decor

All is Calm, All is Bright.

Merry Christmas from Katescreativespace

So, Christmas is drawing close and we have an evening of gift wrapping, fire-lighting and – yes! – champagne drinking ahead.  Bliss.  The house is ready at last; the loyal dogs who guard our front door have dressed for the occasion…

Dogs in hats 2

Dogs in hats

The North Pole Sorting Office has once again taken up residence in the hallway, joined this year by my favourite bicycle, Delilah, who has been repurposed as a festive delivery bike and perches atop the hall table, bedecked with gifts and lights…

Delivery bike decoration for christmas Delivery bike gifts Delivery bike for christmas

Mistletoe is strung from every light fitting and I am making it my business to deplete as many berries as I can during the Christmas period; beware those who cross the threshold..

Misteltoe

Even the Montgolfieres Mice have decorated their basket for the holidays, and swing gently in the hallway, glittering with light.

Christmas mice

In the snug, I strung the columns with ribbon and cut delicate paper tree silhouettes out of paper for the window panes; they look beautiful in daylight with the sun streaming through and even prettier at night when lit from within…

Winter forest windows

paper winter trees

And so we are ready, I think; time to sign off now with just two big sleeps to go.

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and a joyful, relaxing break – thank you for another year of reading, following and commenting; it’s been absolutely lovely!

Here’s to 2016….

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One hundred and twelve red apples

Red apple seasonal tablescape

It was my birthday last weekend and we had a handful of close friends for dinner; one of those cosy, informal dinners that feels just right as the seasons turn and the nights close in.  I went to the garden centre after work looking for flowers I could use on the table and instead stumbled across a stall filled with windfall red apples; a few minutes later I had purchased 4 huge bags of apples for around £4.50/$7, and had developed biceps of steel carrying them to the car.  Very satisfying.

I filled a basket with some of the apples and rested it on a stool to the side of the table, then literally rolled the apples along the centre, adding a few other bits and bobs to add height and interest..

Apple styling

Apple centrepiece decor Apple centrepiece

Simple and inexpensive, it took about 10 minutes to set up, but as a low-effort way of adding a touch of seasonal colour it worked a treat.  For dinner we ate a kind of deconstructed chicken and mushroom pie which I prepared in a large casserole before adding personalised piecrust tops to serve with each;

Personalised piecrust!

I cut large circles of ready-made puff pastry and used cookie cutters to create cameo silhouettes and tiny letter cutters for the initials of our friends (you can make them the night before of course and just chill overnight).  Brush with a little egg glaze, bake for 10 minutes and serve on top of the pie filling; a little bit of fun…

Personalise piecrust toppers!

And finally; a pan full of fudgy, raspberry-stuffed brownies, still warm and with a scattering of icing sugar and a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.  I’ve gradually tweaked and adjusted various recipes over the years and come up with one I love; the quantities are huge so do adjust depending on your needs (but then who doesn’t need 24 brownies?  No point doing things by half). Recipe below..

Fudgy raspberry brownies

Raspberry fudge brownies

Finally, thank you SO much for the lovely comments last time about my quilt post and the blog in general; they really made me smile.

Have a great weekend, when it eventually comes; we have bonfires and fireworks planned, and a couple of days of nesting after an unusually hectic period of travel and juggling.  I can’t wait…

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The Cartographer’s Guide to Dress-Making

Paper Dress made from maps

I live in a small village which is blessed with not one but three – three – second-hand bookshops.  Amongst the shelves of nearly-new thrillers and bodice-rippers, travel guides and cookbooks there is a large, open-fronted cupboard marked ‘Ephemera: Misc’.  It’s here I gravitate towards and where I’ve found a myriad of wild and wonderful books, maps, charts and music scores over the years which have steadily formed a small paper drift in my studio, waiting for inspiration to strike.

One of my recent buys was this Collins Graphic Atlas; I’ve no idea of the age but it was certainly pre-decimalisation, given the princely sum of 5 shillings…

Vintage map book

It had pages and pages of beautiful old maps and charts of the constellations in each hemisphere (I think I’ll frame these two as a set; I can’t bear to cut them up..)

Map book

 

Inspired by amazing paper dresses like these, I decided to have a go at making a piece of art for my friend’s newborn daughter to hang in her nursery.  Armed with scissors, a bone folder and  - of course – a nutritional glass of wine, I set about playing with ideas and choosing the loveliest and most interesting maps.

The hardest bit was working out how to create a pleated dress shape.  It took me several false starts to think it through (use rough paper till you get the hang of it), but eventually; ta-da!! the perfect concertina box pleat;

Dress making with vintage maps

To save you the brain strain I experienced, here’s a guide below for how to make a box fold.  Essentially, you need to measure out and mark up your map or paper with alternate widths of 2cm/1cm, and then score them lightly using a bone folder to make folding easier.  The grey dotted lines below indicate where you fold the paper inwards to make an inverted fold; the red lines show where you fold away from you to build up the raised pleat areas.  Once you have made your box pleats, flatten the top end and gently spread out the bottom edges to create a fan effect like in the picture above.  Give it a whirl..

How to make a box pleat

Once the dress shape is made, the rest is fun and just needs imagination and a bit of playing around.  I made lapels for the dress using the edges of a map, folding carefully to match the borders, and using a punch to cut out a large decorative button (this can also cover a multitude of sins when you’re sticking it all together)

Assembling a paper dress

As you see above, I made little puffed cap sleeves by cutting semi-circles and lightly gathering and glueing them – but then decided later not to use them.

I assembled the dress together and then glued each part in place onto a sheet of white watercolour paper, layering it up, piece by piece.  It needed one final touch, for a tiny but determined person with the world at her feet and a life full of adventure ahead…

Matilda and her dress

And here it is!

Matilda's Map Dress

Good luck if you decide to give this a whirl; although I used my book of maps, any gift wrap, patterned or even plain paper would look good.  And do let me know how you get on…

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Home for the Holidays

With just six Big Sleeps ’til Christmas, anticipation is running high in our household. We flung open our doors last Sunday to family and friends, and this for us marked the start of the festivities (and compelled us to complete the holiday decor!).  We have a couple more days of work to get through, but the house at least is ready and adorned; today let me give you a quick tour in lieu of being able to actually invite you over for a glass of mulled wine…

Holiday house Christmas bike

Remember this delivery bike from Easter?  I’ve decked it out for Christmas, using an old fruit crate which I sprayed black, tucking in a faux Christmas tree draped in inexpensive, hardy baubles.  A simple wreath is tied to the basket frame, and I used one of these paper placemats mounted on card stock to make the welcoming holiday sign.  I wired a stock of old red lightbulbs (a car-boot sale find) and draped them over the frame, before clipping on an IKEA lantern at the back.  I bought of stash of these and have used them liberally throughout the house this year, following the Anthropologie adage that anything used in excess can look quite cool…  The bike sits outside in the lane when we’re expecting guests; rain permitting, of course.

In the hallway, an old sledge carries enticing looking parcels, which are actually old cardboard boxes wrapped in wall-lining paper and tied with ribbon.  I’ve borrowed the reindeer skin from our bathroom to add more Nordic style.  The sledge is lit by a paper tree, which I’ve hung with parcels of magic reindeer food (last year’s recipe is here), and which are given to small visitors when they leave.

Holiday House Entryway

Holiday House Reindeer Food

The Fir lady from last week is now complete and has taken up residence in a quiet corner of the kitchen, where she is shown to best advantage and unlikely to get underfoot;

Fir Lady

More parcels and lanterns add to the festive effect…

Fir Lady for Christmas

The biggest Christmas display is in our long and open hallway which runs the length of the house; I wanted something that would catch your eye as you walk in, but also look interesting as you come down the stairs, or glimpse it through the kitchen doorway.  It’s on the main thoroughfare to the bathroom, so tends to stop people in their tracks as they pause to examine the various bits and pieces….

Holiday house Christmas hallway

Let’s start at the bottom; I placed a large trunk on top of our hall table, then filled a picnic hamper with straw and tucked in two festive geese, which in previous years have been left to totter along landings at Christmas, or have perched on shelves.  They look slightly curious or alarmed, as if they know they are heading for the oven; but it also has the effect of looking a little like a hot air balloon basket, which may give them cause for hope of escape..

Christmas Geese in a Basket

On top of the case is an old wooden ladder which is usually covered in paint and dust, but for now is hung with more interesting accents and decorations.  Tucked underneath is an old typewriter, with a couple of robins perched atop it, pecking at the keys;

Festive hallway display

And a carol is typed out, for those who peer closely enough…

Christmas typewriter

Arranged on the ladder are various natural decorations like twig balls and giant seed pods, into which I’ve placed baubles as if they’ve just burst open to reveal them;

Festive montage

…and remember the book folding post?  I’ve used a couple of the books I made to add another dimension to the display;

folded decorations I

folded decorations II

More garden bits and pieces are arranged on top of a zinc pedestal which normally lives on the patio, including a driftwood wreath and wooden stars;

Garden decorations for Christmas

And further down the table, an old vegetable crate is turned on its side on a stool to create a winter forest scene, using animals from Harry’s Ark and tiny bristle trees.

Crate nativity

A wicker basket is perched atop the ladder with a small tree trimmed with battery LED lights (we click it on in the evenings), and this is the view as you head down the stairs;

Holiday scene from the stairs

 

It’s a constantly evolving display as items are borrowed and replaced, or others are added; but it’s quirky and makes me smile.  In other rooms we have the Christmas tree as usual, and other, more traditional decor; this is just a taste of something a little different, to ring in the changes. I hope you enjoyed it too!

I’ll be back a couple more times before Christmas with last-minute cookie gifts, printable Santa telegrams and some wrapping ideas.  It’s ho ho ho all the way now I’m afraid; there’s no place for the Grinch here…

Kate x

Festive delivery bike

Think Pink: Painted Bottle Vases

painted glass bottle vase DIY

I was looking for a way to quickly brighten up our summer dining table yesterday, and this super-quick DIY was born, using leftover paint samples to decorate glasses and vases to fill with garden blooms.  I used water-based emulsion paint, roughly mixed for a layered, ombre look.  I wanted a temporarily decoration that I could scrub off again later – if you want to create a permanent effect, just used oil-based paint and a primer.

I used Ensidig vases from IKEA; cheap as chips at just £1 each, and a lovely clean, simple shape like a retro milk bottle.

painted glass milk bottles

To make these, simple clean and dry your glass (drinking glasses work really well, as do all kinds of jars and bottles). Roughly mix up your paints – in my case a rosy pink and pure white, and use masking tape to define the area you want to paint.

water-based vase painting

Layer on your paint, then use your brush or finger to blend to create the look that you want (using one colour looks great too).

painted milk bottle vases tutorial

Peel off the tape when the paint has dried, and you’re ready to go… I added a tag to one of mine ready for Grandma’s bedside table when she comes to visit (quite a large tag, to accommodate Harry’s fledgling letter formation!)

DIY vase for grandma

A set of these would look great in rainbow colours down the centre of a table (use water-based acrylic paints from a craft store for vibrant colours), or even with stencilled initials or motifs. Handle the finished vases gently; splashes of water won’t cause any harm, but they’ll be vulnerable to scratches and knocks.  To remove your paint afterwards, just scrub in warm soapy water.

And finally; four minutes of magic for today;

I’m a huge fan of TED talks, but somehow had never come across this one by the incredibly talented spoken-word poet Sarah Kay, who talks to her as-yet-unconceived daughter about how to be brave in this world.

It’s four intense, passionate, fevered minutes of oratory (the whole talk is worth listening too, but at least the first 4minutes..), and for me it captured all of the things we want our children to know from the moment we first hold them; the mistakes we know that they will have to make,  the things we know they won’t believe until they see for themselves … and most fundamentally of all, the one message that we hope above all to instill; that there’s someone in your corner no matter how tough it gets, and that your port in the storm will always be here. With us. Whatever life brings.

Enjoy.

Happy New Year!

Welcome back, and  Happy New Year!  I hope that you had a lovely Christmas and a chance to switch off from the hurly-burly of day to day life.  We had a wonderful time here; a great, celebratory Christmastime, and then a lovely slow blur of days which blended into each other as we nested at home, piled up in rugs on the sofa, with the occasional blast of icy fresh air from walks in the woods.

Santa was extremely kind this year, and so too were our friends and relatives who showered Harry in loveliness, so thoughts this week turned to the very important task of saying a heartfelt ‘thank you’.  Harry’s a wee bit too young still to produce identifiable drawings or to have the concentration and dexterity for complete written sentences, so instead we staged a chaotic 5 minute photoshoot to produce some fun pictures for a home-made thank you card.

harrys thank you cards

I slung an old sheet over a bookcase for a backdrop, then gave Harry a big handful of ‘thank you notes’ – printed ad infinitum onto paper and then sliced into words – to play with.  As you can see from the outtakes below, he tried throwing them, blowing them and ultimately just tried not to drop them; he loved it for about 3 minutes, and that’s all I needed.  The clear-up took slightly longer…

HARRY OUTTAKES

I printed out some copies and glued to blank cards, pasting in one of the ‘thank you’s we used in the photo into the inside of each card and then filling in.  We added interesting stamps to each before feeding into the postbox.

harry cards final

I then got a little carried away with the general theme and made some ‘grown up’ thank you cards using the same principle (below), cutting and pasting the words for thank you in different languages and adding a simple wooden star from a pack of leftover Christmas craft embellishments.  I like their simplicity, particularly for this time of year when we’re all a little weary of sparkly festive colour and ready for a more neutral palette and a return to muted decor…

grazie mille close up grazie mille main

One of the joys of this last couple of weeks has been having the time to play a little and to try new things.  My mum’s Christmas gift to me included a big bag of wool and knitting needles, and a foolproof pattern for a beginners’ scarf; she taught me to cast-on on Boxing Day and I’ve just finished my first ever piece of knitting (below), and mighty proud I am too!  I suspect that I lack the patience and concentration to ever excel at knitting, but I’m cheerily offering hand-knitted scarves to every member of the household, buoyed by a passionate, if temporary, enthusiasm for wool.

knitted scarf

And so to the New Year, and to resolutions.  As some of you know, this blog was born of a resolution on NYE 2012, when I decided to write a blog for a year, documenting the fun stuff I do with Harry and the projects we try.  Up until about the middle of December, I was pretty clear that it would come to a natural end with the close of the year, and I would look back on it as a great thing to have done at a very specific time in my life.

But.

I think I’d really miss it. And without the discipline of posting regularly, I doubt I’d take as many photos or preserve as many memories as I do. So, my resolution for 2013 is to continue for a while longer, perhaps not with the same intensity, but definitely with the same kind of projects and ideas, posting when inspiration strikes and when time allows.  Your comments and feedback are fantastic to receive (and thank you so much to everyone who replied to ‘A Pause’ with all your festive good wishes and the small insights into life where you are; it was a wonderful Christmas present for me).

I’ll be back next week for the grand opening of Harry’s Hardware and Auto – his play store and garage which appeared, as if by magic, last week – and I hope that you’ll join me.  In the meantime, I’m sweeping pine needles, wrapping and storing Christmas decorations, and replacing the glitz and bling of the festive season with simple things around the house, like these; a bowl of fresh lemons which is slowly scenting the kitchen and mingling with the paperwhites and hyacinths to produce a distant promise that Spring will come again…

january lemons

In Praise of Simple Pleasures

I finished work this week, increasingly giddy with that end-of-term feeling that I’ve never quite managed to grow out of. I love my job, but the thought of hanging up briefcase and heels and simply nesting for 3 whole weeks is a wonderful one. With the recent intensity of work and the heady social chaos of the festive period, it feels like we’ve not quite seen enough of each other of late, and certainly haven’t seen much of the house in daylight hours. As a result, this weekend has been spent decorating for Christmas, eating hot, buttery crumpets, piling logs onto the fire and just enjoying being here, with each other, with no alarm clocks and no cause to rush.

small pleasures
It’s a time of contentment in simple pleasures, like the unwrapping and rediscovery of cherished ornaments, like these Faberge-esque beauties bought at the now defunct Smith & Hawken store in Manhattan on my first ever trip to the city a decade ago, along with a box of vibrant and perfectly round glass berries which catch the light and twinkle against bare branches which I’ve propped in vases and dotted about the house

S&H eggs
S&H berries
I’ve finally brought down the last of the boxes full of books which have been hidden up in the loft for the last year whilst we tackle the renovation, and spent a lovely hour picking out some old barely-remembered favourites to re-read over the holidays. They sit stacked full of promise on my bedside table, and the anticipation of losing myself in them again is half the pleasure. This year I’m hoping that Santa brings Nora Ephron’s poignant novel Heartburn, which I’ve inexplicably failed to read in the decades since it stormed the best seller lists.

reading pile

We’ve been filling the house with some of the treats I associate with childhood Christmas, like bowls of these fat satsumas, easy enough for Harry to peel without help and impossible to walk past without taking one…

satsumas
And pots and planters filled with cyclamen, one of my all-time favourite plants, with their plucky flowers which look like they’ve been blown upwards with a hairdryer – apparently fragile yet able to withstand freezing temperatures and the accidental casual neglect they suffer at our hands

cyclamen
And we’ve begun the process of decorating the house for Christmas, little by little. Whilst I sort of admire that Marthas of this world who can magic up a Christmas wonderland in the space of one night whilst the rest of the house sleeps, for us it tends to be a very gradual build of festive accents and treasures, as we build up to the big day. This weekend our log basket has gained a garland of Japanese origami paper lights;

concertina lights
And this salvaged barn star leans casually against the kitchen skirting

amish barn star
Whilst the ancient typewriter in our entrance hall hammers out a traditional carol

remington

I’ve added a few handmade decorations too this year, like the paper stars I posted about in November, and these star garlands, made by laying two flat star cut-outs on tops of each other and stitching together before bending out to form a 3d star. These look great if you use different but tonal colours (I layered yellow and orange, and red and pink), but also beautiful in a subtle, rustic way if you use plain white paper, newspaper or muted shades. Run them through your sewing machine and just pull out about an inch of extra thread between each one.

star garlands

As part of holiday preparations I also did a tour of the house changing out blown lightbulbs, and gathered quite a hoard, so – inspired by this idea – I’ve coated the candle bulbs in white glue and dipped in glitter to make these sparkly tree ornaments. To create hanging loops, I’ll thread yarn through a small button and glue it to the top of each bulb to hold it in place. I’m just deciding whether to use these as gift toppers, tree decor or to simply place in wine glasses for Christmassy evening dinners as a sparkly place setting for guests. I tried various different colours but loved the deep graphite-like grown-up sparkle of these ones the most.

glitter bulbs DIY
And finally I’ve of course been doing a bit of festive culinary experimentation, like making these Christmas tree pie-toppers from puff pastry and pink peppercorns; use them on tops of stews and casseroles or instead of a full pie crust. For sweet pies, I’d simply dust them with icing sugar and maybe use edible silver balls in place of the peppercorns.

puff pastry trees
My favourite of all though was finally getting round to making a Bûche de Noël – the English translation of a chocolate log is distinctly inferior to the magnificent French original, and this ganache-coated chocolate sponge will I think become a family favourite for the future. I added mushrooms fashioned from marzipan and gave it a festive coating of icing sugar ‘snow’ (which also helps to hide any heavy-handedness in the rolling process..)

buche de noel
And as you know, I can never resist adding a dash of pyrotechnics..

buche de noel

It’s been a weekend of nesting, of family and friends, and of holding each other a little tighter and counting our blessings as events unfold in the outside world.  I hope you had a good one, and that the world where you are is safe and warm.

Tea with a twist



Sometimes the simplest projects are the most fun, and these are certainly simple. When we have people to dinner, the evening inevitably draws to a close with coffee – for the hardened souls who can sleep despite any amount of caffeine – and herbal teas, for those of a healthier disposition.  I have a range of lovely different fruit and herbal teas, but all are pretty uninspiring to look at, especially when served bag-in… so here’s a way of pimping your teabags to raise a smile! I raided my stash of beads and charms, and simply replaced the original paper tags with something a little more interesting.  Ideas below…

Lovebird tea? Use a simple mini heart peg and tie the teabag string to the clip. These pegs came in a pack of about 20 for £1.50 / $2.

These neon rubber beads are a good accompaniment to zingy fruit teas…

How about making a set of these to tie onto Christmas tea as a gift – I’ll be enlisting Harry to help with punching these and choosing the colours as a simple homemade gift for relatives later in the year.

I used whatever I had to hand – it’s fun experimenting, and you don’t need a full ‘set’ of matching tags.  For the charms you’d be sorry to see go, just make sure you serve them at home – then you can craftily snip them off when washing up and start all over again…

Flea Market Foraging

I had a magical day last week when the rest of the world was at work and Harry was in nursery and I could pack up the car and head to the coast at Brighton for a few hours of mooching around vintage markets and architectural antiques barns – heaven.  Brighton has a very unique vibe and is a mecca for artists, craftspeople and alternative lifestyles; you’d struggle to find a McDonalds but if you’re looking for a vegan, gluten-free falafel with wheatgrass juice you’ll be spoilt for choice. The Lanes near the seafront is a twisty, windy area stuffed with one-off shops and galleries, and some very cool homeware stores.  I bravely resisted the urge to burn my credit card until I came to a huge and rambling vintage shop called Snoopers Paradise which hosts lots of different antique and second-hand dealers.  I set myself a max. budget of £70 ($110) and here’s what ended up coming home with me…

This vintage flag cost just a few pounds and I bought it thinking it would be great in the garden for future boy-activities like the building of camps and adventure games; perhaps it would mark home vs enemy territory, be hung from the top of a play castle or be waved triumphantly as the victory pendant of the winning side… but now I’m very taken with it where it is, dangling from a stair rail in my office; we’ll just have to fight over it later.

The sea-green tin trunk weighs hardly anything (though it didn’t feel like it by the time I’d manhandled it to the car…), and would make a great blanket box for the end of a bed.  I’m thinking of the smallest bedroom at the top of our house, which has a hideaway feel to it, and is a cosy, calming space.  It’s next on our project list for redecoration and this chest will probably be the basis for the colour palette I use.  I thought about stencilling letters on it, but the more I look at it the more I’m inclined to leave it alone; all views on this welcome!

This old printers tray (above) would originally have held fonts for typesetting, and will make great quirky storage.  I can’t decide whether to wall-mount it in Harry’s playroom to store the ever-increasing number of small character figures he is accumulating, and which are forever getting lost down the sofa / in pockets / in the car never to be seen again…

…Or whether to use it as flat tray storage for my miscellany of embellishments, findings, glitters and magpie-like collections, per below.

Finally, one last small purchase was this dusty old pocket book guide to birds eggs, from the time when it was perfectly acceptable to spend weekends rummaging around in birds nests and collecting eggs to bring home and label.  I’m thinking I will use some of the beautiful tonal watercolour plates for future Easter cards and home decorations, or maybe simply create a miniature framed collection to hang on the wall.

I only get to do this about twice  year (which is just as well, given the amount of eclectic junk I drag home each time…), but it’s one of the things I love, and definitely a case of the journey – the rummaging, speculating, pondering and pouncing – being as much fun as the destination itself.

Starstruck



Stars… don’t you just love them? Folding and cutting stars and smothering them with sparkly glitter glue and paint is surely a right of passage for all children, and is the basis for much homespun Christmas craft. But it would be a great shame if we limited star-gazing to those times only.  I challenge all fully-grown adults to grab the nearest piece of paper (bills, doctors appointments, fines; the more depressing the paper, the more satisfying this will be…), and make a star.  Hell, make a galaxy; once you’ve started it’s very hard to stop…

I made these ombre tonal stars (above and bottom) for Harry’s room, to hang jauntily from Brad the Stag’s antlers, and also to form decorative garlands about the house.  Whipping myself into a snipping & folding frenzy, I’ve also decorated our beautiful but lethal ancient spiral staircase, which seems to be invisible to adult peripheral vision and has caused many a painful encounter for anyone over 5 foot.  With its gaudy bling-tastic stars it’s now quite hard to miss.

Experiment with different colours and textures for very different effects per below.. I embellished with glitter and tiny buttons, and used gift wrap for the bright stars, 216gsm textured card stock for the tonal stars.  Step-by-step instructions below for those who have forgotten everything they learned in geometry classes… no complicated measuring I promise!

3D Star Tutorial:

I’m showing the ‘no fancy tools’ method first using just a cup and a ruler… those who can rummage in a draw and retrieve a pair of compasses will find an even easier method below.

  1. Take a glass (or anything round and flat) and measure the diameter; halve this and make a note.  It’s 4.5cm for me.
  2. Draw around the glass, and then measure and mark this distance around the rim, giving you 6 equidistant points.
  3. Join up these marks with straight lines, skipping alternate points, ending up with a star like this in Fig.3
  4. Cut out the star, and fold right-sides together along each of the INNER angles of the star – do this 3 times in total.
  5. Turn over and fold wrong-sides together along each of the OUTER POINTS of the star, giving you your 3D shape – again, make 3 folds.
  6. refold and score again to reinforce the sharpness of the folds, then pop out to make your star.

If you have a pair of compasses, simply set them to the distance you want for the circumference of your star, draw a circle then choose a point at random along the rim. Swing the arms of the compass to mark either side of this where it bisects, and ‘walk’ your compass around the rim to make 6 marks in total – by holding the compass in the original position you won’t need to measure.  Then follow steps 3-6 as above.

These make beautiful gift tags too – just tape a piece of ribbon or thread to the back and then loop over the neck of a wine bottle or onto a gift.  Thread them together to form a garland, prop them up on mantles or shelves, or simply hang a few from a doorknob; be warned though; they’re so tactile and perky that visitors will gravitate towards them and want to give them a good squeeze…

If you try these do let me know how you get on… message me below or even upload your beauties to www.facebook.com/katescreativespace and let’s have our own paper constellation…

Outside in.



As we restore our crumbling, ancient home I’m continually drawn to natural materials and a muted palette, be it the newly laid wooden floors, the kiln-dried accent logs we’ve stacked high around our wood-burning stove, or the stone fireplaces we’ve sourced from reclamation yards.  I recently papered Harry’s room in this beautiful winter Woods wallpaper from Cole & Son, aiming to create the aura of a nighttime forest, with a soft canopy of fairy lights. This week’s project was to create a tree stump bedside table (finished article above) on which toys, storybooks and a glass of water can perch whilst he sleeps.

Image courtesy of Cole & Son

To make the table I ventured down to the log pile at the end of our garden, home to every invertebrate known to man (including – mortifyingly – some which jump…) I’d love to boast that I fearlessly hefted a few likely logs into my wagon and strolled casually back, but in truth I wimped out and rustled up my husband to do the dirty work whilst I mutely pointed at the logs I wanted with a trembling finger, from the safety of the patio.

I chose a couple of level, even logs and let them dry out in the sunshine for a couple of days before chipping off loose bark and sanding until smooth.  This latter stage sounds deceptively swift; in reality it’s relentless and dull and likely to cause your arm to go numb and induce temporary deafness. Still, it’s worth it (sort of).  Once your log is really smooth, the final stage was to wax it; I mixed up 3 parts natural liquid wax (wood oil will work fine) to 1 part white emulsion, and applied two coats to give it this soft warm glow.

So now my first log project is complete and has pride of place by Harry’s bed, and his room is almost complete.  The memory of the spiders, sanding, paint fumes and the sheer weight of the finished table as I dragged it upstairs are rapidly beginning to fade, and I’m already pondering what to attempt next… here are 3 gorgeous projects from elsewhere around the web which caught my eye; hmmm, which to choose?

Log pencil holder from strawberrychic.com

amazing log sofa from dornob.com

Log candles from etsy.com