Friday, 16 September 2011

New Living Room, Zero Cost

I recently decided put some finishing touches to the living room. The majority of what you see was already in situ so only a few small changes were made, but they really completed the look of the room.

The first change is the new carpet. Which isn't really new at all. It's the carpet that we brought with us from our old house. The difference that it made in brightening and freshening up the room is incredible.

The next thing I did was move the furniture. I decided to Katie corner the smaller sofa (place it diagonally across the corner) to open up the floor space and allow easier access into the garden.

For my Birthday I received a couple of cushions by Andrew Martin, one of my favourite designers. I think they fit in with the sofas perfectly and I love the old, worn look about them.

The final change was the hurricane lanterns either side of the fire place. I placed pine cones and oranges in with the candles to tie in with the time of year. Instead of buying packs from the shops I picked the pine cones from the garden, washed them with warm water and left them to dry.
If you don't have a pine tree in your garden try looking in a local park or woods.
The orange slices again I did myself. 2 oranges cost about 30p rather than buying a packet of dried slices for £5.
Making the oranges is really simple

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Slice the oranges slightly thicker than you want them to end up, as they will shrink in the oven as they lose their moisture.
Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake for an hour.
Turn the oven down to 160 degrees and bake for a further 2 hours.

If at this point my orange slices aren't completely dry, I bake for a further hour, before turning the oven off and leaving to completely dry out overnight.

You can dry out pretty much anything that you want, lemons, apples chilies and artichokes, to name a few, and they can be used in so many ways. I've used them to jazz up potpourri, on Christmas wreaths and this year I'm going to thread them with ribbon and hang them from the Christmas tree.

What have fruit and veg have you dried and how have you used them in your house?


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