Tuesday, 30 March 2010

crazy chick

I like to send my God Daughters something for Easter that isn't chocolate and usually I use this as an opportunity for a DIY gift. This year I've been aware that Easter is creeping up but I was stuck for ideas and running out of time until I picked up the latest issue of Selvedge. Here I came across Tamar Morgendorff's Easter Chick 'How To'. I love, love, love her stuff; her bird boxes were the inspiration behind this Bird Cafe I made a while back. So I was thrilled to be given a few tips on how to create a chick her way.

It wasn't as quick and easy I as expected, there's talent in creating that rustic look effectively so my girly pink versions will be the craziest Easter Chicks my God Daughters have ever seen!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

where do you go to my lovely?

I know that I've been quiet recently but things at home have been hectic. The run up to the end of term has meant creating Easter Bonnets and Easter Gardens, we've also just put our house on the market (big sigh) so I've been scrubbing and cleaning manically, desperate to impress prospective purchasers. Then, in between each meticulous cleaning session, I'm creating huge amounts of mess and chaos by dragging out the sewing machine, opening all my boxes of trimmings and ribbons and searching through my bags of fabric praying to God that we don't have any more viewings...

All this because Hardaker and Pope have a few fairs coming up and I've got to spend some time at my machine and make some goodies to sell.

Any way I have made some Giant Pin Cushions, using old Witney Wool blankets like this one I made for Sarah. I've made it a bit more glamorous by adding bits of 'bling'! I've plenty more ideas up my sleeve it's just a question of finding the (uninterrupted) time to make them and an appropriate moment to make a mess.

Of course there will be plenty of Sarah's work too so if you are interested in visiting our stand you can find us at the Rodamarton Spring Fair on Friday 23 April and our friends at Vintage and Handmade are doing a textile fair on Saturday 3 July.

Friday, 26 March 2010

anthropologie - it's all in the details

when i heard on the grapevine last year that anthropologie was opening a store in the UK I was so excited. It has long been one of my favourite destination stores whenever we have visited the states.
what I love is the unruly freedom the buyers seem to exercise, I am sure it is a carefully laid out plan - I had a stint designing for a large home retailer so I understand what goes on behind the scenes to create an effortless whole.

however the clever people at Anthropologie have created a brand that feels personal, it feels like one persons eclectic collection, for me it is how shopping ought to be - a pleasurable process.
the stores are large - there is one in Regents Street and a new one in the Kings Rd, and they encompass fashion, home, stationary, jewellery, antiques/brocante and bits and bobs.
everything is displayed in a very lifestyley way, its not primped and fussed and most importantly it doesn't have that horrid, bland, homogeneous feeling that so many retailers insist on (I am going to make critisism of habitat here - whose store on the kings rd looked like a tatty version of tk maxx and the product looked tired and lacking innovation - bring back vittorio radiche I say -a man with vision and care)
Anyway as I said Anthropologie sells a lifestyle, an aspirational lifestyle. You could easily spend a fortune in here, but it isn't wildly overpriced, you just want it all, it has imense feelgood factor.
The thing that clinches it for me - apart from the fabulous variety, is the details. I love detail, I can't manage without detail, often I will spend as long packaging something or making a tag for it as i will making the thing in the first place. Anthropologie obviously have this passion too.
there were lots of price tags and info tags made from old postcard with scraps of fabric stitched to them, or typewriter descriptions typed on to them.
Vintage plays a key role, I was chatting to one of the very pleasant and helpful staff about the old bits and bobs and she told me they had a man who travelled around the world looking for interesting junk/antiques and they build their store fitting around them. - what a job!!
all of the vintage items are also for sale, these are identified by little manilla luggage labels.
the shop is also filled with armfuls of fresh flowers and beautiful original artwork, also for sale.

I went to London on Monday for the annual design week shmooze, however I have to say my hour and a half in anthropologie was the most exciting and inspirational part of the day. you will be pleased to know their european website is now up and running here, and if you want more inspiration visit the American version here. One request (actually no two!) can we have a store in Bath? and can I be the bag carrier for the world explorer man?!

Friday, 19 March 2010

clever sticks

a few weeks ago one of my customers - val heslin sent me an email with these lovely pictures attached. val is based in norfolk and buys fabric from me for making beautiful cushions for various norfolf interiors stores. she is an incredibly talented maker who can turn her hand to anything - as these gorgeous Easter bunnies show. Val sells them for £19.95 plus p&p.

Lovely Kirsty Elson who writes the very popular blog sixtyone A
started me off on this talented reader thing, when she bought some spotty linen and enclosed a beautiful card with a cheque, it took me a second to notice that the birds and cage are made from my fabrics - i had a proud mother type moment!! kirsty sell her wares which we have featured here before on folksy and not on the high street. I covert the driftwood boats and think i will buy one for mr C's room when he is out of his cot and in a bed.

Becky from vintage fairy tales in sweden won our cupcake competition. She is not only a talented artist but she also has a garden to covet, and shares my passion for the bright and cheery zinnia - in fact I am taking Beclys advice this summer and i am going to grow mine in a big tub in the hope that this year they won't be a sluggy banquet!

talented tracy who lives in the far north of scotland, is a fellow notonthehighstreet seller.
she recently won our birthday giveaway and i am ashamed to say with the bag hell I still haven't finished putting the parcel together (though it is nearly done).

i love these pears they are simple but really elegant. Tracy is a multitalented crafter who can knit, sew and crochet - as well as looking after a veritable menagerie!

tracy writes a lovely blog cupcakesathome and her on line shop is cupcakes direct .
if you are a talented reader send us some pictures of your creations.

weekend reading

hello lovelies, its nice to be back - thank you JO for holding the fort singlehandedly. I have emerged from bag hell again, out of the frying pan into the fire though, straight up to the printers in lancashire for a few days. the result of all of this hectic activity (combined with sickly children adn a husband with ofstead in school) has left me rather below par, in fact so below par that I had to cancel our much looked forward to stitch and bitch and take myself off to bed this morning.
well doctor dad told me to do nothing so I thought a bit of blog perusal might be just the ticket.

anyway I had great plans for a big weekend reading post, however I came across this simply stunning blog called all the beautiful things via a blog called sea angels which is a visually and aurally beautiful blog click on the link and the beautiful images are accompanied by lovely music.
anyway i found sea angels via a bun can dance and so the joy of clicking.....

well the multitude of lovely images on all the beautiful things has led me to do a post just on that, so there will be more weekend reading over the weekend (unless I have a relapse!) in the meantimem enjoy having a look at this stunning blog, i can't read a word of it, but no matter the pictures speak volumes!

enjoy your weekend everybody x

Saturday, 13 March 2010

something for the weekend

It's a been a beautiful Spring Saturday and a lovely day to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. We had a fantastic family lunch at the Potting Shed, near Malmesbury and I still adequately stuffed from my gourmet burger and chips followed by a divine Baileys and Tiramasu sundae served with amaretti. Anyway the state of my stomach is irrelevant. What is relevant is that I'm really envious of the present we gave her. Champagne chocolates, a crisp, white, linen bolster cover and this amazing book by Atlanta Bartlett. I opened the package from Amazon and promptly had to order another copy!

I can just imagine lying in bed (propped up by bolster), box of truffles within very easy reach and the book, just flicking through the pages and slowly feeling more and more inspired (and possibly sick).

And whilst on the topic of being inspired I watched a fascinating programme last night on weaving using traditional methods. It is part of a series on Master Crafts by Monty Don on the BBC (available on i-player until 26 March). Do watch if you can. Three complete novices spend 6 weeks with Margo Selby learning the incredibly complicated techniques and designing their own textiles (no room for short cuts or impatience here, so not a craft for me to take up). As I say it was truly fascinating and I now have a much deeper respect for textiles!

And once you've ordered your new book, watched Master Crafts then look at these blogs and websites.

Teresa Green I just love her illustrations
chocolate creative Another duo writing about their design inspirations
Maxine Sutton Loving the colour
Cornelia O'Donavan

That should keep you busy this weekend.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

game of tag

When I made my valentine garlands I claimed that the only shaped hole punch I possess was my heart one. But I was wrong, completely wrong, how could I forget my label one, since I use it all the time? Sarah introduced me to these and she has a bigger version. I love the fact that you can produce a gift tag to suit whatever gift you are giving or packaging you are using.

But Sarah took it one further when she was commissioned by (my) Hubby as a birthday present for me a couple of years ago. She has used text from Captain Corelli's Mandolin which we had as a reading at our wedding to create this lovely montage of tags.

Just look at how clever she is and the detail in each of the labels. Naturally, I love it!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The circus is coming

I do like conventional Snail Mail, even though these days the majority of the postman's delivery is random catalogues, cheap double glazing or 2-4-1 pizza offers every now and again something worthwhile drops through the letter box. Yesterday it was the Giffords Circus flyer.

This is the highlight of our Summer. My Uncle even flew down from Edinburgh one year after hearing us rave about it! It is the most wonderful traditional circus and great entertainment for the whole family - babies to biddies! The sight of the troop's original burgandy caravans stationed on Minchinhampton Common is heartwarming. Dog walkers get the added bonus of Russian Cossacks cantering over the ground in full regalia as they practice for their daily shows and it feels like something out of the Famous Five. And if the weather is good enough a preshow picnic with lashings of homemade lemonade is 'jolly super'.

Highly recommended for anyone in the Cotswolds this Summer, full details of dates and venues are on their website.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

potty training

Both Sarah and I are running around like headless chickens at the moment. Since the latest Not on the high street catalogue was sent out Sarah's been busy making bags and I'm (in the words of Sarah's father) 'trying to eat an elephant all at once'.

But amongst all this whizzing around I keep glimpsing out of the kitchen and smiling at the sight of this family heirloom sitting on our garden table! Mum gave it to me a few weeks ago, apparently I had spied it in the garage and had said I would like to have it. I have no idea what my original intention for the potty was, but hubby was fed up of it lying around and shoved a stray viola in it, which is now thriving.

Then it got me thinking, especially since now is the time that we should be sowing our seeds, of what other unusual planters there are out there. I love the idea of recycling food cans, and since my little girl loves Heinz Tomato Soup this picture caught my eye, the striking red of the geraniums works really well with the signature Heinz soup labels.

Then I saw these lovely planters made of old tea caddy's, I think the image is originally from Apartment Therapy. Obviously I'm not the only one thinking of planting I came across this post on fun planters on Bliss Tree. You must look at the idea for the business cards, it is fantastic.

And hubby's job for this weekend - to drill holes in all the old buckets, watering cans and food tins I've been collecting, then I can start planting.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

from britain with love

late last summer I met a lovely lady called Nicky, she had a vision! That vision was the website from Britain with love .
Nicky came to talk to me while she was on holiday in the Cotswolds and told me about the site she was building. She had spotted a gap in the market for a site which draws together the best of British in one place.

I thinkk the thing that makes the site unique (apart from the gorgeous graphics, products and ideas!) is its lovely magazine like quality you could spend hours perusing different sections. There are travel features - one written by the lovely Jeska at Lobster and Swan, places to stay, gift guides, course notes, meet the maker interviews as well as lots and lots of products.

You don't buy the products on the from britain with love site, instead you click a link which takes you direct to the makers own site.

I think Nicky has achieved something really fantastic here, and should become a great first stop for anyone visiting the uk as well as us folk who live here asll the time.
We should all be encouragining our home grown talent - its hard enough to eek a living out of designing and making, so go over and have a read, and think about using the site as a starting point next time you need to buy a wedding gift, a special birthday present or plan a little getaway.
Nicky also writes a great blog here.