Monday, 7 April 2014

Nursery decor from A-Z

Alphabet cards by Nursery Names pegged to nursery wall
The alphabet cards on Finley's wall
It's hard to believe it was almost a year ago that I went to the Pick Me Up contemporary graphic arts festival at London's Somerset House. I had meant to blog about it at the time, but being pregnant and constantly tired I never quite got round to it. It was so inspiring and the sort of exhibition where I would genuinely love to own the art so I'm planning to go again this year, and I will post about it this time round.

Custon prints being created by Nursery Names at Pick Me Up
Personalised prints being created by Nursery Names at Pick Me Up 2013

One of the surprising things was how child friendly it was - it's funny how you start to look at things with a different perspective. We were there early on a Saturday morning and not only were there lots of parents with little ones (a revelation: so this is what you do when you're not hungover and up at the crack of dawn), but there were printing workshops and creative spaces where older kids could get involved in creative projects too. There were also quite a few artists creating work aimed at children and the stuff that really caught my eye was by Nursery Names. In their own words it's a "customisable alphabet print project founded by London based graphic artist & art director Emily Forgot". They were creating personalised prints on site, or you could buy individual letter prints or alphabet prints. But I went for the beautiful sets of alphabet cards. I love the quirky illustrations and the fact that they are fun without being too twee.

Nursery Names aphabet card R for Roller skating

I had originally planned to frame the whole set but after struggling home from Ikea with a giant picture frame and trying to arrange them in it, they still didn't look right. Luckily, as I was looking back at my children's nursery Pinterest board for inspiration, I looked again at a nursery that had used traditional twine to peg alphabet cards to the wall. I decided this would be perfect and would make a different yet stylish way to display the cards. I'm really pleased with how they look and now just need to get a few more prints up in Finley's room so it starts to look a bit cosier. I'm also booked in for a lampshade making course at a local creative cafe in June so I can make him an original lamp shade - decent kids ones are surprisingly hard to find.

Nursery Names alphabet card M for Moustache

The alphabet card sets or personalised prints would make a brilliant birthday or christening present for little ones and they come in a variety of colour ways. You can find out more at the Nursery Names website.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Blogging resolutions

It's been a very hectic couple of months; moving, decorating, cramming in the Christmas shopping, unpacking boxes, cleaning and hosting Christmas for all the family. And juggling all that with our lovely little man who is now seven months old and growing up far too fast for my liking.

After being crammed into a temporary one bedroom flat with a growing mountain of baby stuff, the wonderful news is that we are in our lovely new house. We're feeling properly grown up with a garden complete with a shed and everything! 

After a hectic few months, the last visitors left yesterday so we finally had a chance to sit back with a glass of wine, look around our new home and appreciate how lucky we are. 

There's still plenty to do though, as my study/craft room needs decorating and seems to have been designated as the junk room and is stuffed full of boxes. When it is cleared and the sewing machine gets unpacked I'll start some new projects and write some tutorials.

My resolutions for 2014 are all about positivity rather than denial, so here's to a  productive and creative year with lots of making and blogging.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Wood Street Market

One of the reasons I love London, is that even after living here for over 13 years, I'm still always discovering new places. Since moving to our temporary flat in Leytonstone, we've been able to explore lots of new spots further east and this is one of my favourite finds. It was actually the boyfriend who discovered it in his never-ending quest for more vinyl after a tip off. And after he disappeared there for hours at a time, he finally told me that the market also had vintage furniture and clothes. I'm not sure why he didn't tell me that sooner!

Exterior shot of Wood Street Market signage

Anyway, Wood Street Market is right next to Wood Street overground in the Walthamstow postcode but only a 5 minute drive from Leytonstone. And it is totally worth the trip. It's just off a totally unassuming high street and inside is a maze of antique, vintage and independent shops. Aside from loads of vinyl record dealers, you can also find vintage dresses, jewellery, furniture and also shops selling hand made soap and even a small liquer shop called Mother's Ruin.

Wood Street market interior

Vintage games machine

I have a thing about buying old chairs, so it was only because we still haven't moved house that I was able to resist the beautifully restored chairs on offer from The Chair Man. You can even watch him at work in his workshop.

The Chair Man working in his workshop

vintage chairs restored by The Chair Man
Love the oil tin stools
I've made a mental note to come back to Wood Street Market next time I need to find a nice frock for a wedding, as the lovely lady at Gigi's Dressing Room was helping a customer into a gorgeous vintage dress and even does the alterations.

Vintage dresses hanging outside Gigi's Dressing Room

Vintage dresses in the corridor of Wood Street Market

I'm not sure if Wood Street Market is open every day during the week but it is certainly open on Saturdays and on Sundays there is even a little pop up coffee shop on site too.

The Wood Street Market website seems to be broken at the moment but I will add a link once it is back up and running.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Our Little Man Has Arrived

The reason for the radio silence on the blog....

Our beautiful boy Finley Milo arrived on 31st May. We've made it out of those hazy first few weeks and are now enjoying getting out and about in the sunshine. 

I still have lots of posts I was meant to write up while I was pregnant, including a tutorial for this blanket I made that you can see in the photo. All to follow, maybe once this sunny weather is over! 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Moving East

We've finally sold our flat in Broadway market and are in the process of buying an actual, grown up three bedroom house! We need the space not only for the impending arrival but hopefully there'll be more room to set up the sewing machine as well as more space for the boy's ever-expanding record and guitar collection.

With only a week to go until the bump's due date I've got lots of outstanding blog posts to write, including a baby blanket tutorial which I will publish soon. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share a few images of our new neighbourhood. We're staying in a flat in Leytonstone until the sale of our house gets sorted and like lots of people I had no idea how lovely the parks and 'countryside' is around here.

Wanstead Park is just down the road, has lots of lakes and a brilliant kiosk that sells home made cake and tea in proper mugs that you can enjoy while watching the ducks. The bluebells also happen to be out at the moment and they look and smell totally amazing.

Bluebells in Wanstead Park

And nearby in the other direction is Hollow Ponds, which also make you feel like you are out in the country rather than in a park just outside of central London. We're already getting excited about bringing the little one here for walks once he finally arrives.

Hollow Ponds Leyton & Leytonstone

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hemingway Design at John Lewis

Hemingway Design vanity case with Art Deco inspired design
We've been spending quite a bit of time in the John Lewis baby department recently, but I managed to sneak off to the haberdashery department. With the impending house move and new arrival, I haven't had much time for crafting recently so I was looking for inspiration. And I couldn't help admiring this lovely collection by Hemingway Design for John Lewis. Inspired by Art Deco motifs and shapes, the whole collection is lovely, I especially like the vanity cases which would make a very stylish place to stash your craft stuff. They'd be equally lovely as vanity cases in the old fashioned sense too, to carry around make up or as an overnight bag.

Hemingway Design range, vanity cases and tins

Hemingway tins and purses with vintage sewing patterns
Tins and purses with designs inspired by vintage sewing patterns.
 Hemingway Design is run by Wayne and Gerardine design who designed under the Red or Dead label in the 90s and who have since worked on a fascinating variety of projects ever since, on everything from wall tiles to the first vintage festival at London's Southbank. (You can read more about the Hemingway Design history on their website.)

Hemingway Design notebook with Art Deco inspired print
Hemingway Design buttons, pins and needles metal tins
Even the simple button, pin and needle tins are stylish with a simple Art Deco font.
 It's so nice to see some craft accessories that aren't the usual twee floral patterns that seem to be everywhere trying to emulate the Cath Kidston aesthetic. You can buy the collection online at the the John Lewis website.


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Fabric Haul from the Middle East

Over Christmas, I was lucky enough to go to Oman in the Middle East to visit my parents. Apart from the weather and good food, a big bonus are the material shops full of unusual prints that you can't get over here. I stocked up on fabric so I can start making some new designs and also try out making new things for my little bump. In the excitement of a whole shop full of material and preparing myself for some haggling, I stupidly forgot to take some photos inside the shop. Maybe next time. For now, here's a little look at a few of the new styles I bought.

Green material with yellow chickens

Multicoloured vintage and retro coffee and tea pot print material

Pink, red and blue sweet print material with blue pattern