Friday, 31 July 2015

Bag Lady becomes Basket Case


The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions. 'What a day I'm having!' he said. 'Let us start at once!'

'Hold hard a minute, then!' said the Rat, staggering under a fat, wicker luncheon-basket. 'Shove that under your feet,' he observed to the Mole. 'What's inside it?' asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity. 'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly;coldtongue coldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscress sandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstasies: 'This is too much!' 'Do you really think so?' enquired the Rat seriously. 'It's only what I always take on these little excursions!'

My picnics have usually been transported in a dull red coolbag [freebie from Sainsburys, years ago] but I have always hankered after a proper wicker luncheon basket like Ratty’s.

P1010903 Then Steph said that the woodland themed wedding would entail some wicker hampers, and I saw one going very cheaply in a CS in Wimborne [it has now closed, sadly] so I purchased it. It had the fittings inside the lid – but no crockery or cutlery.

P1010901-001I already had some  cutlery, and a set of plastic picnic ware, but it didn’t quite fit the existing straps. I spent £2.50 on 2 foil lined lunch-bags and a pack of 3 icepacks.

P1010902I also bought a metre of spotty plasticised fabric in The Range.

I measured up and sewed a liner for the inside, and then I covered a piece of card for the lidP1010905.

As you see, I simply sewed up the corners, then I tucked them inside. I stitched the fabric in place [the holes in the basket work make that quite easy.

P1010904I made a little spotty bag to hold the cutlery, having realised, quite serendipitously, that the plastic bag from the ice packs was exactly the right size.

Here’s the finished basket, loaded and ready to go [well, not really, I padded out the bags with paper for the purposes of the photograph!] You can just see the spotty cutlery bag tucked in between the plates and lunchbags.


Just a few comments…

  • Sometimes we are just 2, sometimes more – I didn’t want to put in lots of straps for cutlery I wouldn’t need, so I just put the cutlery in the bag, and tucked plates and beakers around the lunch bags. Fewer fittings give more choice for contents.
  • With a smaller picnic, I can fit my blanket in the basket.
  • I lined the lid, even though it has no fittings, so that it would be easier to wipe clean. Food trapped in wicker is a pain
  • My large plates fit neatly under the 2 lunch bags.
  • My sewing machine didn’t like sewing the plasticised fabric – and it was quite thin, so if I sewed just one layer, it tore. I should have purchased thicker stuff I think!

F&M hamperThe basket, plus fittings has cost me around £12. It measures 40 x 60 x 20cm. That makes it the same size as the Fortnum and Mason “St James Hamper” I have realised that I have yet to put a tablecloth and napkins in mine and I have plastic, not porcelain crockery.

F&M hamper lidI have a thermos flask that will fit, if we want to take hot drinks. I have spent £538 less than I would have paid at F&M so I am very happy! [should I stencil A & B on the lid of ours, do you think?] Now all we need is some sunshine!


  1. That's gorgeous and just as nice as F and M!
    You could add a couple of elastic straps on the lid and tuck paper napkins, or whatever, in them.

  2. That's lovely, Ang - I do hope we get some sunny weather so that you could enjoy a picnic by a river somewhere!

  3. 1. It's a bargain. 2. It's lovely. Thanks also for the Wind in the Willows reminder. That's one of my favourite bits.

  4. It's perfect. Well done, Angela! Ratty would be pleased!

  5. Beautifully done Ang! You are resourceful! CBC bought a vintage wicker hamper from the village Grrrr near music camp complete with ceramic mugs!x

  6. I found a CS picnic hamper this year as well. Mine had some very tatty crockery and cutlery so I'm enjoying refitting it too - you've given Ideas!


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