Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Thank for your continued reading, support and encouragement. Here is a little line up of some thoughts to live by in 2011.....

(Images linked to sources.)

Design Therapy: Donna Wilson

 The delightfully quirky and playful work of Donna Wilson is getting major attention this year, and I am not at all surprised. Her work consists principally of knitted pieces and ceramics, showcasing Donna's furry friends and other characters in graphic and colorful designs. It is inspiring to see an artist make a such a success of themselves and do it with such unique charm.  A recent Guardian newspaper article tells us that "as with other success stories, it's part luck, talent and timing. Wilson, who grew up on a farm in the Scottish countryside, is purveyor of a kind of naive craftwork — all Nordic patterns, cosy knits and owls. Her products, including blankets, ceramics, scarves, gloves, hats and, from January, rugs, are warm, comforting and nostalgic, perfect for a Britain gripped by swingeing cuts."

The facts are that Ms Wilson established her company in 2003 after making "odd knitted creatures" for her degree show while studying at the Royal College of Art. After a sell out, Donna has built her brand through creating a collection of blankets, cushions, plush creatures and more. With a studio and production in London, Donna hails originally from Scotland and has some of her pieces manufactured in Galashiels, and other pieces are UK made where feasible. Read more about Donna here.
Donna was awarded the coveted Designer of the Year title, by the British Design Awards 2010 and this is what they had to say about her, "There’s no-one quite like textiles queen Donna Wilson. Her fabulous products include colourful cushions, tea-time accessories, playful ceramics and, of course, the starting point for the whole shebang — her collection of curious knitted creatures. In 2010, three new additions to the creature family have won our hearts: bashful ‘Wolfie’, who collects spoons; ‘Peanut’, who needs coaxing out of his shell; and ‘Puddle Man’, who likes to whistle when it rains. Imaginative, quirky, cool. Need we say more"

Bravo Donna for an awesome achievement and for your continued success! Donna is a wonderful example of a designer who has had deservedly worldwide success whilst still staying true to her ideals and roots. Her work is stocked in major department stores alongside being sold in small independent boutiques and maintains her unique style and commitment to handmade and local production. Want to find her work? Here's where to look, or hit her delightful online store.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simply...Splendid Littles

I discovered Splendid Littles as I was browsing through all those email updates that come flooding in from online stores. They have a collection for Target which is simple and sweet and I thought I would see what their children's clothing main line is like. Well, they had me at cotton solids and STRIPES. I don't know what it is about stripes on children but I just love that look, simplicity with just the right amount of interest in contrasting colors. The capsule wardrobe for your little ones. Perfect.


Overall nice stuff, although there is a whiff of unoriginality about some of their stuff, specifically in some of the dresses that look a little too close to No Added Sugar. But, imitation is a form of flattery I guess so that can't be knocked.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Do you believe in Angels?

What started out as a random and cute stocking stuffer, has sparked my intrigue further. Have you ever heard of Sonny Angel? They are tiny doll figurines with the motto "He May Bring The Happiness To You!?". Basically, these insanely cute little plastic figurines are based on the Kewpie Doll in overall design (with the slightly odd addition of genitals....I am choosing to ignore that fact due to the redeemingly cute angel wings). This instantly recognisable image is embellished with some form of head gear ranging from heads/hats imitating animals, fruits, vegatables, crowns and other themes. The kicker is that each boxed doll in the relevant edition is completely random and unknown in it's detail. Will you get a kiwi or pineapple, a lion or a hippo? A lucky dip if you will. OK, it is way too hard to describe and I have had no luck getting much background on these little critters (of Thai, or atleast Asian origin), so have a look for yourself.

The Fruit Series....
The Vegetable Series...
The Animal Series...

The Crown Series...
I know, cute right? I don't want to give myself too much of a reputation for being a woman of a certain age who likes dolls, but I truly can't resist the cuteness of these little guys. Plus, I am always up for anything that promises happiness...Saying all that, I got the orange head guy and there is no fruit I detest more than oranges so I hate to think what that says about my future happiness.

(Images courtesy of Sonny Angel Thailand)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bargain Basket Beauties

Naturally, as soon as Christmas is over (in fact often starting before the big day) the sales serve to torture you with all those things you have had on your wish list, now slashed to 75% off. Or worse, the pricey items you might have bought for your loved ones, now at a fraction of the price. So cruel! I routinely browse around my favourite online stores, adding things to my shopping cart that I particularly love. Rarely do I actually buy any of this stuff that sits suspended in my basket, but still it gives me a little thrill. Guilt free shopping. Except when those things I have had my eye on drop so dramatically in price that I am wracked with anxiety about missing out on the bargain of the year! Here are some things I have been watching and might just pull the trigger on.

Shelter Island Table Lamp, Jonathan Adler

Urban Biker Jacket, Boden

Velvet Jewel Flats, Boden

Torture! So many bargains to be had and really no reason to spend except for shear lust for these beauties. One wouldn't hurt...

Time for a post Christmas cleanse...

Christmas is a time for indulgence in my book. Somehow I can justify that from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day anything goes. Bloody Mary's at 11am, oysters for afternoon snack, cookies pretty much anytime, turkey, ham, cheese and crackers, candy get the picture. Anyway, I am secure in the knowledge that I am not alone. If you, like me, are feeling the need to lighten the load then surely this is a good way to start...Kusmi Tea. Pretty package and healthy contents, perfect.

And when that resolve to cleanse breaks down a couple of days after I commit to it, then at least these teas will look beautiful on the counter. Still need your chocolate fix? No problem...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Festive Fruitcake

Back again with another piece on Festive food I wrote for N'East Style. This time, Christmas Cake (that is always Fruitcake in the UK). Read my post here.

Bear in mind that the overall look I was going for was on the tacky side. All I need is a plastic Santa and some trees and it will be perfect!


Project 9: Wreath Decorating

I know it is a little late in the day to start talking about decorating wreaths but the truth is that we bought our wreath some time ago and had committed to decorating it ourselves. Naturally, our good intentions fell slightly by the wayside so it was only today that I managed to deck it out. Probably best to file this post under "For future reference"....

We bought our wreaths (and tree) at the DeCell's Christmas Tree Farm in Weston, Vermont. Since we were mesmerized in by the immense beauty and scale of the 4 foot wreath which is now mounted on the side of our barn, the wreath for the main door had to be downsized. We bought a 14 inch undecorated wreath and I pledged to gussy it up.

So what to do with a bare wreath? Why tie a bow on it of course! At Glebe Mountain Gardens in Londonderry, Vermont the staff will gladly demonstrate how to create the perfect bow for your wreath and if you ask nicely you can make one alongside them and get a professional helping hand in the end result. They have a fabulous selection of ribbon for you to purchase and then you can take pride in the fact that you added the crowning glory to your wreath. The Cowles family who own it are friends of ours and they have a huge assortment of wreaths, trees and other greenery for the festive season.
I think the key to tying your own wreath bow is to choose a wired ribbon with color and pattern (I chose a buffalo check flannel ribbon) to draw attention away from the amateur flaws, but I think I can be justifiably proud of my efforts.

Ta Da!! Ready just in time for Christmas.

Sensory Therapy: Muse Perfumery

You know I am a sucker for candles and packaging, so when I saw the new branding design for Muse Perfumery on The Dieline I was smitten.

The packaging of these handmade and all natural candles features a letterpress label and wood based packaging, each scent is represented through the color of the label and the delightful vintagey pattern of leaves and flowers on the box.

"Rendered by the graphic designers at Wink, Muse Wax Candles branding embodies the aroma of each luminary with a physical depiction of the fragrance’s motif. The colors and petals of each flower and fruit have been intricately unfolded into bright and beautiful wooden boxes." Via Trendhunter

Pear, Fig, Cardamom....too many to choose from!
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