Archive for Children
I’m finding it hard to write convincingly about owls today. I’ve started this blog post about five times before jabbing the back space key with a vengeance.
Perhaps it’s because the eyes on these newest Ikea owls are not to my taste. But there’s no denying that the vintagey styling, back-to-nature colours and comforting coterie of dragonflies and spiders all add to the allure of these particular kid-focused owls.
I for one find it hard to resist an oak leaf, and the coat rack above so cleverly combines mid-century kitsch with funky storage solutions that I can forgive the slightly confused looking owls.
However, I would make a special trip alone to find myself a yard or two of the Ikea owl and spiderweb fabric above, especially because it would look just perfect with the quilt cover and curtains below, in a mini person’s room, or just for fun on a cushion or a blouse.
Tabbrd. Not a word I’ve encountered often.
And yet this week, it’s come up twice on my radar. If it’s good enough for Denise to sport one on The Syndicate, it’s good enough for me to feature on the blog.
So, I couldn’t resist a quick mention of this fruity number, which I spotted (eyes of a hawk) while browsing around Mothercare last week. Made from a lightly waxed canvas material, this tabard will be perfect for porridge, painting and prancing – all of which are top priorities for my toddler.
And here is it is in action. The sunglasses were not my idea…. However, it is a hardy shield against the excesses of hummus. Fact.
Well if you can’t wear a pear, eat one, or wrap up in a snuggly pear-print blanket, it’s probably time to hang one on your wall. And so, in the spirit of the last blog post (all about owl-inspired wallpaper), here are a few wall decoration ideas, gleaned from Etsy’s ever-plentiful supply of peachy pear prints.
Kicking off today’s bloggage is the pear print above - ‘Birdies in a Pear Print’ – as featured in Joom’s Etsy shop. Printed on heavy archival stock, these birdy pears come ready to hang on the wall, framed and all, and measure 5 x 7 inches. For more info on this American designer, you can visit her Facebook page.
Then comes the apple and pear combo which happens to be my personal fave. Designer Urban Tickle can customise the prints according to your own colour preferences, or even personalise each print with names of your choice via the Urban Tickle Etsy shop. For additional inspiration, be sure to visit the UT Facebook page or keep up to date with their tweets too.
I haven’t talked much about pips in the past, but the detailing of pictorialbloom‘s pear print above really appeals to me, not least because it’s rare to see the inside of a pear illustrated so beautifully. The proportions are just so (the stalk’s pretty perfect too), and I love the colour combo. AND, it’s only going to set you back $15.
To round up this round-up, what could be better than a gloriously simple pear design, mounted on an eco-friendly (it’s printed onto bamboo paper using non-toxic inks), sustainable bamboo plywood frame? This pear is courtesy the design gurus Toast Slice, and you can get your hands on the above print here (plus every order comes with a free bookmark – bonus). For even more toasty (social media) goodness, visit Toast Slice on Twitter, or via their website or Facebook page.
This pear print high chair has been on my bloggage radar for ages, but it was seeing it used in a French restaurant this summer that reminded me to actually feature it, along with other pear-inspired baby products.
Back to the highchair: it’s beautiful, it’s made by Cosatto and has many amazing features for the super-organised parent/carer. While I have been known to resort to a cushion, towel and a large scarf to tie my offspring onto a chair, this option is more stylish. In fact, it deserves a special corner in the kitchen, unsplattered with gunk so it can ooze pearish perfection instead. (They also come up on eBay quite often. Had to just mention that quietly in case the price was off-putting.)
And if you’re using a highchair, the chances are you might need a bib (or several hundred). I love these organic, block-printed by hand, non-toxic versions by BIRCHseed – aka the mega-talented Nikki Shipard who designs and creates wonderful home, interiors and kids stuff from her Australian workshop. Find her on Twitter, Etsy and in blog form too.
I’ve only recently clocked Nature Baby – an organic kids clothing company based in New Zealand, but available to purchase online. I’m particularly fond of their pear print, organic newborn gift set (including the following items - 1 x Long Sleeve Bodysuit, 0-3M; 1 x Knotted Beanie, 0-6M; 1 x Towelling Bib, 0-6M; 1 x Wrap and 1 x drawstring bag). Follow Nature Baby on Twitter for updates and general info.
American organic baby (and mums and pets) clothing company Sckoon (also on Twitter and Facebook) make a range of pear print items for bubbas – this outfit can be found here, and they also make washable organic nappies – with pears, of course. See below.
Finally, before you are stunned pearless, here are a selection of baby pear outfits from Swedish kids clothing design fiends DUNS (also made from organic cotton). I strongly recommend you check out their autumnal pear print items for babies and older kids (see their Facebook page for more details). This fabric deserves to be available for all ages, but I’ll let it go for now.
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 really wish my toddler’s feet would shrink so she could squeeze into a pair of these pears.
Anyone browsing through the owlsandpears.com Etsy treasury lists might have already spotted one of my favourite pear delights: these felt licorice ballet flats with delicate avocado-coloured pears appliqued on to the front, raspberry pink soles and finished off with a ribbon ankle-tie.
Hard to beat them on sheer aesthetics and improbable cuteness. And I personally can never resist blanket stitched trim that is ‘just so’.
Hand-crafted by Sweet Emma Jean, these soft wool shoes are part of a whole range of seriously delicious footwear and felt accessories for kiddoes, available on Etsy here in a range of sizes from 0 to 9 months.
It’s heartening to be able to add to the growing list of pear-adorned footwear on owlsandpears.com (click on the link and scroll down to check out the turquoise variety here, and the silver pears here), and great to browse the fruity mary jane alternatives too – yes, Sweet Emma Jean is on my wavelength!
You really get a feel for the love of pears, and for quality materials and attention to detail in the craftsmanship of these felt ballet flats. The icing on the cherry is Sweet Emma Jean’s packaging policy: each pair of shoes comes in a beautiful keepsake box tied with a satin ribbon (see below).
For more details, check out the Facebook page, Twitter account (@sweetemmajean) or website for Sweet Emma Jean. Maybe if enough of us ask her nicely, she might make some larger versions for clodhoppers up to 2 years old. Here’s hoping…
This quilt leaves me lost for words. I simply cannot imagine anything nicer to spread over a pram for an Autumn stroll, or tuck around your knees as you curl up with a good book and a steaming mug of green tea at the end of a long day. The spectacularly poised Marimekko print, the stitch-perfect quilting and equally delectable backing simply could not fail to lift your spirits.
You can see in the sun-dappled photo above that smckey has mastered the art of marrying a traditional craft with twentieth century Scandinavian design, the ultimate in attention to detail and twenty-first century beauty too. You can visit her Etsy shop here for even more examples of quilting heaven (I love Confetti Parade) or take a peek at her blog for an insight into quilting, crafts, and the meaning of life. Phew, finally someone’s come up with an answer to that conundrum.
Getting back to the pear print (which is stipple quilted in green and white on one hundred per cent cotton fabric), you might be interested to know a bit more about the backing fabric – it is “willow orchard” by Alexander Henry. And for more patterns from this particular designer studio, check out a recent (ish) Print & Pattern post here.
The quilt itself is 54″ x 32″, you can machine wash and dry it, it’s utterly unique, it can be posted to your door, and … what else? Well, don’t get me started on how I’d love to redecorate my quasi-study with this quilt hanging on the brick wall above a retro desk and an Eames chair in matching green or contrasting mustard (the one below is from John Lewis).
If ever you needed a reason to keep your tresses on the long side, here it is: the fantabulous Floribundae hair accessory.
First on the list is the super large Japanese ponytail holder above. Just the right amount of retro owlishness, combined with perfect colours, vintage textile and practical elastic too.
It’s made from a hand-made button and a features a no-metal, Trevor Sorbie tie – especially good for sensitive toddler scalps, but also for larger hair that is prone to frizz (ahem).
Next up are these hooties – a new colourway and size, but equally perfect beak and eye features (essential in any owl, but especially in those featured on Owls and Pears).
Watch this space for more Floribundae delights – there is a promise of pears to come!
Just got home to find the brand new People Tree catalogue on the door mat. Love that time of the year. Having marked a few pages of gorgeousness for later closer perusal, I was delighted to see the wonderful owls, as featured as a print and pattern on the new kids clothes at the back of the catalogue.
This boy’s t-shirt is made in India by Assisi – one of the very first groups that People Tree worked with. It was set up by Franciscan nuns, and provides training and employment for deaf, mute and poor women. It’s great to know that Assisi offers a haven for these women to live in, as well as a “safe and supportive working environment. They are paid a fair wage and a lump sum paid after five years of employment to start a home and often their own tailoring business.”
I love the owl design of these t-shirts – perfect for boys, girls, and any owl addict out there. It’s reassuring that in the pursuit of all things stylishly owlish, you can also be part of something really exciting. Like it says on the People Tree website: “For every beautiful garment People Tree makes, there’s an equally beautiful change happening somewhere in the world.”
These t-shirts are indeed beautiful, and they are also practical and stylish too. And even more inspiring to know, they are made from organic cotton that has been Soil Association certified to boot. In fact, People Tree’s close partnership with Assisi Garments has enabled it to become the first ever company to achieve the Soil Association mark for clothing produced in the developing world.
It’s hard not to love all the products in this season’s catalogue, but before I finish this post and start on the mammoth task that is clearing the debris from a toddler’s couscous dinner, let me leave you with a link to this divine People Tree knitted patchwork tunic – definitely on my list of things to covet this Autumn.