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Host a Christ­mas din­ner to re­mem­ber with Becki Clark’s easy-make ta­blescape

Mollie Makes - - At Home With -

MA­TE­RI­ALS

For the table­cloth Three av­o­ca­dos Linen table­cloth Large saucepan For the nap­kins Po­tato Mus­tard yel­low fab­ric paint Nap­kins For the plates Posca paint pens in blue and gold Plain plates For the baubles Fil­l­able baubles (ours were from www. hob­by­craft.co.uk) Fo­liage sprigs Gold glit­ter Spe­cial doesn’t al­ways have to mean fancy. This year, in­stead of dust­ing off the best china, we’re em­brac­ing botan­i­cal vibes and a warm, gen­tle pal­ette for a re­laxed take on Christ­mas feast­ing. Think sprigs of green­ery, nat­u­ral dye­ing and hand-drawn leafy de­tails.

For­get fast-paced fes­tiv­i­ties – slow down and sim­plify the sea­son, tak­ing time out for a lazy av­o­cado brunch and a win­ter for­ag­ing walk to gather your ma­te­ri­als.

Table­cloth

Cut the av­o­ca­dos in half and scrape them out so you’re left with the skins and stones. Give them a good wash and leave them to dry.

Fill a large saucepan with wa­ter and bring it to the boil. Drop the av­o­cado skins and stones in and let the wa­ter sim­mer on a low heat. The wa­ter won’t change much to be­gin with, but keep check­ing it ev­ery 10 min­utes and you’ll see the colour de­velop. To achieve a blush colour, sim­mer them for about 45 min­utes.

You’ll see the colour ap­pears a lot darker than blush pink, but you can do a test with a scrap of linen fab­ric to see how the colour’s look­ing. Once you’re happy, strain the dye to leave just the liq­uid.

Pop the table­cloth into the saucepan with the dye and let the fab­ric ab­sorb it. Re­move it from the pan and leave to dry.

Nap­kins

Press the nap­kins and lay them out, right side up, on a flat cov­ered sur­face.

Cut a medium-sized po­tato in half and cut a grid into one of the halves, as shown, cre­at­ing a rec­tan­gle in the cen­tre.

Carve the sur­round­ing edges away leav­ing just the cen­tral rec­tan­gle at its orig­i­nal height.

Ap­ply paint to the po­tato stamp, mak­ing sure the rec­tan­gle is fully cov­ered, then be­gin print­ing a de­sign on the nap­kins us­ing the im­age as a guide. Work your way across the nap­kin. You don’t have to keep the prints in straight or hor­i­zon­tal lines – you can ex­per­i­ment first on a piece of pa­per to cre­ate a pat­tern you like.

Plates

To draw a wreath de­sign, work from the mid­dle of the plate out­wards so you don’t risk

smudg­ing it. Start by us­ing the blue pen to draw a small cir­cle in the mid­dle of the plate. You may find it help­ful to use a small cir­cu­lar ob­ject as a tem­plate to draw around for this step.

Work around the cir­cle adding teardrop shapes all the way around to cre­ate leaves, as shown.

Next, draw an­other larger cir­cle around the small­est mo­tif, as shown – you can do this by eye. Con­tinue to add more teardrop shapes as leaves, this time slightly larger than the pre­vi­ous ones.

Add a fi­nal cir­cle around the edge of the plate and draw the same teardrop botan­i­cal leaves.

To fin­ish, add gold dots as berry ac­cents onto the botan­i­cals us­ing the gold pen. You can work over the coloured leaves.

STYLING TIPS

Add strokes of ochre paint to ivory din­ner can­dles for an om­bre look, and fill clear baubles with a pinch of gold glit­ter and sprigs of ever­green fo­liage. For cut­lery wraps, use small money wal­lets and let­ter onto them with your guests’ names. We used a brush pen, but you could use a pen and ink to get the same ef­fect.

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