Thursday, 28 March 2013

Ressurecting vintage stoneware jars

I have a bit of a thing about old stoneware jars. There is something pleasingly homely and weighty about them. Added to which they turn up at boot fairs for about 50p.

Having amassed a number of them for no purpose I came up with idea of using them in the kitchen. I bought corks from Just Cork so that I could use the jars for tea and sugar and labeled them with blackboard paint and have been fairly happy with the result:

A year later and having accumulated a few more jars I had another look and decided that the idea was great but I needed the paint to be a little more uniform. Still clearly hand done and a bit uneven but roughly the same size labels. That was what this post was going to be about. Masking tape, paint and a few top tips about what did and didn't work for me.

BUT! The blackboard paint I used was a different brand and behaved in a totally different way. It would do a beautiful light first coat but when it came to second and third coats the paint would disintegrate the first coat leaving a blotchy mess. Rustic is one thing rubbish is another. I cleaned the pots and attempted to do it again......eight times. I was not going to be beaten. I was doing something wrong. After the eighth time I decided that either I had to buy the original brand of paint or come up with another idea. Well I was not going to buy an entire tin of paint to use a few paintbrushfuls.....

I had some De-cal paper left over from another project so decided that this would be the answer. (Truth be told I was starting to get fed up of this.) If you have never come across this paper you really need to give it ago. Using a normal home printer and a bit of patience you can stick an image onto just about anything and it will look as though you bought it like that. It isn't that expensive. I get it from Crafty Computer Paper.

I am not going to go though exactly how to use the paper as I would only be duplicating the instructions that come with it. However I do have three top tips:

Top Tip 1: Read the instructions properly. Yes I know, I know! I printed it on the wrong side twice and had a mini meltdown when the whole lot didn't seem to be working. I was just peeling the wrong bit off.

Top Tip 2: When you get to sticking the adhesive film onto the printed image peel an inch of the paper off and fold it down.

Top Tip 3: Everything will be a mirror image so turn the image round before printing.

My original plan was to make black labels to stick on but as I had to use at least an A5 sheet to put it through the printer I did a few words to see how they would look, I used a typewriter font so they would look a bit smudgy. The black labels looked good but boring but the words looked ACE! 

Ahem. I forgot to turn the words round so we had mirror writing. I kinda liked it though so showed it to my Matey. We agreed that we liked the topsy turvy look and did the rest like that:

If I say so myself I think they look fantastic and the mirror writing gives a bonkers edge which stops them looking too twee. I'm on the hunt for some larger jars now that will take a whole bag of flour. It rather defeats the purpose if only half a bag fits in.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Hot cross buns

As Easter is coming it is time for one thing. No not chocolate, something far better than your average Easter egg. HOT CROSS BUNS!

Hot cross buns are truly wonderful things. Warm with plenty of butter and the promise of spicy, fruity yumminess they turn me into a Victorian ragamuffin with my nose pressed to the bakers window.....or possibly Paddington bear. (Though they would have to be marmalade buns. Idea growing in back of head.) Either way I take the business of buns far too seriously. As it was Palm Sunday yesterday I thought I ought to get some practice in for Good Friday.

625g strong white flour
3 teaspoons ground mixed spice (I usually go for a wobbly hand with the spices!)
45g butter
85g sugar
Zest of 1 lemon or orange (This part is optional so if you can't be bothered to go out because it's cold don't worry about it.)
1½ teaspoons fast-action yeast
1 egg
275ml milk
200g mixed dried fruit (This is more than the average recipe because I love dried fruit so adjust to your taste)
Pinch of salt
For the topping
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Sieve the flour, salt and spices into a bowl and mix thoroughly before adding the butter. I used my lovely Kenwood Chef with the dough hook for about 30 seconds but if you don't have a mixer then rub the butter in with your fingers.
2. Add the sugar, zest and yeast and mix in.
3. Warm the milk till it is tepid (imagine you are giving it to a small child) and beat the egg.
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the milk and egg. Mix together to create a dough. (low setting for a machine)
5. If you are doing this by hand you need to knead it on a floured surface for about 5 minutes while adding the dried fruit. If you are using the machine to do your work for you turn it up very high for 3 minutes before hand kneading the dough in. 
Top Tip: Don't be tempted to add the fruit to the machine earlier. The power with which it pummels the dough will batter the fruit into tiny bits.
6. Make a ball out of the dough and place in a large greased bowl. Cover with cling film or a towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until it is twice the size.
7. Knead the dough again for a few minutes before dividing into equal pieces. I like big buns (snigger!) and go for a weight of around 150g which is 8 buns for this recipe. Make nice round buns and cut a deep cross into the dough. Place on a greased baking tray and cover with cling film to rise again for 30 minutes.
Top Tip: I am very puritanical and like the ultra traditional cut cross. If you want one that is a bit more defined make a paste with flour and water and pipe the cross on.
8. Put in the oven 240C for 15-20 minutes. (This varies according to the size of the buns.) They are ready when golden brown and sound hollow when you tap their bases.
9. While the buns are cooking put the sugar in a saucepan and add just enough water to cover it. Heat the mix to dissolve the sugar and create a  sugary syrup that is slightly thick but can still be brushed on with a pastry brush.
10. When the buns are ready put them to cool on a wire tray and brush the sugar syrup over the top.

Enjoy while still warm with plenty of butter and a nice cuppa. I went a bit mad and had posh hot chocolate as well.

    Thursday, 21 March 2013

    Perfectly imperfect

    While putting some finishing touches on a present for a friend last I found myself musing on how hard it is to be pleased with a project. Maybe it's just me but I find myself fretting about tiny imperfections that nobody will ever, ever see. If it's a present I find myself struggling to not point out every single minutely wonky part to the poor recipient who hadn't noticed. Equally when cooking I find it practically impossible to eat the final product without thinking out loud about how it could be better.

    I've come to the conclusion that:
    1. This is daft
    2. It's a tiny bit rude to give somebody something and then proceed to tell them how bad it is
    Perfectionism is a great goal. What is the point of doing something if you are not going to try to get it right?

    However unrealistic perfectionism is not so great. Bombarded as we are by images of the 'perfect article'. Take a look at pintrest. There isn't  anything wonky there. The fact that behind each photo are hundreds of first attempts, disasters, clever angles, cropping and just a smidgin of airbrushing doesn't occur to you when you are looking at your own work.

    Pick up something you like that you bought from a shop. Does it look great?  Now look at it as if you made it. Put your nose right up against it and be just as critical as you are with yourself. See. Bit wonky isn't it? I realised that I had possibly taken pickiness a bit too far when shopping for guest china for work in John Lewis. (I had recently been designing some china mugs for my shop so my 'perfection' antennae was on over drive.) Nothing was good enough. I spotted tiny imperfections that were barely there and nobody else could see.

    Aside from the pleasure of creation the whole point of making something is to avoid the mass produced and have something unique. Yes is very good to be self critical and to learn new and better ways of doing things as a result. BUT! It is the tiny imperfections that prove that you spent time and effort on making something.

    Wednesday, 20 March 2013

    Decorating Challenge: The Kitchen - Part 1

    Having sold an impressive £120 worth of stuff on eBay......more than I expecting...yippee! It was time to tackle the kitchen. The main reason for this is that it is the second smallest room in the house so it wouldn't be to much disruption. Or so I thought

    After much discussion we decided that we liked the old combination of red and cream. So time for some more testers (Yes we are sticking with Dulux again. I can't bear to spend £10 on a few tester pots when I can get 6 for £2) and some 'before shots' into the bargain.

    As you can see there is one twist to our sticking to the red and off white. We are reversing it. The one large red wall is turning white and the rest is turning red. In theory there will be less red on show as it will be covered by the cupboards but what can be seen will be set off nicely with the wood cupboards and make much more of a statement.

    And so it this is a truly nasty sight. The old paint, which I thought was clean, next to the new paint. YUCK!

    At the end of the first day I was getting a tad depressed at the sight of the mess so I painted a small corner with the red (Burnt Autumn 1 - I think I'm enjoying the daft paint names too much) to show me that there was an end in sight and it was all going to be ok eventually.

    A bit of paint sploshing around, this is a tad of an the end of two days painting we were both knackered, and we are getting there. Just have to wait till the weekend to do the next and rather exciting bit. For the time being it's a bit like camping with half our stuff in boxes:

    (Note the new position for the cupboard....crazy times!)

    This wall is waiting for the truly exciting part.......

    Monday, 18 March 2013

    Bathroom makeover Part 2 - In which I set myself a challenge

    The bathroom is looking pretty smart now in its coat of Dulux Blue Diamond 4. However painting the first coat on a Friday night (yeah I'm cool!) was mildly traumatic as I vacillated between an overwhelming desire to get the paint on and a growing dread that the blue might be a bit too shocking. Post first coat this involved a great deal of wandering up to the bathroom and staring at the walls in a thoughtful manner guaranteed to cause brain ache. I should add that the walls were also framed in green masking tape that gave the blue a decidedly unpleasant hue.

    Top Tip: It is really is worth paying for the more expensive tape. I would rather say that it's a waste of money but it just does do a better job and cuts out having to do hundreds of touch ups.

    Second coat on and green tape off the blue started to contrast rather pleasantly with the the white tiles. However the shiny new white paint job on the skirting and door/window frames did have the unwanted effect making the tiles look a tad dingy. It was time to scrub.

    Top Tip: I favour bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar over any other cleaning products. Good results with the minimum of effort which as I hate cleaning is imperative.

    The taps were shiny and clean in minutes. BUT! After an hour with a toothbrush scrubbing the grout between the tiles I had to admit defeat and reached for my least favorite product. Bleach. Yes I know that it is truly dreadful stuff but sometimes it is the only answer and mixed with the slightly abrasive bicarbonate of soda  it did the trick. FOUR HOURS of scrubbing every white surface. I was pruney, wet, slightly high on the mix of chemicals and knackered.

    I should add that my Matey was downstairs doing an excellent job of restoring an ebay bargain (£3.50 for two very heavy vintage mirrors. One to use and one to sell.) of a mirror for the bathroom.

    This is where I admit that I have always been a tad dubious of the 'designers' thing of how having a mirror will make a small room feel bigger. I think it depends a great deal on the mirror, the room and where it is hung. This time however it really does work.

    New mirror hung, cleaning products cleared, just the shower curtains to hang and time for a very late lunch (closer to dinner) in the pub. The shower rail came down. I nearly cried. I would have cried but I was just too tired. Upon inspection the new parts that held the rails to the ceiling had worn away already. (Yes I have complained to the shop) The solution was obvious. It just needed small nail to hold it in place.  However simple the solution the hour it took two weary people to take down the rail, hammer through the thin metal tube and get everything back up was very painful indeed.

    Just two small jobs to do. Find a replacement hot tap indices and a small shower bracket to replace the frankly disgusting old one and we are in business. They are proving a tad tricky though as we seem to need an unusual size for both. (Of course!)

    Oh and I'm looking a bathroomy picture that doesn't have fishes, the seaside or shells involved....

    In the meantime I have set myself a challenge. Having re-done the bathroom for the princely sum of £75 I wonder if it is possible to redecorate the house by selling bits and bobs to pay for it. I should add that I am talking of the stuff that we can't take with us. Paint, shelves, shower brackets. Pictures, furniture, frills and furbelows don't have to count. Though I would rather they do as getting rid of stuff means more space.

    Is it possible? Possibly!

    In the meantime the ducks are feeling a lot happier.

    Friday, 15 March 2013

    Marmalade glazed gammon

    Gammon has to be one of our top meat choices. It is very tasty and full flavoured, relatively cheap and can go a long way as it is so rich. I have tried many ways of cooking gammon, Nigella's Coca-cola  method, slow cooking in cider, with a mix of veggies....all were tasty but I find that this way just seems more satisfying, needs little work and is very, very store-cupboard friendly. I hesitate to call this a recipe as it is so basic.

    Gammon (or bacon joint)
    Marmalade - I prefer thick cut

    1. Put the gammon into a slow cooker with enough water to cover it and set to cook. I usually go for 9 hours on the slowest setting overnight. (You can simmer it in a pan if you don't have a slow cooker.)
    2. Drain the gammon. At this stage it is fully cooked and you could cut it up to eat right away. It doesn't look great though. A final blast in the oven gives the outside a caramelised crust that it hard to resist.
    3. Turn the oven right up and put the drained gammon into an ovenproof dish.
    4. Boil the kettle and mix about a pint of water into 3-4 tablespoons of marmalade. (Adjust according to how big the joint is and personal taste) pour over the gammon and pop in the oven.
    5. It takes about an hour to go gorgeously caramelised. The most important thing to do is to keep an eye on it and keep spooning the the marmalade over the joint and turn the gammon occasionally. You may need to add a bit more water.
    6. For the last 10 minutes it is is bit of a game to get the marmalade gooey and coating the gammon deliciously and avoiding the point of no return and blackened sugar. Just keep an eye on it.

    Variations on this:
    Add some stem ginger to the marmalade for a bit of a kick.
    Honey and mustard. (This comes a very close second for me.)

    We scoffed it last night with new potatoes cooked in the oven like mini jackets and buttered leeks.

    Loads left over so seriously yummy sarnies to look forward to. Very good on a Sunday morning with scrambled eggs on granary bread as well.

    Thursday, 14 March 2013

    My new bits and bobs box restoration- Part 4 Upholstering

    One of the things that attracted me to this box in the first place was the padded top. I like things to have more than one purpose.

    So having cleaned, scrubbed, painted and waxed this box into a rather handy thing to have around I had to tackle upholstery. I am no upholsterer. But I have nailed fabric to wood with a bit of padding before so I was determined to make it work this time.

    As a technique this was successful if not correct. More importantly it was easy and I was able to do it with no help.

    Cut out your fabric so that you have a margin of just over the depth of the foam (loads of places on ebay to get pre-cut foam). Fold the edge of the fabric over and iron it flat. This will help you get  neat edge.

     At this stage it feel like you haven't cut the fabric big enough. Don't worry! Place the box (or whatever it is you are covering) upside down on top of the foam:

     (At this point you really will be losing faith in the size of the fabric. Trust me!)

    With care kneel on top the the box so that you can push down the foam just enough to nail one upholstery pin in into the centre of each side.

    (Yes you will be looking daft right now as your bum will be in the air and your face will be getting slightly red from being upside down.)

    Put another 2 pins in on each side to get the fabric evenly stretched:

     Start hammering pins in all round the fabric. I find it easier now to right the box up and gently push down on the fabric covered foam till it is in the right place:

     Top Tip: If you are using a fabric that has a right way up do make sure that you have the correct way for the furniture....Ahem I may not have done this:

     I had to unpick everything and go back to the start so things were not as neat as they would have been.

    Anyway once you have got everything pinned in place it's time to tackle the corners. They are not as tricky as they seem.

    Take one of the sides of fabric, fold it over the edge and snip it about 2 cm in from the edge:

    On the other side of the flap cut a corresponding snip and remove the small square of fabric:

    Hold the first fold down and carefully fold the second part over to make a nice tight fold and pin. It is worth not hammering it in too far so that you can fiddle with it a bit to make it neat.

    Once you are happy you can finish it all off:

    Do the other three corners.

    Top Tip: It is neater to fold the same way each time. I had the fabric from the short edges of the box fold inward first followed by the long edges.

    After a month we finally have a fully restored box. Hooray! Time for some before and after shots....

    I was going to take some snaps of the inside empty and pristine but who am I kidding? This is as tidy as it will ever be. It is a working box you know.

    Wednesday, 13 March 2013

    Paprika potato wedges...or posh chips.

    What is there not to love about a potato?The list of things you can do with them is seeming endless. Last night I decided I was sick of the jacket, the mash and the new potato and made paprika potato wedges. Actually they were closer to chips as we were hungry and I wanted to get them cooked as fast as possible.

    Potatoes! (I try to use the annoying sized ones you get in a bag of spuds.)
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper

    1. Turn the oven up as high as it will go.
    2. Chop the potatoes into wedges, or chips if you want to speed things up a bit.
    3. Plonk them onto a baking tray and sprinkle with paprika. This really is a personal taste thing but enough for a pleasant coverage. Throw a slug of oil in, just enough to cover the wedges and stop them sticking. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Get your hands messy and make sure that the wedges are nicely covered in the oily paprika.
    4. Put in the top of the oven for 30-45. (This depends on the size of the wedges.) Give them the odd shake and turn them over with a fish slice occasionally. It helps the crispness develop. When they sound crunchy when you shake them in the tray they are ready.

    Eat with plenty of green salad and a dollop of mayonnaise.

    Other variations include:

    Just plain chips cooked with a bit of oil and seasoning
    Rosemary and sea salt
    Parsnips, sweet potato and normal potato
    Have a rummage in the spices part of you cupboard and make something up!

    Tuesday, 12 March 2013

    Restoring a leather sofa

    Our old green sofabed has been looking a bit sad while. Despite cheerful blankets draped over the back and slightly bonkers cushions nothing was hiding the fact that it was just a bit tired. The snag is that a new one ain't cheap.

    Eyes peeled for a bargain then....On the way home from work one Friday I decided to take a mini detour via Criterion Auctions. It's a good place for a bit of a rummage. I usually find loads of things I would love to buy but sense prevails when I remember that I have nowhere to put them. This time I spotted a small dark brown leather sofa. Not in great condition but nothing that a bit of TLC wouldn't fix. A little more investigating revealed that it was originally from the Conran shop. This was a bit of furniture that somebody had probably spent a good few grand on. Well worth putting a bit of effort into restoring.

    The next day my matey and I went for another look with the practical hats on and wielding a tape measure. Now here is the thing. Being sensible we needed another sofabed. In a small house,even with a spare 'oom, having an extra bed is handy. But we really, really liked it and the old sofabed really, really was looking dreadful. In the end we agreed to put a very cheeky bid on and see what happened.

    To cut a long story short. We won! The auctioneers pointed us in the direction of a nice chap who would deliver it and it was with us by 7am the next morning. All for just over £100.

    In-situ it looked better than I imagined.  The dust had been blown off in the move. The feather cushions had been plumped up so they looked a hundred times better. In proper light I could see that the leather is a really lovely dark brown, worn in places but nothing that wasn't fixable. Naturally I spent at least half an hour playing with cushions and blankets and poking and prodding before admitting that I really did need to go to work.

    This weekend I knuckled down and started cleaning it and touching up the scuff with this rather good stuff: . (Not cheap but it does work well.)  A few hours later and it looked a bit like this.

    An awful lot better.  We decided that we liked the slightly battered look so deliberately left some of the worn parts alone. (I suspect some people pay a fortune to have a 'gently worn' look added on!)

    Now my only problem is deciding on accessories. We have a rather bonkers collection of cushions which may not be to everybodies taste but we like a cheerfully eclectic mix:

    The cats drinking tea and the worried owl cushions are from Lush designs and the fish one Jorja Wilkinson. (It's actually a homemade one make from left over fabric but she does sell cushions as well.)

     The main thing to decide is blanket or no blanket:

    Without the blanket it does look more stylish. BUT!

    With the blanket it looks cosier.

    At the moment the blanket is winning as it is lovely to be able to pull a blanket over yourself if it's feeling a bit nippy. Nothing at all to do with the freezing weather! 

    Monday, 11 March 2013

    Rhubarb and Ginger crumble

    As winter crept back again at the weekend I thought it was time to make my favourite Rhubarb and Ginger crumble. Warming, sweet and tart it really is the perfect its-cold-outside pud.

    Ingredients - for 2 people
    400g rhubarb
    3 x tablespoons water
    3 x tablespoons sugar
    40g fresh ginger

    50g jumbo oats
    50g butter
    50g brown sugar


    1. Chop the rhubarb into pieces around 2cm long and put into a saucepan with the water and sugar. I use vanilla sugar for a bit of extra flavour.

    Top Tip: Stick a vanilla pod into a jar of white sugar and within a few weeks you will have Vanilla sugar. The pod will last for ages. Mine is at least 3 years old and still going strong.

    2. Grate the ginger and add to the pan. 40g is quite warming so add a bit less if you prefer a subtle flavour. (I don't bother to peel the ginger if it is all going into the pot as you can't see the small amount of peel.)

    3. Heat the rhubarb in the pan until it starts to break down and go a bit mushy. Remove from heat and put the rhubarb and ginger into an oven-proof dish.

    4. Melt the butter in a pan, add the sugar and oats and mix well.

    5. Cover the rhubarb and ginger with the oaty mix. This is a large enough quantity for a good coating of crunchy crumble.

    6. Put in the oven on 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 35- 45 minute. When the topping is brown and crunchy and the rhubarb is bubbling away it's ready.

    This is pretty good on its own but if you want to gild the lily serve with clotted cream or ice cream.

    Top Tip: If you happen to have some flaked almonds add them to the crumble topping for an extra crunch.

    Thursday, 7 March 2013


    I work in a rather posh part of town. So much so that I feel that the shops look down on me in my cycling duffle coat having a lunchtime amble.

    On the plus side I do get access to a delightful little private garden in the square where the office is. Although still a tad too nippy to sit and have my sarnies it is lovely to have a bit of green to watch the world wake up again. I spotted some Snowdrops today. Got to love the spring time bulbs and their colourful bravery while all the other flowers are still hibernating.

    Wednesday, 6 March 2013

    Sorting out the bathroom - Part 1

    I have a rather lovely rolltop bath which I adore. The few occasions in which I indulge in a bath really are indulgences as it it is larger than normal so perfect for a long hot wallow.

    On a day to day basis however a shower suffices. BUT! The flipping shower rail keeps coming down. Yes I have put it up properly. Four times. Each time it slowly comes down over the course of several months. I try to pretend it isn't happening until it gets to the point that I admit that I can put my fingers behind the bracket 'holding' it to the wall.

    This time I refused point blank to re-mount the thing again. Fed up, bored, had enough!

    It was still falling down. A solution was needed whether I liked it or not. In essence the problem was simple. The rail was too heavy for the fixings so the cantilever effect was dragging it down. It needed another bracket or two to hold the rail to the ceiling. Couldn't find such a thing.

    How about a ceiling mounted shower rail? They cost £250. OUCH! Ebay? Price is down to £100. Very  tempting but still not great.

    How about finding a metal hoop to attach to ceiling? Apart from expensive hula hoops I couldn't find anything that would work.

    Just as I was getting to the point of resorting to string I found these:

    Perfect they are not. But at £20 for two more doable than the other options. Figuring that this solution looked a lot better than the current situation of the rail hanging off the wall, and who spends hours staring at shower rails anyway, I went for it.

    Ahem! The only thing is that I then got it into my head that it might be a good plan to re-do the bathroom. Having just sold a few bits and bobs on e-bay I had a nice £75 budget to play with and this weekend saw me up a ladder painting the ceiling and the white parts. Already it looks a whole lot brighter and cleaner.

    The next stage is choosing colour. It has always been a vibrant marine blue which I rather like but perhaps it's time for a change? So I've just had some testers sent from Dulux. (£1 for 3 on their website, much cheaper than going to a shop.)

    Love this stage. It's the naughtiness of painting and scribbling on the wall.

    I should add that the weekends industry was fueled by Golden Syrup cake and the paint drying moments were made all the more interesting by episodes of The Good Life.

    It may not have been made in my lifetime but it tickles my funny bone.

    Tuesday, 5 March 2013

    A practically free ribbon pinboard

    Technically this is yet another post about the box restoration but I thought it might be getting a bit boring so am treating it separately. Sort of.

    I wanted a pinboard inside the lid of the box. Partly to add colour but also to up the practicality of the box. So first step. A bit of wood for the base of the pinboard. Unfortunately our local, and truly amazing, wood shop closed after 70 years due to retirement. They used to cut exactly what I wanted to the perfect size, usually telling me what I needed for the job to get it right. All other places may cut it but charge for a full sheet. I was not going to go for that unnecessarily expensive option.

    A week later I still had no solution. I had also realised that the lid is really heavy so adding more wood wasn't going to help much. Eventually I had an idea which would either work or be a total disaster. Using cardboard as a base.

    Cut two pieces of cardboard to fit the inside of the box:

    Tape them together to make it as sturdy as possible:

    Added a small amount of wadding  and cut the fabric (I splashed out and used some of Jorja Wilkinson's Fish fabric) about an inch and a half bigger all round than the base.  

    Top tip. I know this is too obvious for words but but do iron the fabric before you use it.

    Now for the slightly tricky part for getting the fabric looking right.(I didn't help myself by having a pattern that needed to be straight) Start by taping the fabric into place temporarily, this way you can change things easily if they are wrong.

    Having got the fabric into roughly the right place put 3 staples in each edge to hold it in place. (This was thin enough to use a normal stapler. A staple gun would be easier though.) A gentle tug on the fabric helps  to hold it in place make it all nice and tight. Don't pull too hard though as the cardboard will buckle.

    Once the fabric is in place staple like mad around the edges till there is no way anything will budge!

    Time to tackle the corners. A couple of extra hands is good for this:

    Start by snipping the excess fabric. (It's better to trim a few times to get it right than to cut too much off!):

    Hold the corner part of the fabric down (see below) and staple it in place:

    Take one of the two flap of fabric you will now have and fold it down. One will lay flatter than the other so use that one:


    Take the other flap of fabric and fold it into place:


    Snip off any excess fabric and you are getting there! Actually you could stop at this point as it is already a very pretty and functional pinboard.

    Time to attach the ribbon. I went for some dark blue cotton tape and got measuring. This one of those annoying things where it does matter if it's wrong so it's worth laying it out a few times to decide where you want it to go. It is also worth pinning the ribbon to the board to get it properly in place.

    Once the ribbons are in place it's time to staple them to the back. Take time over this as it will bug you if it's wrong. Then trim the excess.

    The final stage was to attach it to the box lid by using upholstery pins (I happened to have loads of these from an old project.)where the ribbons crossed.

    If you are not doing it for a box some drawing pins would work just as well. Also this would look fab put into an old frame to hang on the wall.

    All in all not too tricky and the only real expense for me was the fabric which was naughty but worth it and I didn't need that much of it.
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