A Morris Moment

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We’ve recently noticed that William Morris, iconic designer of prints like those above and associate of the Pre-Raphaelites,  is having a bit of a moment – a minor Morris moment, if you will! He is the man who said ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’ – which is a fine principle to follow.

You know how we firmly believe House of Hackney prints to be beautiful? Well, they have brought out a range of prints in collaboration with the William Morris Gallery, taking three original patterns (Peacock and Dragon, Hyacinth and Blackthorn) and developing an entirely new one: Artemis.  This is the lovely Hyacinth wallpaper in teal (it come in a range of colours):


And this is the stunning Artemis wallpaper in grape (also comes in a range of other colours):


As well as wallpapers, the prints are also featured in House of Hackney’s soft furnishing and clothing ranges. (Please note that House of Hackney own all copyright in the two pictures of its wallpaper above).

But it’s not just House of Hackney. Barbour have just brought out a range of jackets lined with Morris prints! Here is the Ruskin jacket, lined with the Acanthus print (one of the original working drawings for Acanthus is shown on the left in the picture at the top of this post):


We love the way the lining is also let into the sleeve:


Useful and beautiful indeed!

Why not smile at a crocodile?

OK, so received wisdom is against it but why not? At least when we are talking about mock-croc effect!

We got new bedroom curtains recently – well, actually before Christmas but we’ve just been too busy to talk about them until now. Here they are:

From the photo, they look like they are a plain pinky-cream fabric (it’s a combination of lighting, less than professional photography) so here is a close up which shows the pattern and the colour more accurately:
The fabric is made by a company called Fibre Naturelle Ltd. It’s called ‘Marble’ (although it is clearly a reptile skin print) from their Milano range and It comes in a range of colours – this one is ‘almondie’. 
The curtains themselves were made by a company called Cotton and Chintz and the service from them was excellent. Julie brought round loads of samples, measured the windows and then came back to fit them when the curtains were made. It was all very friendly and efficient – and the price was highly competitive too!
We like them so much that we’re beginning to regret not having these tiles in the bathroom:
They are Crocodile in white, from Topps Tiles
So we are definitely smiling at a crocodile at the moment – is it just us or is this going to be a bit of a thing this year?

Fine feathers make fine blinds

Way back in July, we had a trip to V V Rouleaux and bought this feather trim to put on a blind:

Some weeks later, it still hadn’t attached itself, so we just had to get on and do it. First thought was to sew it on, but that turned out to be a bad idea. The feathers are glued into a kind of ‘ribbon sandwich’ which means that the band at the top of the trim is very stiff. It also means that the needle picks up glue when it goes through, making it sticky and harder to use. When the blind still had no trim but had acquired a small bloodstain on the back, it was clearly time for a rethink…

Fortunately this was one of those times when the lazy solution turned out to be the right one (we love those) and iron-on hemming tape came to the rescue. We cut the tape in half lengthwise to make it narrow enough and then just lined it up on the wrong side of the blind, covered with a damp cloth and pressed with a hot iron for 10 seconds.

Here is the result:

The wallpaper is the very lovely Hackney Empire from House of Hackney – this picture shows more of it.

And here comes a tip of the kind that we only share with friends: For the last couple of years, House of Hackney has had a sale in the run up to Christmas with big savings on all their products, including wallpaper. There’s no guarantee they will do the same this year, but we’ll be keeping an eye out just in case. 

V V Rouleaux

This week we had a trip to V V Rouleaux in Marylebone Lane, London – a fantastic shop for ribbons, feathers and trimmings. The driving force was the need to find something to trim a blind, partly to make it look good and partly because (we can be honest, can’t we?) it hadn’t been measured up properly and could really do with being an inch longer… but nothing at the usual haberdashery shops was very inspiring. Time to visit the expert.
And there we found this wonderful feather trim for £11.75 a metre! Lots of other colours are available too, as well as many wonderful ribbons and braids.
As well as ribbons and trimmings, V V Rouleaux also sells ribbon flowers, corsages, hats and headresses and runs short courses in how to make ribbon flowers, hats and headresses, and tassels and knots. Check them out here. It’s one of those great shops were you come out just wanting to start a project with the goodies in the cute carrier bag:
A picture of the blind with its new trim will follow in due course!

Ikuva sofa cover review

We have a new sofa cover!

The sofa itself is that ol’ favourite, an Ikea Ektorp. It still has many years of wear left in it, but we wanted new covers and there was nothing that available from Ikea that hit the spot (not that they weren’t good, just that none of them had quite the look that we wanted).

So some googling led us to these people – Ikuva. They make covers for Ikea sofas and chairs, including some of the discontinued styles. And they have a wonderful range of fabrics to chose from, which you can also buy by the metre for your own projects.

This fabric is Fanfare, in the ‘heather’ colourway, which is both washable and dry cleanable. It took 4 weeks for the cover to arrive (as stated on the website), and the staff at Ikuva were happy to give an update on the timing so that we could plan for their arrival. They were very polite and professional and we think that they have done a great job! Plus the cover itself was good value – £245 (the price obviously depends on which fabric you chose) plus £8.95 for UK delivery. If you are near Leigh On Sea in Essex, you can save the delivery charge and pick up from Ikuva yourself.