This time of year is so precious. Spring is coming and cheap posies of daffodils are in the shops. When these blooms are in abundance I buy two bunches every week for an instant hit of natural colour in my home. Unless I cut something from my garden, my floral displays are never usually that cheap.
By the way, the vase was given to me by my mum and dad who found these vintage Horlicks jars at an antique auction. It’s one of my favourite vases for displaying blooms.
Yeah, here’s an antelope in a leotard. What of it?
I picked up this wooden antelope ages ago for 50p and, while I love it, this guy was looking a bit tatty and old. Then I saw a great craft project idea from Handsome Vintage who upcycles retro wooden creatures and pimps them up to make them ‘hipster’. Handsome Vintage has a wonderful collection of hand-painted pieces with intricate patterns and bright colours – it’s such a bright and original revamp idea so I thought I’d give it a go with my little guy. I sanded old Andy the Antelope down (there’s another Ella’s Menagerie back story post due soon – Andy has an amazing tale to tell) and gave him a paint with bright yellow acrylic paint. Then I used a white posca pen to give the leotard a 1980s-inspired pattern. I gave him a spray of varnish too so his ‘tard stays in place. Unlike Handsome Vintage, I have no intention of selling Andy. He has now become a firm favourite in our house, beloved particularly by Dr B of all people. I’m now obviously on the hunt for other charity shop animals (wooden or ceramic) that I can give similar treatments to. And, once she’s back from maternity leave, may purchase some brothers and sisters from HV.
I’m loving this week’s moodboard of sweet, soft shades but you’re probably wondering how I got to it.
I’m on product development mode at the moment and consequently my desk is full of colour swatches, trend reports and tear sheets. Loads of the latter are from last year, which featured these particular shades a lot. I still adore the combinations of greens, blues, creams and pinks – I’m interested to see what new soft shade combinations will be in vogue for spring and summer this year.
Although my own work is detailed and intricate using fairly muted shades, I’m actually a very big fan of strong graphic pattern and bold colours in my home, especially in my soft furnishings. So when I saw that Nina Kullberg was launching a new set of cushions I had to take a closer look.
I’ve been fond of Nina Kullberg’s work for a while – I’m a little obsessed with her instagram account truth be told. The simplicity of her pattern and her vibrant palette in her cushion collection is just lovely. And, she’s not scared of a muted tone either, just check out her exquisite throws in beige and grey.
Anyway as all good designers know, it’s vital to respond to trends so the designer has embraced the Pantone Colour of the Year 2017 Greenery in her new collection of cushions. I think these are perfect for spring and summer and would look lovely in a crisp white bedroom or sunny conservatory.
As you know by now I develop little obsessions over the course of my research and this Monday Moodboard is dedicated to my latest obsession, The Bloomsbury Group and in particular Charleston House.
The Bloomsbury Group was a collective of friends and relatives who were intellectuals, writers and artists. They had all lived, worked or studied together in the London district of Bloomsbury in the early part of the 20th Century that include figures such as Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell, the art critic Clive Bell, painter Roger Fry and John Maynard Keynes. Artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant (with his lover David Garnett) moved to Charleston House in Sussex at the start of the First World War and stayed there for decades, holding gatherings galore.
The house itself is a work of art in itself; Inspired by Italian fresco painting and the Post-Impressionists, the artists decorated the walls, doors and furniture at Charleston. It’s my mission to visit next year and I will make sure I’ll report back.
It’s mid November so I feel it’s a respectable time to start getting set for Christmas. I thought I’d just do a really image-led post featuring some key festive looks that I like for home, gifting and decoration.
This look brings out the little girl in me. I would imagine the six year old me would have loved a shimmery, glittery tree in pinks, golds, turquoises, silvers and purples. When I was that age, the shinier the better and, while I try to be a grown up, this look still shouts “Christmas” to me.
Now it if was up to Dr B, this is what Christmas would look like at our place.
When it comes to wrapping, I go classy with kraft paper and twine or black/white iridescent wrap with contrasting ribbon and tags, Dr B goes all out with robins, trees, snowmen, santas and Christmas puds. His go-to colours are red, green and white because it is “proper”. He likes the fun of this look, the playfulness and, like my retro shimmer look, it reminds him of childhood. I like it too but I’m not sure if it would suit my gaff.
Love this. The sumptuous textures teamed with the plaid, plus the traditional motifs and colour ways combined with twinkly lights and little finishes such as berry and fir wreaths and centre pieces create a warm, cosy feel that immediately references this time of year.
The totes trad look feels both festive and grown up. You kinda feel Christmassy as soon as you see it and just looking at these pictures makes me want to reach for the hot chocolate and my slippers.
This metallic style is a kind of grown up version of the retro shimmer look.
I like the way you can be playful with this look – you can do glitter, you can adorn gifts and decorations with baubles and frosting – but the overall effect is quite chic. I love the art deco references of this and think it really comes together through the coordinating colour way of pinks, navies, silvers and gold/bronze metallics.
You can do two versions of the frosted Christmas – the one above (trad touches, cosy finishes etc) or the one below (minimal styling, subtle references). Whatever your style the look shares the same cool colour suite teamed with pretty metallic accents and snowflake and wreath motifs.
I know everyone has been talking about ‘hygge’ of late and I suppose this look reflects this.
This graphic style is perfect for me but I know that some find this look a little too austere and maybe too stark. However you can soften it up by being more playful with your decorative elements and use of pattern like the examples below…
This is my wildcard but I can’t resist showcasing this range from Paperchase. The colours are warm and vibrant while the motifs are so playful and fun. It’s a great alternative for those who aren’t keen on snowflakes.
I’m currently coveting MiaFleur’s new Floral Romance furniture collection.
In jewel colours with lavish floral designs, this collection showcases the beautiful 2016 moody botanical trend. While very feminine and classic, the furniture also has contemporary shapes and details, which gives this painterly style a cool update. Launched in October, the range comprises of four select pieces featuring these dreamy floral designs, designed to be used individually to add charm and character to any room, or in combination with other pieces. I think the drawers would look great for bedroom storage and would make a wonderful key statement piece in a plain space.
At the moment I’m continually snipping flower heads in my garden to promote new growth so I’m exploring pressing flowers to make full use of them. Here’s my very rough guide for beginner’s. I like to think my home has always embraced the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ the idea of enjoying life’s simple pleasures – that’s what I try to show on this blog. I believe something like flower pressing reflects this concept as all I’m really trying to do is preserve some of the enjoyment Dr B and I get from spending time tending to our garden. I haven’t bought any fancy equipment for my pressing (maybe I’ll live to regret this), instead I’m being strictly old school on this and applying a method me and my mum used to use when I was a kid. I’m using one of my handmade coptic bound books to contain these blooms. I like these books as you can open the pages fully without having to worry about the gutter or breaking the spine. As I say I haven’t got a fancy contraption for pressing the flowers. I’ve simply got my big heavy art books and a very heavy marble block pressing on top of them. I’ll show you how it turns out in a month or two.
Every single interiors retail show I visited over the summer this year featured metallics, particularly copper, that’s why it’s this week’s Monday Moodboard.
Fans of simplicity take note. You don’t have to be full-on bling to embrace a bit of metallic joy in your life (although don’t mind a bit of bling sometimes). Metallics can achieve a dramatic, opulent look but you can also use metallics to add warmth and texture to things as I hope I’ve shown here.
Metallic touches can be subtle, chic and classy I promise; underlaid under shabby chic furniture, incorporated into abstract-impressionist inspired painting, a subtle accent onto painted pebbles, gorgeous vintage bakewares even to brighten up a simply-shaped cake – it’s not all about blinding people with glamour and sparkle.
Of late there has been a trend for ‘shelfies’; things on people’s shelves that reveal a bit about them.
I’ll try and do a semi regular one for Ella’s Place as they are a bit of Friday fun and it’s always nice to have a bit of a nose.
This time I’m doing a ‘sort of shelfie’ with the items on my mainly blue and white dining room sideboard. Here’s a list of items from left to right.
1: Floor lamp made with Dannells kitand bluebell fabric from Spoonflower.
2: Pierre Luigi, a flamboyant Bitossi Riminipigeon. You can read his story here.
3: PL is sat on Letters of Note and More Letters of Note, visit the Letters of Note Website for fab correspondence.
4: Books, including The Beechwood Airship Interviews by Dan Richards where you can see some of my sisterLucy Johnston’sphotography
5: Vintage Habitat vase.
6: Adorable plain grey vase.
7: Our wedding picture (don’t we look young).
8: Old glass bottle with dried flowers, poppy heads and grasses.
9: Fabric covered tea-light box (you can see how I made it here)
10: Large lamp made with Dannells kit using Spoonflower fabricwith base sprayed in matt blue paint.
The large square gorgeous thing on the wall is a beautiful Liberty silk scarf the lovely Dr B gave me on our 12th wedding anniversary that I had framed. I adore it.