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Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Holidays

Sarah Yusko < super talented lady!

Dear readers, just having you show up, daily, has made this blog such a pleasure to write. Thank you for your thoughtful and sometimes very funny comments; you have made 2010 a richer experience for me.  See you all very soon...


Monday, 20 December 2010

A Handmade Christmas in 5 Easy Steps

In response to the Colour Me Happy blog post on why Christmas colours are notably Red & Green, I felt inspired to share with you something that I've been working on over the weekend.

Christmas Cards
this would make a pretty Christmas card  - I love the blur! Great colours, too.

I've been making my own Christmas cards for years. I took this image of my little friend, the reindeer who sits here on my desk all year round. I like his colours, especially in this image and as far as I'm concerned anything bright and sparkly is festive. Do you make your own Christmas cards? If not, you should, it's really easy...

1. Fold differently coloured card into card like shapes, like so... 

 2. Pull out a variety of wallpaper samples - preferably metallic; if you don't have any good pieces laying around, good ol' sparkly wrapping paper will do.

Wallpapers from Cole & SonHarlequin &ampJocelyn Warner

3. Cut out a few snowflakes, remember, you will be doubling them up, later, so make quite a few. For clear instructions on how to make a paper snowflake Google is your best friend. This, however, maybe going a little too far...

the reindeer messing about in my snowflakes..

4. Cut your decorative paper into strips which you can either glue right down the middle of the card, or, to one side - I have done both. 

TIP: wrap the edges right over onto the back side of the card so you leave a smooth finish.

5. Put the pieces together; make it happen, and...

Voilá! You have all sorts of happy.

Have you made your own, this year? If you have the time/inclination to upload images, pop the links in the comments box, I'd love to see them...

weather with you

The weather was so extraordinary this weekend that I just want to record it, here. I love the delicate colours in these images, aren't they beautiful? The whole world seems to quieten down when it snows as though we really are in hibernation, if only for a few moments.

There is something quite charming about this pigeon and I think that you know exactly which one I'm referring to... See the way the snow has rested on their beaks? I like that. I wonder what they make of all this...

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Perfect Sunday: Podcasts; Pavarotti & Pies

Every year I bake around 200 mince pies which I then box up, with a rather grandiose ribbon, and gift them to my clients and all the people in my team that help me throughout the year. And so, you know, they've gotta be good! And they are. 

Just for you, my beloved readers, I am sharing with you the recipe which is [heavily] based on the Claridges recipe for mince pies. I've made my own alterations and they are as follows: 

Filling: It is just not necessary to make the mincemeat, I buy the mega-jars at Waitrose adding a healthy dose of brandy, allowing them to, you know, become acquainted... 

Topping: If there is a shortage of chopped hazelnuts at your local shop, ground almonds is a reasonable replacement - but hazelnuts are best. Add ground cardamom to the topping (before & after baking) and be generous with that heady spice.

TIP:  when storing them in air tight containers, I like to sprinkle a small handful of ground cardamom over the pies before sealing them, ready to be boxed up. 

I have never tasted a better mince pie in my life. 

Finally, and MOST importantly, the perfect soundtrack to a day spent baking are:

I hope you've had a lovely weekend and if you have a favourite recipe, too, I'd love to hear about it...


Thursday, 16 December 2010

so, honeysuckle it is.

Isn't she lovely!  1944 issue of Vogue found over at Carrie Leber

Those who know me will have noted my lack of enthusiasm for Pantones Colour of the Year 2011 (Fashion + Home). Although I don't pay colour trends a lot of attention mostly because they have very little to do with design and everything to do with marketing it is my duty, as a designer, to be up to date with what is going on around me. And that includes fashion, architecture, film, products, politics etc.  and so, you know, I got the memo.

This colour does nothing for me, I feel it's bland and mediocre, at best. It's not that I don't like pink, there are many pinks that please: luscious nude pink, ballet pump pink, fuchsia pink etc. can add a flash elegance to any room - in the right context. And so, I set myself the challenge to see whether I could find a way to love this colour, to find a context for it. I started here:

Thanks to a post by Dear Designers, I found this inspired piece on Honeysuckle by Mochatini and it began to make a little more sense. Honeysuckle and bubblegum pink? Maybe... But add Vermilion and you've got yourself a party! 

How one would celebrate Honeysuckle within interiors, I wondered? I found this image from NY Times magazine and you know, I think it works. I'm not sure I would last a week in this space without repainting the door frames but that's OK, this room is lovely and interesting and really, quite unique.

Thanks to Lori Sawaya over at Colorbudz and her fantastic post on the colour Navy, I have begun to give it a little more airtime and although the pink is not the exact shade of Honeysuckle, I think, with the olive, it is the Navy in the rug that affords this space a certain dignity. So, perhaps Honeysuckle is best used as an accent?

What do you think? What was your first reaction to Honeysuckle? Is this colour prettier on the flesh than it is on the sofa? I think it is.


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Flickr: a study of light

Some of the names the people on flickr represent themselves with are as intriguing as the photographs they take. I'm sure you could write quite a book based on these names and images, alone. In fact, I think I'll call this one: Melancholic City.

There is just so much talent out there that it seems that our (very modern) challenge is learning when and how to switch it off. I'm struggling with that, today. How are you doing?

hallways that take you places

There's something to love about each and every space and I would be very happy living with any of these, although, 1 and 4 are my personal favourites. Which one of the above could you lived with?

p.s. I have no record of where these images comes from (I know, I'm sorry) but, if any are yours, or you know where they came from, please do let me know and I'll pop in a link. Thanks.

found your corner office?

With more and more people working from home, where to set up shop has become quite the modern challenge. The right spot needs to have a good source of light (natural or artificial) and accessible storage - with good desk space. I think all three spaces fit the bill. Aren't they clever?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Dan Phillips: Creative houses from reclaimed stuff.

                         Dan Phillips: creative houses from reclaimed stuff.

This TED talk by builder Dan Phillips is so much more than it seems; I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's smart, funny and revolutionary; they should be showing this in schools.


Friday, 3 December 2010

mydeco: love design inside out

read the full mydeco interview here

It has been a pretty exciting week, so far. First off, my interview with mydeco was published on Wednesday. I'm a big fan of their website - it's easy to use, making good design accessible to all and so, of course I was delighted to be approached by them.

What makes mydeco stand out from the competition are it's people and, from my experience, it's clear that they employ the best. As a business they are so on it when it comes to social media (which is hardly surprising once you know who's behind it: Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox of fame, working alongside design heavyweights such as Philippe Starck and Kelly Hoppen). 

But did you know that their entire design team write daily blogs for their site? They do - and they're good! Clearly, mydeco love design from the inside out. Here are just two of my favourites: Ellie's blog &; Daniel's blog. 

I'll fill you on the rest of the exciting news over the weekend - it's too much for one post and I have an intimidating 'To Do...' list staring right at me. Happy Friday, everyone!

Oh, and if you're on Facebook, and you fancy it, I'd be thrilled if you'd join me over there, too...


Monday, 29 November 2010

The Rug Company

Carnival by Paul Smith 

I'm working on a number of projects at the moment where rugs and other soft furnishings are the key focus and each project could not be more different from the next. Luckily, for me, when it comes to rugs there is a huge variety of choice. 

 Magnolia Ice Wool by Vivienne Westward (great styling!) 

The Rug Company is a particularly great source for rugs. I like working with them because their service is outstanding and their rugs are made by hand and so you can alter any single colour, if you so wish - which can be handy for us interior designers...

Homegrown Blue by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerbey

One of the rooms I'm working on at the moment is a playroom (for a brother and sister aged 8 & 2). The existing accent colour is red. The brief is to introduce a new colour palette that will unite the built in shelving units sprayed in F&B's Shaded White with the red toy box.

1. Owl, 2. Fishes, 3.Butterfly by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerbey

Of these four designs, I'll probably present two or three - as much as I love the orange/butterfly rug, I feel it's going be too much for the room. What a shame, it is gorgeous, wouldn't you agree?

What a statement piece! The decision to capture the motion of the birds' wings is what makes this design so special. Such is the skill of the weavers that it could so easily pass for a graphic print or a painting. Just incredible.

The styling shot is quite fetching. I love this rug because it is incredibly beautiful (and versatile!), but it also reminds me of the work of Bauhaus master weaver Gunta Stölzl as can be seen reproduced here by Christopher Farr. 

(I wrote my thesis on the influence Bauhaus weavers had on modern day weavers Ptolemy Mann and Kate Blee - I'll have to write a blog post about this to tell you tell more - both designers were adamant that there was no link, and yet...)

Palette by Fiona Curran

This is my absolute favourite design from The Rug Company. I go to see it (touch it) from time to time at the showroom when I'm researching for a project and it just blows me away. One day...

The quiet word is that rugs produced by The Rug Company are going to be highly collectible in years to come and if you were looking to make an investment, well, you could do worse...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sunday Sermon: Viktor Frankl: Why To Believe In Others

            if it doesn't play, watch it here

"In this rare clip from 1972, legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning -- and the most important gift we can give others." - TED Talks

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Emerson Made (my day)

Dandy and Dogs Clutch

I love every single thing that Emerson Made produces. If you don't know of her, yet, then boy are you in for a treat...

Having a look through her website, I spotted these clutches and one in particular, reminded me of design projects I worked on this year - she has a great eye for colour and proportion, don't you think? (my work is on the right)

other little lovelies...
Classic School Bloom Clutch
EM Pumpkin Patent Heels


Life is just not the same now that I've seen this dress...

The Silk Ribbons Blouse

and this...

Have a lovely weekend, where ever you are and a truly wonderful Thanksgiving to my much loved American readers. Thank you so much for your continuing support! x
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