One of the nice things about being back home in Sydney is that I’ve been reunited with my boxes of Christmas decos. And the ones I picked up in London (like all the birdies from Liberty) make excellent additions to the collection.
But my most precious decos are these vintage ones, including the rather charming ’70s three wise men which hung on the family tree when I was a little girl. The Bradley-style angel is identical to the one that I also loved when I was about two years old, but the original one is still in use at my mum’s place. She added to my collection last week with some gorgeous vintage glass baubles and beads, which are almost identical to all my vintage-inspired decorations I bought years ago.
What about you? What’s your most treasured Christmas decoration?
Here's a wee Sydney secret shop find: Fenners in Mona Vale. This relatively unassuming haberdashery and fabric store on Waratah Street in Mona Vale stocks a good range of reasonably priced fabrics, as well as an impressive collection of ribbons, trims and braids. Just look out for the Australiana tea-towels of galahs and lorikeets out the front.
I pounced on these glorious trims from Thailand and picked out six sweet shop hues in miniature tinsels, braids and cords (including a fabulously fluffy white one), which work beautifully with my white vintage Christmas tree, glossy white wrapping paper and Wee Birdy gift cards. The spools range from 2.75m to 4.5m in length, and are priced around AU$3 per spool.
I've been desperate for a stretch of mantel to decorate at Christmas for a very long time, so there was no way the wee fireplace in our new flat was going to go unadorned this season. So, amidst a sea of unpacked boxes, bubble wrap, tissue paper and stuff that has no home (we only moved in three weeks ago), I set about decorating our Christmas tree and fireplace.
I had my heart set on making a eucalyptus garland for the mantel, so I enlisted the help of my mum, along with Martha Stewart and some other online sources.
I wanted a modern Australian look, with different textures and hints of pink to complement our rather girlie candy-coloured white Christmas tree (poor husband), so I picked up a bunch of eucalyptus leaves from the florist, and mum brought a basket full of fresh rosemary and lavender foliage from her garden. The scent in the kitchen as we selected the choicest sprigs was heavenly!
If you want to make your own garland, you'll need:
bunches of complementary foliage (we used eucalyptus leaves, fresh rosemary and lavendar foliage)
flowers for colour (we used a pink flowering gum blossom)
1/2 inch sisal rope (we picked up a roll at Bunnings)
fine floristry wire
green floristry tape
gardening pliers to cut foliage and wire
And follow these steps to make the garland:
Cut rope to fit your mantel, leaving some room either side for it to hang down.
Starting at the top of the rope, take a few sprigs of eucalyptus leaves (choose ones that drape nicely) and strip the leaves from the bottom of the stems.
Holding stems against rope, tightly wrap wire around rope and stems several times.
Next, moving slightly down the rope, do the same thing with rosemary, ensuring it overlaps the eucalyptus but doesn't cover it.
Do the same with the lavendar, and continue down the rope, wrapping the sprigs in the same direction and alternating the foliage.
When you get about half-way, you'll need to change direction of the sprigs, so that it drapes from the other side.
We only covered one side of the rope, as my fireplace is small and we already had quite a thick garland going.
When you're finished, secure to your mantel with temporary hooks, or just drape it across the top, leaving the sides to hang down.
If you have some flowers (like our gum blossom), poke the sprigs into even intervals along the garland.
Finish with a misting of water.
Mist your garland at least once a day to keep it looking fresh (important during humid Australian summers).
So how did we do? Have you made a fresh garland or wreath for your house?
Mr Birdy and I have been busy designing some very special downloadable Wee Birdy gift tags* for all you lovely readers. Hope you like them – I'm using them on all my presents this year.
All you need to do is print out the PDF onto (printable) white card stock (or just print them out on white paper and glue to cardboard). Cut out around the tags and use a hole punch to create a hole. Thread through ribbon or string for the merriest of presents.