17 December 2012

The Christmas Playlist

Music is an essential part of creating the Christmas atmosphere but we realise that it's sometimes tricky to choose the right tracks to put on at the right time. We thought we'd share our pick of the best Christmas songs! 

There are three main times to prepare for:

Over the Christmas dinner you want some subtle music. Keep the volume down and choose something that isn't too fast otherwise you'll end up eating to the beat and demolish your turkey in no time!
Here you're just setting the atmosphere, not singing along, so this is a time to play those lesser known tunes.
Why don't you try these classics? 
- Kings College Choir
- Christmas Carols

Whilst the dinner is cooking, your opening presents or relaxing for a moment with a glass of wine, you want some music that will keep everyone upbeat and encourage a little sing along. Choose some recognisable songs like these:
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby & David Bowie
White Christmas - Michael Buble
Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea
Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid (Original Version)
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
Happy Christmas (War is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Let It Snow - Frank Sinatra
Silent Night - Frank Sinatra
Walking In The Air - Aled Jones
I Believe In Father Christmas - Greg Lake

We also feel that the whole of Michael Buble's christmas album will work well for this time! 

For a proper Christmas or New Year party, you can't avoid the classic and cheesy tracks for getting people moving. Mix some old Christmas songs with new chart tracks to please everyone. Try these:
Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees 
Love Shack - B-52
Fireworks - Katy Perry
Prince Charming - Adam and the Ants
Tiger Feet - Mud
One Love - Bob Marley
Can't Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue
Here Comes the Rain - The Cult
Do You Think I'm Sexy - Rod Stewart
Dancing Queen - Abba
Shaft - Isaac Hayes
Sex Machine - James Brown
Jean Jeanie - David Bowie
Maggie May - Rod Stewart
Doom & Gloom - Rolling Stones
Nine Lives - ACDC
Give it 2 me - Madonna
Gangnam Style - PSY
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Alive - Pearl Jam
Time Warp - Rocky Horror
Into The Groove - Madonna
Superstylin' - Groove Armada
Tainted Love - Soft Cell
Praise You - Fatboy Slim
I'm Still Standing - Elton John
Night Fever - Bee Gees
Devil Gate Drive - Suzi Quatro
A Little Bit - Liberty X
Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
Bang A Gong - T Rex
Bad - Michael Jackson

It can be expensive to buy every track individually, so why not make a playlist on youtube or try Spotify? For £5 you can play anything you want/as long as you want without any adverts interrupting but you do need to be connected to the internet unless you want to pay a bit more. 

The Radio
Sometimes we forget about putting the radio on, but it's got some fantastic shows and on Christmas day there's normally back-to-back music. Why not take a minute to look at the radio listings before the family arrives? An obvious choice but it's not Christmas without a dog-eared copy of the Radio Times hanging around.

6 December 2012

How To Make A Christmas Garland Decoration

Christmas Garland

We Are Really Excited To Share Our First Tutorial With You!

We know that it's important to save money where you can, especially around the Christmas period, that's why we are showing you how to make an easy Christmas decoration. We're sure you'll fall in love and actually keep it up all year round! 

We recommend reading the whole tutorial before having a go yourself. If you do have any problems, get in touch and we will try to help you out. We would love to see your attempts so please share your photos on Facebook or Twitter and we may place them in a blog in the future. 

Pop in our shop in Bristol for the Crepe Paper and don't forget that our online party shop will be launching in the new year! 

You will need:

Crepe Paper - Available in a huge variety of colours at Flingers for £1.39We chose a festive silver.
Wire - We got ours from a florists but you can use any you might have around at home, it doesn't matter how thick or thin it is as long as you can bend it easily. 
Wire Cutters - If you've got quite thin wire, scissors might be sufficient.
Scissors - For cutting the crepe paper.
A Ruler - For measuring 
String - If you want to hang them up like we have. 

Step 1
Cut your wire into 15cm strips. We cut 10 because you can make 10 flowers out of the crepe paper we used.

Step 2

Take the crepe paper which is already folded into a long rectangle and cut along the two long sides, placing one of the scissor blades inside the folds of paper and the other blade on the outside. Repeat on both sides until you have two piles of long rectangular paper, 5 or 6 sheets in each pile is sufficient.

Step 3

Cut 10cm long strips until you've used all the paper. This should give you 10 piles of paper squares.

Step 4

Take one pile of square paper and fold about 1cm of paper over. It's best to go with the grain of the fabric or just try both ways and see what folds easiest. Then turn the paper over and fold another 1cm so you make a zig-zag fold of paper, continue doing this till you've used all the paper. Hold it tight as it can easily pop open.

Step 5
Get a piece of 15cm wire and, with 3cm excess, bend the metal around the folded paper right in the middle. This will hold it in place. Twist the excess around the other bit of wire and it should hold by itself.

Step 6
Take your scissors and cut off the edges to create points at either side. This will give your flower more of a relaxed edge. It's sometimes quite hard to cut through so many layers so sharp scissors are best.

Step 7
Now we start to see it coming to life! Ensuring the wire is tight enough to hold it in place, open up one side of the paper and then separate each leaf of paper. This is the tricky part as sometimes you have to be quite forceful to get the paper to separate towards the base where it's held by the wire. Just be patient and remember the paper can rip quite easily.

Step 8
Keep separating each leaf until you've done both sides of the flower and continue to do it to the rest of the paper until you've got 10 lovely flowers ready to put on the garland.

Don't fancy putting your flowers on a garland? Just keep them as they are and put them in a vase or bend the wire to attach to anything around the home.

For the garland... 

We used some rustic brown string, but use ribbon/white string or anything you fancy! 

Step 1
Cut the string to approximately 250cm long - suitable for 10 flowers.

Step 2
25cm in, place the string over the top of the wire on one flower. We need to attach the flower to the string so simply twist the wire around the string a few times. This is where the thinner the wire, the easier it is. Be careful of the edge of the wire that has been twisted round as it's normally sharp. Cut off excess wire.

Step 3
Continue this process every 25cm. Don't worry how messy you are attaching the flowers, as long as they won't fall off the string - it's fine. Just make sure the paper covers any joins.

Step 4
We tied little loops into either end of the string so we could easily hang it up.

And you've made a beautiful christmas decoration!
We love it alongside our Paper Bell Christmas Decoration, available now for £1.59.

Why not experiment and try making different sizes? Create a single massive flower as a statement piece or make tiny ones for Christmas tree decorations.