Friday, 12 June 2009

Flower Power - Get Crafty with your Blooms

One of the best perks of my dayjob is I often get to take home flowers after a shoot - sometimes just a couple of wilting lily's, other times enough to make Elton John feel a twinge of excessive embarrassment (OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift). When such occasions arise it often forces me to think creatively in the vase department, to ensure I have enough vessels for all my blooms. I took the following mini-shoot after a particularly prolific day of leftovers and thought I'd share a few crafty ideas on floral display. Personally, I like breaking up bouquets and having lots of little casual arrangements throughout the house to spread the floral joy around, which is also a good way of making a little go a long way. Hope you enjoy!

Like a pristine white, fluffy cloud in a perfect sky, little beats the hydrangea for me in terms of floral perfection. These two white mopheads sit resplendent in a miniature galvanised bucket I painted with a lick of gloss white.

If you've only got one or two statement stems, make a feature of them by juxtaposing them in a short vase for maximum impact. Think about your backgrounds when working out what should go where - pairing your petal colour with wall shade can look rather sophisticated, or go for a colour clash for a vibrant statement.

Go retro by teaming 1970's favourite, the yellow chrysanthemum, in a bottle green chalice from the same decade. This wide and stumpy vessel doesn't require many short-stemmed flowers to create a cup that runneth over. (sorry.)
In-keeping with the retro theme, this pretty dessert goblet makes an attractive holder for this spray of mini chrysanthemum green heads, and would make a great table decoration when teamed with a few more, or in singluar form, is a great way to add a cheery splash of colour to a windowsill.
The only actual vase to feature in this post, this mini vintage number looks super-cute with some oversized blooms tumbling out of the top. Couldn't resist styling in my new Favourite Thing Ever - this little vintage storage pot owl, who sits beside my computer and actually stores my USB pens, along with providing me with great joy every time I look at him.

These hurricane lanterns, designed to hold church candles, also make great flower receptacles due to their bulbous base yet narrower necks, allowing the flowers to sit tight and fully fill the hole.
A bit of country vintage chic - nothing beats a pretty enamel jug to create that just-picked-from-the-fields-outside-after-milking-daisie vibe. OK, so I live in central London, but you get my drift.

Do you have any clever ways of displaying flowers you'd like to share with the Craft Hacking community?

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Frock Me at Home

A friend of mine encouraged me to visit the Frock Me at Home vintage-fest at the resplendent Chelsea Old Town Hall this Sunday (not that I needed much persuasion, but hey hoe). This is the second occasion the usually fashion-exclusive Frock Me shebang has turned its attention to us homeware lovers, and there were goodies galore. It has to be said, I was slightly disappointed with the amount of homewares on offer as there was still a huge amount of fashion for sale (at least 50%), and the bulk of the homewares were textiles, with probably only about 15-20% 'hard' homewares. Luckily, the textiles were so eye-wateringly glorious that I was kept enthralled for several hours, and even dusted the cobwebs off the ol' wallet and parted with some Serious Cash (£35 for a single item - not a lot to some, but for a car booting/charity shopper rarely crossing over the five pound barrier, this was my equivalent of hitting Louis Vuitton with an AMEX).

There weren't any real bargains to be found, but prices on the whole were fair apart from a few slightly cheeky vendors asking over the odds for mass produced 70's bits. Several of the vendors seemed to source much of their textiles in France, including some gorgeous patchwork throws from the 30's and 50's, plus an abundance of crochet so rich with detail it's a wonder the makers lived long enough to finish it. And Alan Bradbury's stall, occupying the whole stage at the back, featured a huge amount of vintage trimmings, rik-rack and threads, which always make great craft cupboard staples. 

I think the trick to avoid being overwhelmed by such an abundance of treasure (I spent much of the first half hour simply standing still, wide-eyed and gasping like an oxygen-starved fish might behave) is to try and think of how you might use or repurpose whatever it is that's caught your eye. Could those too-short curtains be used instead as a trim on a longer pair? That gorgeous crochet tablecloth used as a decorative wall hanging, or curtain pelmet, allowing the daylight to emphasise its details and trim?

In the end, I picked up the following and plan to use it thus:

A tea towel from 1980, complete with calendar from said year. I love these bold colours and simple, curved illustrations, and as this is the birthyear for both me and the boyf I think it would have simply been rude not to part with the £2 it cost me. I plan to frame it and put it on the kitchen wall of our Future Home (no wall space at the current houseshare abode, so in the meantime this will most likely be confined to the garage full of stuff at my parent's house also awaiting the same fate).

A silk scarf and oversized hankie: The colours on the former were too outstanding to not snaffle this up, and I love the delicacy of the sheer fabric of the latter. I'm thinking... cushion covers?

An old unfinished French tapestry: the unfinished section really sold this for me - I'm a sucker for being able to literally see the handiwork and 'real-ness' of things, and the story it tells. Who was embroidering it, and why did they stop? Again, perhaps a cushion cover, backed with some vibrant red or yellow fabric to pick out the detail?

And finally, my £35 piece da resistance: my hand embroidered, floral linen folksy tablecloth, currently being repurposed as my bed throw. I heart it so much, I've taken to staring at it in awe when I first wake up in the morning. Again, once I'm in the Future Home maybe I'll be able to return it to its intended tablecloth function or even use it to cover a sofa or chair, but I couldn't keep it squirreled away until then.

Crafty updates to follow on how I end up re-using my other finds!