Archive | August, 2012

X is for kisses

31 Aug

Ok, I’m a dreadful cheat. But believe me, you wouldn’t have wanted xylophones and x-rays were less than inspiring!

So, I’m spreading a little love on the blog today instead – and that’s why…

X is for kisses

{Miranda July via my Pinterest boards}

{via First Date via my Pinterest boards}

{via Lessons in Detail via my Pinterest boards}

{Alfred Eisenstaedt via my Pinterest boards}

{Rachel E Foster via my Pinterest boards}

Lots of love and kisses,



First attempt at food photography

29 Aug

Ahh, the bliss of a bank holiday weekend! I decided to use the bonus day to try something that’s been on my list since I bought my DSLR camera and 35mm lens a few weeks ago. In fact, this was only the second time I’ve used my new camera at all so I’m still trying to get to grips with its most basic functions. I have to admit, I didn’t think it would be quite so complicated!

Undeterred, I grabbed the three most promising props I had to hand – my trusty Falcon pie dishes, a £1 tea towel from the weird curtain shop down the road and a bag of plums – and set about copying a food photography tutorial I’d seen on Pinterest.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

These are the best of over 400 snaps – all completely hit and miss technically if I’m honest. I had the camera set on aperture priority and played around with the exposure compensation a bit. At times I held a bit of white foam board to the left-hand side because I’d read that was a good idea although I’m not sure what difference it made!

So, do I have any photography enthusiasts reading? What do you think? Should I edit them somehow? All ideas and comments most welcome!

Oh, in case you’re interested, here’s my funny little “studio”…

{Decorator’s Notebook}

Saturday morning

27 Aug

time to myself

breakfast in bed

a postcard from Provence

remembering my travels

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

Join The Room Debate!

24 Aug

Happy Friday everyone and welcome back to The Room Debate. I have a feeling today’s bedroom might provoke some strong reactions so let’s get the discussion started!

As always, it’s easy to take part. Just have a good look at the room photo below and leave a comment with your answers to these two questions:

One thing I like most about this room is…

One thing I like least about this room is…

{via Desire to Inspire}

So, how do you feel about this one? Are you a fan of the feather wall art? Does the room tie together well for you?

Looking forward to meeting you in the comments to hear your loves and loathes!

Wycinanki: Polish papercut art

20 Aug

I’m notoriously rubbish at getting things framed and have boxes full of ephemera, prints and doodles that I’ve been intending to hang on my walls for yonks.

However, with half an hour to kill on Tottenham Court Road before dinner here (go, it’s great) I found myself in Habitat and remembered to pick up a Bacall frame for one particularly lovely scrap from my collection. It’s a wycinanki, an intricate Polish papercut.

{both Decorator’s Notebook}

Wycinanki (pronounced vee-chee-non-key) were originally made by shepherds from scraps of leather or tree bark and used to decorate their huts. The designs often feature traditional folk art motifs such as peacocks, roosters, flowers and elaborate medallions. Over time the art developed to use paper instead and the technique is passed down through generations.

{via Ponoko}

Designs vary depending on the region where the wychinanki are made – mine’s typical of the Kurpie forest where only one colour is used, while those from the Łowicz region feature layers of multicoloured paper.

{both via Sublimacje}

If you’re not making a trip to Poland anytime soon, try this wycinanki stockist in the UK or this one in the US. I also really like Angie Pickman‘s prints of contemporary wycinanki, especially this fox design.

Finally, if you want to have a go at making your own, check out this excellent wycinanki how-to by papercut artist Suzy Taylor.

{$20 Rural Pearl}

Lots of rural charm in the country

20 Aug

Radostina posted this wonderfully tumbledown farmhouse in southwestern Sweden on 79 ideas yesterday and I knew straight away that I had to share it with you.

Owners Gunilla and Sven Montan have spent 15 years painstakingly restoring the farm using traditional materials and techniques. The building has been decorated using linseed oil, lime plaster and mineral paints with just the right amount of the rough character left intact. I love the quirky touches, like the light above the sink which is an old heat lamp from the piglet pen.

Three years ago the couple decided to move permanently to their holiday retreat and have now converted the assorted barns and hay stores around the farm into accommodation for when their children and grandchildren come and stay. I can imagine the farm is a paradise for children, with blackberries and apples to pick and chickens to chase.

{Magdalena Björnsdotter for Lantliv}

White, rustic and remote – I’d go tomorrow if I could!

W is for Windows

17 Aug

There aren’t many things that are unchangeable about a home. A new wall colour, different flooring, beautiful wallpaper and tasteful furniture can transform even the grottiest of rooms. Frankly, if that wasn’t the case, I’d be out of a job and Decorator’s Notebook would be a very boring place indeed!

But however hard you try, natural light is almost impossible to add or simulate, which is why it’s always top of my must-have list when choosing where I live. I’m lucky to have a big south-facing bay window in my living room which bathes everything in warm sunlight and always brings a smile to my face. My flat is a million miles from perfect, but I wouldn’t change that window for anything.

W is for Windows

{Pieter Estersohn via my Pinterest boards}

{House of Brinson via my Pinterest boards}

{Patrick Cline for Lonny via my Pinterest boards}

{Laura Resen via my Pinterest boards}

{via Life is Beautiful via my Pinterest boards}

Which of these beautiful rooms / windows is your favourite? Don’t forget to follow Decorator’s Notebook on Pinterest for even more decorating inspiration and ideas.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Ps – The observant amongst you will probably have realised that my Pinterest A-Z reaches ‘X’ next time and are quietly sniggering at my folly. I have a back-up plan but if you have any bright suggestions please do let me know!

Name the place

15 Aug

I’m really intrigued by these Places cushions by Swedish textile designers, How Are you. Each one shows a landscape photographed by Niklas Blom and is named after the longitude and latitude where it was taken. Paste the co-ordinates into Google Maps to see the exact spot the tripod was standing.




OK, so it’s a bit of a novelty, but I appreciate the thinking behind it and the cushions themselves are lovely. There are no UK stockists yet (they’re looking) but they sell online for £63 each and can be shipped over here.

If these float your boat, check out their fun Making Hard Things Soft range too – great for an industrial room.

How to hang a display of vintage mirrors

13 Aug

At last, the forest green walls in my bathroom have been transformed into a nice cool grey. Time to finally hang the 1930s mirror collection I’ve had in the cupboard under the stairs for the last five years! Creating a frameless mirror display is harder than it looks so I thought I’d put together a little ‘how to’ with some tips and tricks.

Boring before…

Beautiful after…

How to hang a display of frameless vintage mirrors


  • Mirrors
  • Roll of parcel paper or large offcuts of wallpaper
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Heavy duty picture hooks with at least two screw holes
  • Screws and rawlplugs suitable for your wall type
  • Tape measure / ruler
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver

1) Check the fixings on the back of each mirror are secure (frameless mirrors can be very heavy) and tighten them if necessary. I thought my display would look neater if the chains were hidden so I shortened some of them by adjusting the positions of the fixings and clipping off the excess chain with wire cutters.

2) Trace around each mirror on the parcel paper and cut out to make a template. Sketch on the position of any patterns and mark the top/bottom if necessary.

3) Lay all the templates out on the floor and move them around the create an arrangement you like. Take a photo to act as a reference.

4) Use masking tape to fix the templates onto the wall in the same positions, tweaking the arrangement if necessary. I  swapped the bottom right-hand and left-hand mirrors over as I could see that would fit better once I had the templates up on the wall.

5) Start with the mirror that will hang in the bottom centre position. Lay it face down on the floor and loop your hook under the chain. Pull the chain taught and measure how far down the lower screw hole is from the top of the mirror.

6) Place the hook on top of the corresponding paper template, measure the same distance from the top and mark the position of the screw hole on the wall. You should be able mark through the paper with the template still in place. Then mark the position of the other screw hole, using the hook as your guide.

7) Remove the template and drill holes in the marked positions. Tap in rawlplugs and securely screw in the hook. The easiest way to do this is to start the screw off with a manual screwdriver then finish it off tightly with an electric screwdriver if you have one.

8) Repeat for all the mirrors making any small adjustments to the positions as you go along. Stand back and admire your handiwork!

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

I’m really happy with how it’s turned out and my bathroom looks so much lighter and more spacious now.

If you found my post useful, please share it! Buttons below…

Join The Room Debate!

10 Aug

Happy Friday everyone – welcome to the Decorator’s Notebook Room Debate once again! I’ve picked a summery country dining room for us to consider today. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

As always, it’s easy to take part. Just have a good look at the room photo below and leave a comment with your answers to these two questions:

One thing I like most about this room is…

One thing I like least about this room is…

{via House to Home}

So, what do you make of this one? Do you like the idea of a stencilled floor? What about those chairs and pendant lights?

I’ll kick things off in the comments section below – it would be lovely to see you there!

Have a wonderful weekend!


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