A novel Christmas tree

 

book-tree

Sarah writes…

If you love books like I do and fancy a pine-free tree – or just another tree to add to your collection – how about giving this book tree a go?

It’s pretty easy and only a little bit fiddly – and it’s guaranteed to make your festive poppers-in think you’re really literary and clever.

 

flower-2square-bare-tree

booksclose-up-tree

Here’s how…

1  Get all your books together – it’s good to get a mix of large hardback, paperback and smaller books. A metre-high tree, like this one, requires about 30 or 40 books

2  Lay your foundations by arranging 6 books of a similar size and thickness into a flower shape. If you’re doing a massive book-off tree then you might want to use 10 or even 12 books in your first flower layer

3 Start building, bringing your books towards the centre of the tree a bit more with each new flower layer. Make sure to use books of a similar girth (oo-er) on each level to prevent the wobbles

4 When you’ve gone as far as you can with your flower layers, you can start using one large book or two smaller books to build up your tree, getting narrower as you go

5 When you’ve reached a height you’re happy with, add a few smaller books to finish it off – Jasmine’s tiny pop-up books came in handy here. At this point, you might also want to prettify your tree shape by shifting books around here and there

6 Drape your tree in lights – I’m a sucker for a retro coloured light as it reminds me of being a misty-eyed kid in the 80s and 90s. I topped off the tree with a flickering LED tea light, too, but you could go for a pine cone, or an angel or whatever floats your Christmassy boat

Important aside: if you have a marauding toddler like I do – you could secure your books with a bit of blue tack to stop it from being smashed over. Or even better, build your tree on a surface they can’t reach. Building your book tree on a low bookshelf means double the book-y joy

finished-tree

Will you be decking your halls nice and early? We’d love to hear your DIY deco ideas..

You might have noticed that WMBL has driven back for Christmas – yup, we had a very extended summer break and didn’t blog during that time, which we’re slapping our own wrists for. No excuses other than we’ve all been manically busy with jobs and kiddos etc. But we’re back now and won’t be going away again! Thanks for bearing with us and see you again very soon. Merry early Christmas! 

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This December, we love…

WMBL WINTER

It’s the meteorological start of winter, if you live in the northern hemisphere that is. But this is not a weather report. Nor is it a hint of any sort about what we might want for Christmas…

This is just a round up of stuff we’re loving as the temperatures plummet, day light fades and the twinkly lights come out to play. Here goes…

1.This cuddly faux fur throw is perfect for snuggling under while watching The Bridge on BBC4 on Saturday nights. £39.99, Dunelm

2. Coffee shop Christmas coffee. We’d never normally order a black forest gateaux mocha but something just compels us…

3. Marks & Spencer’s Christmas food to order. In particular, its cheese boards. Serve with port. Or Prosecco. And repeat until 3rd Jan.

4. We May Be Little’s coffee cosy for an even Christmassier Christmas coffee. Coffee cup sleeve, £5, Etsy.com/shop/WeMayBeLittle

5. Why buy sequins now when wearing them in January will make you look like a Christmas tree who’s been put out for collection. Save pennies and buy beautiful sparkly earrings instead. Junk Jewels, Not On The Highstreet

6. Man knitwear. Casz but chic. Cosy but cool. And we’re liking the classy offerings over at Boden

7. Old-school Santa duvet to snuggle under? Why wouldn’t you. Prices from £19.50, M&S again

8. Now, this is an advent calendar. £29.50, Not On The High Street

9. How can a jumper look stylish? This answers the question. Plaited cable knit, £115, Karen Millen

10. These claret – or let’s say, port – skinnies are the perfect match for the above jumper. Darla trousers, £110, Reiss

11. The forever coat. A classic cosy parka. Women’s Charlie Fishtail Parka, £285, Parka London

12. And for men: £285, Parka London

13. Love you, steel grey Nikes. Nike Air Max Thea Premium, £95, Nike.com

14. What’s as cosy as snuggling up at home in an Aran jumper with candles flickering away in the background? Ah! Jumper candles and more from, Dibor,  Not On The High Street

15. White lights are nice an’ all, but didn’t the candy-coloured fairy lights of the 80s and 90s just feel more like Christmas? Go retro with these beauties. Fairy lights, £25, Ellie Ellie, Not On The High Street

16. And to finish? Why, a tangerine of course. Available at a supermarket/green grocers/farmers market near you.

Boozy hot chocolate

BOOZYCHOCFINISHED

Here’s something warm, soothing and boozy to sip on while you stick up your Christmas deco’s or start writing your cards. After all, we’re almost in December, peeps, and now is the time to put on two stone.

We like this boozy hot chocolate a lot. It’s like the sort of hot chocolate you’d get on a ski holiday: rich, thick, indulgent and guaranteed to leave you feeling a little rosy-cheeked and squiffy.

BOOZYCHOCMAIN

Here’s what you need for four people: 1 pint of milk; 50g of good dark chocolate – grated; 2 tbsp of quality hot chocolate; 1 tbsp of cornflour; 2tbsp of icing sugar; a bottle of chocolate cream liqueur or Irish cream/Baileys.

Here’s what you do:

1.Grate your chocolate into fine flakes – keep a few flakes back for decoration

2.Pour milk into pan on medium heat

3.Tip your grated chocolate, hot chocolate, cornflour and icing sugar into a jar and shake to mix

4.When milk is starting to bubble gently, spoon in your dry ingredients mixture

5.Turn down the heat a bit and keep stirring until your chocolatey milk becomes smooth

6.Pour a good glug of your creamy liqueur into glass mugs – or hefty tumblers with stems. We went for M&S’s Chocolate Yule Log Cream because it seemed rude not to

7.Carefully pour in your hot choc

8.Sprinkle on your leftover chocolate flakes

9.Drink while doing Christmas errands/watching Christmas 24

10.Pour some more when finished and get gently sozzled because it’s nearly Christmaaaaaaas!

 

 

Make a Pawsome Christmas Card

Christmas is on its way, John Lewis said so. And with it, the impulse to get creative. Or drunk. We’ll do both.

First, however, we decided to get creative and make our own Christmas cards. With a dog theme, because why not.

So if you’re feeling festively crafty and craftily festive and want a bit of Scotty Dog Christmas card-making action of your own, here’s a nice how-to – courtesy of Alice. Who came up with this cute dog design in her very own brain.

Want to make this bugger now? Here’s how…

You’ll need: Plain white card/s and envelope/s; a piece of festive material; thin ribbon for the dog collar; cotton wool for stuffing; tracing paper; needle; thread; pins; scissors; nice pen; chopstick, and glue or a fancy glue gun – Alice does creative things for Topshop so if she didn’t have one she should probably be sacked but don’t feel bad if you only have a tube of Super Glue

  1. Create a dog template. If you’re a great artist, freestyle. If you can’t draw for toffee it’s time to go dogging. The best tip is to Google-image ‘Scotty dog silhouette’. If you’re not into Scotties, search for the dog of your choice

2. When you’ve found a dog you like, that’s the right size for your card, print it off and trace it. Then add 5mm around the edge for your seam allowance. Cut neatly along your line

3. Now fold your fabric in half and pin on your tracing paper dog. Next, cut around your template

4. You’ll be left with two little flat dogs (Sheila and Sandra). Put them right side together so the inside of your fabric is facing out

5. Start stitching anti-clockwise from the top of your dog’s right paw. Don’t worry if you’re no Vivienne Westwood, or even one of the workers from Underworld in Coronation Street.

The stitches don’t need to be ultra neat; they just need to be very, very close together – because you’ll be stuffing this bad boy and you don’t want its innards spilling out

6. Stitch all the way around until you reach Scotty’s belly. Then stop abruptly, tie a neat little knot and cut your cotton. Now turn your fabric right side out

7. It’s time to get stuffed. Rip your cotton wool into teeny pieces and start stuffing your mutt with the help of your chopstick, which will get into those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies

8. All nice and stuffed? 

9. It’s time to stitch up your Scotty’s tum

10. Let get this pooch dressed up. Tie the ribbon around her neck in a fancy festive bow

11. Cute, huh?

12. Now add blobs of superglue to your Scotty and whack it on your card. FYI, we bought a pack of 25 ready-made cards and envelopes from John Lewis’s craft department (hey, JL, fancy sponsoring us? That’s your second mention today)

13. Woo hoo, it’s pun time. “Have a Woof-ly Christmas”, perhaps. “A Winter’s Tail”? “Have a Pawfect Christmas”? “The Most Woof-derful Time of the Year”, “Dog Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”? “Bone Noël”? Let’s stop there. Time to proffer this thing to someone special.

14. Et, voila. A handmade original for Christmas, which your nearest and dearest will go ruddy barking mad for.

Will anyone else be crafting anything unique for Christmas? We’d love to hear from you…