Strawberry Basket the Prefect table centrepiece

Strawberry Burlap Basket

The boys have been begging me to go to the local Strawberry Farm to pick their own strawberries. We went last year and they had such a great time, they have been waiting patiently for strawberry season to start. 

This way!

So Sunday morning (the first picking weekend of the season) we headed off to Eumundi Strawberries for a spot of hunting and gathering.

The boys on the Hunt!

The boys were very proud of their loot and keen to show it off. Later that day we had been invited to an early dinner, so I thought the perfect thank you gift for our hostess would be a Burlap Basket of hand picked Strawberries.


Strawberry fields forever!

It took about 5 minutes to make, and once filled with the mornings gatherings looked simply stunning. We took it with us and presented to our hostess who put it in the center of the table for dinner. It looked splendid and what’s more provided a healthy treat for the kids after dinner (by the time we left the basket was empty!).

So a quick how to for the perfect hostess gift and table centerpiece:

1. Cut a rectangle of Burlap 16 inches by 8 inches.

Cut to size

2. Fold over each short end (right sides together) 1cm and stitch with a zigzag stitch to secure.

Fold over each short end and stitch in place

3. Fold rectangle in half and stitch down each side (leaving hemmed short side open). Be sure to use a zigzag stitch to minimise fraying later.


4. Now flatten out the side seam and stitch across the base on the diagonal (see photo for description), about 3 cm from corner at widest point. Again use a zigzag stitch and then again with a straight stitch inside zigzag closest to the bag centre. Cut off corner near zigzag line.

Sew across corners


Cut of the ends

5. Repeat step 4 on other side of bag.
6. Turn bag right side out.
7. Roll down top of bag twice.
8. Fill with strawberries! (Or any other home grown or hand picked fruit).


The perfect hostess gift and table centrepiece.


This makes a beautiful table centerpiece for a Sunday lunch – with the strawberries also functioning as dessert. It would also make a great Christmas center piece filled with cherries or plums too.

So easy, so cheap and so effective. You’ve gotta love Burlap!

How to Grow a Sack of Potatoes

– Literally!    Even if you live in a tiny apartment.

If you’ve ever grown your own potatoes you would be familiar with the great potato hunt that occurs at the end of each crop! For those of you that haven’t, I’ll explain. Potato’s grow as a plant that comes out of the ground, whilst under the ground the potatoes are forming. The potatoes are ready when the plant dies off. The problem is you then have to find the potatoes by randomly digging through the ground around the plant. This is relatively easy for a potato farmer with a tractor but not so easy for the home gardener.

 
But I have a Burlap solution of course!
 
Growing your own potato plant inside a burlap sack makes the process of retrieving your loot of potatoes really easy because you know that all your potatoes will be contained within the sack. It is a great project for kids, and non gardeners as well, as it is very straightforward and low maintenance. Plus it looks fabulous in any garden or deck and also makes the perfect apartment garden.
So to grow your own Sack Full of Potatoes follow these easy steps:

 
What you will need:
  • Store bought potato
  • Burlap sack
  • Potting Mix
Materials
  1. Take a store bought potato and leave it in the sun for a few weeks. It will start to sprout roots and when it does it is ready to plant.
  2. Take your Burlap sack and roll down the edges of the sack so it is about a quarter of it’s normal height. 
  3. Fill the sack with potting mix.
  4. Place the sprouting potato in the potting mix so that it has just a sprinkle of potting mix covering it. 
  5. As the plant grows upwards, gradually roll up the edges of the sack and add more potting mix, leaving the top leaves of the plant exposed at all times. Continue this process over the next few weeks until the plant dies off.
  6. Once the plant dies off, your potatoes are ready to harvest. Simply roll down the edges of the sack and brush away the soil to reveal your potatoes. This way you know you will find every potato and there won’t be any hard laborious digging in hard soil.
  7. Make sure you collect the potting mix and store it for next time.
Place potato in potting mix and cover with a light sprinkle of potting mix
Place in a sunny spot
Give it a try and you’ll be growing sack full of potatoes in no time! 
 
 

Inspiration all around – inspiring ideas for using burlap

Love, Love, Love this cushion!

It seems retail therapy is the flavour of the month this month. I think with the kids on school holidays I actually have some time (even though it is usually 5 minutes with a bribe to the video store to follow) to visit all the beautiful homewares stores we are lucky to have in Noosa.

Last week I popped into Eclectic Style in Noosaville and was surprised to find a large range of Burlap items scattered through their shelves. It appears that Burlap is more in fashion 
than ever. A return to a simple design aesthetic has increased the popularity of Burlap in recent years particularly in the home decoration area.

Anyway here are a few of the treasures I came across.

Twine Balls – ohh it’s the simple things in life

Burlap always looks so comforting. It’s organic character seems to add dimensions to even the most basic design.

Herringbone and Hessian – Bliss!
Burlap and it’s cousin jute

An interior decorated with Burlap will always have such charm!

This would make an awesome toy box for the living room

So much inspiration, so little time!

Love the extra border on this cushion
Finally the perfect Beach Bag!

No doubt these ideas will filter through my brain and come out over the next few months as sewing projects. So stay tuned! Or if you can’t wait pop into Eclectic Style in Thomas St Noosaville to pick up a few Burlap treasures of your own!

Burlap for Retail Displays

It’s school holiday time and last week we were fortunate enough to take the whole family to tropical Far North Queensland. The kids had a fabulous time Go Karting, going on the Skyrail and Kuranda Steam Train. We even went to Paronella Park where you can walk around the ruins of an early 20th century Spanish castle. A magical place and a must see if you are in the area.

Anyway, whilst browsing the gift shop I noticed the most delightful retail display for the local Cairns Highlands Coffee Company. They had a custom printed Burlap Sack hung from the ceiling and then  a charming display of some coffee beans in a sack next to a coffee grinder. It was so simple and yet so effective. I felt connected to the heritage of the beans immediately.
I also saw this similar display for the same company later that week in a small gift shop in Kuranda.
I think this company demonstrates a clear brand strategy of attempting to connect the consumer to the rural heritage of the beans and thus reinforce their authenticity. It’s a lovely way to engage the customer and gain the attention of the consumer at the point of sale. It looked lovely and just shows how versatile burlap is, and how effective it is at conjouring up an earthy, rustic feeling. Burlap can bring this same quality to any of your crafting and sewing projects as well.
So if you are in the retail industry and have the opporutnity to connect any of your products to their roots by using Burlap, seriously consider using it in your store for an eye catching and authentic display.

Burlap Doorstop Pattern and Instructions – a gift for someone with everything

A great idea for a fast, easy and cost effective gift is a Burlap Door Stop. Last week was my Mothers Birthday, and the problem I have every year is what do you buy for someone who has everything? So usually I end up making some unique creation which I know she can’t buy anywhere else. So this year I decided to give her a Burlap Door Stop perfect to use for the doors opening to her newly rennovated outdoor room.

The Finished Door Stop

Here’s how I made it.

Materials:

Burlap
Contrasting Fabric (I used an upolstery remant, but cotton or polyester would also work well)
Ribbon for tag
Ziplock Bag
Sand
General Sewing Supplies

First I created my pattern by drawing a 15cm by 15cm square for the base. I cut two of these out of Burlap as I wanted the base to have extra reinforcement so it is two layers. Then I drew a horizontal line 15cm long. Then at the midpoint (7.5cm) I drew a vertical line 15cm long. And then joined the top midpoint to the two edges of the horizontal line to form a triangle. This sounds more complicated than it is – see photo for example.

I then cut two triangles out of Burlap and two out of Cotton.

Final Cut pieces

To assemble I first pinned each of the triangles to one edge of the (double layer) Burlap square, and stitched in place.

Stitching each of the triangles around the four sides of the square

Then opening out the triangles, I then joined the long edges of the triangles together. To do this fold the square in half to form a triangle shape, and align two edges of the triangles. Stitch in place. Do this for three sides leaving the fourth side open.

Lining up the triangle edges ready for stitching

I also inserted a tag to make it easier to pick up the Door Stop. To this I folded 10cm of ribbon in half and inserted in between the two edges of one side of the triangles, so the ribbon fold was inside the triangle, before I stitched in place.

Inserting the tag – I have folded back the hessian layer on top to show how the tag is inserted between the two layers

Then I turned the door stop right way out and inserted a zip lock bag full of sand.

With bag of sand inserted now align edges and slip stitch closed

I then folded in the side seams and slip stitched in place with a needle and thread.

I then gift wrapped it ready for Mum for her Birthday. An easy and original gift that I know she won’t already have.

If you would like to watch a video to guide you with the step by step instructions on how to make your own Burlap Bag Door Stop then follow this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T82GwoPYysc&feature=plcp