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Clever upcycled jam jar lamps

I just came across this pretty chandelier, above, made from jam jars on Etsy (and, below, there's one made from an amber glass pitcher right, and a pendant lampshade light made from a plastic jelly mould).

Sadly Boots n Gus, the shop behind this clever creation, only delivers to the States, where it is based. (And not surprising, as this mama would weigh quite a bit to post.) But for those with craft aspirations or, even better, actual skills – the images of all the ingenious things the owner has fabricated out of, essentially, rubbish, are super inspiring. *UPDATE: have heard from Fritz Fryer antique lighting, in the UK, who say they can fashion customers similar lamps, and for around the same price - $130/£80 *

The lamp made from glasses, left, is super simple – as there is just one single light source in the middle, with the coloured glasses simply clustered around the central bulb (encased, here, inside a jar; but with heat-proof glass you could do the same with a bare bulb)...

I'd love to see your own creative endeavours so please drop me a line and a snap if you'd like to share.

For more lighting inspiration, read my recent 'how-to' lighting tips in the Independent on Sunday.

Five favourite cushions

1. Peacock cushion, £36
This proud little peacock cushion is affectionately known as Pablo at Lisa Jones Studio and we love the monochrome colours. Approx 18 inches.

2. Crochet cushion, £44
We love this gorgeous handmade crochet cushion which is just so homely and comfy looking. Get yours made-to-order at Winter’s Moon but bear in mind that colours may vary from those pictured – but we just think this adds to its charm and uniqueness. It measures at 18 inches and is backed by a complementary fabric.

3. Blue Brighton cushion, £13
Make your home Brighton beautiful with this cushion featuring pretty sketches of the Pier and Royal Pavilion. It’s from Iconic Cushions on Etsy and measures 16 inches. We were particularly taken with the striking blue colour, which is why we got another cushion crush and fell for this blue and yellow one from Bouf.

4. Owl Cushion, £10
These owl-shaped cushions are adorable. The mix-matched felt and floral fabric is so pretty and their big bug eyes are rather endearing. Yet another Etsy find.

5. Vintage 70s farm cushion, £15
This cushion by Jane Foster is made in original 1970s fabric at her home studio in Devon. The bold and bright cartoon farm design is great for kids' bedroomsJane’s other cushions made from vintage fabrics are just as charming and also very affordable. This one measures 13 inches square and is backed with a cream cotton linen.

Compiled by Hayley Simpson.

Shop at Shelf

I've just been doing a lot of window-shopping at Shelf. If you don't already know it, do have a browse – there are lots of differently priced things, from Matt Pugh's Wooden Owls, £32.50 (middle image) to Emily Warren's weirdly wonderful papier mache wall hangings (top three images), which weigh in at £205 a piece. 

It was those that led me to Shelf, in fact, as I have just been sent a copy of the very cool new book, Casual Living, by Judith Wilson (Ryland Peters & Small) – in which one home featured has a whole family of Warren's paper creations looking down, a little scarily, from a wall. Looks brilliant.

The birds at the bottom are Frerk Muller mugs, £12 each, fine porcelain – and the ravens were originally created by the German illustrator in 1978. Love the OFFCUT Design door wedges, too. They're £12.50 each and are made from discarded laminate and oak. The design is based on a 180° protractor (seen in full, above) with each wedge depicting a different section showing their 12° angle.

Five favourite clocks

On our search for this week's Five Favourite Friday items, we found too many lovely clocks. So this may have to be the first of several posts rounding up the best...

1. Green retro alarm clock, £19.99
You wouldn't mind waking up to this dinky green 50s-style alarm clock, would you? It's from Brighton shop, Pussy Home Boutique – and the bargain of the bunch.

2. Elephant Clock £43.17 (excluding shipping)
This elephant clock by Etsy store, DecoLab, is cut from eco-friendly bamboo and would look lovely in a child's room. Check out their other animal-shaped clocks too.

3. Newgate clock, £80
This Newgate clock from Pedlars is timelessly simple and just very cool indeed. And it’ll last forever.

4. Half-time cuckoo clock, £165
This this slick lacquered wood cuckoo – available in black, green or red too – from Found Interiors gives the genre a whole new twist. Not cheap, but very lovely. 

5. 1980s Czechoslovakian wall clock, £165
Find this gorgeously unusual wooden clock (which measures 39cm x 39cm x 4cm deep) at Clock Props. And be warned, the place is a tempting treasure trove – but not cheap. Not feeling flush? Try this recently-discovered little secret – the British Heart Foundation's eBay shop! Here are its vintage clocks (starting price, £2.99). Love the Westclox 'Big Ben'.

Edited by Hayley Simpson

Robin and Lucienne Day exhibition

My in-the-know friend Abi just tipped me off about Robin and Lucienne Day: The Modern Interior – an upcoming exhibition at the gorgeous Pallant House Gallery, in Chichester, West Sussex.

The show, in partnership with Elle Decoration (among others) starts on March 26 and runs until June 26. I didn't know that the Days' home town was Chichester – but it makes it all the more fitting. You're almost certainly familiar with the cool British couple's post-war work – Robin designed the chair above, and many we've all sat on in public institutions. And Lucienne's graphic print fabrics have had a huge resurgence in the last few years. Together, their commitment was to design low cost, mass-produced, good quality furniture and fabric. Pieces that are now classics. 

If you can't make it, at least enjoy a snapshot, with this clip, below, from a film about the Days that is being screened as part of the exhibition. There is also a tie-in book, also below, £25. 

Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne & Robin Day from Design Onscreen on Vimeo.

And if you haven't been to that part of the world – go! I went for the first time a couple of years ago and the gallery is a highlight – so refreshingly unlike London galleries, and stuffed with incredible art and furniture and crazy room recreations. When we were there, there was brilliant, if freaky, installation of mussel shells, covering an entire staircase. And the South Downs countryside... it's just one of my favourite places ever. If you make it, I'd recommend lunch (and maybe a room) at the Crab & Lobster, on the banks of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve.

Best of British

Ziggi Ziggi is a new discovery. Lots of cheap and very cheerful homewares – including this range of British-themed chinaware (there's lots more, including different plates, King's Road mugs and a Royal teapot, but these are my favourites). 

The online store also has a brilliant "shop by colour" facility. Genius. 

But back to British: Fish & chips mug, £4.95; Brittania dinner plate, £5.95; Brittania eggcup, £4.95 

Emily 'Caravan' Chalmers'
new book


I'm slightly in love with Emily Chalmers' new book, Modern Vintage Style, which is just out (buy it on Amazon, or from Emily's luscious store, Caravan, for £12.99 or £19.99, signed).

Been meaning to post up a little preview since I got sent a sneaky preview copy, as I've been poring over the pictures wanting to live in all of the houses featured. All at once.

She really does have a fantastic eye for style – and the book features so many different looks, yet they're all tied by a unifying aesthetic... and one that I happen to love. Most inspiring.

Pop art print by Katy Binks at HowKapow

LOVE these colours together. This, and a little bit of sunshine in the air – and it feels all springlike.

The name behind this pop art-y print is Katy Binks, a 26-year-old London-based artist to watch. Her geometric art is influenced – explain Cat and Rog at Howkapow, where the print is exclusively for sale in a limited edition – by architecture, pattern and a fascination with traditional craft techniques and digital technologies.

The 98cm x 76cm screenprint costs £95 – but hurry, there are just 30 available.

But Howkapow promise to treat us to more of Katy very soon. Hurrah!

Drink, shop & do

I was very excited to interview the inspiring and stylish pair behind the most exciting shop to hit London's King's Cross in the last year. 

Drink, Shop & Do is an incredible vintage homewares store – but also much much more, besides.

There are snacks to be bought, cocktails to be shaken and silly games to be played (clay modelling in an 80s style, for starters).

Check out lots of luscious pictures and find out more about the shop and its super cool owners, Coralie and Kristie (they even have great names!) in today's New Review magazine.

Romantic cushions and cupcakes

My friend Holly made this beautiful "kiss" cushion for her boyfriend for Valentine's day. 

I must get her to send me a close-up photo, as it is trimmed in the loveliest multi-coloured bobble-y trim. Besides, you can't see the luscious embroidery nearly well enough from here. 

She's also quite the cake mistress – and has her baked creations always look so pretty, thought I'd throw some of those in too. At the top, blueberry, in the middle, Christmas cake (which was deliciously alcoholic yet not too heavy) and below, strawberry cupcakes. Yum.

Five favourite salt
and pepper sets

Splashing out on a cruet set could seem extravagant, but what other artwork can you use every day in the kitchen? Besides – you don't have to go for the £43 duo, one of these beauties is just £8...

1. Bye bye birdie... couldn't resist a bit of Mad Men nostalgia, and these vintage-like ceramic tweetiepies wouldn't look out of place in an early sixties kitchen. Rather marvellously, they're not vintage – meaning more of you can get your mitts on them. Better still, they are just £8 a set, from the new Urban Outfitters homewares department. For a slicker, more contemporary bird-themed cruet arrangement, try these quirky little ones by Koziol, an interesting German design firm, available at Heal's, for £26.

2. Love the sleek sixties feel of this salt/pepper mills by David Mellor Designs (especially the red ones). They remind me of some of the images in the gorgeous sixties illustrations book by Fiell, featured in a previous post – you can just see it on the kitchen table in that top picture, can't you? £28 for the 12.5cm one, or the 25cm version is £35.

3. These cloud shaped salt and pepper shakers will be the focus of the dinner table, whatever the weather. A steal at only £12 from the V&A shop.

4. Shake a little bit of history: this early 70s set would be a bold addition to any table top and – though they're originals – there are two sets on sale (the other is in red). Both are £25 from the fabulous online vintage emporium, Pip’s Trip, with only a few scratches and scuffs. If you miss out on these, eBay has a whole bundle of alternatives for a rummage.

5. These friendly felines are £43 from Jonathan Adler’s range in Heal's (pricey but highly collectable). Sold in cute little gift boxes they would make for perfect presents. There is an even greater selection on Adler's own website, but not all are available in the UK. Like his styl? Check out his range of decoration books – really love this one on Happy Chic Colours.

Thanks to Hayley for her hard cruet hunting work

How to… Do craft (even if you’re a needle novice)

When I was small, my grandma tried to teach me to crochet. The memory of the ensuing “can't-do-it!” tantrum remains embarrassingly vivid. If, like me, the idea of making your own appeals, but the sight of needles – or ‘Kirsty’s Home Made Home’ – make you sweat, read on…

Get booked Make Eames-y shelves via ReadyMade (Thames & Hudson) or speed reupholster a dull office chair chair in a flash with Design*Sponge – if you can grapple with basic ikea assembly, you can do this.

Cheat Well – a little bit. Clothkits fully-prepped tapestry or Rob Ryan cushions are peasy. Similarly, try Wool and the Gang, or Backstich.

Join the press gang Try a screen-printing class at The Papered Parlour (London) or Artison (Yorkshire) – and take home your own art.

Twinkle, twinkle little tealight My friend Holly’s candles really sparkle – thanks to a super simple craft trick. De-label empty food cans and pierce holes in the aluminum with a metal kebab skewer (or a thin bit on your drill – generally the gold coloured ones if, like me, you always forget which ones work on metal). Put a tealight inside. Repeat. If you're drilling not skewering, you'll love this great drillbit guide. Geek, moi?

Shoot ’em up Make friends with a staple-gun: fabulous fabric (LOVE love Seamstar) stretched over a canvas (Amazon is cheap) will look lovely.

Sprayed in full Picture framing can be so pricey. Often I'll find horrible artworks or horrible frames – or both – in charity shops. This isn't for every interior, but can look fantastic on one deliberate wall: replace the art with things you like, and spray the all the frames with the same colour aerosol paint (it avoids brush marks). Try Rustoleum.

Listen and learn If you're brave enough to grapple with more complex crafts (for me, that includes anything that involves a sewing machine or any kinds of needles) there are some inspiring classes all over the country. In Scotland Lovely Pigeon does sporadic but great looking lessons and in Sussex, West Dean offers residential courses in various homes-y crafts.

On a plate Stylish chef, Arno Maasdorp, does clever things on – and with – plates: take a charity shop patterned platter, lay an alphabet letter on top (steady hand? Alphabet Patterns), using aerosol paint, spray it. Matt black is striking. Now hang it.

Sit on it Revamp an old wooden chair with a collage. Pick a theme – torn up newspapers, maps, ornithology books… and, using PVA glue, cover the chair with them artfully, then varnish over and over for durability.

This is an extended version of my weekly column, The Insider, in the Independent on Sunday