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Merry stylish (but
affordable) Christmas...

Right. That's me for Christmas. So I'll leave you with some of my favourite festive ideas for the big day... Merry feasting and jolly holidays to you all. See you in the new year x

Above: some things I'll be doing on Sunday (the easy ones) and some I'll be wishing I could be bothered to do (the hard ones)... Including (clockwise from top left): Artemis "Junkaholique" Russell's sweet, simple DIY gift tags (newspaper, particularly the stocks and shares pages of the Financial Times, makes marvellous wrapping); Jamie Oliver's no-effort frozen grape, dark chocolate and grappa after-dinner treat (frozen grapes are my favourite discovery this year, thanks to my friend Holly's introduction); Donna Hay's make-your-own-multi-level-platter (try sprouts on one layer, carrots on the other, and leave a gap for mini bowls of cranberry sauce and a pretty gravy jug; it'd make a great cheese platter, too); Martha Stewart's paper doily wreath (this kind of crafting is way out of my league, but maybe I'll put improvement on my resolutions list... The sewing machine is edging closer towards the front of the garage and everything.)

I also wanted to share some of the creatively inspiring and non bank-breaking ideas I came across when researching my Insider column last week, all about DIY Christmas table decor (I've added the ones there weren't room for in the paper, plus some more general last-minute decorating ideas too). 

Stretch your table-space by building up, rather than across. You could use a multi-tiered cake stand, but if you don't happen to have one lying around (like most of us), I love this tip from Australian food writer Donna Hay, whose clean, minimalist styling I have loved for years. "Stack platters on upturned bowls or glasses. Secure the platters to the glasses with reusable adhesive." Ingenious. (See the image at the top of the post.)

A cloche poshes anything up (try Laura Ashley). Use it to frame quirky objects, toys perhaps, like’s ‘lamb on wheels’ (above, inset) or ‘kissing Romeo and Juliet’. Try it on a one-level cake stand for max theatricality. A row of matching jam jars is a sweet substitute (and tiny, potted succulents, or green hydrangea clusters in them work, too).

Remember Ross in Friends when he had to be the 'holiday armadillo'? Well the sparkly plastic animal toys (above, bottom right) remind me of that glorious incongruity. Find out how to make them over at the hugely inspiring Curbly.

But decorations don't have to be shiny or twinkly. A craft-y friend had these clean, hint-of-Scandi paper decorations up in her window a few years ago, and I’ve always remembered them. I found some similar ones on Etsy (main image, above) to give you the idea. For each, you’ll need a strong piece of good quality card in festive colour of your choice. Cut it into five strips at least 5cm wide and 20cm long (but double will work too, they’ll just be bigger). Now lob 5cm off two of the strips and 10cm off the other two. Stack like playing cards: the shortest piece must be in the middle, with the others ascending in size either side. Staple the bottoms together, and then the top – but so the card bends outwards creating a 2-D onion effect. Staple the other end when you’re happy, leaving room to hole punch the top so you can hang. A collection of different sized ones would look lovely in a window.

For frill-free place settings, Jane Toft, editor of cool craft magazine, Mollie Makes, suggests a brown paper tablecloth (WHSmith sells rolls; you may need to tape strips together on the underside). With a black marker, draw outlines of cutlery and plates for each guest (a cardboard template for your fork might help). Illuminate with tealights in mismatched glasses. Très utility chic.

Make use of stray baubles. Jane’s centrepiece tip is simple, too: fill large glass jars or vases with same-coloured decorations. They shouldn’t match: mix round, squiggly, odd, chic, giant and mini. Line jars in a row (different colours in each?) for max impact.

Striking, but stupidly simple: buy a big reel of broad, black ribbon and tie a bow around plate, napkin and cutlery for each place setting. (Not great with red – be bold with un-clichéd monochrome; it’d work equally well with random vintage crockery, as black is a great anchor.) 

Put leftover scraps of swish wrapping paper to good use by using double-sided sticky tape to turn neat strips of it into homemade one-use napkin rings.

Have a drawer harbouring languishing paper doilies? If you have some to hand, make snowflake-y flowers by folding them into quarters, unfolding a little, then pinching the centre point and tying with cotton (or shocking pink craft tape – try Present & Correct). Make a bundle, then artfully fill a cloche or large glass vase with them for an unusual centrepiece. Or, if you are Martha Stewart-esque in your crafting abilities, the woman herself's paper doily wreath (top of this post) is stunning.

Please your inner child by making pasta snowflakes: surprisingly swish with the right shapes (something holey, like wagon wheels, tips the blog, – her creations are pictured above, bottom left). Bond your designs using strong PVA glue (cling film stops them sticking to the table). When dry, paint each with watered down glue all over and coat in chunky silver glitter, then hang with ribbon in groups at the window, or or turn into garlands. 

Heart of glass Empty wine bottle overload? Choose leftover – quality – wrapping or coloured craft paper: layer two or three shades, in random-width strips and wrap around the bottles’ middles, securing with double-sided tape. Add candles. Voila.

A shorter version of this piece appeared in last week's Independent on Sunday magazine

Bright cushion covers
for wintry weather

If you're in Britain, you'll know how damn cold it is right now. And if you're further east or north in Europe, or in New York, you'll think we're wusses for even noticing. Either way, in these climes it's nice to have a reminder of what sunshine looks like. And this, I think, is just that...

I love the fabrics used to make cushions and bags at this beautifully bright Etsy store, based in Madrid (but UK p&p is very reasonable). It's called Thegretest. Her charmingly idiosyncratic spelling is down to her name – Grete, a Spanish designer. The 'Happy 2' cushion cover, above, is £23-ish (the original price is in Euros). Delivery to the UK is under £5. A small price to pay for such joy. But don't take my word for it; the 'Red Bubble Happy Cushion', below, priced just £10-ish, tells you just how things are.

The cushions are 16" x16" and come without the filling (for easy postage). Here are some more 'happy' goodies...

Clockwise from top left: one, 'Spring Has Sprung Happy Cushion', £23.08; two, 'Black Leaves Happy Cushion': £12.50; three, 'Snake Handbag': £25.80; four, Dog cushion (there's a cat equivalent, too):£23.08.

Most of all, I love the 'testimonials' Grete has added to her wares. After her lovely item description ("This is a great Happy Cushion for you," it reads on one listing. "It has the power to make any room shine and make people happy. Guaranteed!") proof comes from some fans: "When I put my Happy Cushion in my living-room everyone who comes to visit me seems to be always full of joy. It was magical! Now I don't know how to tell them to leave me alone... :D" says 'Ann'. And 'David' says: "I was a little depressed but when my cushion came to my life I began to sing and smile all of the time..."

And you can't ask for more than that from a cushion, can you?

Falcon Enamelware:
a design classic

Falcon Enamelware seems to be everywhere stylish right now. Which is good, because it is a thing of sturdy, British-made, 1920s-born beauty. A total design classic.

So I was very pleased to pick up some classic blue and white Falcon rice plates (left) in my local market, for just £1.75 a-piece. I think I have used them every day since – they are the perfect size and shape for pretty much any meal, rice or no. Not to mention making it more aesthetically pleasing.

The company is based in Sheffield, and the products – made from porcelaine fused onto heavy-gauge steel – are ridiculously hardy: you can even cook on the hob with them (with a good oven glove). They're virtually indestructible, too, though a chip is the end, as you'll have opened a gateway to rust.

Next on my Enamelware list is a pie dish. I think the shape is so satisfying. It might even inspire me to start making pies. It would have to.

You can buy a whole pie set (above left) direct from Falcon; five different sized dishes for £44.99 (it comes in blue/white or red/white). And they come in a lovely box. A very good Christmas present for the keen, stylish baker in your life. You can also buy beakers (above right) in different colours, for £4.99 each. And on Amazon, there is every piece of Falcon Enamelware you could wish for – including my rice plates.

Ikea fabric: curtains and
blinds made easy

Over Christmas I have lots of DIY plans. Like most people, I started decorating when I moved in, did loads and then ran out of steam for about two years. Now I'm back on it, determined to get rid of bare plaster patches, lights hanging in the wrong place, curtains that didn't quite work...

Clockwise from top left: Britten Nummer, £2.99 per metre; Saralisa, £5.99 per metre; Gunvor, £3.99 per metre; Charlotta, £3.99 per metre.

On the last point, my aim is to redistribute as much as possible because I hate waste. And fortunately (which is the only context in which I can say this) I've never managed to organise window coverings for my bedroom and my office (it's blankets pushed through window tops all the way. So classy). But back to the positives: this means those windows are ripe to take the recycled kitchen blinds, which will look much better anywhere but the kitchen. And – ta-da – leaves space for one retail purchasing splash: new blinds. I'd love to be crafty enough to make my own, but sadly my impatience is greater than my ability to measure things properly. So I was looking around for a solution and typed 'Ikea Roman blinds' into Google, just in case it could be that easy. But rather than Ikea, I got directed to Curtains Made Simple.

Clockwise, from top left: Annamoa, £5.99; Solgerd, £5.99; Gullvi, £5.95 per metre; Benzy Skepp, £6.99.

This brilliant company will make bespoke blinds or curtains for you in any fabric but – and this is the clever bit – they stock Ikea. So you don't even need to make a trip to the big blue and yellow vortex of pain on your local ring road and mess around posting it to them. You can do it all via the ridiculously user-friendly website – and as well as Ikea, they also stock ranges from Cath Kidston, Cabbages and Roses and Kai to name but a few. Or you can send them your own. (nb. They don't stock ALL Ikea fabrics; but they do stock some that Ikea have discontinued, which evens things out.)

But I'm definitely going for Ikea: browsing through the range I was reminded just what a spectacular range of Scandi-cool textiles it sells. Now all I need to decide is which one to pick... Hmm.

Pet portraits!

This may be a case of a step too far over the line of loving your pet, but nonetheless I think these bespoke oil paintings are rather lovely simply as pieces of art.

I really like the simple, naive painting style. The artist is the appropriately named Kate Pugsley, who takes around four weeks to complete a commission (though long-haired pets take longer!). See Kate's Etsy shop for more information: a to-order pet portrait costs around £180, plus just over a tenner for postage from the US and comes painted and varnished onto 1/2-inch thick maple, 6x8 inches big. You need to send her a selection of good quality photos to work from.

She also paints and illustrates other things, check out her profile to see the relevant links. I particularly like her people portraits, some of which are rather surreal (though not these ones below; I just like their faces).

Books for lovers of good design

Some gift inspiration for those who take pride in their coffee tables...

For design geeks Stop off at SCP for a trio, or even a quintet, from this small set of gorgeously put-together books collating graphical highlights from, above: Peter Blake, the Festival of Britain and David Mellor cost  £12.50 per book, except the Festival of Britain one, which is £14.95. Titles also feature the best of GPO Designs and the brothers and artists Paul Nash and John Nash.

For foodies with aesthetic appreciation I'm still drooling over this beautiful set of slim, Penguin paperbacks about food since posting about them a month or two ago. Buy individually from Penguin, at £6.99 each or get the whole 20-part set for a ridiculously barginous price of just £15 from the Book People (do it that way and you can give some away – and get to keep a few for yourself). And...
...The Geometry of Pasta, above, by Cas Hildebrand and Jacob Kennedy, £14.99 from Magma, is a stunning paean to the art of ... well, pasta. (Jacob Kennedy is the chef/owner of the spectacular London restaurant, Bocca Di Lupo – where I had one of the best meals of my life.)

For nesters and just-moved-home-ers The three design books of the year for me (above), and (below) a golden oldie worth revisting. Decorate, £16.20, by the Decor8 blogger, Holly Becker, and Joanna Copestick, is fantastically practical and beautifully presented. A perfect present for anyone revamping their home, looking for inspiration or moving house. Ditto, Design Sponge at Home, by Grace Bonney, which also has her trademark craft projects section (which is large and very welcoming even for people as crap at craft as I am). I have been leaning hard on Grace's book for great ideas for a flat I'm currently working on. I really love Caravan Style store, Emily Chalmers', lived-in looks and have also found Modern Vintage Style, £13.36, extremely practical as a resource, and not just full of pretty pictures (though there are certainly lots of those too). The perfect recipe for doing old without looking shabby.

Equally, Domino, left, £10, named after the sadly defunct US magazine of the same name, is a mine of accessible ideas for homes on any budget.

For Seventies fans (below) The House Book, by Terence Conran, an early 1970s version if possible, is the ultimate gift for lovers of classic interiors. Go for a modern imprint if Seventies chic is not your recipient's thing; but the rules and ideas are just as good in the original version, which you can find on Amazon. 70s Style and Design, Kirsty Hislop and Dominic Lutyens, £16.10

For textiles magpies (below) Pop Patterns, published by the V&A, is £7.99 and would please retro-loving textiles nuts. I also love the Novelty Patterns version, which was published a couple of years ago, and look out for the stunning Heal's one (centre) is due out in April, and available to pre-order now. Looks wonderful...
For makers (below) The Liberty Book of Home Sewing, £11.38, is so beautiful it almost makes me want to learn to sew. Almost. And ReadyMade, £10.57, is not new but it is totally inspiring and brilliantly illustrated and explained, for those game enough to try to make their own Eames Style shelves out of cheap as chips materials.

Cool laptop trays

These colourful trays are the answer to 'hot-lap' syndrome; that
thing you get when you sit typing on the sofa for too long with
your computer. 

Their stylish skills are also transferable to breakfast in bed; a cup of tea in front of the TV – or just hanging about with nice things on them, looking good.

It's just a shame (for UK readers) that these beauties are on sale (from Etsy shop, Ej Butik) in Latvia. They are orderable from Britain – they're around £30 each (and can be hand made to order, as they come in many different colourways and you can even supply your own fabric) but the postage is pretty chunky, at around £10 a pop.

But perhaps there are people elsewhere making equally ingenious devices, or perhaps seeing these will inspire you to craft your own. Do share some pictures if so...

Three things to hang on a wall

I've been gathering new prints for the last few months, to spruce up some of my home's bare walls. So now what – I have a collection of rolled up posters and a long list of picture frames to find. Hmm.

So I do love the idea of hanging other things on the walls, such as plates... or trays. Much more instant. These three just caught my eye. What do you think?
Black is such a glamorous and cosy colour. This nature-heavy dill tray, made from birch wood by Michael Angove £38.50, would add sexy elegance to a black wall particularly. He also does appealing trays decorated with tarnished silverware, and in tiny sizes that would work well hung in a group. Check his website to see them.

Another strong coloured one. I'd love to see this red strip folk tray, £25.50, by Ary on a wall the colour of the blue that forms one of its circles, or leaping out from neutral mushroom or taupe tones.

This summertime vintage bird plate, £35, plate from Not on the High Street is in fact a Meakin that has been pimped by Smashing Chintz, which specialises in mixing charity shop treasures with contemporary mosaic or stencil. Love the unusual shape. Wall plates aren't just for kitchens; I think this one would look pretty above a bedside table.

Urban Outfitters vintage
camera prints

Wouldn't these simple, appropriately monochrome images of old-school cameras, from Urban Outfitters, make fantastic presents for the keen photographer in your life? 
Clockwise, from top right: Polaroid, camera 4, camera 5, camera 2, all £15 each, including
27cm x 22cm wooden frame.

The series is by the photographer, Antony Nobilo, and is called Beautiful Memories. Isn't it mad to think that just a few decades ago, these were the bread and butter of the camera world?

I'm Berlin-bound...
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'm signing off for a few days as I'm off to Germany's capital of cool to help a friend design his new flat over there. I've never been and can't wait – I shall (in the course of duty, naturally) be checking out as many design stores and flea markets as humanly possible and report back next week (once we've picked a kitchen, decided on the flooring and worked out where all the electrics need to be of course... necessity before glamour. But it'll all be fun, I know).

Pop-up Xmas shopping #3

And the pop-up Christmas shops keep coming – this one is from the wonderful Shelf store, which I have featured before. Thanks to interiors stylist, Emily Blunden, who also writes a lovely blog, Atticus and Finch, for alerting me to it yesterday. 

This is another London one, I'm afraid, but am hoping to rustle up some goodies nationwide too (and there's still plenty of time to buy all this loot online). The event features special guests, including illustrators/printmakers Paul Bommer and Beyond Thrilled (see bottom image), selling their wares. Full details of location and dates are below or here – in short, it's east London and they'll be there on eight days dotted through December, from 11am-7pm.

The little asprin tins, above, cost just £4. My presents are all going to be weeny this year, so I like the added-value idea of wrapping them in brown or matt black paper, and tying one of these to the top of each gift with parcel string, and popping a little wrapped chocolate inside (a very flat one, naturally). You could also use them in the style of wedding favours, putting one on everyone's plate at Christmas, with a treat (a lottery ticket, perhaps?) inside. A very nicely styled restaurant near me, Honest Burger in Brixton Market, uses bigger old tobacco tins to bring bills to the table. A nice touch.

Love these quirky figurines, too. 'Romeo and Juliet' are magnetic, and so can't resist a kiss. They're £13. Still on the festive decor tip, I'd buy a few pairs of these and pop them underneath upturned jam-jars for a quirky table display.

I like the sweet retro stylings and message in this Beyond Thrilled print, £48, which measures 297mm x 420mm.

The Temporium Xmas
pop-up shop in London

I wouldn't generally advocate hitting central London in December, but as 'tis the season for special shopping events that make present-choosing conundrums less overwhelming (and often with mulled wine on tap, which definitely helps) I'll make an exception.

The Temporium, in Covent Garden from 1-24 December, is hosted by the aristocracy of style blogs, Dezeen (and you get Japanese street-food as well as spicy vin rouge). And highlights include Theo, which is creating a shop-within-a-shop, selling design-led furniture, lighting and accessories selected by Thorsten van Elten, such as this sexy Sausalito cushion, above, from £51.

Shan Valla's ceramics will be another goodie; I particularly love her porcelaine miniature vases, £14 each, pictured below.

A good tea-towel is the perfect present for pretty much anyone who likes their kitchen and enjoys nice-looking things – cooking in-laws of all varieties are prime candidates. I love To Dry For, a shop dedicated to the things, see below (prices start from £8), who will also be selling their wares at the event. (I have long loved the Mini Moderns Whitby range, left, which also includes some lovely ceramics.)
It all happens at: 65 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DG, Mondays-Saturdays. Find out full details and timings at the Dezeen blog. Or, if you aren't anywhere near London, or don't have the stamina/elbows to muster a visit, do as I aim to do... and get clicking.

Beautiful brights for a sick-day

It's a beautiful bright day out there. The dog and I had a nice stroll in the sunshiney park this morning, but now I'm feeling all flu-like, so thought I'd bring some of that brightness and cheer inside with today's selection of vibrant buys. Hope you like them...

1. Ooh, that dazzling sky sure lifts the soul. This quirky A4 digital mountain collage is £10 from Hello Dodo.

2. If you like the idea of wiling away a wintry afternoon crafting, a vintage tissue paper rose kit, £8 from Winter's Moon, will brighten up a dull corner.

3. This 70s-esque Geo Daisy Chain Cool Kokka fabric (in background) is from Japan and for sale priced, £18.99 per metre, from the always exciting online fabric store, Fancy Moon.

4. I fantasize about having a cosy, romantic candlelit hallway with this pineapple sconce, £99, exclusive to Caravan Style – the quirky shop owned by Emily Chalmers, author of Modern Vintage Style, a beautiful and inspiring book that would make a marvellous Christmas present for any homemakers who love flea market shopping.

5. This chirpy little Santa is a section of a rather wonderful idea by an inspring Australian illustrator who goes by the name of Draw! Pilgrim. See below for the full picture.

Isn't this set of 25 vintage matchboxes a sweet idea for an advent calendar? It costs under £3 ($3.50 Australian dollars) and you order it as a PDF from Pilgrim's online store, then print it in colour and get busy. Full instructions are provided for assembling it once it pops out of your printer.

Pilgrim's work thanks to wonderful vintage store, H is for Home. Check them both out!

Dupenny's new 'knitwear' wallpaper (and more)

This wondrous wallpaper design, new from Dupenny, just dropped into my in-box and I had to share. Isn't it brilliantly unusual?

The design is inspired by retro knitwear – and not, apparently, the  Danish detective series, The Killing, whose protagonist is famed for her chunky jumper.

It also comes in black and white, and costs £75 for a 3-metre  panel, £196 for a 10-metre roll – and just £6 for an A3 sampler, which has already got my decorating brain ticking. Behind a piece of strong glass, it could make an unusual bathroom splashback.

Even more appropriate for that sort of thing, might be Dupenny's  Mixed Tiles paper, which also comes as individual 'pick n mix' monochrome, ceramic tiles, £10 each.

The prices and dimensions for the paper are as above.

You may be familiar with Dupenny already; the company does a sexy range of homewares with a burlesque theme. There are cushions, lampshades, wallpapers and aprons and tea-towels. But I like the plates, £29 each, left, which would look good on a wall.

Plates-on-walls are typically a kitchen decor style, but in Grace Bonney's scrumptious Design Sponge at Home book, she features a bedroom with a scattering of pretty blue and white plates, hung above a bed. It looks good. Check out her how-to video.

Quirky Christmas wreath

What do you think of this Brussels sprout festive wreath?

I rather like it. It is by The Contemporary Home and costs £29, available from Not on the High Street. As it's not real sprouts, it can be used year after year – though sadly it's too delicate for front door hanging and needs to live inside.

I'm a big fan of fake foliage generally, as the real thing tends to be so expensive to have in constant supply; though I'm thinking flowers rather than maligned Christmas vegetables... (I have some very realistic looking plastic artichoke stems in my bathroom that I got in Habitat a few years ago. I might put together a round-up of other good fake blooms – and, if that's a general area of interest, I recently wrote about how to have interesting house plants in the Independent.)

Meanwhile, what unusual festive wreaths – good or bad – have you spotted?

Cool Christmas decorations
& wrapping ideas

Christmas this year is down-sizing for most of us. But if the presents on your shopping list are getting smaller, all the more reason to spruce them extra special packaging. 

Everything I've found, below, is on the right side of a tenner (often a fiver), and all are ripe for re-use next year, once the festivities are over (even the cards – snip those carefully under each number and you have sleek gift tags, Christmas tree ties or even quirky bunting.)

Paper Nativity Decorations, £9.50, V&A Shop
Make your very own nativity scene with the V&A Paper Nativity Set which includes 10 individual pop-out figures. Treat them lovingly and they'll be ready to get out again for Christmas 2012.

Red Pompoms Ribbon, £4.50, Cox & CoxLove this multi-purpose pom pom roll – tie it around presents or plant pots, hang it from the mantlepiece... and then you can re-use it by sewing it around a suitably-coloured cushion. Eminently good value.

Teal glitter reindeer with pink glitter antlers, £4.50, Paperchase
This sparkly chap measures 19cm high, and I love that he's not trad silver, gold or red. He'd look good adorning dark-painted wooden stairs, or shelves.

French Geometric Ribbon, £4.75, Present & Correct
Made in France in the 70s this black ribbon is laced with a smart geometric pattern and comes in two-metre lengths, colourway of your choice. Fabric is the sort of ribbon to keep and re-gift year after year (or turn into stylish hair decor for a little girl's pigtails).

12 Days' 10-Christmas card pack, £5, Present & CorrectDesigner, Dave Burdon, was one of the winners of a competition organised by the V&A and London Design Festival. These cards are so striking and would be wasted with just one use.

Cuban graphic poster art

This weekend, while I was avoiding doing things I ought to have been doing, I stumbled across a brilliant eBay shop selling re-prints of vintage Cuban graphic posters. What do you think?

I'm generally a stickler for an original, rather than a re-print or a reproduction version, but originals can be very expensive. Though the real thing is authentic and more beautiful, things are tight for most of us at the moment and for under twenty quid one of these gets you something that could perk up your home-life daily – and I think that makes for a good return. They'd make excellent budget-but-statement Christmas presents too.

The images start at around £5 for a 20x25cm print, plus around £7-8 for postage from the US (so it pays to order more than one, not that I'd ever encourage over-shopping, ever).

Apparently the quality is very good: "We bring new life to old Cuban images," is the shop's strapline, and they've even got a before and after section (perversely, I rather like the befores more, but of course they wouldn't work re-printed that way). Anyway, I've just ordered the legs coming out of a box, in Ikea frame-friendly dimensions, so when it arrives I can let you know.

Man sitting on floor reading, above

I remember a good friend returning from a holiday in Cuba a few years back, with armfuls of fantastic graphic artwork from the communist state – and coveting her finds, about which she knew the associated cultural tales.

And the only drawback with the site, is that it offers no context or history to any of the images – nor even illuminating titles (I have used their rather flat descriptions here) which is a shame; I wish I knew more about the history of these political and non-political images. But if you're interested in the genre, there's a book, Revolucion! Cuban Poster Art (£11.99 on Amazon), worth a look. Or get a little overview here.

Meanwhile, if anyone out there has any insight into any of these images – or at least their real titles – I'd love to hear – it's not clear whether or not they're all even Cuban...

Ella Robinson's beautiful recycled art

I came across the colourful work of Ella Robinson at Origin, part of the London Design Festival earlier this year, and featured her in passing in a round-up post of the week-full of events. Striking, huh?

Earlier today I was just flicking through photos, vaguely thinking I ought to do some kind of computer filing, when Ella's bright, cheery art jumped out at me all over again, and I thought I'd re-visit and add a few more pictures and information about this young artist.

Ella's USP is that she aims to recycle found objects and turn them into something beautiful. This stunning piece, above, is a perfect example of what she does: it is made entirely of found plastic from her local beach. What a clever – and aesthetically effective – idea. I wish I'd bought this one. Similar pieces (as this one's gone) cost around £600, bought direct through Ella's site.

Love these simple driftwood wall plaques. They'd be great in a young child's room – being both tactile and cheery. Prices for her driftwood objects go from £32-£650. All are available through her website.

The pieces above – plastic lacing wound around wooden poles – were created as part of Art in the Garden at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire, a wonderful-sounding summer-long event (it runs annually from May to the end of October). I'd love some of these in my own very urban, paved garden to give it some much-needed colour. This sort of thing is much pricier, costing around £2,295 a-piece. But Ella's range of simple, driftwood embroidered with hearts starts at just £32; these are also available through Flow, a gallery in Notting Hill.