Colour palettes

I love colour. Putting together unusual combinations of different shades is a joy. Naturally then, I have a board on Pinterest dedicated to some of my favourite palettes, and I thought I’d share a few that might inspire you.

First up is the one I am using as inspiration for my wedding this summer (I’m throwing in a bit of rose pink too, and toning down the yellow in that first row to make it a more neutral grey-based cream):

Perfectly pastel

Perfectly pastel via Wedgewood Museum

This next one has a similar feel. I love how the shadows and faded patches give the colours texture and depth and stop them looking manufactured:

Faded beauty

Faded beauty via Vecco Studio

These minty shades look great in a high gloss finish, contrasted against the grainy clay:

Earthbound mint via Paulova

Earthbound mint via Paulova

This combination of aqua, jade, grey, cream and various browns shows how you can use brights without being overbearing – the result is vibrant yet grown up:

Moroccan jewel

Moroccan glaze

This palette runs the retro gauntlet from the 40s to the 80s, using coral and mint, brown and yellow, and a splash of vibrant neon pink – groovy!

Retro rose

Retro rose

Finally, you can’t talk about colour palettes without mentioning Jessica Colaluca of Design Seeds. If you’ve not visited the site before, I insist you do so immediately. This stunning cherry palette is one of hundreds she has created. Prepare to fall in love:

Rich and fruity via Design Seeds

Rich and fruity via Design Seeds


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 –

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.

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?