Archive | April, 2012

Light’s up, light’s up

30 Apr

I’ve lived in my little flat for two years now. For the first six months the living room was lit by a bare bulb in the middle of the room. When I couldn’t stand that anymore, I invested a whole £6.75 in a string drum shade from Wilkinson. Needless to say, this was not quite the look I was going for…

I’m lucky to have lovely high Victorian ceilings so wanted a light that would be big and beautiful – a statement light, if you don’t mind the term. However, as with pretty much everything in my home, I had trouble finding a design I liked enough to commit. And so the £6.75 lampshade stayed. And stayed. And stayed.

Until… after much internal deliberation, I finally took the plunge and bought this punched metal pendant light last week. Apologies for the drunken photo angle – I was balancing on the back of my sofa:

It’s called the Shian pendant light and is from BHS. I’d been watching it for a while online – it was reduced from £190 to £152 and then when I spotted a voucher for another 25% off on Twitter, I decided to go for it. It set me back £114 in the end.

I like how it ties in with the other Moroccan elements of my living room (this carved screen and this embossed bowl) and how the detailing is intricate but still quite geometric. It’s not too fussy or ‘pretty’.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

A friend suggested I get a light bulb with a silver bottom which was a great tip as it means you don’t have that horrid exposed bulb thing when you look up and it also bounces the light upwards which casts a beautiful pattern on the ceiling.

So what do you think? Do you like it? Do you think it’s a bit too wrecking ball-esque?

P is for Paper Pom Poms

27 Apr

I’m afraid I have mixed feelings about Martha Stewart. To be honest, I couldn’t give two hoots about her financial affairs… it’s the beleaguered pet thing, first world problems and mind-boggling array of endorsements that I struggle to swallow. And don’t even start me on the whole edible baby thing.

Whatever your thoughts, there’s no denying that Martha is the undisputed godmother of the contemporary craft revolution and so I have to acknowledge my debt to her and her minions for the subject matter of this post.

And yes, I am claiming a triple word score for the alliteration on this one:

P is for Paper Pom Poms…

{The Balcony Gardener via Pinterest}

{Pom Pom Factory via Pinterest}

{via The Glitter Guide via Pinterest}

{Weekday Carnival via Pinterest}

{Lori Danelle via Pinterest}

If you’d like some of your own, click here for a tissue paper pom pom tutorial or buy ready-made from Pom Pom Factory or The Balcony Gardener. Papermash sells honeycomb tissue balls. Don’t forget you can follow all my Pinterest boards here.

Finally, if you didn’t click the link at the beginning to the edible baby thing do it now. Trust me, you need to see this.

Flowers from a friend

25 Apr

The very lovely Girl About Tech gave me these very lovely coral orange roses at the weekend. The colour looked beautiful against my pale grey living room walls and with the strong Sunday sunlight shining through the petals.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

What flowers do you have in your house at the moment?

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Glorious gladioli

The first daffs of spring

Decorating dilemma: indoor olive trees

23 Apr

I don’t like house plants, I’m absolutely certain on that. So I really shouldn’t like these…

{via Just Pretty Things}

{Stylizimo}

{Vosges Paris}

{House of Philia}

Apparently olive trees are “pretty low maintenance, great for someone who likes plants that don’t mind a little neglect.” Well, that someone sounds very like me, and I already have this plant pot from IKEA stashed away which would be just right.

Somehow these don’t feel like the traditional house plants I so dislike but am I losing the plot on this one? Will it just die? Will it just sit there gathering (shudder) dust? Is it just wrong to have a tree in a two-bed London flat? Have I just got carried away with the whole gardening malarky?

I need your help on this one blog friends!

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You might also like these posts:

Starting off my teeny tiny herb garden

Winter plants for window boxes

Join The Room Debate!

20 Apr

It’s Room Debate time lovelies – this time I’ve got a kind of country-ish dining room for our constructive critique. 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}

I’ve started things off in the comments below… can’t wait to hear what you think of this one!

Have a lovely weekend.

Behold, the kitchen that converted me to coloured kitchens

19 Apr

Even though they’re a bit boring I’ve always been a white kitchen girl, mainly because I think 99.9% of coloured kitchens are garish and I find wood cupboard doors oppressive.

However, I now can’t imagine a more beautiful kitchen than this one…

{Petra Bindel via 79 Ideas / Elle Interior}

I once styled a kitchen similar to this for a magazine where the clever homeowners had installed cheap IKEA carcasses then had a carpenter make doors from MDF, which they painted. It’s a great idea because it’s a really inexpensive way to get a kitchen that looks bespoke and you can have whatever paint colour and finish (flat matte please) you like. This eau de nil teamed with white marble is just gorgeous, don’t you think?

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You might also like these posts:

My kitchen: before and after

An old school with a kitchen made from reclaimed tea crates. Nice.

Intricate illustrations by Claire Scully

18 Apr

I have a habit of leaving my computer logged into Decorator’s Notebook so I usually miss the thumbnail links on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page. Today though, my laptop took it upon itself to log me out of it’s own accord… fortuitously as it happened as I discovered these.

One click took me to The Flood, an interesting digital art magazine and from there to British illustrator, Claire Scully. There are a few different styles of work in her portfolio but it was her Bejewelled series that caught my eye.

Each illustration is an intricate web of geometric shapes – to me they look almost like lacework or crochet. You can tell that a huge amount of patience and concentration went into making them.

There’s a slightly folkloric edge to the way the animals and birds are drawn – I think it’s the blend of the graphic design and pretty detailing that appeals to me.

{all Claire Scully}

See more in Claire Scully’s portfolio… while you’re there click on the Nature Drawings category too. Her feather and tree root drawings are lovely.

Homespun Style, Brixton Village & a tiny herb garden

16 Apr

This weekend was my last before I start volunteering as a mentor with this amazing charity, so I kept it completely free and dedicated it to that favourite of pastimes: pottering. Needless to say, as usually happens with a weekend of nothing particular, I feel I’ve been flying around like a loon and am completely shattered!

It started with a quick call into Selina Lake’s launch event for her latest book Homespun Style. I was too busy nattering to Lynne, Charlotte, Jo and the Country Homes girls to take pictures but luckily Sussie Bell had been on hand to capture it (see all her photos here).

{Sussie Bell via Selina Lake}

On Saturday I made a last-minute decision to check out Brixton Village. I’d heard lots of great things about it so hopped on the bus to check out what all the fuss was about.

I never cease to be amazed by the transformations the most unlikely pockets of London can undergo in a remarkably short space of time. In Brixton Village (formerly the grotty Granville Arcade) there are still a handful of plastic bucket shops clinging on for dear life, but for the most part this is now the domain of achingly cool eateries, upmarket delis, vintage shops and craft boutiques. Recession… what recession?

I put myself under strict instructions to resist the vintage shops and came home with just a bunch of smelly freesias for Le Flat, a slice of rosemary cake and a little plan to make my garden grow (more of that later).

The shabby old covered market has been given a makeover from floor to ceiling… literally in the case of these vintage lampshade decorations. These wouldn’t look out of place in Selina’s book!

This place is so hip, even the litter is styled.

Assorted shop signs, including the cardboard log cabin that houses Circus. I could’ve spent hours exploring (and definitely want to return for lunch) – if you’re nearby it’s definitely worth popping in.

After finding a vase for my new freesias I decided it was time to give my ‘garden’ a refresh. That hot spell we had in March meant the spring bulbs I’d planted in my window boxes lasted only a couple of weeks before wilting away, so I toddled down to Homebase to choose something nice and colourful for summer.

{all except the first photo, Decorator’s Notebook}

I am very middle aged when it comes to garden centres – I love them! I spent ages pondering which seedlings to buy, eventually plumping for Cupid trailing sweet peas. I love sweet peas but hadn’t heard of a trailing variety before, so I’m hoping they’ll smell as lovely as the traditional ones. After that I got a bit carried away and bought another window box to make into a dedicated herb garden (first floor flat style, of course) and some mint, sage and two types of thyme to get started. I’ve sowed some chive, oregano, coriander, parsley and basil seeds as well to add in with the perennials in a couple of months time.

Loaded with all that, plus a 60 litre bag of compost made getting home a superhuman effort. I’m only 5’1″ and as the bus driver said, that bag of compost was probably heavier than me!

*flexes biceps*

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You might also like these posts:

My window boxes in winter

Another London market – Columbia Road

Upcycling: the good, the bad and The Apprentice

12 Apr

So, did you see it? I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or where to look – at the TV screen or my Twitter timeline, which was buzzing with talk of nothing else!

One of the things that got me growling at the telly was the indiscriminate use of terms like ‘shabby chic’, ‘vintage’, ‘retro’ and ‘upcycling’. I honestly felt that kind of cringing you get when your grandad says the word ‘sex’. By the time it got to the boardroom and Lord Sugar was saying “upcycling” (in a tone that suggested invisible airfinger speech marks) every 30 seconds I was actually wincing and had my hands ready to cover my ears.

But from an academic perspective the thing that got me thinking most was those on Twitter who were getting angry and upset that The Apprentice candidates were making a mockery of people who sell and upcycle vintage furniture for a living. To me, they’re getting the wrong end of the stick. Those candidates went into the task thinking as I suspect many people do… “this is easy, anyone can do it.” However, what they managed to prove is that no, you can’t. Sure, anyone can stencil a Union Jack onto something (anything) or write Shabby Chic on a luggage tag and hope for the best, but to make something that’s genuinely desirable and covetable you need creativity, skill and a sense for good design.

So, for today I thought I’d post some examples of upcycled pieces that I find inspiring and innovative. Saying that, I think we definitely need a new word to describe this… every time I type upcycled I can feel my fingers tensing up!

I really like this lampshade made from vintage rulers from Roost Living. I think it works because it takes items that are already nicely designed but not overly useful (at least, not once you’ve left school) and turns them into something that’s still nicely designed but useful in a different way. No extra faff or bling – just simple and charming.

{via Apartment Therapy}

You might already be sick of the whole wooden pallet thing, but I think this pallet plate rack is still really clever. It’s a completely new use of a genuinely redundant object and fits into the room in a way that doesn’t shout about its old purpose or feel particularly contrived.

{Annaleena’s Hem}

Am I on shaky ground with this one? I’m going to argue for it because I think it’s clever, it costs almost nothing and it does something practical. No, I don’t think you should pay a single penny for someone to make it for you but I think it’s a great idea.

{Shannon Fricke via Decor8}

A good quality, functional but probably not too attractive wardrobe updated with good quality, attractive but not very functional wallpaper offcuts. Symbiotic upcycling at its best!

Of course, I’m not saying there aren’t some shocking examples out there – I was tickled that one tweeter suggested last night’s episode of The Apprentice should’ve been sponsored by Regretsy – but of course, I wouldn’t be bitchy enough to point out any bad examples.

Hang on, what’s that?

Oh. It appears that I am.

And I’ve made a special Pinterest board of the best (worst) I could find. Sorry… couldn’t help it.

Please do comment with other pieces (good and bad) and tell me what you think of the whole upcycling thing!

Weekend in the Cotswolds

11 Apr

Wet and windy weather made me a bad blogger as far as photos of my Cotswolds weekend are concerned (sorry!) but I had a lovely time regardless. We indulged in some fantasy house shopping (one of my favourite pastimes), visited eye-wateringly pretty villages, tested out the pubs in said villages and ate cake every day. Overall, bliss!

Here’s snippet…

I knew I’d arrived in the countryside when I noticed this ‘repurposed’ cigarette bin at Charlbury station. Awwww.

Chipping Campden is a really lovely market town with interesting shops and places to eat – I much preferred it to Bourton on the Water which was mobbed with tourists and full of tacky souvenir shops. The downside of having picture-postcard looks unfortunately.

One of many beautiful houses that had us ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Though the yellow Cotswold stone makes even ugly houses look good.

Lottie didn’t know what to make of this sculpture!

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

There were antique and junk shops galore in Chipping Campden, Stow on the Wold, Woodstock and Morton in Marsh… but our best find was Station Mill antiques centre (above). We were so amazed by what we found inside this unpromising looking building in the middle of an industrial estate we went back twice!

Hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. Going back to work yesterday was hard, eh?

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Weekend in the Westcountry

Sun, sea, sand and snow

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