Winter Garland {Collab}

Recently I was approached by the lovely girls of Your World Blog to do a collaboration. These three gorgeous young ladies encourage having a voice and making it heard, loving and looking after the world around us and creativity, which is something big, sad adults need a little encouraging in sometimes. They each post a new blog on Sundays, and reading them is like sitting down and having a good, honest chat with an old friend. They share their own thoughts, ideas and influences, and spread a little bit of much needed sunshine and positivity.

To be honest, I haven’t done a collaboration before, so hadn’t a clue as to what to suggest, but after taking a look through the girls’ blog we thought it would be fun to give the old ‘DIY Autumn Garland‘ a festive revamp for them to try and get others involved with too.

It’s pretty much the same process, using the same natural products, but just for Christmas I’ve added in a little decoration and of course, glitter.

You will need:

– 2-3 large oranges (depending on how long you want your garland to be)
– Greaseproof paper, a baking tray and a sharp knife
– Cinnamon sticks
– Twigs/pine branches/pine cones/ anything you can find!
– Twine

– Glitter
– Glue
– Miniature baubles/Christmas decorations (mine are little, white, wooden stars from Sostrene Grene, but supermarkets, Home Bargains, B&M bargains, Primark etc would have something you could use).

Slice the oranges about 2mm thick and pop them onto a baking tray on greaseproof before putting them into the oven at 50-70°C for four hours, turning them about halfway through this time. Once cooled, pass a short length of twine through each slice and tie a knot, leaving a loop to attach the orange slice to the garland.

Bind a couple of bunches of 2/3 cinnamon sticks tightly with twine, leaving a gap or loop that you can pass the twine for the garland through.

Cut the twine to your desired garland length, leaving a little extra for the knots you will be tying along it. Lay out your pine branches, pine cones, orange slices and cinnamon stick bunches as desired – here you can add any little baubles or decorations to your arrangement. Thread the twine through the loops on the orange slices and cinnamon stick bunches and tie a knot before moving on. For pine cones and pine branches wrap the twine around a couple of times and tie a tight knot.

If you like a little bit of sparkle, spread a little bit of glue over parts of your garland and sprinkle with glitter. Allow to dry and hang up your festive garland for everyone to see!


I love a little bit of sparkle (actually, I love a lot of sparkle, but I do try to control myself), so I added some red glitter to the red twigs I foraged from a plant in the garden.

To find out how Tea and a Read is getting on with her garland, go and read her latest blog post on Your World Blog, linked here. You can also follow them on Instagram @yourworldblog. We’d love to see you give it a go and share it with us- why not try your own festive garland and share it with us via instagram, using the hashtag #createwithgillandtea!

Happy Christmas crafting!

Gillian x

DIY Autumn Garland

One thing I really wish we did in Northern Ireland is decorate our houses a bit more for Autumn. I’m not talking skeletons for Hallowe’en (eww…I’m sorry, but just nope) and we don’t need to go nuts with it either and have 3 carved pumpkins rotting on every door step; just the odd garland, apple create and maybe a fabric pumpkin or two on the shelf.

If you’ve seen my instagram feed you may have noticed that I’m pretty much always making something- I’ve got far too many ongoing projects all the time, and if I didn’t I’d just feel weird. My sisters are the same way, and whilst we all have our own niche, occasionally we like to stick our nose into what the others are doing and have a go at it ourselves.

My sister Christine (@christine.j.bell) is a talented designer – we’re expecting big things (and freebies) from her. She has some really interesting ideas for interior design and quite often uses earthy tones and natural colours for her designs. She’s also keen on using naturally occurring materials such as plants and flowers to make things, so when I walked in and found her in the kitchen last week surrounded by the smell of orange and cloves I knew she was up to something good. So good in fact, I stuck my nose in, stole a few dried orange slices and made an Autumn garland for myself.

It’s pretty, inexpensive, smells good enough to eat and adds a cosy Autumnal touch to the plain wall of our living room. They’re very easy to make and can be made using bits and pieces from the garden or a forest walk. Christine kindly let me share her idea, so if you fancy giving it a go, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2-3 large oranges (depending on how long you want your garland to be)
  • cloves
  • cinnamon sticks
  • twigs/dried leaves/pine branches/pinecones/ anything you can find!
  • twine.

Most of the process is drying. From the garden we chose small pine branches and twisted willow, as the twigs from it curl- just leave it to dry a little to make sure no sap is coming out of anything before adding it to the garland. I figured that bit out the sticky way.

Slice the oranges about 2mm thick and press cloves into them before popping them into the oven at 50°C- 70°C for four hours, turning them over about half way through this time. Let them cool off and tie a short length of twine on to them and your twigs/cinnamon sticks/etc to attach them on to your twine.

Cut your twine to your desired length, arrange everything and then tie it on once you’re happy with it all.

Et voila!

One super-easy Autumn garland ready to hang! You don’t have to be particularly artistic, so the excuse of ‘I’m just not creative’ doesn’t wash here – there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to look at something beautiful and say ‘I made that!’.

Why not give it a go? (And share your pictures, so we can see them too!)

Gillian x

Supporting Small Business

It has been one crazy weekend, I’ve spent a lot of my time baking (see my instagram feed for my culinary creations- they likely won’t be repeated any time soon), and I’m sitting here now dosed with the cold and to be quite honest, feeling a little bit sorry for myself and my lack of nasal functioning. I finally got the time to sit down and open a little delivery I received yesterday morning.

When it comes to home decor I love loads of the high-street favourites: Laura Ashley, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, TK Maxx (AMAZING bargains there), Next…lots of Next actually – you get the idea. They offer good quality products at mostly reasonable…sometimes a little less reasonable…prices, and I usually keep my eye on anything I want in case it goes into sale. I’ll admit it, it all but kills me to pay full price for anything. It takes a long time before I take the plunge and make a purchase, no matter how big or small.

I do also try where possible to support local or small businesses. As a crafter and Etsy shop owner, I appreciate how difficult it is for people who either make items from scratch or curate a collection of items to make a living. One new shop I’ve come across recently on Instagram is Emily May’s Attic- a UK based, family-run online shop offering ‘All things Shabby-Chic, Scandi and Vintage’.

Their easy-to-use website is updated often with new finds at great prices- in fact I was surprised at how cheap some of the items are!

Whilst I’m trying not to buy tooooo much for the mobile, I’m sticking with neutral colours that are easily transferrable when I do buy something, which works well for me as my taste would lean more towards texture than colour or pattern.

I bought three small items on the shop that I just couldn’t resist and although I’m trying my hardest to curb my scatter cushion addiction, the first thing I went to was the beautiful grey heart cushion. At 50x50cm, £16.95 is a steal for such a large cushion. It’s plain, simple and fits right in on our day bed.

…Yeah, the colour of that mattress cover is bugging me too. 🤔

I also got this cute little guy for £4.

The Elephant Ring Holder is very good at his job, but I think he’s quite cute as an ornament. He also comes in rose gold and would be a lovely gift for someone.

The last item was more of a ‘for later’ item that Patrick picked. The Wifi Wooden Plaque  is a little chalk board about 20x15cm and 1cm thick for sharing your wifi password with visitors.

I like the idea- it’s welcoming to offer it and avoids having to bring it up in conversation and go hunting for the code. (Because who ever actually puts it back in the router?)

I’ll definitely be back to Emily May’s Attic and can’t wait to see what else she stocks!

What small businesses do you like to buy from?

Gillian x

Making the Mobile ‘Home’

I can’t lie, when the plan to move into a mobile in the garden was set in place I huffed and puffed a bit and then I panicked, as unhelpful as that was. The boys had somehow worked out how to get a water supply and electricity to it, how to get the bathroom and kitchen plumbed in, even how to wedge it 7ft high on a pretty steep hill, but being my mother’s daughter, and the little bit house proud that I am, I worried about how it would look.

Obviously, when push comes to shove, aesthetics aren’t important and I’m thankful for a roof over my head regardless, but I wanted it to at least feel like a proper home, even if it is a little bizarre. We left the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom as they were- a good clean and our own things made all the difference- but I had to do something about the main living space, just to make it comfortable… and maybe even a little bit pretty. We were going to be spending too much time in there to leave it as it was.

Sadly, in my panic, it never occurred to me to take ‘before’ photos (I know, you’re very disappointed) but to put it plainly it was the typical caravan (ahem… mobile home) set up: seating screwed into the walls upholstered in a delectable brown toned floral pattern, a more modern black, white and grey striped carpet complete with the odd unexplained stain, a wall unit with cupboards and shelf space, and an attempt by the previous owners at painting the walls magnolia. It was clean which was the main thing, but we decided to rip pretty much the whole lot out, leaving only the wall unit behind.

There’s nothing quite like making extra work for yourself.

As we were both busy every evening, we enlisted (begged for) help in getting the space painted my favourite wall colour, ’Antique White’ (I’m not being sarcastic, I actually love antique white, I’d paint literally a whole house antique white), while we were both at work and took a trip to Martin Philips to get a carpet. It was suggested that we should look for a remnant before spending more money than necessary and we could hardly believe it when we found 4 metres by 3.6 metres of grey speck carpet, already felted underneath for a fraction of what we had told ourselves we would have to spend. A little DIY carpet laying later (not me by me I’ll admit) and the mobile was ready for whatever furniture we could physically squeeze into the space.

We chose the day bed that we had picked up in ikea a few months ago and our snuggle seat over the 3rd-hand leather sofa as our seating. We cleaned and kept the curtains that were already there and bought a couple of new fleece blankets and a fitted sheet from M&S to help keep the day bed clean and make it a little more homely. We kept all our cushions from the old living room and put the TV on the unit above our little gas fire along with all the other bits and bobs we had sitting about in our rented house and…



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A lot of what we had went into storage, but we were shocked by just how much we had actually managed to cram into the mobile. It’s a little bit mismatched -realistically, the curtains would not be my choice, and the teal blue barely works – but we have a really cosy space with an incredible view from our front window.

And that’s it! It’s not perfect, but it’s our home for the foreseeable. We’re hoping it won’t be too long before we’re making our next move (you don’t become any less aware of the 7ft height that our living room sits above the ground), but for now we’re making the most of it. It’s amazing what a lick of paint and a cheap carpet can do!

Gillian x