25 Dec 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Lily in the Labyrinth! 
Thank you for supporting the site throughout 2013 and I look forward to sharing more exciting blog posts with you in the year to come
If you're interested, the angel in the photo above sits atop my family's Christmas tree and has done for as long as I can remember. I love the simple design and muted colours. Do you or your family have any well-loved decorations that help make Christmas the little bit more Christmassy?

Happy Holidays!

14 Dec 2013

DIY: Christmas Kissing Balls

A Brief History of Kissing Balls:
Christmas 'Kissing Balls' date back to the Middle Ages when they were known as 'Holy Boughs' fashioned from evergreen sprigs and twines with a small clay figure in the centre to represent the baby Jesus. Hung over doorways and passageways, it was believed that blessings would be cast on all who passed underneath. During the Victorian era, these 'Holy boughs' evolved to 'Sweet Balls' as the tradition for Christmas decorations stepped up a gear. People would stick sprigs of evergreens, holly, berries, mistletoe and herbs into a potato or apple and hang them by ribbon to act as both a decoration and an early form of air freshener! The balls acquired certain romanticised symbolism as each herb, plant or flower used to decorate them came to represent love, piety, charity and more. As times moved on, Kissing Balls fell out of fashion, with only the mistletoe remaining as a symbol encouraging kissing throughout the festive season. Kissing Balls themselves became popular accessories for weddings, but now - with traditional Christmas decorations as popular as ever - they are making a comeback as simple, easy to make festive decorations . . . 
Simple to Make:
These days, you don't need a potato or apple or even prickly sprigs of holly! In fact, you can find everything you need at your local craft shop or (if you're like me) the back of your cupboards! If you're interested, follow these five easy steps to making your very own Kissing Ball. As you can see, we had a go chez Lily in the Labyrinth - one cold Saturday night we stuck on Strictly Come Dancing, settled down with mugs of hot chocolate and got to work pinning all manner of pretty beads and buttons to paper-covered polystyrene balls. In no time at all, we had some charming decorations (ok, a little 'basic', but who's judging?) that hadn't cost the earth and will be ours to enjoy for years to come. To make your own, read on . . . 
You will need:
- A polystyrene ball - ours were 8cm
Lots of pearl-headed pins
Tissue paper
PVA glue
A brush / glue spreader
Ribbons, buttons, sequins and beads
1) Using a side plate or large saucer as a guide, cut two circles of tissue paper.
2) Cover your polystyrene ball with a thin layer of PVA glue and cover with the tissue paper circles - start from the middle of the circle and smooth the edges down over the ball then repeat over the other half of the ball with the second circle. 
3) Wait for the ball to dry - pop in the airing cupboard or blitz with a hairdryer to speed this up if you like.
4) Decorate the ball by placing beads, buttons, sequins and ribbons on the ball and securing with pearl headed pins. 
5) To hang your ball, secure a loop of ribbon to the top of the ball with a number of pins. I anchored mine down with a four-holed button with a pin in each hole. 

Hang your homemade Kissing Ball and enjoy for years to come! 

Let Lily Know: Will you be making any decorations this festive season? 

13 Dec 2013

Baking: Gingerbread Foxes

Last night Sam (Carousel Cupcakes) and I baked some gingerbread woodland animals. My favourites to make were definitely the foxes as I have such a soft spot for foxes (as you might be able to tell from this recent post!), they were also the easiest to ice as we couldn't decide what markings the other animals - hedgehogs and squirrels - should have! The gingerbread is delicious and warming - perfect for this frosty time of year. If you fancy doing some baking, we recently posted a tutorial for 'Snowy Cranberry and Marshmallow Biscuit Treats' over on the Baking Diary - they would make a lovely homemade gift! Take a peek . . .

Let Lily Know: Will you be doing any Christmas baking this season? 

10 Dec 2013

Gift Guide: For Fox Fans

- Collection Fox Scarf - £22.50 - M&S
Wildlife Notebox - £6 - Magpie Life
Fox Necklace - £135 - Alex Monroe
Fox Cushion - £70 - Donna Wilson
Fox iPhone 5 Case - £24.95 - Joules
Red Fox Mug - £19 - Emma Bridgewater
Maileg Fox Soft Toy - £25 - Heals
Puddin' Head Fox Coaster - £4.95 - Liberty
Woodland Fox Purse - £6.25 - Sass and Belle
Blue Harbour Fox Cufflinks - £15 - M&S

6 Dec 2013

Home: Displaying Vintage Decorations

Trees, decorations and sparkling fairy lights are starting to spring up all over the place as Christmas well and truly takes hold! I don't know about you, but we like to supplement the bigger decorations with some more subtle displays throughout the house. Vintage baubles displayed in large glass jars; colourful glass decorations hanging from light fittings; and clusters of vintage decorations alongside new additions to our collection -  they all go a long way to spreading the Christmas spirit throughout the house without even a hint of tack! 

Let Lily Know: Do you keep Christmas decorations contained to one area of your house or like us, do you spread the magic?

4 Dec 2013

Lily Loves: Vintage Inspired Christmas

- Mercurised harlequin baubles (two variations) - £3.50 each - John Lewis
Pink glass bird - £4  - John Lewis
Ornate soft-pink glass bauble with antique-gold top - £4 - John Lewis
Green scallop glass bauble - £4 - John Lewis
Gold glitter icicles - £2.80 - House of Fraser
Large glass acorn bauble - £5.60 - House of Fraser
Glittery hanging owl - £3.95 - Rigby & Mac
Green glitter trees with baubles - from £10 - Angel at my Table
Green reflector bauble - £3.50 - John Lewis

I love giving my Christmas displays a vintage feel, but buying genuinely vintage baubles and decorations can prove rather expensive. Luckily this year the highstreet has cottoned on to the vintage Christmas trend and come up trumps with these beauties (above). Most come from accessible department stores such as John Lewis and House of Fraser and are reasonably priced - although I must admit I have included a couple from online brands such as An Angel at My Table and Rigby and Mac - but I can say, from my experience, they offer good service and stock some gorgeous, unusual pieces so are well worth checking out as you go about your Christmas shopping this year.
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