Archive for Accessories
The arrival of a bubba is a marvellous thing, but it does rather restrict one’s social life. And on the week I was due to pop back in February, a very good friend had her hen send off at The Gilbert Scott. As you can imagine, I was extremely large, and very sorry to miss out – cocktails were made and sampled, and some seriously stylish pre-wedding fun was pursued.
Luckily Steph is incredibly fab and thoughtful in pretty much every way, and so she bought me a printed souvenir of the evening.
I hope your eye has been drawn to the Sloe Pear Martini recipe…? It is illustrated above in case you wanted, like me, to see how it turned out.
And here is the barman mixing his magic (in a stunning cut glass stem – it’s so pretty).
For the record, the hen night was a precursor to the most sensational wedding *EVER*. I just had to include this photo of Steph’s shoes (by wondrous wedding photographer Janis Ratnieks) so you could appreciate the finer details.
And here she is walking down the aisle, oh my goodness, this is iconic…
One final tribute – please raise your (cocktail) glasses to the radiantly beautiful bride. A belated send off, Steph, but may your marriage be filled with health, happiness, and infinite joy xxx
In order to ease myself back into world of bloggage, this post will be a short one. It’s been a while, but hopefully this pear-based snippet of info will make up for the shortfall in recent updates.
As the long list of eligible owl- and pear-related content backs up, I felt I had to move this baby right to the top of the pile. I’m probably the last to know about it, but for those of you out there who are similarly preoccupied with making sure the car is MOTed or that you’ve remembered to send mothers’ day cards, this one’s for you.
The images above are gleaned from Uniqlo, which is the latest establishment to collaborate with Orla Kiely (for another team effort, check out this season’s People Tree project with Ms Kiely – I’m finding the coral outfits particularly hard to resist).
There are some joyous, uber-covetable items chez Uniqlo (including some particularly lovely “room shoes” – aka slippers), but my eye was caught by the iconic pear designs and juicy colour ways of course.
The short sleeved tee is only £14.90 (*snip*) and the stole a mere £9.90. The capsule collection is launched on 19th March – I imagine it will be first come first served in-store; the rest of us can be fleeced on eBay!
Good luck to all you pear hunters out there – and do let me know if you manage to get your hands on any pear pieces.
I just love the thrill of discovering an astonishingly unique and beautiful owl or pear objet. And this forest owl necklace is exactly what I’m talking about: it’s chic, it’s retro but it’s on trend, and frankly, it’s drop-dead-gorgeous.
In the run up to the present-giving season, I’m looking for things to blog about which I know would make the perfect gift. But I am also keen to find out more about the designers and artisans themselves.
So who the heck is behind this masterpiece? Folks, it’s time to meet the creative genius that is Natalia Lovat, and talk about pliers, vintage screens and Etsy treasuries.
Let’s start with the necklace of joy – how did it come about?
Forest Owl necklace is made from chunky green 1980s beads which I found on eBay. I often search through eBay looking for old beads, broken jewellery and vintage pieces that I can take apart and turn into something new. The owls are also an eBay find, I wish I had some more, I think I have just one left! I used copper to connect the beads as it looks beautiful with green.
I imagine the necklace being worn during the day, with lots of colour. It’s perfect for wearing on a winter day with a woolly cardi or jumper and a nice warm scarf. Or it would look fab with a grey dress or top.
Could you tell us more about your background in design and what inspired you to create such beautiful jewellery?
I have an art college background and a degree in knitwear design. I worked in the fashion industry for just over eight years, for top end designers and high street suppliers, as a production manager. When small people came into my life all the travelling around had to stop. I have always wanted to do something more creative and eventually start making and designing for myself. I started a course in silver jewellery making and was hooked from the first blast of the torch and have not looked back since.
I still go to evening classes, mainly for the use of the studio and equipment for a couple of hours a week. My fellow students are great and I enjoy seeing them each week and talking about new projects and ideas. It is two indulgent hours which is purely about making jewellery: heaven!
I started making pieces for friends and family as gifts, and that soon progressed to making pieces to sell. It has been a slow progression, but lots of fun.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It’s hard to pinpoint anything in particular that inspires me – much of my work is organic and inspiration comes from the smallest of things sometimes. As a lot of the beads I use are upcycled/recycled/vintage, I am inspired from the moment I open the packet or hand over the cash. Often just one bead or charm can lead to many pieces.
I try very hard not to follow trends as it can be distracting from my style. However I love flicking through magazines, keeping an eye on what’s happening on the catwalks, and of course I love a bit of research ‘shopping’. So I’m sure on some level trends filter through into my work, even if it’s just the necklace length. If I am ever stuck on what to make I just make myself a mood board, and that always gets the ideas flowing.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
In 2012 I would like to continue making and growing Natalia Lovat, especially the silver jewellery making. I’d like to have some pieces in a shop/boutique and I would love to have a piece of Natalia Lovat jewellery in a magazine feature or fashion shoot.
What are your hints or tips for budding jewellers and creatives?
My best piece of advice is don’t give up the dream: it’s never too late to start something new.
Could you share your recommendations of places to visit for creative inspiration online?
I love searching through Etsy and Folksy, not really for inspiration but to see all the beautiful things that people make: there are some awesome designers out there. Also, putting together treasuries on Etsy is my new addiction! [O&P: my fave Natalia Lovat treasury is here].
My favourite blog is What Katie Wore. Katie always looks amazing, so bright and cheerful and has such a unique and quirky style (I think Katie would totally rock the Forest Owl necklace, by the way). [O&P: see below for Katie in a most handsome colourway - click on the image for a link to her outfit, as worn on 10 August 2011)
What is it about owls and pears that appeals to you as a designer?
I have always loved owls and pears! They are used throughout design, and especially in textiles, in so many beautiful and unique ways. Finding something with an owl or a pear on always makes me smile and can often lead to a purchase!
What's in your toolbox? Are there any vital tools or accessories that you simply couldn't do without in your studio?
Tools I can’t do without: this would have to be my pliers - they are essential for so many things.
I'd love to know more about your studio - could you describe your workspace for us?
My studio/workspace is one side of the dining room, which seems to be growing! I have a beautiful vintage screen hiding all the equipment and boxes; I just have to tidy up the desk when we have people over for dinner.
Do you like to work to music, and if so, what are your favourite tracks for inspiring creativity?
I always work listening to music. Either the radio (I’m a 6music girl) or the iPod. At the moment I’m listening to the new Laura Marling album a lot – A Creature I Don’t Know. Or else the iPod is on shuffle so I don’t have to keep getting up and down.
Finally, your owl necklace is my current Etsy eye-candy, but you have plenty more beautiful pieces to choose from. Could you show us three favourite items in your Etsy shop?
My current favourites would have to be the Silver Kisses Pendant, the Silver Pearl Cluster Earrings and the Queen of Heart Necklace (illustrated below, from left to right).
anothergalstreasure and NotJustBags:
There are days when I long for something a little more whimsical, more light-hearted, more comforting than terrible twosome tantrums and online bank statements. This is when owl cushions such as these come into their own.
Little Blue Elephant is the brainchild of Nina Mistry-Rhoades and as the company name might suggest, has a more dominant line in four-legged elephantine friends. However, Nina’s owls are equally covetable: as she explains in her own words: “my elephants are very graphic and simple and the owl shapes are the same, very stylised.”
This back-to-basic line of design is just what I need amidst the maelstrom of colour and pattern that seems to adorn most owl-related items in the shops at the moment. Nina instead focuses on ”textile design, from florals to repeat patterns. But my work really leans towards a childrens palette of geometric patterns and bold colours.
I like the simplicity.”
Nina is inspired by “modern fabric designers and colours. I love Cloud9 fabrics, Lecien dots and little ditsy floral designs. In fact I like most things that are bright and colourful.” Yet the patterns and colourways featured in the owls illustrated here reflect her interest in current design, and also hint at a deep appreciation of more retro/vintage combinations of fabrics and motifs.
I was not surprised to learn that Nina honed her creative skills studying textile design at university before pursuing a career at a leading UK card company. However, her frustration with briefing designers rather than getting stuck into the actual work herself, followed by the arrival of children, meant that it was evening classes in dressmaking that finally unlocked her artistic confidence.
Quite frankly, I know I can harp on about owl eyes, but anyone who can make the most of an owl’s derriere in such a stylish manner deserves much applause and acclaim. And here’s hoping that Nina’s plans to design her own “nursery range, from bedding to wallpapers and not forgetting, cuddly toys” comes to fruition quickly and successfully.
I’ll keep you posted with any Little Blue Elephant updates here and on Twitter. But in the meantime, you can seek out Nina’s creations via her Folksy shop here, and her Facebook page here. And don’t forget to check out her latest designs on Flickr, follow her on Twitter or read her blog for more background information on how she sources her materials and where she draws her inspiration from.
This blog post is for my good friend Lila, who always tells it as it is, and is one of the greatest owl aficionados out there. It’s been a while since the last blog post, but in the hope that owls (and pears) are still of interest, may I introduce you to Roddy & Ginger – purveyors of some of the finest owl goods this side of the Atlantic.
Virginia Armstrong is the freelance graphic artist and textile designer behind these beauteous owl items, and her stylishly retro website, blog and Etsy shop are testament to the charming allure of her vintage design ethic.
Her bags and individual prints, not to mention various home ware items and accessories, are hand printed on linen and cotton, using water-based dyes. The result is a return to retro owlishness of the seventies, with a modern twist – the daffodil/mustard owl illustrated above is a bestseller, and would look just as good on an Ercol couch as a good old (new) JL sofa.
Veronica explained to me how she “created the double owl motif about five years ago as a design for a little boys’ t-shirt and then used it as my logo because it just seemed to suit the name. Since then owls have become really popular – as you know! The roddy the owl cushion [see above and below] I introduced just last year by popular demand, I was always being asked for an owl cushion, and it has proved very successful.”
The owl cushion also comes in a turquoise print (above), with the same very slightly faded effect and wondrous eyes framed on an elegant ecru linen background. And for those occasions when you need to take your owl out of the house, there’s a printed pencil case too. This would have made maths lessons just a tad more bearable…
Keep your eyes peeled for any future owl designs from Roddy & Ginger (and the log pile wallpaper she has in the pipeline), but in the meantime, feast your eyes on Veronica’s perfect pomegranate linen cushion – same colourway; another distinctive design.
I have a list as long as my arm of pear and owl wondrousness to blog about – but when I walked past the Hobbs shop near Victoria Station this evening, I HAD to come home and bypass the other treats (coming your way ver ver soon).
Here’s a snap of the shop window, in full pear glory. BTW, I did ask the shop assistant if they would consider selling me the back drop once the pear fest was over, but she was less than enthusiastic. That will not be putting me off though – I intend to hound them until they give in. I’m not sure M would be too happy to have such a large piece of pear art in the stairwell, but maybe he wouldn’t notice if I removed the lightbulb overhead…
Anyway, once inside, gasping at the fact that there were pears on clothes, I rifled through the rails and picked out one or two beauties for your online perusal. It’s rare to see a red pear done well, but this print has it all – summery, retro, fun, fruity, classic and quintessentially pretty.
Here’s a close up of the best colourway in my headspace this evening.
The Gardenia Dress (pictured at the top of the blog post) is an “on trend tutti fruity print” (reads the Hobbs website!). It is made from linen, but is machine washable. Tick. Also, it features a “flattering elastic waist detail”. Ahem. Not a phrase I normally like to pair with descriptions of elegant summer dresses, but when it comes to comfort, I guess anything goes. At least you could make a serious dent on a stodgy lunch and still pull off a statement entrance wearing this dress.
If you can’t justify spending £99 on the dress, but still want the pear print in your repertoire this summer, you could opt for the Cherry Print scarf instead – £39 but lovely nonetheless.
Or, for a Mad Men approach, this Cherries Skirt is really cute: flared, flouncy, below-the-knee, perfect for kitten heels and a big belt.
You won’t believe it – there was a pear pendant too. It’s quite big compared to other pear necklaces I’ve seen. And far from apologetic: it literally is a massive green pear on a chain. But it could be useful if you wanted an impromtu paper weight, or needed to knock out a fruit-hating fiend…
Last but not least, the Lily pear bag to die for. I hardly need say more. A pear sits perfectly in the hand of this delicately drawn lady. With her vintage-inspired dress, wide eyes, ruby red lips and outstretched arm, the pear is placed right where it would most be seen if the bag were clasped tightly under your arm. What’s more, it comes with a detachable patent leather purse in the shape of a pear (see below). I am smitten.
Thanks Hobbs – what a great start to the pear season. And there is more bloggage to come along the same lines – watch this space for a full feature on the latest Orla Kiely pear print dresses.
I know I know I know. I’ve already done the exact same giveaway. But I found some more of these superb bags in Tesco last week and couldn’t help but indulge in a bit more competition malarkey.
In case you missed the last giveaway, here’s the nitty gritty on the actual prize: Orla Kiely’s recent collaboration with Tesco resulted in the superb specimen above – an exclusive, limited edition, collectable, reusable pear print bag. And it’s the first of a range of Orla Kiely bags to be sold in Tesco in 2011. Oh yes, there are more to come.
For those of you who share my love of all things Orla, and who’ve not yet tracked down your own bag, here’s a chance to win one pain-free, without losing an arm and a leg in an online auction. Not only is it totally gorgeous, the bag is made from really good quality cotton and jute (bonus – sustainable shopper) and has flamingo pinky-orange handles that are strong and not too long. Perfect for a a trip to the gym (see the fab-tastic Katgotthecream blog), or, for storing your toddler.
And the best bit by far is knowing that the sale of these bags has helped to raise money in support of two charities: CLIC Sargent - the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity – which aims to raise £5 million so that children with cancer can spend more time at home and less time in hospital; and Orla Kiely’s personal charity, the Royal College of Art, which funds bursaries for textile students.
To enter, just leave a comment in the box below and subscribe to the blog updates on the homepage. The subject is “your favourite pear product”.
For an extra entry, simply tweet the following: “I’ve just entered the brand new @owlsandpears Orla Kiely pear bag giveaway and so can you: http://wp.me/pTCMb-ey”
The deadline for entries is midnight GMT on Sunday 27th March and the winner will be announced on the blog the next day (having been chosen by random.org). Check back then for details, or else make sure you have subscribed so I can contact the winner individually. If the winner doesn’t respond within 7 days, a new one will be chosen.
If you’re in the mood for some linky goodness, then please feel free to link to this giveaway on you own blog, go for it – the more the merrier. Here’s a short link: http://wp.me/pTCMb-ey.
The first time I saw the photo above, on Sakura Blythe’s owl-themed Flickrstream, I was literally in awe. The colourway, the composition, the delicacy and the obvious love of owls struck a chord and I just had to get in touch with the photographer to find out what inspired her.
It is perhaps no surprise that Jo is passionate about “photography, karate, owls and dolls (particularly Blythe dolls)”. Her love of owls extends as far back as she can remember: aged 3, and living in New Zealand, a family friend made her a tiny pottery owl, standing only 1.5cm but bursting with all the hallmarks of a vintage classic…
From childhood through to motherhood, Jo has treasured, coveted and collected all things owl-related. The felted owlies you can see in the top photo are part of a project she started about a year ago: “I wanted an owl in the 1/6 scale of my dolls, and this seemed to be the best way to get one,” she explains.
Avalon is photographed here wearing the Cath Kidston brooch Jo was given for her 30th birthday, and a necklace gifted from another friend. I can’t get enough of her mixture of vintage aesthetics, kooky colours and retro chic jewelry, combined with those large-eyed, wondrous Blythe dolls. It’s all so intimate. Speaking of which, take a peek at a selection of Jo’s owls below – a glimpse into a life pin-pointed with fond memories of travel, fashion, family and life-long (feathered) friends.
As you can see, photography is an important part of Jo’s creative life: ”I am particularly interested in extreme depth of field and bokeh effects,” she told me. “Tiny owls work really well with my style of photography and complement the dolls which I often photograph. When I get the chance I love to photograph real owls and other birds of prey. I love their grace, strength and beauty. Unfortunately, I don’t often get the chance to do so, so make do with the owlies.” And thank goodness for that, is all I can say.
You can see more of Jo’s work on Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter and Etsy (where she sometimes lists owl-related crafts and Blythe-sized necklaces and friendship bracelets). Here’s hoping for some of those owlies on Etsy soon – no self-respecting owl devotee could possibly be without one.
Owing to dealing with a minor toddler illness, the announcement of today’s Orla Kiely pear bag giveaway is slightly delayed. Apols.
A huge thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway – there are some truly fantastic comments and it’s great to know that there are so many pear fans out there. I’m only sorry I do not have one of these spectacular bags for each and every one of you.
So, without further ado, I am pleased to announce that the spinning selection process (using a conference pear and a Newgate clock on a Gordon Russell table, in case anyone is interested – see above) resulted in the pear stalk pointing to the eighth minute of the hour on the clock face (see below).
And correspondingly, comment number 8 was from mollyandtheprincess, whose blog (see hyperlink to the left) is testament to the fact that she enjoys “finding beauty wherever we go”. Congrats all round. One Orla Kiely jute pear bag is in the post.
Watch this space for future giveaways and random owl and pear bloggage. And thanks again for taking the time to enter the giveaway.