A crafty resolution

I hope you’ll forgive me for posting something that isn’t really about home interiors / design, but there’s something very close to my heart that I want to share with you. And I hope it will inspire you to a crafty New Year’s resolution!

See, there are a lot of hungry people in the world. In fact there are more hungry people than ever, including a whole bunch of kids, and that makes me really sad. No, no… don’t stop reading! Honestly, I’m not doing one of those tragic TV ads, promise. In fact, I’m about to start talking about crafts…

Craftivist extraodinaire, Sarah Corbett, gets her craft on

Craftivist extraodinaire, Sarah Corbett, gets her craft on

See, I’ve recently got involved with this group of people called Craftivist Collective, founded by an incredibly passionate, inspiring and hard-working lady called Sarah Corbett, who use their stitching skills to make a difference.

Right now, they’re involved in the Jigsaw Project, which is running in conjunction with Save The Children‘s Race Against Hunger campaign, to challenge the UK government to end world hunger.

It’s all linked to 2013’s G8 summit, which is being held in the UK. Remember the Make Poverty History campaign last time we hosted the G8? Well, we want to have the same success this time round.

Could you be a craftivist too?

Could you be a craftivist too?

So, what can you do? Well, this is the fun bit – you can make something pretty and powerful! The idea is to stitch three jigsaw puzzle pieces (using these instructions) with encouraging and positive statements in support of a fairer world where no one goes hungry. Like this:

What will you stitch on your piece?

What will you stitch on your piece?

One should be sent in to Craftivist Collective, which will be making a giant art installation piece in March, to raise awareness and make a statement about how important an issue the craft community thinks world hunger is.

The second piece should be sent to your local MP to encourage them to use their important position for good. And the third piece? Well that’s for you, to remind you that you’re a piece of the puzzle and that what you do affects others, whether that’s buying Fair Trade, saving electricity or volunteering.

You can also sign STC’s petition, and then spread the word about the Jigsaw project using the hashtag #imapiece.

You really can be a part of the solution, you know

Together, we can do more…

This project will only work if you get involved. How rubbish will the art installation look if it consists of just a handful of puzzle pieces? Making one takes just long enough for you to reflect on the important issues of world hunger, but not so long that you should put it off until “you’ve got time” (seriously, when’s that going to happen?).

If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, I couldn’t think of a better one, could you?

I'm a part of the solution... are you?

I’m a piece of the solution… are you?

A Christmas bedroom

One thing I haven’t done a lot of over the festive season so far is sleep. So I was intrigued when Rachel Newcombe from the Fresh Design blog invited me to enter the Christmas bedroom competition she’s running with The White Company.

The idea is for bloggers to create an inspirational Christmas bedroom post using product images from The White Company‘s bed linen range and other Christmassy products. Just my kind of challenge! Of course, I set about it straight away…

I’d start with this bedroom set, which is beautifully pared back in colour and form, but with plenty of texture to keep things interesting. Wouldn’t it be the perfect setting for family present opening on the big day? I love the honeycomb paper decorations in particular:

That four poster bed is in need of a little more festive fancy though, I think, so I’d have to add this gorgeous mini pine cone garland (I’ve always loved the natural look):

I’d combine it with this gold bauble garland, to make sure there was a suitable amount of seasonal bling:

Next, because every room needs a spot of greenery, and because I don’t believe a front door is the only place you can hang a wreath, I’d have to add this frosted ivy wreath (did I mention I love the natural look?):

Extra throws and blankets are vital on those cold winter mornings, so I’d be sure to keep a couple of these Princeton throws to hand:

Finally, you can’t beat the restful flicker of candlelight to create a peaceful festive atmosphere. I love the simplicity of tea lights in pretty containers like this sparkle glass hurricane holder:

So, how would you decorate a festive bedroom if you were given a free reign in The White Company?

Christmas dining

When it comes to festive dining, I have a confession to make: I’m more interested in how it all looks than what it tastes like. Sorry, I’m just not a big eater! But I do love a well decorated table.

Christmas is just the kind of excuse I need to spend hours making centrepieces and thinking of how best to sort out place settings. Here are some ideas that have inspired me this year…

1) You don’t need to overcomplicate things – this simple linen napkin is made into a real attraction with some ribbon, a small card and a sprig of berries:

Belgian linen corded napkins (set of four) £40, The White Company

2) This beaded mistletoe wire is a great idea for decorating your table simply. You could also use it for all sorts of other decorating too, including wrapping presents:

Beaded mistletoe wire (1.5m) £7.50, Cox & Cox

Beaded mistletoe wire (1.5m) £7.50, Cox & Cox

3) These red robin linen napkins are gorgeous, and not so Christmassy that you couldn’t use them throughout the winter. Again, no napkin ring, just a bit of lace ribbon:

Set of four red robin linen napkins by The Original Pop Up Shop £44, MyDeco

Set of four red robin linen napkins by The Original Pop Up Shop £44, MyDeco

4) I love the combination of vintage cutlery and modern bling in this setting; plus I think every festive dinner should be liberally scattered with table confetti:

Set of four snowflake napkin rings £9.99, The Contemporary Home

Set of four snowflake napkin rings £9.99, The Contemporary Home

So, what are you up to for Christmas, and how will you be decorating your table?

Christmas at the Orangery

I need to stop going to design fairs. I just can’t afford it. I’ve bought all my Christmas presents now, but seem to keep accidentally buying stuff for myself!

But who could blame me when the quality of the exhibitors at yesterday’s Christmas at the Orangery event in Henleaze, Bristol, was so high (clearly due to the fabulous taste of the event organiser, designer Rachel Goodchild).

It was the lovely Juliet Seldon (stockists of my favourite Annie Sloan chalk paints, among other things) who invited me along, and I’m so glad she did.

Some of my very favourite designer-makers were present…

Elle and the snow dove giclee print £28, Belle & Boo

Elle and the snow dove giclee print £28, Belle & Boo

Bike cushion £47.50, Ella Doran

Bike cushion £47.50, Ella Doran

The Dove Heart range by Rachel Goodchild

The Dove Heart range by Rachel Goodchild

…plus I discovered a few more…

Figgy pudding cotton napkins (four), was £32 now £24, Charlotte Macey

Figgy pudding cotton napkins (four), was £32 now £24, Charlotte Macey

Pottery by Matt Waite

Pottery by Matt Waite

…and even got to meet two of the nicest crafty writerly types, editors Jo Keeling and Nicole Burnett of Pretty Nostalgic – and yes, a subscription was one of the gifts I treated myself to!

I do hope there’s going to be another event next year – pretty please, Rachel?

Maps

What come first, the love or the trend? Do people love things because they’re trendy, or do they become trendy because people love them?

Honestly? I don’t care. Maps are pretty awesome regardless, so I thought I’d choose them as today’s theme.

Let’s start with this gorgeous map of children’s literature. Do I even need to say anything else?

From Neverland to Wonderland map £12, The Literary Gift Company

You really can have the world at your feet with these (sorry, couldn’t resist!):

Map footstools £279.17 each, Neiman Marcus

Map footstools £279.17 each, Neiman Marcus

This is another colourful example, combining maps with another popular motif of the moment, butterflies:

Framed map butterfly trio £160, Graham & Green

I’ve seen quite a few map print cushions about, but this is one of my favourites:

Zoffany antique London cushion £50, available at John Lewis

I love Michael Hill’s range of map wrapping paper from Lagom Design, available in a variety of colours and locations:

World map gift wrap by Michael Hill £1.50, Lagom Design

World map gift wrap by Michael Hill £1.50, Lagom Design

And finally, a tiny touch for those who just want to give the briefest of nods to this motif:

Cartographer's Cultured handle £8, Anthropologie

Cartographer’s Cultured knob £8, Anthropologie

So, are you a fan of maps? What’s your favourite travel destination?

Made In Bristol gift fair

I went to the Made in Bristol gift fair on Saturday. I was planning on taking photographs, but in the end I was having such a lovely time browsing that I didn’t really feel like it. Plus there were so many people!

Here’s an official selection from the organiser’s blog:

The Made In Bristol gift fair

The Made In Bristol gift fair

I did want to show you a few discoveries though, and encourage you to go along this weekend (yes, it’s a two weekend event!), because I’m a big believer in supporting local artists and always try to buy things that are made in Bristol.

The first stall I spotted on arrival was that of Clare Mahony of CRM Ceramics. I instantly fell in love with her tactile ceramic art pebbles and, after debating for the entire time it took me to walk around every stall, eventually decided to treat myself to one on the way out:

Handmade ceramics by Clare Mahony

Handmade ceramics by Clare Mahony

I recognised the work of illustrator Ruth Broadway from the shoot I did at Makers. In fact, one of my favourite shots of the day featured her camera print. She had a great selection on offer, including some cute jewellery and lush buttons (yes, I did buy myself some!):

illustration by Ruth Broadway

illustration by Ruth Broadway

I was pleased to discover another fantastic illustrator, Fiona Willis, whose finely detailed work I was really drawn to (no pun intended!). My absolute favourite, which I am determined to save up for (it’s actually very reasonable, only I splurged on a Filofax recently, so I feel I should be good) was this tree print:

A year of trees £45, Fiona Willis

A year of trees £45, Fiona Willis

And back to ceramics with Alice Shields, who is in fact also an illustrator, and combines her work to create gorgeous gifts like markers for herb pots and these stunning coasters:

Blackbird coaster £12, Alice Shields

Blackbird coaster £12, Alice Shields

If you want to go along to this free event, visit Colston Hall, Bristol, on Saturday 15th from 10am to 4pm or Sunday 16th from 10am to 2pm. Have fun!

I love Pinterest

I know, I know, everyone’s been on it for ages. But I’m what the marketing people call a “late adopter” and so it’s taken me until recently to get into Pinterest.

Now that I have, of course, as everyone predicted, I’m completely hooked. It’s essentially hoarding but without having to buy a bigger house. Perfect!

There are a million reasons why I love Pinterest, not least because it has helped me discover some very talented, creative people. Here’s a selection of those I’d definitely recommend checking out…

First, if you haven’t yet come across Design Seeds, you MUST follow for the most incredible colour palette inspiration. While you’re at it, have a look at founder Jessica Colaluca’s page:

Design Seeds on Pinterest

Design Seeds on Pinterest

Blogger Home Girl London is a prolific pinner, with 91 boards and 4,368 pins at last count. She’s got great taste, and shares plenty of room design inspiration as well as current product images:

Home Girl London on Pinterest

Home Girl London on Pinterest

Caroline Taylor of Patchwork Harmony and 91 magazine is another one to watch, especially if you like vintage style design, interiors and photography. The blog is awesome too, and you should definitely check out the mag (not least ’cause I write for it!):

Caroline Taylor on Pinterest

Caroline Taylor on Pinterest

Decor8‘s Holly Becker is on Pinterest (obviously) and it’s safe to say that with over 127,000 followers she’s a pretty popular lady:

Decor8's Holly Becker on Pinterest

Decor8’s Holly Becker on Pinterest

A lot of shops only pin their own products but Anthropologie pins like someone who loves great style and design, and is definitely worth a follow:

Anthropologie on Pinterest

Anthropologie on Pinterest

And of course, you know, follow me! I like to think I’ve got good taste. I’m particularly proud of my Happy Colours and Urban Beauty boards, but this is my favourite recent pin:

My pictures on Pinterest

My pictures on Pinterest

Any suggestions for other boards I should start, or people I should follow?

Oh, and did you know that you can pin from this blog? Do feel free, just be sure to credit the images properly. See you on there!