Tag Archives: interiors blog

Composure: my word for 2014

2 Jan

word for 2014 composure

{Photograph: Forever Amber}

If there was one word to retrospectively describe my 2013 it would be ‘flux’.

So much changed for me last year that at times my little feet barely touched the ground. Joe and I set off on our entrepreneurial journey and finally shared our plans for the Decorator’s Notebook shop at the Somerset House showcase in March. In the summer I left my career as an interiors journalist, sold my flat and moved away from my friends in London to the Westcountry to launch our new business in October. Since then, we’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing encouragement we’ve received and delighted, puzzled, challenged and overjoyed in equal measure.

Just like the best white knuckle rides, 2013 has left me exhilarated, visibly shaken and desperate to go back for more!

Since we are still only a few months into our new business venture I’m in no doubt that 2014 is going to hold similar thrills, so as much as I’d like to choose ‘settled’ or ‘content’ for my word of the year, the realist in me knows I need to opt for something a little more achievable.

That’s why I’ve selected this one: COMPOSURE.

A word that will remind me to breathe and take a measured approach to the decisions I’m likely to face. A word to help me look for the opportunity in a situation rather than feel daunted by it. A word that will encourage me to stay level-headed even while my feet frantically paddle beneath the surface.

Or so I hope… of course only time will tell but I am writing my word nice and big in places I will see daily.

Have you chosen a word for 2014 and what do you hope it will help you achieve this year?

Ten days of hellos and goodbyes

10 Jul

A lot has happened while I’ve been away from here…

east london line

… farewell Gingerline commute

camera strap

… farewell day job colleagues

labour and wait

… farewell favourite shop

liberty london

… farewell other favourite shop

london skyline from millenium bridge

… farewell Southbank skyline

Crystal Palace Park

… farewell Crystal Palace Park

my first home

… farewell first home sweet home

packing labels

… farewell lovely belongings

packing boxes

… hello ice cold beer

cleaning products

… hello four day cleanathon

tea revives you

… hello well-deserved tea break

view from my bedroom window

… hello waking up to this

the cleave pub dartmoor

… hello Granny, happy 80th birthday

scones

… hello Wimbledon final day (woop!)

to do list

… hello new life!

Missed all this? Follow us on Instagram @DecoratorsNotes

15-minute make: twiggy plant markers

25 Jan

DIY herb makers made from twigs

Here’s a lemon squeezy little craft project for you to try out over the weekend. Spring is just around the corner so I’ll be adding a few green-fingered ideas over the coming months in celebration (anticipation).

Twig Plant Markers

Twigs about 20cm long and a little thicker than a pencil

Sharp craft knife and cutting mat

Alphabet stamps

Coloured ink pads or acrylic paint

1) Whittle one end of each stick into a point. At the other end, slice away the bark on one side of each twig, exposing about 6cm of the wood beneath.

2) Dab your alphabet stamps into the ink or paint being careful not to load the stamp too heavily. Stamp your chosen plant names onto the bare wood.

3) Leave to dry the pop into the pots. Standard craft ink isn’t waterproof so remove the markers before watering!

stick plant markers DIY

{both via Etsy}

Possibly the best mug ever

10 Dec

I love Toot as in Foot. Not only does it have one of the best blog names ever, author Jo always makes me laugh with her quirky tales and apparently fathomless vintage knowledge. If you’ve never seen a human jumble sale or you don’t yet know the weird and wonderful tale of Resusci Annie, you need to add this blog to your reading list.

homemade pottery mugs Toot as in Foot{Jo Waterhouse / Toot as in Foot}

I also think that Jo shares my compulsion to have a stab at new crafts… while I’ve been trying out screenprinting, she’s been playing around on the potters wheel. These wonderfully wobbly mugs are the fruits of her endeavours and they’re all so lovely I hope she won’t mind me sharing them. The one on the bottom right is captioned ‘possibly the worst mug ever’… and it’s absolutely my favourite.

Have you mastered any new skills during 2012 and what would you like to try in 2013?

Put another log on the fire for me

5 Dec

Brrrrrrr, it’s getting nippy out!

rooms with open fires

{via Bonytt / Planete Deco / Devon Fires / Living Agency}

Every house I grew up in had a roaring open fire, so when the weather turns, central heating just doesn’t do it for me. Nothing feels cosier than gathering around the hearth on a chilly evening and to my mind, living rooms just don’t have a natural focal point without one.

fireplaces

{via HK Living / Keltainen Talo Rannalla / Oh, Pioneer / Bo Bedre}

Looking at these welcoming open fires makes me feel that a working fireplace has to be on the ‘must haves’ list for my next home. In the meantime, I’ll have to make the most of the woodburner at my parent’s house while I’m home for Christmas… if I can wrestle the dog out of prime position on the rug that is!

Stay warm peeps xxx

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?

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!

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?

Decorating dilemma: house plants

22 Oct

At Design Junction a few weeks ago I caught up with the lovely Marianne from Nordic Bliss. We got talking about the differences between British and Scandinavian homes and she told me how much she misses seeing house plants in interiors now she lives in the UK

I had to confess that I put myself in with the house plant haters. They seem a little bit sad and dated to me – all ’70s macramé and  droopy spider plants. Straggling, dust-gathering, light-sapping, yellowing… depressing.

{via Apartment Therapy / Remain Simple}

But because I trust Marianne’s taste, I thought I’d hit the web in search of house plant ideas with a twist to see if I could find something to convert me.

{West Elm / Nova 68}

OK, so I think a nicely contained, straggle-free terrarium I could do – Fugu the goldfish had better watch his back! If you fancy having a go here’s a good terrarium how-to complete with suggestions for plants to try. I like the idea of a simple fern and moss combo best.

{via Apartment Therapy / Style Me Pretty / A Well Traveled Woman}

These dinky little succulents look nice and fresh too – no creepy plant limbs crawling over the windowsill here! And better still, succulent plants ‘thrive on neglect’ making them a perfect candidate for a lazy gardener like me.

And then, just when I thought I might’ve been converted…

{Boskke Sky Planter}

WTF? WHY TF?!

As My Friend would say: travesty.

Where do you stand on the whole house plant dilemma?

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