Midcentury modern

I’ve been enjoying some of the curated images on Pinterest recently; you know, the ones where a design-savvy individual selects and styles a series of images to form a cohesive package.

I realised I hadn’t done this since my first post, so this week – inspired by the gorgeous new emerald green bench by ercol – I thought I’d give it a go.


  • Orla Kiely Acorn Cup mini task lamp £150, Amara
  • Muscat cushion (small, 30x30cm) in White with Grey £52, MissPrint
  • Revival DAB radio in Duck Egg £160, Roberts
  • Love seat in Emerald £720, Ercol
  • Carla milk jugs £6 each, House Envy

I’m actually quite pleased with it, especially given that I’m only just figuring out how to work the iStudio software on my Mac.

What do you reckon? And are there any other styles you’d like to see on Glass Jars & Photographs? I think I’ve got the bug now…


Not on the High Street

nothsI’m all for indie shopping, as you’ll know if you read my other blog, but sometimes when it comes to homewares it’s hard to know where to start looking. How are you supposed to discover all these gorgeous little design gems, if their creators don’t have big advertising budgets?

That’s why I like sites like Not on the High Street, where you can access a whole bunch of designer makers and retailers (in this case, around 3,000) all under one roof, like the online equivalent of a craft market.

Here are a few of my favourite buys from the new spring catalogue. First up, a tea towel that’s fresh and funny and just perfect for a laid back domestic goddess:

'An Apple A Day' tea towelby Catherine Colebrook £10, Not on the High Street

‘An Apple A Day’ tea towel by Catherine Colebrook £10,
Not on the High Street

You know I love industrial style, and these frames are such a stunning example – I love how they’re strong yet delicate looking:

Kiko Glass Frame by Nkuku £10, Not on the High Street

Kiko Glass Frame by Nkuku £10, Not on the High Street

A cake that looks like a biscuit. Genius. How could you not like it?

Giant Custard Cream Silicone Cake Mould by The Iconic Cake Company £20, Not on the High Street

Giant Custard Cream Silicone Cake Mould by The Iconic Cake Company £20, Not on the High Street

I’m a big fan of these mini milk bottle style bud vases, and the great thing about this buy is that it comes complete with flowers:

Six vintage style glass bottles with flowers by The Flower Studio £27.50, Not on the High Street

Six vintage style glass bottles with flowers by The Flower Studio £27.50, Not on the High Street

Finally, another mug to add to my wish list, with an upbeat message that would make me smile with my morning coffee:

'Today Is The Day' mug by Bread & Jam £8.50, Not on the High Street

‘Today Is The Day’ mug by Bread & Jam £8.50, Not on the High Street

Where do you go to explore new independent designer makers? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Win a set of wire baskets from Emerald Nest

Wire ware is big news right now. I don’t mean things that are normally made of wire, like shower shelving or cupcake stands. No, I’m talking about baskets and light fittings and even whole storage units.

Tapping into the vintage and the industrial trends, wire is a delicate yet substantial sculptural medium that has so many applications, and I for one really like the way it looks.

Which is why I’m so pleased to announce Glass Jars & Photographs’ first competition (yay!), in conjunction with new online homewares store Emerald Nest. They’ve kindly offered a prize of a set of wire baskets worth £32.95, perfect for storing anything from yarn to magazines:

This is definitely what I'd use my baskets for

This is definitely what I’d use my baskets for

Aren't they gorgeous? Wire basket set £32.95, Emerald Nest

Aren’t they gorgeous? Wire basket set £32.95, Emerald Nest

A great way to store magazines so they're tidy but you can still see them

Great way to store mags so they’re tidy but you can still see them

How to enter:

1) If you don’t already, follow me (@rinsimpson) and Emerald Nest (@EmeraldNest) on Twitter, and / or ‘like’ Emerald Nest’s Facebook page

2) Tweet the following or share it on Facebook: I’m in with a chance of winning a set of wire baskets from @EmeraldNest thanks to Glass Jars & Photographs – http://tiny.cc/nkqesw

3) Leave a comment on this blog post telling us why you love wireware, by midnight (UK time) on Thursday 28th February

And that’s all there is to it! The winner will be chosen on Friday 1st March using a random number generator, after which we’ll get in touch to arrange sending your prize. Good luck everyone!

My Annie Sloan makeover

I finally got around to the Annie Sloan makeover I’ve been planning for ages. Yay! This is what the small chest of drawers looked like to start with:

Boring, right?

I started out by gathering my tools and materials:

  • Annie Sloan chalk paint in Aubusson Blue  – £16.95 per litre
  • Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White – £16.95 per litre (although I had some left over from another project)
  • Annie Sloan clear wax – £7.95 (although again, I also had some left over)
  • Clock drawer pulls from Sense in Clifton Village – £5.95 each
  • My trusty No Loss paintbrush from Harris – from £2.20 for the 12mm (they really don’t lose bristles, which is brilliant)
  • Some cotton rags for applying and buffing the wax (the Annie Sloan wax brush is on my wishlist!)

Don’t you just love those drawer pulls?

It goes on rich and deep and dries to a soft, chalky finish

Having had a lovely long chat about my project with Juliet Seldon, who runs the studio on Gloucester Road which is my local Annie Sloan stockist, I decided to follow her tips and paint the inside of the drawers in solid Aubusson Blue, and only undercoat the areas of the outside that I was planing to distress. I applied the edge bits relatively thick and with a stippling rather than smoothing motion, to create more texture.

That’s not a wand, it’s a chopstick I used to mix the paint!

After that was dry, I applied Old White all over the outside, and along the front and sides of the drawers. I had to touch up a few areas with a second coat, and luckily had just enough paint to get the job done.

Next came the waxing and buffing – all over, inside and out, which was quite a workout! – and then a bit of sanding along the edges where I wanted to blue to show through. Finally I added the drawer pulls and… voila!

What do you think?

What do you think?


I love seeing the rich, dark blue every time I open a drawer


I adore these knobs – definitely worth £5.95 each

* I first learned how to use Annie Sloan chalk paints at a course with Emma Purvis at Kindle House in Wales. There are plenty of other trained tutors all over the country, including Juliet here in Bristol. For more details, visit the Annie Sloan website.