Monday, 22 September 2014

Object of the day: Dutch tiles with tales

The best thing I saw at the London Design Festival last week measured 10 centimetres square and was based on a 16th century Dutch design classic. 

Yes, yes, there was so much to love at LDF 2014. The sprawling event, now in its 11th year, is the non-trade way through the back doors of the design world and, with six big fairs in different venues, various landmark displays of creativity, and about a zillion satellite range or product or designer launches in galleries, shops and street corners across the city, visiting can provoke a little design overload.

So these unusual Amsterdam-made StoryTiles by visual artist, Marga Van Oers – which I saw at Design Junction – aren't the only thing I loved, but they are probably the most memorable.

Marga explains the concept (better than I can at midnight on a Sunday) on her website (details below): "StoryTiles are miniature stories on Dutch Whites, the old-fashioned Dutch tiles that have been made since the 16th century. [Marga] gives old tiles a new life with her unique, detailed and humorous collages. Every StoryTile tells its own story."

A simple idea, beautifully executed. The tiles cost 25 Euros (£20ish) each for a 10cm x 10cm size, and go up to 75 Euros (£59ish) for 20cm x 20cm. Not cheap for tiles, but eminently affordable for wonderful, tiny art. Marga also creates larger versions printed onto wood, which you can see on her site. I think Little Red Riding Hood (below) might be my favourite.

They provide a similar joy to the similarly small but perfectly formed work of Israeli magazine illustrator and artist, Tali Yalonetzki, which I mentioned in Friday's post about some of my favourite makers featured on this blog of late. If you missed it, and like these, check it out.

Or go straight to Marga's site for more on the tiles:

Friday, 19 September 2014

Throwback Friday – and a request to people make nice stuff

Today I'm plucking some of my favourite craft from the archives. Why? 

To inspire any readers of this blog who make, paint or draw lovely stuff, to apply to be part of the illustrious Crafty Fox Markets this Christmas. The deadline for submissions is next week (23 September) and – ta-da! – I am one of three guest curators selecting which stalls get a pitch (details below).

I touched on this in Monday's post, but that neither scratched the surface of my excitement – nor said anything like enough about it all.

When Sinead Koehler, Crafty Fox founder, invited me to co-curate the festive events which run across three venues London venues this year: Brixton, Peckham and Dalston, I was honoured. I'm also in amazingly cool company, since my co-curators are the very creative Emy Gray and Supermarket Sarah, both of whose style I've previously written about on this blog. Our job will be to pore over submissions from potential exhibitors and curate our dream market. It's quite the fantasy task.

In case you don't know about the markets, and don't hang about it London, they're worth the excursion. Founded in 2010 by Sinead and her husband, Stephen, along with artist Jimboart (whose nice bear cups you might recognise), Crafty Fox has taken off in a big way. Once a one-venue, very local affair, the market has now popped up in north London, been part of a Tate Modern event and attracts over 3000 visitors a pop. As you can probably guess, The Crafty Fox markets sell things handmade by real people – but there is also a DJ, a bar, cakes and tea, creative workshops and a side-project of expert talks.

The autumn markets take place on 4-5 October and have been curated by Katie Tregidden, aka the design blogger behind Confessions of a Design Geek and editor of new design magazine, Fiera. (See some of her curated crafts in the top image.)

So will you be sending us your wares? I hope so – and please do spread the word to any friends who create nice things to sell. The stalls are open to experienced and new sellers alike – and if you've been trading for under 12 months you may even be offered a cheaper rate and a mentor. As I've said, the deadline is imminent, 23 September, so get in quick. Full details can be found at the Crafty Fox website.

To get you in the mood – whether to buy or sell – here are just six of my many favourite made-by-actual-people items from the blog over the past year or so (the links will take you to the original posts).

Anna Chilton's tiger mug

Tali Yalonetzki's tiny portraits

Horse hangers

Durido's happy t-shirts

Jordan Grace Owens' personalised paper dolls

Very cool posters inspired by The Wire

It has been hard narrowing just this lot down. I fear the task ahead with my co-curators will be even harder... Hope to see you there.

Don't forget – submission deadline to be considered for a stall is 23 September. All details at The Crafty Fox website.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The best design giveaway? Elle Deco's ace anniversary competition

Have you heard about the rather enticing Elle Deco 25th anniversary competition – where six winners will bag the contents of one of six rooms created by the magazine? 

Here are three of them (my favourites).

It's all tied into the mag's October issue, which marks its quarter of a century of existence.

Each room set is worth around £16,500, and winning a competition is the only way I'd ever get that sort of finance into a room in my house. So which would you choose? My fondness for blues and greens makes this one my favourite.

Those luscious tiles on the wall, above, you may recognise as being by Bert & May, who I wrote about a couple of months ago. (And I'm still quite entranced by the combination of cool Mediterranean tiles and an tactile antique velvet chair that you can see half way down the post, should you be so inclined to back-track.)

Above are two more of the room sets up for grabs. You can see all six rooms on the competition's Facebook page, along with details of all the items, should you be feeling flush enough to buy rather than try to win them.

Oh, and if you look at rooms like these wistfully, wondering how people manage to throw things together so effortlessly... Here's how the photos got to look so good – and there's definitely some effort going on.

To enter, you need to get hold of a copy of the October issue of the magazine if you haven't already. In Willy Wonka fashion, it has a code on the front you'll need to type in. These things aren't just thrown together.

Find out everything else you need at

Monday, 15 September 2014

Object of the day: New Eley Kishimoto wallpapers

Weeeeeell, if I can't write about eye-popping budget-stretching wallpaper during the London Design Festival, when else? (The event started this weekend and goes on until next Sunday.)

I'm a big fan of Eley Kishimoto clothes, and the print mad design duo's expanding homewares range excites me greatly. And it's not for the faint-hearted...

This is my favourite of the wallpaper designs that the brand – aka Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto – is launching at Decorex, which kicks off as LDF ends on Sunday.

Would you put it in your house?

It would really lift a room, for sure. I'm seeing it as the backdrop to a wall of white shelves, holding a disciplined display.

It also would look fantastic as the best feature wall/corner you'd ever seen, in an otherwise black-painted room, too (feature walls are back apparently, but I always favour a wall and a turn to mix things up a little).

The wallpaper range builds on these, which I wrote about when they exhibited them a few years back in an exhibition of them at the capital's Aram Store. Here's one of the other new designs.

Left: Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto

A very Eley Kishimoto take on a classic design. Again, with a crisp white theme around it, this would energise a room no end. I'd love to see it in a wide entrance hallway, with white-painted floorboards. The papers are going to be priced at £160 per roll.

But if you can't afford them, or don't have an interior that could accommodate such boldness, you can enjoy them – along with designs by many other interesting names – in an exhibition that runs until the end of October.

Above: Tracy Kendall and Louise Body, two of the designers whose work will appear at the London Print Studio exhibition

Designers on show at Artists' Interior Worlds include Lizzie Allen, whose Festival of Britain print you may remember from a few years back, when she was commissioned to create it in celebration of the Royal Festival Hall's 60th birthday (and you can still buy prints taken from it at the Southbank shop). There will also be work by Timorous Beasties, whose deviant urban Toile designs must surely be Britain's most popular gastropub loo wall covering. Also on show is Deborah Bowness, she of the fake wall of library books and CUSTHOM, digital embroidery meisters who I featured here. The Chapman brothers have created a design called ‘Insult to Injury’, which apparently "reworks Goya’s ‘Los Caprichos’ etchings to outrageous effect". Of course. All these, among a vast rollcall of more interesting names.

The exhibition, which aims to pit classical artists against contemporary designers, sounds totally brilliant. It runs until 1 November at

Friday, 12 September 2014

Real homes: an artistic hoarder's creative curation

Emy Gray owns Brixi, a pretty special shop near where I live, in Brixton*. 

We got to know each other because I'm regularly in the shop, frequently loitering and ogling beautiful things I can't justify buying. We're also collaborating on something rather exciting shortly too, more of which at the bottom of this post...

Brixi is more of an art gallery than a shop in some respects; Emy, a former art student and Essex chick (as well as one-time cheese trader and fashion PR, separate jobs I'm guessing) describes herself as "obsessive" about collecting art and design. As such, her shop is full of the things she's hoarded – spectacular oddities and things you're unlikely to see many other places – and also hosts regular artist residencies, I loved the work of painter Abe Odedina last year, and Emy's shop also introduced me to the brilliantly bonkers mosaic artist, Stephen Wright whose extraordinary house I visited here.

So I've always wondered, as interiors writers and noseys like me do, what her house was like. And Emy has been kind enough to give me a tour...

As you'd expect, it's full of lots of the excellently odd things you'll see for sale in the shop. "I’m a fully paid up member of the ‘style over practically’ gang," says Emy. "I can eek out the beauty in most things and, to the dismay of family and boyfriends, there are things I've hoarded and accumulated over the years squirrelled away in attics, sheds and outbuildings of willing and unwilling parties. I’m teetering on the edge or requiring a storage unit..."

I love the colour of the woodwork, very 50s in a muted, post-war kind of a way, and the green floors and bold blocks of colour everywhere.

That looks like a very good kitchen table for late-night wine drinking.

The black kitchen wall features again. A great idea if I do say so myself (ahem, and here's my own – quite different – version).

Love the yellow portrait plate and friendly chalk scribblings.

If you like what you see, and you're in the smoke next week for the London Design Festival, there's news here too: Brixton is the event's newest Design District. Impressive, non?

It promises to be "the people's design week" and as part of the many fabulous events taking place (including the excellent-looking Regal Brixton throne-led photography exhibition), Emy is curating an art event called BRIXI's Army. Among other things, it involves a tiny exhibition inside a golden horsebox. Like.

Good wine stash. Happy blue wall. Great pots.

Emy says Brixton's brashness, chaos and noise have shaped her style since she moved there, and that she's "no longer so afraid of colour". Unlike the existing design district events, Brixton's offering promises to make Brixton itself very visible in the many exhibits – not least in the project inspired by Brixton's heritage to transform the town hall in a dramatic way, and highlight the need to invest in Brixton's youth.

When a room doesn't get much light, there's no point painting it white to try to brighten it up. It'll just look grubby. Dark and moody is the way to go. Love the jewellery storage rail.
Did I mention Emy's hoarding? Good oddities – and proof that pretty much anything with a mono colour theme totally works as a display.

Chirpy colours. Happy garden.
I wonder if these very ancient-looking gnomes were part of the haul found this week at Stonehenge...

Thanks Emy. Love your flat!

Now check out Emy's hot shop at – and if you're in the area, do go see her London Design Festival show at Brixton East, it runs from next Tuesday 16 to Wednesday 17 September as part of Brixton Design Week and as well as the above-mentioned artists, it'll also feature work from inventive ceramicist and lover of discarded treasures, AmyDouglas and Leah Reeves maker of Mexican-inspired mosaics.

And now for the next bit of exciting design news, about which I shall write at greater length shortly. I have been asked, along with Emy and the most excellent Supermarket Sarah, to curate the Crafty Fox Christmas Fair. I am VERY excited. More to come, but meanwhile you can read about it here – and if you're a person who makes things that other people buy, definitely read about it as submissions are open. Woop!

Merry, and stylish weekends all. I shall endeavour to fill my Instagram feed with fabulous London Design Festival images over the next week... I'm ridiculously new to this social medium (shame on me) and have about three followers, so do join me:

* 'Brixi' refers to an ancient local stone/landmark dating back to 1060, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Guest post: create affordable washi tape art with Hannah Cox of the Crafternoon Club

Today I'm pleased to be passing you into the capable and creative hands of Hannah Cox, pictured below, founder of excellently inventive hybrid, the Crafternoon Club (where cabaret meets craft – what else?).

Hannah, who has a prestigious Mollie Makes Handmade Awards trophy under her belt – or, rather under her (hand-sewn) apron – is sharing an affordable interiors trick to spruce up walls for next to nothing. (And it's perfect for needle-phobic craft weaklings like me.) Over to you Hannah...

I’m absolutely delighted to have been asked to create a guest blog for You Home Is Lovely. I’m a huge fan of finding simple ways to update my home and add a crafty DIY twist wherever I can so I decided to share this easy wall art tutorial to add a pop of colour to your home with my favourite material of the moment – washi tape.

Washi tape is really easy to use so if this is your first foray into the world of crafts and DIY this is a great place to begin, why not invite some friends round and make a proper Crafternoon of it!

The great thing about this DIY is that you can alter the colours, look and feel to work with your own home and you don’t even have to be able to thread a needle to complete your own piece of wall art. Actually you barely need to be able to use scissors. You just need to pick colours and then get creative.

You will need
  • Artist canvas – I’ve used 20cm x 20cm canvasses but you could easily go bigger. These canvasses can be bought from Amazon or Rymans.
  • Washi tape – go bright and go bold. eBay is a fantastic place to source mountains of washi tape in every colour of the rainbow and every pattern imaginable.
Step one: choose Choose your colours – some would say this is the hardest part.  Think about the other colours in your room and whether you want complimentary shades or a contrasting pop of colour.  Today I’m making one monochrome piece, the beginnings of which you can see above) and one that is all about the neon.

Step two: design and stick Although washi tape is low tack – which means it’s very easy to peel off once it’s stuck in place – you don’t want to do this too much in case you lose the crisp edge of the tape. Think about your design. You can create straight bold lines across your canvas, cut your tape into pieces to create smaller shapes or even layer your tape onto grease-proof paper to cut out a larger solid shape such as circles or letters.

For my monochrome piece I have gone for strong straight lines running vertically and horizontally across the canvas and weaving around each other (under and over) as they go. For subtle, added visual interest I increased the gap between the lines each time.

For my neon piece I wanted to create the effect of sunburst light – although the final effect could equally be lazers and lights at a festival.  I worked with one colour from each corner and lay rows of tape spreading out like light beams. I also gave these lines a woven effect, which with the slightly thinner tape made some lovely midway colours.

Step three: neaten and tuck Any tape pieces that go over the edge of your canvas should be tucked around to the back so you hide the ends.  It’s also worth trimming any tape edges on the top of the canvas to make sure the lines are neat and strong. 

Step four: hang and admire Get your beautiful new artwork up on your wall and admire your work – go on, pour yourself a glass of wine and turn it into a fancy private view of the latest addition to your collection.

My new washi tape creations are hung alongside a beautiful stitching illustration I was given as a nice-to-meet-you gift and my button bird – another tutorial you can find on my blog for your next afternoon of makery.

Crafternoon Cabaret Club is a monthly saturday afternoon of craft and cabaret, which takes place at the Hospital Club in central London. 

For more information visit
Twitter @CrafternoonClub 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Amara Interior Blog Awards: Vote for Your Home is Lovely

Well, well. I've been nominated for an Amara interiors blog award. How very exciting.

Just click on the image above to vote for me (if you'd like to).

The awards are divided into several categories and Your Home is Lovely has been nominated for – no sniggering those who read about my grouting misadventure – Best DIY Blog. Apparently, the thrust is more about bloggers who get stuck in with glue guns, hammers, paintbrushes (and grout, no doubt), which I certainly do. Perhaps it's time to share the cardboard and glue-gun lampshades I made at Christmas but have been too embarrassed to air... hmm, then again...

Anyway, I'm most happy about it. And if you enjoy what you read and see here, please do click on the giant badge to vote – it takes half a minute. In order to get into the finals, I need to make the top five and there's some stiff competition, let me tell you. Voting closes on 3 October.

The nomination has made me realise just how much DIY has appeared on the blog. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favourite old posts: there's the one where (apparently) I narrowly avoided giving the kitchen a 1980s caravan vibe, the one where I painted a tiny room all in the same brave colour, ceiling, skirtings, door and all and it didn't look like a torture dungeon, the one where an ancient Ikea purchase got swanked up, the one where the kitchen table became utterly baffling and the one where I nearly lost my mind in Berlin. Enjoy! And vote! (Please.)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Object of the day: insanely cute animal wall stickers for kids

I stumbled across these door decorations from Finland on Etsy. 

If you're prone to being swayed by interiors trends (guilty) you might be thinking: wall-stickers, aren't they a bit 2011? Pah. Just try to think of trends while looking at these nice, friendly faces.

The vinyl stickers are made and sold by a little Helsinki-based company called Made of Sundays and cost around £28 each. What a sweet, inexpensive way to warm up a child's room.

Above (bottom image) is Haru the Bear. The nose, eyes, paws, and so on come as individual pieces, and so the little creatures can be configured to fit on all sorts of different sized surfaces. MoS will also custom make different sizes and designs if you have a special request.

Too cute.

Find them at the Made of Sundays Etsy shop.
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