Archive for Fabric
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.
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.
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).
Cripes, this plushie owl is unbelievably covetable. It was made as a one-of-a-kind piece of art for Night Owl Paper Goods (@nightowlpaper) from washed, pre-loved woollen jumpers, and upcycled wood and letterpress odds and sods from the NOPG workshop. What a fantastic way to prepare for Halloween, and use up leftovers in a crafty kind-of-a-way at the same time.
Lori Nichols has handmade many of these owls, and yet each one is unique. She’ll even custom make them for you from extra special jumpers of your own. Who doesn’t have a stash of slightly moth-nibbled but still beautiful sweaters in the wings? Time to hand them over in return for soft, squashy owls.
As you may have noticed, I have a real thing about owl eyes (I can be discerning when it comes to chocolate eclairs, washing powder and good owl eyes). So I was just stunned to discover that these peekers are made from acorns. Yes! Acorns! Look at them again – they are outrageously cute.
Lori has an Etsy shop of her own here, or you can buy the above two plushies (or very similar ones) from the Night Owl Paper Goods website here, which, incidentally, is a truly marvellous institution, combining handmade letterpress stationery and eco-chic “wooden goodies” with all manner of owlish delights. Good browsing for the forthcoming festive season, methinks….
I’m on a roll with the apron theme. Only this time, it’s not owls but pears. And for a change, here is an example of a fantastic pear-based fabric design on a cocoa background. Just perfect if we’re talking about a cooking-related item of clothing, when mentioning chocolate somewhere in the post is de rigeur. How utterly fab would you feel if you managed to bake some of these pear and chocolate cake pots while sporting this pretty half hostess?
Becky handcrafts these aprons in Minnesota and sells them to the world from her Juniperberries Etsy shop here. They come with a large double pocket and straps long enough to tie around the front on back (depending on girth…).
Anyway, back to pears and chocolate: why not try your hand at some macaroons? These vanilla, orange and chocolate, pear and vanilla scrummies are from one of my fave foody/fashion blog reads – Brigadeiro. Alternatively, there is a recipe for chocolate, pear and ginger tart on page 141 of the Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipes book, which I would be v. tempted to try out. (By the way, I can’t wait for the new G&B recipe book to be released – I know I will probably only fawn over the recipes and illustrations rather than actually bake them, but hey ho, you never know. Maybe there’ll be a pear recipe in there too?)
Finally, my love of Lindt’s intense chocolate range is now deep-rooted, following my discovery of their sea salt dark chocolate bar (now available at Waitrose/Ocado) – this stuff is A-mazing. I know there is a pear version of the intense range in the States – I’ve seen it on google, and here it is as proof:
My question is, when can we get our hands on this flavour in the UK? If you have a strong desire to see this in stock, then log in and send Waitrose/Ocado an message here (or an email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and make pear chocolate a reality for everyone in Blighty.
It’s been a wee while since the last post, so to make up for lost time, I thought I’d blog about this wonderfully perfect pear skirt by seventyseventyone design.
The mastermind behind this stunner is also an accessories designer, mainly working in felt, and creating gorgeous loveliness inspired by the colourways and designs of the 1960s. Her work exudes Scandinavian charm and lifts the soul on rainy day, with fresh colours, exciting textures and neat design.
This green loopy corsage is available via seventyseventyone’s Etsy shop here, but sadly the skirt is not for sale: she only make clothes for herself, using vintage dress patterns and her “trusty sewing machine”. I wonder how hard we’d have to persuade her to create a design for owlsandpears.com followers…?
The skirt is made from a fine denim and the pear itself was cut out from a piece of larger fabric that was bought as an offcut and sewn onto the skirt for embellishment.
For a rolling update on seventyseventyone’s creative journey, follow her on Twitter (@7071design) and check out her blog for details of yet more crafting delights and retro gems.
If you hurry, you can also take part in her blog giveaway to win a loopy headband: all you have to do is follow the blog and leave a comment on the giveaway post to be entered into the draw. Closing date is Wednesday 15th September 2010 (the designer’s birthday). Good luck one and all!
Just when I was wondering where all the owls were, in steps Gail – fabulous friend and guru of all things crafty, internety and foody – with news of Spoonflower. For those of you, like me, who were unaware of this seriously fantastic site, you can upload and design your own patterns and Spoonflower will print it (on quilting, linen, cotton or canvas) and send it back to you. A true crafting inspiration. There is already a wealth of designs up there for you to browse and choose from, if you don’t have your own to hand yet. And the owl collection is especially noteworthy. In fact, it’s hard to find a more amazing selection of delectable owls anywhere else online. Check out the pears already uploaded too. For anyone with the time or the inclination, there is yet to be an owl and pear design though. Rise to the challenge!
Image © Jelanie
You used to be able to order this retro pear print from Jelanie’s Etsy shop, but not at the moment. You can check out this designer’s website though, and see what she’s been up to with other fabulous fruity prints. The pears scream Scandinavian design and would work beautifully as a fabric too. Imagine the soft furnishings, the wallpaper, the homeware. Maybe even the odd bag or two, or some fabric-backed notebooks for special lists. While we await pear heaven, I may just download some screen wallpapers from Jelanie’s Flickr stream to tide me over. Delectable.