As the boy will tell you I am by all accounts an undomesticated slut (archaic usage applied!) However, every year come December I channel my inner Martha Stewart and get very excited about all the sparkly, glitzy, razzmatazz that comes with Christmas.
The boy and I usually have similar taste but this time of year reveals our differences. He is for goose, lamé and post-prandial present opening, I am for all birds (so long as they're moist), tinsel and frenzied unwrapping at dawn! Last year was our first Christmas living together, I toned down my catholic tastes- think evergreens, Diptique candles and a bough of mistletoe hanging from the chandelier.
This year I've not been able to resist going the hole hog and have adorned our new nest with a few wonderfully kitsch homemade touches. So, for all of you that want to embrace your inner Margot Leadbetter and adorn your home with a touch of Liberace read on for a few tried and test decorations that require little money and little effort.
Firstly, the golden pineapple, arguably 2015's decor equivalent of fashion's woollen cape, only more attractive and enduring. Pineapples have been a symbol of luxury and hospitality since Columbus brought them back from Guadeloupe in the late 1400s. They embellish everything from the Jamaican coat of arms to Lord Dunmore's exquisite pineapple summer house in Scotland and Cartier brooches.
Instructions could not be more simple. Purchase a fresh pineapple and a can of gold spray paint, ideally water based (I chose Liquitex Antique Gold), grab an old newspaper, step outside, lay the paper on the ground and spray away! My fingers looked a bit golden afterwards from rotating the pineapple so those who prefer to do things properly are recommended to use gloves, an old pair of washing up gloves would be perfect.
Next up, and possibly my favourite festive tradition, is wreath making. I make on every year and like to do something different each time. I've started from scratch before i.e. making the foundation around a wire base but this year I was lazy (can you see a common theme?) and bought a large blue fir wreath from Columbia Road flower market, along with big bunches of holly and eucalyptus and a few sprigs of thistle for ornament. You could use pussy willow, lavender, ivy- whatever takes your fancy! I'd recommend including a few berries in any arrangement for their colour.
Firstly, I found some old ribbon, one red and one blue. I wrapped the red ribbon around the wreath at equal spaces, tying it at the back and knotting the blue ribbon at the top so the wreath could be hung. The rest was very simple as the fir had been attached to a moss and straw base using thin wire meaning I could slip sprigs of my chosen foliage onto the base. It's worth having some extra wire on hand just in case! the best method I've found is to work in a clockwise motion from 12 o'cock, starting with the evergreens (eucalyptus in my case), then the berries (holly) and finally the thistle. Adding the ribbon early proved a good trick as it divided the wreath into manageable portions making it easier to decide where to place the next sprig for a plump, well-balanced effect.
Voila! You can finish here and I did for about a day until the boy told me he thought it might be nice to add a bit of gold which was a red rag to a bull....
And out the Liquetex came. I sprayed the whole thing, ribbon and all, and added a trio of golden pinecones on the lower left because sometimes more is more!
Two looks- one for purist and one for magpie. Which do you prefer?
- Moss wreath base
- Foliage (e.g. eucalyptus, holly, thistle)
- Wire (ideally florist stub wire but any thin wire will do)
- Gold spray paint (Liquitex Antique gold)