Thursday, 29 November 2012

its beginning to feel a lot like christmas...

Hello folks
though i might be broadcasting to an empty room and tumbleweed i have been away for so long!
somebody once asked me would i recommend leaving the rat race to set up their own business? sometimes it is fab, but other times you feel like you are racing around at 100 miles an hour with a million different hats on!!!  so even though it is my busiest time of year i decided to stop for 5 mins and have a little break with a coffee and a blog!
i have been having a quick peruse of pinterest in my spare moments in the last few weeks, and i have to say there is some fabulous christmas inspiration on there at the moment, home made holiday gifts, cards and decorating ideas.  with all of this inspiration around i agreed to host a workshop with my friend kate, who has the most lovely barn in the old selsley herb farm.
you can click on the picture to enlarge the details, we will be concentrating on handmade natural christmas decorations, a christmas wreath and decorating your home with a natural feel. so i will post some pictures of our efforts!  there are 2 spaces left if any local readers are interested do contact us.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

time for tea

Like January, September marks a time for new beginnings.  This September is particularly momentous for me as my baby has just started school.  In turn I was hoping that that meant that I would have hours of time to myself to catch up with the things I've not had time to do over the last 9 years.  Some how this isn't yet the case (not helped by the fact she isn't full time at school until after 1/2 term!).

I am getting slowly back on track though. I managed to find the time and head space to read our oven instructions so I can now use the timer - something my life would have benefitted from years ago.  Leaving the house to do the school run, knowing the oven will turn on itself and having the 'supper-ready' beeper going as I get back 2 hours later with children worn out from swimming is great.  I used it the other day to make this delicious Rosemary cake, a fab Nigella recipe, for a new mum's coffee morning at school.

Anyway I've also decided that it's time to re-visit the resolutions I made in January.  Somehow I've failed to be a prolific blogger yet this year, hopefully that's going to change.  I'm hoping and anticipating waves of time for 'me'.  When it comes hopefully I'll have time to write some more posts, and time to sit down, enjoy and (most importantly) finish a hot cup of tea.

Monday, 24 September 2012

defeated by technology

if you are trying to access our website today we are experiencing some difficulties with our new server.
so we have a temporary site at
we are hoping to be fully back up and running in our normal site in the next 48 hours.
you can also call the studio on 01453 872480 and we will be delighted to help you with samples and orders.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

beautiful places

a little whistle stop tour around france

ile de re

the beautiful town of monflaquin

beynac on the river dordogne

jardins du marqueyssac

sunflowers in the dordogne

zinnias in the loire


Friday, 14 September 2012

its not always perfect!

sometimes a friend calls you up, and you have a phone conversation which leaves you feeling happy for the rest of the day. whenever my friend helen rings i feel like that!  When she rang this week i came off the phone with my jaw aching from laughing from tales of our hols and their hols, one of helens most memorable sayings is " hmmm holidays, kids, same old crap, different location and only half of your stuff!!!!!!"  who could disagree. anyway she pointed out that my holiday pics make it seem life in the hardaker holiday home is all a bed of roses - i only ever put the good bits on here!
so i thought i would share some of the not so good, and somewhat benny hill moments of life!
the first day of our hols, less than 50miles over the channel dotty had a strop, resulting in this

which was accompanied by  a hushed and hissing granny like shout about " i bet you wished you'd bought a ******** caravan" (apparantly not though as a knackered campervan is much cooler!)

life is never dull whenst travelling with my children, the youngest always manages to create mischief wherever he ends up, and ile de re was no exception - face first complete with bike in one of these salt marsh  ditches - sadly no pic as i was too busy pulling him out.
though mummy is no better, wondering what was bobbing up and down in a very stylish spa jacuzzi - turned out it was the chicken fillet padding of my posh new swimming cossie!!!

see its not all perfect in hardaker and pope land (i tell a lie jos life is always beautiful!)
PS , it will be back to the beautiful life tomorrow!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

a proud moment

i have had the pleasure this year of working with the most lovely family, to create some beautiful bespoke fabrics for them.

proving the power of google, my lovely client did a google image search for yellow chinoiserie and up i popped! My lovely client contacted me and between us and our fabulous printers, we managed to pull off a custom colour redecoration of her dining room in time for thanksgiving.

the summer brought the second phase, where i designed a site specific contemporary relaxed damask for their small sitting room. they are a proper family, who live in their house and entertain their friends who come from all corners of the globe to spend the summer, so it was important for them that the designs didn't feel stuffy or over formal.

its heartwarming to deal with such lovely folks,  and i should just mention the marvels of Dr Helen Tilly's  translation skills!!!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

have ipad will travel

the purchase of dotty has rather revolutionised life in the hardaker household, we have been nipping off here there and everywhere throughout the holidays. Modern technology has meant that i have been able to stay in touch with jo all the time , and she held the fort through my 3 and a half weeks in france. The one downside of modern technology is you end up with boxes of cables and a bag clanking with iPads, iPods, kindles, laptops and other malarchy! after a big scratch on the ipod in st ives in may i fired up the machine and made some covers for the techy stuff to take to france! not only do they prettify the ugly techy things, they do definitely protect them. i tend to cart all of our electrics around in one of my shoppers so am much happier now that they aren't all clanking in to one and other.

with decorex looming and the prospect of catching up with old collecgues and friends, i am for once going to feel like i have joined the 21st century (rather than a country bumpkin which is my usual feeling!) when i whip out my ipad at decorex complete with the decorex app and rather smart sarah hardaker cover!!

if you are coming to see us at the vh fair have a look for our very popular scrap bags before they sell out and make yourself a cover. check out our step by step how to here feb 12

Sunday, 2 September 2012

colours of ile de re

as promised a little more on our trip to france. I felt very inspired by the ile de re, which had a very chilled out vibe and was very relaxed. we heard very few english voices in a week. All of the shutters on the buildings on the island are painted in soft chalky tones.
we had just finished shooting the new collection when we left, and some of the colours we have going on in the new collection are veery redolent of the colours in france (more on colour inspiration later!)
anyway here is a little selection of ile de re, which is making me feel very wistful.....

 everybody cycles everywhere which i also loved because you were n't dodging cars (always a trial with small children in tow).

the streets and cycle paths were overflowing with wild flowers and hollyhocks.

 there are vast expanses of wild marshland and salt flats

beautiful blues of sea and sky

Monday, 27 August 2012

phew a busy summer

hello lovely people, what a busy summer! while the rain has poured in England we welcmoed a new member to our family. meet Dotty.

lovely dotty came to live with us in memory of mr Hs lovely mum who sadly died at much too young an age last year. He received a small inheritance and said he wanted to spend it on something that was all about making memories, (i stopped being churlish and muttering carpets for our sadly neglected abode and embraced the idea - with a bit of trepidation).
Anyway Dotty has whisked us away to France for almost a month, and i have to say ot was most relaxing, she had one large temper tantrum on the le mans ring rd, when we thought we might all be coming home, however the lovely and somewhat baffled people at the vw garage in le mans put her right and off we went.

she is going to be having a bit of a make over as all i managed before we went on hol were some new curtains from one of the designs  in our new collection.
she has a bit of a storm cloud interior so we went for polka dot in cherry and faded roses in cherry to cheer her up a bit .
anyway more about france and our inspiring trip later,
au revoir for now!

Monday, 16 July 2012

teachers gifts

I don't remember my teachers being inundated with gifts at the end of every term but it seems to be the thing to do now days so I've been busy with the children trying to come up with ideas of things that THEY can make. 

My little girl was given this book of iron-ons by Sukie and has had great fun choosing specific transfers for each teacher, and carefully using the sewing machine and iron to create these little lavender bags.  She was content for quite a while making these, unfortunately baby (now a lively 4 year old) and Boy don't have the same 'staying power' and persuading either of them just to write their name on a label is quite a challenge so their teachers may not be quite so lucky!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Peggy Lady


 Every now and then I like to make the effort to do something special with each child on their own.  Our little girl in particular relishes being the centre of attention but rarely gets such luxury being the middle child.

 Last weekend however we had a special day and went to a Peg Doll making workshop at Olivia Dell's house.  We had such a lovely time, quietly sitting in Olivia's studio, rummaging through her fabrics and threads to find just the right thing to add to our mini people.  What was so amazing was the way the pegs 'told' you who they wanted to be.  Olivia had said we should start with the face because only then do you know who you are making and it was so true.  I really wanted to make a beatific, whimsical fairy for the top of our Christmas tree but that was not to be. 

When I added her hair she turned more Paula Yates than - an angel fallen from grace!  And I loved my Rumanian Princess,  I found the twisted thread for her hair and was going to chop it off once the glue had dried and then realised that it was beautiful and made her character come alive.  Meanwhile my little girl was busy making her wedding lady and then her extremely glamorous shepherd lady with her very own sheep.  You really could have hours of fun doing this, but unfortunately our afternoon came to an end and we had to take our new friends home.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

lavender lovelies

we were super inspired by the lovely sania pell to get back to making some  lavender products.
back when we very first started we made and sold tomes of these to keep us in beans, and somewhere along the wayside we forgot about them!!

  so inspired by sania we have resurrected the idea and they will be available on our newly updated website from the end of july. Customers will be able to choose a colour and we will make 3 co ordinating lavender pillows tied with ribbon or vintage lace.

if you have some scraps of fabric that you love, they couldn't be easier to make yourself. simply cut 6 co ordinating squares of fabric approx 14cm sq. pair them up right sides together. starting from 2cm in from a corner stitch all the way round the edges and finish 2cm after your last corner (so you have a gap to turn through) . trim the corners and turn right sides out, press flat with stuffing the gap pressed in so that it is in line with the edge. stuff with lavender and a sprinkle of rice for weight, and stitch the opening closed. tie your bundle with some vintage lace or ribbon.
they do make a rather lovely gift

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

feeling blue

i have always loved blue, but in my days at osborne and little it was never considered a good seller. now i am on my own and can please myself i have added a beautiful blue group to the new collection
i really like it teamed with our soft warm french grey.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

art inspiration

well it has to be said i am getting nowhere fast with my work for my exhibition entry!
so i thought i would gather a little more inspiration to spur me on! 
for some reason i keep being attracted to all things birdy!

 vanessa cooper

 lisa wolfsgruber
 elaine pamphilon

keiko minimi