Marimekko: Finland’s Finest

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Myself and Kath are off on a Finnish trip together (more specifically Lapland) – in fact when this post goes live I think we’ll actually be there, hopefully drinking glögi and eating smoked salmon… But as well as gorging ourselves on the local delicacies and hanging out with Rudolph I’m also hoping to learn a little more about the Finnish design scene.

I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian design, there’s a whole section on this site dedicated to my obsession, but I’m not as familiar with the Nordic offering.  However there is one store that immediately springs to mind when thinking about our northerly Nordic neighbours and that’s Marimekko.

Marimekko is a Finnish institution and has been since the 1950’s.  It was the brainchild of Armi Ratia’s (pictured) whose vision of a bold, graphic future for textiles was fulfilled through her collaboration with various young artists and fashion designers. Fast forward 60 years and the company is now internationally successful, and the same ethos and desire to collaborate and create bold and beautiful patterns remains. Many of the original designs are still in production today, and the range includes homeware, clothing and accessories. So if you really wanted you could co-odinate your trousers to your teapot or your socks to your serving dishes…

Lucky for us our Finnish destination, Romeneivi, has a Marimekko store so we’ll be sure to pop in for a nosey. But for all those based in the UK the online store has some fantastic offerings, i’ve shortlisted some of my favourites below…

 

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1. Oiva/Sääpäiväkirja plate, 32.00GBP 2. Round Fokus tray, 62.00GBP 3. Oiva/Siirtolapuutarha plate, 26.00GBP 4. Hattarakukka tray, 62.00GBP 5. Oiva/ Siirtolapuutarha pitcher, 53.00GBP 6. Sukat makkaralla stemware, 32.00GBP 7. Hauki plywood tray, 44.50GBP 8. Oiva/Unikko tea cup, 17.00GBP 9. Hauki oven mitten, 22.00GBP 10. Hauki tea towel, 29.50GBP

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Etsy Picks: Christmas Cards

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Our pick of this years Crimbo Cards. Head over to Etsy to view the full festive collection…

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Homemade Weddings: A Magical, Musical Marriage…

Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings, the Bride and Groom

Mr & Mrs Parkes-Nield on their wedding day.

Back in 2012, in the middle of the Far Out Stage at Greenman Festival, South Wales, Sophie and Chris were awaiting Adam Buxton’s arrival on stage when the interval music began to play. LCD Soundsytem’s ‘Someone Great’ travelled through the speakers…and Chris chose this moment to propose to Sophie. The photo is probably a bit of a giveaway but yes, she said yes.

They’re a musical couple – Sophie, a folk fanatic and violin player, and Chris, a singer-songwriter and accomplished guitarist. They met back in 2006 when Sophie answered Chis’ ad for a violinist to join the band, Air Cav*. So of course when it came to planning for the big day, music was naturally a key component.

I’ve known Sophie for a number of years now and was privileged enough to be invited along to the wedding (I may have also been responsible for designing the wedding invitations so that probably left her with no choice but to invite me – perk of the job, I say.)

 

Homemade weddings folky invite graphic design

Homemade weddings folky invite CD case

The musical thread was established as early as the invitation, in the guise of a CD, landed on the doorstep with lyrics from folk song ‘Searching for Dams’ on the front – “We join our hands in wedding bands and married we shall be.”

The wedding took place in June 2014 at Bo Peep Farm in Banbury, Oxfordshire (they skipped 2013 due to Sophie’s irrational aversion to odd numbers). A beautiful venue, the ceremony was held onsite in Dovecote Barn – an impressive 18th Century conversion, and then the revelry continued as we moved onto a neighbouring field – 15 acres of land to do with what they wished. A marquee was erected and straw bales were scattered and similar to Kath’s wedding at York Maze, guests could camp over, saving them the expense of a hotel – this time the bride and groom joined in the camping fun too, albeit in a slightly more comfortable ‘Emperor Bell Tent’. Being a thrifty Yorkshire lass I was more than happy to pitch up  – but boy I wish I hadn’t had those last few ciders…tent plus early morning sunshine is not great for hangovers.

 

Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings Honeymoon Tent

It was an absolute blast – they’re such a great couple and I feel honoured to be able to feature their day as part of our Homemade Weddings series, sharing with you some of the personal touches that made it such a genuine and complete day.

 

Hello Walls homemade weddings. Bunting and Guitar card case

Preparations began right away in advance as Sophie started to hand sew 150 metres of bunting, a mighty task for which friends and family members were roped in to help with. Floral fabrics in blues, pinks and purple hues, the decorations were bound for the edges of the marquee where the reception was held – a simple way of creating a celebratory and welcoming feel to the space.

Sophie recalls “I really did go bunting mad. Pinking shears and thread lived permanently at the foot of my sofa as I made reams of the stuff for almost two years straight. I was pretty pleased to finally finish.”

All the effort was worth it as it’s still in use today – a length of it now draped across the fencing of the front garden of their new house together. The rest is loaned out, upon request, for various occasions including a 1st Birthday party, mine and Sophie’s 30th birthday celebrations and, most recently, for the hen party of one of her bridesmaids. It also made its way to Wales, back to the Green Man Festival and decorated our communal gazebo.

 

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The Front Doors of Axbridge: Delightfully Different

 

The Front Doors of Axbridge

The front doors of Axbridge: delightfully different

Axbridge is a small town in Somerset, it’s a pretty charming place – all the houses are tightly packed together but none of them alike either in period or size. They do all have one thing in common though – a beautiful front door. Of course they’re still pretty varied but all equally delightful. When me and Kath visited last year (for our fauxglasto weekend) we couldn’t resist going out for a wander, camera in hand, to document the scene.

From the Medieval studded door of the butchers, to the baby blue gateway hiding the secret garden, to the understated elegance of April Cottage’s entrance peering from behind the chrysanthemums. Each one has it’s own appeal.

It was also what spurred me on to finally invest in my own front door and I’m pretty confident my Manchester house could now stand proud among it’s Southern Axbridge counterparts.

 

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Lost in a Scandinavian Forest

At this moment, if I could be anywhere I’d ask to be transported to the Swedish countryside. Perhaps Småland or Södermanland but I’d definitely be staying in a little red cabin (faluröda hus) positioned by a lake and surrounded by trees. Right now the forests are a lush green colour, so green they’re almost blue and the trees tower above you, giant and cartoon-like, shooting upwards like a fletching at the tail of an arrow…

…I’m not sure I can delve any further into this fantasy without risking severe ‘iwantaholiday-itus’. Instead I will share with you my favourite Scandinavian forest inspired accessories which will help to bring a touch of this picture perfect scene into your home.

Scandinavian Forest Accessories

 

1. Hansel and Gretel nursery print £25.00 , 2. Moomin Green Garden Mug £14.95, 3. Green Finnish Tree Fabric  £24.95/m, 4. Green Moorland Cushion £28.00, 5. Talking tree hexagon pot stand $31, 6. Gran Tray €43, 7. Big Matches $8, 8. The Fir Tree £8.99, 9. House in the Forest $219, 1o. Bear of Few Words Print, £10

 

 

 

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My New Front Door: The Sun is Shining in Manchester!

Liz's new front door

At the time of writing this post our front door has been living with us for less than a week and I feel like a new Mother. I’m currently sat on the steps as I type, and every so often I keep glancing beyond the laptop to have a look at the beautiful new addition to our home. I mean look at my face – could I be any happier?

The yellow may be considered a brave choice but coupled with a classic door, it’s a simple but tasteful way of bringing a Victorian Terrace bang up to date. A contemporary twist on a Victorian original. Think Charles Dickens styled by Anna Piagi…

 

Lizs-door-before-and-after

Light now pours through the etched panes, brightening up our narrow hallway. The door is yellow on the inside too. Think of it as a feature wall – not as a necessity that needs to be hidden.

The door itself was lovingly crafted by Chris Waldron from The Grand Victorian Door Company. He’s a real nice guy and has this front door lark down to a fine artform. He even put up with my pernickety Graphic Designer requests when it came to selecting a typeface for the fanlight.

As for door furniture, I delight in telling people that we opted for a doctors knocker and a mushroom knob (*snicker*). I guess the colour is loud enough, so we wanted to keep the accessories as simple. Who knew that brass and yellow could be such good friends?

Liz-door-detail

 

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Our Favourite: Festival Gear

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Image: © ashley rose, creative commons via flickr

 

I think it’s fair to say me and Kath are pretty excited about the upcoming festival season, and our musical adventures begin next month as we’re both heading to Glastonbury! For myself and my partner Paul it’s the very first time we’ve managed to secure tickets, so we’re going all out and treating it as though it’s our summer holiday. Which, in my mind, means I’m allowed to treat myself to a few choice holiday accessories. In fact most of these picks are staple UK summer items, festival or not. This, of course, means I can buy more as they’ll be used time and time again.

More over on our Pinterest board.

If mud and music just aint your thing then read about our alternative #fauxglasto adventures last year…

 

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Left to right, top to bottom

1. ASOS GONE Biker Wellies £25, 2. Enamel Mug  £7.95,  3. Yellow Welly Sock £12.95, 4. Striped Neckerchief £14, 5. Fjallraven Kanken £65, 6. Storm Lantern £29.00, 7. Event stool £42, 8. No drought, dry shampoo £3.95, 9. Picnic blanket £15

 

 

 

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Etsy Picks: Spring Blossom

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An Etsy collection celebrating the springtime garden (with UK friendly postage)

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Our Favourite: Record Players

I started buying records when I was at art college in Bradford, I also owned a pair of purple cords. No it wasn’t the 60’s it was the 00’s. I thought I was cool…

Our-favourite-Record-players1

My collection is modest, and I don’t imagine it’s worth very much – they’re well loved and not in a mint condition kind of way. However, since moving into our new house they have been a little neglected – shelved alongside the dusty board games in the dining room. They are soon to get a new home though…

Since my office/study has been finished (post to follow soon) i’ve been hankering after a reasonably priced player so I can listen to my music whilst I work. The retro record player must be in vogue as there has never been so much choice, Urban Outfitters’ offering is particularly good. I can’t vouch for the sound quality of all that are featured but if, like me, the waves only needs to fill a small space then it’s perhaps worth considering ones with built in speakers.  My favourites are Crosley The Player Turntable (pictured above) £110 and and Philips OTT2000 Bluetooth Stereo System, £149.99.

More over on Pinterest…

 

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1. UO X Dansette Sterling Standing Record Player £250 (currently on back order), 2. Ricatech RTT95 Record Player Turntable USB £199.90, 3. PROJECT black turntable £200, 4. Steepletone USB Norwich Retro Wooden Record Player £85.58, 5. Philips OTT2000 Bluetooth Stereo System £149.99.

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Art Purchase: A Fantastical Street Scene by Stuart Hirst

When it comes to interior accessories I have a definite preference for bold colour, geometric patterns and I’m always attracted to furniture with clean, simple lines. My choice of rug for the hallway and my bathroom tiles are just two examples of this, it probably also explains my obsession with Scandinavian design too.

However, my taste in art doesn’t abide by the same rules. And my favourite piece, a print by Bradford artist Stuart Hirst, is a good example of this.

stuart hirst upper fanny street

It’s belongs to Hirst’s ‘Street Life’ collection, a series of fantastical depictions of life above ground level and behind lace curtains. I absolutely adore it – everytime you glance something different pops out. A couple getting amorous behind a half closed curtain, a family of Sikhs, a rabbit in the window or the claret and amber colour of the awning belonging to the shop below (one for you Bradford City fans). I know the exact reason of it’s appeal too – it satisfies my nosy neighbour tendencies….

This partcicular piece is titled ‘Upper Fanny Street’ which, come on admit it, is a name that makes even the most grown-up of us snigger. But for those of us who are familiar with Saltaire (the place I’d guess this is loosely set) it will perhaps resonate a little more. My Grandma (Holland) used to live in Saltaire, number 44 Mary Street to be precise and further along there is an Upper Mary Street. There is also a Fanny Street, but whether it was foresight or luck there is no Upper Fanny Street. Until now that is.

Now it hangs comfortably above my armchair in the living room. And all the better for not conforming to my typically graphic tastes.

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