Chocolates, mints or Turkish delights wrapped in Cellophane make a sweet, festive present.
To add sparkle, tie the bags with a pretty ribbon and a chandelier drop or glass jewel.
Decorate a pane of glass with a frosted effect. Choose a line from a poem or song, then make two copies of the text in the size you would like the words to appear on the glass – it’s easier if you have them quite large as you will have to cut out each of the letters. Tape one copy on to the reverse of the glass, so you can read the text through the glass – this acts as a guide for the placement of the letters. Cut out each letter from the other copy and paste on to the glass using a latex glue. Wipe over the surface with a soft cloth, then spray with Glass Etch. Leave to dry, then peel off the letters and remove the backing sheet.
DESIGN YOUR OWN INVITATIONS
For that truly personal touch, create your own invitations. Cut out a piece of tracing paper and fold it in half. Make a slightly smaller insert from a piece of folded colored tissue paper, then bind the two together with cord or fine ribbon. Concertina a strip of colored tissue paper, write your invitation on the different folds of the concertinaed paper, then glue into the centerfold of the invitation. Decorate with beads or sequins.
Make pretty new cowers using colored silk and chiffon decorated with antique glass beads and pearl buttons.
MAKING AN ICE BOWL
Make an ice bowl with the help of two freezer-safe glass bowls, one larger than the other. Half-fill the larger bowl with cold water, sit the smaller one inside, then press down gently and secure with tape at four equidistant points around the rim. Arrange leaves, flowers or slices of fruit in the cavity between the bowls, nudging into position with a chopstick. (If you are using small flowers that will float, you will need to build up the bowl in stages by freezing one layer at a time, so begin with a small amount of water.) Top up with more water, if necessary, then place in the freezer for several hours, until frozen solid. When ready to serve, stand on a plate at room temperature for ten minutes, remove the tape, then gently ease the bowls apart. Fill the ice bowl with berries, sorbet or fruit. The ice bowl will remain frozen for up to four hours, depending on the thickness.
PLANT DWARF CYCLAMEN
The garden may be devoid of flowers at this time of year, but you can still grow them in the warmth of your home. Line a wire basket with velvety moss, green fronds uppermost, then plant with dwarf cyclamen (in their pots) and cover with more moss. The display should last for around two to three months.
Frosted fruit, leaves and flowers will add a pretty finishing touch to festive cakes or bowls of fruit. Simply brush with egg white, then dust carefully with caster sugar. Place the frosted items on a sheet of kitchen towel and leave to dry for 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container if not using immediately.
To keep silverware shiny and prevent it from tarnishing when not in use, wrap each piece of cutlery in kitchen foil.