If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a Christmas lantern then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘The Finale’
‘Yes!’ I cried. ‘Yes,’ at the end of a very emotional day. And I felt very happy indeed.
I’d woken that morning with my heart in my mouth. It was my first official day working for Shaun and I desperately didn’t want to mess it up so I wandered into Teacups & Tulips to summon up some courage, a place where everything was familiar.
‘What are you doing here?’ asked Kim. Then she took a closer look and said ‘why do you look so nervous? You should be excited today!’
Just then, Jaz, who was very excited, came bounding into the shop. ‘My offer on the flat’s been accepted! The estate agent said I could be in for Christmas if my solicitor gets his skates on.’
After a chorus of ‘Yays’ and some congratulatory hugs I took a deep breath and turned my attention to Shaun’s open evening that was happening later that day for selected guests and press contacts.
‘You organised with the canapés for later?’ I asked Kim before I left.
‘Of course,’ she said. ‘Beryl’s starting work late today so she can be your waitress this evening. It’s her first day back after the honeymoon so she should be looking refreshed.’
With one thing ticked off my list I made my way down to the old hardware store to check on everything else. Shaun was already there, clipboard in hand, but he didn’t look at all well.
‘Oh dear, what’s wrong?’ I said.
‘Nothing. I’m fine,’ he replied, trying to smile. He looked at his To Do list, ‘I need to pick up the brochures from the printer; can you check the photographer’s going to turn up on time and the guy from the Gazette is still coming?’
‘Yes, of course,’ I said, determined to give this important event my best shot, hoping to prove to Shaun that he was right to trust me.
I had my own long list of things to do and was happily crossing things off as I did them when Kim popped in. How considerate, I thought, I’ll gladly listen to some words of support from Kim over a coffee and I got up to put the kettle on.
‘Oh, can’t stop, sorry,’ she said. ‘I just wanted to let you know that Beryl’s flight was cancelled yesterday so she won’t be here today.’
‘When did you find this out?’ I asked, starting to panic that the day might unravel from here.
‘Apparently, she rang Gary yesterday but he forgot to tell me. Typical man,’ she said, rolling her eyes. ‘Anyway, must dash.’ She turned back as she was leaving with one last comment – ‘You’ll have to get your apron out, Jenny, and do the honours!’
When I’d previously suggested I’d do the waitressing Shaun had been adamant that he wanted me doing other things like greeting guests and showing them round – bringing to life the story of how we are going to transform the old hardware shop into a spectacular dining experience was how he’d put it.
So he’s not going to be very happy if end up doing it myself after all, I thought. I rang him to break the bad news.
‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘I’ll sort it. Just make sure Dave from the Gazette is coming. Got to go. Bye.’
So I rang ‘Dave’ from the Gazette who clearly had not been very interested when the invitation arrived and consequently it wasn’t on his radar.
‘What event? Where?’ he said, with total disregard for the effort we’d put in. ‘This evening? Oh I don’t think I could make it tonight.’
With all the charm I could muster I tired to entice him. ‘There’ll be food,’ was my last pathetic attempt to win him over.
‘But will you be on the menu, darlin’?’ he said sleazily.
‘Yes, I’ll be there,’ I said reluctantly. Knowing that I was likely to be safe when he saw I was a 50-something woman in black boots, thick black tights and a patterned jersey dress, rather than the glamorous girl in her early twenties with a short skirt and high heels that he probably had in his mind.
‘Can’t wait to meet you, sweetheart.’
I didn’t see Shaun again until 15 minutes before the start of the event. Both of us were scrubbed up, changed and ready to greet our guests.
‘What about the waitress?’ I asked.
‘All sorted,’ he said and Kim walked in looking less than enthusiastic in a clean apron with trays of canapés.
‘Well,’ he whispered, ‘the waitress was part of the deal. It was up to her to provide one.’
Next came Dave, earlier than the allotted time but at least he came. Kim gave a squeal then a few sharp words in Dave’s ear. I think he’d pinched her bottom. But before I’d had chance to investigate, more people arrived and Shaun and I didn’t stop for the rest of the evening – showing people round, describing the plans, ensuring they had full glasses, giving them brochures. It was such a buzz!
Two hours later when the last of the guests had gone, Shaun and I slumped into a couple of old easy chairs.
‘That was a triumph!’ he said. He looked so happy that we’d pulled it off and made an impression on all the right people. But then his face changed and he said, ‘Jenny, Francesca’s left me. Well, that’s not technically true. This morning she told me she wanted me to leave the house.’
‘Oh, that’s terrible!’ I said, genuinely worried about him and his family life. No wonder he looked so ill this morning, I thought.
‘It’s been on the cards for a while. A couple of years if I’m being honest with myself and I know it’s for the best. In fact, tonight’s success has made everything fall into place.’
‘Good job Old George had a flat above the shop,’ I said, trying to lighten the mood.
‘I’ll need to get a decorator in before that’s habitable!’ he said. ‘I’m staying with my sister until then.’
He looked relaxed, content with where his life was heading.
‘Jenny,’ he said, ‘now that my situation with Francesca’s out in the open, do you think there might be a future for you and I?’
‘Yes,’ I cried. ‘Yes, definitely.’ ◊
How to Make a Christmas Lantern
It’s with a happy heart that I set about making decorations for this Christmas. This one is a lantern with a wintry scene, perfect for tea lights or battery lights.
You can use any old glass jar. I chose an old favourite – a Douwe Egberts coffee jar.
I had some second-hand black tissue paper but you could use thin craft paper if you prefer. I cut out several buildings and trees to make up my scene. The windows are a bit tricky so make sure you have small sharp scissors or a sharp craft knife.
I used a piece of ribbon to determine the diameter of my jar. Wrap the ribbon all the way round until you get to the starting point then measure the amount of ribbon with a ruler or tape measure. Mine was 30cm which is just about the same as the long side of a piece of A4 paper. Set out your scene to be sure you have enough pieces and you like the way it’s arranged.
Then start to glue your pieces onto the outside of the jar. I used watered down PVA (probably about 2 parts glue to 1 part water) which I pasted onto the jar, then added the church.
After gluing all of the items on I pasted a couple of thin layers over the whole of the outside of the jar. This secures all the pieces and gives a frosted effect on the plain glass once it’s dry.
For a final layer I added a very small amount of sliver glitter to the glue/water mixture and pasted the sky again to make it sparkle slightly. Now add tea lights (mine took 3) or battery lights to light up the buildings.
- Never leave a lit candle unattended.
- I used a post from Shabby Art Boutique for inspiration.
- Hmm… think my glue mixture would have been better a bit thinner.
- Use a very long match to light your tea lights in the bottom of the jar.
- Coffee jar
- Old black tissue paper
Well, that it’s from fictional me. Liz, creator of Salvage Box, will be back in the new year with more crafts incorporating salvaged items. Hope you all have a happy and healthy time this Christmas and hope you’ll be back in 2018.