Shop-bought cheap treats
THE obvious choices for inexpensive decorations are Ikea and Wilkinson’s. Both go to town at this time of year.
Ikea has a 25-piece set of Snomys baubles for £3.75 and a Strala paper star table lamp for £10 that looks great in a window with its base surrounded by fresh winter greenery. Ikea also do inexpensive candles, though they will burn out much more quickly than some thing handmade with natural essential oils. It might be better to invest in one quality candle than lots of cheap ones.
Wilkinson, which is the next best thing to the much missed Woolworths stores, has a good selection of baubles and fairy lights. A pack of four large snowball baubles are £2.50 and there are 20 clear lights, also for £2.50. There are some smaller battery powered lights that are great for table tops and these start at £1.50 for a snowflake tealight.
Home Bargains stores and pound shops are also good hunting grounds, though you have to sort the wheat from chaff.
A less obvious choice is another Swedish store, Clas Ohlson, which specialises in hardware and some homeware. There’s a branch on the Headrow in Leeds or you can buy online at www. clasohlson.com/uk
It has 25 per cent off decorations, including a pearl LED string light, now £6.99 and Christmas tea towels for £2.19, which you can hang on the wall.
I’m a big fan of vintage and specialist shops and fairs often sell old decorations at this time of year. I recently picked up a couple of large, glass baubles beautifully decorated with birds for 50p each.
Remember too that rather than buying lots of cheaper decorations, you could treat yourself to one or two special, more expensive ones. If you like something different check out Re. Their items are stocked in Liberty. www.re-foundobjects. com. Graham and Green,www. grahamandgreen.com , also have some great ideas. In Yorkshire, check out The Home at Salts Mill, Saltaire, www. thehomeonline.co.uk, which is a real inspiration. two packets of small, circular gift tags and a roll of florists wire. You can n buy the latter online, from craft shops, or Wilkinson sells 5 metre lengths for £1. Simple pierce a hole in the top of each tag and thread the wire through. You can also use string, embroidery cotton or narrow ribbon.
Homemade salt dough decorations are also easy to make. Simply roll out the dough to around 3mm thick and cut festive shapes with cookie cutters. Stars and tiny gingerbread men look best. Don’t forget to create a hole at the top with a darning needle before leaving them to dry for at least 24 hours. You can hang them individually or string together with florists wire to make a garland.
Brown or white luggage labels make great alternative baubles. You can write Christmas messages on them or buy a festive stamp and ink pad and print pictures and words. www. stampingalltheway.co.uk has a good selection.
Hobbycraft, www.hobbycraft. co.uk, has an ideas section on its website. It reveals how to make everything from a felt stocking to a decorative button tree and this cute rattan wreath snowman, pictured. holly, ivy, fruit and spices, and, of course, the poinsettia, which look best in groups.
You don’t have to be artistic to collect a few twigs and branches, dry them out, tie them together then decorate them with tiny
Don’t confine holly wreaths to the front door, they look great hung inside, lit with fairy lights.