Monday, 7 February 2011

I've Moved! Find me at

Ummm... there's something I've been meaning to say for some time now (where exactly has the past year gone?!) but here it is: I've moved on. It's not you, it's me. As my career as a stylist has grown, I wanted to talk more about my own work and about (gulp) non-craft-hacked items. I also thought I'd give the guys over at Wordpress a go. So fear not, you can still find me on the interweb, in my new home (yes, that's new since early last year...spotting a theme here...) at my new blog Stylist's Own! (That's

Fear not - craft hacking is still very close to my heart and is very much a topic I discuss (and want to do more of) but if you're a fan of nice things and pretty pictures generally, then get thee over there now and sign up!

Hoping to see you on the other side...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Columbia Road Flower Market

I often like to take myself off for a little stroll along the wonderful Columbia Road on a Sunday, to breathe in the delights of its weekly flower market. A favourite haunt of bargain bloom-lovers throughout London, its pretty Victorian shopfronts hold equally lovely treasures within, from the oh-so-right combo of vintage homewares and cakes in the appropriately named Vintage Heaven & Cakehole, to mid-century baking paraphernalia (plus more cakes) in Treacle. To fully review the whole street and do it justice would take far too long, but for a few crafty tid-bits, keep reading

Ryantoon - the temporarily re-named store owned by paper-cutter extraordinaire Rob Ryan - has been rebranded in tribute to Ryan's beloved Newcastle FC (apparently there's something football-ey happening at the moment in man-sport-land). In fact, it's quite the most literal take on temporary I've ever seen: the entire store frontage has been wrapped in decorative Rob Ryan parcel tape (also sold instore for £10 a pop, natch). The result, combined with the fantastic window display, really is stunning, and also looks surprisingly resilient. Luckily for Ryan, his team have avoided some of the less aesthetically pleasing colour combo's of other strips and opted for classic black and white (I'm sure this was the number one topic of discussion in the boardroom back in 1905 or whenever these things were decided upon.) NB: I'd like to apologise now to any football fans reading for both my lack of knowledge and level of interest being so low I can't even be bothered to google for correct info.

Anyway, back to topics I know somewhat more about - this sweet little shelving unit caught my eye in retro candy shop Suck and Chew. Whilst it throws up my eternal dilemma regarding destroying already-sound items for the purposes of hacking, it's a great re-use, particularly if you have a somewhat redundant old pre-cm rule.

Couldn't resist including a little hack by Mother Nature herself: love, love, love these ornamental cabbage roses. Neither really one thing or t'other, they sure are mighty pretty.

Finally, the end of the street - with flower vendors dropping their prices by the second in an attempt to pack up before an imminent rainfall, the stampede stopped me actually checking out the shop this sign was advertising - but I was struck by the lovely collage newspaper frame (despite the fact it came out less romantic and more bacterial-looking in these shots).

Monday, 2 November 2009

Crazy Fools

It's not every day that you walk past a Victorian boozer and see giant inflatable tentacles bursting through the windows (although depending on how much liquer was involved before you left, maybe you do). Then again, it's not any old boozer that chooses to forego the local darts teams and drunken old men propping up the bar to let 'graf' lovin' Bristolians transform the place into a modern art gallery for a day. Being on the tres sophisticated Upper Street in Islington, though, presumably goes some way to ensuring your regulars won't be up in arms though (or tentacles... boom boom).

And so it was that the weekend of 24th/25th October saw
The Library play host to Bristol-based urban art collective Crazy Fools. As well as boyf-pleasing original prints, paintings and sculptures from the likes of Banksy and the fabulously textured 'untitled' artwork by David Walker (above), the work of Sarah Warren also caught my eye. Using collage and layering in her work, I simply lurve the way her images literally leap out of the page, achieved in part by using the mount as part canvas also, adorning it with cut out flowers- a great idea for any have-a-go artists out there.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Craft Hacker, meet Anthropologie. Anthropologie, meet, errr, a quivering, overexcited wreck clutching onto an embroidered pillowcase for dear life...

As this has already been covered by every man and his blog, I wasn't actually planning to write about it. I was intrigued, certainly, but feared that anything receiving such high praise would doubtless fail to live up to the hype, much in the same way that new years eve is, whilst often 'nice', rarely like, sooo the most amazing night of your entire life. But that was until I went inside and my heart was duly stolen by the extreme, unbelievable wonderment that is London's new Anthropologie store.

The whole experience is so beguiling, you kind of want to suck it all in so hard that you actually somehow become part of it all. Maybe experience some kind of rebirth as a crafty embroidered teatowel, or edgy vintage-style teacup-with-a-twist. Anyway, suffice to say the hour I spent in there gawping, cooing and generally acting as excitedly at a prepubescent at a JoBro concert was pretty darned special. The thing I frikkin love most about it is that it's just so crafty, folksy and handmade-ey with such original merchandise from lesser-known Brit designers as well as bigger names, and the VM of the store is uber-hot too. Like one huge, giant craft fair spliced with the kind of car boot you see in your dreams. It makes me kinda sad that it took an American brand to bring this level of designer/maker-ness to the high street, but nevertheless I'm still glad it's there. Along with the coupla pics above, these are a few of my favourite things *sung Julie Andrews style, natch*

A peek at just one of the fab instore displays - loving the misc drawers and also the way frames have been displayed with random fabric scraps inside - cute idea

Vibrant Indian fabric patchwork on this outdoor chair - a great way to use scraps plus a darned site more attractive than those dodgy plastic numbers

Having long admired the aesthetic of vintage bottle drying racks, this display shows an excellent hacker-esque way to repurpose one for cup displaying purposes - nice!

These are not just teatowels. These are hand embroidered, appliqued, illustrative visions of joy, who deserve to be hung on a wall and worshipped. Your damp, inferior crockery is simply not worthy of them
More display delights - as well as having groovy contents, even the cardboard boxes holding these fab vintage playing cards has been given a pretty fabric coat

Love, love love the hand-upholstered furniture throughout by Clerke and Reilly - as well as being in scrummy earthy, autumnal shades, there is a subtle patchwork to each item and pieces are hemmed externally giving a lovely homemade, unique finish.

And finally these wibbly-wobbly plates, complete with vintage-style pen and ink drawings

Even the changing rooms were beautiful - my cubicle chair even matched the top I tried on. I didn't purchase it in the end - gotta save myself an excuse to go back there ASAP...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Prop House Pillaging

Another day, another prop house. Whilst browsing the morning away in the wonderland that is Background Prop Hire in Islington, I happened upon these crafty fellows. Seemingly constructed by wrapping beautiful ethnic and retro style tissue paper around wooden placemats and coasters, this would be an easy hack to disguise any fugly old ones knocking around at home given to you by Auntie Mabel for Christmas in 1996.

Simply cut your paper an inch or two larger than your mat, then stick in place, going over the edges and onto the underside – spraymount should work, though some diluted PVA glue should also do the job, decoupage style. If your surface is patterned, try painting it white or sanding it down beforehand if possible to avoid the original pattern showing through, otherwise a couple of layers of white tissue paper underneath should suitable disguise the offending imagery.Then simply cut a piece of brown paper slightly smaller than your mat and stick it on the underside to neaten. A couple of coats of diluted PVA should seal your masterpiece sufficiently to protect from spills and splatters.

But the fun doesn't end there - my prop house rummage also dug out these hack-friendly little guys. By simply sewing a piece of fabric to fit an empty glass votive nice and snug and trimming with any ricrac or other offcuts you might have lurking, you've got yourself a non-permanent, fabric-scrap-utilising little decorative number right there. Happy snipping!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Mechanical Alchemist

After a day spent trying to work out why Serge the Corsa had spewed oil all over the place resulting in the AA man producing the offending faulty 'bit', I was reminded of the work of the rather clever chap over at Mechanical Alchemist and thought I'd share:

Using pieces like my broken oil-switch-bolt-thingy and other superfluous engine parts, scrap metal and other 'Dad garage' paraphenalia, Pigskin (as he is apparently known) repurposes them into the ultimate in desirable man-craft pieces, mainly around the theme of robots (what else?) Look again though and said robots also multi-task as lamps, a moneybox and even a barbecue, so something practical to keep the ladies happy too. As a chick crafter keen to find any way to get the boyf to show even the slightest glimmer of interest in this arena, such work is to be applauded (and accompanied by a little victory retort of "see! I do talk about things other than decoupage and doilys!!")

Ahhhh, doilys...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Green and Fay

Another day, another swanky interiors store opening in Islington. As I made my way back from The Best Second Hand Shop Ever In The World, also known to the public as Past Caring on the Essex Road (if you're ever remotely near the vicinity check it out, and bring some readies) I took myself in to new kid on the block, Green and Fay, for a little peek...

And was pleasantly surprised! Green and Fay manages to combine the usual design classics with showcase pieces from new, up-and-coming design talent (they were partners this year's London Design Festival - image above of FKY shelving by For Use). They even stock eco shoes. Best of all is their collection of mid-century furniture, much of which is upholstered with fabric from the amazing St Jude's, who collaborate with a range of extremely talented British artists and print designers and screen-print their fine results from their base in Norfolk (such as this Ernest race chair, below).

So all in all, a cottage-industry-supporting, designey-vintage-fest, hurrah! If you love the look but are looking for more of a price-of-a-sandwich type investment, the good news is you can also buy notepads featuring key prints (including that of my print crush Angie Lewin - see her seedheads design below) - or if your hacking's up to it, go to the website direct and order some fabric to create your own mid-century upholstering at home. Do send in the results!