As Christmas is almost upon us I wanted to share the last few photographs of my collaboration with photographer Uli Schade. This is another simple idea to update plain glass baubles.
We finely shredded pages from an old book using a guillotine to cut between the lines of printed text, creating slivers of paper that we simply coiled into the baubles after removing the top. You could use scissors or a craft knife with a metal ruler on a cutting board to cut strips too and tweezers can help position them within the bauble. If you don’t have an old book then you could photocopy or print out your favourite carol or a passage from a Christmas-themed story book instead.
I also collected a few natural objects from the woodland floor on a walk with my family: pine cones, acorns and dried leaves that I sprayed a matt off white colour as additional festive decorations.
Wrapping gifts in a creative way makes a gift feel extra special for the lucky recipient and will look wonderful on display in your home until to is time to give the gift. Beautiful old metal cake tins like this one make wonderful, unique boxes for gifts with their tarnished silver patina. Keep an eye out for them at flea markets and car boot sales.
First I wrapped around the box with cotton ribbon. I then wrapped a twig in strips of Liberty fabric, attached with double sided tape. Beads were glued in place and stitched on like berries. Japanese paper was cut into leaf shapes and folded to imitate the texture of real leaves and a sprayed leaf was added too.
And that just about wraps up my creative Christmas collaboration with Uli Schade. We hope you like the ideas and the photographs and have fun making this holiday season.
Why not turn old light bulbs into baubles? I bought these vintage light bulbs a while ago at a car boot sale. I had no particular use in mind, they just looked rather beautiful to me. Then whilst working on the floral bauble decorations, it occurred to me that they were similar – so why not try the bulbs as baubles? It’s a little bit bonkers but I like it. I simply used thin wire, wrapped and tied around the base, to create a loop to hang them from. The metal ring is a wreath frame used in floral displays, usually packed with moss or oasis; I love the simple bare bones of the exposed wire though.
Some of the wire is wound round with a strip of Liberty print fabric (a similar idea to the covered coat hanger project in The Homemade Home), the rest left bare. For a little extra I added old chandelier droplets too. You can often pick these up loose at flea markets and boot sales. I kept the colours muted and used a scrap of fabric I already had and the bulbs hang in the centre as an alternative Christmas decoration.
My friend Uli Schade, who took all of these photos, made the lebkuchen below to an old family recipe that she learned as a child. They’re a traditional German Christmas treat, a bit like gingerbread and make great edible decorations for your tree if they’re made with the recipe that bakes them hard rather than soft. You can buy similar baked decorations all over Northern Europe and they’re often decorated with brightly coloured icing (think of the gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel) though here Uli used edible gold leaf as a stylish alternative.
The lebkuchen are hung with strips of paper cut from old, unwanted books and hang on a ring made from some evergreen Jasmine that I cut from my front garden wall.
Uli bought this sweet little hand-carved wooden bird from a Christmas fair in Germany. It’s attached to a wooden clothes peg and the bird nods up and down when you squeeze the peg – utterly charming.
A few more decoration ideas to add a quirky, homemade flavour this Christmas.
Why not turn simple clear glass baubles into mini vases and display beautiful little clippings of flora and fauna?
Here is Part 2 of my recent collaboration with talented photographer Uli Schade. We removed the metal tops from these Paperchase baubles by gently squeezing and pulling them off then added some water and pushed in the pretty and appropriate, pale green Christmas Rose flower (Helleborus niger) and a little Spruce fir tree cutting. We added just a touch of water so as not to make the baubles too heavy and used tweezers to position the foliage and ensure the flower faced upwards.
Natural string is used as ties and little offcuts of orange ribbon from VV Rouleaux add a vibrant pop of colour. You can add more water as it dries out or replace the flowers if they deteriorate. When packing the baubles away, remove the metal hangers, tip the water away and use tweezers to remove the foliage. Then rinse, leave to dry then replace the top and pack away for another year.
Another simple idea to make your Christmas decorations something different this year.
Pop back for part 3 in the next few days.
Why not decorate your tree decorations as well as your tree this Christmas? Here are a few simple ideas to embellish plain plastic and clear glass baubles and give them a new unique look. None take much time or effort and only use small amounts of paint and materials. You can tailor them to your festive colour scheme and they can make all the difference to the look of your tree and home.
I had some plain plastic baubles left over from a Christmas photo shoot I worked on and thought they would be perfect for personalising. I rummaged through the shed at the back of my garden and pulled out a variety of Fired Earth, Farrow & Ball and Dulux pots of paint in greenish shades along with some olive Montana Gold spray paint. Each bauble was balanced in an eggcup and painted with a flat, soft, artist’s brush, turned when dry and painted with several coats until fully covered. Other baubles were sprayed in the garden on old newspaper weighed down with stones. For an added colour pop I removed the metal tops on some and sprayed them in flouro pink to add a vivid contrast. I swapped the different coloured tops around to make the baubles more interesting and then threaded through homemade ties cut from Liberty print, suede and plain fabrics cut in strips as ties.
Clear glass baubles can be bought inexpensively in a variety of sizes, these ones are from Paperchase. The metal hanging loops can be removed by gently squeezing the looped wire at the top. Doing this allows you to add paint of your choice inside the glass. We used a pipette to add emulsion (latex) paint and left it with the top off to dry thoroughly. I also painted and sprayed leaves, picked from my garden (waxy leaves worked best) as well as wrapping twigs in fabric too.
These images are from another collaboration with photographer Uli Schade. After working together on the sugar/spice shoot we were buzzing with ideas and wanted to look at something festive but with a twist and away from the traditional.
I will be posting more images and ideas from our story over the next few days.
I was flicking through some old photos and found these images of two of the Christmas wreathes that I made last year and donated to sell at my children’s schools Christmas fair. I originally posted them on my Homemade Home Facebook page last year but as it’s that time of year again, and following the wonderful response to my simple clay decorations project, I thought I would share them here.
I bought the plain, woven wooden wreathes and then embellished them by hand with felt leaves, beads, ribbon, buttons and a little Robin in some cases. I made a dozen or so and each one was unique.
I used real leaves that had fallen in my local park as templates, pinning them to the felt fabric and simply cutting round them. All of the felt, buttons, beads and ribbon came from my stash of haberdashery goodies.
I used strong glue to fix the leaves on, let the glue dry and then sewed the red beads, to look like winter berries, and also old buttons on to the leaves to add visual interest. The matching ribbon finishes things off.
If you try this idea and use felt or fabric them make sure your front door is well sheltered from bad weather or the rain may be a problem.
My children loved the little birds. They were inspired by the little Robin who visits our back garden regularly, sitting on the fence and watching us in our kitchen.
What Christmas decorations are you making this year?
I first worked with Uli Schade on a story for Elle Decoration magazine and we just clicked straight away and went on to shoot some of my favourite photo stories. We got together again recently to shoot this little homemade edible gifts story. Food is a little bit of a departure for me but combining it with decoration as gifts and ideas for your table was fun, especially with Christmas not too far away.
When my graphic designer husband saw the photos he thought it was perfect to try something different to make the most of their high quality. He had been wanting to try out issuu.com for a while and suggested we try them as a little digital magazine booklet rather than a normal blog post. So we gave it a go, jotted down the recipes and some words and let him design it.
If you’re on iPhone/iPad and can’t see it click here
It’s a bit of fun but hopefully it will inspire you to try making some edible gifts for your friends and family this Christmas.
Who knows, if you like it we may do it again. What do you think? We would love to hear. And if you like it please share the link!
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.