtain.

Studio Curtains on B and Q Chalki Poles

Studio Curtains hung on B and Q Chalki Poles

Step 4: First part installation of curtains

It is important to 'offer up' the panels onto the curtain pole to make sure the length is long enough to look generous but not too long so they don't get dirty and look untidy. Mark the ideal length with pins and finish by sewing a neat hem along the bottom of both pieces making sure the length match perfectly.

Using eyelet topped curtains makes hanging a breeze but I asked a helper to kindly assist me so the cream fabric stayed pristine by being held carefully, while I was feeding the large panels onto the pole from each side in sequence.

The poles are sourced from B&Q and they are pre-painted in a 'whitewashed' wood finish which blended perfectly with the interior. The range is called Chalki and there are some very reasonably priced pole brackets, rings and finials in the range too.

garden Studio Nearly Finished (detail)

garden Studio Nearly Finished (detail)

Step 5: Finishing and dressing the patio door and window treatment

After testing the new curtains by pulling and arranging them into pleasing pleats I used some curtain tie backs in a neutral ivory colour I already owned to help keep the drapes perfectly in place on windy days when stepping through the sliding doors. For this pair we made sure that each side's last eyelet sat between the pole brackets and the end finials to give a symmetrical finish.

Best wishes and Seasons Greetings from us all at Create Display. Our Etsy shop is open online so do visit us at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay

Keep calm and enjoy the opportunity to have some creative time over the holidays.

Garden Studio Curtains by A Howse with Tie Backs

Garden Studio Curtains by A Howse with Tie Backs

 
 

Blendworth Fabrics, Denmead, Hampshire

https://www.blendworthfurnishings.co.uk/

Ikea eyelet heading curtains

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/merete-room-darkening-curtains-1-pair-white-40111987/

Husqvarna sewing machines

https://www.husqvarnaviking.com/en-gb/

The Eternal Maker fabric and craft supplies

https://eternalmaker.com/

Chalki curtain poles by B&Q

https://www.diy.com/departments/home-furniture-storage/home-furnishings/curtains-blinds-shutters/curtain-poles-tracks/curtain-poles/DIY767052.cat?Length+%28cm%29=250&Range=Chalki

 

It’s All Go in the New Create Display Garden Studio

Garden studio with building finished by A Howse and friendsand Kevin the Handyman

Garden studio with building finished by A Howse and friends

We are excited to announce that the Create Display garden studio is open for business and all ready to go. We plan to further develop our online shop at Etsy.com throughout this season and Spring 2021 with more fresh handmade artwork and gifts for interiors.

We hope to be able to participate in live Create Display events again in 2021. All being well the usual fairs and exhibitions and everything commercial will get back to a new normal later next Summer, with any luck. It's great news about the new vaccines under development and we hope that will make a positive difference to everyone's lives next year.

Create Display garden studio interior

Create Display garden studio interior

As you may know we have been working on the design, build and fit out of this textile workshop for a few years now. Finally all the hard work has paid off and the project has come to fruition in the form of a beautiful and functional workspace.

We weren't quite ready to take advantage of more quiet time for getting creative during the first lockdown in March of this year which kind of took us all by surprise somewhat. However we have been able to plough on and with some persistence I have been able to finish all the decorating. The happy task of bringing all my sewing equipment into the freshly painted craft room has now been completed.

Garden studio by A Howse and friends with jasmin

Garden studio by A Howse and friends with jasmin

This fabric haven means that I can focus on making wall hangings and more, without any physical interruptions. I can lay out work in progress and leave it on the workbench ready for my next visit, without having to pack it away each session. All the materials and haberdashery that is needed are at my fingertips in an organised fashion where I can easily see them which will really simplify the creative process.

There is covered overhang area to the left of the entrance to the studio which is perfect for painting and printing pieces outside whatever the weather. It is also a perfect place to use my workbench for some simple woodworking tasks like cutting poles to size or upcycling furniture.

Create Display garden studio shelving

Create Display garden studio shelving

The long and high table with two adjustable chairs will give the studio the option of being a flexible use office which is also suitable for a variety of arts, writing, computing, music practice and other 'clean' hobbies and pastimes. A separate brick shed nearby can work for any messy painting and making that is needed for our DIY activities.

My friend Kevin who is an amazingly talented local handyman and builder has been absolutely fantastic and we could have achieved such a professional standard without his expertise and experience gained in the engineering industry. Kevin has been key to successfully interpreting my technical drawings and leading the build process with my assistance.

My partner Erik has enthusiastically provided a lot of helpful input and the additional muscles required at specific stages. My Mum is an experienced property developer and she has even lent a hand to help proceedings run smoothly, when all our schedules have not synchronised completely. I am very grateful for all the help and support my friends and loved ones have given us and I must say it has been a very enjoyable team effort along the way.

Uncle Rick braved icy temperatures to help me install a wonderful light oak effect wood strip floor from Wickes in the studio. As with all Rick's meticulous and carefully crafted work the stylish floor came out very well and it looks absolutely gorgeous.

Create Display garden studio wall finish

Create Display garden studio wall finish

You can read more about my creative design process for both the exterior and the interior in my article https://www.hotenough.com/2020/11/20/how-to-design-a-garden-studio-during-lockdown/

This article also covers a few tips and some of the additional challenges you might run into currently. This is because of all the changes that have been happening in the construction industry, due to prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

I have moved into my new 'she-shed' and as you can see from the photographs I have made my first item which is a bag cover for a wool shopper that is listed on Etsy in the CreateDisplay shop.

Garden Stdio Eyelet Curtain

Garden Stdio Eyelet Curtain

Create Display garden studio curtains

The sturdy white painted metal rail will hold all my latest products in the range, so I am making sure everything can be hung neatly with dust covers.

The curtains were handmade using 2 vintage drapes and they soften the practical painted room which features surface mounted electrics and built in shelving. The shelves were adapted from a vintage Danish set of book cases and decorated to match the interior in Moonlight White by Wilko.

B&Q supplied most of the building materials and the splendid composite roof panels and accessories. We also used Wickes, Toolstation and our local wood merchants.The orientated strand board walls are painted in Zinsser BIN White primer which is available from Screwfix and B&Q.

Create Display garden studio lighting from Ikea

Create Display garden studio lighting from Ikea

I tested several brands and found the best to use for my wall finishes were Brilliant White and Pink Harmony by Wilko. I used a Laura Ashley coastal themed paint roller to add a unique texture paint effect complete with a star, shell and crab pattern which has given extra character and originality to the pretty work room.

The lighting is from Ikea and Window Warehouse manufactured the patio doors and side window which give super daylight that so important when working in detail with colour.

Create Display garden studio sewing

Create Display garden studio sewing

We will keep you posted with updates about our latest adventures in design in the new garden studio. In the meantime we send you best wishes; take care, keep well and keep creative.

 
 
Create Display Shop on Etsy.com https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay?ref=search_shop_redirect
Designing a Garden Studio on HotEnough.com https://www.hotenough.com/2020/11/20/how-to-design-a-garden-studio-during-lockdown/
Wickes website https://www.wickes.co.uk/
Wilco website https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/decorating-diy/paint-woodcare/c/465
Toolstation website https://www.toolstation.com/
Screwfix website https://www.screwfix.com/
Laura Ashley website https://www.lauraashley.com/
Window Warehouse website https://www.window-warehouse.co.uk

 

Indulge In Some Cultural Inspiration In Cambridge

The Futon Company Window Display Cambridge

The Futon Company Window Display Cambridge

We hope you were are all prepared for the clocks going back and you have been keeping well and cosy at home this blustery weekend! We are all making our wish lists for a few road trips and minibreaks away. It might be to escape for some me time or to enjoy the company of and visit your nearest and dearest (socially distanced and preferably outside of course) and cheer up our Autumnal blues.

Here is a sneak preview of our articles for HotEnough.com with the low down on visiting Cambridge this season. We would like to give you some charmingly British, style inspiration. Just follow the links below to HotEnough.com to see the photos and read about where to check out first.

Cambridge Fabric Shop Window Display

Cambridge Fabric Shop Window Display

Our favourite places are those that support the high street boutiques and market stall holders in Cambridge. We have liked the Futon Company for years ever since we were students wanting to furnish our first 'digs'. Their reasonably priced furniture is useful and stylsh. Fatface is a must for all the outdoors gear and warm woolly we all need at this time of year when the cool wind starts to blow. The Cambridge Fabric company is full of gorgeous colours and British designed textile finds.

Fatface shop in city centre with University of Cambridge architecture

Fatface shop in city centre with University of Cambridge architecture

It's a joy to browse around the Market Square and visit the arts and crafts fair. There are some good quality vintage and second hand charity shops to take a peak in if you have time too. Pre-loved fashion is always a purse friendly, ethical and sustainable option and its fun to look through the ecclectic rails. 

Being an academic capitol there are always the super book shops to stop by and peruse. Ideal for picking up some bed time reading for the longer nights ahead.

Cambridge has an awesome selection of cafes but for the view then taking coffee upstairs in Starbucks, at the Market Square, definitely has the edge. We recommend the independent bakeries dotted around the city that sell lots of special hot drinks too.

Starbucks Cambridge with view to Market Square

Starbucks Cambridge with view to Market Square

It is so important to shop locally but if you are lucky enough to be able to visit beautiful Cambridgeshire here are our top tips:

Independent Boutiques and Markets are Brilliant in Cambridge

https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/24/support-the-high-street-boutiques-and-market-stall-holders-in-cambridge/

Where To Stay for a Budget Cost Minibreak in Cambridge

https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/16/where-to-stay-for-a-budget-mini-break-in-cambridge/

Cool Places to Go in Cambridge without Breaking the Bank

  https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/19/cool-places-to-go-in-cambridge-without-breaking-the-bank/

The Best Big Store Shopping in Central Cambridge

  https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/23/the-best-big-store-shopping-in-central-cambridge/

Do join in and sign up for the HotEnough.com website monthly newsletter to keep posted on all the latest cool places to discover, as well as fresh updates on hot topics and happenings in England this week. It will pop up with a request when you first visit the home page and all you need is your email address.

It is of course essential to follow the latest government guidelines and restrictions for your area. We must all be cautious when travelling and just do what is safe for the public to do at this challenging time, as we all work together to make sure there is enough distance away from each other, to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Cambridge University architecture

Cambridge University architecture

Keep safe and enjoy supporting our restaurants, museums, superstores and independently owned shops in our high streets nationwide. Our communities will benefit from our custom in the long term. Thank you for your interest in Create Display, you can see some of our handmade interior art in our Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay . We wish you all happy shopping, jolly city exploring and more great road trip adventures in the future.

Cambridge Mill Pond Boating

Cambridge Mill Pond Boating

For all the links for our Cambridge feature please see individual articles via the links above.
The Cambridge Fabric Company https://thecambridgefabriccompany.com/
The Futon Company https://www.futoncompany.co.uk/
Starbucks Cambridge https://www.starbucks.co.uk/store-locator/store/1012127/cambridge-christs-lane-unit-4-cambridge-eng-cb-1-1-np-gb

 

A Dozen Tips For De-Cluttering Your Home Create Display Style

2020 fireplace and mantlepiece with 'lime wash' paint effects by Amanda Howse

2020 fireplace and mantlepiece with white washe paint effects by Amanda Howse

This year I have been considering the benefits of 'less is more' and following the philosophy getting seriously organised in a manor made famous by Marie Kondo. I have been heading towards living in a a Zen of minimalism in a practical step by step fashion.

The Queen of de-cluttering recommends beginning with your wardrobe and then methodically re-assessing each area of your house and then your life, until you are all completely sorted. At the KonMari website you can purchase the Japanese expert's latest book 'The Life Changing Magic of Magic of Tidying Up' or you can get ahead of detoxing your stuff by downloading the digital podcast version from Audible. (1) (2)

The aim is to love everything you keep and free up your thoughts, time and soul to embrace all the wonderful activities life has to offer without becoming weighed down by ones own baggage. Like many people I share my life with some amazing and creative individuals.

De-cluttered Sitting Room  Ready for Guests Interior Design by A Howse

De-cluttered Sitting Room Ready for Guests Interior Design by A Howse

My personal team include some fabulous collectors who really enjoy owning lots of interesting and useful stuff. I also spend time with close friends and family who are known for being so minimalist they are quite happy with just a suitcase and who have proven that they are happy calling a sailboat home for years.

I sit somewhere in the middle of this spectrum I believe, as I once moved from London to Florida with only a big suitcase. When I returned nearly five years later myself and my life partner relocated to the South East of England with just 10 bags between us and some help from a very kind best friend who was flying back to the UK with us that day.

Detail of Sitting Room with neutral scheme Interior Design and cushion design by A Howse

Detail of Sitting Room with neutral scheme Interior Design and cushion design by A Howse

However since then as a qualified designer with a passion for retro and antique furniture, textiles and anything to do with fashion I have happily snapped up many vintage bargains and unmissable pieces that I just knew would be fabulous in our modest sized home.

With my creative family 'onboard' I have been fortunate to have been able to add into the mix enough tools and gadgets to build our own extension and pursue a super range of outdoor pursuits. We are lucky to have invested in some half decent equipment of various sorts and enough second hand musical instruments to form a rock band. So we definately have a home fit for a 'KonMari' field day.

Its early days on the complete minimalist shakedown project for us. There have already been some small successes along the way. There is no point reinventing the the wheel when trying to reclaim precious space in your home. Therefore the first thing I did was to consider the six KonMari basic rules of tidying that are recommended in her book and on her website:

Rule 1 is “Commit yourself to tidying up”

Rule 2 is “Imagine your ideal lifestyle”

Rule 3 is “Finish decluttering first”

Organised interior inspiration: Hotel room in Valencia Penya-Roja

Bedroom with upcycled storage bed, vintage art and handmade cushions Interior by A Howse

Bedroom with upcycled storage bed, vintage art and handmade cushions Interior by A Howse

2020 has been a difficult and crazy year for nearly everyone on the planet. My 'big sort out' actually started last year in Spring 2019 when I took two car loads of clothes and good quality things to our local Cancer Research charity shop in our nearest city.

There is a link below to their website quickly locate your nearest store. The 'low hanging fruit' was relatively easy. Of course you can select your favourite organisation to benefit from your pre-loved possessions.

I now reguarly swap clothes with my sisters, Mum and friends too which is a lot of fun.

Not buying any unnecessary extra things has been an important part of my transition to some sort of minimalist lifestyle. I now shop 'intentionally' and aim to only ever buy what is on my shopping list. This applies to everything from M&S sale bargains to fresh market food shopping. I now strive for quality over quantity in all departments.

We were all given a crash course on just buying a few essentials and editing our diary to exclude shopping as a pastime in March when Boris Johnson announced a full lockdown of shops and food stores began limiting the amount of items you could buy of many basic goods. Even a family pack of loo roll became a wish list luxury for a couple of weeks. The upside of all these restrictions is that most people have had time to assess what they have and use what they already own.

Homegrown crab apple sauce and oat breakfast in Vintage 'Queen's Shape' Wedgewood bowl

Homegrown crab apple sauce and oat breakfast in Vintage 'Queen's Shape' Wedgewood bowl

During these months where 'staying in has become the new going out' most of us have had time to consciously analyse what possessions we surround ourselves with and what we really need. We have had a chance to also consider what actually gets in the way of us making the most of the space in our house and what helps or hinders us in the pursuit of living our best lives.

My advice with this initial stage of de-cluttering would be to:

  1. Give yourself time in your diary to devote to this process.

    Allocate some time every weekend (if you can) to going through the house and discovering what you can quickly clean, sort, give away, donate, reuse, repurpose or throw away.

  2. Encourage other family members to join in with a little 'tidy time'. Show them how you 'divide and conquer' your things into neat shelves, simply divided drawers and tidy cupboards. Put on some upbeat music if this helps get you all moving in the right direction.

  3. Keep a bag or box in the hallway labelled 'take to the charity shop' ready to drop into town. Have it ready to pick up and drop into town when you next going to your nearest retail centre.

  4. Stick to purchasing essential toiletries, groceries, gifts for others you know they want. Purchase new 'urgent items' only while you sort out the 'wheat from the chaff' to avoid buying duplicate items. Shop as intentionally as possible in every area of your life. Think about enjoying experiences with family and friends rather than buying eachother 'more stuff'.

  5. Focus on indoor sorting when the weather is bad and quickly go through the garden and any garages and sheds when the weather is fine.

  6. Empty all your bins as often as possible. Order a green bin to collect garden waste from the local council if you need to.

  7. Put away clean washing quickly so it doesn't add mess to your bedroom or any other rooms unless you are lucky enough to have a dedicated laundry area.

  8. Decanter toiletries and larder cupboard staples and label up if needed as you pack away your groceries. Recycle any packaging from groceries and post parcels quickly to avoid it lying around. This all gives a minimalist look to your space.

    I like to use Avery labels I order for my office. Number 21 blank labels are 64 x 38mm which is big enough for labelling boxes in storage clearly and they can be easily cut down in size for smaller bottles. Just add clear tape over the top to make your pots moisture and splash proof. Make swing tickets from cereal box packaging and a hole punch easily and tie onto baskets and bags with left over wool, string or ribbons.

  9. Use beach bags, shopping bags and baskets you already have to help you organise your items and save buying the perfect container for when you know exactly what you need.

  10. Enjoy flowers, plants and produce that come from the garden or local nursery or is in season to help motivate you and cheer your progress at this stage.

  11. Use the 'posh crockery' etc. if you have some, what are you waiting for? When on on your home management mission think about the minimalist mantra "quality not quantity" and the quote by the architect Le Corbusier that "Less is More" .

  12. Just do one maintenance, sewing, DIY or craft project at a time during this phase to help minimise visual clutter and extra 'stuff' to find a place for.

To quote Marie Kondo the famous Japanese tidy expert; we hope you can "find joy" in some of the things you own and in the process of what can be a surprisingly therapeutic and unexpectedly rewarding process. Good luck with phase 1 of sorting out your stuff and heading closer towards living in the pad of your dreams. We will have more top tips as we go along too!

Organised interior inspiration: Hotel room in Valencia Penya-Roja

Organised interior inspiration: Hotel room in Valencia Penya-Roja

Over the next few weeks I plan to bring you some more updates, tips and tricks on tackling the different zones involved with a 'major home de-clutter'. We will let you know about some of our successes and our areas for improvement too. I will aim to add some home interior inspiration for good measure. We would love to hear about your new tidy lifestyle adventures as well, so do get in touch by email at our contact page

http://www.createdisplay.com/?page_id=528

You can also share photos on our facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/createdisplaydesign/

Keep creative and happy sorting!

 
Marie Kondo website https://shop.konmari.com/
Marie Kondo books https://shop.konmari.com/collections/books/products/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up-1
Avery website https://www.avery.co.uk/
Cancer Research Shop https://shop.cancerresearchuk.org/
Primus Hotel Valencia https://hotelprimusvalencia.com/en/

 

My May and June Makes That Might Just Inspire You

This rainbow cloud painting is a bit different from my usual oil cloudscapes! I wanted to create a more graphic image using the rainbow symbol which had become an important symbol of hope, positivity and support for the NHS and key workers during the lockdown. The whole country has been staying at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus and some people are still socially isolating for health reasons in the UK and also abroad internationally too. We are all keeping our safe distance and just meeting outside for now.

Thankfully we are very fortunate to have a garden which has been a haven for us during these warm dry months and makes a good outdoor studio too.

Rainbow cloud with musical notes artwork by A Howse

Rainbow cloud with musical notes artwork by A Howse

Layers of pastel and metallic water based paints were applied to this deep canvas and shaped tissue paper was used for the cloud texture. Treble clef wooden blanks were painted and glued onto the canvas to represent musical creativity coming out to lift the spirits of people during the many clouded dark days when millions of British citizens are either staying indoors or going to work in a very stressful environment.

This daily battle with Covid-19 has been the situation for many brave medics, carers and emergency services across the nation and we are all very grateful for their dedication. Many people have had to deal with the loss of their loved ones and that cloud of sadness was shared throughout the nation. The notes that fall like dark rain are small but defined as they are hand drawn with charcoal ink. There is however brightness on the horizon within this image and the light that is refracted through the cloud has vibrant tints and a glimpse of some promising blue skies in the future. The wooden rainbow is three dimensional and painted using colourful acrylics in primary hues and then glued on in its central location to make a bold statement.

Musical guitar notes artwork by A Howse

Musical guitar notes artwork by A Howse

This painting features musical notes and guitars and celebrates creating and listening to live music. During lockdown we decided to learn how to play the guitar and this deep canvas painting accompanies our living space. I wanted to add a decorative element of living by the coast into the design so I added briny waves in sunset colours. This means the artwork also blends well with the rooms interior scheme and with my hand printed stripey cushions.

Musical guitar notes artwork with interior by A Howse

Musical guitar notes artwork with interior by A Howse

The background in this deep canvas was constructed with layers of water based paints which were allowed to dry individually and so it took several days to complete. A three dimensional effect is added by glueing painted wooden treble clefs that were sourced on etsy.com. Cut out crotchets, quavers, minims and semibreves are painted on and also collaged using bright and metallic cards. Printed sheet music of some of our favourite tunes add some detail and interest too.

If anybody would like a copy or a print of either of these original images please get in touch via facebook or email on our contact page.

To see more colourful items for your home check out our etsy shop which is open anytime https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay

We hope you enjoy these pieces and that 2020 keeps you safe and creative and brings you many brighter days ahead.

 

Create Display Rainbows Reach 3 Parishes

Three Parishes magazine, Sussex

Three Parishes magazine, Sussex

We are delighted to have been able to contribute to one of our West Sussex community magazines with a cheerful rainbow photograph from our own collection.

This month we were very happy to work with the Secretary Ms Neighbour on Issue 44 of a special lockdown edition of Three Parishes.
Gold field rainbow photo by Amand Howse

Gold field rainbow photo by Amand Howse

 

This 50 page free publication is distributed to the residents of Tillington, Duncton and Upwaltham. Located about 12 miles north of the coast within the South Downs National Park and near to the historic town of Petworth, these pretty areas include around five hundred homes.

Our image looks north from Chichester harbour towards Goodwood racecourse and these rural hamlets.

Cool girl with dog rainbow wall hanging by Amand Howse

Cool girl with dog rainbow wall hanging by Amand Howse

There are several articles in the A5 sized colour printed paper including a vibrant feature about artwork the children and young people have produced in response to the coronavirus lockdown. The contents includes some excellent letters and stories. There are also fun quizzes and recipes and lots of local information and details that will help everyone in the area keep in touch and know what is currently on offer in their vicinity.

Upcycled wool rainbow throw by Amanda Howse

Upcycled wool rainbow throw by Amanda Howse

Every parish in the country has been affected by the pandemic and the whole of the UK is staying at home this Spring (if it is possible with their work) to prevent the spread of the contagion. Local communication and support is very important at this time as many older and vulnerable people are self isolating and information about businesses that can deliver and volunteers who can help their neighbours is very helpful.

West Sussex has a relatively older rural population who don't all wish to use or don't all have access to the internet so regional press is important for knowing about news and the services happening within walking and cycling distance.

Our vivid landscape image looks brilliant framed by the editor with an emerald green background. We hope this golden snapshot has been a positive addition to lots of coffee tables in the leafy hamlets of the Downs.

Cool girl with dog rainbow wall hanging by Amand Howse

Spring rainbow photograph by Amanda Howse

Spring rainbow photograph by Amanda Howse

I plan to continue to practice capturing the stunning light phenomenon of this picturesque harbour and surrounding countryside on the south coast. These images influence my artwork like the 'Cool Girl Rainbow Dog' wall hanging which can be found in our etsy shop here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay

This Spring I have been continuing to paint and sew colourful textiles inspired by nature. This wool and cashmere shawl is a work in progress that is currently draped on my mannequin. We could enjoy it as a warm throw on a painted vintage armchair. Alternatively if I continue to develop the design it could become a 'coatigan' style cover up, ready for the winter months. The cosy wrap is made from upcycled fabric scarves with the added feature of cotton and wool embroidery threads in striking contrast stitches.

During this year's mental health week we encourage everyone to have a chat with their friends, family and neighbours especially those who may have gone a bit quiet and who may be on their own right now. We hope you are enjoying the sunshine, keeping active and creative and we wish you lots of brighter days ahead.

Upcycled rainbow shawl by Amanda Howse

Upcycled rainbow shawl by Amanda Howse

 

6 Top Tips for Wrapping Up Your Sewing Alterations on Lockdown

Altered plum top by A Howse

Altered plum top by A Howse

Tip 1

Find some of your family's clothes that need basic mending and only simple repairs and tackle them sewing by hand in the garden. Alternatively enjoy some hand stitching in front of your favourite comedy or drama series. We recommend downloading the first episode in the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee which is on BBC1 on Wednesdays at 21:00 and has already just landed on BBC iplayer catchup, for some entertaining inspiration to get you in the mood.

    
A Howse's 'quick'win' alterations basket

A Howse's 'quick'win' alterations basket

Tip 2

Most people keep a box of wearable items to 'do on a rainy day' in a storage area or loft at home. These pieces to be altered can be split into two piles. Allocate a 'quick win' pile and also a more 'substantial project' stack. Pop the ones that won't take much time into a pretty basket or box like this vintage shopper. Find a small space in your work room or dining room or wherever you will find them when you have some time to catchup on 'things you have been meaning to do for ages'. Improving the fast to finish items first will feel satisfying and allow you to 'clear the decks' swiftly, spurring you on to attempt the bigger fashion challenges later.

Gather everything you need for your 'quick win' box in advance. Include your basic sewing tools and threads, small offcuts for making patches and haberdashery, edging and bindings as required. If possible keep these in your basket so you are ready to go when you have some quiet time to craft. Think about colours you want for your trimmings and order anything you need to complete your speedy fixes smoothly.

Blue top makeover by A Howse

Blue top makeover by A Howse

Tip 3

My dark ultramarine blue polo neck from Target in Florida, USA was damaged after being worn under overalls when I was painting recently. I chopped the sleeves short and re-cut the neckline to make it into a T-shirt instead. As the fabric is very fine 'tissue T viscose cotton mix' I hand rolled the edges and hemmed with small stitching. Then I went over the top with my sewing machine on a 'zig-zag' setting. If you have an overlocker (mine is inaccessible due to restrictions on movement at this time) that would work perfectly too.

I have also simply snipped off the 'neck' and made it into a stretchy 'Alice band' to wear with this cool navy under-layer.

Tip 4

If your tops and bottoms are tired, transform your natural fibre garments with machine washable dyes to give them a new lease of life. Or why not experiment with natural dyes such as indigo for a completely individual result. This purple patterned silk shirt originally from Monsoon was black and white and I customised it with a grape colour wash using 'plum' by Dylon. Then I finished it with deep violet lace around the neck and black stretch lace around the sleeves and bottom edges.

Pink T shirt mended by A Howse

Pink T shirt mended by A Howse

Tip 5

Turn black marks into a feature. This pink top had a dark mark after I had been taking care of some car maintenance. I added a little purple lace off-cut and some white cotton wool thread. Then I embroidered a little flower embellishment to an otherwise plain top and this only took a few minutes. It doesn't matter if it is not perfectly executed as casual clothes like this look fine with a hand finished flourish that adds a bit of character.

Plum silk top after alterations by A Howse

Plum silk top after alterations by A Howse

Tip 6

The 'kimono' shaped blouse originally had a long bow tie on the front. The underarm seams were split in places from wear and tear so I used the now unattached ribbon trimming it into small rectangles and then neatly taking the patches in place with lavender thread to reinforce the fine shirt at the armholes. Happily I still have enough matching length left for a headband or hair tie.
 

Social distancing is here to stay and many people will have more time than usual due to their normal meetings and events being postponed. If there is time try a decorative running stitch or 'sashiko' or 'boro' which are Japanese embroidery techniques for fine sewing work that mends the fibres of broken and torn garments and in turn adds to their beauty by forming something unique. It could be just what you old ripped jeans are waiting for.

 

Monsoon fashion website, 24 April 2020 https://uk.monsoon.co.uk/uk/women

Dylon machine dye website, 24 April 2020 https://www.dylon.co.uk/en/home.html

'About Sashiko' Japan Crafts website, 24 April 2020 https://www.japancrafts.co.uk/sashiko.html

'Three Easy ways to Mend Fabric Inspire by japanese Textiles' by Jessica Marquez, 24 April 2020 https://www.designsponge.com/2015/05/three-easy-ways-to-mend-fabric-inspired-by-japanese-fabric.html

'The Great British Sewing Bee' BBC1 website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03myqj2