Archive | November, 2012

Homemade clay Christmas decorations

30 Nov

Last year I made these snowflake decorations from air drying clay – this easy to use material was a revelation to me, so I wanted to share another lovely idea with you.

{via DillyPad}

You can buy DAS air drying clay in art shops or from Amazon. To make these tree decorations you could simply roll out small sausages of clay, lay on a strip of cotton lace trim and go over with a rolling pin to impress the pattern. Make a hole in the top with a darning needle and then lay out to dry.

I’d love to know if you try them…

Festive foliage au naturel

28 Nov

After many years of studying Christmas decorating behaviour, it is my theory that we all fall into two camps: magpies and purists. If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all it won’t come as a surprise to learn I’m the latter. Give me armfuls of holly and pine, a box of candles and the odd plain glass bauble and I’ll happily get to work creating a pared-back festive haven.

{via Greige Design, Blomsterverkstad, Toast, Johanna Vintage, Karen Mordechai, La Petite Cuisine, The Gifts of Life}

Are you a purist or a magpie?

My Room, Keep Out!

26 Nov

Where Children Sleep is a thought-provoking photo project by James Mollison. James was born in Kenya but grew up and studied in England before moving to Italy to work for Benetton’s research centre. The brief for the project was to communicate the complex social situations of children growing up in different parts of the world. James chose to do this by photographing their bedrooms (filled with signals of their circumstances) alongside individual portraits taken against a neutral background in which they each appear equal, ‘just as children’. Click the images for a larger view.

{all James Mollison for Where Children Sleep}

There are 27 bedrooms and portraits in total – each one is equally fascinating and touching, so I strongly recommend you view the whole project here.

Just don’t mess with Joey from Kentucky…

House tour: cosy Welsh farmhouse

23 Nov

People who grow up near the coast often say they have the sea in their blood – wherever they live, they can always hear the waves calling them home. I grew up amongst hills on the edge of Exmoor and I feel the same way about rolling landscapes… the longer I spend in London, the stronger my yearning for the countryside gets. Perhaps that explains why knitwear designer Kathleen Holland, who was born in mountainous Peru, chose dramatic Snowdonia for her weekend retreat.

Kathleen’s passionate about her Peruvian roots and the colours of the country’s spectacular landscape are evident in her alpaca clothing designs. I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of months of my gap year in Peru and Kathleen’s colour palette inspired by purple-flowering desert cacti, the golden grasses of the altiplano and cloudless Andean skies brings back a flood of wonderful memories for me too.

Kathleen’s decorating choices for the farmhouse interior are equally inspired by the Snowdonian landscape. The beamed ceilings and slate flagstone floors act as a rustic backdrop for traditional wood furniture, including the much-loved Welsh dresser and heavy dark stained grain chest, which Kathleen inherited from her in-laws who previously owned the house. On top of it, handfuls of foxgloves and daisies spill out of an old milk churn.

{all Simon Brown Photography via Remodelista}

The bedrooms are decorated with just the right blend of simplicity and beauty. The wrought iron bedstead in the master was made by a local blacksmith and Kathleen has draped it with linen from reclaimed grain sacks to make a relaxed headboard.

Oh, how I would love to be snuggling down in one of the antique beds under a heap of Welsh wool blankets and vintage eiderdowns this weekend!

One-step craft idea: washi tape photo frames

21 Nov

Washi tape has to be the biggest trend to hit crafting in years and I love the innovative ideas people come up with for using it. So, today’s simple craft idea is these washi tape picture frames. No instructions – simply cut, stick and away you go.

{Trendenser}

I’m wondering about running a little mini series of oh so simple crafting ideas like this… would that go down well do you think?

Silkscreen printing snippets

19 Nov

I mentioned a little while back that I enrolled on an eight week evening class to learn the basics of silkscreen printing. I’ve only got a few weeks to go so I thought I’d share a couple of the designs I’ve printed so far.

{Decorator’s Notebook}

We’ve been working on two techniques. The pomegranate (I’ve been variously complimented by my classmates on my onions and pumpkins!) were done using simple cut paper stencils. These are easy to make but tear easily too, so you can only get a few prints from each one. The fern is done using photo silkscreen, where you expose a screen coated with a light sensitive emulsion to UV. If I carried on, I think this is the method I’d use as the image can be quite detailed and the screen can be used many times before it wears out. The photo on the bottom left is the screen itself.

Picking myself up to go to a three hour long class after a full day at work has been tough, but once I’m there the time goes so quickly and I wish I’d been able to work on more designs. There’s nothing like thinking creatively and doing something new to treat the winter blues!

10 best Christmas wreaths to make and buy

16 Nov

I have to start this one with a confession: I am a Christmas tree voyeur.

One of my greatest festive pleasures is discreetly (ok, not always discreetly) peering into people’s windows as I pass and perving on their Christmas tree decorations. This is also why I love wreaths so much. While the Christmas tree is the coy flirt of the decoration world, tempting our sideways glances, the wreath is the brazen tart, putting it all out there for the whole world to stare and admire!

So without further strange ramblings, I present for you all my Christmas wreath round-up. Five beauties to buy and five more to make yourself. Enjoy!

5 best Christmas wreaths to buy…

{Frosted Faux Ivy wreath, £70, The White Company}

{Felt Ball wreath, £60, The Original Pop Up Shop}

{Lasercut wooden wreath, £20, NOTHS}

{Fresh Herb and Holly wreath, £70, Real Flower Company}

{Bittersweet Vine and Berry wreath, $32.95, Etsy}

5 best Christmas wreaths to make…

{Drinking Straw wreath tutorial}

{DIY Fabric Christmas wreath kit}

{Vintage Paper wreath tutorial}

{Lichen Twig wreath tutorial}

{Felt Ruffle wreath tutorial}

I think my favourite shop-bought wreath is the fun one with the felt balls and my favourite homemade one is the simple lichen twig wreath. I’d love to know which one you like best so leave a quick comment, and check out my Pinterest board for loads more Christmas decorating ideas.

Stripped wood makes a comeback

14 Nov

{Amy Barkow via D*S / unknown via Pinterest}

When I was growing up in the late 1980s, stripped pine furniture was all the rage. I remember sitting in the car with my brother and giggling at name of  ‘Strip ‘n’ Dip’ where my parents regularly dropped off beautiful Victorian trunks and doors that previous owners had caked with gloss. The smell of Briwax still takes me right back to that first house I grew up in – I love it!

{via The Gifts of Life}

A few years later the ’90s arrived. Changing Rooms hit our screens, the term ‘shabby chic’ was coined and painted furniture (painted everything) was firmly back in. Mum went to a paint effects evening class and soon every available surface in our house was rag rolled, stippled and scumble glazed to within an inch of its life. And that was when I fell in love with decorating.

{Lisa Warninger}

Now, it seems we’ve come full circle and rustic bare wood in back in fashion once again. I’m not sure if it’s my changing tastes, nostalgia or something to do with the season, but I’m loving the warmth, texture and unpretentious beauty of stripped wood furniture and accessories. The more mismatched and battered the better.

{Countrystyle}

When I moved into my flat a couple of years I went for a lot of sleek white gloss furniture combined with soft grey for the walls and accessories. I still love grey, but in my next house I think I’ll be embracing natural materials a lot more. Partly because I hope my next move will be out of London and into the countryside so a more rustic look is generally a better a fit, but also because I think my tastes have softened too.

{via Vineet Kaur}

Have you noticed your tastes shifting away from painted furniture recently? How you think you’ll decorate your next home differently?

DIY: quick autumn garland

12 Nov

Wasn’t Sunday the most gorgeous autumn day? I took a walk through Crystal Palace Park in the warm sunshine and gathered a few handfuls of turning leaves, hips and berries to make an simple garland to bring some of that autumn beauty into my home.

This autumn garland is so easy it’s a bit of a stretch to call it a DIY really. All you need are a length of ribbon or twine, some mini wooden pegs and the pick of nature’s bounty!

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

I choose some vibrant red and yellow just-fallen leaves and berries so I don’t think the colours will last long, but they’ve really cheered up my living room. You could try pressing the leaves or using completely dry ones and it would last all winter.

Friday: a day of two parts

9 Nov

{À la Mode}

{via That’s Just It}

Some weeks, it’s those little treats that get you through.

Make sure you give yourself a treat today and have a lovely weekend xx

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