I have been baking a fair bit recently particularly lovely healthy little cakes, muffins and biscuits that I can feed to Elsie – no sugar and lots of good wholewheat and fruit inside. But when I do bake, I get out my old apron and the other day I thought I might fancy getting a new one. Here’s my pick of the best ones out there!
First stop is Ulster Weavers – a great online shop for really reasonably-priced home-ware (mugs, aprons, tea towels etc) This Doris Apron is only £16! I also love the Teatime apron below.
Luscious, luscious Anthropologie sells so many pretty things. These gorgeous aprons are just too pretty to only wear in the kitchen. They cost £28 each.
And there are more aprons than you can shake a stick at over on Etsy but I like this Curvy Chole vintage apron by Dianne Designer Aprons ($29.95)
Ok, well this isn’t an apron but I thought it was great! These quirky oven mitts are something, aren’t they!They cost £25 from Hunkydory Home.
And lastly, here’s some dapper napkins to finish off the look! These come from Stitch Design Works – £14.95 for four. Happy baking and cake eating!
I met a lovely girl in Amsterdam called Nadine who runs a shop called ‘Wini’on Haarlemmer Straat (apparently this is now officially the best shopping street in the city – of course I’ve been saying this for years!) I bought some seventies silk scarves which am making into cushions for my new sofa (arriving on Saturday!!!) and she gave me a retro canvas bag for free, bless her! Here she is with a pair of boots that she customises for the shop. If you go to Amsterdam, pop in and say hi from me!
Wini sells the best vintage clothing, and it’s really well priced. I also picked up a cute little cowboy hat brooch and had my eye on a jazzy skirt too, kicking myself for not buying it now! It also stocks an excellent range of vintage fabrics particularly lovely 50s patterned material.
Had to sneak in a picture of some shoes too…
Wini can be found at 29 Haarlemmerstraat, Amsterdam.
It’s spring (apparently) and I have been getting that outdoorsy vibe – which is certainly helped along by the fact that there are suddenly loads of knats in the garden, slug trails appearing over my lovely tulips and flies buzzing about the place. To this end, I have been looking about for insect-inspired interiors and have come across some great little finds…
Another great buggy find is from Thornback and Peel who do these delightful tablecloths and such delights as cabbage-printed tea towels…and I am also hankering for these rather quirky etched glasses which fit snugly into their own special holder – I know they aren’t strictly insect inspired, but get a nice sticky shandy in them and you’ll soon attract some friendly garden ants! They are from Garden Trading and if you hurry, you can take advantage of the discount on offer until midnight – a generous 20% off – just enter E003 at the checkout.
The Pier also has a good range of outdoor accessories like this beautiful glass wasp catcher – so no more swatting your scones in a panicky fluster as the bugs attack your cream tea. They too are offering a 20% discount all week.
I absolutely love this Helena V & A apron which makes me want to make jams just looking at it, and of course, to complete the country kitchen look, a good dose of gingham works every time – C & H is an excellent source for buying cheap but quality dress making fabrics – gingham, is only £3.99 a metre! They have a reasonable haberdashery to boot.
I have also had my eye on this rather fetching oilcloth shopper (below) which is great for drizzly old Blighty but I have only managed to locate it at Hippy Chix Shop – which is (of course!) a US site but it’s a snip at $15. So you can’t argue with that. Simply divine!
So there you have a small dose of insect-inspired interiors for your delication…I will of course add more as I find them but for now, enjoy what little sunshine we are having…
Another day, another fabric find, ah it’s a tough life!
I have been tipped off about a great little online fabric shop called Funky Fabrix which is located in Australia – yes, sad but true, all the fabric shops worth their salt are in the US or Australia! They stock my fave, Alexander Henry (see his new ‘Aviary Flock of Gulls’ fabric below) as well as other designers such as Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman, Free Spirit and Amy Butler.
As usual, there are only a couple here to illustrate the types of designs available, but really, they have HUGE range and I think the prices are pretty good – around $13.50 AUD which is mere £6.36! Peanuts! They also offer ‘FAT QUARTER BUNDLES’ which are pre-cut and ready to ship – they measure 56cm x 46cm (22″ x 18″) and each pack contains 2 or 4 fat quarters. Bargain! This will set you back around £12 plus shipping.
Closer to home, as an update to my Stitching and Bitching in the South West post, I have located a fantastic little online store in Cheltenham called Rosa-Blue. They do ready to go fabrics at around £25 a metre which is pricy but they are all original designs – below are a few of my personal favourites. I have totally fallen for the heart fabric – positively blissful. And the ‘Bistro’ fabric below would be perfect for making a handy little shopping bag – tres chic!
Also, in my endeavours to track down the lushest of lush textile treats for you, my humble readers, I have been bewitched, yes, bewitched by the new range of children’s fabrics at the Designers’ Guild
Reminiscent of the Mr Men books, this happy flower print isn’t just for kids – braid my hair and call me Miss Sunshine, but I’ve got a hankering to do a spot of DIY and cover the walls of my boring old office in this very wallpaper. It will bring a smile to my chops even on the greyest of winter days. This is just one of the Primrose Hill range – go see for yourself how utterly edible they are!
That’s your lot for today…oh and for those local to Bristol and the South West, remember the second Bristol Design Festival kicks off on June 13 -17. Hundreds of creative designers, including those from fashion, interiors, furniture, lighting and textiles will descend on Bristol – so come down to The old Fire Station on Silver Street to see what the best of the West has to offer!!!
Did you know…
That there are so many web pages on the internet that even if you had hundreds of people scanning the internet 24 hours a day for the rest of their lives, you would never read them all, you wouldn’t even read a squillionth of them? That is why today has been good. The search engines were creaking and rattling in my favour, lady luck was smiling and I managed to find some super little sites that I may not have otherwise ever have seen.
As usual, this is a resource, so please go ahead and see for yourself how fab these little online stores are – and of course, if you do buy something, let me know how it goes!
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: all the best fabric sites are in the US! Ok so it’s massively bigger than the UK but c’mon people! Honestly, I see a site, bookmark it, then quickly check the contact details, and hey ho, it’s never in the UK. This is my call to arms! We need more fabric sites in Blighty!
Back to the good stuff:
I have located two new textile resources – and yes, they are in the US – but they are wonderful! Shipping costs aren’t too bad either (thank God for the weak dollar!)
This little site specialises in both modern and vintage textiles from the 50s, 60s and 70s. With Jetson-inspired fabrics, there is no mistaking their quality and authenticity. I am itching to get my hands on some the gorgeous salmon gingham below and I just adore this cute kids fabric
or the uber cool ‘cross town’ design (below) – I can just see myself swinging a cute shoulder bag around town in this fabric. They also offer vintage lace trims too…
Melina’s vintage reproduction fabrics, bags, wallpaper and accessories are great. She also does a modern range but it’s her vintage designs that catch my eye.
The best thing is she sells swatches with all 17 fabrics in for only $18 so if like me you use them for small projects it’s a steal!
Other sewing bits
I have also come across Glitter and Grunge which hosts profiles for a number of unique little artists, most of which have their own websites or etsy page. I particularly like Vallen Queen’s vintage-inspired tea cosies (above)
Likewise, Silly Boodilly’s designs are a unique combination of folk art and victoriana – a new favourite of mine!!
And finally….some vintage eye candy…
Janet Lauer is a mosaic artist and creates under the name of Grindstone Mountain – her work is amazing. Do have a look at her website if you want to see more these wonderful items.
Sleepy Hollow Crafts just makes me happy. I love this little vintage doll.
And lastly, we have feasted our eyes, so now, let’s see what our tummies say to the rather splendid offerings of a little Somerset farm shop called Godminster who sell a range of ‘vintage’ goodies for foodies. They are so fab, they have won an award…
Now, wouldn’t you like these to clutter up your pantry?
I may have touched on this subject briefly in an earlier post but having just received the latest Cath Kidson catalogue through the post, I was amazed at the amount of products they now offer. Initially I was OK with the pretty fabrics and made-up bits n bobs such as the peg bags, laundry bags, and sofa coverings as they are the natural progression for a fabric designer (after all that is what she is, is it not?)
However, then along came the crockery. Cotton candy sweet knives and forks, gazebos, kitsch camping gear for festival luvvies who wouldn’t be seen dead in anything from Millets, God forbid! Then came the seasonal goods (I always worry when seasonal goods come along – it smells of saturation).
And now, she has gone and committed (in my opinion) the cardinal sin: her own range of toiletries.
So imagine, a day-in-the-life of a die-hard Cath Kidson fiend:
She showers using her Cath Kidson shower gel before stepping out wrapping herself in her Cath Kidson towel, before slathering on her Cath Kidson body lotion and slipping on her Cath Kidson bathrobe. Of course, she selects a pretty floral Cath Kidson tea dress and slips on her Cath Kidson cutie-pie pumps (I don’t think she does underwear – yet).
She then proceeds to prepare a yummy lunch using a range of Cath Kidson crockery and glass ware, which sits atop her Cath Kidson oilcloth tablecloth, along side matching napkins and chair coverings. Before the guests arrive, she gives the dog his dinner, and he curls up in his rather flowery Cath Kidson dog basket. The guests arrive into a flurry of roses and dots, cowboys, stripes and stars. When everyone has gone home, she can put everything in the washing machine to be washed with the new range of Cath Kidson laundry products. Phew.
Ok, so maybe you wouldn’t have EVERYTHING Cath Kidson, but you could if you wanted, and that’s the point. I compare this to Ikea overkill: you know when you visit someone and you notice that flat-pack aura that radiates from every piece of furniture, the lighting, the rugs, the kitchen, the bedroom, even the plant pots have that ‘cloned’ look.
Ikea used to be a good place for getting really cheap and simple looking furniture – great for those kitting out a new home on a budget, but it’s not about being individual. How can it be when you can walk into a million homes across Europe and see the same print hanging on the wall, the same saucepans boiling away on the same cookers. It’s just not what good interior design is about.
I take the pick n mix ethos: if there is something you see that you like, sure, go ahead and buy it. But stop there. Put down the vase. Replace the storage box thingy on its shelf and walk away. Ask yourself if you really need it. You probably don’t.
Now I’m not critising the spirit of enterprise, but I can’t help feel a little dismayed. I picture the creative team at Cath Kidson sitting around the meeting room table. Someone has noticed that there is a new niche in the market for Cath Kidson wine. Yes, imagine it, says the product design manager, it would go really well with the gazebo – it matches and what’s more, it completes the picture of a rural ‘vintage’ idyll.
Well, thankfully this hasn’t happened yet, but I’m betting my bottom dollar that it has probably popped up in the design meetings at some point. So where do you stop? I fear Ms Kidson is saturating the market with sickly sweet ‘pseudo vintage’ loveliness and in doing so, the charm of the original fabrics disipates, and with it goes style, credibility and, my favourite, individuality. No one wants to have the same as everybody else.
So I have one last question: when’s the fragrance out?
Shhhhh! I have stumbled across the most delicious fabric websites and can happily declare my love for Japanese prints! I found a website called reprodepot.com which is a really good resource for quirky prints and for bag makers like myself, will be a really good place to snap up textiles that others will coo and ah over but not be able to find! Don’t tell anyone, ok?
Just scroll down for more beautiful images…
Flower power – with their retro influence, these will make the most beautiful and eye catching cushions. I plan to buy a few yards and get some summery influenced bags stitched together too.
These bunny prints make me feel like spring is sprung! Indulge in Easter madness…
Yet more flowers: these remind me of the wallpaper in my old Sindy house. Really kitsch.
And the baby blue cloud fabric would make the most fabulous pillow cases….dreamy.
This one even has a cute name: Bupu and Pupu.
Ok, so it might not be the most pressing debate in the entire world, but I have been thinking about these two queens of the chintz and wondered what people’s thoughts were on the encroaching popularity of the Cath Kidson empire – which, to my eyes, is the funkier, younger sister of the more sophisticated Laura Ashley.
Is Ms Ashley getting knocked off her throne (upholstered in the finest flowery fabric) by the eager young upstart that is Ms Kidson?
The subject raised its head after the new Cath Kidson shop on Park Street opened up recently – this veritable explosion of colour assaults my eyes daily. For a colour-lover like me, I am totally digging the new range of funky fabrics, even the latest range of clothes make you feel like you should be wearing clogs and cycling through the countryside with a small dog in your basket and paniers full of french bread and strawberries (are you with me?) However, there is the other camp that seem to think that Ms K is over priced and, ehem, a little over rated.
As a purveyor of all things vintage, I am surprised at myself for feeling a bit tired of the whole fakey retro stuff – but only because you can’t turn a corner now without being confronted by some type of 50s memorabilia of some sorts – surely Laura Ashley and Cath Kidson are breathing some life into the old?
We’ll see if Cath Kidson has the longevity gene like old Laura A, who let’s face it, has done a grand job of reinventing herself from the flowery church fete-type frocks of the 80s.
Bring on the revolution!