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Handmade Home, by Mark and Sally Bailey

6 Dec

Handmade Home by Mark and Sally Bailey

‘Introducing elements of the handmade into your home will make sure you stand out from the crowd. When something is made by hand it is totally unique – no matter how hard the maker might try to make a replica, the way he or she holds the brush, moulds the clay or grips the pencil will alter slightly from piece to piece. This ‘perfect imperfection’ is what makes the handmade increasingly sought-after.’

So say Mark and Sally Bailey of Bailey’s Home & Garden shop in their new book Handmade Home. And they’re right. It’s no different to turning up to a party wearing the same high-street-bought top as someone else. If you’ve ever had a friend round, who commented on having the same Ikea armchair (or even if you haven’t) then this book’s for you.

handmade home

The Baileys revel in craftsmanship and the reader cannot help but be inspired by their passion and ideas. By leading you through the ‘elements’ of creating a handmade home, they explain the importance of colour and texture, discuss the effect that textiles and handmade pieces can have on your living space, and finally reveal how to collect and display objects in your home. We are then presented with twelve very beautiful and different case studies for you to draw inspiration from – such as Dutch farmhouse, Tokyo space and Finnish forest house (my personal favourite, pictured below).

The beauty of this book is that it generates ideas and you can take as much or as little influence from it as you please, be it a full-blown refurbish or two or three touches to an already furnished room. Although, if it is the latter, be warned – you may not be able to stop there…

Handmade home

Handmade Home by Mark and Sally Bailey, £19.99 (hardback) is published by Ryland Peters & Small

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Make do and me-time (…and save the world a little bit)

28 Jul
The Make Lounge

The Make Lounge

Oh, switch it off. ‘What? Never!’ I hear you cry. But recently I discovered that we all should. And frequently. As we all know, in this age of 3G, cloud-computing and Twitter feeds, it’s hard to remember to take a break from all the i-noise (she says as she types her blog).

I heard on Radio 4 the other day about a new scheme where depression sufferers are recovering through learning how to garden. The nurturing aspect of this past-time gives them great personal reward: it forces them into a new surrounding – and to switch off from their normal routine.

Ok, so I know our addiction to net noise isn’t the same as depression, but the key point is that escaping a routine can be good soul food. Too long without that break can leave us feeling frazzled, tired or wired. It’s to those of you nodding in agreement (and to those of you who just like crafty shit) that I am speaking.

Our e-escape lies, rather excitingly, in a bunch of inanimate objects, just waiting – like dirty buried truffles – to be turned into something beautiful. And by your fair hands, no less. I found total and unexpected relief, recently, in making beaded necklaces with my niece. The careful formulation of colour patterns and shapes became stupidly mesmeric and busied us for the best part of two hours, which flew by like seconds. As we beaded, the stress of my Getting Stuff Done Yesterday working day evaporated and I totally forgot that I hadn’t refreshed Twitter in more than ten minutes. (Gasp).

So, there it is. Craft is therapy. And luckily for us there are plenty of workshops  popping up to prove this point. The Papered Parlour in Clapham put on various workshops from dressmaking to printing your own wallpaper and The Make Lounge in Islington have a wonderful, broad range of classes such as creative cross stitch, making festive fascinators and ‘knockout’ knickers. If you’re down Brighton way, Sew in Brighton teach how to sew, design, mend and alter your own clothes.

If you don’t fancy taking a class, get inspiration at home from Indie Craft by Jo Waterhouse, a sweet book that showcases the work of a band of inventive handy-folk, who make everything from crocheted fried breakfasts to knitted graffiti.

Someone who truly understands this form of escapism – and gets even more out of it than just that – is John-Paul Flintoff. (Yes, a man). In the welcome note to his book, Sew Your Own, he says: ‘I never intended to go searching for the meaning of life – far less to find it in making my clothes. But one thing led to another and it gradually dawned on me that the best way to save cash, reduce emissions, and take control from ‘the system’ would be to modify a shirt, then make a pair of jeans, and eventually to harvest nettles, spin the fibres and knit myself a pair of Y-fonts.’

So, what are you waiting for? Switch off, make some ‘you time’, and save the world while you’re at it.

‘Tis the season…

12 Jul

EggMag’s fashion editor Zoe Robinson explains how to do nuptials, naturally

The royal wedding may be a distant memory, but for many of us, wedding season is in full swing. For the perfect wedding accessories look no further than the sublime creations of A Alicia who crafts beautiful pieces from vintage, organic and fair trade fabrics.  There is something for everyone, from blue vintage satin garters for the bride (something old, new and blue), stunning and simple fascinators for bridesmaids or wedding guests, and pinholes for the groom and ushers.

Oh, and she also runs workshops too – perfect for some stylish hen afternoon fun (and you get to come away with something beautiful, rather than just a hangover and hazy memories of drunken hen night exploits you’d really rather forget)

If you don’t happen to have any wedding invites this year, and listening to music in a muddy field is more your thing, A Alicia has got festival season covered too with a gorgeous array of colourful pieces that would stylishly accessorise a straw Trilby and wellingtons.

If you’re going to Lovebox next weekend, have a look for A Alicia’s stall where you’ll be lucky enough to get a sneaky peak of her A/W collection which doesn’t launch officially until September.

Tiny Blossoms Boutonniere / Button-hole in fair trade organic cotton £10

Fascinator

Large Camellia with Vintage Net Fascinator in Fairtrade Organic Cotton

Bangle earings

Bangle Earrings in vintage kimono fabric £30

Crow necklace

Crow Necklace in organic fair trade cotton £60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Zoe’s blog here and website here

Stuff to do in June

7 Jun LOST ART

As always, we’ve had our ears flapping busily, and have heard news of some smart goings on in the next couple of weeks. We thought we’d share some of them with you:

LOST ART3-30 June: The Lost Collection at KK Outlet

See around 60 accidental works of art on show for the first time ever. The art spans from graphic doodles to full-on Impressionistic landscapes – all of which have been lost or dropped on trains, the tube, in buses and black cabs. If ever there was a reason to use a sketchbook, this is it…

 

8-11 June: TASTE MUSWELL HILL FESTIVAL

Visit the first ever Taste Festival for Muswell Hillians and enjoy all sorts of fun stuff from music and poetry to food and drinks and more. Our old favourites, Planet Organic will be putting on tastings, demos, an artisan bread market (Fri & Sat only) and, to top it of, giving shoppers £3 off, when you spend over £15. Simply email  mh@planetorganic.com to get your special voucher.

Open Farms Sunday12 June: Open Farm Sunday

Spend a day in your wellies – that’s not at a festival! At this annual event visitors can meet our good British farmers to learn how they grow our food and care for the countryside. Many will offer trailer rides, self-guided or hosted walks and, of course, you can have a real root around some lovely farm shops.

 

Two Degrees 201112-18 June: Two Degrees 2011

Rally together and make your voice heard in this festival combining climate change action and art. Try your hand at bingo bike-riding, sit back and enjoy some stories, or simply have a rant.

Sundays throughout June: Creative Summer Sundays at Here Today Here Tomorrow

Join the Dalston-based sustainable fashion foursome for a choice of workshops from making your own zipped purse from vintage materials to learning how to dye and batik fabrics and more. Prices are between £30-40 and the team promise that tea, cake and refreshments will be provided. Crafty fingers at the ready…

Could the backlash we’ve all been waiting for against mass-produced fashion finally be happening? Plus: the first Ethique EcoLuxe Day

2 Apr

It occurred to me today that there’s an under-current of ‘bespokeness’ rippling around the UK streets. This thought sprang to me as I left my final appointment at Ethique‘s first and fabulous EcoLuxe Day.

savile row fabricsEarlier this week I had been out shopping with The Boy for a proper suit (for him). We scoured every price range from Savile Row to Zara and what struck me was the choice that has now appeared on the high-street. To add to the personal shopping service many high-street shops have been offering for a while, it seems that some now have alterations services as well – and you can even get your own suit personally made to measure from Reiss.  This may partly down to the Mad Men craze that has swept and swept the nation, and left in its wake a load of people wanting to wear properly fitting, quality clothing, but stick with me though…

Back to Ethique (and eventually to the point). The luxury ethical concierge service is now offering relaxed days filled with consultations, talks and ethical lifestyle inspiration. Choose from personalised fashion tips, make-up advice, interiors ideas and plenty more: good, girlie, high-end fun. The event that I attended began at Tibits (a particular favourite of mine, and an EggMag stockist) where I was given a personal itinerary. This took me to The Organic Pharmacy for an efficient and effective make-over, and then to The National Geographic Store for a chat with the sustainable interior designer Elina Grigoriou who opened my eyes to how The Boy and I can maximise the use of our lovely, but really not-very-thought-out living space. Both appointments were genuinely interesting and I came away feeling that becoming a member would make my life a little easier – and a lot more luxurious.

frazer parfumThere are more and more companies now that tailor-make products for your personal style, be they cheap as chips or bucks-a-plenty. And they are on the up. Have a bespoke perfume made to excite your sense of smell at Frazer Parfum, get salads to suit you at Tossed and order your name in a necklace from Tatty Divine. Choose any object and I reckon you’ll be able to find it, somewhere, personalised for you. And, check out any fashion magazine on the news stand. The inspiration for current trends are broader than they’ve ever been. This summer be a boho babe, be pale and interesting or be nuts, angular and bright. You can be whatever you want to be.

tatty devine name necklaceSo. Here lies my proof of a gradual and building backlash against the mass-produced. People maybe still want That Dress but they want to wear it Their Way. Men want suits, but they want it tweaked to fit their individual style. Some wish to join a concierge service, like Ethique, in order to customise their life.

Maybe it’s because the public are no longer fooled by simple ‘buy this’ advertising. Maybe it’s inspired by the wonderful vintage trend that’s coloured everything from fashion to architecture over our recent years. Maybe it’s down to the recession, which highlighted the importance of buying quality products that last. I’m not saying Primark is dead (although I wish it were) and I’m not saying tailoring is the future (although that would be nice, if a little pricey) I am saying that people, now, like to be unique.

Nice, I say. And about time.

Wedding-dong bells. Handmade, of course…

17 Mar

If you’re planning a wedding (or just attending one) make sure you get down to the Handmade Wedding Collective’s show at Craft Central this weekend. Keep costs down, support some wonderful independent businesses AND make sure your day is unique by snapping up a vintage garter courtesy of A Alicia Wedding, some striking fabric and metal jewellery by Blue Eyed Girl or a bespoke paper bouquet by Book Worm Eats Flower. There’s much, much more too – plus pick up a copy of our White Issue from tomorrow onwards.

As well as the exhibition, The Handmade Wedding Collective operates as a directory of wedding related designer-makers. Links to websites for each of the craftspeople involved in the collective can be found on the site’s ‘Buy Handmade’ pages.