Christmas style tips
Fill wine and cordial bottles with boiled or distilled water (to stop the water from clouding too soon) and place sprigs of foliage or woody herbs inside. Use as holders for elegant taper candles. Create whimsical free-form wreaths and garlands from foliage cuttings. Use gold and copper craft wire and black leather cord for contrast and a hint of shine. Spray paint is an easy way to add some understated bling. Coat found objects such as seed pods and dried flowers in antique gold and copper. Paint foliage sprigs in black for an edgy variation of the idea. Keep gift- wrapping simple and rustic. Crinkle brown paper and plain newsprint into tight balls and then flatten for an organic, crushed linen look. Give each present its own unique treatment: experiment with white and brown twine and use foliage sprigs and spray-painted seed pods as embellishment. Wrap the twine casually for an informal look. Strings of fairy lights are a Christmas essential: left in vases, in the fireplace, draped over the mantle, around door frames or hanging from the ceiling in the corner of a room. Approach a monochromatic table setting like a fashion designer focusing on layering and texture: think shades of chalk, grey, charcoal and bone. Anchor the scheme with a beautiful linen tablecloth; set places with vintage silver-plated cutlery, rough- edged linen napkins tied with hemp string and handmade crockery (black adds drama). Serve your guests a deconstructed ‘naked’ cake: make two classic sponges (one large, one medium) and trim them into circular shapes. Layer only the tops of each cake with buttercream frosting (hence the term ‘naked’) and sprinkle on a fine layer of edible glitter. Embellish with herb sprigs. Wrap thick pillar candles of varying sizes with gold or copper craft wire.