toolsDon’t mock me for this apparent bout of middle class twee craft fancy, but I have a surfeit of dried Chinese lantern seed cases (as you do), some bright coloured floristry wire, scissors, a blank area of wall and, arguably, too much free time.

Unlike my last project, bringing new life into an old writing box, I am not suffering post-flu delirium so I am optimistic there will be no cat food, glue or incompetence incidents.  You may, however, be reading this and wondering why I am poised to create something so seemingly meaningless and underwhelming.

The ultimate reason is because I am contemplating a mortgage.  I can appreciate that appears to lack logic but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about space and whether location or internal home environment is more important to me and I’m finding it hard to not think “Location, Location, Location” and Phil and Kirstie’s cheery faces overwhelming my head space and rational thought.

As I’ve always lived in rented accommodation as an adult and, bar one bedroom many houses ago that I painted a questionable yellow, I have never decorated or done more than hang things on walls.  I am trying to establish my enthusiasm for “making pretty”, whether I have the motivation and interest to make something of nothing (upcycling to those of a hipster ilk, making do and mending to those of a more genuine vintage) and to determine the extent to which decorating and personalising could override misery at living in a grotty area, which appears to be an inevitability with the small mortgage I can just about realistically hope to raise.

Yes, there’s a lot hanging on the success of this string of Chinese lanterns, possibly more than they can, or indeed should, bear.lounge wall before


wall after

A mere 50 minutes later and a small part of our living room is now less white (I am increasingly realising the Scandi white and blonde look is not for me) and I have broken a potential cycle of craft havoc.

All of the Chinese lanterns were still attached to their individual stalks and to at least a bit of the main stalk.  Turns out the main stalk (the “branch” for these purposes) is hollow so a mix of thick and thin bits of branch meant some could be joined to form one interlocking branch, albeit with a bit of mildly impatient shoving.  I then wound some bright turquoise floristry wire all along the interlocking branch, balanced perilously on bits of furniture with hitherto unconfirmed suitability as standing platforms, hammered slightly and then screwed those screw hook things into three parts of the ceiling and, hey presto, not without a few droppages, some very tense leaning moments and the discovery of interlocking weak points (hurrah for the wire which kept them together and created a charming break-in-the-branch effect when some joins broke); a cheap, easy and colourful feature for a boring wall.

Whether this counts as decorating genius or the start of a “making pretty” series is questionable, but believe it or not it all felt rather satisfying and I have a new train of thought as to how bright I could live with my walls being painted.  Yes, yes, I know this is not worthy of a chapter in a Kirstie Allsopp home improvement book, but it’s not as naff as I feared and no one has yet recoiled in horror.  And can I point out, I am not a Kirstie Allsopp fan where chintzy craft projects are concerned, but I do appreciate her enthusiasm for making our living space more personalised.



et cetera