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Beginner’s Guide: Pressing Flowers

Flower pressing Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk 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.
Flower pressing Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk 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.
Flower pressing Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk 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.
Flower pressing Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.ukI’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.
Flower pressing Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.ukAs 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.
Pressing flowers Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.ukFlower pressing Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

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Savvy small space solutions: creating a reading corner

As Dr B and I work from home in a small space we’ve had to be quite savvy when looking for storage and creative solutions. 
ReadingCorner_1As we both work from home, it’s important to me that work stays in the office rather than seep into every bit of the house. Although it’s a compact space, I was very keen to create a corner where one of us could step away from the desk and do a bit of reading and thinking while staying in the working environment.

As the room is small, I’ve stuck to a simple to a black and white colour-scheme with little pops of colour.
ReadingCorner 2The mini rocking chair is perfect for reading and is a great escape from an upright office seat. It’s also light and easy to move around so you never feel like it’s a big bit of immovable furniture taking up too much space.

The slim little table is from Habitat. It’s simple, stylish and didn’t cost much money but it’s tall enough to rest your coffee or book on, as well as this cool ceramic bowl also from Habitat.

I deliberately chose the table, chair and shelves (which you can see peeking in at the right) with long legs that you could see under, adding to the sense of space.

Multi-function objects are great for small rooms too; that A3 box isn’t just a brilliant way to store all my art stuff (it has improved my life immeasurably), it also makes a great little guitar stand for Dr B’s Epiphone Casino.
ReadingCorner 3A tall thin, floor lamp is ideal for a smaller room as it makes a real statement and gives out warm light without taking up too much space. I made my own with a Dannells Floor Lamp Making Kit and designed my own Memphis-inspired fabric especially for the lamp.

As with the other kits this was really easy to use and, what’s great about this is you can buy it with the lamp-fitting so there is no faffing. It provides fantastic light and a much needed splash of playful colour in an otherwise very restrained scheme.

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DIY: Liberty Print Clocks

Liberty print clocks ellasplace.co.uk As an obsessive of iconic, classic design and illustration I regard a Liberty print with admiration and awe. But as I don’t live in a particularly girlie gaff, I’m sometimes at a loss as to where to put them in my home.  In fact it would be fair to say that Ella’s place is quite gender neutral so, while I like a floral print (I mean, I draw enough flowers and like to display a bloom in practically every room), I restrict more ornate, flowery designs to accents rather than a full on floral fest, which is why I made these handmade clocks.

Liberty print clocks ellasplace.co.uk

Creating a bespoke time piece is super simple. As clock fittings are so easy to come across these days (seriously, google it and you’ll be faced with a wealth of cost-effective options) you can make clocks in any shape or size with the minimum of effort all you need is the fitting and a suitable surface to attach it to.

Liberty print clocks ellasplace.co.uk I took a cheat’s choice and used a needcraft clock kit for ease, as everything  was pre-cut and measured. All I needed to do was add fabric – a total timesaver. But you can always cover an area of mdf or stiff card with material or paper with a hole made for the clock piece. It really is that simple – easy crafting if there ever was.

Liberty print clocks ellasplace.co.uk I got the Liberty fabric from Sewbox who has an extensive collection of designs by the brand – Sue from Sewbox is lovely too, I worked with her a lot on Homemaker and she was super helpful.
Liberty print clocks. ellasplace.co.ukI selected Liberty Betsy Ann in Rossmore Cord for a lighter, classically floral time-piece and Liberty Cranston in Colourway A from its Lifestyle Stile Collection for a deco-style feel (it looks ever so nice with Henry and Matilda my retro cat ceramics). I’ve got the latter hanging in my hallway and the former is looking rather splendid on the white sideboard in the dining room.

Liberty print clocks ellasplace.co.uk

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How I made easy fabric coasters in 10 minutes

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk
This Shibori fabric coaster project is so easy I kind of feel bad posting it. It took me minutes to make and yet I think they look really stylish. And – seeing as I’m working on Christmas issues of my magazines at the moment – I reckon I may use the techniques employed here to whip up some handmade designer style pressies for my friends.

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I had a surplus of Shibori-dyed fabric from a recent workshop I attended and I haven’t got round to making cushions with my larger pieces of fabric yet, but I loved my scrap tester pieces that I made and wanted to do something nice with them.

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

So I bought a set of blank MDF coasters, cut these scraps to size leaving a 1cm allowance. I then covered the MDF pieces with PVA. I tucked the fabric under and coated the whole lot with a varnish to seal in the fabric and protect the surface. Then once it was all dry I used a strong adhesive to apply a square of felt to the bottom to get rid of any ugly finishes and to provide a good base for the coaster.

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I’m really pleased with them and use them all the time. A final note: a special shout out has to go for the delicious gluten-free carrot and almond cake (in the pictures, above) from the Wivenhoe Deli and Tea Rooms – I’m a fan and I’m not even gluten intolerant!