Sunday, 31 January 2010

Coulmbia Road

I spent today doing some of my favourite girly Sunday things. Which I totally deserved for no particular reason, I just did.

It started with a (quite late) breakfast of t
ea, crumpets and weekend papers. Followed by a jaunt to Old Street to catch the end of the Columbia Road Flower Market.

This East End flower and plant market is a must-visit on a Sunday. I love the busy bustle and proper market feel, the ever jolly market traders bellowing Latin plant names and the knock down prices.

If you particularly like a good deal...the market closes at 2pm and I completely recomm
end turning up as the stalls shut up and slash the prices...

I just can't say 'no' to two bunches of hyacinths ready to bloom for £5. I've now happily scattered them around the house, there is something rather charming I think about flowers in jam jars (nothing to do with the lack of vases in the house oh no...)

I also stumbled upon another early 20th Century furniture dealer Ben Southgate (I think I am starting to get a furniture 'type' hmm) who sells a selection of furniture and lighting from this period.

He has some divine pieces in the store just off Columbia Road. I was especially drawn in by the industrial style stainless steel and reclaimed drawers originally used by haberdashers, with labelling still intact. Beautiful, well made pieces that must be fabulous to own as they are not just incredibly useful to store all your odds and ends, but they also come with a story.

Which is how I'm going to end my happy, girly Sunday - curled up on my sofa, wearing cashmere socks, drinking jasmine tea and settling into a good novel. Oh I do love a good Sunday and a good story.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Do the Fandango

Fandango is a shop that anyone with an interest in 20th Century furniture should know about.

The showroom in based in Islington just off Essex Road and holds an ever changing collection of retro Furniture - oodles of fabulous 1950s Danish teak, Lighting - everything from 60s metal shades to neon signs in Korean and Japanese, and an array of Decorative items like vintage antlers (possibly a nod to the shop next door taxidermy specialist Get Stuffed).
I was really pleased to find this shop that cares for these 20th Century classics so well. The owners not only use these wonderful taste to make them a perfect outlet to find 1950s Hans Wegner in great shape, but they also decorate the slim-line showroom with their products in a way that always make me smile when I pass.

Currently coveting: this Italian Satin Wood Sideboard

A sure way to lose my fingers

I have a new challenge, hope I won't injure myself with it...
I requested (nay demanded) this mini sewing machine from good ole John Lewis for Christmas from my ever patient mother.

I admit it was more of a vanity than practical request. My previous sewing kit comprised of a couple of bent needles, one spool of purple thread (which I only realised was purple after sewing half the buttons back onto smart black coat - not a great look), various spare buttons and toggles all kept in a tiny tool box donated by the boyfriend. It is fair to say I am an amateur. In fact 'amateur' is almost generous.

When I saw the mini machine in magazines and knew it had to be mine. It has now predictably found a home in our Ikea bookcase taking up a square of space perfectly and gathering up dust. It looks pretty, for a while that was enough.

But now I am on my crafty/thrifty kick I have decided that I really will have to learn how to use it...So far I have managed to: swear quite a lot trying to work out how to thread the damn thing, wasted one spool of thread quite expertly and (somehow) manage to complete one line of stitches. Which I held up proudly to boyfriend and housemate. How pleased I was! Their bemused faces as they made the appropriate complimentary noises made me realise that I may have to work a little harder...

Here goes attempt two, promise to keep my digits away from anything dangerous looking and will try not to swear at the machine - but really can't promise that.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Decorating on a budget part 2...

On my continuing mission to make my bedroom (in particular my built-in wardrobe) fabulous without breaking the bank I have a plan...

My mission is to find myself a wonderful wallpaper to line the doors of the vast wardrobe, making it tres chic on the cheap.

My first plan was to attempt a sample extravaganza, collating strips and cut-offs of wallpapers from all my wish-list designers (read: a trip to Chelsea Harbour Design Centre) to create a colourful mix of patterns, prints, plains and textures. But perhaps a little hectic for the calm sanctuary of the bedroom? Maybe, but the idea of making it my own does warm my cockles.

But now I have and spotted this beautiful and most apt trompe l'oeil by hand-painted wallpaper designer Deborah Bowness. I adore it, it is fun, clever and oh-so-pretty.

I'm so torn now! Crafty cheapy plan or dream wallpaper?!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Oh sweet temptation

Oh dear, with typical terrible timing I have just stumbled across a secret (or maybe just neglected) Homeware section on the All Saints website...the perfect temptation to test me in these times of need...

I've squinted to avoid seeing the prices, but I'm still inspired by the concise collection of homeware in the measured shabby style of the Shoreditch based innovative fashion brand.

I very quickly spied a cushion which is going right to the top of my wish list.
In true All Saints style it would look right at home on the worn leather of a vintage sofa. As this cable knit cushion is made from an ultra chunky double knit, its homemade look reminds me this is something I totally intend to be able to knit myself some day.

Looks like it will have to stay on the wish list for a while though. Ah well...back to the clothes then...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Decorating on the cheap...part one

I've recently been redecorating our new flat, just a little bit, but on the cheap mind (trying to get thrifty).

First stop was the bedroom built-in wardrobe. Quite a beast (but with wonderful storage) the unit takes up a full wall of the room. Its plain, slightly dented, brass handles were the first to go.

They were swiftly replaced with some of Anthropologie's finest porcelain beauts, adorned with a delicate clematis floral design. A small touch to update and modernise the room but a good one. I even got them passed the beady money-conscious eyes of the boyfriend. Despite being floral, he didn't mind the more masculine colours plus I somehow convinced him that the £6 label he spied was per a pack, not each...might have to work on this thrifty thing a bit more...

Loud and Proud

I had a chance to admire the decoration of Camden's Proud Galleries today on a halt from my shopping mission (Imagined purchases: bohemian floral fabrics, thread for sewing machine, trainers for new gym regime. Actual purchases: t-shirt from Hennes, a croissant, personal guilt) for a well needed cup of tea.

We browsed the photographs of the fab Debbie Harry, got drawn in by the stuffed deer heads above the bar - painted white, natch, (this must be the way they roam in Camden...), tried to work out the configuration of the exposed ceiling and loved the individual feel of each of the booths in The Stables. We did, however, end up sitting in the booth with the pole, hmmm. But very much enjoyed the kept elements of the former Stables themselves now covered in lashing of distressed white paint.

Its imaginative decoration keeps this a venue that I like to come back to and introduce to both uninformed Londoners and out of towners, whether the occasion is today's civilized tea break in front of an (amusingly out of use) pole-dancing pole or 'that night' a few months back when drinks may have ended up tipped over strangers' heads. Both fun, for very different reasons.