Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Granny Chic Tea-light Holders

Reading back through my recent posts, you'd be forgiven for thinking that I never left the house. There is a definite making and baking feel to this space lately, and that's just fine. But I have been outside, I promise, it's just that family days out are less frequent at this time of year. John works every weekend during December and so it's often just the kids and I. We potter and play, we visit the park, we go to birthday parties (Bella has three this week!) During the week we do the endless to-ing and fro-ing to school and nursery and back, we see friends. After school I provide a taxi service to and from Rainbows, cheerleaders, play dates... It's busy. The last family "outing" we tried to have was a total disaster. We thought we'd go into Leeds a couple of weeks ago on a spontaneous trip to the German Christmas Market. It poured with rain and was very cold. We did not have hats or umbrellas. We had no cash with us. While John was queuing at the cash point Angus had a massive tantrum because he wanted to go on a fair ground ride. I let him get on and suddenly, after a couple of minutes, he started to scream. I had to stand and watch him go round and round, sobbing, until the ride stopped. When I lifted him off, I saw that he'd wet himself (this was why he was crying - he was so excited by the ride he forgot to tell me he needed a wee) and he proceeded to wee all over me too. We didn't have spare clothes for him - we were being spontaneous! So we went home, got changed, then went out for fish and chips.


Anyway, back to safer territory. Do you like a crafting project that can be done in ten minutes? And which only requires a handful of things lying about the house? And one that costs nothing? Yay, me too! I give you my pretty lace tea-light jam jars.

I'll be honest, I have mixed feelings about the whole granny chic look. Sometimes I think it's genius but other times it looks like the home of a crazy person who never threw anything away. John detests this sort of decorating so he is tolerating these tea-light holders since it's Christmas. But I LOVE them. My mother-in-law, Jean, gave me this length of lace when we last stayed with them. She bought it years and years ago from travelers who were selling things door to door, and she never knew what to use it for. I am happy to have found a use for it and there is still absolutely metres of it left. The lace is dreamy and delicate - pure white in daylight, opal and glowing in candlelight. 

You will need:

  • Jam jars.
  • Lace trim, ideally wide enough to cover the jars (or paper doilies would work too).
  • PVA glue.
  • An old paintbrush.

To make:

  • Paint the outside of the jam jar with glue - you want a thin, even coating.
  • Cut a piece of lace long enough to go around the circumference of your jam jar and place it around the jar over the glue.
  • Trim the lace so that there is not much overlap.
  • Paint over the place where the two edges meet with more glue so that any loose ends stay stuck down.

See, easy! Then simply wait for it to dry and put your tea-light inside. The base of my jam jars was slightly raised and curved so I used a small piece of blu-tack to keep the tea-light in place.

Angus made one too with scraps of lace:

Gorgeous, no?


  1. oh gorgeous yes!! My sort of thing! Thank you for sharing - when I have time (!) I will be making some of these myself! x

  2. Perfect simplicity.

    Your day out familiar!

  3. Oh, poor Angus, bless him. Love the tea lights, a nice simple project that even I could manage.

  4. Fish and chips makes everything better. Liking the tea-light holders, your evening photo sold them to me... thinking Christmassy - shall make a few, thank you.
    Ivan x

  5. So pretty!
    Oh poor little Angus
    love jooles x

  6. I can imagine they light up beautifully. Gorgeous granniness - not a word I know, but it sounded good in my head.

    Nina x

  7. this is fabulous. love. i always enjoy seeing your craftiness. xo

  8. These are gorgeous Gillian, such a good idea. xx

  9. lovely, I must make some of these. I have been eyeing up jars in the supermarket! Heather x

  10. Oh dear, I remember having lots of outings like your family trip to the German Market. Glad to hear you saved it with Fish & chips.

    These lacy jars are so easy, but the lace adds so much! Thanks for the idea.

  11. oh dear, that WAS a nightmare trip. difficult to be spontaneous with children, i feel.
    i'm a harsher mama, we don't get things after a tantrum request around here. other than hugs.
    i have always needed spare trousers/socks/tights/pants when i didn't bring them.
    you went to leeds with no money? LOL

    ok, these are sweet. simple yet look really pretty with the candle inside.

  12. Love these and glad we aren't the only ones where attempts at days out end up in stress and tears! We had the nicest day today and we never left the house! Hope your week is good, Jxx

  13. these look amazing! I love that first picture. I bet they also make awesome shadows .. x

  14. What a perfect use for your wonderful lace! I'm with you on the mixed feelings about Granny Chic but these lacy tealight holders are just perfect, yours and Angus's :D

  15. What a great idea! They are so pretty!

  16. Hi Gillian, Your Christmas decorations are beautiful, love the tea lights, I just use the jar, and have bought citronella tea light candles for our Aussie Christmas (anti-mosquito). We had to make a Christmas tree out of eucalypt branches, as our local Girl Guides who sell the "real" Xmas trees had sold out. But I must say our "tree" looks great. Have a great Christmas! Cheers from Down Under, Liz near Wollongong NSW

  17. Fish & Chips seems like the perfect end to your German Christmas Market ordeal!! Had a real chuckle when you described the granny chic look between genius and looking like the home of a crazy person who never throws anything away : -) I'm with you on that one; I think there is a fine line between, but I do like your lace tea light holders.

  18. First, love the lights - so very pretty. I bet they cast nice shadows around the room. Second - your day out sounds like a nightmare. Poor Angus. I've been on that giant carousel down at the German Market and I was screaming too! (I didn't wet myself though and I'm assuming he was on the smaller version!). We used to go with friends every year there, but now I only go with grown ups. Better to just hit the gluwein stall and stay there! x

  19. Lovely post Gillian, I think all mothers can sympathize with you and your outing disaster.We have all been through something similar .
    I made mine come on a family bike ride on a hot day....nobody else wanted to leave the house . Then disaster ...my eldest took a nasty tumble and ended up in hospital for a week !!
    I've really popped in to say I'm making your cranberry chutney today..thank you for the clear instructions....It's my first attempt at chutney making but your looked so good I had to give it a try.
    Jacquie x

  20. Love the lights and that gorgeous polar bear ... poor little Angus ... and poor you ... I too have been peed on in the past ... not pleasant ... but one of the many joys of motherhood ... hope you next day out is much easier :) ... Bee xx

  21. amazing! I'm pinning this to try at some point! xx

  22. It's a great idea! I want to try. A greeting.

  23. What a perfect way to use some lace that I have. Thank you

  24. So glowy, a really warm light. Lovely make xx

  25. LOVE! so cute! Did I mention love?

  26. The lacy jam jars are lovely. I have loads of jars hanging around in the garage waiting for jam so I might treat them to a craft project instead :)
    Like some of your other commenters I can sympathise with your outing. Like the time she had to sit in a cafe in her knickers while the very kind owner sponged off the milkshake she'd just covered herself in!

    1. Aagh! I meant to say 'like the time my daughter...'. Sigh, it's been a tiring week. x


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