It’s a well-known fact that here in Ireland we are fixated with the weather. We spend a disproportionate amount of time conversing about it, listening to the forecasts on the radio and waiting to hear what Jean Byrne has to say (and see what’s she’s wearing) after the 9pm news. Recently we had unseasonably hot and amazing weather. (the blue sky in the photos below are NOT photoshopped). We had 7 days of mostly smiling happy people. I say mostly because I did meet a few very grumpy people in the course of the week. (They were stuck inside working and convinced that the rest of the entire country had somehow downed tools and was sunbathing). A have a Greek friend who says that yes whilst Greece is in a worse economic situation than us at least it has the weather. Well last week we became Greece with a better economy. Happily it coincided with my Dad’s birthday (the now famous Pad) and we used the opportunity of the guaranteed good weather to have a barbeque. We set up the canopy things that I had bought cheaply at the end of one of our sad summers. In truth when I purchased them I thought they would be used to keep cushions and food dry rather than as sun protection. When I have a party everything has to look right. The invites are planned. The menu is planned, even the choice of plates but most of all the setting is planned.
My fail safe good mood accessory for ALL parties inside, outside, good weather, bad weather is bunting. Horray for bunting! I defy you not to be put in a good mood with some bunting draped around the place. It says “party on here” like nothing else. Definitely better than balloons, and yes it is a current fad, but many design items are exactly that so live for the moment! Many others are future family heirlooms (FFH’s) but that’s for another days blogging…
My quest for bunting has ranged in the past from the ready-made fabric variety, paper ones and I have even made my own (albeit very scrappy) ones. Bunting used to be associated with children’s parties and seasonal decorations such as Christmas and Hallowe’en, but I know several people who having put them up for a party never took them down they looked (and felt) so good! For my youngest daughters first communion I used a variety of types ranging from floral pattern ones to home-made ones. For the homemade ones my older daughter helped me to recycle fabric sample books into something fun. (obviously you can use any fabric you may have or just buy a couple of meters of gingham or something similarly inexpensive.) We made a cardboard triangle shaped template to ensure uniformity and drew the shapes onto the fabric before cutting them out with a pinking shears. We then attached them onto a long line of bias binding ribbon. We also dyed some old (less than) white curtains that had served their time with pink dylon machine dye and used them to liven up the overall picture. The end result was fun and not too serious.
We all know retro is in. Taking this to a new level is the new popularity of Doilies. Remember those lacy paper things that our Mums used to put under their Jam sponges? Now we are using them for much more. Here they are merely looped through some string to create it very speedily but you can follow the follow the tutorial on hillyhandmade blog to make them into something a little more special. I also used some heart shaped ones.
Now of course making them yourself is probably the cheapest option but the huge range of beautiful garlands and bunting available to buy on line could make your life a lot easier! For those of you who have never heard of Etsy then be warned. The information you are about to receive is seriously addictive. It is a collective website for individual companies dedicated to selling handcrafted items.
At a quick glance there are literally hundreds of sellers offering garlands and all sorts of bunting on their website. My short list is below. Etsy Ireland is a subdivision and currently has over 700 members. One member is based in Co.Wicklow, Ireland. Her name is Heidi Sheehy (originally from Australia but married to an Irishman of course!) and her company is called Lilac and Moose. To say things have moved on from the plastic disposable variety of bunting is an understatement. Her products range from bunting to aprons to pyjama bags and come in a range of options from ready-made to personalised just for you. The costs for bunting vary depending on whether you request something standard or personalised. For example happy birthday bunting starts at €16 euro up to €25. Plain bunting with no letters for a standard 8 piece flag is €8. For personalised names allow €2 a letter and then one plain piece at the beginning and end to frame it (€1-€2). It usually takes three to four days for delivery but at busy times such as Christmas or Easter then allow at least a week.
If you are less organised but still want personalised bunting you can go for a DIY printable option from Sunshine and Pop which (for a fee) you order, download and print at home. They also do a great range of party invites. A word of caution (which I learned the hard way!), be careful to check whether the bunting you make or buy is single sided or double sided. It’s not great when you hang something up and need it to work in two directions only to find that you need to relocate it so as not to be looking at the plain back! I could go on forever on this topic but I think that’s enough for now. (pompoms are another great fun thing to make and source but that’s another days work…)
Bunting is without doubt the ultimate feel good accessory in the home, cheerful, fun, economical AND stylish!
Where to shop?
www.murphysheehy.com, 14 Castlemarket, Dublin (a treasure trove of fabrics with a great range of Liberty of London fabrics)
www.etsy.com/shop/lilacandmoose (personalised bunting from Ireland)
www.etsy.com/shop/sunshineandpop (digital paper downloads)
www.etsy.com/shop/lamiacasa (paper garlands)
www.etsy.com/shop/fitzroyandcole (crochet bunting!)
www.etsy.com/shop/funkyfrillsuk (paper bunting)
http://www.hillyhandmade.blogspot.co.uk (tutorial on doily bunting)