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Cheap, library-themed walls

On a recent trip to my friend Holly's flat, I admired a nicely framed trio of classic Penguin book covers, something to which I am extremely partial (as you can see from the gallery pictures, above).

Then Holly explained this was just the tip of the literary-themed iceberg - the threesome were, fabulously, part of a box-set of one hundred (a whole hundred!) postcard book covers. Now all she needed was more frames...

Postcards from Penguin cost just £14.99 and include covers as different as PG Wodhouse's My Man Jeeves to Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange.

Postcard-size frames from Ikea are great if you're on a budget - they do quite a few from shiny cardboard ones in various colours, to chunkier wooden ones.

My kinda needlework

I'm not a natural with a sewing machine. In fact, it's not even the machine bit that stumps me, it comes earlier - all that measuring, cutting, drawing straight lines with tailor's chalk...

It's like cooking, you're either good at cakes (measuring, following instructions) or freestyle 'creations' (the 'blindly bumbling through a recipe even though you have fewer than half the ingredients in the fridge' school).

I'm crap at making cakes.

But I think patchwork may well be the blunderer-friendly version of sewing. And with this lovely practical beginner's guide book, costing just £6.99 in the V&A Shop sale, there's nothing stopping me from finding out.

My friend Rose makes a good cup of tea, in a proper pot. She's also good at finding stylish things in charity shops - she just sent me photos of this lovely Thomas China coffee pot (but you could use it for tea!) and matching cups which she snaffled in a place in Kent for a bargainous £8. Puts my rather extravagant £12 espresso cup find to shame.

Inspired, I just spotted this lovely red and white Thomas China coffee set on Ebay, for £29.99. Let me know if you buy it...

Small pleasures

Skint? Cold? Got the urge to splurge? What harm can a teensy £12 on this luscious little espresso cup do apart from cheer you right up?

Britophiles will also enjoy the 'Estuary' cup in the same range. It's by Fuft International, and celebrates the great British landscape. A real limited edition, there are currently just 37 sets available, in these two designs. A further four designs are underway...

I've just spent far too much time lingering over the many marvellous pages of - the most exciting website I've stumbled across in ages. (Well, I say stumbled - my lovely friend Teresa sent me the link. Thanks Teresa!)

Check it out for yourself...