Month: April, 2010

Etsy love-in: Tialys

book end by tialys

I spotted these earlier today on Etsy and love them…

France-based seller Tialys uses old scraps of fabric, or even rough coffee sacks, to make these little owls, each one unique and full to the brim with French rustic charm and charisma. All the scruffy little creations use upcycled or recycled materials, from vintage coconut buttons to natural wheat for wadding. As Tialys assures buyers of the Brazilian coffee owl, above left, “he has a conscience!”

decorated labels by tialys

I love her Alice in Wonderland-inspired Incredibly Generous tags for Incredibly Generous Gifts, above, perfect for sprucing up those presents that are slightly last minute / from the bargain bin / straight out of the present drawer…  They come is sets of 4, so you can give and give and give… and still have one for yourself.

bread basket by tialys on etsy

tialys postcard from paris

Who knew a lavender filled postcard from Paris could seem just as vital to your domestic wellbeing as a little canvas bread basket?

Check out her shop here.

Peep show: Zach Motl’s tiny apartment

zach motle brooklyn apartment

Zach Motl’s magnificent Brooklyn apartment has caught the eye of a fair few publications, including the New York Times and The Neotraditionalist.

Zach has created one of the quirkiest, most stylish homes I have seen in a while out of a mere 178 square feet. This is one tiny room.

He rents the Brooklyn studio and was not technically given permission to make any alterations but, with some guts, guile and an eye to die for, he has turned it into one of the most desirable bachelor pads in New York.

zach motl apartment

Zach says he has always been into collecting things, and one look at these pictures confirms his tendency to gather and cluster whatever takes his fancy, from Marc Jacbos wellies to antique tennis racquets. Compulsive hoarders like myself will take great comfort from this.

zach motle kitchen apartment

It is knowing where to put one’s endless stream of things that is the key to stylish digs, and Zach’s thoughtful and carefully-planned placement of his bits and bobs mean that they add character to the room instead of looking just plain messy. There’s not a storage box in sight.

My favourite part has to be the mini kitchen. (Although Zach confesses he rarely actually cooks anything because the last time he tried to make onion soup the whole place smelled of it for four days).

Images via the New York Times

People we’re loving: Studio at 37

studio at 37 ceramics

The moment I saw Studio at 37‘s ceramic designs, the words cup, gift bag and bunting became a whole lot more interesting. Their quirky ceramic pieces are playful yet simple, in lovely muted pastel glazes with a nostalgic,  retro feel. I love the idea of ceramic bunting and party bags – they would make great little vases or plant pots, perched on a windowsill with some basil or parsley.

“Designing to delight, surprise and shape expectation of what experience can be”, Angela Pointon and Laura Masson (the duo behind Studio at 37) have definitely struck a popular chord right now, nestled somewhere between contemporary shabby chic and a peek in to your hippest granny’s dresser.

studio at 37 ceramics

studio at 37 ceramics

Garden finds for summer

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and summer is literally just around the corner, so drag your garden out of winter with these colourful treats:

marks and spencer led lights butterfly

indian floor cushions dotcomgiftshop

garden lamps

Pigeon and Jelly deckhair, £125, Thornback and Peel; Sunflower parasol, £29.95, dotcomgiftshop; fibreoptic butterfly lights, £12, M&S; Indian floor cushions, from £21, dotcomgiftshop; Hurricane lamp, £15, lifestyle bazaar; Paper lanterns, £4.99 for 3, Cargo

Thrifty find: eco bags at Spotty Button

spottybutton eco bags

Being eco-conscious doesn’t mean you have to look cheap. These fun bags are a bargain at under a fiver, and no jute in sight.

Envirosax Origami Retro Eco Bag, £4.95, Spotty Button

Spring inspiration: flower power

It is that time of year again when I start to remember why I love living in England. Flowers and new life are blossoming, the sun is shining (mostly) and it just makes me so happy.

This is the moment when I really start to notice the new flowers all around me, and instead of buying them from the shops only to have them die days later, I can actually go outside the city and pick huge bunches especially for my home.

In celebration, and in case we have a grey and rainy summer, I thought I’d share some images that remind me how inspiring flowers can be.

Images via: Jonicado, Peggy Collins, mattlong, StefanElf, Alee Bloom, Otomadachi, Art by Chrysti, Ivy Style33

Cash vs. Credit: Marrakesh Lanterns

marrakesh lanterns

Silver lantern, £44.95, Dotcomgiftshop; White lantern, £20, Very

People we’re loving: Effortless Eating

mini scones

My sister Maria always fills me with inspiration. Not only has she just given birth to the sweetest little girl, but she simultaneously runs London-based seasonal food company, Effortless Eating.

Not content with office life, Maria took the plunge three years ago and rented out a kitchen in South West London. After months of hard work concocting new recipes, trawling markets for the best ingredients and coursing across London in a little brown van which she frequently forgets has no rear mirror, she already has a prestigious Gold Great Taste Award under her belt.

maria balfour effortless eating

In a proud sisterly promotion of her success, I thought I would spread the word and share a few of her beloved creations with you. (She’ll be furious that I am writing this post but she’s too modest by half).

She has recently met with nationwide popularity for her traditional potted shrimps, which can be shipped to anywhere in the UK and have even the most reluctant shrimp-eaters hurrying back for more. They come in a beautiful kilner jar which is almost as good to look at as the shrimps are to taste:

effortless eating potted shrimps

But what she loves more than anything, and I know from having seen her knee-deep in edible glitter in the kitchen, is decorating cakes. Whatever the occasion, from kiddies’ tea parties to a sneaky cupcake in front of the telly, Maria’s cakes top them all, and I have had my fair share. They beat Hummingbird hands down.

effortless eating cupcakes

effortless eating cupcakes

Effortless Eating also provides delicious fresh seasonal food straight to your door, complete with perky waitresses or, for the lazier amongst you, pre-cooked meals ready to be heated.

Oh, and some very cheesy dog bones specially made for your four-legged friends.

Check it out and see for yourself.

Cash vs. credit: birdie cushions

Which Came First cushion, £68, Anthropologie; handmade cushion, £25, notonthehighstreet.

Peep show: Amanda’s Tudor manor house

Based just outside Oxford, Amanda has lived in this idyllic Tudor house since she was a child, inheriting it from her parents as a young adult. To me, the style is the perfect balance between  shabby chic and old-school English grandeur, and totally unique in its mishmash of influences, with candlelit altars sitting happily alongside antique buddha statues and fluorescent Mexican carvings.

The oak room, pictured above, is typical of Amanda’s style – an eclectic mix of furniture draped in antique textiles, with lots of exposed wood for a rough, natural edge. Amanda has collected textiles and trinkets from her many travels over the years, from faded cushion covers to giant Indian quilts, and the house is dotted all over with little altar-like tables, brimming with candles and fresh flowers.